Suzanne Neville Elegance for an Intimate and Watercolour Inspired Barn Wedding

suzanne neville barn wedding

Where to begin with all of the loveliness of today’s wedding? It’s an absolute beauty, and I love it when a couple take such strong inspiration from the things they love, especially when it comes to books.

The breathtaking celebration I’m about to share with you contains a host of thoughtful, enchanting details, which I’m sure will weave a literary spell upon you.

Secondary school English teacher Charlotte married Quantity Surveyor Adam on the 5 August, in a heartfelt and intimate day filled with soft summer flowers and accents of gold, taking major inspiration from one of Charlotte’s favourite books, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. It’s wonderful to be able to share Charlotte and Adam’s highlights film with you, courtesy of videographer Molly Jane Lewis.

Film by Molly Jane Lewis

The couple chose the lovely rustic setting of the Barn at Brynich in Brecon, Mid-Wales for their day, deciding from the outset that a barn wedding would suit the informal feel of their day perfectly.

“The barn had lovely stone walls, was the apt size for our intimate wedding, and was in the most picturesque setting – we imagined having drinks on the lawn overlooking the Brecon Beacons after the ceremony… Another draw of the Barn at Brynich was that it was attached to a series of cottages and so had on-site accommodation. Our immediate family spent the whole weekend there with us setting up (there was a lot to do!) and packing up. It was lovely to have this time with them and turned the wedding day in to a wedding weekend.”

Images by Kate Stuart Photography.

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“We are so glad that we made the decision to have a videographer for our wedding! We found Molly Jane Lewis Films by pure coincidence and got in touch as soon as we found her, desperately hoping that she was free on our wedding date, which, thankfully she was… Her videos are bloomin’ brilliant and she is one of the coolest women… On the day, Molly and our photographer, Kate, were like a duo.”

“So many of our guests thought that they worked together. Like Kate, she made us feel so relaxed and like she was part of the wedding party, even though, we’d only ever met before once through the powers of Facetime. Our video is so much more amazing than we thought it would be – Molly is so talented. It’s the perfect mix of being fun, light-hearted and reflecting the immense love we felt from everyone on the day. Molly has an incredible eye for detail and she just got it!”

“As an English teacher, English Literature graduate and book-lover, books were always going to feature in the wedding somehow. Alice in Wonderland was the loose theme that seemed to tie everything together. I love the motifs in ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’: the many, many flowers, flamingos, hearts, keys, afternoon tea, etc.”

We’re long time fans of Suzanne Neville’s timeless and elegant bridal designs here at Love My Dress, and Charlotte’s choice of gown – ‘Fern’, purchased from High Society Bridal is beautiful and romantic with its intricate lace and capped sleeves.

“I found dress shopping enjoyable, but difficult; there were so many I liked and I had far too much time to dress shop! In the end, Fern had everything I wanted: it was light to wear, lacy, a champagne/coffee colour (white was too bridey for me), a soft fishtail, buttons and the back of it was just lace, which I loved. I felt relaxed and comfortable in it and that was the most important thing for me.”

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“A few months before the wedding, one of the Belles in the closed Love My Dress Facebook group started a shoe thread and I saw the Kurt Geiger Gigi pink velvet heeled sandals on the thread. I couldn’t get them out of my head. When I tried them on, they were far more comfortable so I bought them (and a very similar pair from Primark in gold, in case they hurt my feet and I needed to change them).”


“I have a slight obsession with it: I wrote my dissertation on it, my surprise hen was in Oxford with an Alice in Wonderland theme throughout… and friends often buy me different versions of the book for birthdays and Christmas. It evolved over time and my many Pinterest boards ended up as a mishmash of pinks, lots and lots of foliage, gold, sequins, flamingos, mirror signs and watercolours.”

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Groom Adam wore a handsome blue tweed suit with a contrasting lime green lining, which was purchased from Slater Menswear. The couple chose the suit as it fitted the laid back style they were aiming for, together with striking foliage print ties from Next, which they were able to pick up in the sales. The Groomsmen wore matching blue suits and leaf print ties with their own shoes.

“As two families full of men, it was inevitable that out grooms’ party would be large – amounting to 9 in total. The groomsmen were a great help on the day and helped it run smoothly. Our Best Man, Danny, was fantastic. As someone who is fairly quiet around people he doesn’t know and very laid back, we weren’t expecting him to speak for long during his speech but he was AMAZING.”

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Our happy couple met through friends on a night out twelve years ago, exchanging phone numbers before they headed home. The next day, Adam messaged Charlotte, they arranged a date and their relationship blossomed from there. Adam proposed seven years ago on Christmas Eve.

“We had moved in to our first house together and I’d told Adam about a tradition that my family had where we all opened one small gift on Christmas Eve together, and how I wanted to carry this tradition on.We’d discussed engagement a few weeks before and I showed Adam a ring I liked, which he brushed off as being too expensive.”

“On Christmas Eve, whilst we were watching ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ (one of my favourite films), we chose and swapped our one present each. I’d chosen Adam’s box of Lucky Charms for him to open so he could eat them on Christmas morning”

“The rest is a bit of a blur but I know that he pulled out a box from my stocking, became emotional and asked me to marry him, with the ring I’d shown him a few weeks before! We knew it was going to be a long engagement although not quite as long as it eventually turned out to be.”

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The bridesmaids wore the sparkly Maya dress from ASOS in a variety of colours of their own choosing; soft dove grey, blush pink and mint green, along with their own shoes and fragrant eucalyptus crowns.

“I love these dresses. At one point, I considered buying one to change in to in the evening. They looked amazing in them and suited them all in their different shapes and heights, including my Maid of Honour who was 6 months pregnant!”

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“Our four beautiful flower girls wore sequinned tulle dresses from H&M. It was difficult to find the same dress for all of them… however H&M are brilliant for this… as well as being super beautiful: tulle, sequins, pink and ombre. What more could you want in a dress?” 

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It was an extra special moment for Charlotte as she and her Stepfather walked down the aisle, accompanied by a live acoustic instrumental version of Bombay Bicycle Club’s How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep? played by Adam’s brother and his fiancée.

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“The vows were a really emotional moment, as expected, in the ceremony. Many of them already reflected how we live our life. Adam was particularly emotional and it remains a really precious memory. We didn’t use any of the archaic language and kept them short and sweet.”

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Award winning Northern Star Bespoke Jewellery created wedding rings for Adam and Charlotte, fashioning Adam’s out of gold from his bride’s old engagement ring (such a lovely touch), while Charlotte chose to have a new engagement ring, which was then matched to her wedding band.

In keeping with their love of literature, three readings were chosen, all from fiction. Firstly Maid of Honour Sam read the passage Love is a Temporary Madness from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres, followed by bridesmaid Kathryn reading an emotional extract from The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman, beginning “I will love you forever; whatever happens.” 

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“Our last reading was from ‘The Velveteen Rabbit’, read by our niece and 8-year-old flower girl, Amelia. She did an incredible job at reading and it was a proud moment.”

For both Charlotte and Adam, a favourite part of their day was as the ceremony was coming to a close, and as they walked out together to Arcade Fire’s Everything Now.

“For both of us, it was the moments just after the ceremony. Adam says for him, it was when they announced that he could kiss his wife and, for me, it was walking down the aisle to a cheery song, having flower petals thrown at me, seeing all of our family and friends smiling and so happy for us, and, finally, holding the hand of my husband.”

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Make up Artist Katie Lancey of Gower Glow worked with our bride to create her naturally radiant look, and Charlotte styled her own hair into relaxed waves with the help of her brother’s girlfriend.

“My MUA was the lovely Katie Lancey (Gower Glow). Katie is one the friendliest people. She travelled to our venue and she made my bridesmaids, mum and I feel super glow-y without being too ‘done’. She went above and beyond on the morning of the wedding, even helping get me into my wedding dress!”

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With a six-year engagement, Charlotte says that meant lots of time for planning the finer details of decor, as well as collecting and hand making items to dress the venue. They really embraced the Alice in Wonderland fully, from the table plan filled with keys tied with luggage tags to vintage napkins, tea cups and saucers, cake stands and silver candelabra, and old books. It all came together on the day in a beautifully thought out room, with tables laid like the Mad Hatter’s tea party and the most breathtaking flowers running down the tables and even on the ceiling chandeliers.

“Our family were also great at helping us with this and my parents bought and collected most of the china and silverware, from car boot sales, as well as many of the other props for the wedding. We styled the venue with gold candlesticks, gold flamingos, lots and lots of candles, succulents that we had collected, and mirrors.”

“Doors were also another main part of the dressing of the venue. We sourced 6 doors from a local salvage yard, which we cleaned, painted and distressed.5 of these were used to make a back drop for the ceremony and the other a table plan, which we decorated with keys.”

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“For table numbers, we sourced ornate picture easels and door handles and used some old wood that we had in the garage to make table numbers. Adam worked as a carpenter for 10 years, so he was quickly able to knock up lots of the things I envisaged…We also bought two dressing tables – one for a card table and one for a cake table.”

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“We utilised an old wooden cake table that my parents had bought for a photo booth area and displayed photo booth props on a wooden hall stand. For our guest book, we bought a HP Sprocket and linked it up to an old iPhone with instructions so people could take and print their photos instantly.”

“Our last main piece of décor was a confetti bar where guests chose their confetti. We displayed this on the table I use as my dressing table at home, decorated with jars of petal confetti from Adamapple confetti.”

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As the venue tables were laid for afternoon tea, Mad Hatter style, that’s precisely what everyone enjoyed, executed to perfection by Purple Carrot Catering. This three course afternoon tea (yes, three amazing courses) included savoury bites and sweet pies, with burgers and chips keeping everybody fuelled through the evening entertainment.

“For wedding favours, we sourced gold key bottle openers for the men and, by coincidence, found thread wish bracelets for the women, both on eBay. They had a message printed on the cards that read: ‘Be a flamingo in a flock full of pigeons, which fitted our theme perfectly.”

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One the day stationery was designed and created by Gemma Milly Calligraphy, chosen from her delicate and romantic ‘Aphrodite’ collection. Gold painted laser cut wooden place names came from Vellamaes via Etsy, with menus and extra signage made by the bride.

Charlotte really enjoyed the whole process of styling their day, and it really does show in the final look – a true labour of love, although she does admit that she collected too much china, and didn’t give herself the relaxing run-up to the wedding day she had hoped for!

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Anna at The Cake Cwtch delivered a delicious three-tier cake in coconut and lime, lemon and Victoria sponge with white chocolate, and coffee cake, topped with a flamingo, which Charlotte had bought from Etsy.

“As well as lots and lots of flowers, another priority was lots and lots of cake. We’d already decided that we wanted three…Design wise, we opted for one with pink ombre ruffle buttercream, a semi-naked cake with brushed gold and a ͚messy͛ naked cake dressed with summer berries.”

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Charlotte and Adam chose photographer Kate Stuart, whose soft and natural images capture the essence and heart of the couple’s joyful, literary inspired day.

“I found choosing a photographer was one of the most difficult choices to make. The images are one of the lasting relics of the wedding and so getting the style and editing right was very important to us. Finding Kate made the choice an easy one.” 

“On the day, Kate was fantastic. Neither of us are big fans of having our photos taken, but she made us feel so relaxed. All of our guests commented on how lovely, and funny, she was and we felt so comfortable in her company. It was like having a friend photograph us. There are so many photos of moments from the day that I can’t remember ever noticing her being there for and she captured the informal atmosphere of the day naturally.”

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In her hair, Charlotte wore the most beautiful fresh flower and eucalyptus crown, made for her by florists Hilary and Charlotte of Hilary’s Floral Design, who designed and created all the floral arrangements for the day.

“Hilary’s Floral Design, Abergavenny provided us with the most amazing flowers for the wedding. They went above and beyond to dress the venue and both Hilary, and her daughter Charlotte, completely got the loose, bohemian, heavy foliage look we were after. The flowers were incredible and the scent filled the barn on the day.”

“There were flowers everywhere and made all my Pinterest dreams a reality! …Our general brief was lots of eucalyptus, succulents, dog roses and dahlias. Otherwise, as long as they fitted the pink/peach/green colour scheme, I completely trusted the girls to create something beautiful and they did not disappoint! I remember feeling sad that we were going on honeymoon soon after the wedding as I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the flowers post-wedding.”

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The band in question were Swansea based The Somethings, with their guitarist having known groom Adam from childhood.

“They played a mixture of indie and rock songs and were great. They’d also played at my MoH’s wedding five years ago so we knew they were good first hand. My brother-in-law, the lead singer of his own band, also joined them for a few songs which was really special.”

“We’d decided a few weeks before the wedding that we didn’t want a traditional first dance song on our own and wanted all of our wedding party to join us for our first dance. We chose The Killers’ song ‘Bones’ as it brings back memories for Adam of driving back from Bath to Swansea, whilst I was at university.”

“It’s also upbeat so a good song to dance to. We’d asked the band if they could learn it a few days prior and I only found out after our afternoon tea on the day that they had learned it and would be playing it. Our first dance was one of those moments from the day that’s imprinted in my mind – I remember looking around to see everyone dancing and smiling.”

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Words of Wedded Wisdom

“It’s very much a cliché but do things your way. When we said we were having an afternoon tea instead of a traditional meal, we were initially greeted with laughs of, ‘Shall we have a big breakfast? and ‘We’ll buy some food for the cottages in case we’re hungry in the evening.’ In the end, we had too much food and everyone praised how amazing it was. If you want to buy so much furniture that you need to hire a van to transport it all, then do it. When we told people, that we were spending the night together before the wedding, we were met with gasps of genuine horror. But I knew I’d sleep far better with him by my side, like I do every other night, and the logistics of where we were marrying and who was staying there meant that it made far more sense.”

People generally react to anything that goes against tradition and that doesn’t mean that one of you is right and the other is wrong, it just means that our situations are different. Stick to your guns with certain things; we had a no children apart from family and no plus-ones ‘just because its expected’ rule. It meant that we had a guest list of just over 50, which, yes, helped minimise some costs but also that the only people who watched us make a lifelong commitment to each other were people we knew well, loved and trusted.”

Also, try to let go of things you can’t control. We had hail, a thunder and lightning storm and torrential rain on the morning of our wedding, which I had to battle with before I even walked down the aisle. However, luckily enough, it brightened up to be a beautiful sunny afternoon/evening. On the day, it won’t matter; what will matter is seeing the faces of all the people that you love, and that love you, in one room and it’s rare that you will ever get that again in your lifetime.”

“As for the day itself, we have no regrets at all; everything was exactly what we wanted and we wouldn’t have deleted anything to save a bit of money. I’d do it all over again in the exact same way.”

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There you have it – just like the White Rabbit, it’s time for me to go, but not before thanking our bride and groom, Charlotte and Adam, for allowing us to venture into Wonderland with them. Thank you also to Kate Stuart for her romantic, natural images. You can view more Suzanne Neville brides here, and more fantastic literary inspired weddings here.

With love,


Credits & Thanks

Laura Callan

Laura Callan View all Laura's articles

Laura is a freelance writer and content creator who loves telling stories. She has keen eye for photography and art, and lives with her husband, cats, and huge amounts of books.

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