After a romantic New Year’s Eve proposal, bride-to-be Claire and her fiancé Sam couldn’t wait to begin planning their rustic wedding. “We had been together for seven years, and we knew exactly where to start!” smiles Claire.
Sandhole Oak Barn in Cheshire was their chosen venue. “We were already aware of Sandhole and saw ourselves getting married there,” says Claire. “My parents so kindly offered to pay for much of the day so our budget was set” she adds.
When Claire and Sam went to visit this barn wedding venue, it was just as they had hoped and more. “The view, the beautiful barn, the staff… we were overwhelmed by the welcome we received and the surroundings just spoke for themselves,” she says. The happy couple provisionally booked the venue straight away and began imagining how they could add personal touches and décor for their special rustic wedding day.
When it came to decoration, Claire and Sam chose a rustic wedding theme with a splash of glamour – a look to which Sandhole Oak Barn lends itself perfectly with its neutral décor and beautiful beams. “We chose white chair covers with cream organza sashes,” explains Claire, “and the flowers were pale coloured roses with foliage to tie in with the country surroundings”. The wedding cake was adorned with white roses and, for favours, Claire’s mum made jam which was presented in small glass jars with nametags. “Our younger guests had sweets instead of jam” smiles Claire.
“I’m not tall so had always imagined wearing a simple, fishtail dress,” says Claire. In reality, she ended up choosing a stunning princess-style lace dress with an elegant black sash around the waist. “I absolutely loved it and knew instantly that it was the one,” she adds. With such a fabulous dress, Claire kept her accessories simple with small drop earrings, a tiara, bracelet and a medium length veil.
Claire’s four bridesmaids, Amy, Becky, Harriet and Sally, looked radiant in mint green embellished floor-length dresses. “I was keen to buy dresses that the girls could wear again,” explains Claire. “We took our search to Manchester and found the perfect dresses in Miss Selfridge!”
The Big Day
Claire and Sam tied the knot in a civil ceremony in Sandhole’s breathtaking rustic Oak Barn. “My dad walked me down the aisle and we had a very light-hearted but emotional ceremony,” says Claire. “A pianist played our chosen music, Canon in D. It was perfect!”
After the ceremony, the wedding party enjoyed winter Pimms and a delicious selection of canapés for the drinks reception. Their delicious three-course wedding breakfast started with asparagus wrapped in smoked salmon with hollandaise sauce, followed by fillet of beef with dauphinoise potatoes. For dessert, they were treated to a trio of desserts – a mini crème brulee, a chocolate brownie with ice cream and a mango and pear tartin. “We were too greedy to choose just one pudding!” smiles Claire.
When it came to the evening entertainment, Sam and Claire decided against a band or DJ and instead created their own playlist. “This was mainly due to our dwindling budget!” says Claire. “It also meant that we could choose our own music from start to finish”. This included their romantic first dance song, ‘Lucky’ by Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillat. “A few years ago, Sam mentioned this song and that he thought it would be great as our wedding song. The words are really meaningful – about being in love with your best friend”.
Two days after the wedding, Claire and Sam enjoyed a ‘mini-moon’ to Harrogate. “We stayed in a lovely hotel called Rudding Park,” says Claire. “They treated us like royalty! We’d like to go on a honeymoon abroad when our son is a little bit older.”
Claire’s Top Tip:
“Enjoy your day and make the most of anyone offering to help. We made sure everyone in our bridal party knew what was supposed to happen when. They played a huge part in making sure the day ran smoothly.”
Photography courtesy of © Amy B Photography