If what you’re after is a winning combo of rustic romance, look no further than the English countryside as your backdrop. It’s a destination where dresses are welcomed to sweep across fields of grass, where dainty white petals and twinkling lights set the mood and darling scrabble cakes replace extravagant dessert tables. And it also happens to be where you’ll find Sarah-Jane Ethan in action, stealing every moment in time. It’s all tucked away beautifully, here in The Vault.
From The Bride…We met at University in Manchester and got engaged nearly seven years later in gorgeous Sri Lanka, the places we visited were then our table names on the day. We wanted the whole day to to have an outdoor rustic English Country feel to it, but we did almost everything ourselves so there was a lot of Pinterest stalking going on!
I set off dress hunting with boho, floaty ideas in my head, but it turns out I’m definitely not tall or willowy enough to pull that off! I actually bought a gorgeous Jenny Packham dress in the sample sale and ended up selling it on as it just wasn’t me, but I know it was everything someone else wanted for their special day. I went for champagne coloured a Maggie Sottero in the end, which was just so classic I knew Id love it forever and I felt amazing in it all day.
I wore simple square diamond earrings from my Dad and my Mum’s sapphire ring as something blue. My something borrowed came with my friend Zoe’s veil which has actually become something of a team veil – I’m the third one to wear it! Shoes were a bit of nightmare to find as I wanted something that I’d be able to wear again. I went for cream peep toe LK Bennett heels, but really needn’t have worried as I was tearing up the dance floor in my decade old Haviana’s by 8pm!
The venue was so important to us, Sam’s only requirement was “Somewhere we can party…” but my criteria were a little longer! I didn’t want anything too traditional and wanted something we could really make personal to us – plus we wanted the ceremony to be outdoors. We found The Yorkshire Wedding Barn on a fluke whilst it was still being built, the setting was everything you could wish for, rolling English countryside, a beautiful stone barn and stunning cottages for the wedding party to stay in.
The owners Mandy and Neville were what really sold us it though, I didn’t feel on a wedding carousel, I felt like I was part of something they had built with love, sweat and tears and it just felt so genuine. We had the place for three whole days and had brunches, games, cricket and sessions in the White Swan pub just round the corner who also ran the bar for us all night. We could also have whatever catering we wanted which meant canapes galore and an easy choice for main of fillet steak and chips by our fabulous caterer Ray Wade.
We an outdoor wedding in a field plus a large barn means we had a bit of a job on our hands for the decorations! My mum was just amazing and not only helped with absolutely everything, she also hand made every single origami birds for our origami curtain and individually hung them from the beams. Tables and every available space was filled with candles, burlap and gypsophila absolutely everywhere!
We did the flowers ourselves and I absolutely adore gypsophila so it was always going to be a big part of the day, we then discovered even as total amateurs – you cannot destroy it! So it then went in every orifice we could find, tables, the roof, bushes, birdcages, buttonholes, bridesmaid bouquets you name it, we put some in there! We bought old picture frames and turned them into blackboards for the table names and wrapped up anything we could in twine to give it that rustic feel.
I walked down the aisle in the sunshine to “Cavalier” by James Vincent McMorrow which will stay with us both forever. We asked Sam’s Mum and my Brother to do readings during the ceremony for us that they wrote themselves giving advice to the Bride or Groom from the other side of the family “Living with a Sinclair/ Williams”. They were just so personal and had the guests blubbing in their chairs, it was honestly one of the best decisions we made.
My advice to any couple still planning their big day is:
1) Having all your friends and family in one place to celebrate is just amazing, there’s no need to stress about anything as that’s the only reason you’re all there.
2) Throw tradition to the wind if it feels right for you.
3) Invest in a great photographer! There’s so much you can’t see or get to on the day and it goes by so fast that you need someone talented and dedicated to capture the best day of your life, so Sarah-Jane was our perfect choice, it honestly is worth every single penny.
Photography: Sarah-Jane Ethan Photography | Photography: Reem Acra | Wedding Dress: Maggie Soterro | Cake: Caroline Cakes | Catering: Ray Wade | Hair And Makeup: Annabelle | Hair And Makeup: Mother Of The Bride & Friends | Band: Jonny Ross Music | Venue: The Yorkshire Wedding Barn