Real Wedding: A countryside celebration at The Barn at Upcote
Celebrating with a simply stunning Cotswold countryside wedding at The Barn at Upcote, Vicki and Alastair tied the knot surrounded by friends and family, with personal touches, feverously-good food and family fun.
The happy couple: Vicki, 33, and Alastair, 36, both who work for the Royal Air Force and live near Burford.
Wedding date: Friday 18 May 2018
Ceremony & reception venue: The Barn at Upcote
Theme: A relaxed Cotswold countryside wedding.
Photographer: Eve Dunlop Photography
Flowers: Jo at Aqua Florist
Dress: Sottero and Midgley ‘Lacrecia’.
Bridesmaid dresses: The flower girls wore dresses from John Lewis, whilst the bridesmaids wore Ghost London.
Groom's outfit: Alastair wore his Royal Air Force uniform.
Cake: Anna at Sugar Bowl Bakes
Catering: The reception food was by Orchard Catering, evening pizzas provided by Marvellous Medicine.
Transport: Our lovely friend Emma.
Stationery: Retro Press
Entertainment: Live Wires
Favours: Homemade macarons.
Hair and beauty: Make up by Christine Cara and hair by Sheena’s Wedding Hair Designs
Rings including engagement ring: The bride’s ring was by Terrence Lett in Witney and the groom’s was by Sarah Sheard Jewellery.
When and how did you first meet?
We met while both deployed with the RAF in 2012. Al took some Christmas cards home for me and that sparked a conversation that continued daily until I returned home 10 weeks later. We went for our first date the week I got home and have been smitten ever since!
Who popped the big question and how did they propose?
Al has a Private Pilot’s Licence and flew me to Jersey (the island, not the US State!) for a weekend. He proposed at the end of a small pier on our second day, getting down on one knee with a beautiful solitaire engagement ring. We celebrated with a seafood platter and prosecco before visiting Mont Orgeuil Castle. It was the most perfect day.
How long did it take you to plan your wedding?
We were engaged on the 16 May 2017 and married on the 18 May 2018, a year and two days later.
Why did you choose your venue?
The Barn at Upcote was the first (and only) venue that we visited. From the moment we drove up the winding drive and walked down the gorgeous stone steps, we knew that this was the place that we would marry. The secluded setting is so beautifully romantic and manages to feel both spacious and intimate, and there were so many beautiful spaces for photos.
The entire team was obviously so passionate about ensuring that each wedding was perfect. The on-site bridal suite was fabulous, as it meant we didn’t need to worry about travelling anywhere. We loved the spacious lawn area, too – perfect for lawn games and a secure space for our younger guests to run around, without the parents worrying that they could escape!.
Was there an inspiration or theme for your wedding?
Not really, just relaxed Cotswold countryside.
What made you choose your photographer?
Eve’s portfolio stood out from all of them, she had some beautiful shots of wide fields and gorgeous sunsets. We were so fortunate that she was available on our date!
How did your wedding photographer capture your big day memories?
Eve has an incredible eye for ‘moments’ and managed to capture so many gorgeous photos of our day. We asked for a couple of family shots, but the rest of the day was very relaxed – Eve tells a story with her photographs and captures little moments that you would not have noticed. It’s hard to do her work justice with words!
Did you hire a wedding planner or was it a DIY affair?
DIY, although Hannah and Katie at the Barn, and Ellie at Orchard Catering, were so helpful. You are asked so many questions when you plan a wedding, many of which we really didn’t know how to answer.
Did you make, design or create anything yourself?
We made pink macarons for our wedding favours (we made about 300!), which we packaged in homemade cellophane wraps. Al made our seating plan from some recycled pallets, and we attached polaroid shots and copper-string fairy lights.
We have both spent quite some time in the States, where we had played a really popular beanbag-toss game called Cornhole. Al made the boards and I designed and painted personalised ‘A&V’ patterns, with our wedding date. This will make an appearance at lots of future BBQs, so was a really lovely way of us creating a lasting memento.
Al and his best man also made a batch of homebrew beer, which they bottled with personalised labels. We also made our flower girl bouquets, which were simple bunches of Gyposphila tied with ivory ribbon.
Tell us about the wedding dress
I had a really clear idea of what my wedding dress would be – A-line with a delicate lace jacket overlay and buttons down the back. I tried about 20 dresses on; some were exactly what I’d imagined I would like, but something wasn’t quite right. My mum and sister came to visit for a weekend and we went to The Bridal Room in Broadway.
My dress was a Sottero and Midgely design, ‘Lacrecia’, which had a delicate chiffon skirt with a deep V-shape lace back. The lace was embroidered with beading and Swarovski crystals. The dress was so unusual and I knew that Al would love it (which was an important factor in my decision!).
What did the groom wear?
His RAF uniform.
Did you have something old, new, borrowed and blue?
I borrowed a necklace and embroidered handkerchief from my mum. My dress had a blue ribbon stitched into it and my shoes had a blue crystal in the sole. In truth, I completely forgot about it and also forgot to put a sixpence in my shoe! I’m not sure it would have stayed put, as my shoes were peep-toe.
What song did you walk down the aisle to?
‘The Boat Song’, by J.J Heller
Did you have any special readings during the service?
My dear friend Martha read ‘The Promise’ by Eileen Rafter.
What did you have for your wedding breakfast?
We had canapés during the drinks reception (including mini Yorkshire puddings, a nod to Al’s childhood!). We had scallops and chorizo to start, with goat’s cheese and red onion tart for vegetarians, followed by individual beef wellington with potato dauphinoise.
We had a trio of desserts – crème brûlée, lemon tart and chocolate brownie. Orchard made us aeroplane-shaped shortbread to accompany tea and coffee.
Our evening food was wood-fired pizzas, made for us by Marvellous Medicine. We chose five flavours, and they served them up from 9pm. They proved incredibly popular!
What kind of cake did you go for?
We wanted a classic, three-tier white cake. We had a lace pattern around the top of the cakes, with a grey satin ribbon and Jo provided some fresh pink flowers that complemented my bouquet. The base tier was chocolate and Guinness (sounds weird, tastes incredible!); the middle was salted caramel; and the top lemon.
The cake was incredible, we had so many compliments! We ordered a bespoke oak pizza board, engraved with our names and wedding date, for our cake-stand – this meant that it was something we could use after the wedding. Al’s mum very kindly bought this as our wedding gift, which was just perfect.
What was your first dance song?
‘Ho Hey’ by the Lumineers. We have a quote from the song framed in our bedroom ‘I belong with you, you belong with me, you’re my sweetheart’ – it was released around the time we met, in 2012.
What was your favourite part of your wedding day?
I loved all of it, I truly did! From getting ready with my mum and sister, to the ceremony, to the wedding breakfast and the dancing… I loved the whole day.
We were lucky enough to have a fly through from Al’s squadron, so we gathered everyone in the courtyard and had a Hercules fly over the top of the barn, that was a really special moment.
Did everything go to plan?
There was some confusion over the buttonholes! Al completely forgot who was meant to have one, and we didn’t have one for my dad; he walked me down the aisle without one, which was a shame. One of the sword party ended up wearing the mother-of-the-groom’s corsage.
What advice would you give anyone planning their big day?
Hire a videographer (Offbeat Films have been wonderful!). It’s definitely one of the best things we did – we love our video and will treasure it always.
We asked our guests to join us for a relaxed brunch in Cheltenham the morning after the wedding. This was so lovely, as it gave us chance to catch up with everyone and it meant that we didn’t feel as though the day was over quite so quickly!
Label your buttonhole flowers (or ask your florist to) and tell your florist which flowers you need where before the morning of the wedding. It’s one less thing to think about on the day!
And finally, where did you spend your honeymoon together?
We went to Japan for two weeks, two days after the wedding. In retrospect, I would probably have left it a few weeks – we were both exhausted after the wedding and Japan can be quite a frantic destination to visit! We visited Tokyo, Takayama, Kyoto, Osaka and Hiroshima – it was an adventure of a lifetime.
Wednesday 18 July 2018
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