Country tea party wedding

Country tea party wedding at South Farm

I’m utterly delighted to be able to share Anna and James’ relaxed country tea party wedding on the blog today.  They got married at South Farm in Cambridgeshire back in June and the lovely Dasha Caffrey captured their wedding.

Handmade wedding menu

“Our idea was to have a really relaxed country wedding with bunting, vintage tea cups and hopefully an outdoor ceremony if the weather was good enough!  James and I are also real ale enthusiasts, so we had a good number of polypins [barrels] of beer on the bar, which along with the pimms and croquet, helped create a lovely village fete type atmosphere.”

Vintage country wedding place setting

“We fell in love with South Farm as soon as we saw it – it has a very natural charm and just felt like a friendly place.  We thought it would be totally out of our budget, but decided to go and have a look anyway as it’s only about 20 minutes from where we live.”  It turned out a number of Anna and James’ friends had either been married there or been to weddings at South Farm and all highly recommended it.  “I guess having so many personal recommendations just clinched it for us!”

And who wouldn’t have fallen in love with it, with its gorgeous pale blue sash windows and stonework the colour of clotted cream…

South Farm wedding venue

Anna and James got married at 3pm so they had the morning to do the final bits and pieces. “Initially I thought I’d be quite busy on the day, hanging bunting in the summer house and barn, and checking that all the place names were laid out properly.  But luckily all the friends and family we invited to help out in the morning did a fantastic job pitching in and organising everything, so I didn’t have to lift a finger.”

Country barn wedding

Pretty country wedding table settings

Bunting and country wedding flowers

Anna fell in-love with an almond white wedding dress with Portugeuse lace and intricate beading, “I must have tried on about 8 or 9 different dresses and I ended up buying the very last one.  I can’t really explain why. It just fitted and I didn’t want to take it off.”

Dasha Caffrey Photography

Country garden wedding flowers

“The bodice is real silk and somehow the cut, which went in at the waist and allowed the lace and netting to kick out below my hips, made me feel like Ginger Rogers doing a Viennese Waltz.  I just couldn’t stop spinning on the dancefloor in the evening because the dress swirled out beautifully.  It was just so much fun!”

Natural wedding make-up

In her hair Anna wore a simple tiara and veil, and her friend Sally helped her conceal the comb by using lace off-cuts from her wedding dress.  She borrowed a vintage pearl bracelet from her bridesmaid, and her ‘something blue’ was her engagement ring with its aquamarine stones, which Anna threaded onto the ankle strap of her shoe – “I returned it to my finger as soon I was married!”

Dasha Caffrey Photography


Around her neck, Anna wore a necklace made from pearls owned by her mum.  “My mum died when I was 20 and left me two beautiful freshwater pearl necklaces, so I’d always planned to wear those when I got married.  I took these back to the shop where my mum had first bought them and asked them to add a few crystals to break up the pearls and also give enough extra length for them to create a matching bracelet.”

Bride and bridesmaids

With a bit of knowledge about flowers from her love of gardening, Anna knew she wanted a pretty style of soft flowers in pale creams, pinks and lavender, flowers that “looked like they could have been plucked from the garden and placed in an eclectic mix of jugs, vases and teacups.”

Country wedding bouquets

Garden flowers in cut glass vases

Rose and mint buttonhole

“My bridal bouquet was a mix of seven different flowers including sweet avalanche roses, cream astrantia, visnaga (which looks like a bigger version of cow parsley), lilac veronica and mint.”

I just love this combination of soft colours, it’s such a romantic bouquet but very down-to-earth with the additional of the mint.

Country garden wedding bouquet

The wedding ceremony took place in a small summer house in the garden at South Farm – they had decorated it with pretty floral bunting, bunches of garden grown and hedgerow flowers, and terracotta pots of herbs and purple violas.  “When I first saw James I felt like there was nowhere else in the world I’d rather be.  I don’t think I stopped smiling from the moment I saw him!”

Bride and bridesmaids

Groom and ushers

Country flowers decorating a summer house

Dasha Caffrey Photography

Bride and father of the bride

For their outdoor ceremony, Anna and James chose quirky readings – “James’ brother Dan read ‘Marriage is the beginning of an enterprise’ by Pam Brown which likens marriage to a disintegrating raft that needs constant repair to stay afloat!  And two of my school friends read ‘Now touch the air softly’ by William Jay Smith which we liked because of its simplicity.”

Dasha Caffrey Photography

They also chose less traditional and cheerful music that they hoped would set the tone for the rest of the day.  “Our opening track was Harry Connick Jnr’s ‘It had to be you’ which has a fantastic fanfare intro – which definitely made everyone there smile!  After that came by ‘Dream a Little Dream of Me’ by Ella Fitzgerald which everyone (including me and James, sat and swayed to!).”

South Farm wedding

Chickens at South Farm

Dasha Caffrey Photography

South Farm wedding

After their wedding ceremony, Anna and James treated their guests to a beautiful afternoon tea party.  “I absolutely love tea, so an afternoon tea party seemed like the obvious choice!  When people walked into the timber framed barn where we had the wedding tea, all the tables were already laid out with flowers, cakes and sandwiches, and every place setting had a different matching trio of cup, saucer and plate – so our guests had lots of fun comparing them all.”

Country afternoon tea wedding

Vintage wedding place setting

Dasha Caffrey Photography

Handmade country wedding table name

South Farm wedding

Afternoon tea wedding

Lots of the gorgeous details were made by Anna and James: “James and I made all the invitations, RSVP postcards, place cards, menus and table plans ourselves.  We designed them all in Photoshop and printed them at home onto heavy-weight card.  We found a great little print company online which would cut card down to A5 at no extra cost, so we ordered it all through them and just had to feed it through the printer one sheet at a time!”

Handmade wedding stationery

When Anna and James had been searching for a wedding venue, they had been particularly drawn to South Farm because it serves organic food and they grow a lot of their own fruit and vegetables.  “We have a small veggie patch of our own, so this is something that appealed to us, along with having all the rare breed pigs, geese and hens running and flapping around!  These were a big hit with all the children at the wedding.”

South Farm animals

Colourful bunting

Dasha Caffrey Photography

South Farm pigs

Vintage crockery

For their wedding cake they chose a tiered Victoria sponge cake modelled on one Anna had seen in a magazine.  “I thought it would be perfect for our country tea party wedding.  James’ mum made it for us and did such a fantastic job, she’d never made a wedding cake before, so had to do quite a bit of research.  Apart from looking great, the cake also tasted amazing and we took some of the leftovers away with us on honeymoon.”

Victoria sponge wedding cake

Cake cutting

Tiered Victoria sponge wedding cake

They finished the day with a hog roast buffet and danced the night away.  Whilst dancing to their last song, Anna says it was only of her favourite memories, “feeling like no-one was in the room except me and James.”

Bride and groom dancing

Anna and James had a mini honeymoon following their wedding in a tiny coal workers cottage on the edge of the North York Moors.  They are planning a longer honeymoon this month, doing some work to their house (I love these practical DIY couples!) before escaping to New England for a couple of weeks.

Their plans for the future include building James a workshop for his carpentry business, putting up the greenhouse and potting shed that they received as wedding gifts from their guests, and hopefully getting a dog!

South Farm country wedding

Anna and James’ wedding at South Farm was captured by Dasha of Dasha Caffrey Photography: “Photography was one of the things we really wanted to get right and we spent lots of time looking at websites and met 5 or 6 different photographers face-to-face before we decided to go with Dasha.  Her style really suited the feel we wanted for our wedding – it’s relaxed and fun – and she’s got such a good eye.  She also uses Folio albums…these are British made and ‘eco-friendly’ and photos are printed straight onto high quality fine art paper.”

Dasha Caffrey Photography

Final thoughts from Anna

When it comes to your wedding ceremony, “Don’t be constrained by what other people have done. Choose things that mean something to you and have fun!  Our guests said the ceremony was one of the most personal they’d been to, and that made it one of our favourite parts of the day too.”

And for those of your planning a DIY wedding, “It does take quite a lot of extra effort to do things yourself, but it’s definitely worth it.  We probably saved a few hundred pounds by making our own invites and doing our own flowers for the summer house, but the main benefit is knowing you’ve got something unique.”

Teacups of country garden flowers

A huge thank you to Anna and James and to their photographer Dasha Caffrey for allowing me to share their wonderful wedding day with you all.  I’m sure they’d be delighted to hear from you if you loved their wedding or have been inspired by some of their details, so do leave them a message in the comments box below.

{ Details }

Photography: Dasha Caffrey Photography
South Farm
Wedding Dress:
from Karen Forte 
Flowers & Vintage Crockery: Esme Rose
Cake: Grooms mum


Karen .. Darby and Joan on 5. September, 2012


CharlieB on 5. September, 2012

Thanks Karen, it’s such a pretty wedding isn’t it, and Dasha’s photography has captured it so brilliantly 🙂

Tola on 5. September, 2012

Really lovely wedding. I love the chickens ‘attending’ in a troop.

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Georgia on 3. March, 2013

My friend came accross this wedding cake on google images and has asked me to re-create it for her big day. I have tried a few simple victoria sponge recipes but as I haven’t done anything like this before I wondered whether James’ mum would mind sharing her secrets? Is there any way I could be put in touch with her? So far, my versions just don’t look as tasty as this! Many thanks, Georgia

CharlieB on 3. March, 2013

Hi Georgia, how lovely to be making one for your friend’s wedding 🙂 I am trying to get in touch with Anna to see if I can get any advice, I looked at the feature again and see that it was James’ mum’s first try making anything like it, so if I can get any tips to share with you I will. Best wishes, Charlie xXx

Georgia on 9. March, 2013

Thanks Charlie, I’ll keep a look out for any news. Just trying to perfect the sponge at the moment and that’s proving to be tricky enough! I would really like to know whether she used sandwhich tins for each layer or cut the cakes in two. Also, what did she use for the filing – buttercream or another cream combo as I imagine this was made the day before. Thank you! Georgia x

CharlieB on 9. March, 2013

Hi Georgia, I haven’t been able to get in touch with James’ mum, but I have put out a request on my Facebook page and am getting some great advice and tips – I don’t know if you follow my Facebook page but do take a look (it was posted today – Saturday 9th March) and if you aren’t able to find it drop me an email and I’ll send you the details I’ve been given xXx

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