Real Wedding: A Colourful Family Focused Big Day in Surrey
Music played a big part in Duncan and Jen's big day, from carefully selected ceremony music, to an amazing evening playlist. The table names were music themed too, and were created from old records.
Jen looked gorgeous in a bespoke Lyn Ashworth wedding dress, while Duncan rocked a Paul Smith suit; perfect choices for their laid-back day. Photographer | Ria Mishaal
How they met and the proposal
Jen and Duncan grew up a few roads apart, went to the same university and even attended the same parties, yet their paths didn't cross until they had graduated and were both living in London. They eventually met on a night out in Covent Garden.<br /><br />They had been together for almost seven years when they got engaged, with Duncan getting down on one knee in Paris.<br /><br />"We spent the day walking, eating, drinking, and generally soaking up the atmosphere, then as the sun was setting, we headed back to our hotel which had an amazing view over the Parisian skyline and the Eiffel Tower," shares Jen.<br /><br />"The sunset was beautiful so we were out on the balcony but I got a little cold so went inside. Dunc called me back and was waiting on one knee with a ring. I was completely knocked off my feet!"
Jen and Duncan held their wedding at <a href="http://www.hitched.co.uk/wedding-venues/gate-street-barn_5078.htm" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Gate Street Barn</a> in Bramley, Surrey.<br /><br />"We walked away from the venue viewing thinking it fits the feel and setting we both wanted and there wasn’t a single worry that it wouldn’t all work on the day," explains Jen. <br /><br />"A lot of guests we’d be inviting would be coming from London, or via London from overseas, and we felt it was far enough out of town to feel like you were in the countryside, without being too far to be difficult to get to."<br /><br />"The size of the barn was also just right as it gave it an intimate feel, despite the 120 guests."<br /><br /><a href="http://www.youandyourwedding.co.uk/planning/venues/top-32-barn-wedding-venues/19525.html" target="_blank"><strong>READ MORE: Our top barn wedding venues </strong></a>
The floral arrangements, created by <a href="http://www.rosieorr.co.uk" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Rosie Orr</a>, were the main decorations on Duncan and Jen's big day.<br /><br />"The barn has beautiful iron chandeliers which we covered in greenery and hung bottles with individual flowers in," Jen says. " We wanted a backdrop for our vows so asked Rosie to create a wall of greenery, which helped frame the ceremony."<br /><br />"We wanted to create a relaxed atmosphere with an indoor / outdoor theme to really play on the barn setting and surrounding countryside If the venue had allowed straw bales, we would have definitely had them!"<br /><br />"I looked at lots of woodland and meadow-inspired Pinterest boards for the flowers and theming, but we wanted to add pops of colour and quirky touches to really make it our own. "
"The brief for the flowers was for there to be lots of greenery with pops of brighter colours, loads of foliage and country garden flower varieties," shares Jen.<br /><br />"We felt they complemented the overall look and styling of the wedding."
"We are both huge music fans – our first dates were gigs, our fondest memories are festivals, so the music choices were really important to us," says Jen.<br /><br />"We named our tables after favourite music artists and used old vinyl records as table numbers to help set the scene."<br /><br />"We spent ages on the playlists – every track, even the background music playing as guests arrived, was carefully picked. I walked down the aisle to The Beatles and during the ceremony; we had songs by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Bloc Party and Fleetwood Mac," she shares.<br /><br />"We walked back down the aisle to Redbone’s ‘Come and Get Your Love’ with all of our Ushers and Bridesmaids dancing behind us. It’s impossible not to smile when you hear that song and it set the celebratory mood for the rest of the day."<br /><br /><strong><a href="http://www.youandyourwedding.co.uk/planning/entertainment/30-processional-aisle-songs-that-will-have-the-groom-in-tears/21207.html" target="_blank">READ MORE: 30 amazing processional song choices </a></strong>
The wedding stationery
"For all of our stationery, we used black print on kraft paper, with touches of pale gold across everything – from a stamp we used on our initial invites to gold tape across the bottom of our handmade menus."<br /><br />"One of the best things I bought was an old school labeller which we used to do our name tags and menus – it tied in nicely with the feel of the retro signage."<br /><br />"As favours, we gave everyone a scratch card which provided some entertainment as we had a few winners!" reveals Duncan.<br /><br />"We printed ‘Lucky In Love’ envelopes for the scratch cards to further tie them in with our theme."
"Capturing memories from the day was important to us, so we had a selfie stick on each table as a favour, so that we could see what everyone got up to on the day," explains Jen.<br /><br />"It also served as a nice icebreaker for those who didn’t know each other on tables and everyone got into the spirit of things."
"We’re both huge foodies so spent a lot of time deliberating over the menu!" comments Duncan.<br /><br />"We had an incredible holiday on the Amalfi coast so there was definitely some Italian inspiration – from shared antipasti boards to start, a seasonal lamb main and raspberry semifreddo, home-made biscotti and shot glass of icy limoncello for dessert."<strong><a href="http://www.youandyourwedding.co.uk/planning/essentials/13-amazingly-unusual-wedding-food-ideas/22274.html" target="_blank"><br /></a></strong>
Later in the evening, guests were treated to a pizza, cooked in the pizza oven - the perfect late night snack!<br /><br /><strong><a href="http://www.youandyourwedding.co.uk/planning/essentials/13-amazingly-unusual-wedding-food-ideas/22274.html" target="_blank">READ MORE: Unusual food choices for your wedding</a></strong>
The wedding cake table
"We weren’t keen on having a traditional cake as they often seem to go un-eaten." says Duncan.<br /><br />"We asked friends to make cakes and ended up with an incredible cake table. It worked better than we could have imagined as people got quite competitive so the cakes were amazing."<br /><a href="http://www.youandyourwedding.co.uk/views/default/modules/gallery/images/Edit.aspx?webkey=youandyourwedding&mediaItemId=219961#">Save</a><br />"Guests seemed to love it as well; at the beginning of the day we were worried we had too many, but by the end they were all gone!"
"As none of our Grandparents are still with us, we framed photos of them on their wedding days in vintage frames which were on display," says Duncan.<br /><br />"We’re both very close to our families so this was important to us."<br /><br />"We also had a selection of bigger empty frames around the venue which guests could pick up and use to frame their own Polaroid snaps on the day," he adds.<br /><br />"We had over 300 Polaroids back and some of them are hilarious, you can definitely see the time lapse as the drinks kicked in throughout the day!"
The wedding dress and groom's suit
Jen's <a href="http://www.lynashworth.co.uk" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Lyn Ashworth</a> dress was purchased from <a href="http://www.boa-boutique.co.uk" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">BOA in Richmond</a>. <br /><br />"I fell in love with the vintage lace and the feel of the dress, but knew I wanted to personalise it to make the feel more me," Jen says.<br /><br />"I am definitely a t-shirt and trainers girl and don’t really do dresses so it was the biggest challenge I had with the wedding! We added a sweetheart neckline and lace over my shoulders and I loved it. It just felt like me."<br /><br />"I changed into pale gold <a href="http://kurtgeiger.com" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Kurt Geiger</a> trainers later in the night though, which modernised it slightly!"<br /><br />"Dunc wore an amazing navy blue suit from <a href="https://www.paulsmith.co.uk/uk-en/shop/?gclid=CP2l8rmwwc8CFWgq0wodIBsIIA" rel="nofollow">Paul Smith</a>, with a burgundy tie, Paul Smith shoes and belt. He had it tailored to fit and it’s a beautiful suit that he’ll wear again for special occasions."
The bridesmaid dresses
"We had a day’s shopping where my bridesmaids tried on a whole range of dresses and we were led by what suited them and what they all felt good in," reveals Jen.<br /><br />"I wanted them all to be comfortable and look hot. We ended up with pale blue summer dresses from <a href="https://www.coast-stores.com" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Coast</a> and pink shoes from <a href="http://www.debenhams.com/women/faith" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Faith</a> to give the outfit a pop. As a little gift, I got them all pale blue clutches from <a href="http://www.whistles.com" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Whistles</a> to complete the look."
The most memorable moments
"I loved the speeches – every one of them made me cry with laughter," admits Jen.<br /><br />"So many people have commented on how good the speeches were so I’m very grateful to my Dad, Dunc and my new brother-in-law Adam for bringing their A game!"<br /><br />"The moment I first saw her as she entered the barn was my most memorable moment," says Duncan.<br /><br /><strong><a href="http://www.youandyourwedding.co.uk/planning/readings-speeches/expert-tips-for-your-wedding-speeches/3315.html" target="_blank">READ MORE: Expert tips for your wedding speeches </a></strong><br /><br />"I’d always had an idea, a kind of feeling how she would look on that day, but nothing prepares you for it. The dress, hair, flowers everything was just perfectly Jen – she looked so beautiful."
The first dance
Jen and Duncan had their first dance to Bones by Michael Kiwanuka. "We just think it’s a beautiful song," Jen shares.<br /><br />After that, the dance floor was full the whole evening, with guests dancing the night away.<br /><br /><a href="http://www.youandyourwedding.co.uk/planning/entertainment/100-first-dance-wedding-songs-for-every-kind-of-couple/21997.html" target="_blank">READ MORE: 100 first dance wedding songs perfect for every kind of couple </a>
Advice for brides-to-be
"We found that concentrating on the things that would really standout and make the day, and letting go of the smaller things that are nice to have but not essential, really helped," says Jen.<br /><br />"You could always spend just a little more on this or get the slightly better version of that, but everyone will know what the big things are for them – the band, the food, the venue, the dress – everyone is different but that’s what makes your wedding yours and that’s what makes it special."