On Saturday I had the fortune to be travelling only 15 minutes from my front door for a fabulous farm wedding in the lovely little Dorset village of Winterborne Stickland. Eleanor & Nathan met at Uni, and the wedding was held at Eleanor’s parents farm. I joined them in the farmhouse for relaxed and chatty preparations – Eleanor had three present adult bridesmaids (and one absent – she’s studying at Oxford and had an exam on the morning of the wedding; she was to join the day as soon as she could!), plus two page boys and two flower girls; it was a busy house!
But the weather was dry and warm, and due to get sunnier as the day went on, and the atmosphere in the farmhouse was incredibly relaxed – a big farmhouse lunch was enjoyed by everyone in the kitchen, and in the end Eleanor was ready so early she had time to sit at the kitchen table and chat with her wedding party as she awaited the time to leave for the church!
Nathan was also getting ready on the farm, though in an adjacent cottage to the farmhouse so the two parties didn’t see each other (Nathan has an identical twin, and I’d been given clear instructions on the tie colour code before the day to make sure I could tell them apart!).
The tiny church for the ceremony was only a 5 minute drive to the next village in Winterborne Clenston – an incredibly pretty little church surrounded by fields and cow parsley. The bridal party travelled in fitting style, on two decorated vintage tractors and trailers!
By the time Eleanor and her party arrived the tiny church was full – officially it only seats 60, so squeezing 125 guests inside made for a very cosy but friendly and happy atmosphere. The farm dog had made a fine job of greeting all the guests as they arrived, dressed in her tutu (she did have to patiently sit outside and wait during service though!). The ceremony was beautiful – though the poor vicar had horrible hayfever and was threatening to lose his voice entirely as we progressed – thankfully it held out through to the end!
Once Eleanor & Nathan were officially Mr & Mrs we all headed back out into the now-glorious summer’s afternoon, and they enjoyed the vintage tractor ride back to the farm, where they entered the gardens via a headily-scented white wisteria arch, and with their parents greeted their guests as they arrived along the receiving line.
Everyone headed into the beautiful gardens for champagne & canapés on the lawn while the 3-piece band played, mingling in the sunshine.
The wedding was very much a homespun family affair – the gardens and marquee were decorated with yards & yards of bunting made by one of the bridesmaids, the wedding cake was made Eleanors Mum and younger sister (also one of her bridesmaids), and the jars and jugs for flowers that were littering the gardens all came from around the farm, as did the carved chunks of wood for the tables, all carved with ‘N&E’.
Throughout the gardens there were entertainments for the guests – croquet, picture frames hanging from the trees to pose in, garden bean bag games, and even a ‘Queen’s Corner’ in honour of her Majesty’s official birthday with a large cut-out of the queen and various Royal face masks for guests to don for silly pictures.
The few formal photos were quickly taken on the lawn at back of house, and then Eleanor, Nathan and I managed to head off for a quiet wander. On the way out we met the ‘missing in action’ bridesmaid who had just arrived – there was of course much excitement at her arrival, completing the wedding party in time for the wedding breakfast. Once they’d caught up with each other, we wandered out to Eleanor and Nathan’s favourite fields on the farm, to catch their breath with a little quiet time as they enjoyed some of their favourite views.
We returned to the guests as it was time to head into the marquee; Eleanor & Nathan had opted for the speeches first, and then the cutting of the cake before the wedding breakfast was served. As considerate hosts, the couple had erected a large screen outside the marquee which was showing the England v Russia match, too!
As evening descended the afternoon 3-piece had swelled to a Jazz and Swing Band of 6, and they kicked off the night’s dancing in fabulus style with Eleanor & Nathan’s first dance.
Thank you both for a truly memorable and wonderful day, and allowing me to be a small part of it with you – I wish you both all the joy in the world for your new life together.
Credit where credit is due
Catering – Liz Lamont
Flowers – Concept
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