Emma and Alex wanted a woodland wedding so they tied the knot in a romantic forest glade ceremony
Science class sweethearts, Emma and Alex met while they were still at school. “We had a 24-hour relationship in secondary school,” Emma laughs. “Luckily, we remained friends and rekindled our romance at university. Now, 16 years on, we’re married!” Alex proposed at sunset on the beach with a custom-made ring and a video of heartfelt messages from family and friends.
“I felt like the best version of myself when I found my dress.”
“I don’t wear dresses often, so I was worried about finding one that suited me. I didn’t immediately love this one on the hanger – it was the colour that appealed to me – but once I put it on I knew it was the gown for me. I felt like the best version of myself when I found my dress, and I ended up only trying one on!”
The design, style 3822 from Sincerity, featured beaded lace and a pretty train. “It was originally an A-line silhouette, but I had some of the tulle removed so it hung straighter and was more fitted to my figure,” the bride explains. “I kept my accessories simple, wearing flowers in my hair and forgoing a veil or tiara. I wore Kurt Geiger taupe heels down the aisle, then I changed into white Converse after the photos for maximum comfort all night!”
When it came to the groom’s outfit, on the other hand, things were a little less traditional. “I went a bit left-of-centre with my outfit,” Alex admits, “but it suited our theme down to the ground. I wore a brown Donegal waistcoat over a light green Oxford shirt, and a bottle-green tie. My trousers were black skinny jeans! The groomsmen wore the same, with tan brogues. My only accessory was a sea holly buttonhole made by Emma’s mum.”
Four bridesmaids, coordinating with the groom’s four best men, joined Emma. “They wore multiway maxi dresses from Debenhams in taupe and lilac. It was important to me that everyone felt comfortable, so they all chose how to wear their dresses, as well as their hair and make-up, themselves. I think everyone personally knows best what suits them, so I also chose to do my own hair and make-up using Charlotte Tilbury and Bobbi Brown products.”
“It felt completely right, and I was so excited to marry my best friend.”
Emma and Alex married in a civil ceremony held in Wood Farm Barn’s woodland glade. “I was really nervous waiting in the barn with my dad to walk down the aisle. Then, as we walked through the trees to the ceremony, all I could focus on was Alex. It felt completely right, and I was so excited to marry my best friend. After saying our vows, my grandfather read some lyrics from Led Zeppelin’s Thank You – it was the perfect way to complete the ceremony.”
Channelling their rustic theme, the couple opted for a sociable hog roast in place of the traditional three-course dinner. “Parker’s Hog Roasts catered for us, providing brilliant vegetarian and vegan options too, and lovely salads on the side. For dessert we had wedding cake, lemon meringue pies and chocolate tarts.”
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When it came to the speeches, Emma and Alex did follow tradition. “My dad’s speech was emotional, Alex’s was comical and brought tears to my eyes at the end and the four best men produced a brilliant speech with the help of videos of some of Alex’s finer moments in life,” Emma laughs.
“Music has always been our shared passion, and we wanted to incorporate that into our day.”
Wooden decorations and greenery filled the couple’s venue space in keeping with their unspoiled surroundings. “My sister is a talented artist, so she painted our stationery in watercolour featuring sea hollies, eucalyptus and succulents. Alex’s uncle then printed them for us. We named our tables after song titles we love – music has always been a shared passion, and we’ve been to so many gigs together, we wanted to incorporate that into our day.”
Mismatched wooden furniture, hessian table runners and festoon lighting hanging from the rafters created a romantic atmosphere. “We had flower arrangements in Victorian honey jars on top of log slices dotted around, too.”
The bride’s mother arranged all of the flowers for the wedding. “I wanted a natural wildflower theme so that the arrangements would look freshly picked. My mum used eucalyptus, cineraria, astrantia, veronica, sea holly, scabious, thlaspi, campanula, freesia and asparagus fern to create our beautiful bouquets in a grey, green and soft purple and blue palette.
“Our friend Julie created our three-tier, semi-naked cake that featured various honey, lemon and raspberry and prosecco layers. She also surprised us with a wooden cake topper with our names and owls etched into it, which was such a lovely touch. It tasted even better than it looked!”
“We wanted something upbeat that would make people smile.”
As the sun set, the newlyweds stepped outside to share their first dance beneath the stars. “We chose David Bowie’s Let’s Dance. We wanted something upbeat that would make people smile and encourage people to join in with us as soon as possible!” they laugh.
After the wedding, Alex and Emma minimooned at an idyllic woodland retreat in Yorkshire, which was a surprise for the bride from her groom.
“We are planning a safari for our honeymoon later on in the year thanks to the lovely contributions from our guests, instead of having a traditional gift list,” Emma adds.
Their wedding contacts…
VENUE Wood Farm Barn, Benacre
PHOTOGRAPHY Gemma Giorgio Photography
BRIDESMAIDS’ DRESSES Debenhams
GROOMSWEAR ASOS, Topman, Next
SHOES Kurt Geiger
CATERING Parker’s Hog Roasts
STATIONERY Rachel Katherine
MINIMOON North Star Club, Yorkshire