coffee & cream. justin alexander for a country garden style wedding at home – rachael & john

Julia Smith

A Rustic Wedding at Home (c) Crayden Wedding Photography (45)

It might be Monday but we’re getting your week off to a pretty start with this wonderful

rustic wedding

that is brimming with inspiration for all you creative brides-to-be.

Much of the styling of today’s wedding followed after bride Rachael found her dream dress in the form of a coffee and ivory tea-length design by Justin Alexander. Fitting in perfectly with her desire for a relaxed country garden style wedding, Rachael teamed the neutral yet warm tones with elegant pastel shades and picked complementary décor in hessian and ‘just picked’ blooms to complete the look.

Rustic romance at its best…

With images by Crayden Wedding Photography.

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rachael says:

John proposed on my 30th birthday in January 2013. It was during a meal with 11 family members – they all knew about it as John had visited my dad a few nights previous to get his permission. The morning of my birthday in typical John style he advised me he’d ordered me a present  online and it had been delayed because of the snow and it would be here in a couple of days, I thought nothing of it and went off to work. After meeting the family at the restaurant and after the family gift giving, John started to shuffle back on his chair and got down on one knee, I thought he’d drop something, then he proceeded to say I’ve got a little gift, I thought he was kidding until I saw the ring and instantly burst into tears of joy and he asked if I would be his wife. I obviously said yes – I felt so lucky and he looked so relieved.

Our wedding date was originally booked for New Year’s Eve 2015 but after feeling a little nervous about the weather we brought the date forward to 19th September 2015. My parents and sister also got married in the month September, which gave the date more meaning.

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We had a church ceremony at the village church where my parents and sister got married. My parents live next door to the reverend and directly across from the church. We then went onto a marquee wedding reception at my family’s small holdings, which has a fabulous rustic feel and a large fishing lake.

We wanted a relaxed rustic, county garden feel to the wedding. I initially fell in love with the idea of tipis for the reception but after visiting a Papakata open day we saw the Sperry marquees and quickly realised they would be perfect as they had transparent side walls meaning we could take in the views from outside.

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The colour scheme was very natural, we had cappuccino, pastel green and a hint of pastel pink. The colours were chosen to complement my wedding dress.

Before trying on any wedding dresses, I found a picture online of a tea-length coffee ivory dress that I liked. I thought I my struggle with the style as I’m only 5ft 4in and wasn’t sure if a short-length dress would make me look even shorter. I went along with my mum to an open day at a bridal shop and tried a number of styles, including a tea-length dress and fell in love with the style straight away. I was advised I could have a full-length dress altered to create the tea-length style and choose a dress in store.

After a couple of weeks and getting ready to commit to the dress I had chosen, I thought I would try and track down the designer of the dress I had originally found on line. I found out it was a Justin Alexander dress and looked for the nearest stockist, which was Georgian House in Doncaster. I called them to find they had the dress in stock and arranged a fitting. I instantly knew this dress was the one for me – I absolutely loved everything about it and didn’t want to take it off. The dress was purchased and all the other plans were then chosen around the dress.

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As my dress had colour to it I thought it was important to find a suit which would complement it best and I thought a tan colour would be most fitting. We personally didn’t fancy the traditional top and tails suits and John wanted him and the groomsmen to feel as comfortable as possible. After looking around and revisiting Georgian House, we found they had three-piece tanned coloured suits to hire, which were perfect!

For my bridesmaids’ attire I wanted to add a splash and colour. We were looking at all pastel colours, during a trip to It’s Bliss, in Doncaster, and the girls all tried on the same dress in three different pastel colours; mint green, baby blue and lemon. Out of the three they all loved the mint pastel green, and I had previously seen an ivory flower girl dress with a 3D flowered mint green sash in Victoria House, Armthorpe, so that also helped sway the decision.

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As my parents live across from the church we didn’t require any transport to get there – we quite literally stopped the traffic to walk over there. To get to the reception there was only one option – I have always had a love for VW Beetles and camper vans. I looked at a few companies and came across to find they had a split screen in a cappuccino colour. It was perfect!

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After searching different photographers online and looking through photos and reviews we decided to meet with Mark from Crayden Wedding Photography. Mark initially came to our house to discuss what we would like. He also took a trip to the farm to look at key areas for the couple portrait photos. John and I had always been in agreement when we started making the wedding arrangements, we didn’t want anything too formal and we would like for both ourselves and the guests to be able to relax and simply enjoy the day. Mark’s offering of wedding photography was exactly that, he would capture the day exactly as it happened and he did just that! From the very start of the day Mark was there and very much in control though blended into the background. The end result was above and beyond anything we could have ever expected. Mark captured even the finest of details. I could not recommend him enough for his professionalism, value for money and production time.

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Our wedding flowers were supplied by Tom Wood Florists, in Doncaster. I wanted to go with an English country garden feel and the ‘just picked’ look for both the tables and bouquets. I had been decorating bottles and jars in the run up to the wedding to give it a personal feel and had also purchased some jugs. I took some images into the florist and they were happy to make up an arrangement in advance so I could see what it would look like. As we were having fresh flowers they advised me they would usually bring them to the venue on the morning of the wedding, I felt a little nervous about this as I wouldn’t see them before everyone else did and I wanted to make sure, as we did the dressing of the marquee ourselves, everything would be in the right place. They agreed as it would be cool enough they would come the evening before. The owner himself came out to deliver the flowers they looked spectacular and the smell of them on the day of the wedding was gorgeous. The bridesmaids and I had a smaller version of the table flowers and we utilised them for the head table.

We kept the rest of the décor along the rustic theme. We had white table clothes and I purchased hessian and lace table and wooden slices for the table centres. After watching a few YouTube videos I had crafted a number of jars and bottles in hessian and lace, which we added flowers or candles to. We also wanted to add some colour to the marquee and so we went with a number of paper lanterns from The Hanging Lantern Company.

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For favours I wanted to give the guests something memorable and something they could use after the wedding so I decided on miniature hip flasks. They were just plain so to add a personal touch I had transparent labels made up and put them in a little hessian bag and printed the guests’ names on brown paper tags and doubled them up as place names.

I knew the wedding cake was going to be a little tricky as I wanted a four tier cake and to try and replicate the lace, pattern and colour of my dress. After sampling some cupcakes from a local stall in Doncaster I contacted the baker Cheryl at Chocomoo. Cheryl was not at all phased by the challenge and she did not disappoint. I sent some photos and colour samples to her and she matched it perfectly. The cake tasted delicious, we had chocolate, coffee, lemon and fruit cake layers and I still have the top tier of fruit cake and it still looks just as good today as it did in September.

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Being one of the last of my friends to get married, and going to lots of weddings, I decided I wanted something a little bit different when it came to the wedding breakfast. As we didn’t want anything too formal we decided to have afternoon tea in the day and street food at night. As we held our wedding on private land we had to source our own caterers and bar. I looked online and came across a caterer that offered both, Jonathan David Catering. We went to visit him at a wedding fair in the next town and were able to sample some of his desserts – they were to die for! We discussed with him what we were looking for and discovered that he used to own a chocolate shop and tea room, perfect!  We arranged to meet him for a tasting session. He made so many samples and we were able to choose a selection of afternoon tea sandwiches, savouries, cakes and then for the evening fish goujons and chips and gourmet burgers and sweet potato chips. We also decided as we were in the middle of nowhere we would finish off the night with bacon sandwiches at midnight. To top off our fabulous experience, David came back the following morning and made a full English breakfast for our guests that had stayed over.

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We have always loved live music so we decided to have a band for our entertainment. We looked on a number of wedding band websites and found The Fanatics. They were out of this world and from the minute they started they rocked the place! They had everyone dancing all night long and so many guests commented just how good they were. I look forward to seeing them again at a friend’s wedding later in the year.

For when the evening celebrations came to an end John and I were looking to stay nearby for the wedding night but we couldn’t really find anything close enough so a friend suggested hiring a glamping tent, and that’s exactly what we did! We and a few friends hired glamping tents from and some others stayed over in camper vans. This was the perfect ending to a perfect day. Our tent had a four post bed, throws, cushions, lanterns, bunting and twinkle lights.

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I would recommend every single supplier we used to create our wedding – they made our day magical!

I absolutely loved every single part of our wedding day and can honestly say I wouldn’t change a single thing. If I had to pick just one standout part it would be saying “I do” to my best friend, now husband, whilst being surrounded by amazing family and friends.

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Two days after the wedding we went on our honeymoon to Rhodes for a fortnight. It was perfect and we were able to completely relax in an adult-only resort.

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My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to stick with your gut instinct! If it feels right it will be!

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