Tuesday 22 January 2019

Real wedding: An autumnal Cotswold wedding at Stone Barn

The gorgeous rustic venue of Stone Barn provided a beautiful backdrop for Cath Bennett and Huw Wilford's autumnal Cotswold wedding, with pretty lighting, impressive floral arrangements, and stunning views creating a spectacular setting for the October celebration.

The lowdown

The happy couple: Cath Bennett, 33, from Gloucester, and Huw Wilford, 38, from Belfast, both probation officers who live in Cheltenham.
Wedding date: Friday 16 October 2015
Ceremony venue: St Mary’s Church, Bibury
Reception venue: Stone Barn
Wedding theme: Autumn

The suppliers

Photographer: Dan Fisher Photography
Flowers: Go Wild Flowers
Dress: The Cotswold Frock Shop, Stow-on-the-Wold
Bridesmaid dresses: Phase Eight
Groom’s outfit: Hugo Boss
Cake: Made by the groom’s mum
Catering: Stone Barn
Transport: A Hudson Commodore 6 Sedan Little Miss Vintage Cars
Entertainment: Acoustic singer, Dan Greenaway, and a Spotify playlist.
Favours: Homemade marmalade and printed tea towels.
Hair and beauty: Hair by Peter Hickman Gloucester, and make-up by Emily Tarrant
Rings including engagement ring: The engagement ring was from Andrew Scott, Cheltenham; Cath's wedding ring was from RJ Spicer and Huw’s ring was by Fiona Hesketh.

The details

When and how did you first meet?

Huw explains: ‘We met at work after I was transferred to an office where Cath worked. We used to make tea for each other and kept a chart to make sure we made the same amount. We also spent a lot of time chatting at the pub over pints of Tommy Tailor and Tribute.’

Who popped the big question and how did they propose?

Huw remembers: ‘I asked Cath to marry me on a city break in Barcelona. I had arranged to have Cath’s grandma’s engagement rings and took them with me. I tried to do it in a romantic restaurant but just as I plucked up the courage, a business meeting group arrived.

Instead I started asking Cath on a bench, but as I’d said, I’ve something important to ask you, which I’ve said quite a few times before as a joke, she didn’t believe me.

I continued trying to persuade her on way back to our hostel, then in the bar I finally got the ring out to show her I wasn’t joking, although she still didn’t quite believe me till I got down on one knee in the bedroom and she said yes.’

Autumnal Real Wedding at Stone Barn

How long did it take you to plan your wedding?

We got engaged in October 2014 and got married a year and a day later.

Why did you choose your venue?

It was the second one we visited. We fell in love with it as soon as we walked in. It was laidback and homely, with an intimate romantic feel, and the layout was open, friendly, quirky and stylish without pretension.

Autumnal Real Wedding at Stone Barn

Autumnal Real Wedding at Stone Barn

Autumnal Real Wedding at Stone Barn

Was there any inspiration or a theme for your wedding?

There was no real theme; we just wanted the wedding to reflect us as a couple and it was really important that guests felt part of the day and not spectators. As it was in October, autumn played a role and we had a tree motif that featured throughout, including the tea towel favours, the invitations and a canvas print for guests’ thumbprints.

Autumnal Real Wedding at Stone Barn

Autumnal Real Wedding at Stone Barn

Why made you choose your photographer?

Dan is a friend of ours and we really like his laidback approach, catching intimate moments without staging them. It was important for us to have a friend rather than a stranger.

How did your wedding photographer capture your big day memories?

Apart from family pictures he was given free rein. He mixed with friends to take pictures unobtrusively so people were really captured in the moment. He was with Cath and the bridesmaids as they got ready and there are pictures of them that they didn’t even know had been taken!

Autumnal Real Wedding at Stone Barn

Autumnal Real Wedding at Stone Barn

Did you hire a wedding planner or was it a DIY affair?

We did it all ourselves as we wanted it to be a reflection of us.

Did you make, design or create anything yourself?

We made the marmalade for the favours and even Cath’s gramps got involved in that. The save the date cards and invitations were design by us and we stamped each one with the stamp we had made of a design by Cath’s friend.

We collected fallen leaves from Pittville Park and spray painted them gold and wrote guests’ names on for place settings. We also bought dried petals from eBay for confetti and Cath’s mum made all the floral decorations for the church.

Autumnal Real Wedding at Stone Barn

Autumnal Real Wedding at Stone Barn

Autumnal Real Wedding at Stone Barn

Tell us about the wedding dress

Both Cath and her mum instantly fell in love with the dress when they saw it. It had a 1920s feel to it; sort of Jenny Packham-style. It was fitted but not clingy and flowed beautifully as Cath is quite tall. It had some sequins and beading without being blingy and had lovely small delicate details that Cath felt were lovely and understated.

Autumnal Real Wedding at Stone Barn

Autumnal Real Wedding at Stone Barn

Did you incorporate any special family details or heirlooms, for example?

We had a necklace made by designer, Fiona Hesketh, from Cath’s grandma’s engagement ring, which was the gift I gave her on the wedding day. We had wanted to use that ring and its diamonds for a new engagement ring but it just wasn’t practical.

Did you have something old, new, borrowed and blue?

Cath wore a bracelet her father gave her when she was 14, her new was pretty much everything else, there may have been a tiny blue bow on her underwear, but if there was it was unintentional, and she didn’t have anything borrowed.

What did the groom wear?

A grey two-piece Hugo Boss suit and brown leather Loakes shoes.

Autumnal Real Wedding at Stone Barn

What song did you walk down the aisle to?

An instrumental version of ‘Pure Imagination’ from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. We had no idea what to use and then I had a dream that Cath walked down the aisle to that tune and it’s Cath’s favourite film from her childhood so was the perfect choice.

Did you have any readings?

We had one religious one which was Song of Solomon 2:10-14; 8:6-7. I asked my dad to pick a non-religious reading and he chose and read ‘Scaffolding’ by Seamus Heaney. We had the rings passed through the whole congregation before they got to the best man. We wanted everyone to have an opportunity to hold our rings and wish us well.

What did you have for your wedding breakfast?

We had a selection of canapés; a charcuterie sharing platter for starter; barbecued triple thickness sirloin bricks with dauphinoise potatoes and green beans for main, and lemon tart with thick cream for dessert. The evening food was hog roast baps with apple sauce.

Autumnal Real Wedding at Stone Barn

What kind of cake did you go for?

Huw explains: ‘My mum made the cake. She wanted to make a fruitcake but we dug our heels in and she made a three tiered naked cake, with a lemon top layer, a carrot middle layer and a chocolate base. She made it in Belfast and transported it over, putting it together and decorating it on the day.

Autumnal Real Wedding at Stone Barn

What did you have as your first dance?

‘Barcelona’ by George Ezra, partly because it’s where I proposed and also it was a random gig we went to in a dingy little pub back when we were dating.

Autumnal Real Wedding at Stone Barn

What was your favourite part of the day?

For me it was seeing Cath walk down the aisle and for Cath it was the whole day, knowing it was the right thing to be doing and being surrounded by the people she knows and loves. Honestly there was no part of the day we’d change; it was the best day.

Did everything go to plan?

Pretty much. The bus was late turning up to get guests after the ceremony which caused a bit of an annoyance and meant we had a little less time for photos than we thought, so that felt a touch hurried.

What advice would you give anyone planning their big day?

Forget everyone’s opinion and do what you want. Try and do as much together as possible. I wanted to be involved as much as possible as I didn’t want to feel a guest at my own wedding.

Invite the people you truly care about, the others don’t matter. Once the day starts, just enjoy it as the hard works been done. Trust the people you’re employing. For example, we didn’t see the flowers Beth did till the day and they were absolutely perfect.

Make time to speak to everyone but also, at least once, sit with your partner and take it all in. And, most importantly remember what the days about; it’s about getting married and committing to each other.

Autumnal Real Wedding at Stone Barn

Autumnal Real Wedding at Stone Barn

And finally, where did you spend your honeymoon together?

We had a four-night minimoon in Venice and our main honeymoon was three months travelling in Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama, with a final week of luxury on the island of Grenada.

If Cath and Huw’s autumnal wedding has inspired you, see Stone Barn, and for further details about the couple's photographer, see Dan Fisher Photography.

© SoGlos
Monday 27 June 2016

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