Jess & Jon’s 1950s Inspired Summer Wedding

Jess and Jon in the outdoor space at Upwaltham Barns

After a romantic Christmas Eve proposal, Jess and Jon began planning for the big day. Their country wedding included Jess’s favourite influences – the 1950s and beautiful pastel colours – and their guests were treated to a wonderful, and very special, occasion.

Finding ‘the one’

The first item on Jess and Jon’s to-do list was the venue and as they wanted a wedding in the countryside, barn venues naturally appealed. Jess had actually found Upwaltham Barns online before Jon’s Christmas proposal:

“Before I got engaged, I came across a picture of a barn which I loved so I saved the image. When we got engaged, we looked at a few barns online and I remembered the picture I’d saved so set out to find out which barn it was and it was Upwaltham!”

“We visited soon after getting engaged and we loved the barns straight away. There’s a calm, family feel at Upwaltham and we loved how we could have the whole day in one place but that there were different spaces to use. Another big plus point were the grounds – such beautiful scenery for our photographs.”

The entrance to the East Barn at Upwaltham Barns is decorated with wedding flowers

The bride and groom directed their guests around this Sussex wedding venue using wedding signs

Styling Upwaltham Barns

To fit with the rustic feel of the barns, Jess and Jon were keen to make as many of the decorations as possible. The groom’s mum made all of the bunting and the hessian favour bags. Jess’s nan and sister collected sweets for the sweet table and also crafted the personalised labels for the jars and buckets.

“To add to the rustic feel, we wanted to create wooden signs so we upcycled an old crate to tell our story. All our signs were made by Jon and we got creative with the games too – we made a Tin Can Alley, Ring Toss, Hook-a-Duck and a Coconut Shy! We also hired games from To Have & To Hire.”

The couple used simple wedding decorations to put their own stamp on this Sussex venue

A DIY photobooth added some fun to this wedding reception at Upwaltham Barns

Florist Samuel Baker is a family friend and he created amazing floral arrangements for the barns. There were large milk churns, a long arrangement on the top table and an arch of flowers over the barn door. The pastel coloured flowers matched the theme perfectly and the guest tables looked fabulous with wooden slices, pastel jars and bottles and cute retro details. Jess also made all the place cards to match the bunting theme and she also created the seating plan using an old pallet and pastel coloured frames.

“Both of us have lost someone close to us, my grandad and Jon’s nan, so we wanted to create a space for them on the guest table. We placed a photo of them on the table and a lantern was alight for them there all day.”

However, the couple’s cake, by Wedding Kate, was Jess’s favourite piece of décor and it captured everything about the day in its design:
“It was a four-tier cake and each layer had a different flavour. Each layer was also a pastel colour and that matched each of our bridesmaids! The bottom layer was decorated with hand-painted bunting to match the barn and there was a teacup, made of icing, on the top!”

Photo bunting was used as wedding decorations at this Sussex wedding venue

For the wedding reception at Upwaltham Barns name cards are decorated with bunting for a rustic wedding feel

The South Barn is decorated with wedding bunting for this rustic wedding at Upwaltham Barns

Dressing for the occasion

Jess spent some time on Pinterest before the she started dress shopping so had some idea of the style she wanted early on:

“My dress was by Essence of Australia and came from Aurora Bride. When I got to the shop, I tried on lots of dresses before eventually finding ‘the one’. It was slightly different to the original style I liked but the train sold it to me, it was just what I wanted. It all became very real when I put the dress on and the excitement kicked in.”

On the day, Jess accessorised her gown with a Jon Richard headband, pearl teardrop earrings and a matching necklace. She also wore a special brooch, her ‘something borrowed’, on the belt of her dress while a blue bow on her garter became the ‘something blue’.

The bride gets ready in the Jasmine Cottage at this Sussex wedding venue

The bride stands in her wedding dress before the wedding ceremony at Upwaltham Barns

Jon chose his own suit and found the perfect style in Topman before having it tailored to fit. He also wore a customised shirt and a waistcoat by Victor Valentine. The groomsmen wore three-piece suits in a lighter blue and all the guys wore pastel coloured socks to fit the theme.

Before the wedding ceremony the groom and his groomsmen stand outside the South Barn

The pastel colours and 1950s feel of the day also influenced the bridesmaids’ dresses and these were actually one of the first things that Jess decided on!

“Each bridesmaid wore a 50-style pastel dress in pink, yellow or mint and instead of them carrying bouquets, I opted for something a little different. I ordered three giant balloons from Bubblegum Balloons. These set the whole day off and looked so striking in all the photos. They wore vintage style heels in the day and changed into coloured Converse for the evening reception.”

Bridesmaids wear pastel bridesmaid dresses for a rustic wedding at Upwaltham Barns in Sussex

The Wedding Day

For the ceremony in the East Barn, Jess and Jon decorated with items that fitted with their theme. The bridesmaids’ balloons were also used as decorations and each maid placed her balloon at the front of the barn after walking up the aisle. The couple also worked hard to make sure the ceremony itself was as personal as possible:

“We really wanted a very personal ceremony so chose music that meant things to us. The bridesmaids and I just about made it down the aisle because we were all so emotional beforehand and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.”

The newlyweds enjoy a confetti moment after their wedding ceremony at Upwaltham Barns

The bride and groom eat ice creams during their wedding reception in the courtyard at Upwaltham Barns

After the couple’s emotional vows, it was time to toast the newlyweds and the drinks reception to the sounds of The Swing Band was the perfect start to the celebrations. Guests were also invited to play games and enjoy ice-cream cones served from Caravanilla, a pastel coloured ice-cream caravan!  The wedding breakfast by Nibbles2Nosh gave the guests another chance to enjoy themselves over delicious food, summery cocktails and heartfelt and funny speeches.

The evening reception started with Jess and Jon on the dancefloor and then everyone partied together:

“Our DJ was Doug from Toast DJs and we made retro cassette tape request cards for the guests to give to the DJ. We also provided a list of the songs we wanted to hear, some old, some cheesy and some new and the mix definitely got people on the dancefloor!”

The couple also arranged for a sweet VW campervan photobooth to set up in the courtyard for the evening reception and their sparkler send-off was Jess’s favourite part of the night!

A swing band plays during the drinks reception in the courtyard at the Sussex wedding venue

The bridesmaids hold giant balloons alongside the bride and groom in the grounds at Upwaltham Barns

The new husband and wife enjoy their first dance in the South Barn at Upwaltham Barns wedding venue

Wedding tips and advice:

“I would always advise you to book Upwaltham Barns early, it’s so popular! On the day itself, enjoy every minute. Everyone will say this to you but don’t stress over the little things and make the most of the occasion because it goes by so quickly.”

The bride and groom stand next to their VW campervan wedding car at the Sussex wedding venue

The bride and groom enjoy the Sussex countryside that surrounds Upwaltham Barns

Images courtesy of © Danni Beach

Jess and Jon Upwaltham Barns Wedding

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