Holly & Ian’s Rustic Early Autumn Wedding

After meeting in Australia and four years together, Ian proposed to Holly overlooking the Seven Sisters on Seaford Head in Sussex. After such a romantic proposal, it was time to plan their rustic celebration.

Finding ‘the one’

When it came to their wedding, Holly and Ian knew that a barn wedding venue was just what they wanted. One of Holly’s friends suggested that they visit Upwaltham Barns and it was love at first sight.

The couple knew they wanted a barn wedding and Upwaltham Barns wedding venue in Sussex was perfect

The couple were absolutely set on a barn wedding and they needed a venue that would be flexible. Holly was keen to have her godmother conduct the ceremony, and it was important that there was plenty of space for dancing. The couple also wanted to be able to provide their own alcohol, namely Harvey’s Sussex Ale!

“Our first step in wedding planning was to find our perfect venue,” says Holly. “After visiting only two other venues, we found the one! Upwaltham Barns is just so beautiful, and we were absolutely blown away when we walked through the venue – it ticked all our boxes and we could visualise ourselves getting married their immediately. We called and booked while we were still in the car park!”

The East Barn at Upwaltham Barns is set up for a wedding ceremony

Styling Upwaltham Barns

Holly and Ian chose a country-rustic theme for their early autumn wedding, with bright and pretty touches to complement the minimalistic décor.

“Out tables were dressed with white cloths and simple hessian and lace runners. We added a wooden slice and candle lanterns along with jam jars filled with flowers. The candle lanterns had lined the aisle in the East Barn earlier in the day.”

A sign welcomes guests to this rustic wedding at Upwaltham Barns in Sussex

In the South Barn at Upwaltham Barns hessian table runners were topped with log slices and jars for a rustic wedding reception

The couple’s stationery was designed by one of Holly’s bridesmaids and on the day, the seating plan was a real focal point with a gorgeous photo of Holly and Ian in the centre.

Another popular detail was the cake, made by Janeycakes. The three tiers included carrot cake, Victoria sponge and chocolate cake, and the design was finished with a handmade cow topper, a tribute to Ian’s farming life!

A three-tiered white wedding cake was topped with cow cake toppers for this rustic wedding at Upwaltham Barns

Dressing for the occasion

When it was time to go dress shopping, Holly headed to Isabella Grace in Tunbridge Wells to find ‘the one’.

“My dress, by Augusta Jones, was nothing like the gown I imagined I would wear! It was an almost white, strapless gown with a low back, a soft sweetheart neckline and a hidden corset under the outer lining, which helped to highlight my waist.”

“Although I was unsure of the dress at first, the incredible women at Isabella Grace insisted I try it on. When they opened the curtains for the big reveal, we all cried, even the assistants! It was such an overwhelming experience, I knew immediately this was ‘my’ dress.”

The bride and groom take a walk around Upwaltham Barns wedding venue in Sussex on their wedding day

To complete her bridal look, Holly wore her mum’s pearl earrings and white block heeled sandals. Her bouquet, by The Wild Orchid, incorporated eucalyptus, a nod to Holly’s Australian heritage, along with white and dusty pink blooms.

The bridal bouquet for this rustic wedding at Upwaltham Barns was made up of pink and ivory roses

Holly’s eight bridesmaids wore floor length dusty pink dresses from Chi Chi London and carried simple gypsophilia and white rose bouquets for the perfect finishing touch.

For this rustic wedding at Upwaltham Barns the bridal party wore pink bridesmaids dresses

Ian looked every inch the dapper groom in a tailor-made deep navy suit from Suit Supply, with a white shirt, an ivory silk tie, a white silk pocket square and dark brown shoes. Ian’s groomsmen wore light navy suits, also from Suit Supply and their dusty pink ties matched the colour of the bridesmaids’ gowns perfectly.

The groom and his groomsmen wore navy wedding suits and dusty pink ties for this rustic wedding at Upwaltham Barns

The wedding day

Holly and Ian’s beautiful ceremony in the East Barn was conducted by Holly’s godmother and it included several personal touches that made it an extremely memorable occasion.

“My dad walked me down the aisle and our ceremony included two readings, given by two of my bridesmaids, and one song, performed by another bridesmaid. It was so special.”


The ceremony was followed by a drinks reception where guests enjoyed prosecco, gin and elderflower cocktails plus Ian’s favourite ale, Harvey’s Sussex Best. Their lucky guests were also treated to a fantastic selection of canapes by Nibbles2Nosh, that included chicken strips with mango chutney, mini roast beef Yorkshire puddings, prawn and chorizo skewers and parsnip fritters with feta cheese.

The couple served homely comfort food for their wedding breakfast at Upwaltham Barns

For their wedding breakfast in the South Barn, Holly and Ian chose a menu of delicious individual chicken pies and “the best chocolate brownies that we’ve ever had”.

The evening party started with a bang, thanks to All Town Music:

“Our band performed our first dance, Magic by Coldplay, a song that has been special to us from the very beginning of our relationship in Australia, and then the band had us dancing all night. They were brilliant.”

The newlyweds cut their wedding cake in front of guests during their evening wedding reception at Upwaltham Barns

Newlyweds perform their first dance in the South Barn at Upwaltham Barns

Wedding tips and advice

“I would say that the venue should always be the first thing on your wedding to-do list. Venues do book up quickly so book Upwaltham Barns straight away – don’t miss out on this perfect venue!”

“Also, ask questions. The events team at Upwaltham Barns are brilliant and it really helps to know the ins and outs of your big day so that you can make sure everything is just how you imagined.”

For some more autumnal inspiration, take a look at Katie and Sam’s festival themed November wedding.

Images courtesy of Paul Fletcher Photography

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