TNWC Real Brides: introducing Caroline and Gareth’s laid back eco-friendly farm wedding
It’s pretty exciting to be into the third week of introducing you to my TNWC Real Brides – so far we’ve met Emma and Chris, Nik and Chris, Myfanwy and Tom, and Sarah and Lee. If you haven’t yet read about their wedding plans, grab a cup of something hot and enjoy a lovely read all their different ideas.
This week I have two more TNWC Real Brides to welcome, starting today with Caroline who is marrying her Mr-to-be Gareth on their family farm in Nottinghamshire. I love that Caroline dreamed of being a farmers wife and ended up falling in love with a farmer – happy reading everyone!
Caroline + Gareth: 18th May 2013, Nottinghamshire
As soon as I met Gareth I had a sneaky feeling he was ‘the one’ – I’ve always had a little dream of living a simple life and being a farmers wife, surrounded by the smell of freshly baked bread, with roaring fires, and of course reality isn’t actually quite like that – the smell of bread is usually overpowered by the smell of cows, and being woken up at 4am each morning as the boys start work isn’t always brilliant when you fancy a little lie in on a Sunday , but I still love it just as much as I always thought I would!
Gareth asked me to marry him in July last year, proposing with a beautiful ruby and diamond ring that had belonged to his grandmother. It was a simple and lovely proposal (he’s not a down-on-one-knee kind of guy!) in a gorgeous little B&B in the Cotswolds where we were visiting for the weekend. After I had recovered (I nearly fell off my chair with surprise – I had just about given up hope of him ever actually getting around to it!) we were treated to a bottle of champagne from the lovely staff who had clocked what had happened.
We don’t have a theme for our wedding, though I guess if I had to choose some words that describe our plans the closest, I would say handmade, rustic, informal, sustainable, and a jolly good knees up!!
I’m trying to make sure that everyone involved is a local, small business (I set up my own businesses REloved last year so I know how much support and help new little businesses need!) which is a fun challenge, and I’m meeting some lovely people along the way and finding lots of talented local folk who are getting involved.
I have never been one for a big white wedding, and I’ve always known that if I ever did get married, I would want to make sure that my wedding days about our marriage, and a proper celebration of us both. Of course we want our day to be lovely, but we also don’t want to get all caught up in the planning of the day itself and forget about the point of it all!
Meg the Border Collie
We’re getting married in our local village church, and then coming back to the farm and having a picnic in a big barn, followed by lots of dancing and merriment to music provided by a very fabulous local ceilidh band ‘The James Joyce Band’ who are completely amazing and just brilliant!
Every morning when I go out with the dogs I peek over the barn door and spend a few minutes dreaming about our wedding day– admittedly it’s sometimes a little bit hard to visualise it when the barn is currently very full of cow and calves and every time it rains there are lots of little puddles on the floor – but for some reason it doesn’t worry me – I just have a sneaky feeling we’re going to have an amazing day!
The barn venue full of cows!
It’s pretty rustic, and a bit rough around the edges, but it’s home, and I love the thought of celebrating our wedding where we live – I’ll remember it every day when I look out my window!
My bridesmaids are all choosing their own dresses, and although I’ve given them some ideas of the colours I like (soft, pastel shades of pinks/mint greens/peaches), my only real rule is that they all wear something that they love and feel beautiful in and will wear again – I can’t bear the thought of them buying dresses that will forever sit, gathering dust in their wardrobes after the wedding day!
Sally from Upsticks Boutique (who was featured here on The Natural Wedding Company) is creating some gorgeous matching clutch bags, and a local company Threaded With Love are making corsage brooches for them all to wear, as part of their bridesmaids gifts, which will tie them all in together.
Threaded With Love are making brooches for the girls, so they can easily be used to brighten up a jacket or a lovely cardigan after the wedding. I want as much as possible from our wedding to have uses after the day itself, and I love the idea that elements from our wedding will go on to be used again and again!
We’re collecting some special fabrics from our family members who are no longer here for Maggie from Threaded With Love to use along with her gorgeous vintage fabric stash, so they’ll be really special to us both.
Some of our flowers will be grown by a lady who lives in the neighbouring village who has a wildflower meadow and sells them at her garden gate. I often pop down to see her on a weekend – she makes the absolute best raspberry jam! – so she’s growing cornflowers, Sweet Williams and some other May blooms which we will arrange in jam jars on the tables.
After reading about her on The Natural Wedding Company blog, and realising that her style fits in perfectly with our wildflowers, we’ve enlisted the help of Rachel from Catkin, to make all the boys buttonholes, and mine and the bridesmaids bouquets using wildflowers and herbs that she’ll grow in her wildflower garden at Doddington Hall.
I LOVED the thought of gathering masses of cow parsley to fill milk churns with, as Charlie from The Natural Wedding Company did for her wedding, but I think we might be a bit too early in the year for that – so maybe we’ll use masses of gyp instead!
Our Wedding Stationary
My gorgeous friend Sally from Upsticks Boutique has designed our wedding stationary for us, and created something that is brilliantly beautiful, unique and stunning. She’s been working on the invites, and I was SO excited to see what she created for us. She knows Gareth and I so well that she captured us perfectly (Sally, Gareth and I went to school together, but romance didn’t blossom for me and Gareth until we met again when we were nearly 30!).
Our embroidered wedding invitations
All the milk from our farm goes straight to a local dairy to make Long Clawson Stilton cheese, so it seemed a natural choice to decide on a picnic lunch for our wedding meal, with all the ingredients supplied by local producers. I used to work for a company just 2 miles down the road who have been making the most beautiful home cured and cooked hams since 1970 – so we’ll have ham from them, and Gareth’s dad and another friend of ours work for a local butcher, so they will be supplying pork pies (including special mini ones that will be the boys wedding favours).
We’ll have bread form the Welbeck bakery (they set up an amazing School of Artisan Food a few years ago which I would LOVE to do some courses at if I ever have the time!) which is absolutely the best bread I have ever found, and a friend of mine is making some chutneys and relishes to accompany everything.
For desserts, we’re asking the avid bakers amongst our friends and family to bring a cake or a dessert with them instead of a wedding gift, and we’ll have a dessert table.
I’m not sure I would be able to do it all without the very brilliant Karen from Darby and Joan who is on board to help with planning and general organising of the day! It’s such a busy time for me with my little shop not even a year old too, so it’s been amazing to have Karen at the end of a phone to answer my never ending questions. She’s bringing her girls along on the day to help out, and she’s helping me with all our table dressings and props for the day too – we’re going for a hessian and lace theme in the barn, and have managed to track down some small straw bales so they’ll be the seating for everyone, covered in old picnic blankets of my Nans (she had heaps!) and our friends are madly sewing bunting and garlands to decorate the barn.
I hope you’ve enjoyed finding out all about Caroline and Gareth’s plans for their laid back eco-friendly farm wedding. Also a big thank you to my sister Izzy Burton for creating another beautiful illustration for my TNWC Real Brides feature.
Check back on Thursday for our next TNWC Real Brides – and this lovely lady is from the USA and has some great ideas for her wedding!
Images: (1) Illustration by Izzy Burton; (2-4) Brides own pictures; (5) Brides own picture