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Real wedding: rustic romance with woodland touches

Anna and Chris chose rustic flourishes and garden flowers to conjure up a dreamy woodland vibe

Anna & Chris – The Proposal

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The weather may have been stormy the afternoon Chris, 30, planned to propose to Anna, 28, on a hilltop near their home, but he somehow convinced her to brave the December wind and rain for a romantic walk. “I had no make-up on and was wearing wellies and a waterproof coat, so when he got down on one knee, I was completely speechless,” Anna recalls. “When I was finally able to whisper the word ‘yes’, he dug up a bottle of champagne and two flutes that he’d buried up there the day before!”

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Photography: Marianne Taylor (mariannetaylorphotography.co.uk)

Anna & Chris – The Venue

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The stunning 17th-century house in Chiddingfold, Ramster Hall, personalised with woodland touches, was the ideal spot for Anna and Chris to become Mr & Mrs Wood. “We both love being outdoors and wanted to bring that feeling inside, while also incorporating our married name into the theme,” she explains.

Anna & Chris – The Ceremony

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Anna was lucky enough to have a string quartet at her civil ceremony in May, “a friend of the family offered to play at the wedding – they were brilliant!” says Anna. “We requested One Day Like This by Elbow and God Only Knows by the Beach Boys for the recessional, and then Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol for the signing of the register. It made the whole thing even more personal.”

Anna & Chris – The Car

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Anna arrived at the ceremony in style, as she and her Dad stepped out of a S111 Silvercloud Bentley from Harveys Cars. (harveysweddingcars.co.uk).

Anna & Chris – The Shoes

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Anna wore Evangeline Rose shoes with peep-toe detailing and crystal embellishments for a vintage feel. Her mum and dressmaker, Beverley Lister, convinced Anna to add a rum-pink cathedral-length veil to her simple column dress from Beverley Lister at Evangeline Rose Bridal (evangeline-rose.co.uk). “That hint of colour really brought out the pinkness of the pearls in the dress’s lace overlay, and I’m so glad I decided to wear it,” Anna says. “You only get one opportunity!” The groom looked equally charming in a suit from Apsley Bespoke Tailors (apsleytailors.com).

Anna & Chris – The Bridesmaids

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Two bridesmaids, in Coast dresses (coast-stores.com) and Rachel Simpson shoes (rachelsimpsonshoes.co.uk) with customised blue ribbons, joined Anna on her walk up the aisle. “Choosing the shoes turned out to be the most difficult part of the whole wedding!” says Anna. “The dresses were knee length so the shoes would be on show the whole time – they had to be just right.” All three girls also wore cream wax flowers and ivory spray roses to complement their hairstyles.

Anna & Chris – The Reception

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At the reception, graphic designer friend Alistair Dance (adance.co.uk) helped with DIY touches. He used a wood-grain finish on the invitations, orders of service and menus, and the couple named each table after a different type of tree (the names themselves were mounted into slices of tree trunk from the couple’s own garden).

Anna & Chris – The Flowers

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“We also wanted a focus on scent for our theme,” says Anna. “So we used flowers such as stocks, sweet peas and lavender and included herbs like rosemary into the bouquets and displays.”

Anna & Chris – The Flowers

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Rather than more decorations, Anna decided to let a mass of flowers take centre stage (heavenly-scent.co.uk). Fairy lights were entwined with floral garlands on window sills and instead of pew ends, the couple decided to have mossed pots with tall delphiniums on either side of the aisle, adding to the natural woodland feel of the day.

Anna & Chris – The Vintage Touches

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Blooms in a mixed palette of pink, lilac, blue, green and cream were placed on tables in mismatched vintage bottles and jars to add to the natural feel. “The glass ware was collected by myself over many months before the wedding from various vintage stores and online,” says Anna. “We wanted each table to have a unique feel.”

Anna & Chris – The Little Details

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Lottery tickets placed in small envelopes and pegged to the wineglasses with heart-shaped clips from Cox & Cox (coxandcox.co.uk) doubled as favours and place names, and in the evening the best man called out the winning numbers. “Sadly, we didn’t create any new millionaires,” jokes Anna.

Anna & Chris – The ‘Guestbook’

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In place of a guestbook – “trying to get everyone to sign it is always such a struggle!” says Anna – the couple put luggage tags underneath each guest’s napkin and asked everyone to write a message which they then tied onto a line, giving a rustic flourish.

Anna & Chris – The Cake

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After dinner, guests filled the floor to swing and modern classics performed by five-piece band The Nick Rye Ensemble (nickryeensemble.co.uk) and snacked on sausage sandwiches and slices from Anna and Chris’s gorgeous cheese tower, which they served in lieu of a traditional wedding cake.

Anna & Chris – The Party

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But the highlight of the night came after the speeches, when all 100 guests were secretly given copies of the lyrics to One Day Like This to serenade the couple. “Everyone gathered round our table and sang the song to us – it was a brilliant moment and made me cry for the first time that day!” says Anna.

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For more aisle style inspiration, check out our Downton Abbey fashion round-up, or have your most pressing posy questions answered in our Two-minute Tutorial: how to work with your florist