This might be kind of an obvious thing to say but I. Love. Weddings. After dogs, cheesy chips and gravy (not mixed together) they might just be my favourite thing in the entire world. I was lucky enough to spend Saturday 10th September in beautiful Cornwall watching the even more beautiful Emily C (in nine months time I’ll be the new Emily B having just wed my fiancé, sorry to confuse you folks!) promise her forever to the bearded love of her life. It was beyond perfect in every single way and I shamelessly cried so much that by 2pm I was wearing precisely no make-up. Check out my Instagram feed for all of the balloon-laden, dodgem-darting, carousel-spinning, candy floss-fuelled action.
Just as our darling Em made her wedxit (wedding exit; does it work?) in a vintage bus stuffed full to bursting with and streaming more colourful balloons than the house from Up, today’s gorgeous bride, Anna, made the newlywed voyage from her ceremony to reception in a pretty blue boat on the river Dart with her husband. The bride, who works in TV, and her husband James, who works in Sport, wed on 11th June this year at the beautiful St Petrox Church, followed by a reception at James’ family home in the surrounds of picturesque Devon.
Photography by Jay Rowden Photography
“As we had so much natural beauty at both the church and Chipton, we wanted to emphasise this. St Petrox is in a stunning location, right on the water, and James and his family have attended many services here over the years. James’ family home, Chipton Barton, was the natural choice for afterwards, meaning we could have a relaxed vibe in a beautiful and meaningful setting, with the freedom to create the kind of day we wanted.
The flowers and trees in the marquee were the main focus, and our boat departure at the church made the most of being right on the river Dart.”
“The flowers for the wedding party were provided by Wildflower Devon. I opted for neutral colours and lots of foliage, for a really natural look. Roxy also selected and sourced the flowers for the reception (including ferns, as Fern is my maiden name), which our mothers and James’ cousin Carolyn arranged in bottles I had been collecting since we got engaged. We also added some foraged flowers and foliage from around Chipton.”
Anna wore a stunningly intricate lace gown by one of our brilliant Little Book for Brides suppliers; fashion-forward and totally fabulous Rembo Styling. I’m a little bit in love with its statement back and beautifully feminine fabric; such a perfect pairing with the bride’s golden tresses and peachy blooms.
“My dress was Imma by Rembo Styling and I purchased it from the Perfections boutique in Worcester, which is where my parents live. I wanted a dress that was a bit unusual, understated but still special, and something I’d feel like myself in. I also wanted to prioritise comfort and being able to move about easily, as I knew I’d be getting on and off a boat, and Chipton is in a very rural location, set in a valley. The Imma wasn’t what I thought I’d choose, but when I tried it on I felt completely right in it and my parents’ reaction when the curtain was pulled back confirmed it.”
Jack, a friend of Anna and James, supplied his chauffeuring services in his very smart BMW. Anna has known Jack since she was 16 and would thoroughly recommend asking a friend to drive you for an altogether more relaxed and fun experience.
Anna wore fresh flowers in her hair, provided by florist Roxy at Wildflower Devon, and a spritz of her everyday perfume. The bride did her own softly glowing make-up, using her wedding day as the perfect excuse to treat herself to an array of lovely new products.
“For my ‘something borrowed’, I wore some of my mother’s jewellery; a small pearl necklace and a gold bracelet of hers I have always admired, which was a present from my father to my mother on her 21st birthday. We popped to The Cutting Lounge in Dartmouth to get our hair blow-dried – I wanted a relaxed morning with my parents and bridesmaids. We exchanged presents and had a lovely lunch with mimosas, while my bridesmaid Ali’s boyfriend, Kerry, did our ironing!”
Guests were given a beautifully rustic Order of Service, created using a bespoke illustration by Emma at Emilou Makes, a design also echoed on the couples’ invitations. The gorgeous old church, twinkling with candlelight, was also scattered with blousy peach blooms and foliage created by the Dartmouth & District Flower Club, while Anna and her maids carried bouquets by Wildflower Devon.
“My father Joe walked me down the aisle. I walked in to The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba, by Handel. Our church service was quite traditional and we loved this aspect of it – the Dartmouth Church Choir sang Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring and The Lord Is My Shepherd during the signing of the registers, and we also had bell ringers, which was very special.”
“I would thoroughly recommend asking the church choir to join you at your wedding, it really added to the atmosphere.”
The groom looked exceptionally dapper in a suit, tie and ticket square from TM Lewin, a bespoke made to measure shirt by Harrington and Thomas, and Jeffrey West shoes. James finished off his stylish ensemble with silver Posh Totty cufflinks, gifted to him by his lovely bride.
“Our friend Clara introduced us. In fact, seven years ago, having started working with James, she rang me to say ‘I’ve just met your husband.’ We’ve been together ever since and got engaged in April 2015; Clara did a reading at our wedding. James’ sister Lily read a beautiful extract from the Colossians. Our friend Clara read a passage from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, by Louis de Bernieres.”
“The ceremony was incredibly special and emotional, and I loved greeting all our guests outside the church, especially those who we don’t get to see very often.
We then left in a boat to travel to the reception, and it was amazing to have those few minutes on our own together, being waved off by everyone.”
A short, achingly romantic, just married boat ride later, Anna and James arrived at their reception in the gorgeous surroundings of the groom’s family home.
This was the part of the day that allowed Anna to unleash her inner craft goddess, creating all manner of homemade decorations, even sourcing a stunning old butcher’s table found in one of the barns at James’ home to act as the cake table, after a scrubbing up by the groom and his cousin Michael of course.
Anna and James chose the exceptionally talented Jay Rowden to document their day. Jay is a masterful storyteller, known for drawing on influences from the world of fashion, fine art and cinema. The shots of Anna and James sailing away in their little boat of love are certainty worthy of the silver screen and also conjure sweet images of the owl and the pussycat in their beautiful pea-green boat.
“Our photographer was Jay Rowden. I used to work with Jay, and I have always been a fan of his photography. We were delighted that he was available for our wedding, and we are thrilled with the photos. Not only is Jay a very talented photographer, but he is also a pleasure to be around for twelve hours.”
“We chose our friend Lauren’s company A Piece of the Party to video the day. Lauren and her team are television producers by trade, and they create a ‘best bits’ video of your day, which includes all the key moments but is edited in a pacey way so both you and your guests are likely to go back and watch the video again and again.”
Anna and her maids are such a beautifully cohesive group in their varied white lace – I just adore bridesmaids in white.
Did you catch the wild woodland inspired wedding with bridesmaids in boho white dresses we featured on the blog recently? Our bride and her best ladies wore a pretty selection of sandals, which perfectly complemented their gorgeous gowns.
“All three of us weren’t keen on very traditional bridesmaids dresses, so we spent a long time choosing the right thing. I didn’t want them to look too formal, but I also didn’t want to choose something that a guest might turn up in. Finding the bridesmaids dresses was one of the hardest tasks when planning the wedding, but a few weeks before the big day we finally found their white lace dresses at Warehouse.”
“Having scoured the shops for gold sandals, willing to blow the budget for something special which I could wear again, I ended up in £15 shoes picked up from Dorothy Perkins in the sale, five minutes before my fitting appointment around the corner. The girls had the same pair of leather sandals from Carvela but Ellie wore white and Ali wore gold. The girls also wore flowers in their hair, from my florist.”
“I love arts and crafts so I was in my element. I made the A & J letters behind the top table from cardboard and papier maché, and decorated them with gold leaf. I made some of the fan decorations from floral paper and a glue gun. I made individual place names for every guest, with a different personalised comment on each one.
I made the table plan using our bedroom mirror, and wrote our hash-tag on another mirror that we found in our loft at home.”
“I hand-painted all the wooden signs and made the table candle holders from empty jam jars with builders sand in the bottom. I made the table numbers so they looked like cricket scorecards, and we borrowed the sawn-off cricket ball holders from our friends Adrian and Daisy. Our friend Charlie made the brilliant light up ‘Bar’ sign.”
“We borrowed a beautiful old bureau from James’ granddad and used this for a guestbook table, along with a Polaroid camera and plenty of film. Our Polaroid guestbook is one of our favourite things to look back on.”
For an extra burst of foliage, Anna and James sourced trees in terracotta pots from GardenTime and James’ mum made the couple’s cake, with help from a friend, which was then decorated with peach roses from florist Roxy.
“We were very fortunate to have the amazing Jane Baxter of Wild Artichokes making our food. Jane is a renowned chef and food writer, previously of the Riverford Field Kitchen, and the River Café. Jane also writes for the Guardian, and for Leon cookbooks. Her business partner Sam was our event manager for the day, and together they are a formidable team.”
“We chose Jane and Sam as we love the style of food – relaxed Italian-style sharing plates. They weren’t fazed by the many challenges of having a reception in the garden, including a leaking marquee and electricity cuts!”
After the emotional gravity of their church ceremony, Anna thoroughly enjoyed her new husband’s hilarious, slliiigghhtly long speech, not to mention his surprise acoustic Rihanna medley later in the evening. He’s a keeper!
“I loved James’ speech which was very, very funny indeed, despite being so long that our MC and Chief Usher Steve had to give our guests a warning to go to the loo beforehand. We had a great band called Gravity, who travelled all the way from London for us who we booked through Tailored Entertainment. Our first dance was I Knew You Were Trouble by Taylor Swift, performed by our band Gravity. We didn’t want anything too serious or soppy!”
Words of Wedded Wisdom
“We were lucky enough to be guests at some incredible weddings that took place between getting engaged and our own big day. When you are planning your day, try not to compare your wedding to other weddings you attend. Each wedding has special and unique elements to it, and these aren’t the same elements across different weddings. Work out what the unique aspects are for yours, and emphasise them.
Having our wedding at home required an awful lot of work, both from us, and from James’ family who did a huge amount to get Chipton ready for the big day. Make sure you relinquish control and accept all the help offered by family and friends. Having them help out and feel part of it was one of the most special aspects of the day.
For brides prone to tears, I’d advise asking someone to be responsible for your make-up bag. I underestimated how much make-up I’d lose during a very emotional church service… and then crying with laughter during the speeches.”
Anna, thank you so much for those very sage words of advice. I can 100% attest to the need for a trusted lady to check on your make-up given that mine lasted all of ten seconds into fellow writer Emily’s ceremony. Luckily my fiancé was on hand to let me know, “I don’t really know what’s happened but you’ve not got make-up on your cheeks anymore – don’t worry you don’t look horrible.” True love eh?
A huge thanks too to James for allowing us to share in your day with your beautiful wife, and of course a big thank you to Jay Rowden Photography for these evocative images. If you’re craving more, Instagram won’t disappoint – just search #woodroofwedding and continue to experience this day vicariously. And for more brides rocking Rembo Styling, our archives never fail to provide oodles of wedspo.
Love, Em x
- Photographer - Jay Rowden Photography
- Videographer - A Piece of the Party
- Venue - St Petrox Church, Dartmouth
- Wedding Dress - Imma by Rembo Styling via Perfections
- Shoes - Dorothy Perkins
- Groom - TM Lewin suit, tie and pocket square + Harrington and Thomas shirt + Jeffrey West shoes + Posh Totty cufflinks
- Bridesmaids - Warehouse dresses + Carvela shoes
- Florist - Wildflower Devon + Dartmouth & District Flower Club
- Stationery - Illustration by Emilou Makes
- Catering - Wild Artichokes
- Entertainment - Gravity Band via Tailored Entertainment
- Hair Stylist - The Cutting Lounge