An Upwaltham Barn Wedding in West Sussex + a Bride in Lace Sleeved Augusta Jones

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Well lovelies, I’ve got summer barn wedding vibes galore for you today, perfect for all of you who are gathering ideas and inspiration for a celebration later this year. On 2 August 2018 Anna and Justin married at Upwaltham Barns, Chichester, West Sussex in a day designed to be relaxed and chilled, with friends and family, good food and fantastic music at its heart. The couple fell in love with Upwaltham’s light, airy barns, the beautiful, flower-filled gardens and the support and care that its team offered.

Photography Marcel Grabowski Photography

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“We always say after every wedding we have been to ‘What are the top things we remember as guests’? Our answer was always; ‘The food – Was there enough? Was it delicious? The band – were they decent and kept everyone on the dance floor? Then of course the alcohol – was there enough to go around and keep thirsty guests happy?’ We know those things would be important to our friends and family so those were the priority. The second thing was knowing that we wanted a barn wedding. Both Jus and I are very chilled and we wanted a relaxed day with a more casual feeling. Barn weddings are perfect for that.”

“We looked online to begin our venue search, looked at pictures and contacted several places to arrange viewings. We had also heard of a couple of the venues through friends and a couple that Jus and I work with had recently been married at Upwaltham Barns so we knew from seeing their pictures how stunning it was and we were really excited to go and see it.”


“As soon as we arrived at Upwaltham we knew we would choose it for our day. The venue is stunning and it’s extremely well run. Everything is all in one place; big, beautiful, light barns and caterers on site who dealt with absolutely everything for us. We knew that planning a wedding would be very stressful and knowing that we would have Kate guiding us through each step and being almost in charge was something that really appealed to us.”

“It was by far the most beautiful place we visited; the grounds were perfect, the gardens immaculate and we loved Jasmine Cottage that we could get ready in and spend the night there.”

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“Having Kate at Upwaltham Barns just an email away was an absolute godsend. She was a star and would always respond so quickly to any of my worries or questions. The team at Upwaltham made sure everything went so smoothly on the day – it was such a huge weight off our minds knowing that they would deal with everything for us!”

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If you’re a regular visitor to Love My Dress you may have come across silk floral crowns like this before, made by The Shepherds Purse. Their pieces are totally unique, designed to your personal taste and style. I love the big, blowsy blooms that they used to create this full crown, and you can find out more on their Little Book listing here.

“I really wanted to have a flower crown, but I wanted it to last. I found The Shepherds Purse on Etsy who made me a stunning silk flower crown in creams, greens and dusky pinks. It was exquisite, and I didn’t take it off the whole day!”

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The bride visited White Mischief Bridal, a boutique in Henfield, where the team helped her to create a bespoke Augusta Jones gown. If you’re struggling to find a dress that really makes you feel wonderful then adapting a gown and choosing your own elements like this is a fantastic option. The result was a delicate, pure-white Bardot gown which combined a fitted bodice and dainty lace topper with a flowing skirt.

“I knew the things that I wanted in the dress and the things that I really didn’t want. It had to be simple and elegant, I didn’t want a big gown and I didn’t want anything sparkly. I was very keen to have delicate sleeves and a different neckline and being a little curvy, I wanted something that would flatter my figure.”

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“My sister and I went to White Mischief in Henfield, the ladies in there was so warm and friendly. They made me feel so comfortable and helped me choose styles that would suit me. I had found a beautiful dress which was very floaty but I wasn’t as keen on the neckline. One of the ladies in the shop asked to make a recommendation and picked a simple strapless Augusta Jones gown with a corseted waist, a skirt which hung straight down with a long floating train.”

“She then explained that Augusta Jones make bespoke gowns and I could have a lace top attached to the dress, giving me the neckline I wanted. I chose a very delicate Art Deco style lace with ¾ length sleeves and a Bardot neckline with scalloped eyelash edging. It was perfect and I really got that feeling that it was ‘the one’.”

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“There were tears from my mum and nana when I took them in to show them. My nana and grandpa offered to pay for my dress as our wedding present which was incredibly generous of them. When I found the dress, my grandpa was really poorly and I had some pictures taken of me in it at the store so he could see what I looked like.”

“Sadly, he passed away in October last year but I was so happy that he at least saw me in my dress and knew what I would be wearing on the day.”

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The seven bridesmaids wore an array of Rewritten gowns in cream and soft grey. We are big fans of our Little Book members Rewritten, whose beautifully-cut designs combine elegance and cool. Anna’s described how she created this mis-matched yet harmonious look.

“I had seven bridesmaids and a flower girl. My sister Louise was my maid of honour and my brother’s girlfriend Malin who flew in from Sweden was a bridesmaid. My three best friends from school and college (Sam, Kirsty and Sassy) were also bridesmaids, Sassy flew in from Dubai to be there for us. My best friend from work Rachel was a bridesmaid as was my 10-year-old cousin, Rhea.”

“I found their dresses at Rewritten. We wanted them to be in dresses which made them all feel comfortable, we didn’t want them to match and Rewritten gave us several options for the two colours we chose. Kirsty and Rach wore the Vienna gowns in oyster and concrete. Sassy wore the Florence gown in oyster. Sam, Louise and Malin wore the Mykonos gown in oyster and concrete and my mum adjusted Sam’s sleeves to be capped instead of the cold shoulder style. Mum also made a waist tie for Sam’s dress. Rewritten provided us with extra fabric in the oyster colour so my mum could make a dress for Rhea, so she would match the older girls.”

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The flower girl wore a dainty Flowers and Confetti tutu and leotard and I have to agree with Anna that she looks completely adorable.

“My adorable niece Marlie was my flower girl who completely stole the show in her gorgeous tutu outfit.”

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Anna and Justin became engaged on a holiday in New York, and planned their wedding for eighteen months later.

“We went to New York for my 30th and were staying in Brooklyn with some relatives. On my birthday, Jus woke me and told me to pack an overnight bag as we were going to be spending that night in the city. We had an incredible day, pancakes for breakfast, ice-skating in Central Park, afternoon tea at The Plaza and shopping in Tiffany’s. As we left the store, Ju stook my hand and lead me back across the street to The Plaza. He had booked a night there as a birthday surprise for me. It has always been one of my favourite places in New York.”

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“The room in the hotel was stunning and I was completely blown away. I was face-timing my sister Louise and her husband Gary, showing them the room when out of the corner of my eye, I saw Jus get down on one knee and produce a box. He simply said ‘Anna, will you marry me?’.”

“I dropped the phone then promptly burst into tears. The ring was a family heirloom on my side. Mum wanted Jus to have it to propose and it belonged to my great auntie Gwen who I was very close to. It’s a stunning delicate white gold band with a simple round cut diamond stone and three small diamonds on the band, either side of the stone.”

“After saying ‘yes’ we walked down 5th Avenue past all of the incredible Christmas decorations to 230 Fifth, a rooftop bar with beautiful views of the Empire State and had celebratory cocktails. It was literally like something out of a movie. It was just perfect and I didn’t realise that he could be so romantic!”

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Anna selected meaningful jewellery, keeping the look simple and elegant.

“I borrowed my nana’s pearl stud earrings. My necklace was a simple diamond on a chain which is very special to me as it was my 21st birthday present from my grandparents. This was my something old and borrowed.”

“Jus got me an engraved bangle from my favourite jeweller Posh Totty and I wore this for the day. He also got me a stunning spinning necklace from Posh Totty which he gave me when we had a couple of minutes to ourselves right after the ceremony. This was stamped with ‘02.08.18’ on one side and ‘A&J’ on the other with a little diamond above it.”

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“I had two pairs of shoes for the day. I had a gorgeous powder blue suede pair of Steve Madden block heels but I never do very well in high shoes, so I had a pair of pale blue leather Converse which I changed into straight after the ceremony. They were my something new and blue.”

Anna’s hair was left down in glossy ringlets, and she chose to have natural, glowy make-up with a light metallic eyeshadow to bring out her bright blue eyes.

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The summer wedding called for English country garden flowers, styled by Rococo Florist. The full-blown roses in tones of cream and pink look so classically romantic, and I’m always a lover of fresh foliage.

“We worked with Rococo Florist after finding them from the list of recommended vendors Upwaltham gave us. The flowers weren’t really hugely important, but we did want something simple. We chose to have two arrangements over the entrance to the venue and the doorway over the ceremony barn.”

“We also had an arrangement over the big chandelier in the reception barn which I absolutely loved and had we not gone over our budget, we would have had all three chandeliers decorated! I loved the green foliage – it added a touch of freshness to the room without being too over the top. We didn’t want to overdo the flowers as the barns were already so stunning, they spoke for themselves.”

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“The girls had really simple bouquets of green and grey foliage and Marlie had a gorgeous little willow hoop. Louise had a smaller version of my bouquet which was stunning, made up of similar foliage, dusky pink roses, lisianthus and astible. The colours matched my flower crown perfectly and complemented the girl’s dresses. We had some extra fabric which matched the girls dresses so used this to bind my bouquet and Louise’s bouquet.”

“We had green and white heather button holes for the groomsmen, both my dad and stepdad and for Justin’s dad and stepdad. Both our mums and my nana had corsages which were similar to the men’s but we added a rose for a more feminine touch.”

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For the relaxed, summer day, Justin chose to wear a bespoke Hugo Morris waistcoat and jacket in a light tweed which look so modern combined with his Next chinos. They even managed to weave in an allusion to his job as a dog handler.

“We went to Hugo Morris, a tailor in Brighton, to have Justin’s waistcoat and jacket made. They were amazing and helped us choose a lovely grey herringbone summer tweed. Jus is a dog handler for Sussex Police, so he chose a blue lining which had lots of different dogs printed on it. The tailors also made bow ties in the same herringbone for Jus and all of the groomsmen.”

“Jus also wore a pair of brown Barbour brogues and a TAG Heuer watch which was his wedding present from me.”

“Jus wanted the boys to have a more casual look which is why we chose waistcoats and chinos for them. The waistcoats were from Racing Green at Debenhams and were a navy tweed. We chose grey chinos to complement them which they wore with a white shirt and had their sleeves rolled up.”

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Anna and her girls got ready on site, so just needed to walk through the glorious gardens to the ceremony barn. Anna entered the barn with her brother Simon to ‘Guiding Light’ by Foy Vance.

“The ceremony was funny. We laughed when I got told off for speaking before I was meant to and the registrar couldn’t hold herself together at the end with an innuendo about us leaving via the back door, this was met with a loud cheer from one of the groomsmen and had everyone in stitches. The resident bat even made an appearance.”

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“During the ceremony, my stepdad Martyn read a lovely poem which he had written specially called ‘Skimming Stones’. Once the ceremony was over he handed us a little fabric bag with ‘Skimming Stones’ printed on it. It was full of perfect stones for skimming which he had been collecting from the beach for us.

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Anna and Justin put together a lot of the barn’s decor themselves to make it as meaningful and personal as possible. I’m in awe of her calligraphic talents.

“We wanted the decorations to be really personal to us, so I did most of it myself. After spending a lot of time looking online and with some practice, I managed to teach myself modern calligraphy, so I used this for all of the signs and place names.  I used a lot of wooden pallets which I got from a local industrial site for free. One of these we used as a welcome board, so we placed this at the entrance.”

“We had another pallet on the right-hand side of the courtyard with the plan of action for the day. Another pallet with directions to the ceremony barn, Moroccan snug etc. was placed in the middle of the courtyard. My favourite pallet was one that I hung black and white polaroid pictures of us, of all of our memories throughout our relationship. I wrote ‘Anna and Justin’ at the top and used copper string fairy lights and mini pegs to hang the pictures.”

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“I used wooden boards which I whitewashed to make our awesome donut wall, menu board and table plan. On each board and pallet, I used a green and white leaf motif which matched the green foliage that we had with our flowers. The table names were our favourite places from all over the world and like the place names, we used Cornish slate. Having lots of touches like this were really important to us as that’s where Jus is from.”

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“For the centre pieces I borrowed some log slices from my friend Jenny and on top we placed terrariums with different succulents, grey stones and fairy lights inside. We both really liked the idea of having something different on the tables, rather than flowers and the terrariums added a modern twist to the rustic, boho style of the day.”

“I hunted around and eventually found the terrariums on Ebay and got twenty-four in total. We chose to use these as gifts for everyone who had contributed to the day, instead of spending a fortune on bouquets that would eventually die.”

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The newly-weds and their guests enjoyed canapés by Nibbles2Nosh followed by a summery BBQ.

“My mum Sue and stepdad Martyn had been on a booze cruise to France to get all the alcohol for the day. I put together a DIY ‘Pimp Your Prosecco’ tray with various fruits and flavoured liquors. This went down very well.”

“We changed our mind for the canapés after the Nibbles2Nosh wedding experience evening. We had to have the bourbon-glazed pork belly, it was just delicious! For the breakfast we had a BBQ, as it’s one of our favourite things and thought it was appropriate for summer.”

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“We had my sister Louise as an MC. She introduced us when we walked into the room and she also introduced each person giving a speech with a few funny lines in between. Mum gave her speech first; it was funny and very touching. Jus then gave his speech and I was blown away – I didn’t realise that he was a good public speaker. He gave a special toast to my dear grandpa who sadly died last year. As part of this we all had a glass of sherry to drink which was his favourite.”

“I don’t think there was a dry eye in the barn at that point. Dan the best man lived up to expectations, delivering a hilarious and warm speech – even letting on to some dark secrets about Jus that I didn’t know. There is a very funny picture showing a shocked look on my face with Jus covering his when the secrets started to spill!”

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The August day was beautiful bright and sunny, meaning the gardens were at their best for these joyful, reportage photos by photographer Marcel Grabowski. The couple seem so at ease being photographed together, and their engagement shoot gave them a great opportunity to get to know Marcel better before the day

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I particularly love the couple shots taken in the rich afternoon sunlight; so romantic.

“Choosing the photographer was really easy, I had been following Marcel Grabowski’s work on Instagram and Facebook for around a year before we even got engaged, after a friend considered using him for her wedding. We loved his relaxed style and he had such an eye for catching those really natural moments.”

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“As soon as we met him, we loved him! He was so friendly and easy to get on with and as part of our package he offered an engagement shoot. It was a chance to get to know him and to get used to being in front of the camera. Jus really hates having his picture taken and Marcel completely put him at ease making us both feel really comfortable.”

“He really helped make the day special and everyone was commenting on what an awesome guy he was! He has such a passion for what he does, and you could see this in the amazing moments that he captured.”

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Instead of favours, Anna and Justin decided to raise money for a charity that means so very much to the bride.

“When grandpa died last year, he was cared for by St Barnabas Hospice. We wanted to show support for them as the care they gave him was superb. We chose to give a donation to St Barnabas instead of having favours and to have charity boxes at the bar and each of the tables so people could make donations.”

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“I did a painting of Polzeath in Cornwall, one of our favourite places. Jus wanted to auction it off at the wedding to raise some more money for St Barnabas. I thought we would get around £30. Jus held the auction and everyone got involved.”

“I couldn’t believe it when the bids went over £100, £200, £300 and finally, the winning bid was £500. I was astonished! In total we raised £900 for St Barnabas which we were over the moon with.”

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The semi-naked, macaron-adorned cake was created by the bride’s best friend Kirsty McCoubrey and her boyfriend Mike Huttlestone, who were also witnesses for the newly-weds.

“We were not very fussed about having a huge fancy cake and wanted something really simple. They created a two tier, semi-naked sponge made from white chocolate and cardamom with a raspberry and cloudberry jam. I have a serious obsession with macarons, so they learnt how to make them especially so they could add them to the cake for us.”

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“They made a salted caramel and a raspberry with prosecco flavour and they were incredible!”

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The couple made a last-minute choice of first dance song.

“The song that we originally wanted to dance to was ‘Doesn’t Take A Whole Day’ by Foy Vance which is a very special song to us both. The week before the wedding when we started our annual leave, we had a night drinking Champagne and a practice to see how it went. We found the song too slow to dance nicely to and agreed to pick another”.

“We chose an acoustic version of Paramore’s ‘Still Into You’. The lyrics to us were very apt and it was perfect. I even managed a couple of spins without falling over! We still had ‘Doesn’t Take A Whole Day’ whilst we were signing the register as it held a lot of meaning for us.”

“We had been to a friend’s wedding reception a few years ago and was really impressed with how good their band The Hotrox was, so I got the details and got in touch. They offer different packages with different singers and styles. We picked a singer named Adam who has a fantastic voice – similar to Rag and Bone Man. They didn’t fail to disappoint on the night and were incredible.”

“During the band’s sets, my brother Simon and I put together a playlist which we gave to the band to play when they were having some food. That was really good because it meant that we could have all of our favourite songs that they didn’t end up playing.”

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I love how Anna and Justin called upon their friends’ and family to share in their day, making it super-personal.

“My talented friend Mike, who also helped make the cake, kindly offered to sing and play the guitar for us whilst we were having the welcome drinks. My brother’s girlfriend Malin also joined him to sing for a song too. Mike has sung during welcome drinks for other friends’ weddings and his style fitted our day perfectly.”

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Words of Wedded Wisdom

“I personally found planning the wedding really stressful, mostly from a financial aspect. At one point we were very worried that we wouldn’t be able to afford to do all the things we wanted. I would really advise planning a budget and really trying to stick to it.”

“I was really shocked at how expensive it is to get married so we tried to do a lot of things ourselves and cheaply. We only had eighteen months from when we got engaged to when we got married but if we had waited another year, we would have been able to do more with the day. That said, our day was completely perfect and we really didn’t want to wait another year before we did it.”

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“I advise couples not to let it consume their lives. Get a decent wedding planning book but also a decent diary. Plan ahead the days you dedicate to wedding bits or different appointments but also give yourselves days off. I had my wedding planning book and a really amazing diary from Hello Day which really helped to keep us both organised in the six months leading up to the wedding.”

“Everyone said to us the day goes by so, so quickly and they were not wrong. Try to stop as often as possible to take it all in. Dance in the evening. I found I was running around talking to people and hardly spent any time on the dance floor listening to our incredible band. You can catch up with people another day.”

“If we could do it all again, we’d find the money for a videographer. We don’t have any of the speeches recorded and we really regret not making that happen and not being able to watch that moment again.”

“Finally, I would really recommend having something planned or to focus on once the wedding is done and the honeymoon is over to help combat those post wedding blues – they are real and hit once it’s all done, and you are back at work.” 

“My stepbrothers and sisters have all got children and we wanted them to be there on the day but were well aware that they would all get bored at some point so I went to the pound shop to stock up on loads of toys and colouring bits to keep them entertained for the meal.”

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Marcel Grabowski, thank you so much for these exquisite photographs. You’ve captured the essence of the summer barn wedding so very well. Thank you and many congratulations Anna and Justine, for letting us share details of your marriage with our readers today. I so admire the talent of you both, your friends and your family and I can’t get enough of the gown’s lace topper.

If you’ve been enchanted by this day and want even more barn wedding inspiration then we have a whole host of weddings for you here.

Ele xx

Credits & Thanks

Eleanor Crossland

Eleanor Crossland View all Eleanor's articles

Ele lives in the Lincolnshire countryside, close to the beautiful coast. A qualified Pilates teacher, she loves fitness, yoga, Pilates and has a healthy addiction to baking, writing and travel.

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