Emma and Neil’s 20s inspired Shustoke Barn wedding
What was it like to work with me as your Shustoke Barn wedding photographer?
Working with you was like working with a friend! You are so easy to get along with and we didn’t feel like we were being staged into uncomfortable poses. Both our parents have said how lovely you are too.
How did you get started planning your Shustoke Barn wedding?
I wanted something unusual. I knew I wanted to get married as close to Christmas as possible because I wanted a big party and everyone to be in the festive mood. Our parents had a traditional approach to a wedding so a themed wedding took some convincing on both parts.
How did you bring your individual personalities to your wedding?
I love old vintage glamour and I love Christmas!! It just felt perfect to mix the two together. Neil just let me get on with it.
I also knew that I wanted to choose our wedding rings from the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham, I’m proud to have something from a place with so much history and that is so close to home!
It was lovely walking around all the shops and knowing that it was all made in my home city, my wedding ring is so unique and individual you wouldn’t find it anywhere else.
Why did you choose to get married at Shustoke Barn?
We chose Shustoke Barn as we wanted a venue that was relatively close to home because we had decided to make the wedding an adult only occasion.
Shustoke Barn is a really pretty venue, with high ceilings and a beautiful courtyard.
As it’s a smaller venue it was easier to visualise how things could come together instead of worrying about how to decorate multiple rooms in a larger venue.
What did you both wear?
My dress was designed by Eliza Jane Howell. I’m like a magpie for shiny things and when I tried on the sample dress I knew it was the one I loved the beaded tassels, the sleeves and all the embellishments! I knew I didn’t want to wear white as it’s not a colour I can pass off easily.
Neil wore a suit from Slaters Menswear with claret colourings to match the bridesmaids.
How did you style and theme your Shustoke Barn wedding?
We had a 1920’s themed wedding. We wanted everybody to dress up in 1920’s attire. Some people were a little apprehensive about this probably because they thought I was having them on!
I left the decor upto the lovely Katie from The Vintage House That Could and she did a fabulous job, with lots of lovely greenery and copper based accents.
The cake was made by Catherine Thomas and it looked amazing. It was a three tier cake, the first two tiers had a portrait frame on with a stag on the top. Quite close to the time I panic emailed Catherine and asked for gold sequins for the bottom tier which really finished the design off. She also made some exceptionally tasty cutting cake for our vegan guests.
Robert from the Secret Garden did our flowers and also a large wreath for the balcony they looked stunning in beautiful winters reds and purples.
The food provided by the barn was amazing, our guests are still talking about it weeks after, and have all said it was the best wedding meal they’d ever had.
How did you make your Shustoke Barn wedding ceremony your own?
Our ceremony was originally meant to be at my childhood Catholic Church, but due to renovations, we decided to just have the ceremony at the barn. Also the wedding can be unpredictable in December so it made sense to keep everyone under one roof. Although we’d invited a lot of guests to the day it felt informal but in a warm cosy environment.
I walked (skipped) down the aisle to a string quartet version of The Pogues Fairytale of New York. It was a Christmas wedding and we did get engaged in New York so it felt like the perfect choice.
Our first reading was read by Simon, a friend from work that consistently joked that he wanted to do a reading at the ceremony, I called his bluff and we are both too stubborn to back down. His reading was about celebration and being merry.
Our second reading (and my favourite reading) was read by my bridesmaid Kate. I’d sent her a list of approved readings from the registrar. After reading a few to her husband who wasn’t keen on any of them, she suggested reading the lyrics of a song which relates to mine and Neil’s more individual sides. I asked her to read Huey Lewis’s the Power of Love. Seeing the guests looking around and realising it was a song from the 80’s was brilliant. I couldn’t hold it together and started laughing by the second verse, however Kate held it together perfectly and absolutely nailed it!
The last reading was read by Neil and was taken from the film the wedding singer – I wanna grow old with you. The words ring a little too true!
What was your plan for the reception and party?
Neil and I have been together for 14 years and he finally sorted himself out and proposed to me. We both decided to just have a massive party to celebrate.
Neil didn’t have many planning responsibilities. I think the only thing we planned together was the venue and the DJ, so everything was a surprise to him. He didn’t know what was going to happen next!
My favourite bit was the singing waiters. They were disguised with the Barns staff and really kicked the party off! Everyone got up to sing and dance and it was a massive surprise to everyone! Even my mom who knew was shocked when the waiter fell over as part of the act!
How did you choose your first dance song?
Choosing a first dance song was probably the most difficult decision out of the whole process. We both have different tastes in music and there were so many options.
I eventually put 10 songs into a container and asked Neil to pick them out. Neil didn’t like the song that he picked out so we finally agreed on the Beach Boys Wouldn’t It Be Nice. Totally love the Beach Boys anyway so it was fine by me!
What’s your advice to other couples planning a wedding?
I wouldn’t do anything differently! I loved it from start to finish.
My advice is don’t get too stressed out and do what makes you happy. Limit input from anyone else as it’s your day and you should be able to express yourselves in your own individual style.
Shustoke Barn Wedding Suppliers
Shustoke Barn Wedding Photography from Parrot and Pineapple
Brides dress – Eliza Jane Howell from Ivy Tower in Ivory Tower Bridal Couture in Knowle
Headpiece and feather boa from Donna Crain on Etsy
Bridal Shoes Racheal Simpson shoes (emmerline)
Florist – The Secret Garden in Lichfield
Styling and planning – The Vintage House That Could
Wedding Cake – Catherine Thomas Cakes (website down)
Groom and groomsmen suits from Slaters menswear
Bridesmaid Dresses Adrianna Papell dresses
Dj The vintage wedding Dj
Surprise singers Silver Service wedding singers
Vintage photo booth http://vintage-booth.co.uk/
Bridal hair and make up Sarah Russell Hair and Makeup Artist
Bridesmaid hair and make up Shannon Cannon Makeup artist
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