A Maggie Soterro Gown + Bridesmaids in Navy Blue For An Autumnal Barn Wedding In The Sussex Countryside

Navy Blue bridesmaids

Hello lovelies! It’s a new week, though a short one (thank you Bank Holiday!), and I’ve got a sparkling new wedding to share with you to kick it off with. If you love traditional ceremonies and pretty barn receptions, then this one’s for you. So without further ado, let’s get to it.

Events and wedding manager Amy and farrier Sam were wed on 24th November 2018 at the stunning Warbleton Church in Heathfield, East Sussex, followed by a reception at the beautiful 140 acre Hawthbush Farm in Gun Hill.

“We didn’t have a specific theme for the wedding, just a thread of ideas. Both Sam and I grew up in the countryside and feel very lucky to be surrounded by such beauty. Sam grew up on a dairy farm, therefore getting married surrounded by the countryside and woodland was very important to us. The countryside heavily influenced the wedding and working in the wedding industry myself, this gave me a great understanding of the important elements when it comes to planning.”

Photography by Sarah Williams

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“My dress was by Maggie Sottero and I bought it from Go Bridal in Tunbridge Wells. I then had it altered at Miss Kay’s Seamstress who enhanced and added to the design, making it completely unique to me. It was the third dress I tried on and I instantly fell in love.”


“This made me nervous and a little disappointed as I was loving the whole dress experience and didn’t want it to end. I always knew I wanted something different with lace and sleeves.”

“I was surprised I chose a modern dress over vintage in the end but I loved the simplicity of the dress and the detail of the lace, which created a bodice with the skirt taking on an elegant individual style.”

“I felt the sleeves created a romantic and feminine touch towards the hands. I added beading to the illusion silk edging to give a finish across my collarbone and down my back.”

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Lynda Loves created our invites, which were beautiful. I asked for an autumnal theme and to include pheasant feathers and she created the most perfect design. I kept the wedding stationery on the day simple. Our place cards were luggage tags tied around the napkin with a sprig of rosemary. I bought the order of service from Etsy and added a horseshoe to give it a personal touch.”

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“I’ve seen so many brides stress over the little things that really don’t end up mattering on the day. The most important thing is getting married to one another surrounded by your closest friends and family. With this in mind, it was really important to keep things simple with a less is more approach. All our flowers and decorations were autumnal and I made sure everything was reusable.”

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“I chose a full length veil and I’d always wanted to walk into church with the veil over my face. During my time as a wedding coordinator, it occurred to me that your rarely see a bride with her face covered in the veil for the ceremony. We had a traditional church service and felt the veil would reflect this.”

“Sam is also a very traditional man and I knew that this would be a little touch he would really appreciate. The thought of walking down the aisle made me very nervous but having the veil over my face allowed me to hide behind it and gave me the confidence to walk down the aisle.”

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“My hair accessories were kept simple and I bought hair pins with pearls from Etsy. My bridesmaid also wore the same hair accessories and I gifted them to her on the day.”

“For my scent I wore Red Roses by Jo Malone. It’s the scent I love and always wear. I made a conscious decision to stop wearing it at the beginning of the year so it felt new on the day.”

“Due to the lace on the sleeves of my dress, I wore very little other jewellery and kept it simple. I wore long dropped diamond earrings and a horseshoe ring on my little finger that Sam and bought me as a wedding present. Sam is a farrier so the horseshoe ring is not only lucky, but a link to him too.”

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“The bridesmaid dresses were from Coast and I loved the style more than the navy colour. We had them taken up to just above the ankle as I felt this gave the dresses elegance and more of an individual look. Hopefully the girls will also be able to wear them in the future too.”

“I kept the shoes simple and asked them to wear open toe shoes they already owned and knew were comfortable. I wanted happy and relaxed bridesmaids so was happy for them to choose their own.”

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“Sam and I have been together for 14 years – we were 15 when we met! We got together on 1st December and both love autumn and winter. On Saturday 16th December 2017, Sam asked me to marry him. He proposed on Booby’s Bay beach in North Cornwall. It was a beautiful sunny winters morning and he popped the question on the rocks in the bay.”

“Ever since I was a little girl I’ve been going to Cornwall on family holidays as from the age of 17, Sam joined us every year too. It’s our favourite place and holds lots of sentimental value.”

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“My brother Ollie drove me and my dad to the church in my dad’s car. I wanted Ollie to drive us as he would provide humour for an emotional journey. As a surprise, my mum and dad arranged a Beauford car from Finest Wedding Cars to take Sam and I to the farm.”

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“Warbleton Church dates back to the 13th Century and is beautiful as it is with colourful stained glass windows and stunning architecture. There was no need to go overboard with decorations and flowers, our biggest emphasis was making the church twinkle and smell beautiful too.”

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“My lovely dad accompanied me down the aisle to Songbird by Fleetwood Mac. I chose the song due to the words and how they reflected our story. As Sam and I had been together since we were 15, the lyrics in the song read ‘I love you like never before…’.”

“We stuck to the traditional church vows and they were perfect. Sam’s dad did a reading for us, which was Love In Action, Romans 12 v 9-16.”

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“We hired tails from Moss Bros for Sam and the groomsmen but altered Sam’s so he was different to the ushers and fathers. Same wore the charcoal grey tails jacket with Gresham Blake tweed waistcoat with a vintage gold tie.”

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“My bridesmaid Felicity works at the Queen’s jeweller in Tunbridge Wells called G Collins and Sons. She helped Sam with the engagement ring so there was never a question as to where we would get the wedding rings from. Felicity was fantastic and has a real in-depth knowledge of style and design.”

“Being a close friend and family member, she understood what we were looking for and gave such valuable advice. Sam chose a rose gold ring and I chose a platinum diamond cut ring.”

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“We chose Sarah Williams to photograph the wedding. I’ve known Sarah for a long time through my work and always admired the way she put her heart into every wedding she did. She has a lovely calming way about her and made us instantly relax in front of the camera.”

“When selecting a photographer, it’s really important to choose someone you click with. A photographer is a big part of your day and probably the one person who is with you throughout it. Sarah was brilliant and she captured the day perfectly. I love her style and approach and feel she is an observer, and predicts so well the moments that need to be captured forever.”

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“Sarah and her husband Alex work so brilliantly as a team and Sam and I loved enjoying our day with them. Throughout the whole process nothing was too much trouble, from the pre wedding meeting to the aftercare and presentation of the images. Their energy and commitment is second to none.”

“Charlie Haffenden at CDH Productions shot our wedding video and it was the first he’d ever done – he was brilliant! Charlie captured the day in a really authentic way and he highlighted the energy and atmosphere perfectly. He was gently unobtrusive and was a gentle personality to have around on the day. He was also very accommodating with the editing and discussing it with us.”

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“Following the ceremony we headed to the farm were I wanted to create a warm cosy environment in the barn. To do this I brought the ceiling to the tables with hanging foliage hoops decorated with roses, foliage and pheasant feathers to reflect my autumnal bouquet.”

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The tables were long trestle tables which we ran cream organza down the middle, draped is ruscus. We weren’t allowed to have naked flames so I collected vintage crystal decanters from local charity shops and filled them with copper wired fairy lights.”

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“The tables were named after our favourite bays in Cornwall and each name was written by me on Cornish slate dinner matts. The table plan was written on a chalkboard with the Cornish flags draped around it.”

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“The reception venue at Hawthbush Farm was an American oak barn built purely for the celebration of a wedding, therefore a great space designed perfectly. The barn was one big room on a split-level so I wanted to create the wow factor from the moment the guests stepped inside.”

Food Glorious Food catered the wedding as I’ve worked with them many times and have always been impressed with the service and food. They were fantastic on the day. The food was out of this world and Hannah, who was front of house, was brilliant.”

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“I knew I didn’t have to worry about a thing as they had it all under control. All the staff were so relaxed and felt a part of the celebrations. The food was beautiful and felt like it had been cooked individually for each one of us, including apple crumbles with our own jug of custard. Due to the time of year, Sam and I wanted a wholesome Sunday lunch meal, which you would enjoy at home.”

“When choosing the venue, our main priority was to have a space where everyone could be together. Though it was one room, we did create different zones such as the dance floor, bar area, dining area and cake area.”

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“We didn’t have favours on the day as most of the weddings I’ve coordinated I have collected most of the favours up at the end of the night and given them back to the couple. We put money towards extra canapes instead!”

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“It was really important for me to keep things simple for the wedding and involve family and friends as much as possible. For the wedding cake my mum took control and between her, my two best friends and Sam’s mum, they each made a layer. The flavours were a combination of pink gin and tonic sponge and lemon and elderflower drizzle cake.”

“They were delicious and not a piece was left by the end of the night! The lovely Nicky from Bonney’s Cakery stacked the cake and decorated it beautifully with butter icing and gold leaf with a corsage of flowers. Nicky was brilliant and followed through with our vision perfectly.”

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“All the groomsmen wore a pheasant feather and gun cartridge, and Sam’s also included a Jay feather. He also wore rose gold horseshoe cufflinks that were my mother’s great grandmother’s first husband, who died after the First World War. It was a privilege for Sam to wear them, especially with the connection to his vocation.”

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“Our florist was the lovely Cara from The Enchanted Flower. Cara is so creative and has a deep understanding and is a pure artisan. Her knowledge of floristry and genuine passion for nature in all its forms flows into her designs. When the flowers arrived on the morning of the wedding in vintage apple crates, it was a moment my mum, the bridesmaids and I will never forget.”

“The bouquets created a magical moment and brought all the elements of the wedding together. Cara carried the colours of the wedding through into the bouquets and the stunning hoops suspended from the beams in the barn.”

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“In planning the music for the wedding we wanted to add different levels to keep the energy of the day rising. Music is a very important element and holds lots of trigger memories for the future. We had three elements of entertainment. At the church, the lovely Fiona Horsford played the harp for guests on arrival and the signing of the register.”



“When guests arrived at Hawthbush Farm, we had a modern folk band play well-known current songs during the drinks reception.”

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“The El Banda Burros were fantastic and created such a great atmosphere whilst we had our photos done. Our friends Charlie and George then welcomed us into the barn with our first dance song, Hey Ho by The Lumineers. We danced for an hour before dinner. Sam and I decided we didn’t want a formal introduction before dinner and this was the perfect way to put everyone at ease.”

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“For the evening reception we had The Salvation Band play who were fantastic and electric. They literally rocked the night and we didn’t want it to end. During their break my brother Ollie who is a popular local DJ, played and kept the energy and atmosphere on the dance floor going, ready for the bands finale.”

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“I loved every minute of the day and it more than fulfilled our expectations. The feeling of celebration continued to grow hour by hour until we made to leave in our taxi at midnight. The energy in the room was overwhelming with joy and laughter and there’s nothing I’d change – I just want to relive it all again!”

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Words Of Wedded Wisdom

“Keep it simple and true to who you both are. There’s no need for elaborate themes. The most important thing is friends and family. Sam and I made sure we shared and enjoyed every moment together. If your guests see you both relaxed and living the moment, they’ll relax and join in with the celebrations too. Don’t forget to have fun and keep it real!”

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A huge thanks to the gorgeous couple, and to Sarah Williams for capturing the day so beautifully on camera.

Until next time…

Much love,

Holly x



Credits & Thanks


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, getting in the sea, 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.

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