As the 2019 wedding season approaches I'm looking back over last year's beautiful weddings and I'm starting off with this beautiful at home marquee wedding complete with the most stunning outdoor ceremony I've ever laid eyes on, let alone planned.
I met Michelle and Josh through Amanda, who is married to Josh's Dad. I had planned a private party for Amanda two years before at her home in Oxfordshire. The home, Rocky Lane, farm deserves a mention. It is one of the most beautiful settings I've ever seen and it captured Michelle and Josh's hearts - they decided that this was the place where they also wanted to marry. So, long story, cut short, whilst on a family holiday discussing wedding plans, Amanda mentioned me. An email later and a date was set for Michelle and I to meet at Rocky Lane. The rest was history and the planning began.
Michelle and Josh are the classic mix that a lot of my couples seem to be, a USA/UK coupling. In this case, Michelle, from Miami met Josh, UK born and bred, via mutual friends and I'm told Michelle caught Josh's attention from the first meeting. I don't blame him - she's gorgeous both outside and in.
When you're bringing guests from another country to celebrate and you have the use of a gorgeous venue such as Rocky Lane, it makes sense to make a wedding weekend of it. Friday night , Michelle and Josh wanted a laid back quintessentially British feel. It just so happens that the Crooked Billet on Stoke Row is minutes away. For anyone who hasn't been to the Crooked Billet, you should look it up. Particularly if you are a foodie. The food is incredible and we hired the pub for what can only be described as a feast, the night before. Paul and his team set up market style stalls of goodies, in fact it was like your own personal version of London's Borough Market, only better.Saturday was all about the wedding at Rocky Lane Farm but, to maximise the time together with their guests, Michelle and Josh also planned for a Sunday post wedding brunch back in the main wedding marquee.
Michelle had dreams of an outdoor ceremony with the main house as the backdrop. It's always risky planning an outdoor wedding in late September in England but, the planets aligned and allowed us to put together the most beautiful ceremony scene for over 150 guests on the lawn. The celebrant led service by Andri Benson, was beautiful, personal and bespoke
THE DINING AND DANCING
As the early evening drew in, it was time for the dining and the dancing and this meant moving into the marquee. The marquee deserves a big mention at this point. When you are planning an at home wedding for 150+ guests across 3 days with 5 different live music acts you need an epic marquee and sound production team around you. Meridian marquees and their sister sound production company deserve the biggest shout out at this point. The marquee itself was a huge space. We wanted space to hold reception drinks (as a wet weather back up), an enormous stage to host the variety of acts (another thank you and should out to ALR Music for this one) and the biggest disco ball you've ever laid eyes on. As an aside here, the Clearspan marquee often gets a bad reputation in terms of its aesthetic and, whilst, on their own, they aren't the most attractive of structures, boy are they flexible, cost effective and the biggest blank canvas. Catering dream team Rhubarb were in charge of all the food and drink experiences, of which there were many highlights (my personal favourite was the Sunday brunch egg 'anyway you like it' station - it's the little things that please me...).
This is one of the areas I was most proud of with this wedding. I recall sitting down with Michelle at our styling meeting and defining what it was she wanted to achieve. From this, as with all of my brides, I put together the wedding style bible (or "look book"). When I look back now at the actual wedding images and compare them to that original vision, I beam. We nailed it.
When you need to bring to life a marquee of epic proportions you need some pretty epic florals and Jen of WILLOWGOLD did the most incredible job, mind-blowing. This petite, talented pocket rocket and her team delivered flowers worthy of more than this small mention but the images do them much more justice than I could ever put into words.
Michelle and Josh, you were an incredible couple to work with, in fact you made it feel very unlike work. Your wedding will always hold a special place in my memories, I hope it does yours
Make up: Mel Kinsman
Hair: Love Hair by Lou
Sound and Lighting:
Music: ALR Music
Photography: M and J Photography
Videography: Jacob and Pauline
Stationery: Bureau Design
Cake: Monannie Cakes
Celebrant: Andri Benson Ceremonies