Chloe and Nick relaxed seaside wedding

Relaxed seaside Devon wedding

I am really delighted to be bringing you another exclusive real wedding to the blog today.  This wedding was shared with me via the lovely Chloe from BareBlooms, a TNWC flower farmer, as it was not only a wedding she did the flowers for, but she was also a guest as the bride (also called Chloe) and groom are friends of hers.

Bride and groom Chloe and Nick were really relaxed about their wedding day and wanted a simple celebration with just a few lovely details – it’s quite refreshing when it’s so easy to get bombarded by detail heavy weddings seen on so many wedding blogs.

Over to bride Chloe to share their pretty wedding day with you…

Natural and wild bouquet and flower crown from BareBlooms

Chloe and Nick got married last June in Devon, which they chose because it was the place where they met: “Nick was at Dartington College of Arts and I was working in Exeter, my mum, stepdad and gran live in Exeter and all our friends are mostly based in the south of England, so we felt that Devon was a natural choice.”

Relaxed beach wedding

Blue and green wild bouquet from BareBlooms

“We had our ceremony at the Dartmouth Guild Hall in Devon; we were never going to have a church wedding, as non-church goers we felt that it would be hypocritical no matter how pretty it could have been.”

For the wedding reception they looked at a number of venues, including Yarner House overlooking Dartmoor and Sharpham House and Vineyard near Totnes – both which had an ethical food policy and friendly charm.  “We would have loved Burgh Island hotel but it was way out of our budget.  After a big load of online research and I eventually came across Blackpool Gardens near Dartmouth, which looked like the kind of place that you could put up a marquee and have a lovely party.”

Natural bride with wild bouquet and flower crown

Sadly Blackpool Gardens weren’t available, but recommended the Venus Café at Blackpool Sands just down the road.  “Venus Café is situated in one of the most beautiful places in Devon – Blackpool Sands beach, a natural cliff-surrounded half-moon bay.  When we went to visit we knew it was exactly what we were looking for.  Our ideal wedding reception would have been a picnic on the beach so a beachside café seemed like an ideal compromise for a rainy county like Devon.”

VW campervan wedding transport

On the morning of the wedding Chloe told me she got the best deal out of everyone, having her hair and makeup done with her bridesmaids at a salon in Exeter.  “She got the natural look just right and the hair was expertly pinned in the exact right place to hold my circlet, which Chloe from BareBlooms was making that morning.”

Meanwhile, Nick was “embroiled in the morning-of-the-wedding bunting hanging task-force.  A friend from University made mocha and blue gingham bunting as a present for us, and she even appliquéd one of the stretches with ‘Mr & Mrs’ – it was so lovely!  We now have it packed safely away for special occasions but I’m dying to string it over the bed.”

After hanging 50 metres of bunting from the rafters of the Venus Café, Nick spent some time sitting on Darmouth Quay “admiring the miraculous sunshine that had suddenly decided to appear amidst the tropical storm sweeping the West Country in June.”

Natural bride with wild looking bouquet

Chloe told me that the search for her wedding dress was the cause of major headaches and heartaches!  “I made the mistake of taking the advice of ‘try on a bit of everything until you know what suits you.’  I was originally going to have one made for me as I wanted it to fit perfectly and nothing was quite what I was looking for.”

In her search she consulted a couturier in Edinburgh, tried on lots of designer wedding dresses, fell in love with a £2,000 Grace Kelly style dress that due to its price tag had to be left in the shop, and almost made her own dress using a pattern found on Ebay.  However, a move to the Lake District put her dress making on hold, and so she went to a local wedding dress shop in Kendal.

Blue and green bouquet of seasonal English flowers

“I tried on six dresses strictly within my budget and immediately dismissed four.  I was left with a taffeta, fitted, rouched, elegant dress or a simple chiffon number with tiny daisy detail on a beautiful lace bodice.  The chiffon one was very close to what I had originally imagined way back when we first got engaged.  It wasn’t perfect, it wasn’t ‘the dress,’ it didn’t take my breath away and I didn’t cry when I had to take it off in the shop – but it was only £300 and it was pretty.  So I went for it!”

“As it turns out, it was an excellent choice for a beachside wedding, with the breeze catching it in the most romantic way.  It also had a really pretty train – something I had never imagined having on my wedding dress.”

Beautiful beach wedding

Chloe just had one bridesmaid, her older sister Vic, “She was really amazing.  She has always treated me like her little princess sister and I was happy to be adorned with her enthusiasm, ideas and organisation skills!”

Seasonal flowers for bride and bridesmaid

Vic wore a praline coloured silk dress: “She’s never been a frou-frou lady so when it came to her dress I knew she just wanted something that flattered her and was special.  Since she was the only bridesmaid it didn’t really matter about a theme – our wedding colours (sort of) were brown, blue and cream so she could have worn one of those colours or gone for a contrast – it really wouldn’t have mattered, I just wanted her to be comfortable and feel good in it.”

Nick really wanted a suit he could wear again and again after their wedding, and scoured charity shops and vintage shops looking for it.  Eventually he came across a secondhand 3-piece brown wool suit in Exter: “I took it to a small Italian tailor based in Kendal called Mr Petruso who made it fit like a glove – I’ve never worn something that fitted so well and it makes me want all my clothes tailored.”

Groom in brown wool waistcoat

The beautiful flowers were grown and created by TNWC flower farmer Chloe of BareBlooms.  Groom Nick told me: “Chloe from BareBlooms is the daughter of one of the Morris dancers from my Morris team, it felt important that the money that we spent on the wedding was with people that we respected and knew and not just some part of the ‘wedding industry’ – the fact that Chloe’s flowers fitted in with our ethos of local produce was a total bonus.”

Bride Chloe added, “It also helped that Chloe is one of the country’s best independent florists.  I saw some of Chloe’s work online and then met her at a Morris dance-out, by which time I was convinced that she would do a fantastic job.  I’m not very creative (I love pretty things but am fairly useless at creating original work) so I needed someone who could just take a few ideas and run with them.”

Jasmine flower crown

Jasmine flower crown and cornflower buttonhole

Their inspiration for the flowers was something natural, the ‘just-picked’ look as if you had found them in a hedgerow or garden on the way to the wedding ceremony.  “I always wanted a natural looking bouquet and Nick was very specific about not having too much green in the buttonholes.  Chloe asked me what feel I wanted my bouquet to have, I said I wanted it to look like it had just been gathered whilst out for a walk in the meadow.  Chloe’s attention to detail is brilliant – she used natural raffia to tie the bouquets, they looked perfect.”

Chloe also wore a pretty flower crown in her hair: “I was never going to have a veil.  I had, at one point, thought that I might have a chignon or side bun with a big fresh flower on a comb but once I knew that I was going to have a floaty dress I realised that I wanted a crown, circlet or wreath.  All I said to Chloe was that I wanted it to be delicate and have a hint of blue if possible – we exchanged a few piccies and I sent her a collage (quite a rubbish one!) and she nailed it.  It fitted perfectly and sat just above my bun.  It was made from jasmine and smelt lovely.  My Mum got married in a honeysuckle wreath, I guess that influenced me more than I thought.”

Jasmine flower crown

The chamber at Darmouth Guild Hall where they got married had wood panelling and beautiful pillars, and as Chloe and Nick only wanted a very simple ceremony, they decided to only use a few of the Morris hat centrepieces to decorate the front desk.

Simple wedding ceremony

When Chloe first saw Nick at their wedding ceremony she remembers feeling “nervous and happy all at the same time.  I remember thinking ‘nice suit’ but other than that I really don’t know…that sounds really bad but I was just so ecstatic that my overriding feeling for the whole day was a sort of spaced out bliss.  Apparently I pretty much ran down the isle.  I do remember just wanting to be right next to him, and I was, so that was good.”

Jasmine flower crown

Bride in natural jasmine flower crown

Chloe spent a while choosing her entrance music: “I wanted it to be pretty but meaningful and not cheesy.  Two of Nick’s closest friends were roped in to be our musicians so it also had to be something they could easily pick up.  I ended up going with ‘At Your Most Beautiful’ by REM.  It worked really well but I was only walking for about 5 seconds so I felt really bad for the musicians!”

Pretty jasmine flower crown

Natural bride and groom

Scented jasmine flower crown

As they wanted a very simple ceremony, Chloe told me they didn’t really make any plans: “We just opted for the standard non-religious marriage vows but they said everything that needed to be said.  Nick and I tell each other that we love each other at least twice a day; we often tell each other what qualities we cherish in each other and how much we want to stay together so we didn’t feel like we needed to somehow prove it in the ceremony.  We’re quite private people so we just stuck with what we felt comfortable with saying in front of our friends and family.”

Seasonal English wedding flowers from BareBlooms

Alternative wedding rings

I really love Chloe and Nick’s attitude towards their wedding ceremony, and I think many of you brides- and grooms-to-be will find it a refreshing reminder that you don’t need to stress over it too much: “I don’t think it matters if you choose to have the full works with hymns, readings, poems, choirs, harps etc, or if you just have the basics.  I think what makes the ceremony special is the exchanging of the vows to love and be with each other and the sincerity of the vows.  As long as you mean what you’re saying then the atmosphere will be right and everyone in the room will feel that there’s literally love in the air.  Cheesy, I know, but I really believe it.”

Seasonal bridal bouquet of cornflowers and nigella

VW wedding transport

Following their wedding ceremony Chloe and Nick had planned to give their guests afternoon tea in a tent beside the beach, but this wasn’t possible on on the day due to a storm that hit the south west.  Thankfully they had organised a back-up plan and went to Stoke Fleming Village Hall, that the Venus Café transformed with deck chairs, boogie boards, big sun umbrellas and buckets of shells.

Deckchairs for beach wedding


For the evening reception everyone headed to the Venus Café, where they were greeted with a Hook Norton Ale and Pimms reception. It was during this time that Chloe and Nick took the opportunity to have some pictures taken on the beach: “The Café was literally on the beach so I just took off my shoes and had a peaceful few minutes with my new husband on the beach.  I was very tempted to go for a paddle but was absolutely terrified of getting salt water on my dress so I gave it a miss.”

Relaxed seaside wedding

Wedding on a beach

“We then all piled inside for the meal, which was really fabulous; we had perfect little parcels of pollack with bacon served with fries and salad so basically fish and chips. It went on for hours (it wasn’t supposed to) but it gave all our friends and family a chance to have a really good catch up.  We sat people in friendship and/or interest groups to ensure ease of conversation and it really worked.”

Wedding speeches

Chloe and Nick's seaside wedding

“The Morris hat centrepieces were a nod towards Nick’s Morris background and they definitely satisfied my romantic side. They were so perfect!  And they acted as amusing play items for somewhat merry adults halfway though our meal…”

One of Chloe’s favourite parts of the day were the speeches: “I really thought I would be in tears – at the time I was so overwhelmed with happiness (and a few glasses of bubbly) that I didn’t really take all the words in.  But I remember the key bits and the heartfelt delivery and I realise how lucky I am.  My Uncle gave the usual Father-of-the-Bride speech and it was so full of little anecdotes and love.  Nick’s speech was exactly what I would have said in terms of thanks to everyone, as well as including really loving passages about us, and the Best Man’s speech was short but funny and perfectly timed.”

Bride and groom

Bride wearing jasmine flower crown

Wedding speeches

The evening was spent dancing the night away to The Austin Allegro Country Dance Band, an eclectic mix of comedy and English country dance: “It was great to have a band who were happy to improvise around our evening and were friends as well as brilliant musicians.”

Wedding cake

Chloe and Nick asked a friend, Nick Waugh, if he would take photos at their wedding: “I was a bit cheeky and asked a friend whom I didn’t really know that well at the time to do our photos.  I had always admired Nick’s pictures on Facebook and we knew we wanted understated, natural-looking photos and I knew he would be able to avoid really cheesy snaps whilst capturing the important things.  We briefed him on which parts of the day we wanted to be captured and he just got on with it.”

After their wedding, Chloe and Nick ‘minimooned’ at a romantic inn in Dartmouth where they slept lots (“It took us almost a day’s worth of sleeping to feel alive again!”), went to an intimate gig at Sharpham Vineyard and had a champagne picnic in a National Trust garden.

Nick Waugh Photography

A huge thank you to Chloe and Nick for sharing their wedding day with us, Nick their photographer, and to Chloe from BareBlooms who told me about this gorgeous wedding to begin with.

{ Details }

Photography: Nick Waugh
Wedding Ceremony: Dartmouth Guild Hall
Wedding Venue: Stoke Fleming Village Hall and the Venus Café at Blackpool Sands
Wedding Dress: from A Family Affair in Kendal
Flowers: BareBlooms
Groom’s Suit: secondhand


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