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Village fete wedding with quirky details

Rachel and Matt, St Luke's in Duston and Harlestone Village Hall, Upper Harlestone, Northamptonshire

Rachel and Matt – The Proposal

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Photographer; Geoff Reardon

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“The whole idea for our wedding was to make it fairly informal, country fete style, child-friendly, not spend too much money and ensure that all our guests felt relaxed and comfortable,” says Rachel.

Rachel and Matt – Wedding Cake

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Rachel and Matt made some canny savings by keeping the wedding local and doing a lot of the work themselves. “Being a keen and talented cook, Matt made our wedding cake! He followed a recipe from Nigella for a chocolate Christmas cake. We had it decorated by a friend who did a lovely job and matched sugar flowers to the real ones we had on the day,” says Rachel.

And Rachel bagged a bargain with her dress. “I managed to find it on ebay – a Maggie Sottero gown in the design I wanted. Luckily the people selling it didn’t live too far away so we went over to see it before bidding. It fitted perfectly and didn’t have to be altered at all!”

Rachel and Matt – Wedding Ceremony

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The day was designed with accents of turquoise, Rachel’s favourite colour. “My sister was my chief bridesmaid and wore a Dessy dress in ocean blue. We ordered iridescent taffeta ties from Dessy in peacock for the men too,” says Rachel. “The homemade stationery also had a turquoise theme and my mum made bright runners for the reception tables from material I found in a market.”

Rachel and Matt – Post-Ceremony

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Rachel grew up on a farm and was keen to have a horse and carriage take her to the church. “I absolutely loved the ceremony,” says Rachel. “There were points when we both had tears in our eyes, but we also laughed a lot! Saying our vows to each other and looking into each other’s eyes was so special and nothing can prepare you for that. The sun shone through the stained glass windows just as we were saying ‘I will’ and it felt like a blessing.” Strung Out Sisters provided a string trio and voices during the church service.

Rachel and Matt – Venue Flowers

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The church was simply decorated. “We didn’t have the money for huge pedestal displays so our florists – Perkins of Northampton, in Duston, came up trumps and provided us with some gerbera potted plants in the same colour as the ones our flower girls carried,” explained Rachel. “These were transported to the venue and given as thank you gifts during the speeches. I had a hand-tied bouquet of ivory flowers – freesias, lisianthus and roses plus a touch of colour from three peachy talea roses,” she added.

Rachel and Matt – The Venue

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“The 25-minute journey to the reception by horse and carriage along the lanes of the Althorp estate was one of the most magical times of the day and gave us some quiet time together,” says Rachel.

The village hall was beautifully decorated by Matt and Rachel’s families. “We covered the tables with white cloths, plus the runners made by my Mum and one tall vase each with burgundy gerbera stems and foliage,” adds Rachel. “We scattered some silver heart confetti and gave everyone a turquoise napkin from IKEA. Fairy lights were strung from the beams and white bunting across the hall.”

Rachel and Matt – The Buffet

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“We had platters of buffet style food, comprising cold meats, cheeses, salads and breads – all served to the tables,” says Rachel. “We wanted a more informal feel to it, so a buffet worked brilliantly, and the guests provided dessert. “We set a pudding challenge and asked everyone to bring a dessert to share with their table! The top table then chose bronze, silver and gold award-winning puddings. It got us all mingling and provided an opportunity to chat!”

Rachel and Matt – First Dance

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Rachel slipped into some flat shoes for the evening ceilidh and DJ. “Our first dance was Everything by Michael Buble,” commended Rachel. “I also used some lines from this in my bride’s speech; ‘And in this crazy life and through these crazy days, it’s you, it’s you. You are everything.’ Matt and most of the guests were in tears,” she added.