A Maggie Sottero Gown for a Charming River Cottage Wedding

Lovelies, wherever you are in the world, I hope you’ve had your breakfast, lunch or dinner, as I guarantee that after you set your eyes on these glorious images by Amber Marie Photography you’ll be peckish! Get set for a food lover’s paradise with this most charming wedding held at River Cottage HQ in Devon, and complete with fabulous florals by The Real Cut Flower Garden, a dress from Miss Bush and heels by Rachel Simpson, who are all treasured members of the helpful little wedding resource, Little Book for Brides. Annabel shared this delightful wedding last week that the cottage hosted and I can so see why it’s the perfect wedding venue if you want an outdoor option, a pretty countryside as a backdrop, and a chance to feast on tempting, locally sourced, delicious food. The lovely couple, web designer Abi, and Rich, a marketing manager, wed on the 13th of August 2016 with a humanist ceremony in the beautiful River Cottage HQ garden.

“We both wanted the wedding to be very relaxed and personal to us. We love being outdoors and close to nature, so wanted the wedding to reflect this and have a natural-outdoorsy feel. Having an outdoor humanist ceremony was amazing as we could make it really personal with our own vows and were able to say them under a beautiful arch of sweet peas at the bottom of the garden. We didn’t want anything to formal or manicured in look and in keeping with the venue our decorations had a rustic and DIY feel, with lots of bunting, hand-decorated jam jars and wild flowers.”

Photography by Amber Marie Photography

Abi’s divine dress was by Maggie Sottero, bought from a firm favourite of us here at headquarters; Miss Bush bridal boutique in Ripley, Surrey (visit the Little Book For Brides listing).

“I love the simple silhouette combined with the stunning intricate beading work, which had a gorgeous modern vintage feel. The deep V back was a lovely feature too.”“We met in Kingston the summer after we’d both graduated on a night out. It was love at first site across the flashing dance floor in the cheese room! Rich proposed in the pretty village of Bray. It’s a lovely quintessentially British village on the Thames and we had a meal in one of the restaurants, then we went for a walk along the river and he popped the question on a quiet spot on the river bank. We were engaged for about two years before we started planning the wedding.”

Abi’s maids donned vintage 50’s-style dresses with their own floral print, made to order via Etsy, and paired them with funky green wellies found via Amazon.

They then added fresh flowers from the florist to complete their very pretty look, with hair by Reflections Axminster and make-up by Joanne Welch.

The stunning bride chose the ‘Ginger’ gold leather T-bar heel by Rachel Simpson (view their LBFB listing here). Abi’s wedding day scent was ‘Dewy Lily of the Valley and Star Anise’ by Molton Brown, gifted to her by work colleagues, and she added her mum’s diamond earrings as her ‘something borrowed’, then topped of her most stylish look with a fresh flower crown made for her by The Real Cut Flower Garden – check out their directory listing here.

“We really wanted wild, meadow type flowers that looked naturally beautiful and British. We also wanted to keep it local and found The Real Cut Flower Garden which were local to the area and perfect for us. We didn’t want too tight a theme colour wise and wanted it to look quite eclectic rather than too set.”

“Charlie was great to work with and gave us beautiful seasonal flowers for our bouquets and decorations. They tied in perfectly with the flowers that River Cottage added around the venue which were picked straight from their garden.”

“We fell in love with River Cottage HQ as soon as we went to look round. The setting is beautifully natural and rustic set in gorgeous rolling countryside. We loved the ethos of the place where all the food is locally sourced and a focus on organic produce, it really felt like we were getting back to and embracing nature in very way.”

“The staff immediately made us feel welcome and incredibly friendly without ever being pushy. You also have the whole venue for the day unlike some places, which was the icing on the cake!”

Rich chose a Marc Darcy tweed waistcoat, a burgundy silk knitted tie from T M Lewin, and shirt and shoes via Ted Baker, for his relaxed garden wedding attire.

Abi’s profession as a graphic and web designer meant the wedding stationery could be designed exactly how the couple liked and also helped to save pounds on the budget.

 “For the invites, RSVP’S and order of ceremony I created a simple design with natural branches and floral components printed in black ink on brown kraft paper for a rustic look. The invites were tied up with pink string and raffia giving them a lovely DIY feel and sealed with a Liberty print sticker. I created a website to match the invites for the guests to find info easily – abiandrich.co.uk – and for the save the date cards we had a stamp created from notonthehighstreet.com and used ink pads to stamp brown luggage tags to give it a handmade feel.”

The bride and her guests arrived for the ceremony in total style via tractor. Such fun! The couple chose a humanist ceremony, with beautiful songs sung live, and the readings included a personal one written and read by Abi’s brother.

“My wonderful father gave me away. We had a live singer throughout the ceremony – Kiara from Alive Network – which was lovely as she played a number of our favourite songs including Damian Rice’s ‘The Blower’s Daughter’ and ‘Wonderwall’ by Oasis. She then played in the garden in the afternoon and our first dance in the evening.”

“We had a humanist ceremony so put our own vows together. The ceremony was my favourite part as it felt so personal to us and it was really beautiful in the River Cottage garden.”

“Three readings were included: ‘Bring Me Sunshine’ from Morcambe and Wise, ‘He Never Leaves the Seat Up’ by Pam Ayres and my brother did the final reading that he wrote himself, which was wonderfully entertaining as well as touching.”

“We wanted simple bands so that mine would complement my engagement ring. They were in white gold from Mr Whibley’s and we personalised them by engraving our wedding date inside.”

“Many guests told us it was the best food they’ve tasted – it was absolutely outstanding. River Cottage HQ tailored a bespoke menu to our tastes based on seasonal and local produce. We went down there to talk through in person our favourite dishes and they put a unique menu together for us, which made it really special. From the Asian-inspired starter through to the main course of pork done three ways, they put so much care and attention in to each of the dishes and took the time to introduce and talk through all the dishes before serving – it was a real foodies paradise!”

“Getting the wedding photographer right was really important, as they would be capturing the day for us to remember forever. As well as their portfolio, personality was key, as we needed someone to put us at ease and slot in to our day. Amber from Amber Marie Photography was an absolute delight to work with; she was so easy to get on with and really listened to all out needs. She worked extremely hard and captured our day perfectly. The photos she has given us will be treasured forever.”

The decor included a plethora of handmade elements – and lots of pretty bunting strung from the ceiling.

“I created a chalkboard with the order of the day which was propped up against the farmhouse walls. I hand-decorated jam jars by wrapping in lace and hessian then filling with tea lights for the tables. We had hessian and lace runners for the tables decorated with log slices at intervals with the jam jars and an eclectic mix of bottles. And we had lots of bunting – a mixture of colourful bunting and hessian and lace ones. Other decor elements included an enamel jug filled with flowers, Fortnum and Mason hampers piled up with old suitcases, and alphabooks letters.”

“We arranged seed packets to be customised with our wedding date which had the words ‘Let Love Grow’ on the front with the wedding date and our names. Rich and I filled them with lavender seeds before the wedding. We also put on a DIY candy bar – a wooden sign and brown paper customised sweetie bags with our names on – where we encouraged guests to fill a bag of candy and take some away.”



“We opted for a naked red velvet cake from Cakeadoodledo that was decorated with fresh flowers and fruit, as we felt this suited the natural rustic theme that we were going for. Rich’s favourite flavour cake was red velvet so that was an easy decision and we loved the naked cake style with its pared down but rustic charm. We had the cake as our dessert and River Cottage served it with seasonal fruits and cream, which was delicious!”

Words of Wedded Wisdom

“Give yourself enough time to do things and don’t underestimate how long things take! Enlist help from friends and family and remember to take a step back to get perspective if things seem overwhelming. I’d also aim to have relaxation time and some pampering the week before the wedding if you can to unwind a bit before the big day.

We planned the wedding in six months which you can do, but it’s pretty full on if you plan to do a lot of things yourself, so if I did it again I would allow a bit more time so you can take it at a more leisurely pace.”

Right lovelies, after ogling over Amber’s pretty pictures I’m off to prepare a three-course meal for dinner! Thank you to Rich and Abi for sharing your completely lovely big day – it’s now on my bucket list to visit River Cottage HQ on my next trip to England.

If Abi’s gorgeous gown has taken your breath away, I urge you to bookmark this link for even more Maggie Sottero inspo. Happy browsing!

Love Jo -xo-

Credits & Thanks

Jo Singletary

Jo Singletary View all Jo's articles

Jo hails from and lives in sunny Australia, is currently working towards her dream of being a career coach and a few of her favourite things are watching the sunrise over the ocean, morning walks on the beach, butterflies, and supporting the guide dogs charity.

2 thoughts on “A Maggie Sottero Gown for a Charming River Cottage Wedding

  1. Oh I love this! What a beautiful gown and such amazing looking food. I’m a big fan of river cottage- I had no idea they did weddings!

  2. It’s been so lovely to relive Abi & Richard’s beautiful wedding. We love how dedicated River Cottage is to the environment, so it fits perfectly with our ethos! Thanks for sharing 🙂 Have a lovely day, Amber x

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