Chloe & Tom’s Handmade Sustainable Summer Wedding

Chloe and Tom's real life wedding at Upwaltham Barns

As a couple that share interests and beliefs, it was crucial to Chloe and Tom that their wedding reflected the things that are most important to them. They created a sustainable, handmade, vegan wedding at Upwaltham Barns that all of their guests will remember forever.

Finding ‘the one’

When Chloe and Tom wrote their list of wedding must-haves, a fabulous venue that could serve their guests fantastic vegan food was top of the list. They also knew they wanted somewhere that would allow all the most important people in their lives to come together and enjoy a wonderful day together.

“We knew that we wanted a venue that provided everything in one place, without having to move between the ceremony and reception. We researched several types of venues and were drawn to the barn style.”

“When we came to visit Upwaltham Barns, we just fell in love with it. It was exactly what we wanted and it felt ‘right’. Upwaltham fitted us as a couple, we loved the space it offered, there’s a great balance between indoors and outdoors and the staff were experienced and friendly. Not only that but the food looked amazing and there was a full vegan menu on offer that was packed with delicious options.”

The brides wedding shoes sit in the gardens at Upwaltham Barns in West Sussex

Styling Upwaltham Barns

Although the couple didn’t work to a really strong theme, they knew what they wanted and the overall ‘country wedding chic’ vibe was the perfect choice for Upwaltham Barns. Groom Tom played a huge role in the look of the wedding and, as he’s a branding expert, he was responsible for bringing everything together. Chloe also knew what was important to her.

“Sustainability is important to me and so, where we could, we tried to use natural materials, which suited the country look. This meant lots of floral prints, natural wood and twine – lots of twine!”

“As an avid crafter, it was also important to me that we brought in as many handmade elements as possible – however with Tom’s eye for detail, they also needed to look smart! I don’t think many of our guests realised quite how much work Tom had put into the decorations or how much we had done ourselves. We were really pleased with the final effect.”

Rustic wedding table centrepieces planted with herbs were used for the wedding reception at Upwaltham Barns

And what an effect it was! The whole venue was festooned with almost 100m of floral bunting, lots of empty jam jars were wrapped with twine, ribbon and floral beads to become candle holder and the couple’s friend Janice of Moo and the Magpie used her signwriting skills to finish the chalkboard signage.

“The final touch was the table centrepieces. I was keen not to have traditional cut flowers, I wanted something more lasting. Tom sourced a maker on eBay who created 11 wooden planters for us and then Tom stained them, lined them and filled them with fresh herbs. My contribution was to wrap clothes pegs onto plant sticks and these held the table names. We gave the planters as gifts to people who had contributed in any way to our day.”

Dressing for the occasion

Chloe’s passion for sustainability carried right through to her wedding day look and she found her dress in the Oxfam wedding shop in Southampton.

“I was adamant that I wanted to find a dress for under £350 and my preference was a pre-loved dress. I felt very strongly that I didn’t want to spend a huge amount of money on a dress that would be worn once, that just wouldn’t be me.”

Even after dry cleaning and alterations, Chloe was completely on budget with her dress and it’s since been donated back to Oxfam!

The bride chose a half-up half-down bridal hair look for her wedding day at the West Sussex wedding venue

As a jewellery designer herself, the jewellery was probably the most special part of Chloe’s outfit and, of course, she made it all herself.

“I designed and created a beaded hair comb. This was handstitched with tiny seed beads and Swarovski crystals and I also created some very simple Swarovski crystal heart earrings.”

Tom hired suits for himself and his groomsmen from Moss Bros. He chose a blue French Connection suit and the couple sourced fuchsia pink ties and pocket squares online. Chloe gifted Tom a set of cufflinks for the wedding day and the sixpences in the design made reference to their wedding reading that came from the musical ‘Half a Sixpence’.

For an alternative to real wedding flowers the bride made her own beaded wedding bouquet

The bridesmaids and groomsmen stand with the bride and groom after the wedding ceremony at Upwaltham Barns

The bridesmaids wore beautiful vintage style tea dresses and these worked so well with the groomsmen’s outfits.

“I wanted something colourful and fun for my bridesmaids that would be worn again after the event. We added fuchsia petticoats and a matching ribbon belt. I made all three girls matching hair combs in bright pinks and greens and, as a gift, I created personalised charm bracelets with charms that made me think of them.”

The Wedding Day

Chloe and Tom held their wedding ceremony in the East Barn and opted for a horseshoe layout to create an intimate feel for their guests. The couple really wanted their ceremony to be personal to them and Chloe even created a unique reading for the occasion.

“I pulled together little ditties, quotes and lines from songs in our favourite musicals, threw in a couple of films too (and a line from Harry Potter, I couldn’t resist!) to create a poem called ‘Together’. After a little tweaking, we sent it to my step mom whom we asked to read it during the ceremony.”

The newlyweds enjoy a confetti moment in the courtyard at Upwaltham Barns in West Sussex

After the ceremony, it was Pimm’s O’Clock and everyone enjoyed the refreshments and nibbles in the Courtyard as the temperatures were soaring. Then, it was time for the vegan feast that included caramelised onion and aubergine tart, balsamic vegetable nests with wild rice and then a trio of desserts.

“I’m vegan and Tom is vegetarian, so it was really important to us that the food we served met our ethics. We wanted food that blew people away and defied ‘vegan expectations’. I loved the vegan cheesecake and the Nibbles2Nosh team did an amazing job.”

Chloe and Tom then took to the dancefloor to ‘My Girl’ and a DJ entertained the guests all night long. There were always people on the dancefloor, despite the heat and the mix of music was just excellent. However, the highlight of the evening was definitely the ‘Dad Dance-Off’ to celebrate Father’s Day!

The bride stands with her bridesmaids who wear navy and pink floral bridesmaid dresses

“Everyone really got into the spirit of it and there were some amazing moves! It was down to two of our friends then suddenly, out of nowhere, my Dad got a second wind. We’ve no idea where it came from but he turned into Michael Flatley meets Michael Jackson! Needless to say, he won the bottles of beer!”

There were more treats for the guests with chips in cones and the vegan sweet bar that Chloe had created. By the time the party ended, everyone was already looking back on what had been a truly special occasion.

Wedding tips and advice:

Chloe and Tom had a brilliant wedding day and their highlights include their ceremony and ‘Dad Dance-Off’ but also their confetti line. They loved being together and seeing all their friends and family around them. The couple also gave a joint speech.

“We wanted to balance things out so it wasn’t all men speaking on my behalf – I wanted to speak for myself! Everyone complimented us on our joint speech. We wrote our thanks to people together but the second parts we kept to ourselves. I read mine to Tom then Tom read his words to me and I bawled my eyes out, as did most of the room.”

The new husband and wife walk through the countryside that surrounds Upwaltham Barns

When it comes to wedding planning tips and advice, Chloe has these wise words for anyone planning their own big day.

“Take time for each other on the day itself. We tried to stick to each other’s sides on the day, at least until after the wedding breakfast.”

“We’d also advise to not get caught up in worrying over tiny details, take time to smell the coffee and remember what the day is all about after all.”

For more real wedding inspiration, take a look at Karis and Ed’s Pretty Pastel Wedding at Upwaltham Barns.

Images courtesy of © Laura Mott Photography

Chloe and Tom's real life wedding at Upwaltham Barns

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