a rustic, tartan inspired autumnal wedding in Surrey | uk wedding blog

facebook-profile-picture By Phoebe


Afternoon! We are off to one of my favourite venues today for Fraser and Shona’s wedding. Shona submitted her wedding after we spoke a few times on good old instagram. My favourite thing about their wedding is their bucket list. They asked their guests to jot down an idea, a destination, an adventure and they promise to complete it within their lifetime. That is such a lovely idea because it means you can keep a connection with your guests and update them 3/10/30 years later with how you’ve gotten on. I would nab that idea if I were you.

photography by VLA Photography

IMG_0002 copy SYGM The VenueGate Street Barn, Bramley, set in the beautiful Surrey Hills. It was the only venue we visited. We fell in love with the rustic, informal vibe of the venue and loved the fact that we could hold the ceremony and reception in one place, which meant less travelling for our guests. As we had an autumn wedding (and the weather would be typically British), we wanted a venue that was as beautiful indoors as it was outdoors. Gate Street was exactly that!  True to British weather, it was bucketing it down on the day of the wedding; suffice to say, it did not put a dampener on our day.

IMG_0007 SYGM IMG_0010 SYGM IMG_0016 SYGM The DecorThe colours centred around Fraser’s tartan (red, grey and white), which was really appropriate for an autumn wedding. Gate Street lets you do pretty much what you want decoration wise, so we had red, grey and white pom poms,  lots of wicker hearts with hanging ribbon in Fraser’s tartan around the barn walls and one of my favourites was a wicker L.E.D L O V E sign that we placed near the dance floor for the evening reception.

IMG_0024 SYGM IMG_0027 SYGM The FlowersThe bouquets and button holes were from The Artisan Dried Flower Co. As much as I love flowers, I couldn’t bear the thought of lots of beautiful flowers dying a few days after the wedding, plus I wanted to keep my bouquet as a souvenir. This led me to think about using dried flowers and that’s how I found The Artisan Dried Flower Co. I chose their ‘reds’ collection as they fitted perfectly with Fraser’s (red) tartan, and the thistles were of course a winner. The bouquets were made up of Red Roses, Gypsophila, Thistles, Amaranthus and Wheat.

For general décor and table centrepieces we bought Thistles, Gypsophila and Green Trick Carnations from Triangle Nursery. This was such a good way to save money. My Mum, Dad, my good friend Sarah and I spent a whole day arranging them into jam jars and old bottles. I really couldn’t have done that without them!

IMG_0031 SYGM IMG_0054 SYGM The Stationery

I designed and made all our wedding stationery myself. It was a rather big task and took a lot longer than I originally anticipated but Pinterest is full of inspiration which is great.

We decided on quite simple yet fun save the dates, invitations and order of services, all printed on Kraft card, sourced from Razzledazzle Rose. We drew a mini Shona and Fraser that we put on all our stationery and used colours that matched Fraser’s tartan, and threw in some obligatory love hearts here and there.

IMG_0055 SYGM IMG_0057 SYGM IMG_0069 SYGM IMG_0070 SYGM IMG_0079 SYGM IMG_0092 SYGM IMG_0097 SYGM The BrideI knew very early on that I didn’t want a long, traditional style of wedding dress; I wanted something more fun and playful to reflect ‘me’. I was also very keen to incorporate Fraser’s tartan into my outfit and thought the best way would be a pair of shoes in his tartan. As soon as I’d decided on this idea, this pretty much dictated the style of dress I wanted – a tea length dress. That way the shoes would be on display at all times.

I chose my dress without too much trouble. I did try on a few long styles and yes, they were beautiful but they just didn’t suit me, even though a particular one did make my sister well up! I visited Wedding Frox, in Cranleigh, with my sister and mentioned that I was particularly looking for a tea length dress. I was taken to the end of the (very long) rail to be told that they’d just had a new arrival in the day before… as soon as the assistant took it off the rail I KNEW. (I’d never before believed others who said you would know instantly when you’d found your perfect dress. I’m no longer a cynic). Kenneth Winston (Private Label by G) style 1550. As soon as I stepped into it I was completely in love. It was truly perfect! Simple and elegant and would show off the shoes and allow me to engage fully in a spot of Ceilidh dancing at our evening reception.

The shoes were a bit trickier. It took me a while to source a supplier to make custom made tartan shoes. I eventually stumbled across Upper Street on one of my many Google searches. Upper Street specialises in designing and making custom made shoes. I contacted them with my request and the rest is history. I was so thrilled that Upper Street were able to turn my vision into reality and the shoes are truly amazing. I got so many compliments on the day – even from the men – which I think is testament to a great pair of shoes.

Bride’s hair accessories/veil – I wanted an up do for the wedding day, something to reflect the style of my dress. I don’t often wear my hair down and even though I’d been growing my hair long for a number of years, I just didn’t want to risk my hair not holding or keeping shape and having this captured in photographs and being annoyed with it years down the line.

Hair that Turns Heads styled my hair and did such a wonderful job. I opted for a 50s style beehive with a birdcage veil from Lily Bella, and a dried flower comb at the back (also from The Artisan Dried Flower Co.), which matched my bouquet.

IMG_0106 SYGM The Hair and MakeupI did my make-up myself after having a trial at Bobbi Brown and buying lots of the products. I kept it fairly neutral to reflect my day-to-day look. Investing in such good quality foundation, eyeshadows and lipstick really made a difference and I was really happy with my efforts (after lots of practise). I’d recommend this approach if you’re brave enough and confident enough in your own abilities. Luckily, it all went to plan on the day (even applying my false eyelashes), which I am so thankful for.

IMG_0116 SYGM IMG_0121 SYGM IMG_0123 SYGM IMG_0132 SYGM IMG_0141 SYGM IMG_0150 SYGM IMG_0158 SYGM IMG_0182 SYGM The GroomAmy husband is Scottish he wore the traditional Scottish dress – The KILT (with all the trimmings, so to speak). Fraser looks so handsome in his kilt – as do most men – so there really was no other option.

Groomsmen’s outfits/accessories – The best man, who is also Scottish, wore his own kilt and then we hired kilts for the three (English) ushers from Moss Bros. My nephew who was eight years old looked awesome in his kilt and he really loved wearing it too. His special accessory was a sign that he carried down the aisle saying “Uncle Fraz, here comes your girl!”. That made Fraser cry. A little.

IMG_0215 SYGM IMG_0219 SYGM IMG_0241SYGM IMG_0295 SYGM IMG_0304 SYGM IMG_0317SYGM The BridesmaidsQuite a varied combination of John Lewis, M&S, and Monsoon. It was quite tricky finding a style that suited an 11, 5 and 2 year old (and all those sizes being in stock at once).

IMG_0322 SYGM IMG_0325 SYGM The CakeWe had a 3-tier naked cake from a local supplier called Buttercream and Cakes. We decorated it with thistles and gypsophila and I had cake toppers made by Love on Top, which were just incredible. Such a talented lady and her attention to detail was second to none. We had a monkey and a Pink Panther topper made to reflect our favourite childhood toys. Just another way we wanted to personalise our day.

IMG_0332 SYGM IMG_0346 SYGM IMG_0360 SYGM IMG_0362 SYGM IMG_0367 SYGM IMG_0384 SYGM IMG_0402 SYGM IMG_0458 SYGM IMG_0487 SYGM IMG_0495 SYGM IMG_0501 SYGM IMG_0513 SYGM IMG_0563 SYGM Favourite MomentFavourite moment? To my surprise it was actually the ceremony. I thought it was going to be really formal and I was really nervous about being a jibbering wreck, but I was SO excited I could hardly contain myself. For me it felt like we were the only ones in the room and I remember it all with such clarity. I was so excited to marry Fraser and begin our adventure together as husband and wife.

IMG_0581 SYGM IMG_0617 SYGM IMG_0706 SYGM IMG_0741 SYGM The PhotographerAfter the venue, the photographer was the next most important choice. We had no idea about local suppliers initially, so thought a sensible place to start was suppliers recommended by our venue. We met VLA Photography at our venue’s open day and were instantly impressed. Jon Fraser, who runs the business with his wife, was so welcoming, likeable, clearly talented, and most of all someone we could see ourselves getting along with really well. That was the most important element for us.

Jon did such an amazing job from start to finish, and we ended up being secretly pleased that it was raining on our wedding day, as we LOVE that umbrella in our couple shots.

IMG_0753 SYGM IMG_0915 SYGM IMG_0944 SYGM IMG_0991 SYGM IMG_1039 SYGM IMG_1064 SYGM IMG_1067 SYGM The FoodWe chose Tandem Catering, who were just wonderful. We chose Tandem as they offered good, wholesome British food which was exactly what we wanted. As we got married on a Sunday, and it was Winter, we wanted the food to be akin to a typical Sunday meal. Our menu consisted of chunky vegetable soup, Shepherd’s pie (with veg), and lemon polenta cake (which was to die for).

The canapes reflected both our native regional areas: Haggis with Whisky shots, salmon on oatcakes, mini Yorkshire puddings with beef and horseradish and mini Pattie Butties (which you can only get in Hull – if you’re ever in the area you MUST have one!)

IMG_1074 SYGM IMG_1077 SYGM IMG_1103 SYGM IMG_1125 SYGM IMG_1136 SYGM IMG_1152 SYGM IMG_1196 SYGM IMG_1256 SYGM IMG_1278 SYGM IMG_1341 SYGM IMG_1344 SYGM IMG_1348 SYGM IMG_1353 SYGM IMG_1355 SYGM IMG_1362 SYGM IMG_1371 SYGM The FavoursWe gave the men scratch cards (and a penny to do the scratching) and we gave the women wild flower seeds. No big wins on the day though…

IMG_1375 SYGM IMG_1376 SYGM IMG_1395 SYGM IMG_1485 SYGM IMG_1535 SYGM IMG_1539 SYGM IMG_1565 SYGM IMG_1602 SYGM IMG_1615 SYGM IMG_1642 SYGM IMG_1669 SYGM IMG_1674 SYGM The HoneymoonWe jetted off to the British Virgin Islands a few days after the wedding. We stayed at the beautiful Biras Creek Resort in Virgin Gorda. The resort provided the perfect mix of relaxation and activities and it was so wonderful to feel the warmth of the sun in November/December. It really felt like paradise and was the perfect end to the wedding craziness.

IMG_1749 SYGM IMG_1751 SYGM IMG_1752 SYGM IMG_1764 SYGM The EntertainmentWe hired Chess Disco for our evening entertainment, who is a bit of a legend! We asked guests to choose “one song guaranteed to get you on the dancefloor” and Chess did a great job building everyone’s songs into his own selections.

IMG_1819 SYGM IMG_1870 SYGM IMG_1960 SYGM IMG_1995 SYGM IMG_2016 SYGM IMG_2027 SYGM IMG_2028 SYGM Untitled-1 SYGMAdviceHave fun with the whole process. Together. Yes, it can be tough at times, and people can be annoying, but work through everything as if you’re already husband and wife. Making it a team effort really eases the pressure at the times. Don’t sweat the small stuff either. Really.

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