Vikki & Sam’s chilled out country pub wedding in Hampshire, with Verman Photography

Published by Claire Gould on

You don’t need to spend a fortune to have the perfect wedding: I honestly think the less you spend, the more personal and intimate your wedding will be – and the memories you’ll treasure for years to come will be stronger and all the more magical for it. Vikki and Sam were lucky to have wonderful friends and family who helped style their day. They were also exceptionally lucky with the weather, and set up tables outside their marquee for their wedding reception. The day looks amazing – the bride and groom are gorgeous, and I love everything about it. I hope you do too! 

We had a pretty tight budget for our wedding, with most of the money being spent on the registry office, photography and my dress! I was absolutely blown away by how much time people were willing to give to help us out. It helped us keep the costs low and made the day so much more personal.




Wedding dress designer and boutique

 The Icidora dress from Milamira bridal. I actually saw the dress on Etsy years before we got engaged, when I was looking for wedding dresses for my sister, and I couldn’t get it out of my head. I tried some dresses on in a couple of shops but kept coming back to this one. Ordering a dress online was terrifying! But I loved it when it arrived, especially after it had been altered. Things weren’t quite perfect – the straps kept slipping down, and I could have done with some padding around the bust, but I think that’s just me picking at things!


Chunky heeled sandals from River Island. Veil from Milamira Bridal, accessorised with fresh flowers. I had a beautiful set of earrings from John Lewis that I completely forgot to wear on the day! So I just wore my engagement ring and a bracelet that matched my bridesmaids’.

The groom wore… 

Sam’s suit was from John Lewis (on sale!) and shoes were from Next.


My sister, Alex, and best friend, Charlotte, chose their own dresses. I didn’t mind them having mismatched ones, but in the end they both picked the same one from Monsoon. Alex and Charlotte wore earrings from Statement Grey and bracelets from Joli Joli Jewelry, both on Etsy.



Hannah Verman from Verman Photography. Hannah was absolutely brilliant. We skyped with her a few weeks before the wedding, just to talk through the day and how things would run. She was so friendly and really set us at ease. It was lovely to have her  with us on the day, and the photographs really captured the atmosphere perfectly. Me and Sam can be a bit awkward in front of the camera, especially with the more posed photos, but in the end we just had fun and the pictures came out great.

We were looking at barns near us in Hampshire to be our venue, but the prices were just terrifying. My parents suggested The Blacksmiths Arms, which is actually my grandmother’s country pub. They have a little garden and a very old barn at the back. It was full of old furniture, antiques and bits and pieces, but we thought it would be perfect once it was all cleared out. And it was free! It also came with Willow, the resident Great Dane, who provided plenty of entertainment throughout the day.

We just wanted a chilled out day that everyone could enjoy and wouldn’t cost the earth. As the pub was in such a beautiful rural setting, I wanted to include things that would compliment that.

We actually got married at the Maidstone registry office the day before, as the barn wasn’t licenced. Just our families attended that one, and it was simple, with pre-written vows, but it was still amazing. For the next day, we had an ‘exchanging of the rings’ ceremony. Again, we kept it short and simple, with no readings (we just felt like it wasn’t ‘us’), but we wrote our own vows this time. I walked down the aisle to an instrumental version of Ben Howard’s ‘Old Pine’, and the few friends and family members we had invited sat on haybales.

We had some family friends who helped out on the day, and they set up the tables for our buffet lunch. I had given them some loose guidelines on how I wanted it set up, but when we came out of the barn, we were absolutely blown away. I am so grateful to them for doing such an amazing job. There were jars of flowers and pots of herbs down the centre of each table. We had mismatched wooden chairs that we had found in the barn and cleaned up, and that really added a bit of rustic charm. 

We moved back into the barn for the evening. It was decorated with pastel bunting that my mum had hand-crocheted, and fairy lights. Some of the antique bits and pieces were hanging on the walls, like an old suit of armour and a taxidermy duck. It was a weird mix, but it made the space so interesting and unique.

Hair & Make Up

 Charlotte’s sister, Sam, offered to come all the way from Norfolk when she heard that I would be doing my own hair! She’s an absolute miracle-worker – she did these beautiful loose curls, with tiny braids going round the back. We kept the look fairly neutral, with rosy brown shades and a little smudge of eyeliner. I don’t wear too much make up usually, so I didn’t want to cake it on. A friend of ours, Poppy, offered to do mine and it turned out great.

Wedding cake

Our friend, Sophie, made an incredible red velvet cake. Honestly, it’s the best cake I’ve ever had. It was decorated as a simple naked cake, with fresh flowers and some cake toppers that I painted. (The best thing was that it froze unbelievably well! I had no appetite on the day so I only ate a bite, but we froze the left overs and got to enjoy it months afterwards!)


My mum grew all the flowers in her allotment. I loved the idea of having a mix of different types. My bouquet included cornflowers, daisies and sunflowers, which foliage we collected from hedgerows and trees.


We had some board and card games for our guests to play with after lunch while we had our photos taken – everyone loves a game of Uno! In the evening, we just had a Spotify playlist playing through the speakers with some of my favourite cheese tunes. 

The food!

My nan’s partner and pub chef, Colin, took care of most of the food on the day. We had a buffet of pasta (chorizo and tomato, and creamy pesto) with roasted veggies, new potatoes, salads and quiches. It was simple food but really tasty (although I could only manage 2 bites, I had no appetite on the day!)

One of our friends, Marion, baked loads of amazing deserts for us – mini cinnamon rolls, rocky road, strawberry tarts… when my friends talk about the wedding, they mostly just say how awesome the deserts were.

We also had roast pork rolls in the evening. I really think that’s the best thing you can feed to a crowd of tipsy wedding guests, everyone loved it.

Words of wisdom & advice for other couples

I guess my main advice would be to focus on what really matters. I felt so stressed out in the lead up to our wedding and I worried about everything. Would people be too cold? Do we have enough drinks? Does my dress look okay? What if no one turns up?? But everyone was there to celebrate with us, so of course they had a great time. There’s always a million things to fuss over, but at the end of the day, its all about getting married to the love of your life.

Recommended wedding suppliers

Most of my ‘suppliers’ were just friends and family. I have listed the rest below:




Bridesmaids Earrings:

Claire Gould

Claire spends her days writing - either in beautiful calligraphy or online. She lives on the edge of the English Lake District only minutes away from the beach, where she loves to escape and unwind. Claire's calligraphy can be found at Claire launched the English Wedding Blog in November 2009 - it's been a top 10 UK wedding blog ever since, with a regional focus we hope you LOVE.

1 Comment

Florist Portchester · August 20, 2018 at 10:55 am

Great inspiration for a low budget wedding. Love the idea to grow the flowers in Mum’s allotment.

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