Emma and Bret’s English Woodland Wedding

finding the one bride groom ceremony bret emma upwaltham barns
Emma and Bret’s summer celebration at Upwaltham Barns was a quintessentially English wedding day, full of feasting and music. As the couple live in Los Angeles, they wanted a day full of family and friends that also featured a truly fabulous feast for everyone to enjoy.

Finding ‘the one’

Emma and Bret wanted a woodland wedding that felt whimsical, romantic and oh-so English, which meant their search had to focus on the glorious Sussex countryside and the Sussex wedding venues that it had to offer. The fabulous layout at Upwaltham Barns, with the central courtyard, ample outdoor space and two separate barns won the couple over:

Bride and groom leaving Upwaltham Barns

“As soon as we visited Upwaltham Barns, we knew it was perfect: the breath-taking countryside surroundings and the rustic charm of the renovated barns were exactly what we were looking for. The staff we spoke with were all extremely friendly and knowledgeable and it was clear they really cared about helping people create their perfect wedding day.” – Emma

Styling Upwaltham Barns

Although Emma and Bret didn’t start planning their day with any specific theme in mind, they knew they wanted the English landscape to feature heavily. Once they’d chosen Upwaltham Barns, Emma decided to work on a loose theme of a English woodland wedding to create the relaxed, celebratory and summer feel that both she and Bret wanted.

styling flowers countryside emma bret upwaltham barn

“I chose the colours of the day and particularly the flowers to echo colours you might find in an English woodland so I went with soft dusky pinks, peaches and blues. Wild Willow provided all the bouquets and flower arrangements and the whole process of working with her was an absolute joy. I wanted the flowers to be fairylike and slightly wild looking and Laura capture this perfectly. We also used a lot of foliage to create the woodland feel and I asked Laura to include some daisies in my bouquet and they’re my favourite flower.” – Emma.

 styling sign flowers bret emma upwaltham barns

 The decorations in the reception barn were kept relatively simple as Emma felt the barn already looked so beautiful with its exposed beams, candles and fairy lights. Emma’s Dad found the gate that made up their table plan at a local recycling centre and her brother helped create the display that sat in pride of place in the courtyard, adorned with a beautiful floral garland that created the beautiful woodland wedding.

 styling table plan flowers wood emma bret upwaltham barns

Dressing for the occasion

Emma wore a heavenly gown by Lusan Mandongus from Isabella Grace. The A-line skirt overlaid with a tulle train gave such an ethereal and romantic look that worked perfectly with the day. A beaded sash accentuated Emma’s waist and the knee-length, lace-trimmed veil was a perfect finishing touch.

the dress bride emma bret upwaltham barns

“I didn’t want to wear traditional white satin bridal shoes so after having real trouble trying to find what I was after, I decided to design my own shoes through Shoes of Prey. I had lots of fun creating them and I ended up with a pair of soft pink velvet stilettoes with big bows and ankle straps that I absolutely loved!” – Emma.

 the dress flowers woodland bret emma upwaltham barn

 Bret also wanted to wear something with a slightly vintage feel and the couple eventually managed to find a navy herringbone suit with a mismatched checked waistcoat in London.

groom buttonhole bret emma upwaltham barns

Emma sourced her Kelsey Rose bridesmaids’ dresses online and they wore nude heels and delicate gold jewellery. The handmade necklaces, made from pastel coloured crystal beads strung onto fine gold chains, were found by Emma whilst on holiday in Mykonos!

outfits bridesmaids groomsman emma bret upwaltham barns

The wedding day

The wedding day itself was absolutely full of highlights including live music from The Washboard Resonators, and a three-way rap medley ‘speech’ from the ushers! Emma also loved sneaking away for their couples’ photos which included running through fields full of sheep. However, it was the vegetarian feast that Emma and Bret will remember forever:

music band bret emma upwaltham barns
 wedding day field sheep bret emma upwaltham barns

 “It was important to us that the wedding breakfast was vegetarian as we wanted the day to reflect who we are as people but at the same time we wanted to provide delicious food we knew everyone would love.” – Emma.

 The mouth-watering menu included falafel nut roast followed by spinach and feta pie with lemon couscous and finished with a decadent salted caramel cheesecake. During the evening, everyone enjoyed halloumi and pepper stuffed rolls together with chips in cones that were served alongside the wedding cake and brownies. The cake was made by one of Emma’s bridesmaids who owns Twit Twoo Bakery and she also provided trays of gluten-free and vegan brownies.

food emma bret upwaltham barns

Wedding tips and advice:

“I wish I’d stood back a bit and just enjoyed the wedding day without worrying about trying to talk to everyone and making sure everything was running smoothly. It just goes by so quickly!” – Emma.

 “Also, start looking for your dress early. I had no idea that it can take several months for your dress to arrive if you’re ordering through a boutique. Try not to stress too much – once the bigger decisions are made, everything will fall into place. Keep in mind that it’s all about you and your partner.” – Emma.

 advice wedding day laughter bret emma upwaltham barns

 Photography by Tim Simpson Photography

Emma & Bret

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