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Jessica and Paul’s natural countryside wedding with a Georgian mansion ceremony and magical woodland evening party

Charlie / 16 January 2013

Natural countryside wedding

Natural countryside wedding

This week I’m going to spoil you all with another gorgeous real wedding – one in which the groom actually built a beautiful timber framed tent for their wedding reception in a woodland.  It really looks as magical as it sounds!  Wow, wow, wow.

Woodland wedding yurt lit up a night

Rustic wood table name holders

Jessica and Paul were married in Kent in September 2012 and celebrated their wedding with a ceremony and reception in a Georgian manor followed by a magical woodland after party.

Country manor house wedding

Bottles of Sloe Gin wedding favours

I shall hand you over to the lovely Jessica (who has her own blog The Woodland Wife) to tell you all about their beautiful wedding…

“We were after something that really represented us and our love of the countryside and all things natural.  We feel strongly about the countryside and as we are both self employed, we felt it was important to involve small local businesses.”

Lyndsey Goddard Photography

“We wanted everything to be locally sourced, and we wanted every detail to represent a bit of us, not only as a couple but as individuals too.  Family is hugely important to us so again we wanted something intimate only inviting those who meant something important to us.”

Lyndsey Goddard Photography

As a timber framer, Paul owns a piece of woodland in Kent where both he and Jessica knew they wanted to have a party following their wedding reception.  “We were looking for a venue close enough to where our woodland is so we could have our evening party and not have our guests travel too far for the evening.  We looked at a few local venues, which included barns and a castle but the castle felt too much and not very us, and the barns didn’t have a large enough capacity.”

Finchcock mansion

Like many of us girls, Jessica had some childhood dreams about what her wedding would be like: “I only had three clear ideas in my mind of what I wanted when I got married when I was younger, one was the type of dress, another was fairy lights at night, and the other was a long driveway leading to a house.”

“When I visited Finchcocks I knew I’d found the place – there is a lovely track that leads to the house.  The house and grounds aren’t perfectly finished, they are beautiful but to us it had the grandeur without the pomp, plus it was only 5 minutes drive from our woodland and in the middle of the Weald of Kent with stunning, far reaching views.”

Lyndsey Goddard Photography

Jessica and Paul had really specific ideas about what they wanted for their wedding, so it was important to Jessica to find suppliers who fitted in with the day – luckily enough she found a great hair stylist and makeup artist who she instantly felt at ease with.

“Everything about this wedding was hugely personal to me and from the moment we got engaged I wanted to protect our relationship and not lose sight of what it was actually all about.  So it meant a huge deal to have the right people around me that morning and I wanted to find a team of people who could give me the natural look I was after, but also fit in with my family the morning of the wedding.”

Lyndsey Goddard Photography

Lyndsey Goddard Photography

Natural bridal makeup

Lyndsey Goddard Photography

Lyndsey Goddard Photography

Jessica wore a beautiful beaded Jenny Packham wedding dress that was just meant to be: “My wedding dress story is one that still makes me smile.  About 10 years ago when I was working for a small design agency I set up some adverts for a local bridal shop.  One day there was an image of a girl laying back on a seat against a green background in what I thought was the most beautiful dress…I thought there and then, if I ever got married THAT was the dress I would like.”

Jenny Packham wedding dress

“When Paul proposed, although we’d been together for 5 years I found the whole bridal thing a bit terrifying.  Although I wanted to get married I felt I was a reluctant bride, so looking for dresses meant that I knew the sort of thing I wanted – simple and classic and minimal fuss.”

Bride getting ready

Bride getting ready

“Myself and my mum went to a bridal shop to try on a Jenny Packham dress I had seen when looking around online, we arrived at the shop and I was told to pick out a few dresses, including the one I’d gone there to see.”

Bride getting ready

Jenny Packham wedding dress

“As we were shown the designers I locked eyes on one particular dress.  I tol my mum “that’s the dress I saw in the picture all those years ago” so I knew I had to try it on.  My mum had her heart set on the dress we’d gone to see but when I put on Jenny Packham’s ‘Claire’ which was the dress I’d seen all those years ago I knew it was the one for me.  It was a very special moment and it was then I knew my mind was made up.”

Jenny Packham wedding dress

Lyndsey Goddard Photography

“The bridal shop told me that the Jenny Packham ‘Claire’ dress was about to be discontinued so had my husband not proposed when he did I would never have had the dress in the photo I saw ten years before!”

Bride getting ready

“We bought the dress from Amante in Reigate and Liz the owner couldn’t have been more amazing.  I loved the dress but the only thing it lacked was a train.  I’d never wanted a long train, but I liked the idea of a ‘puddle’ and they created this for me, by carefully cutting the voile of the top layer and re-stitching so the join wasn’t visible.  They left the back long, creating a puddle and the front was lifted so I didn’t trip.”

Bride getting ready

Lyndsey Goddard Photography

Lyndsey Goddard Photography

Lyndsey Goddard Photography

Jessica wore a beautiful and very delicate vine tiara inspired by her love of India.  “I love India and knew I wanted a headdress of some sort but something very simple.  I searched all over the internet for something and in the end my mum found these beautiful hair vines which are handmade to your specification.  We bought two, one for me and one for my flower girl and they couldn’t have been more perfect.”

Lyndsey Goddard Photography

Lyndsey Goddard Photography

On her wrist Jessica wore a beautiful bracelet once owned by her grandmother: “My mum lent me my grandmother’s bracelet for the day – it was the most beautiful bracelet I think I’ll ever wear and was covered in diamonds.”

Lyndsey Goddard Photography

The bridesmaids wore the most exquisite pale blue dresses that Jessica helped design: “I struggled to find dresses that I felt worked with my dress.  In the end I found a local dressmakers who took my design brief and drew up a sketch of exactly my vision – the final dresses couldn’t have been more perfect.”

Pale blue bridesmaid dress

Lyndsey Goddard Photography

With their passion for supporting local businesses and sourcing British made items, Paul chose a morning suit from Dress 2 Kill in Waterloo.  “Paul had always wanted a traditional morning suit for his wedding and like everything else he wanted something bespoke and from the UK.  It was one of his best men who found the tailors and on the first visit he knew he would get his suit from there.”

Lyndsey Goddard Photography

Classic wedding car

Lyndsey Goddard Photography

Lyndsey Goddard Photography

For his ushers he bought them tailored waistcoats, each made to fit and lined with fabric chosen by each usher.  Paul and his two best men chose moss green ties, whilst the ushers were told to choose their own.

Pale blue bridesmaid dresses

Lyndsey Goddard Photography

Lyndsey Goddard Photography

Jessica and Paul agreed they didn’t want the bridesmaids and ushers to be in matching colours: “Both Paul and myself really didn’t want the grooms party to match the bridesmaids and have the same colour throughout the day.  We felt it was so much more about two people coming together, so we decided to both have the colours we wanted.”

Pale blue bridesmaid dress

Country wedding

Rose bridal bouquet

For the flowers, Jessica wanted a ‘just picked’ look that wasn’t too put together looking:

“The venues gardener actually did the flowers, she is a florist but also their gardener.  She understood exactly what we were after – we just wanted them picked and put into an arrangement. For the ceremony room we didn’t want anything ‘ornate’ just something that looked like it had been picked that morning.”

Classic country wedding car

Country bride and flowergirl

Country wedding

Jessica and Paul’s wedding ceremony was held in the main hall at Finchcocks that they decorated themselves.  “Each chair had an order of service and a pillow box containing confetti, both of which had been designed and finished by myself.  I bought wildflower petals and stuffed the pillow boxes for our guests.”

Georgian mansion wedding ceremony

Rustic brown box of confetti

Lyndsey Goddard Photography

On one of their last visits to the venue Jessica decided to have a floral arch in front of the ceremony room, and “the apple boxes with flowers came to me when I struggled to find the containers I imagined…I just thought we needed something at the front of the room but I didn’t want ornate containers and neat arrangements and the apple boxes worked perfectly.”

Lyndsey Goddard Photography

Order of service

Lyndsey Goddard Photography

I asked Jessica how she felt when she walked into the ceremony room and first saw Paul.

“I was so nervous about walking into the room in front of everyone, but my mum kept telling me in the weeks running up to the wedding that the love in the room and the ‘good feeling’ carries you and it really did.  The moment I saw Paul I felt calm.  We had decided he wouldn’t turn around until I got to him in case I lost it!  It was such a special moment when we were finally together, almost indescribable!”

Lyndsey Goddard Photography

Lyndsey Goddard Photography

Lyndsey Goddard Photography

“The ceremony was the part we were both most nervous about – we had chosen our guests carefully and felt comfortable with them all, but we were still so nervous about speaking in front of everyone!  It really was a magical moment though.”

Lyndsey Goddard Photography

Lyndsey Goddard Photography

“Both sets of parents were sad that we had chosen a civil ceremony as they felt they were somehow ‘soulless’ – but we felt so strongly that saying our vows to the friends and family who had supported us throughout our lives in the countryside was more important to us than saying our vows in a church, especially as we aren’t religious.”

Lyndsey Goddard Photography

Lyndsey Goddard Photography

“We knew we didn’t want anything corny and we certainly didn’t want clapping after everything that was said, so we decided we would meet with our celebrant beforehand.  The moment we met him we knew it would be a wonderful ceremony, we knew on the day he would put us totally at ease and he did.  Both parents were totally converted by the ceremony.”

Lyndsey Goddard Photography

“We had three readings, all of which were very important to us and were read beautifully.  The ceremony was hugely emotional for myself and Paul and many of our guests told us they had been moved to tears too which is very touching.”

Lyndsey Goddard Photography

Lyndsey Goddard Photography

“As a nervous bride to be and someone who doesn’t like being the centre of attention I was terrified, but there really is the most overwhelming feeling of love on the day.  Paul isn’t an emotional man but he had a huge wobble saying our vows and at that moment I felt myself going too, so I knew I had to hold it together to avoid two blubbering wrecks saying their vows!”

Lyndsey Goddard Photography

Lyndsey Goddard Photography

Having spoken to a number of brides I’ve come to realise that planning a civil ceremony or a bespoke ceremony can be a challenge when you don’t have a set formula to follow – so I asked Jessica if she would share her advice for any other couples planning something similar.

“My advice to any bride having a civil ceremony is that you meet with your celebrant before your ceremony to get the ceremony you really want.  Also, the words of wisdom my mum gave me about the uplifting feeling of everyone in the room carrying you is very true, however I was still very nervous when everyone sat and it was just me and Paul standing.  I was so nervous that I realised I was watching the celebrants mouth moving and not actually taking it all in, so I snapped myself out of it and soon became totally engrossed in it all.”

Country house wedding

Country house wedding

Lyndsey Goddard Photography

After their wedding ceremony Jessica and Paul along with their family and friends headed to the walled garden for a drinks reception – “Our caterers did an amazing job I am only sad I didn’t get to try any of the canapés as I had so many people to talk to!”

Walled garden wedding reception

Lyndsey Goddard Photography

Canapes

During the drinks reception Jessica and Paul were able to slip away to have some photos taken:

“This was another moment we feared, these were going to be the only ‘posed photos’ and we’re not camera friendly.  Our photographer Lyndsey Goddard was fabulous and the ‘posed photos’ ended up with us just having 5 minutes together with our photographer taking some photos.”

Country bride and groom

Lyndsey Goddard Photography

After the drinks reception they had a seasonal sit-down meal in a marquee from LPM Bohemia (a fabulous company owned by Paul’s brother, and the place where Jessica and Paul met).  “It was mentioned in my fathers speech that the Indian motif lining was the very lining I had always loved when working there and had always wanted should I ever get married.”

LPM Bohemia wedding tent

Indian motif lined wedding tent

“We kept the walls plain white to leave the focus on the ceiling lining and the details of the tables, which we also wanted to keep simple but representing us.  We didn’t want to go overboard with the woodland/country theme so felt that little accents would be better.”

Rustic wood table names

Jessica created all the paper details for their wedding herself, including the elegant but rustic menus:

“As a graphic designer, early on save the dates went out with two distinctive typefaces and two acorns which represented us, so I decided that these, along with manilla paper stock, would be what tied all the details together. I printed the sloe gin labels on sticker paper and hand cut every one out as I had done with the save the dates, wedding information packs and menus – cutting out everything by hand was THE most time consuming and stressful job of the wedding prep!”

Elegant brown card menus

Bohemian wedding tent

“The place name flowerpots came to me when I kept toying with ideas for name places…I didn’t really want the standard folded cards and I loved the idea of having wildflower seeds, however as a friend of mine had done that at hers with little envelopes and I felt I wanted to come up with something different.”

Lyndsey Goddard Photography

Lyndsey Goddard Photography

“I managed to source seed paper which were cut into oak leaf shapes, as the icon of the day was two acorns.  Inside each flowerpot were two seed paper leaves with a little thank you note.  I tied raffia around each one and placed each of the guests names in the raffia.”

Lyndsey Goddard Photography

Lyndsey Goddard Photography

Jessica and Paul were keen to ensure that all aspects of their wedding reflected their love of the countryside, including their wedding feast:

“The meal we chose was all seasonal and as much like ‘us’ as possible.  We chose woodland mushrooms to start, followed by duck, and a lemon tart to finish and it was all delicious. We didn’t want fancy food that just looked great – we wanted to give our guests a menu that was all about the countryside and local produce.”

Seasonal wedding feast

For wedding favours, Jessica and Paul made sloe gin that they put in tiny bottles with a tag.

“Sloe Gin was something we had been plotting for a long time, as we love it and had spent months trying out different recipes.  Paul wanted large bottles however I thought it would be nice to make them miniatures for people to drink there and then, take onto the evening party or take home with them. Sourcing the bottles took ages!”

Mini wedding favour bottles of sloe gin

I fell in love with Jessica and Paul’s simple yet stunningly beautiful wedding cake when I first saw it amongst the photos with those dainty little acorns and ferns.

Woodland inspired wedding cake

Acorn topped woodland wedding cake

Jessica told me more about this beautiful cake and her inspiration for it:

“The cake came from my imagination, and was a surprise for Paul.  I wanted a ‘traditional’ wedding cake, but with a touch of us on it without being too gimmicky.  So I thought rather than wedding piping around the cake, we could have acorns, oak leaves, mushrooms and ferns in the same colour as the icing so it wasn’t immediately obvious and ‘in your face’.  Instead of the ‘traditional’ flowers on top of the cake we had ferns and acorns.”

Lyndsey Goddard Photography

Acorn, fern and mushroom wedding cake

Lyndsey Goddard Photography

Instead of a traditional guestbook, Jessica and Paul chose a picture frame with a wide mount board that their family and friends could write messages on.  “Some people we used to know had a photo mount but on a much smaller scale, we wanted to do something similar but that would fit a normal sized photo with all our friends and family messages surrounding it.  Since receiving our wedding photos the photo of us has been changed to our ‘official photo’ and hangs over our bed. It’s something we really treasure.”

Wedding photo guestbook

Lyndsey Goddard Photography

Lyndsey Goddard Photography

Jessica and Paul decided to display family wedding photos around their guestbook: “My father is a big fan of family history and family trees so on the day I created our family tree and framed our parents, brother and grandparents’ official wedding photos to surround the photo mount.”

Family wedding photos

Lyndsey Goddard Photography

After their meal and speeches in the marquee at Finchcocks, Jessica and Paul headed off in a beautiful classic car to their evening reception.

Lyndsey Goddard Photography

Lyndsey Goddard Photography

Classic wedding car

They were joined by their family and friends at their nearby woodland for the most magical looking party.  It’s like something out of a storybook…

Magical woodland wedding

“Paul is a timber framer and not only builds permanent structures but also temporary structures for festivals and weddings.  He built the main dance tent and it made a great venue.  The stage was made up of a trailer that we clad and built up for the band. We also had a yurt for a ‘chill out’ area, additional camping and a bridal yurt loaned to us by Paul’s brother.”

Yurt woodland wedding

Timber framed wedding tent

“We knew we wanted an evening party and there was nowhere else we wanted it other than in our woods, and this meant everyone could come and camp and really let their hair down, which of course they did!”

Evening woodland wedding

Evening wedding party

I asked Jessica how it was planning a split wedding reception – with a more formal sit-down meal and then a relaxed woodland party.  “I was incredibly concerned about the ‘split’ but Paul assured me it would be fine.  I was worried that no one would be able to relax and have a drink at the wedding reception as they would be ‘bussed onto the next location’.  In fact it went really well and so many people have said how amazing it was to have the two different locations.”

Evening woodland wedding

Hog roast

“The split wasn’t intended to divide the wedding and the party, we very much wanted a traditional wedding but we knew we only wanted the evening party in the one place that means so much to us…and actually where Paul proposed!”

Lyndsey Goddard Photography

Lyndsey Goddard Photography

“Most people left around 1am, we made our exit to our bridal yurt in the woods around 2am and it didn’t actually finish until the early hours of the morning!”

Lyndsey Goddard Photography

Lyndsey Goddard Photography

Your wedding day is such a whirlwind of emotions and can go all too quickly, but I find there are usually a few moments that particularly stick out in your memory or that your remember fondly.  I asked Jessica what her’s were: “It’s hard to pick out one moment – it was all just amazing, but one pretty special moment was just as it was announced that we were about to cut the cake and leave for the evening party, one of my parents friends asked all the guests to stand as he thanked us for an incredible day – that was a very touching moment.”

Lyndsey Goddard Photography

Lyndsey Goddard Photography

“Something else that I remember so clearly was at the evening party the band were a huge hit and as they finished, our friends called for ‘one more’.  The band asked everyone to stand in a circle leaving us in the middle and they sang ‘Hey Jude’ while all our friends cheered us, then we both got launched into the air by Paul’s brothers and some friends! When we were standing with all our loved ones around us everything hit me and it was my turn to have a wobble!!”

Lyndsey Goddard Photography

After their wedding Jessica and Paul spent their honeymoon in Sri Lanka, a place that with their love of India, they had always wanted to go.

Jessica and Paul chose Lyndsey Goddard to capture their wedding day for them: “I spent months looking for a photographer, as we knew what we wanted and what we didn’t.  We didn’t want guests ushered around, placed in poses and we really wanted someone who could capture all the moments that we didn’t get to see.  When me and my mum met with Lyndsey we knew instantly that she was perfect for the job.  We felt instantly at ease and looking through more of her work I could see she had a really artistic eye.”

Lyndsey Goddard Photography

“From the moment Lyndsey joined us on the morning of the wedding I hardly noticed her; I am someone who fears having my photo taken and the moment I see a camera I freeze, Lyndsey seemed to capture everything without anyone knowing!  When we received our photos I can honestly say she far exceeded our expectations, the photos were incredible and we spent hours going through them all and reminiscing, they just bought it all back.”

“A friend of ours said to me after she’d seen the photos that they bought every single emotion of the day back.  Lyndsey is incredible and I won’t hesitate in recommending her to friends.”

Lyndsey Goddard Photography

A huge thank you to Jessica and Paul for allowing me to share their wedding and all its details, and to Lyndsey Goddard for supplying me with all their beautiful photographs of the day. Be sure to check out Jessica’s beautiful blog The Woodland Wife.

{ Details }

Photography: Lyndsey Goddard
Venue: Finchcocks and couples own woodland
Marquee: LPM Bohemia
Wedding Dress: Jenny Packham from Amante
Hair: Simply Beautiful Hair
Makeup: Powder and Glow
Bride’s Vine Tiara: Tiara Heaven
Earrings: Chez Bec
Groom’s Suit: Dress 2 Kill
Catering: Pop Creative Catering
Band: Groove Instinct
Confetti: The Real Flower Confetti Company

Comments

jennie hill on 16. January, 2013

what a stunning wedding I love the acorns on the cake what a lovely idea x

Aisha on 16. January, 2013

Jessica this is beautiful! Charlie, incase she doesn’t see this could you pass this on to her please? Where did you get your bottles and shoes? Been looking everywhere for similar favour bottles and shoes xx

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