Rachel & Chris’s super personal & beautiful Syrencot wedding, with Richard Skins Photography
Today’s wedding is as epic as it is beautiful, with super lovely couple Rachel and Chris, who were married in Wiltshire in late summer 2021. Rachel’s a pretty amazing wedding photographer herself, so I’ve loved hearing all about their day!
Rachel and Chris chose one of our favourite wedding photographers to capture their day: they give Richard Skins Photography an incredible review below – and we agree the images are breathtaking!
I hope you love this wedding! The happy couple have done the BEST write up of their day for English Wedding, so grab a cuppa and settle down for a little wedding bliss as you read!
Wedding photographer’s website
Wedding photographer review
As a wedding photographer myself, our images were very important to us, as was having someone I could trust and felt relaxed around too. I’m lucky to have lots of local wedding photographer friends, but I previously had Richard second shoot for me and his photos were incredible, even before they were edited – so I know I could fully trust to capture the day effortlessly and with creative flair. We had a couple photoshoot with Richard a couple of years before we got engaged and Chris referred to it being one of the best days, getting to cuddle up and despite normally feeling quite awkward having our photo taken, we both felt really relaxed around Richard and we loved our photos. We were over the moon with our wedding photos from Richard, and our second shooter Voyteck. They captured sooo many amazing moments and beautiful images, and it was just really nice to have them there with us on the day, they fitted in perfectly! We love looking through our wedding photos, always finding new gems each time. From one of our flowergirls sneakily drinking a drop of prosecco, to the drunken dancefloor antics. We can’t thank them enough!
Your best moment or memory
I really did love every second. I knew too well that the day goes fast and just tried to soak it all in! I also tell my couples that the happy couple set the tone for their guests, I wasn’t going to let any small problems affect how full of joy our wedding day was. One of my favourite memories of the day was walking through the walled garden to see all my guests and handsome husband waiting in the glasshouse ceremony room. Both my Mum and my Mother-in-law helped me into my dress, which was in the bridal suite away from everyone else (well apart from our photographer and videographer) which was really special. In the ceremony we got married on a rug that was my ‘Aunty Eve’s’ a close relative that was like a grandmother to me who very sadly passed away in early 2021, nothing would compare to having her there, but it felt like part of her was there. We had a hand fasting, where our mums tied the ribbons around our hands as our celebrant Ellie Lomas (http://www.ellielomas.com/) read out the handfasting poem, me and Chris managed to pull our hands through and create a knot (tying the knot) and everyone cheered which was a lovely moment.
Tell us anything you did differently – we love hearing about NEW traditions (or none at all!)
We wanted a personal, celebrant led service, which sadly doesn’t have legal status in England so we had to do our paperwork on a separate day. We chose to do it on what would have been our second wedding day, it CHUCKED it down ALL day and we couldn’t have been happier.
Chris wore a shirt and shorts and I wore The Fleur dress by Hope & Ivy, we went in secret to our local registry office with our parents, as you were allowed 30 people at a wedding reception at this stage of relaxing lockdown rules, we then went to https://www.theoldmillnewforest.co.uk which is a local riverside pub, where we celebrated with welcome drinks and a meal with our parents, brothers, sisters and their partners.
Chris and I first met through friends at our local pub quiz. So during the wedding breakfast on our big wedding day, we had a pub quiz for each table to fill out during the meal. It was a great conversation starter and a good laugh. All tables had to mark another tables answers after the meal whilst my cousin called out all the correct answers before our speeches.
We share a lot of friends and I would have loved to have had all our friends as bridesmaids but it just wasn’t possible. I had two close friends as my ‘someone blue’ as good luck and so they still felt special, they chose their own blue dresses and I bought them necklaces that matched the bridesmaids. As my ‘something borrowed/something old’ I borrowed my mum’s beautiful beetle brooch that I clipped onto my wedding bouquet, I’ve got many memories of me playing through my mum’s jewellery box as a child and the beetle brooch was always my favourite.
Videographer name + review
Alex Haynes https://alexhaynesweddingfilms.co.uk/ I had worked with Alex at a wedding many years ago and always remembered how discreet he was get managed to capture all of the action. He also knew and had worked with my photographer before, which was reassuring to know they will all work well together. Alex gave us two brilliant videos of our day, a shorter edit and a longer edit along with the ceremony and speeches in full. The whole day went INSANELY fast so it’s really nice to sit and watch the videos to relive the day. Our ceremony and speeches were two very important parts of the day to us so it’s lovely that we can listen to them again (and the brilliant secret jokes in our best man’s speech!)
Venue name + review
Syrencot https://syrencot.co.uk/ As I’ve been luckily to photograph many beautiful venues, it was difficult to choose somewhere that would tick all the boxes but not feel like I was at work (and also keep in budget).
A photographer friend of mine suggested I check out a new sister venue of the Clock Barn as it would be the same brilliant food and service as Clock Barn always delivers, but a new venue so I wouldn’t feel like I was at work. We viewed a few venues but this ticked all the boxes, it had beautiful on site accommodation so the whole day and night could be at one venue, loads of natural light, gorgeous private outdoor space and gardens and amazing food!
As soon as we drove down the driveway we got a good feeling. Then we read about the history of the main house and that it was the military residence of Lt . Gen. Browning (the same surname as my maternal grandparents who sadly passed away a long time ago) but it felt like a reassuring sign – literally!
The renovation of Syrencot was well under way and the ceremony Glasshouse was just concrete foundations and the Modern Farmshed for the reception had only just had its roof on but we could visualise how special the space was going to be. Flooded with light and the perfect mix of modern industrial and classic luxury.
All booked in for June 2020, zero stress, until a worldwide pandemic came along so we postponed to June 2021, and then again to August 2021! It was worth all the stress to be able to have our day surrounded by all our loved ones. I never normally cry but I ugly cried as soon as I started walking over to the ceremony glasshouse, as I could see all our loved ones in our place as I walked through the walled gardens with both my Dad and Step-Dad – it really was a magical moment. Oh and the food and drink was also incredible, still being talked about by ourselves and our guests to this day – the delicious canapes and wedding breakfast, and a surprise course! We wish we could eat it all over again.
Tell us a little about your outfits – both of you!
When I was looking for a wedding dress I really wanted something beautiful but also comfortable so I could relax and enjoy my day and also that didn’t show post wedding breakfast & champagne bloat! I loved the whimsical, boho style and really wanted a cape veil, it just looked cool! Although I am so indecisive, I could have easily a few different outfits and looks on the day!
I saw a dress on instagram that had a matching cape veil attached and Romsey Bridal Boutique had it stock. It had lots of layers of delicate lace and tulle, with an underlayer of pale pink/nude.
The wonderful Stephanie at https://www.stephaniefrancesbridal.co.uk/ did my alterations and we added a belt, beading along the straps and pearl buttons along the back of the dress. I also love Catherine Deane dresses and bought one online in the sale as my evening reception dress, to change into something easier to dance in – a fab lockdown purchase! The amazing Tracy at https://whitedesignsbridal.co.uk/ created a stunning headband and matching headpiece for the back of my hair, matching earrings and belt for me, and beautiful co-ordinating pins for my bridesmaids.
For my shoes I wore Ida Pearl by Charlotte Mills.
Bridesmaid Dresses, Robes and PJs were all from oasis. Flowergirl dresses were from Monsoon.
Chris wore a Malbec Ted Baker suit from Moss Bros, which we managed to get in the january sales! By getting them in the sales, we could gift the men their suits so they could get altered to fit perfectly and then were able to keep and wear again.
Chris and his best men and ushers all wore matching 3 piece suits and the dads wore the matching jacket and trousers. They all had floral ted baker ties which featured the same colour as the bridesmaids dresses. Chris’s tie being a more white based floral to make him stand out a little. Our florist did a brilliant job at matching the buttonhole flowers to the flowers in their ties!
Chris had a pocketwatch which I had originally got engraved with out initial wedding date on, so had to be a bit creative with getting the new date engraved on – but it’s all part of the story!
Dress or suit shop name + review
Romsey Bridal Boutique & Moss Bros Southampton
Florist name + review
Clarity Flowers https://clarityflowers.co.uk/ I’ve known Claire for many years, we first met at a local wedding fair and live in the same town. I love Claire’s passion for her craft, along with her love of seasonal, local flowers and hand-picked bouquets.
Our two original dates were going to be in peony season but our third date was August so out of peony season but Claire suggested I visited a local flower farm Brothers Farm Flowers https://www.brothersfarm.co.uk/ the week prior to our wedding where I could choose some of the flowers to go in my bouquet. I was over the moon to see it was Dahlia season and there were so many gorgeous Dahlia’s in every shade of pink!
Claire went above and beyond, The House Of Styling https://www.thehouseofstyling.co.uk/ supplied the majority of my wedding decor but sadly Kirsty was already booked on my third date so wasn’t able to decorate my venue for me, but Claire managed to get a little team together to put out all the flowers and decorate as well! The flowers were incredible, beautiful wild meadow style arrangements lined the aisle which also doubled up to dress the top table and then the dancefloor in the evening.
Claire was excellent at listening to my vision whilst not letting me get too carried away, which easily could have been done. After seeing all the beautiful Dahlia’s at Brothers Farm, I then went to another local independent garden centre which was FULL of Dahlias, so I stocked up on more to add into gin bottles to go on the outdoor tables at our venue (Claire suggestion, to save costs after I added flowergirl crowns and flowers to our order!). Our parents did this for us on the morning of the wedding and our clever photographer Richard got some lovely photos of them doing so.
After the wedding our parents and us all planted the rest of Dahlia’s in our garden, a gorgeous reminder each anniversary! We also hired real trees from white stem https://www.whitestem.co.uk/ which provided the backdrop for the reception. They also had fairylights wrapped around them which looked even more magical as the daylight faded.
Cake maker name + review
The Crumb Factory (Sally) https://www.thecrumbfactory.co.uk/ When planning our wedding, we wanted to keep eco aware, minimise waste and support small & local businesses where possible. Im ashamed to say that one thing that I thought may be unnecessary was a wedding cake… BUT I quickly changed my mind when I saw all the work that Sally put’s into her cakes.
We went round for a consultation and every flavour was INCREDIBLE! It was really difficult to choose! We ended up going for Coffee Cake (my all time fave – my Nanna used to make it for my birthday as a child!), Lemon & Blueberry, we also asked Sally if she has made a Dorset Apple Cake.
During lockdown Sally experimented with Dorset Apple Cake (just for us!) and it was AMAZING, the perfect Dorset Apple Cake with Custard Cream Filling (it’s making my mouth water just thinking about it) even Sally said it was one of her favourites and now is on her menu flavours for couples to choose from. We also had macarons, biscuits and truffles along with our wedding cake for guests to enjoy with a coffee after the meal.
Stationery maker’s name + review
I used to be a graphic designer and have done quite a few friends wedding stationery so knew I’d be doing mine too! May as well save costs where possible! I did save the dates, invites, lots of different, signs for around the venue, personalised tissue packets, overnight ‘hangover’ bags for guests staying at the venue. It kept me busy!
Any crafty projects or homemade styling touches?
We made our own confetti using flowers from our garden along with donations from our parents and their neighbours gardens.
As we met at a pub quiz, I made ‘beer mats’ which doubled up as a place-name and a favour – they were hexagonal pieces of acrylic which I then printed out everyone’s names in a nice font and traced onto the acrylic using a white paint pen. I later found out that Chris’ cousin is INSANE at calligraphy – I wish I had utilised her amazing talents!
I made the table names using framed pressed flowers/leaves which I bought second hand off of facebook and then wrote table names onto each one, each table was named after a different local pub. I made gift bags for the bridesmaids which contained a handwritten letter, necklace, earrings and hair pins, their robe/pjs, mini bottle of booze, lipbalm and a hipflask.
Gift boxes for all the groomsmen & dad consisted of a mini rum, beer packets of nuts, pub themed socks and their floral ties. I made hangover style bags for people staying overnight which included a packet of crisps, glass bottle of fizzy elderflower, dorset tea bags, paracetamol, berocca, sweets, hand cream and lipbalm.
I also made bathroom boxes for the toilets which have now been used at all our friends weddings, they consisted of a variety of toiletries and more! We also had a box of flip flops for our party animals – which initially I wasn’t going to do as I was worried it was a waste, but it actually went down very well and only 2 pairs were left (luckily my size) we got a variety of colours and patterns that matched in with our colour themes.
I found a local lady on facebook that could make aprons for myself and the flowergirls so we didn’t get food all over our white dresses. Originally they had the date on (which was the first wedding date) so we found some ribbon and crocheted flowers from our local fabric shop which we sewed on top of the date to cover that part up. The flowergirls still use their aprons now for baking and crafts!
We choose readings that were lovely but also had an element of humour, which is a big part of our relationship! Chris eldest Brother read an adaptation of ‘The Lovely Other Dinosaur’ Edward Monkton which we adapted slightly to make even more fitting for us. Our niece (his daughter) loves dinosaurs so she was very impressed!
My Brother & Sister-in-law read a reading that I found online… Marriage by Anon
“Marriage is about giving and taking
And forging and forsaking
Kissing and loving and pushing and shoving
Caring and sharing and screaming and swearing
About being together whatever the weather
About being driven to the end of your tether
About sweetness and kindness
And wisdom and blindness
It’s about being strong when you’re feeling quite weak
It’s about saying nothing when you’re dying to speak
It’s about being wrong when you know you are right
It’s about giving in before there’s a fight
It’s about you two living as cheaply as one (you can give us a call if you know how that’s done!)
Never heeding advice that was always well-meant
Never counting the cost until it’s all spent
And for you two today it’s about to begin
And for all that the two of you had to put in
Some days filled with joy, and some days with sadness
Too late you’ll discover that marriage is madness.”
We also choose an adaptation of a poem named ‘Rainbow Connections’ by Garfunkel & Oats. Which our awesome celebrant Ellie read for us.
“Just after the storm breaks,
With the perfect amount of light,
You can catch a glimpse of magic
If the timing is right.
Rainbows are improbable, beautiful, and rare,
But so are you, and so is this love that we share.
All the things that had to go right,
All the things that had to go wrong
That lead us to the place where we were going all along.
Everything that make you – you,
Everything that make me – me,
They lead us to the place we were always meant to be.
Right now they fall away,
Right now it’s just us two,
Right now we make a promise:”
First dance song? Playlist recommendations?
We had YEARS to choose a first dance song but we really struggled on something that we both liked, that had good lyrics without being cheesy and that would also sound good by our Mumford & Son’s style band (https://www.warble-entertainment.com/the-festival-vibe). We ended up choosing Tom Walker – You & I. Mainly due to the lyrics for after lockdown, a postponed wedding and a bride & groom who enjoy a drink and to start the evening dancing –
“Let’s get drunk,
I’ll pour my heart out through my mouth,
This year’s been hard for us, no doubt,
Let’s raise a glass to a better one”.
Although it then talks about taking over the world, which isn’t our vibe at all, but we thought, realistically most people won’t remember the first dance song so we didn’t stress too much on it.
Other key songs – we had @jamesryan_music sing ‘Grow Old With Me’ by Tom Odell as I walked down the aisle. ‘Everywhere’ Fleetwood Mac when we signed the register, ‘You’ve Got The Love’ Florence + The Machine as we did confetti exit out of the glasshouse. I spent HOURS, throughout lockdown creating an epic wedding playlist for during our wedding meal and drinks reception and wanted to walk into ‘Never Too Much’ (Luther Vandross) but I completely forgot to get anyone to connect my phone to the sound system – opps!
Tips for other couples – designate jobs in advance!
Also a tip for everyone, things may go wrong but it doesn’t matter! I didn’t even notice that my playlist wasn’t on, I was having so much fun during the meal that I didn’t even notice if there was any music at all!
Hair + makeup name + review
Tara Sanger Makeup & Samantha Stevenson Hair https://www.tarasangermakeup.co.uk/ & https://www.samantha-stevenson.com/ Absolute dream team! I’ve worked with them on many weddings before and it felt like having two extra friends with us during the morning of our wedding. Total professionals who I could fully trust to do a fabulous job. They made the morning of our wedding very relaxing and we all felt a million dollars. Our hair and makeup lasted all day & night and I always recommend these ladies to all my clients. They are amazing!