Annie and Jordan held their Wedding at Gate Street Barn on a crisp winter’s day in December 2018. Below Annie shares her story; why they chose that time of year, how they embraced the weather, and the little details that made the day.
Winter doesn’t have to mean Christmassy
‘I’d always dreamt of a winter wedding. The thought of lots and lots of fairy lights, frosty greenery and the days getting darker early excited me. We were very conscious that we didn’t want it to be a ‘Christmas Wedding’ but much more a ‘Winter Wedding’. We did have a Christmas Tree covered in hand-made decorations in one of the corners; for photo opportunities, a Christmas carol as one of our hymns but other than that we tried to stay away from it’.
‘We used lights and natural found materials to bring a winter world inside the barn; I was obsessed with twigs and fairy lights. As the barn is a beautiful rural venue we wanted to bring that inside with natural materials. We decided to use three materials; wood, porcelain and hessian to create a natural unstructured feel, like walking in the woods’.
‘The other very important thing for us was to make sure the day had a personal element, and many things were hand crafted. We wanted to make sure we added a Welsh, Irish, English, Indian and Swiss touch, as this is where we are from!’
‘I’d always wanted a Barn in the countryside and living in Surrey meant that there were a fair few options. Having looked at several other barns, Gate Street was a clear winner for us. It was such a beautiful space, the new addition of the Orangery and Atrium was a huge improvement, we completely fell in love with the hops in the bar area too. It was the perfect venue for our winter wedding. We reserved the date straight away as we know how popular Gate Street Barn is and didn’t want it to get taken’.
‘Soon after we were engaged we moved to Austin, Texas. Planning a wedding from so far away, with a huge time difference and in under a year, we needed all the help we could get. The staff at Gate Street Barn were incredible from day one, they were always so quick to respond to my ongoing questions and they honestly made it stress free. I couldn’t work out or see how the day would run and how everyone would know what to do and when, but the staff sent a very detailed timeline and info sheet to fill out that then helps them ensure everything runs smoothly on the day. Whilst they have companies that they work with and recommend, we did not feel restricted in any way.
‘Having a winter wedding in the UK means there’s a very strong chance of rain, wind and coldness! Gate Street Barn provided enough indoor space for all 150 day guests, plus an extra 40 evening guests.’
‘We pulled up to the barn in our wedding car and it was pouring outside. Two staff members from Gate Street could see us pulling up and before we’d even stopped, they ran out of their office with umbrellas and ensured myself and husband got into the barn as dry as possible! I thought this really was a lovely little touch from them.’
‘Typically, and with my luck it rained ALL day. I mean ALL DAY!!!! However, we were well prepared. We had bought clear dome umbrellas which looked great in pictures (I actually stole this idea from another Gate Street Barn wedding I saw on Instagram and thank goodness I did as they were definitely needed)! The weather didn’t affect us one bit, the barn felt even more cosy! It actually meant that everyone stayed in the barn rather than groups getting separated by going outside. I fully embraced the weather (and I beg every other bride to do the same thing). Whilst our guests sat for dinner we went outside in the pouring rain and had a quick few snaps; these photos were some of the best of the day. My hair was slightly wet and windswept but when you’re on such a high it really doesn’t bother you. My bridesmaids had prepared me with wellies as well!’
Our florist, Wild at Heart, used natural and found materials that she collected; she looks for beautiful colours and forms in the environment. She brought in trees, twigs and covered them in fairy lights. We had big milk churns that were all full of teasels, white roses and gyp, with a large handmade hessian bow around them. The wreaths for the table decorations were loosely woven with berries and white gyp. The intention was to have a beautiful feeling of twigs and bark with the vibrant colour that happens in the winter months; we had hanging white flowers and twigs with greenery cascading down the wooden beams. Everything was covered with twinkling fairy lights. We wanted to have a relaxed and organic feeling that really celebrated the natural world. The bouquets had icy greens in them to add to the wintery feel, along with thistles and very pale cream flowers.
Everything was considered and styled to fit our theme. The wood blocks on the table cut by the father of the groom were pine. The porcelain place names were printed in antique gold and the guests were able to be take them away as Christmas decorations and hopefully used again as a lovely memory. Our favours were homemade Welsh cakes! The table plan was printed in reclaimed wood with a large flowing bouquet over the top. The table names were the names of different roads in Austin Texas where we currently live. Much of the décor was in keeping with the barn structure and the relaxed atmosphere we wanted to create.
We used Just Jane, they were incredible during the whole process. We wanted a slightly different twist, and to get our guests involved in the food, we opted for lamb brought out by our unexpected guests, who carved for the whole table. This was very interactive and encouraged conversation, and we had bought them comedy aprons and it went down a storm!
The tasting was a real highlight; Louise’s suggestions and experience made planning this portion from Texas a lot easier. Her staff were lovely and had a great attitude throughout.
Evening food was provided by Cook N Go, a food truck with fish and chips – with additional curry sauce and mushy peas!
My husband’s father is in a band, during the drinks reception one of his band members played acoustic guitar and he sang a song which was really important to both him and us. We also had a magician throughout the reception who was insane! Guests were blown away by his card tricks.
We had a DJ in the evening who was incredible, he played the best tunes.
I organised Dohl Drummers as a surprise, which really made the night feel special and energetic. It got everyone on the dance floor and was a great little personal touch.
We were very lucky that our family friend is an incredible baker and offered to make our cake as a wedding gift. We went for a semi-naked cake with multi layers and different flavours. Our friend even went to The Cake Box in Hampton to learn how to make little edible roses out of icing! It’s little touches like this that makes it so personal.
We used DM Photography. Dan was amazing from the moment we booked him; he arranged a pre-wedding meeting with us to discuss exactly what we wanted from our wedding photography. Our package included a pre-wedding photoshoot which we really didn’t want to do, as we were so embarrassed and cringed out, but we are soooo glad we did it. It ensured that we were both relaxed and comfortable on the actual wedding day. Dan and Cameron were incredible the whole day. They snapped the whole day perfectly, fitting in around us; they were not strict on timings and went with the flow of the day. As mentioned, it poured the whole day but this did not bother them! We went outside, embraced the rain and got pictures I never ever thought were possible to capture. Cameron even got stuck in the mud, his trousers were filthy but he carried on in true professional style. We are beyond happy with our photographs and he turned them round in crazy quick time.
Our videographer was amazing! We got him very last minute and he did an outstanding and professional job. He liaised with our photographer beforehand to make sure they were working on the same schedule and to understand how each other worked. Again, he edited the video and sent it to us in record time.
Words of Wisdom For Other Couples
A lot of people have a lot of opinions… especially when organising a wedding. Parents, future in laws, friends and wider family members etc etc… listen to them but ultimately do what YOU want as a couple. It is YOUR day! Also, take 10 minutes out together some part throughout the day. Stop and look around. Appreciate the moment and see that everyone is there to celebrate you. You’ve put a lot of time, effort and money into this day – appreciate it. Look at all the little bits that have come together to make it so perfect.
Oh – and GET A VIDEOGRAPHER!! We decided very last minute to get one and it was the best decision we made. The day goes so quickly, it is so nice to have the memories saved and watch the day all over again.
Photographer – DM Photography – firstname.lastname@example.org
Florist – Wild at Heart – Judydibiase@mac.com
Caterers – Just Jane – JustJaneCatering@justjane.info
DJ – Kevin Howell. S Klass Entertainment – Info@sklassent.co.uk
Magician – Adam Reeves – email@example.com
Dhol Drummers – Rhythm N Bass – firstname.lastname@example.org
Videographer – Vincent Rowley – email@example.com