Real Weddings

A Pretty Summer Barn wedding at Hooton Pagnell Hall – Poppy and Tom

Alexis Forsyth

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Poppy and Tom wanted their wedding day to be full of laughter, love, drinking and dancing. And that’s exactly what they got when they tied the knot at the exquisite Hooton Pagnell Hall in South Yorkshire last September, on what was an oh so perfect warm, sunny day.

The couple said ‘I do’ in the venue’s lovingly restored Tithe Barn, which was decorated with lots of pretty foliage and flowers by the talented mother-of-the-bride. Describing the space as ‘breathtaking’ we can see why the couple loved this charming venue. They even had the freedom to bring in their own suppliers to make their big day super personal – always a bonus, if you ask us!

In keeping with their vision for something fun and relaxed, the couple treated their guests to a cocktail hour on the lawn with games, along with a homemade sweetie bar and even some Bratwurst in the evening, as a nod to their love for Germany.

With images by Jenny Maden Photography


Poppy says

: We got engaged at our home in Sheffield on Wednesday 19 September 2018. It was a random Wednesday night – Tom said he would make tea so I sat and watched Great British Bake Off. Then he text me to come in the dining room and he’d changed into a nice shirt (which he’d hidden in the cellar!), there were flowers and Champagne and a nice paella for tea. I knew immediately something was up. Then he asked me and, as they say, the rest is history!


We got married on 21 September 2019. We chose this date as we thought a year would give us enough time to plan, plus September is a nice month, and that’s when the venue and registrar were available. We like to go on our summer holiday in September too, so thought it would be a great time for a honeymoon.

We had the whole wedding day (ceremony and reception) at Hooton Pagnell Hall in Doncaster, in The Tithe Barn. We chose this venue because it was beautiful.

The barn was breathtaking and there’s so much potential to transform it into ‘your’ venue. You could choose your own suppliers to make it unique and special to you. The staff there were really keen to work with us to make our day just what we wanted. They offered a personal service, so it didn’t feel like you were just one in a hundred weddings that week (as it happens, we were the only one!).

We were both fairly relaxed and chilled about the wedding so it was never going to be a very ‘posh’ or super glamorous affair. We didn’t want it to be very formal, as that just isn’t us. We wanted it to be a day full of laughter, love, drinking and dancing! And we were lucky to have beautiful sunshine all day too – even now we refer to it as ‘the last day of summer’. We had a lot of flowers – as the wedding venue was a barn it meant that we really relied on the flowers to add colour, depth and softer touches to it.

We started off with defining the colour of Tom and the groomsmen’s suits, ending up with a lovely blue tone. We then fitted bridesmaid dresses around that – going for coral, and then the flowers came from that.


My dress was an all-over lace, fitted shape with a low back and gentle flare out at the bottom. It had a wide neckline with eyelash trim and a slight cap sleeve.

After looking in a couple of shops I ended up with this one from Wed2Be in Leeds. My seamstress (Bridal Alterations by Carole – Doncaster) sewed on a belt I had bought from Chi Chi London to give the dress some extra sparkle.

I combined the gown with a beautiful fingertip length veil with beading on the edge from Lace & Favour. I have to say that my veil was my favourite part of my outfit!

Shoes were just simple sparkly silver block heels from New Look (I would not have survived in stilettos!). I wore silver dangly earrings that were my Nanna’s. It meant a lot to have something from her on the day, as her recent passing meant she couldn’t be with me on my wedding day. In my hair I wore a beautiful, sparkly clip, just at the back on top of the veil.

My sister had embroidered me some Converse as a gift, with our initials and wedding date on, but I ended up staying in my heels all night!


Tom wore a blue suit from Debenhams paired with a pale blue waistcoat from Moss Bros, tan shoes, and a pale blue tie from Next.

The groomsmen wore the same as Tom, but with a blue waistcoat to match the suit. They all had buttonholes of a cream rose and greenery.


My twin sister and younger sister were my bridesmaids. They wore coral midi-dresses from Karen Millen. Similar to me – they wore silver, shiny block heels from Dorothy Perkins.


Our make up was done by Amanda Humphreys, who is local to Sheffield. I’d heard of her from a friend whose wedding make up she had also done. She did exactly what we wanted, expertly and on time! She was lovely to work with and really helped us enjoy our morning getting ready.

Our hair was styled by Sam from Nymeria. Again, she created exactly the styles we wanted and made them stay in all day and night!


Me, my parents and my maid of honour stayed at the venue the night before. This was great, as it meant no stress getting to the venue on time. I even managed a lie-in – my alarm woke me up! There are five luxurious rooms at the venue, which added to the whole experience.


Our photographer was Jenny Maden, from West Yorkshire. We would totally recommend Jenny to anyone who wants to work with an expert photographer who makes you feel totally at ease and who you can also have a laugh with! Her photos aren’t posed or staged, she simply captures the feelings in that moment. She’s already booked for my sister’s wedding in November 2020 – that’s how much we liked working with her!


My mum did all the flowers – mine and the bridesmaids’ bouquets, all the buttonholes, the flower arrangements down the aisle, the table centrepieces, the standing milk churns and the big arrangements on the top table and signing table. They were absolutely beautiful. She even grew some of the flowers herself! She also took greenery from my sister’s and nanna’s gardens, for that extra special touch.

My bouquet was made up of Miss Piggy roses, playa blanca white roses, freesias, gerbera, hypericum, heather, snowflake spray roses and astilbe. It was a loose bouquet with different colours, lengths and textures.

We did the other decorations ourselves, including tealights in little jars for the many little alcoves in the barns (28 in total!). There were so many flowers and we had tall centrepieces, so didn’t want to go overboard with other decorations.

On each table, we had photos of us with each of the guests seated there, plus we made a Poppy and Tom quiz. You can tell we like games! In the bar area of the barn, we also strung up embarrassing photos of ourselves throughout the years for the guests to have a good chuckle over!

We got our confetti from Proper Confetti on Etsy – biodegradable and bright colours, which I had read, looked great on your photos – and it did! For our stationery – table plan, table names and menus, we used Katy from Creationery, on Etsy. She customised the designs just as we wanted and made them in no time at all.


Our favours were also the guest place names. We had their names shaped out of wood. Despite the first supplier going AWOL we managed to get all the favours on time and the guests loved them. We got them from Etsy.


Neither Tom nor I were originally bothered about a wedding cake – we’d decided we’d rather spend the money on more canapés and drinks! However in the end we had a four-tiered cake – a tier each made by me, my mum and my two sisters (bridesmaid and maid of honour).

As a surprise the day before, my mum made our two guinea pigs out of clay as a decoration for the cake. My sister also made our cake toppers – Tom and I made out of corks!


Our caterers were Baba Ganoush. We wanted a down-to-earth approach to food – no salmon vol-au-vents for us! We had met them at a wedding fair and thought their approach was refreshing – long gone are the days of a plain chicken breast!

They were happy to customise any part of the meal we wanted, but in the end their existing options were so delicious the only part we customised was one of our canapés.

For canapés we had Hoisin Duck Filo Baskets, Pork Belly Bao Buns, Wensleydale & Leek Bon Bons, and Truffle Mushroom Arancini bites.

For starters, we had a fig and goat’s cheese tart, followed by chicken and thyme with dry cured bacon pie, and then we rounded the meal off with a chocolate torte with raspberries and a golden white chocolate dome.

In the evening, we gave a nod to our love of Germany (I studied German and lived there for a year) with Bratwurst with fried onions, coleslaw and chips! Some friends from Germany had flown over for the wedding and they thought they were very tasty, so it must have been pretty authentic!

The food was absolutely delicious; everybody loved it.


We thought the atmosphere of having a band would work really well with the barn acoustics. The band was called The Cave, from Manchester. We danced a lot; they really kept the guests on their feet and didn’t even mind playing a German carnival song that my friend requested!

Special touches

An essential for us was a sweetie bar! Having attended weddings before with a sweetie bar we knew we wanted one too, so did a ‘homemade’ version ourselves. It was a big hit and everything that was left over went to the staff at the venue, who gratefully accepted.

We also did a Polaroid camera guest book, which the guests had a lot of fun with.

Being avid board gamers, we asked guests to write either a first date idea or a piece of advice for marriage on a Jenga piece. We haven’t looked at them yet but are going to build the Jenga tower on our first anniversary.

Lawn games were provided outside for the guests to play during the cocktail hour which was held on the huge lawn at the back of Tithe Barn. Surrounded by rose gardens and with a view spanning miles – it was a wonderful spot.

My mum also did a reading during the ceremony, which was an extract from Dr Seuss’ ‘Oh, the places you’ll go’. She made it extra special by changing the names to mine and Tom’s.

Thanks to

I could tell you all about the stunning venue, the smooth organisation and attention to detail, but really it’s the little things – we were walking around the beautiful gardens taking photos with our photographer and the Hooton staff brought us our own basket of canapés to ensure we didn’t go hungry. They brought us champagne and cold water (it was 22°!) and held my bouquet when I didn’t need it.

When we were waiting to do our entrance to the wedding breakfast, two members of staff, without asking, just stood and picked off all the leaves and twigs my lace dress had picked up whilst wandering around.

I think that shows you the sort of people you work with at Hooton Pagnell Hall.

Best bit

We were so lucky with the weather – it was 22 degrees and bright sunshine all day – unexpected for the end of September! This meant that after the wedding breakfast at about 6pm we went back outside onto the lawn with our guests to drink, chat and watch the sun go down. Dusk is a magical time and it let us all relax and just enjoy the moment… before heading back inside to party!


Two days after our wedding we flew to Mauritius, via Dubai. We wanted a mix of relaxing time on the beach and memory-making adventures and that’s what we got. We stayed in a five-star hotel that ran along the water-front, which meant that snorkelling on the coral reef was 30 seconds from our room’s patio doors. We water-skied, played tennis, ate a lot, and did yoga overlooking the sea as the sun went down. We swam with dolphins, saw whales, walked on the seabed and drove around Mauritius trying to keep our hire car on the road!

Every day we would reminisce about the wedding, talking about all the little details. My cousin filmed the speeches for us and it was an emotional but lovely moment watching them on our honeymoon.


You do you! No, but seriously, don’t be caught up in tradition, etiquette or competing with others. Do what you and your partner want to do, and how you want to do it.

It was great to hear from other brides, local to me, on Brides Up North and see what options were out there and to get some ideas.

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