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Back to nature wedding in West Sussex

Sarah and Dan had a charming country celebration

Sarah and Dan – the proposal

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Photographs by Christine Carrelo Photography

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Sarah Pullar and Daniel Shuttleworth met at university at King’s College London, where they were both studying biological sciences. “I guess we became close because I started to struggle in one of the classes we had together – he was the biggest geek I knew so he helped me with my work and one thing led to another,” says Sarah.

After the pair had been going out for five years, Dan proposed during a night out at a classy restaurant. “Everyone around us clapped, and when the owner found out she came over and gave us a bottle of champagne on the house.”

Sarah and Dan – the ceremony

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Dan and Sarah became man and wife on 4 July 2009, with a ceremony at St Mary’s Church in Funtington. “We chose St Mary’s as it was the local church of some of my family members, and my cousin got married and had her children christened there,” says the bride. “There is also a window dedicated to my grandparents in the entrance, so it just felt right. We had the reception at my auntie’s house, as it was just a few minutes down the road from the church.”

Sarah and Dan – the dress

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The bride found her stunning Sophia Tolli bridal gown at Carisma Brides in Leamington Spa (01926 422555). “I wanted something with a vintage feel,” says Sarah. “The dress was lace with sequins in certain places on the fabric, with cream ribbon detail down the dress and around the bodice. It had a sweetheart neckline with a full train and a ribbon lace-up back, with Swarovski brooch-style adornments at certain places along the ribbon. I also wore an ivory full-length veil.”

Sarah and Dan – the reeption

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Sarah and Dan held their reception in a field at Sarah’s auntie’s home. “We used a small marquee, which she owned, and had the drinks reception in her garden,” says the bride. “This saved us a lot of money, but also made it very personal.”

Sarah and Dan – the theme

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The theme for the big day was nature and knowledge. “As Dan is such a genius and has a passion for science, and I have always been obsessed with anything animal- or wildlife-related, we wanted to combine both of these elements,” says Sarah. “All the tables were named after scientists or explorers. The centrepiece on each table was a stack of three old books, with an open book on the top on a stand. We created an insert for each one that was made to look like a page in the book, describing the work and life of each scientist.”

Sarah and Dan – the bridesmaids

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Sarah’s maid of honour Mel wore a dusky purple strapless dress that was hand-made by a friend, while her other bridesmaid Laura – Dan’s sister – wore a strapless pink dress from Coast. Each maid also sported a pretty necklace and earrings from Etsy. Meanwhile, Sarah’s adorable flowergirl wore a dress from Monsoon which was dyed turquoise blue, plus butterfly accessories that tied in with the nature theme.

Sarah and Dan – thedecoration

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“We wanted the day to have a country feel, so we had bunting and tea lights in jars,” says Sarah.

Sarah and Dan – the decoration (continued)

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Luggage tags tied to colourful ribbon make simple but effective place names.

Sarah and Dan – the tables

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“Our favours were native wild flower seeds that I bought wholesale,” says Sarah. “We packaged them in tiny lilac pearlescent envelopes that I bought online and decorated with a butterfly sticker. Most people realised the packet contained seeds, but a family member – an adult, I might add – ate some of them thinking they were sweets!”

Sarah and Dan – the cake

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The couple’s spectacular cupcake tower certainly had the wow-factor. “Dan and I decided not to have a formal wedding cake – instead we had lots of cupcakes as this seemed to fit with the country feel,” says the bride. “We bought a Perspex cupcake stand, silver cupcake wrappers and cake decorating material online at Cake Craft Shop. My family then spent the days leading up to the wedding baking the cupcakes and decorating to their hearts’ content. The results were not only beautiful, but delicious!”