Vintage Lavender Bags and Brooch Bouquets for a Barn Wedding in Suffolk…

Good morning! Beautiful sunny one to boot {if not a little chilly} from where I'm sat too :)  If you haven't visited the blog over this bank holiday weekend, take a moment to check out these links

  Becoming Self-Employed – The Trouble With Twitter
  Fabulous New Sponsors!
  Zankyou – Wedding Gift List Service
  Eco-Chic Wedding Photography Competition worth £1,400 ends midnight tonight!

And after all that, it's time for a real wedding :) 

Amanda and Paul got married on 9 April 2011 at The Church of Our Lady & St John , Sudbury, Suffolk, followed by a reception at The Hall, Milden, Suffolk, and these beautiful photographs were sent in by Sussex Wedding Photographer, Annamarie Stepney.

Amanda's dress was called 'Sylvia' – a purchase from London's Beau Monde boutique…

"I was clear from the outset I wanted something fairly simple and soft, romantic, full length and with sleeves.  I didn’t want to spend a fortune and I wear a lot of vintage clothes so had naturally been looking for a vintage dress but the right thing just wasn't turning up.

By chance a colleague recommended Sylvia and she was wonderful – helping me to design a dress made from part of a lace vintage dress I had found.  The whole process was easy and fuss-free."

Love My Dress Wedding Blog – Photography Copyright (c) 2011, Annamarie Stepney

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The couple chose The Hall in Milden, Suffolk as their venue…

"We wanted somewhere rural, atmospheric, informal and joyful, ideally where the immediate wedding party could stay on site for a few days . Food and wine is a love of ours so we yearned for a venue where we could have maximum flexibility to work with a caterer of our choice and provide our own alcohol.  When we stumbled upon The Hall, after seeing so many identikit hotel venues, we knew immediately it was the perfect place. 

Juliet and Christopher, the owners, only host a few weddings each year and so we were delighted when they allowed us to use the venue and B&B rooms onsite.   Sealing the deal was the fact that when we checked out the local church, we found that the current priest had been Paul's priest many years ago in London. It all seemed to fall together!"

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"I collected a selection of vintage hankies and made them into lavender bags as favours for the female guests…"

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Amanda's shoes were by London shoe designer, Harriet Wilde

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"A very talented milliner and friend of my sister, Amy Johnson, worked with a silk flower I already had sourced, and created my beautiful headpiece and birdcage veil.  She doesn’t have a website yet but can be contacted at [email protected].

I wore a pearl bracelet Paul had bought me for my birthday a few months after we met and my earrings were Swarovski.  The other key accessory was my vintage brooch bouquet!  I'd spent months collecting vintage brooches and then a lovely day wiring them together around my mum's kitchen table with the help of my mum, aunt and some friends.  I was very proud of the final result and it's lovely to be able to keep it as a momento of the day."

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"My Bridesmaid, Lisa, wore a vintage dress, which she chose herself and sourced from  Frock Me Vintage Fair – one of my favourite vintage hunting grounds!"

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Paul wore a gorgeous made-to-measure brown velvet suit and white shirt from Trotter and Deane in Bury St Edmunds…

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"As a link to our dads who we both lost some years ago, Paul carried his Dad's wallet and wore my Dad's cufflinks…"

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"We decorated the church with white paper pompoms, made by PomPom factory and the barn with candles on mismatched vintage saucers and brass candlesticks, fairy lights, hessian table-runners, wooden carved placenames, lots and lots of flowers in glass jars and vintage vases and strings of photos of our family and friends taken over the years…"

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"My engagement ring was antique from Hatton Garden and we chose to have very  traditional plain gold wedding bands…"

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"Our planning started with a blank sheet of paper and a bottle of wine and we wrote down some words which captured how we wanted it all to feel: happy, surprising, fun, warm, love.  All of our decisions tracked back to what those words mean to us.

We used music and décor to surprise, to raise a smile, to help our guests relax in the informality. The creative input from so many friends added to an atmosphere of welcome and sharing, as did the family wedding photos, strings of photos showing good times with family and friends through the years and the handmade elements they could take away; the carved placenames and vintage lavenedr bags."

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"We invited buskers from Columbia Rd flower market, around the corner from where we live in in East London, to play traditional folk music at the garden party drinks reception. 

They played a selection of Irish, Scottish and French folk tunes which brought a lovely, festival-like, feeling to the afternoon.  Contact Kevin at [email protected]…"

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"We wanted natural, country cottage style flowers so Juliet at The Hall recommended Doreen, who owns flower stalls in Bury St Edmunds, as a source of fresh flowers for us to arrange ourselves.

I borrowed some mason jars and antique bottles from another DIY bride I made contact with through a wedding blog, collected a few more and some charity shop vases and Paul and I visited Doreeen to chose the flowers the morning before the wedding. I then spent a lovely afternoon in the sunshine filling pots with help from my mum and a family friend…"

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"We had a stacked Cheese cake made by our caterer and a selection of traditional party cakes made by my sister, Anthea Smyth, who runs her own small cake making business.  Contact Anthea through Cakesmyth…"

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"Our first dance was Louis Armstrong's – A Kiss to Build a Dream On, chosen because it has such a romantic and timeless feel which we loved…"

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"We wanted everyone to feel able to join in with the dancing later on in the evening and we also wanted a little surprise that would make everyone laugh – so we came up with line dancing – to disco and electronic classics!  Jason, our DJ and a friend of Paul’s, teamed up with Hillbilly Gill (Barn Dance and Line Dance Agency) to do two sets of line-dancing, turning a room of novices into fully fledged cow boys & girls within an hour.  Everyone got stuck in and danced, laughed and tripped over each other…..

Jason finished off the evening with his classic set of 80’s pop from the barn mezzanine, looking for all the world like Fatboy Slim looking out at the adoring masses, albeit on a farm…."

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Words of Wedded Wisdom…

"Work out what is really important to you both about the day and keep that at the heart of your planning.  We found that if we were ever worrying about some detail this really helped refocus us on the things that mattered to us and allowed us to just let go of the things that didn’t.  
A wedding is such a lovely project to plan together so have fun with it it – we did, and we did as much as we could together so that it reflected us both.

Invite your friends and family to use their creative talents as much as possible -  it all feels so much more special and personal, and isn't bad for the budget either!  When you do choose external suppliers take time to choose those that share your vision and are passionate about what they do, it makes all the difference.  Right from the outset we were both really clear about what was important to us; and that was to create a day which would be full of love, joy and laughter. One where friends and family would feel a sense of welcome and belonging at every part of the day from the church to the garden party and reception. 

Creating a feeling was therefore more important than creating a look and we didn’t want to be constrained to a theme or for anything to feel overly ‘styled’…"

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♥   ♥   ♥

Brides dress – Beau Monde
Brides veil – Family friend
Brides shoes – Harriet Wilde
Brides Acessories – Harriet Wilde
Groom – Trotter and Deane + shoes by Oliver Sweeney
Bridesmaids – Original vintage
Venue – The Hall, Milden, Suffolk
Photographer – Annamarie Stepney
Flowers – Combo of DIY & flowers provided by stall holder at Bury St Edmunds
Cake – Cakesmyth
Decor – Paper pompoms from the PomPom factory
Entertainment – Hillbilly Gill Barn/Line Dance Agency

♥   ♥   ♥

Congratulations Amanda and Paul on a beautiful wedding.  Thank you too, to Love My Dress Sponsor, Annamarie Stepney for submitting these beautiful images…

"Annamarie Stepney – -  Annamarie did a wonderful job capturing the mood and atmosphere of the day and so many moments that bring back a flood of memories. 

We loved her informal style and the fact that she was clearly interested in weddings that didn't follow a pattern.  She was so inobtrusive and it felt more like having a friend there!"

You can see more beautiful work from Photographer Annamarie Stepney here and more Barn Wedding Inspiration here too 🙂

Pop back at 12 to find out if you are the winner of our Cherished Vintage headpiece giveaway competition 🙂

Much love,

Annabel xXx


Annabel View all Annabel's articles

Founder of Love My Dress. Passionate Podcaster and Editor. Annabel lives in rural North Yorkshire with her husband and business partner Philip, their two daughters and menagerie of furry hounds. She loves photography, meditation, walking, being outdoors and star gazing. She is fierce when it comes to championing talent within the wedding industry and when she's not working on Love My Dress, she supports her husband Philip in the running of the family's sustainable flower farm and floral design business, Moonwind Flowers. In 2013, she became a published author.