Rachel & Norman – A Vintage Wedding Romance

Rachel and Norman in the beautiful grounds at Sandhole Oak Barn

From the moment Rachel and Norman began planning their wedding, they had just one thing in mind – fun and lots of it! They dreamed of a fantastic band, rocking out at their vintage wedding venue, and a fully stocked bar, just steps away from the dance floor. There was no doubt that their wedding would be one to remember.

The Venue

With the atmosphere of the day being so important, it was critical that the pair found the right relaxed wedding venue. They wanted somewhere beautiful yet welcoming, simple and not too formal, and a vintage wedding venue with a stunning setting.

Rachel and Norman found all they were looking for at Sandhole Oak Barn. “We loved the setting. The lake and grounds were so beautiful and the converted barn was perfect for our vintage wedding day,” says Rachel. “Best of all, we had full use of all the bedrooms in the wedding accommodation – so we knew our day would be just about us and no one else.”

Rachel and her dad getting ready

The Styling

One of the things that appealed to Rachel and Norman about the converted barn wedding venue was its natural, simple style. Because of this, they decided to keep things simple in terms of styling too – using flowers such as lavender throughout their décor. “We also added yards and yards of vintage-style bunting, made by my poor mother,” laughs Rachel. “Fairy lights, twisted around the beams, added that special twinkle come night,” she adds.

Rachel and Norman outside the barn

The Dress

To complement their vintage wedding day, Rachel opted for a lovely lace gown. Her off-the-shoulder gown, designed by Sottero & Midgley, featured a small train and champagne coloured ribbon, which was tied at her waist. A simple fingertip veil and pearl hair comb finished off Rachel’s elegant look.

Rachel getting ready with her bridesmaids

The lace detail on Rachel's pretty dress

The Ceremony

Rachel arrived at the venue in true vintage-inspired style in a white Morris Minor. However, her arrival was a little later than expected due to an issue with the guest transport. “We hired a vintage bus to transport our guests but it ended up blocking the lane near the church,” laughs Rachel. “We had to park behind it, gather up my dress, squeeze past the bus and walk the last 500 yards to the church.”

Despite the initial complications, the ceremony ran to plan – leaving the couple to enjoy and celebrate their newlywed status at Sandhole Oak Barn.

Rachel and Norman's civil ceremony at Sandhole Oak Barn

Rachel and Norman vintage wedding car

The Celebrations

Rachel and Norman’s celebrations began with a delicious food feast, cooked by their chosen caterers. They chose a salmon and haddock fishcake starter, a lamb and mash main and a trio of desserts to finish. “The delicious desserts included a brandy basket with berry compote and clotted cream, chocolate brownie, and a lemon tart with raspberry coulis and mascarpone cream,” says Rachel.

With the formalities of the day over and guests’ appetites satisfied, it was time for the real celebrations to begin. “Our amazing band, Funk Soul Family, kick-started the evening with a performance of John Legend’s All of Me,” says Rachel. “It was our first dance song and was played and sung so beautifully.”

The rest of the celebrations were all about the music, the dance floor and having fun – before retiring to the Barn’s on-site accommodation.

Rachel and Norman with a red tractor at Sandhole Oak Barn

Rachel and Norman besides the lake at dusk

Rachel’s Top Tip:

“Try your dress on at home beforehand and make sure you’re comfortable in it. I couldn’t get the bustle of my dress to fall right when I shortened it for the evening. The result was a lumpy dress line – which you could see in the first dance photos. It wasn’t a big deal but could have been prevented with practice.”

Rachel and Norman outside the green barn

Photography courtesy of ©Robert Leons Photography