Creative couple Holly and Gareth decked out a country barn with handmade touches and a treasure trove of antiques
Artistic souls Holly and Gareth first met in 2001 in their halls of residence at Norwich School of Art & Design, where they bonded over a love of all things visual, from art to antiques. So it was only fitting that their wedding would incorporate these elements too.Photography by Anneli Marinovich (annelimarinovich.com)
“We wanted a homemade country feel and had brilliant fun collecting lots of teacups, doilies and candelabra from markets and sales,” Holly explains.
“A lot of the pieces came from an antiques village called Battlesbridge, near Chelmsford,” she says.
A 17th century barn in the grounds of Blake Hall in Essex proved the ideal backdrop for Holly and Gareth’s rustically romantic vision. “It was the first venue we viewed together with my parents,” Holly remembers. “We couldn’t leave without booking it – 18 months in advance of our wedding!"
Glass bottles and French jugs were filled with colourful wildflowers, and Moroccan-style lanterns sourced at Tesco decorated outdoor tables for the August celebration.
“My dress was a Cosmobella design, which I found at a small bridal shop in Chelmsford called Divine Gowns,” Holly says. “I knew the shape flattered me, and the lace had the antique feel I was looking for.” She found her cathedral-length veil in the boutique as well.
“I bought a beautiful pair of lace heels by Debut at Debenhams – they were a perfect match for my dress and such a bargain!”
In keeping with the wildflowers decorating the venue, florist Donna Kirk of Elegance Flowers created a hand-tied, rustic-look bouquet that also featured Avalanche roses and eucalyptus.
Best girls Angela and Adele carried matching bouquets and channelled the antique vibe of the day in nude-toned, lace dresses.
Holly found both bridesmaid dresses at Asos, in chic styles the girls can definitely wear again!
Meanwhile, Gareth and the boys chose sleek, slim-fitting navy blue suits from French Connection with tailored shirts by Jeff Banks. Matching ties and cuff links were purchased from Tie Rack.
Following a traditional Church of England ceremony, guests showered the couple with dried petal confetti from lace doily paper cones.
Homemade touches were everywhere, including bunting and fabric-heart place settings handcrafted by Holly’s mum and a friend.
In a cool twist on popular sweetie tables, the couple used Kilner jars as table numbers and filled each with a different classic sweet. For their favours, guests moved from table to table, picking and mixing!
Pretty crockery in mismatched designs added colour and elegance to table tops. These teacups and saucers doubled up as place names with the addition of brown-paper name tags.
Having a graphic designer groom certainly helped the planning, and Gareth created all the Victorian-style stationery himself.
“Everything was printed with brown ink on champagne-coloured hammered card using classic typefaces and an ornate border,” says Holly.
The table plan was displayed in an oversized, gilded frame at the entrance to the barn.
The bride also got in on the DIY act and handmade the fabric letters for the card table.
One wedding cake? Try 10! “My friend and colleague Jude Pym made them in all kinds of flavours, from lemon and carrot to chocolate brownie, Victoria sponge and ginger,” Holly says.
On the day, Holly was blown away by the ambience they'd created. “When it all came together, it was like a fairytale, even more beautiful than we’d planned,” she admits.
“My best advice is, be mindful of how much info you give away ahead of the day,” Holly says, “because a surprise for your guests is exciting and fun!”To hire any of the antique treasures collected by Holly and Gareth for their wedding, email firstname.lastname@example.org.