Lucy in Needle & Thread for her Autumn Wedding at Odo’s Barn in Kent

This Kent wedding is a true celebration of autumn, featuring the most beautiful literary illustrations by the talented groom. For those of you looking for a relaxed vibe, I think you’re going to love the bride’s Needle & Thread gown, too.

On 23 October 2021, book seller Lucy wed graphic design teacher and freelance illustrator Joe in an autumnal celebration at Odo’s Barn in Bilsington, Ashford, Kent. Inspired by the warm, rich colours of October, the couple added in plenty of references to their mutual love of books, through Joe’s wonderful illustrations.

Photography Emily & Steve Photography

The Dress & Getting Ready

I had appointments booked for dress fittings in March 2020 but because of Covid, I didn’t feel comfortable going so ended up cancelling them. I was debating whether to book another appointment at a bridal boutique throughout the pandemic when I stumbled across the beautiful dresses on Needle & Thread’s. website. I fell in love with my dress and ordered it online.

I really didn’t know what I wanted when I was browsing dresses, apart from that I didn’t want anything too traditional. The Needle & Thread dresses were exactly what I had in mind. When I found my dress online, I was really drawn to the light pink, almost peachy colour, the lace detail and the sleeves.

I also loved how relaxed and feminine it was. I got comments the whole day about how ‘me’ it was. It really felt like an extension of my everyday style.

I loved having Lauren of Lauren Wheeler Artistry do my hair and make-up. I was feeling quite nervous on the morning of the wedding and Lauren was such a calming presence. I love her natural approach to make-up – I wanted to still look like myself but a slightly more glam version and she really delivered.

My parents came over and we had a relaxed morning with my bridesmaids as we all got ready. It was a very happy morning.

Shoes, Accessories & Bridal Beauty

I was on the hunt for ages for some deep red shoes when I discovered Harriet Wilde’s Hetty block heels. They were ideal – glam but also something I could wear after the wedding. I’ve always loved velvet and the colour was exactly what I was looking for. The block heels cinched the deal. I pretty much exclusively wear flats so I knew a block heel would be more practical for someone not used to wearing heels. It was the perfect choice; they were so comfortable the whole day (and night!).

I kept my accessories to a minimum, opting just for my hair vine and the Phoenix earrings from Victoria Percival. I loved how delicate both the hair vine and earrings were, whilst still being ‘bridal’.

I used my favourite vintage handbag, a hand-me-down from my beloved grandma Jean who sadly passed away in-between our original wedding date and our new date.

Flowers

I really liked the idea of having dried flowers for the bouquets and buttonholes as it meant we could keep them after the wedding. My bouquet by The Artisan Dried Flower Company is now brightening up our bedroom in the vase I’d bought to hold our wedding sparklers.

For the rest of the flowers we used East Kent Flower Company, who incorporated some dried flowers with the fresh ones to tie in with our dried bouquets. We weren’t too fussed about which flowers were used, as long as the arrangements were loose, relaxed-looking and fitted with our autumnal colour palette. We left a lot up to Louise from East Kent Flower Company. We were so pleased with the result.

A First Look

Joe and I decided to have a first look before the ceremony. That was a part of the day we were really looking forward to, so we could have a moment just the two of us beforehand and to take some of the pressure off the moment when we’d see each other for the first time at the ceremony.

The Ceremony

I walked down the aisle to the sound of ‘Arrival of the Birds’ by The Cinematic Orchestra. It’s such a beautiful track from ‘The Theory of Everything’.

Odo’s Barn already had gorgeous lightning with their chandeliers and waterfall fairy light curtain. We loved how romantic and warm the lighting made the barn feel so we added some additional fairy lights round the beams and used LED candles for the aisle, which we later repurposed for the wedding breakfast.

I always take photos everywhere we go and so we have of loads of selfies which we strung up on more fairy lights. We also had an Instax camera guestbook. I was a bit worried it might not get used but our bridesmaids and their partners made sure our guestbook filled up with everyone’s lovely faces.

We had an Order of the Day sign which we bought from Papier. We used baby and childhood photos of our guests for our place cards, which were a lot of fun putting together.

I loved looking through everyone’s cute baby pics as they came into our inbox.

We really liked the ethos behind the Lebrusan Studio brands. Joe’s ring was made from recycled gold in a hammered finish, whereas mine was a wishbone-style with recycled platinum.

We walked back down the aisle together to I Belong In Your Arms’ by Chairlift. It’s such a feel-good song that we felt fit the celebratory vibes perfectly.

The Groom & Bridesmaids

We really wanted Joe’s suit to match our autumnal colour palette and my shoes. The right shade of red was harder to find than we anticipated. We ended up searching for a long time online until we found this one from ASOS.

He wore the suit with cufflinks in the shape of books, from The Cufflink Store, and a dried flower buttonhole.

I really wanted to get a different style dress for each of my bridesmaids so they felt comfortable but also so their own style shone through. The burgundy dress was a Chi Chi London find, the green dress was from GatsbyLady, and the turquoise and plum dresses were both from Dorothy Perkins.

Lil & Blue

I hadn’t been overly fussed with a wedding car as the traditional ones didn’t really feel like they fit us and our wedding.

Lil & Blue

That all changed when we saw Lil & Blue, which we spotted on a Love My Dress feature.

We loved how cute and quirky the vintage Fiat 500s were.

The Photographers

Choosing our wedding photographers was one of the most important things in the planning process. As soon as we saw Emily & Steve’s  work, we knew they were the photographers for us. We love their natural, relaxed, documentary style of photography as we really didn’t want a lot of posed photos. Instead, we wanted to find someone who could capture the feel and atmosphere of the day. We could not have been happier with the results.

“They were a dream on the day, blending in seamlessly. They’re also lovely people and made both of us – a pretty introverted couple who don’t love being the centre of attention – feel completely relaxed. We would recommend them to other couples in a heartbeat.

A Postponed Wedding

We’d originally booked our wedding for October 2020 with our close friends and immediate family. Joe is half-Italian so that also included Joe’s Italian relatives. It was a really hard decision to postpone for a year but we got to have most of our original guest list celebrate with us, which we wouldn’t have been able to do had we stuck with our original date. Unfortunately, we still weren’t able to have Joe’s family in Italy come over. We’re hoping to go over there and celebrate with them this year.

I was supposed to have five bridesmaids but one of my friends had to drop out due to being a bridesmaid for her friend on the same day (another postponed wedding!).

We really wanted everyone to feel safe at our wedding, especially as we had vulnerable and older guests present. We asked all of our guests to do a lateral flow test the day before and only come if they had a negative test result.

It’s upsetting having to postpone but once your day comes it will be so worth it, and you’ll have the most amazing time. No matter what type of wedding day you end up having, it’s about the two of you as a couple.

The Venue & Vibe

We fell in love with Odo’s Barn. We loved how rustic the inside was with it beautiful, original features – also those gorgeous statement chandeliers! We loved the surroundings too; it has such stunning views of the Kent countryside.

We really wanted to celebrate our mutual love of books in some way. At first, we wanted to use some of our favourite books as our centrepieces but as the wedding drew closer, Joe was inspired to draw something. Joe illustrated scenes from some of our favourite reads which we then used for our seating plan as well as our centrepieces.

We opted for an autumnal colour palette to reflect the season.

The Reception

Chef Will Burnett’s food was such a hit with our guests. We had quite a few vegan and vegetarian guests, including us who turned vegetarian in between our taster in 2020 and our wedding. We had so many compliments about the vegetarian and vegan options in particular, but we got amazing feedback from all of the food options. I’m still thinking about the quesadillas and churros that we had in the evening, they were *chef’s kiss*.

We had our bookmark wedding favours printed and then I hole-punched them all and added the velvet ribbon. We weren’t going to do favours at first but as soon as we thought of bookmarks we had to do it as they’re pretty and practical.

It was so hard to choose from all of the flavour options but we ended up going for chocolate fudge and lemon. Verity aka The Baking Fairy makes the most incredible sugar flowers which she decorated the cake with. We were so impressed with Verity. We had a phone consultation with her and she drew up some sketches of the cake design – it felt like a very bespoke service. We had quite a few vegan guests so she also made some vegan carrot cupcakes. They went down a storm! Our cake topper was from Fira Studio via Etsy.

We wanted to make sure all our guests were catered for so we also ordered some gluten-free macarons from Mademoiselle Macaron (strawberries & cream, salted caramel and pistachio). It was all very delicious!

On Love My Dress

I loved looking at Love My Dress for inspiration, in particular the real weddings features. We got so many ideas from the whole blog. I often looked up weddings that were similar to the one we were planning, especially autumn and barn weddings.

I found it so interesting and a great source of inspiration to see how other couples had their day. There are some ideas on Pinterest and the like which are just not realistic, so it’s refreshing to see how other real couples have styled their day. I also found the Love My Dress Facebook group to be very helpful.

The Party

There was a fab mix of music to get everyone up and dancing delivered by DJ James, found via Alive Network. We had such a great time and there was barely a moment when the dance-floor was empty.

We explored a few different first dance song ideas, practising round our tiny living room. We ended up picking Golden Years’ by David Bowie. We had a lot of fun dancing to it. We’ve always loved Bowie, and this is such a fun, upbeat track.

We had such an amazing time through the day. I couldn’t stop laughing and smiling the entire time. It was so lovely to finally be able to celebrate with everyone.

Words of Wedded Wisdom

It’s true that it does go by in a flash, so soak it all up on the day.

Make sure you spend time with your new husband or wife, and check in with each other throughout the day. We also tried to talk to as many guests as possible in the time between dinner and dancing and we’re so glad that we did that.

Spreadsheets are your friend in the planning process. Make sure you know what your budget is before booking anything and plan with that in mind whenever you’re looking at potential suppliers.

We’d really recommend going for the best photographer you can get within your budget, as it really is what you have left after your day.

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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