Lucy & Greg’s cider apple wedding in Herefordshire, with Che Birch-Hayes Photography
I just love today’s real wedding – a pretty marquee in a Herefordshire field, sublime florals and a wonderful atmosphere of love, family and pure joy! Beautiful Lucy looks stunning in her House of Vintage dress, and the handcrafted details and gorgeous contributions from friends and family make this one of my favourite summer weddings ever.
We basically had a field to start, so as you can imagine, it took a huge amount of effort and time to get it wedding event ready! One element that I was really desperate to incorporate was a decorated old trailer of dad’s. After some haggling and negotiation about which particular piece of machinery we would use, we filled a trailer with flowers, bunting and fairylights and put a ‘love’ sign in the centre, which one of my cousins who is a carpenter made. This could be then used as a DIY photo booth and also as something to play on for all of the children who were at our wedding!
The groom’s cousin makes wedding stationery as part of her business, ‘Dragonfly and Blossom‘, and she was kind enough to design bespoke stationery for the day as a wedding gift to us. We would thoroughly recommend Sarah, not just because of the family connection, but because she was completely professional, organised and brilliant throughout the process. We had an initial consultation with her where we explained our ideas and the final product was absolutely gorgeous – a lot of guests commented that it was the nicest invitation that they had ever received. She also designed our order of services, menus and table names in the same design.
My granny painstakingly wrote out the table plan in her lovely calligraphic writing and I was responsible for the place names, which I (attempted to!) complete in a complimentary calligraphy style.
My granny and two friends were in charge of the church flowers. They spent days, organising, cutting and arranging the flowers and even scheduled in team meetings about it all! The overall effect was utterly beautiful.
We chose another local company, Issy and Bella, to manage the flowers for our bouquets, buttonholes, table centre pieces and an arrangement alongside the table plan in pale pinks, peaches and creams with an added injection of chocolate. This was in a wild and unstructured theme, which Jo from Issy and Bella absolutely delivered on, we were thrilled with how it all looked.
At the entrance of the marquee, Greg planted up some of my dad’s old potato chitting trays, which he decorated with cosmos.
Wedding photographer’s website:
We researched a few local photographers, but immediately connected with Che when we first met and absolutely loved his unique and creative documentary style – it is all subjective but nobody else could compare with Che’s work in our opinion! Che is approachable, friendly and warm and will fit in to your day seamlessly as one on the guests, but is on hand to offer direction and advice if needed. His approach is casual and creative, which is exactly how we wished for the photography of the day. He is not afraid to experiment and offer alternative perspectives, alongside the normal line ups. For example there is one quirky close up of Greg and the groom’s party’s turquoise blue socks, which Greg had given as a gift.
We were sent a sneaky slideshow preview which was accompanied by music… I will admit, I shed a tear or two as it relit memories of the wonderful day! I have probably watched it about one hundred times now, Greg not quite as many times! The actual photographs arrived about a week later on as a specially packaged USB stick. There are six hundred odd pictures doubled up as black and white shots, so we are still deciding on our favourites, which is so difficult because we love them all!
There was never any question that we would hold the wedding reception anywhere other than my parent’s farm in north Herefordshire. It is an incredibly special place that has been farmed by the family for three generations and holds many memories for family and friends, it was an overall wonderful setting to get married in. The wedding service was conducted in a nearby church.
We hired Tents 4 Elements to install our fairytale marquee who were brilliant. During the build up to the wedding an army of friends and family came to help set everything up, who we would not have managed without.
Can you describe your wedding in fewer than 10 words?
A fun-filled and relaxed wedding in idyllic rural surroundings.
Your wedding style or theme:
One of the main crops which the bride’s parent’s farm is cider apples. So this became a subtle theme running throughout the day – we featured cider apples on the wedding stationery, chose different varieties of cider apples as table names and filled vases with apples picked from the orchard topped off with lovely floral displays.
Where did you find your suppliers? (Blogs, magazines, recommendations?)
Social media, blogs and recommendations
What’s your top tip for saving money?
If you have a friend or relative who is able to assist you in some way or has a special skill that can be put to use, don’t hesitate to get them involved. You will find that people are more than willing to help, plus it is really good fun working on projects together in the build up to the day.
… and which elements of your wedding are you glad you spent more on?
We said from the beginning, as long as people were fed watered and entertained, we would be on to a winner. We used the extremely talented and well respected, Field 2 Fork to cater for the wedding breakfast, a local professional bar company behind bars (with added supplies of spirits courtesy of my cousin from Chase Distillery) and the incredible duet, ‘the Peas’ from Warwickshire who cover 80s and 90s classics.
Did you fall in love with your wedding dress?
I went to thirteen different wedding dress shops and the novelty of wedding dress shopping was beginning to wear thin for my patient bridesmaids, mum and mother-in-law, but I had a very specific idea in mind of what I wanted and was ecstatic when I finally tracked down a dress that matched.
Wedding dress designer and bridal boutique:
House of Vintage, Shoreditch, London
Tell us about your accessories: jewellery, shoes and anything else!
I was really torn on what accessories to use as the costs were really starting to rack up and it is very difficult to visualise the completed look on the day. In the end I decided on a gorgeous silk veil complimented by a few fresh flowers, sparkly white heels, a pearl bracelet and simple stud earrings.
And what did the groom wear?
Greg also had a clear idea of what he wanted – he opted for a navy French Connection three piece from Moss Bros. The waistcoat had to be specially made for an added fee, as an average sized waistcoat looked like a crop top on him because of his height! His shoes were a lovely pair of brown brogues from Clarks.
Beautiful bridesmaids: what did your best girls wear?
They wore the same dress, which they both chose from House of Fraser. They teamed the dresses with silver sandals and different hairstyles.
Hair and make-up – did you DIY or hire a professional?
The lovely Kate from London House (a hairdressers in the nearby village) did our hair and the amazingly talented and professional Naomi Parsons of Naomi Emmanuelle did our make up, it was all such a treat!
The wedding cake: what kind of cake did you choose and why?
This was actually one of the easiest decisions. We loved the idea of a tiered naked cake with lashings of fruit, buttercream and jam and chose a neighbour, the legendary Brenda to make it for us.
We also had a tiered display of cheese as part of the evening food, which was served alongside, chutneys, crackers, an M & S selection and a cake stand made by family and friends.
Entertainment: any musical recommendations, surprises or treats?
Our friend and Usher, Ant sorted out the pa system for the day as he is in that particular line of work, which was great. He is also very kindly putting together a video montage of the day for us. The fabulous Peas played two different sets, one as guests arrived and one proceeding the wedding breakfast and the DJ Pete Stead kept the party going until the early hours.
We set up cricket, badminton and village fete style games outside to keep the children entertained.
Words of wisdom: share your best piece of advice for other couples:
Take on board wedding advice, but don’t take it too seriously. It is your wedding at the end of the day and you will celebrate it how you please.
Having said that do embrace every second. Many of your pre-wedding worries will simply not materialise and you can be safe in the knowledge that you will be surrounded by people who you love, marrying the person who is the love of your life.
What’s the best thing about being married?
Continuing to plan and achieve our goals, ambitions and adventures together!
Favourite supplier web links for other brides and grooms:
The Peas, Field 2 Fork and London House, Weobley (all found on facebook)
House of Vintage (now closed)