Jodie and James' epic weekend wedding

Epic weekend wedding with handmade details

Today I have an incredible real wedding.  It is utterly epic (I don’t use words like that often) and it’s not short on beautiful ideas and inspiration if that’s what you’re looking for.  I’ve even broken it down into headings because there is so much to share with you!

Richard Rayner Photography

Richard Rayner Photography

Jodie and James got married on 15th September 2012 and spent the whole weekend celebrating with their family and friends.  Jodie has kindly told me so much about their incredible weekend celebration, and I am sure that many of you brides-to-be will find lots of helpful snippets throughout from Jodie and James’ experience.

Tiered sponge wedding cake with berries

Jodie and James' wedding

Without further ado, I’ll hand you over to the lovely Jodie to tell you all about their epic wedding weekend…

“Our wedding didn’t have a theme as such because we liked so many different things that it would have been hard to categorise them all under one heading, but if I had to describe it then it would be ‘Rustic Romance’ – the corn, lavender and lace invitations we made paved the way for other ideas.”

Groom in pale blue suit

Jodie and James' wedding

A weekend wedding

“We held our wedding at Colehayes Park in Devon, and chose it because it is an absolutely stunning venue set in beautiful grounds with a lake.  It really appealed to us straight away because you can hire the venue for the entire weekend, you’re given the keys on the Friday and then it’s yours until Monday morning.”

Colehayes Park wedding venue

“You can use the house as you please, decorate it and make it your own – and there are no curfews, so the party could – and did – continue into the night!  Also when we met with the fantastic owners, Rebecca and Bill, and their superb staff, they were just so friendly, relaxed and nothing was too much trouble however many questions I asked, and this was the icing on the cake for us!”

The day of the wedding

On the day of their wedding, Jodie said she felt quite nervous and tired – she was up early putting the finishing touches to the table settings.  “On the actual morning as I woke the sun was streaming into the beautiful bridal suite and the views across the moor were breathtaking.  It was a really still day, with not a wisp of wind and the sun shone throughout.  There was a really surreal moment – when a beautiful orange and black butterfly flew in through the open window, it just seemed all to be so wonderfully idyllic – too good to be true almost.”

Bride getting ready

Two wedding dresses

When I asked Jodie about her wedding dress, she admitted to me that she actually had two wedding dresses: “I know this sounds completely indulgent but I had two dresses!  I found a gorgeous and very pretty shell of a 1912 Edwardian dress at a vintage wedding fair.  The lace was just so detailed and exquisite that I was prepared to work with the bare bones of a dress to create the fully finished look.”

Vintage lace wedding dress
Photo taken by a friend

“I was firstly attracted to it because it was a lovely buttermilk colour and within the lace it had pretty corn motifs that complemented the corn, lavender and lace design that we’d decided to have for our handmade invitations.”

“I put all my faith in a wonderfully talented seamstress to transform it into the vision I had and Fenela Sadler did an incredible job and remodelled the dress entirely to fit me, whilst keeping to its original stitching and clasps, and traditional methods of working with the garment.”

Natural bride

“Along the way, there were a few ups and downs, mainly to do with my body shape not matching the whimsical vintage vision I had rather than Fenela’s truly artisan skills, but in the end it was absolutely perfect.  However, during one of the down moments when I wasn’t completely happy with how I looked in the vintage dress I happened upon a little boutique in Bath.  I went in and tried a sample dress on and I know it’s clichéd but I fell in love with it.  It just seemed to fit so well, and so I made the completely extravagant decision to have two…and as we were having a weekend wedding then I’d wear one on the Saturday and one on the Sunday…and decide on the day!”

Vintage wedding dress

Jodie found her wedding shoes at a charity shop and a bargain for just £5, and a friend of hers made her a pretty piece for her hair: “One of my great friends is a supremely gifted milliner who made me a gold slide with little pearls and the tiniest of golden Canadian maple leaves (that’s where James proposed)…truly stunning!”

Bridesmaids and flowergirls

Vintage inspired bridesmaid dresses

Jodie had three bridesmaids, which she called her ‘best ladies’, who wore vintage inspired dresses that were customised to suit each lady.  “I also had three flowergirls, Maisy, Noelia and Olivia, who wore little mismatched whimsy dresses in cream, gold and white – they looked so pretty.  They also had little handmade lace and button hair bands.”

Romantic flowergirl dresses

The boys

James looked rather dapper in a striped blue suit and blue suede shoes!  “I thought James looked so very handsome in a thinly striped powder blue suit from The Kooples along with some super cool blue suede shoes!”

Groom in pale blue suit

“His best man and groomsmen all wore American inspired geek styled outfits – beige trousers, white shirts, braces and rustic tweed dickie bows.”

Groomsmen with bow ties and braces

Pretty posies

Their wedding flowers were from The Wilde Bunch in Bristol after Jodie met them at a wedding fair.  “I saw the little posies Claire had made on her stall and I knew that they were the sort of flowers that James and I might like.  Corn and lavender had been our choice from the start and then Claire discussed other possible flowers that would complement them, and having described the sort of wedding we were planning, Claire and I decided on a lovely countryside flower mix.”

Bridal bouquet

“I had quite a good idea of the look we were going for – and plus lots of blog-watching presented inspiration at very corner!  The flowers were a delight and Claire was great to work with – very relaxed and she came all the way from Bristol to set them up!  James’ buttonhole was a grouping of green amd white chintz, white gypsophila and wheat with the stems bound with brown twine.”

Paper details

Alongside their homemade wedding invitations, one of the groomsmen created a guest itinerary, detailing all the weekend’s activities.  “We provided him with a number of ideas and he put it all together.  As we love otters, owls and apples he incorporated these into the design and used our wording.”  How cute are they!

Cute otter inspired wedding stationery

Decorating the venue

Jodie and James, along with their family and friends spent the whole of the Friday before their wedding decorating the venue.  “It was 9am and I was stood in the main hall surrounded by a sea of boxes containing a year’s worth of scavenging finds, thinking how am I going to transform this grand house!  Then within minutes, family, friends and all manner of suppliers descended upon the house with an energy and enthusiasm that I’m sure had not been seen before!”

Floral arrangements in wooden crates and milk churns

The bar was transformed into a ‘Bombay Boudoir’ with a chill out area of low level cushions, small tables, ornate lanterns, and twinkly lights.  Even the fridge was covered in gold paper!

Jodie and James hired a lighting company to help create a beautiful atmosphere around the house and gardens.  Inside the ‘Great Hall’ a fairy light canopy was created on the ceiling and the garden was transformed with white lanterns and fairy lights, alongside deckchairs and giant party games that they’d hired for the occasion.

Lanterns in the trees

“Colehayes Park is blessed with beautiful rooms they just needed a little extra help with atmospheric lighting, there were very grand fireplaces in each of the main rooms so my friend Gita also decorated these with lace and candles, and we had a few fairy lights and flowers upon them as well.”

Pre-ceremony treats

As you will see from the photos of this wedding that Jodie and James came up with some really lovely little touches and that I’m pretty jealous I didn’t dream up for my own wedding!  For example, before their wedding ceremony they served Bramley Apple Pimms from a glass drinks dispensers before the ceremony with frozen apple as ice cubes.

Bramley Apple Pimms drinks station

“Everyone had little jam jar to drink from and these had bailer twine ribbons and brown and white striped old fashioned paper straws.  We also had a drinks dispenser filled with Nettle Fizz as a non-alcoholic alternative.”  Jodie and James created a ‘Hydration Station’ which was a huge rustic metal French bath filled with ice and bottles of water to ensure there was a soft drink on offer to everyone at all times.

Wedding 'Hydration Station' with jam jar glasses

Alongside the drinks, they also served canapés to their guests before the ceremony: “We didn’t want people to have grumbling tummies during the ceremony and whilst waiting for lunch which was being served later in the day.  I scoured the internet for months looking for novel canapé ideas that were healthy, easy to make, predominately veggie, using delicious ingredients and of course they had to be pretty too!”

Canapes with edible flowers

“Our good friend Paul is a chef and owns a lovely beach café in Devon and he kindly agreed to muck in and make our canapés   We had delights such as Manchego cheese with fresh figs and toasted pine nuts, and the little terracotta flower pots we bought and filled with homemade hummus and little French stalked carrots as crudités.”

Carrot canapes served in flowerpots

For their younger guests, Jodie and James had a table laid out with popcorn in cinema boxes, chocolate owl cake pops, homemade Marmite whirls, cream soda with paper straws, and a giant Chuppa Chup lolly filled with little lollies.

Anyone else jealous of the kids’ table?!

Fun kids wedding food

An outdoor ceremony

“We’d looked at so many gorgeous outside weddings  from blogs – in particular from Canada – that although when we first starting making plans I hadn’t really considered it taking place outside that we were slowly being drawn to the idea.  Colehayes didn’t have the pavilion when we first visited, but when they sent through photos of the finished pavilion in July I was in raptures about how utterly pretty and unique it looked and we decided then that we would aim to marry there – weather permitting!”

Outdoor wedding ceremony with hay bale seating

For their outdoor wedding ceremony, Jodie and James hired bales of hay from a local farmer: “The bales were then put into position on the morning of the wedding to create a sort of amphitheatre – leftover linen material from the table runners was laid across them so the ladies didn’t snag their beautiful dresses!”

Hay bale seating

Two family friends sang a beautiful rendition of All I Want Is You from the film Juno as Jodie walked down the aisle.  After many months of searching for a song, they chose this one because they loved the simple lyrics.

Outdoor wedding ceremony music

Jodie told me how she felt when saw James for the first time at their wedding ceremony: “I just felt very happy, the sun was shining, we were getting married in the most beautiful spot under a huge cork tree surrounded by all our friends and family.”

Outdoor wedding ceremony

Natural outdoor wedding ceremony

“Naturally I was in a joyous bubble of love!  James was really smiling when I approached the pavilion – I was just pleased to see him as it had felt like an age had passed since I’d seen him on the Friday eve.”

Outdoor wedding ceremony

Jodie and James

Jodie and James were married by a family friend who has known Jodie since she was a little girl, “it was lovely to have someone who knew us – it was more meaningful.”

One of their readings was based on The Lovely Other Dinosaur Story, but they changed the dinosaurs to otters (Jodie and James both love otters!) and some of the wording to make it more personal.  It was read so beautifully that one of their flowergirls exclaimed “Again!” after it had finished.

Outdoor wedding ceremony with hay bale seating

Rustic outdoor wedding ceremony

Weather worries

Like many couples planning an outdoor wedding ceremony Jodie and James had their fair share of worries about the weather:  “Dartmoor is notorious for its changeable weather and the prospect of a bleak day with thick fog was constantly in our minds but we remained optimistic.”

Richard Rayner Photography

“We decided that if the weather was shockingly bad that we’d opt for the ceremony in the Great Hall – but it would have had to be a standing up affair as there would have been no room for 150 people to be seated.  Phew, phew, phew – the weather on Thursday had been blustery, then mizzly on the Friday morning but brightened up in the afternoon.  After the ceremony people asked us ‘what was your Plan B?’ and we had to admit that there really hadn’t been a plan B!”

Afternoon entertainment

After their wedding ceremony, a good friend of Jodie and James’ who is a comedian, cabaret artist and “compere extraordinere” put on a fantastic show in the gardens, which “incorporated a unicycle, juggling, great wit and outstanding audience participation!  It was a fun thing to have as a contrast to the more quiet and meaningful moments of the ceremony.”

Wedding entertainment

Kids wedding entertainment

Spectacular wedding feast

For their wedding lunch, Jodie and James hired Talia of Cotswold Cooks – a TNWC recommended caterer and the lovely lady who did my own wedding feast.  “As soon as we met with Talia we knew that the Cotswold Cooks was the perfect caterer for us. We visited Talia’s charming country house and farm where they grow all their own veg and sat down to discuss the menu.”

“We chose to go for a Bovary table feast that would be hearty and able to feed 130 people plus children.  We were keen for the food not to be too pretentious or formal, and so a sumptuous array of foods such as whole organic chickens cooked with fennel and garlic, rare roast beef with horseradish, salmon with dill and caper sauce, warm new potatoes and veggie tartlets was exactly what we wanted.” They also had huge wheels of Jersey butter and bread from Hobbs House Bakery.

Handmade giant wedding pie

Local seasonal wedding feast

Jodie made the table plan from an old brass ring picked up at a jumble sale, that was then covered in lace by her mum before being mounted on a rustic log base.  Each guests name was written onto a golden heart that represented a table – they were then sewn onto the lace: “One hour before the ceremony my sister-in-law-to-be was sewing them onto the lace – I had never intended this to be such a last minute task, but because the table places were still being swapped around we couldn’t finalise this until the last minute!”

Handmade lace wedding table plan

“The food was incredible, so simple but so delicious!  Talia is very knowledgeable about food and inspired in us great confidence when she described her ideas!”  For their dessert, they chose a brulee topped white chocolate rice pudding that was served in individual vintage teacups.  “The food was loved by all and seeing everyone heartily tucking in I guessed it had been a huge hit!”

I love that even the glasses of Prosecco were decorated with sprigs of purple mint flowers!

Prosecco with purple mint flowers

“The guests had the wedding lunch in two different rooms and we dressed each of the long tables.  James’ mum had worked tirelessly in the lead up to the wedding making hessian runners and I hired the lace ones to go on top of these.  Flowers were in mismatched tin cans and tiny bottles, and the vintage crockery was hired from a lady in the Cotswolds.”

Richard Rayner Photography

Flowers in tin cans

“Jan from Devon Vintage Hire was a huge help along with her daughter Alex in setting the tables up on the Friday and I hired the deck chairs, drinks dispensers, cutlery, napkins and Champagne coups from them.”

Wedding table settings

“The table names on luggage tags tied to apples was one of my favourite features and one of the earliest inspirations I had picked up from my travels on wedding blogs.  I love apples, especially British grown Cox’s – so James went and tracked a couple of crates down the day before the wedding.”

Apple and luggage tag place names

“I hired the Kilner style clip top water bottles and filled them with cucumber and water – the result is a surprisingly more refreshing drink than just water.”

Kilner bottles of cucumber water

‘Happy Wedding Helpers’

“We had ‘Happy Wedding Helpers’ to take care of all the behind the scenes things – and essentially we couldn’t have done it without them – along with the combined efforts from other friends and family members!  There’s too many names to list individually – they know who they are!  A special thanks to my friend Katie for helping me to stay calm throughout and hydrated with endless cups of nettle tea.”

Wedding helpers in matching aprons

“The helpers were friends of the family and we employed them to help with all the things that James and I really didn’t want to have to worry about on the day!  They were worth their weight in gold – every little detail that I had planned and had described to them they executed with wonderful precision.”

Having had ‘wedding helpers’ at my own wedding I can confirm everything that Jodie said – they are truly worth their weight in gold for a homemade wedding.

Kids’ corner

Blackboard wedding sign

“We put together a ‘Kids Creative Corner’ with  lots of fun and messy things to make, primarily set up to amuse the little ones during the speeches.  I think some children stayed there for a good few hours though!  My friend Hannah who’s a primary school teacher, provided inspiration for the activities and kindly brought along some little aprons!”

From pretty flowergirl to painting princess…

Kids wedding painting table

Inspired by a recent trip to Canada, Jodie and James set up a S’mores table: “S’mores are a Canadian treat that we loved when we went to Canada – marshmallows melted with choccie spread and then squidged between two biscuits!  Alas no one lit the fire pit but they were all eaten so raw marshmallows certainly didn’t put people off.”

S'mores wedding station

The pie truck

Jodie and James’ wedding guests were well and truly spoiled, and as if all the previous edible goodies weren’t enough, they had a pie trailers in the evening as well!

Wedding pie truck

A friend and old boss of Jodie’s runs Purepie and agreed to bring along one of his pie truck to serve food in the evening. “Purepie is part of my heritage and so it was crucial that pie should feature at some point over the weekend.  They make the most delicious pies, with some firm favourites like steak, horseradish and ale, lamb, new potato and fresh mint – and a veggie option of spicy butterbean and cheddar.”

Wedding pie truck

Despite the pie stall nearly not making it to the wedding after breaking down on route (eek!), delicious pies were served up all evening beneath a personalised sign that read ‘Jodie and James’s Pie Shop’.

Wedding guest eating pies

A hedgerow inspired wedding cake

As Jodie and James chose to celebrate their wedding over a weekend, they were able to space out their festivities.  It wasn’t until the the Sunday, after lunch, that they cut their wedding cake, which was a spectacular sponge cake decorated with berries and lavender.  “I knew that I’d quite like a cake that looked real and like the kind you’d buy at a village fete, and although I am a great lover of cake, I’m no good at baking.”

Hedgerow inspired sponge wedding cake

Lucy Cheetham from Juicy Lucy Cupcakes made a tiered sponge wedding cake, that they decorated with lavender and a “jumble” of berries: “You can’t beat a Devon lane lined with hedgerows bursting with berries and wild flowers.  The cake was placed on a huge tree stump that had been cleaned and sanded down by one of the guests.”

Stacked sponge wedding cake with berries

Evening festivities

In the evening Jodie and James celebrated with an incredible line up of music, including a Bhangra band and DJ.

Bhangra band

Jodie and James' wedding

“For the evening’s entertainment we had the best line up ever, we had a Bhangra band to start – I thought some people would dance but I hadn’t expected such a descent onto the dance floor from everyone.  We even had a girls versus boys dance off!”

Bhangra wedding band

Wedding dancing

Richard Rayner Photography

“Then the lead Bhangra guy spun both James and I around individually as part of a Indian traditionally wedding dance – I couldn’t stop smiling!”

Bhangra band wedding dance

Bhangra band wedding dance

The second band of the night had fallen through, and little did Jodie know that rather than spending the past few months looking for a replacement, James had in fact been hiring a rehearsal space and practising songs with his groomsmen to play at the wedding!  “The brilliant thing was that they were actually very awesome.  I was in complete raptures when they came on as I had no idea – it was the best wedding present I could have possibly asked for.”

Dapper groomsmen

Groom playing in wedding band

Jodie told me this picture is of her and James’ mum “being true groupies”!

Wedding dancing

“Best bits”

When I asked Jodie about her favourite memories, she said that the whole weekend just makes her smile.  “James and I spent the month afterwards saying do you remember that, do you remember this, wasn’t that incredible, wasn’t that just the best!  We had so many lovely thank you cards from our friends and family saying how much they’d enjoyed the day and that they had so much fun!”

Bride and grooms shoes

One special memory she did share with me was on the day after their wedding.  “James and I woke up at 6am the morning after with the sun streaming through the window as we lay in bed. We went downstairs before anyone else was up to survey the aftermath of the party.”

Richard Rayner Photography

“All seemed calm but there were a few die hard party-goers asleep on the sofas in the ‘Lazy Lounge’, and a few discarded pie pots out in the garden – this pleased me no end, as I hoped that the next day would resemble a festival to some degree!  We then went out into the garden – I was in my dressing gown – and we took pictures of each other in the photobooth.”

The photographer

Richard Rayner Photography

“Our wedding photographer was Richard Rayner, who was great – we’d had a peek at his photos online and loved his style.  He came along in the morning and stayed late at our request because we really wanted to capture some of the evenings dancing and fun!  He photographed our wedding beautifully and was very accommodating of the ideas I had for the photos we had taken of just the two of us.”

Richard Rayner Photography

Happily ever after…

Following their full-on epic wedding weekend, Jodie and James went on a ‘mini-moon’ to Dartmouth where they stayed in a nautical styled flat, rested, and ate out at great restaurants. They also enjoyed a chartered picnic boat trip (I so want to go on one of these!) complete with lobster, champagne and puddings!  Jodie and James have just got back from their ‘main-moon’ in India where I hear they had an incredible adventure.

Jodie and James' wedding

Wowzers.  What a wedding!  Having spent the best part of an afternoon writing up this beautiful wedding, I am so envious of all the guests who attended what must have been an incredible weekend of celebrations.  A huge thank you to Jodie and James for allowing me to share their wedding with you, and to Jodie who took the time to tell me all about it (I’m so sorry I couldn’t include even more details!).

Do take a look at all the other real weddings I’ve featured on the blog.

{ Details }

Photography: Richard Rayner Photography
Venue: Colehayes Park
Wedding Dress #1: Fenela Sadler Bridal, South Moulton, Devon
Wedding Dress #2: Caroline Castigliano
Groom’s Suit: The Kooples
Flowergirls’ Hair Bands: House of Lily
Flowers: The Wilde Bunch
Pre-Ceremony Canapes: The Sea Shanty
Wedding Catering: Cotswold Cooks (recommended supplier of The Natural Wedding Company)
Bread: Hobbs House Bakery
Wedding Cake: Juicy Lucy Cupcakes
Lighting: Party Lights
Deckchairs & other props: Devon Vintage China (recommended supplier of The Natural Wedding Company)
Giant Party Games: The Very Vintage Hire Company
Pie Stall: Purepie
Bhangra Band: RSVP Bhangra
Post-Ceremony Entertainment: Goronwy Thom
Catering for Friday evening: The Thali Cafe
Ice Cream on Sunday: Molton Ice


Lucy on 6. February, 2013

Looks like a fantastic weekend full of love and laughter! Congratulations Jodie and James! I love the butterfly story – how wonderful.

So many thoughtful, beautiful details, I am a little bit obsessed with the milk churn flowers, mint flowers in the prosecco, naked cake and cucumber water! Plus a Bhangra band, so much fun! x

Rebecca on 6. February, 2013

As one of ‘best ladies’ and mother of the little cherub at this wedding, I can honestly say the whole thing was a glorious work of art. Jo had a ‘vision’, which unfolded, albeit in a rather last-minute way, into something magical. I genuinely have NO IDEA how she managed to plan and organise all these equisite details, while working full time, and doing a masters degree, and then stay so calm and centred on the day. I have suggested a new career as a wedding planner. Great write up girls- it does ‘otterbury’ weekend justice.

Michael from Bohemian Weddings on 7. February, 2013

So many details, cool things happening and great shots. Having free range of such a cool venue for a whole weekend is amazing! It’s the second wedding this week I have seen where Hay Bales are used as seating, I have always loved that idea.

The best shot for me is Jodie lying on the wall looking amazing with her dress and hair trailing down 🙂

Layla Mayville on 7. February, 2013

What a fun wedding!!! I absolutely love the bridal bouquet and the lace table seating chart. Everything looks beautiful.

Chloe on 8. February, 2013

It really was the most incredible weekend, I feel a little bit emotional reading through it all!

Jan & Alex Davies on 9. February, 2013

What a lovely blog post! We loved supplying our accessories and helping to set up Jodie & James’ wedding! It was great fun working with family & guests & seeing it all come together. You must have so many wonderful memories of this weekend and we wish you a long and happy marriage together. xxx

Some businesses to check out if you’re planning an event | Opportunity Plus South West on 8. April, 2013

[…] Natural Wedding Company is another wedding blog, which featured an amazing wedding that I was lucky enough to […]

Mariage: DIY plan de table dentelle et kraft | Happy Chantilly on 6. October, 2014

[…] Richard Rayner Photography via The natural Company […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to blog