Paul and I went to school together, but never dated at school. We went our separate ways after secondary school, keeping in touch every so often with trips to the pub and through mutual friends. It wasn't until after I'd graduated that Paul sent me a message about cheese sauce out of the blue whilst I was in Malawi! We went to a fireworks display with another couple of couples, Paul took me out to dinner for our first date a few days later, and the rest is history! We were lucky enough to be able to buy our beautiful house together after 3 years together, and then got engaged after nearly 5 years together, at the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro! Incredibly romantic, until you consider the fact we hadn't showered for over a week by that point.....! We got married exactly 16 months to the day after our engagement, at the stunning Southend Barns
I always say I bought my dress by accident, it was only the 4th dress I tried on, and I only went into the shop that day to have a look and try a few one to get an idea of what I wanted! One of the only reasons we booked a winter wedding was so I could wear a gorgeous faux fur bolero, and when we found my cream UGG boots, my winter outfit was complete! Paul went with the traditional morning suit, with burgundy cravat to match the bridesmaids colours. We stopped short of top hats for the men, much to everyone's relief!
Our vows were standard, and we choose not to have any readings, as we simply weren't able to agree on what we would have or who would do it! We kept the ceremony short and sweet. I particularly enjoyed the fact there was a mirror at the front of the ceremony barn, which meant we could see our guests behind us during the ceremony.
We knew we wanted a converted barn venue, and a wedding where the whole day would be in one location, we looked at about six or seven different venues, but Southend Barns won by a mile. We loved the simplicity and the character, plus Paul was a big fan of the huge expanse of polished concrete floor!
The barn was beautiful as it was, so we kept out decorations simple with fairy lights and floating candles in glass jars. We spent over a year collecting more than 350 glass jars from everyone we could in order to do all the table decorations ourselves. Paul is an amazing woodworker, so a lot of the other decorations were made by Paul, including the table plan and the name place setting. Our florist used fantastic winter colours to match the colour scheme, in natural and loose bouquets, nothing too preened, quite rustic to match the venue
I loved watching our guests having fun and laughing and chatting together, and Paul enjoyed his speech, because it went much better than he thought it would! I also loved his speech, as he sprung an amazing surprise on me at the end, revealing a hidden message on the back of a drawing he'd given me as a gift on our first Christmas together over 6 years ago!
We danced our first dance to ‘How Long Will I Love You’ by Ellie Goulding, I choose this song because the lyrics seemed to fit, and we both like Ellie Goulding, plus it was short so we didn't have to stand and sway in front of everyone for too long.
We had a string quartet (Sussex String Quartet) during the ceremony, drinks and wedding breakfast, who were fantastic. Then a ceilidh band (The Brighton Ceilidh Collective) in the evening, who got everyone up on the dancefloor and laughing, exactly as we'd hoped!
Lou and Jess were simply AMAZING! We both hate having our photo taken and posing, so we were really keen to have a photographer who wasn't going to insist on a lot of posed shots. Jess and Lou simply blended into the background and threw themselves into everything, being both un-noticeable and a huge part of the day at the same time. We cannot WAIT to see the photos.
There is nothing we would do differently, it was a perfect day. Words of wisdom - don't worry about the little things, because no-one will notice them, and take a few moments throughout the day to just sit and watch the goings on around you.
Shout outs to the amazing suppliers & friends:-
Brides boots- UGG boots
Brides Jewellery - Sarah Hickey
Happy Socks for the groom and groomsmen
Florist - Fern Cottage Floristry
Venue - Southend Barns
Decor/Styling - To Have and To Hire
Cake Maker - Victoria Hersey
Caterer - Roots Catering (In house caterers at Southend Barns)
Bridesmaid dresses - Sexy Her
Stationary - Hannah Wood, Etsy
Plus a massive thank you to Jess Yarwoood Photography for second shooting!
Southend Barns is a stunning wedding venue!
Surrounded by beautiful landscaped gardens, romantic courtyards and tranquil hideaways with resident swans and Sussex wildlife, Southend Barns provides a romantic backdrop for all country weddings.
A picturesque courtyard lies at the heart of the venue, with its luscious lawn, well-kept pots and Cornish slate patio lined with dairy inspired milk churns – it is the perfect spot for photographs and for mingling with your guests over drinks and canapés.
The 200-year- old Threshing Barn radiates rustic charm with its authentic wooden beams and wrought iron chandeliers. This history combined with stylish contemporary touches make the wedding barn a beautiful and versatile venue for a wedding party.
The elegant Dairy Barn is fully licensed for all civil ceremonies and partnerships. With a wonderful sweeping 22 metre aisle, exposed wooden beams and benches made of sweet chestnut, the wedding barn is an idyllic setting for loved ones to exchange their vows.
Located adjacent to the Threshing Barn, the high vaulted ceremonies room has a stylish and romantic ambiance. The soft, muted colour scheme gives you the freedom to make the Dairy Barn your own and beautifully complements all wedding themes.
As evening falls, the gardens are lit with romantic up-lights that show off the fantastic flint and log walls of the wedding barns. Here guests can gather around the relaxing Collecting Yard with its sumptuous sofas and fire pit to enjoy an enchanting evening setting.
The Collecting Yard has subtle glass screens so you and your guests can still enjoy being outside without being affected by the unpredictable weather. The screens come down during June, July and August. Another recent addition to the Collecting Yard are the eight patio heaters which make the area really cosy and inviting for guests.
No stone is left unturned at Southend Barns, the attention to detail is exquisite and the staff are simply incredible. Book your wedding here! You won’t be dissapointed! If you’ve already booked this amazing venue, like Megan and Paul did and if you are looking for a wedding photographer who won’t dictate your day, please do contact me - I would love to hear all your plans!
Congratulations Megan & Paul! I hope you enjoyed your highlights. I wish you a lifetime of love luck and happiness :) Lou x
Relaxed Documentary Wedding Photography