After a well-planned proposal at home (that was almost interrupted by the boiler man arriving at the wrong moment!), Katie and Sam set about planning their wonderful winter wedding.
Finding ‘the one’
For both Katie and Sam, finding the right venue was important, and their dream venue needed to be a place where family and friends would feel comfortable.
“My must-haves were an informal yet stunning venue, a well-stocked bar and a great wedding menu. I’m a real foodie so having a menu that people would remember was important to me,” says Sam.
After searching online, Katie and Sam visited Upwaltham Barns and loved it from the moment that they arrived.
“Upwaltham Barns is a beautiful wedding venue but with a relaxed, casual vibe to it. It had the perfect balance of being able to host a formal event, but it was also a setting where everyone would feel right at home,” says Katie.
“I also loved the staff,” says Sam. “From day one, they were extremely helpful, kind and well-mannered. Whilst being professional, the way Upwaltham Barns is run, from the ground up, feels extremely personal.”
Styling Upwaltham Barns
Katie and Sam were very keen on working towards a festival theme, despite their November date! The couple added plenty of bunting made with seasonal fabric, natural looking flowers and a pair of Glastonbury-themed flags outside the venue!
The couple worked with Wild Willow for their flowers: “To match the festival theme, we had lots of green, bushy flowers with flecks of white, pink and champagne,” says Sam. “Our buttonholes were matching and looked very ‘garden-like’, which I was very pleased with. In fact, we still have my buttonhole as a decoration on top of our fireplace!”
Dressing for the occasion
“My dress ticked every box, and the minute I saw it, I knew. It was love at first sight, and I’m only sad that I won’t get to wear it again. I also wore a sparkly headpiece, and all my jewellery was handed down to me. I broke with bridal tradition for my shoes, however, and wore pink Valentino Rockstuds!”
Sam also knew what he wanted to wear from early in the planning process:
“I wanted a grey tweed suit, which I felt would match a winter wedding. I wanted something classic looking and not over the top, so with my suit, I wore a white shirt, black tie and tweed burgundy waistcoat. My groomsmen wore the same as me but with a grey waistcoat and burgundy tie. We bought the suits from Next and the shoes from Marks & Spencer – nothing that broke the bank!”
Katie’s bridal party included five bridesmaids who wore full length, gold sequinned gowns from RenzRags, an online Etsy store that allowed each girl to choose her own style using the same fabric.
The Wedding Day
The couple held their ceremony in the East Barn, and it was everything they wanted it to be.
“One of my favourite bits of the ceremony (other than seeing Katie in her dress – I’m not afraid to say I was choked up!) was the music that she walked down the aisle to,” says Sam. “We had decided we wanted ‘Praise You’ by Fatboy Slim – but couldn’t find an appropriate version online. One of my best men went away and composed his own version on the keyboard, and it was a really lovely thing to have involved in the wedding.”
The couple also asked close female friends to give readings and chose not to find out what they had chosen until the day, so everyone heard them together for the first time.
After the ceremony, it was time to celebrate and, just as the couple had hoped, the food by Nibbles2Nosh took centre stage:
“The food and service from the staff were brilliant and couldn’t be faulted,” says Sam. “As for pudding; I had decided that instead of a sit-down dessert I would like Arsenal themed puddings (Profiter-Sol Campbell, for example…). I had originally suggested that my Mum would make the desserts, but Upwaltham Barns kindly offered to make them for us.”
A DJ kicked off the evening reception, and had everyone dancing all night long. After much discussion, Katie and Sam chose Elton John’s ‘Your Song’ as the first dance, and then there was a little extra entertainment for guests too:
“We had a photo booth in the courtyard,” says Sam. “It was a vintage camper van that could seat 6-8 people and came with fancy dress. This was definitely one of the best decisions we made. It meant that guests had somewhere to go other than the dance floor or bar and, let’s be honest, everyone loves a photo booth!”
Wedding tips and advice
“Just have a laugh with it! Enjoy any stressful ‘lows’ as well as the obvious ‘highs’ and keep thinking about that moment that you see your bride or groom walk down the aisle. Because that’s what you and your guests are there for.” – Sam.
“My only advice would be to do whatever you want to do. Your wedding should reflect yours and your partner’s personalities and what is important to you as a couple. A festival wedding in November? Of course! A Bride in a pink dress? Sure! Gold bridesmaids?! Four best men?! Whatever you want to do, do it!” – Katie.
Images courtesy of © Maria Assia Photography
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