Sarah and Alex got married in August 2020 after a rollercoaster of planning changes due to Covid guidelines. Despite this they had a fabulous day full to the brim with wonderful creative styling, colourful wedding decor and unique personal touches. We remember their day so vividly – a perfect, happy celebration shared with their close family and friends. Their awesome style and enthusiasm was the cherry on top of their truly unique wedding day. We loved catching up with them and hearing all about the story of their amazing intimate barn wedding!
Date of your wedding: 27.08.20 Time of your ceremony: 2pm
How and when did you meet?
Sarah : Alex and I met in June 2014 at a festival in Leeds. I was working in the publicity department for a record label and handling press duties for the headlining band. The band were running late to do the interviews I had scheduled and so I was sat in the media room trying to re-jig my plan. Alex was also in the media room, we got talking and went on our first date in the Autumn that year.
Alex : I was working for a small record label at the time, and had just come back from a holiday with my parents. I was really skint, and our sister company was doing the PR for the festival, and asked if I could go up and run their press room as their intern couldn’t make it. Sarah was doing PR for the headline act, and we got talking. Once the day had ended, we went our separate ways. I added her on Facebook, and we kept in contact for 3-4 months, until I had a new job and could afford to ask her out.
The areas of South Farm that you used for your big day:
We got engaged in summer 2018 and booked our wedding at South Farm for August 2020 so we had a long time to budget and plan our day – of course our wedding was planned without a global pandemic in mind! Originally, we’d hoped to get married in the Summer house but due to the Covid restrictions and social distancing rules we ended up having our ceremony in the Tudor Barn but it was still beautiful and we got to enjoy the gorgeous gardens after the ceremony during our reception drinks. We also used the Horse Barn during our reception as we had two playlists in the evening, more chilled music in the Tudor Barn and more upbeat party music in the Horse Barn. We decorated the Horse Barn with polaroids of us as a couple and our family and friends (including some who could no longer attend because of Covid). It was a great way of including everyone and making the most of the situation. We used the Old dairy for coffee following our wedding breakfast and we also put our guestbook, card box and ‘in memoriam’ photos of loved ones in that room.
Were there any colours or themes to your day?
We didn’t have a strict theme, we just wanted to incorporate some of the things we love into our day, we just wanted it to be fun and ‘us’. We love Mexico and were lucky enough to have the holiday of a lifetime there in 2016, we’re big lovers of Mexicana and own quite a bit of Mexican folk art so we included some of our own home décor into the day with Mexican tin decorations, and our own collection of Tiki vases. We also had our amazing decorations supplier Fleur De Lace who set up colourful paper picado flags customized with our initials, colourful ceiling lanterns, pink flamingos and lots of bright colours! We love spicy food and I included red chillies in my bouquet and we had some of these scattered around too. We’re also both big music lovers and work in the music industry so we wanted to include this too. As well as the carefully curated playlists I also did a few DIY projects to inject a bit of personality into our day. I revamped some old 45” records into table numbers combining them with some wooden love heart stands which I hand painted and wrote some of my favourite love inspired lyrics on.
How did you choose the venue?
Sarah : We wanted somewhere with some outdoor space, good food and drink, flexibility and a personal feel and the availability to stay on site – we got all this and more with South Farm! When Alex and I viewed it we were both immediately in love with the relaxed vibe and professional service and team, not to mention blown away by the organic food grown on site and the quirky caravans!
Alex : South Farm was maybe the third venue we looked at – we were late to our first viewing because I put the wrong postcode into the Sat Nav! South Farm was by far the nicest venue we’d seen, and the flexibility and the friendliness of the staff made it ‘our’ place. We were quite specific in how we wanted some parts of the day to be – parts that actually meant a lot to us – and some venues we’d visited were steadfast in the respect that whatever was in their brochure was all they could offer – even small tweaks were either out of the question, or at great expense – but we had none of that with south farm.
How did you feel on the day?
Sarah : We’re both pretty chilled but the run up to our wedding was really stressful with the constantly changing covid regulations. The South Farm team were so brilliant but the government restrictions meant we were always battling with the latest covid rules and we couldn’t really plan as we’d hoped, eventually we ended up just going with the flow. I still remember getting my hair dyed in late July, a few weeks before our day and wedding receptions were meant to be able to continue from the following day and within a couple of hours of being at the salon Boris changed his mind on weddings. Alex text me as I was coming out of the hairdressers and I was in tears. I felt awful for those couples that were due to be getting married that weekend and within those following few weeks, and awful for the wedding industry as a whole. We were so lucky that the rules changed just before our date again and that we could have our ceremony followed by a reception with 30 of us. Although this was much smaller than our original planned wedding of around 100 people, I wouldn’t have had it any other way now, it was so special! I had a huge grin plastered on my face all day and night!
Alex: The buildup in the Pandemic had thrown pretty much everything at us (we’d only found out we could have 30 people about 2 weeks prior) So just actually being there on the day was somewhat relaxing – it was all done, all sorted, and we didn’t need to worry about ifs and buts.
Tell us about your special day:
We are pretty untraditional and so the night before the wedding we stayed at home and went to bed as normal. I woke up at 6am on the day of our wedding (which is crazy for me as I’m not a morning person) and was super excited, I checked my horoscope which said ‘love and romance are kind of melting your mind’ which I found really amusing. My Mum came to pick me up at about 09:30am, she had tied red ribbon to her white car and we listened to ‘Chapel of Love’ by The Dixie Cups as she drove me to South Farm. We got ready together in the Bridal suite which was so much fun, we listened to 60s girl groups and my make-up artist Yasmin Brown who was my childhood friend transformed me into a Hollywood starlet. Because of the pandemic I wasn’t able to have my bridesmaids in the suite to get ready with me but I loved the calm of it being just me and Mum getting glammed up. When the registrars came into the suite to interview me individually just before the ceremony, I had to tell my Mum to wait outside and she made everyone laugh with her confusion and insistence that she could stay because she was ‘my support bubble’ we had to explain that this wasn’t a covid regulation but a normal wedding one! Walking into The Tudor Barn from the Bridal suite with my Mum was really exciting, although I couldn’t formally walk up the aisle due to covid regulations I still got to make an entrance and see everyone in the room waiting for me, seeing Alex standing there and the gorgeous decorative transformation of the barn from our florist Sarah Maylin and from Fleur De Lace was so exciting. After the ceremony we enjoyed our drinks reception in the gorgeous grounds and the rain held off just in time for us to do our photos. My mother-in-law told me about how they had all sorts of weather on their wedding day (and they’ve been married 35 years this year!) so it must be a Berry tradition. After our lovely meal I kicked my heels off and enjoyed cocktails and chatting with everyone, we cut the cake which was gorgeous and made by local baker Sophie. Afterwards we drank prosecco in our suite which was very generously gifted to us from the south farm team and Alex got overexcited and started opening all our cards and counting the honeymoon money, hahaha! The next morning, we woke up in our gorgeous suite and despite quite a lot of booze the day before I was raring to get up for breakfast as I just wanted to experience more of it all – the fry up the morning after our wedding served in the Horse Barn got rid of any trace of a hangover.
Was there one particular moment that stood out for you?
Sarah : The whole day was brilliant start to finish! The speeches were especially enjoyable though, myself, Alex, my Uncle Roy, brother Daniel and Alex’s best man Dan all shared some great memorable stories, and there was a lot of laughter. Oh and the food and drink was incredible!
Alex : When Sarah finally arrived in the Tudor Barn for our ceremony – I don’t think I’ve ever felt so happy and so safe in my life!
How did you choose your bridesmaids?
Sarah : My bridesmaids were my friend Kat that I’ve known since I was 11, and my sister-in-law Rachael, I also had a bridesmate Richard who is another long-time friend I’ve known since I was 14! The ladies wore red dresses and Richard wore a red tie, I had red accents to my outfit and Alex wore a red tie so it all matched.
How did you pick your best men and ushers?
Alex : It was kind of between three people – two long term friends, Chris and Dan, and my Brother. My brother has lived up north for some time however, and Chris wasn’t as familiar with my own group of friends outside of my existing group. At that point in time he was also working a lot, and had quite an erratic shift pattern at work, whereas Dan had always been very organized and worked a standard 9-5, so Dan got the nod as the Best man, with Chris and Gareth the nominated ‘Groomsmen’, to help Dan out.
What did you wear?
Sarah : I started looking at dresses, dragged into traditional wedding boutiques by my Mum shortly after we got engaged, and I’d never felt more lost! I live in dresses and love shopping but wedding dress shops are so mysterious, I suddenly found myself completely unsure of I love vintage styling and so knew I’d want something with a bit of a ‘50s silhouette & tea length, when I stumbled across LouLou Bridal dresses online I knew I was onto a winner, they seemed more affordable and I loved the prom style, it just looked fun and easy to wear! I kept seeing a dress called ‘Posy’ and was determined to try it on. I discovered a gorgeous bridal shop in Hatfield, Hertfordshire called Heritage Bridal which stocks LouLou and many other brands and offers so many different types of dresses (I even got to try one on that was rainbow coloured!) The owner was lovely and I enjoyed the bridal trying on experience but was still a bit in shock about the prices, I know the quality and craftmanship is what makes them so expensive but with them all well over a thousand pounds I just knew I couldn’t afford it. When I slipped on Posy I knew it was The Dress, and my Mum was desperate for me to put a deposit down there and then – saying that the name ‘Lou-Lou’ was a sign as I was nicknamed Lou-Lou as a child haha! My Auntie still called me Sarah Lou-Lou! I knew I couldn’t justify a £1,250 dress for one day despite how gorgeous and how lovely the boutique owner so I left the boutique with nothing. Over coffee with My Mum afterwards scrolling through Ebay I found the Posy dress in my size being sold for £250. It had only been worn once, and this one had a blush bottom unlike the one in the shop, it was a bit of a gamble as I’d only tried on Ivory but I knew I wanted a bit more colour and I knew the dress style was flattering. If you’re on a budget I’d definitely recommend second hand, so much more sustainable too! And I could call it my ‘Something Old’ I had the dress altered by a lovely local seamstress called Deborah. As we spent most of the run up to our wedding in lockdown, I had gained a bit of weight ahead of the day so was very thankful to Deborah who added a corset back to the dress, which meant I didn’t have to stress in the run up about not fitting in the dress! I wore it with a bold red sacred heart belt and I mixed up the veils on the day, I think I wore three different veils in total throughout the day! My ‘something blue’ was a silk blue heart sewn into the inside of the dress made from my Dad’s tie. He passed away in 2017 so it was a way of including him in the day and keeping him close to my heart. I also wore a West Ham garter in tribute to my Dad who was an Irons supporter.
Alex: I wore a French Connection suit from Moss Bros. Nothing too fancy. Shoes, tie & all of the other little bits were provided by Mr Mackys in Stevenage.
What are your top tips for other couples?
Sarah : Love each other, listen to each other and enjoy it!!!
Alex : Don’t worry too much about things you can’t control. We had ours in the middle of the pandemic, and we didn’t get the 100% go ahead until about 2 weeks before – just roll with it. We were due to have 100 people. We had 30. I still feel like I didn’t get around everyone enough that evening.
Where did you go/where do you plan to go on honeymoon?
Sarah : We are yet to go away on our full honeymoon due to the covid restrictions but hope to go somewhere like the Caribbean when we can – we had a mini-moon during the august bank holiday weekend a couple of days after our wedding in the Forest Of Dean in a gorgeous cabin with a hot-tub booked through Forest Holidays. We watched movies, sat in the hot tub, went for walks in the forest, went llama trekking and drank lots of wine and ate lots of cheese. I called it the ‘Love Shack’ and it was brilliant! Alex : The Caribbean I think – somewhere like that – we’ll see whats available when we can travel again I guess. The whole pandemic has turned everything upside down, so we’re focused more on getting the right place rather than just going away – we’re just going with the flow. I’m writing this six months after the day, and I still haven’t had my stag do!
Suppliers – who did you use?
Venue and catering: South Farm – we had a fully veggie day and also had vegan options. We cannot rave about our venue enough, we loved having the full day in one place, we’re not religious so were never going to have a church wedding and with our ceremony in the same place as reception we saved on transport costs! We loved South Farm’s focus on being sustainable, nearly all their food is grown on-site, plus the team are so friendly and enjoy tailoring things with a personal approach instead of a ‘one-size fits all’ they were so calm with all the covid-related chaos too! We’re both vegetarian and didn’t want to serve meat on our day but also didn’t want guests to feel like they were going without so we worked with the caterers at South farm who transformed a veggie starter into a main for us, we had saag paneer rostis with a chilli tamarind glaze, which were tasty with just a little hit of spice! We also created a personalized wedding cocktail ‘The Berry-Valentine’ and a wedding ‘Til Death Do Us Party’ shot. ‘The Berry-Valentine’ cocktail was a mix of prosecco and Chambord and was garnished with a heart shaped strawberry and had a love heart sweet pegged onto it. We also provided some skull shot glasses and created a ‘Til Death Do Us Party’ tequila shot that had plenty of tabasco in it, and a vegan worm sweet at the bottom.
Photographer: Tom Calton Weddings – We loved Tom’s fly on the wall style, he just captured our day as it was, no posing necessary we just got to roam free and enjoy!
Dress and Accessories:
- Dress: – LouLou Bridal ‘Posy’ Dress, purchased on Ebay for £250, with alterations done locally a few weeks before the date (super last-minute because of lock-down!) I also had a corset back put in which was another £150, I took one of my Dad’s old blue satin ties and had ribbon sewn into the petticoat and a blue heart with ‘Dad’ written on it on the inside lining of my dress by my heart. It was a nod to my Dad that only I knew was there. It was also my ‘Something Blue’.
- Shoes – Irregular Choice ‘Nick Of Time’ red shoes (Or as my Nan would call them, my Dorothy shoes!) I’ve loved IC for as long as I can remember so it had to be them for the special day!
- Headpiece – To veil or not to veil? That was the question! I ended up buying four! different headpieces, I’ve always loved having pin-up style flower clips in my hair so thought a full flower crown would be the way to go, I got a beautiful one ordered from Pearls & Swine but in the end I started wearing it before the wedding and I ended up wearing a revolving set of three different veils on the day itself!
- The first was a Mantilla style veil from JJS House (£20) which I wore for the ceremony and some photos. I wasn’t sure on an actual veil but my Mum was adamant, then when I started looking through old family photos I just thought there’s something so romantic about a standard veil and so I thought sod it I’m a bride I’ll get the big veil (and it made my Mum happy and whilst I was very much having my wedding my way this is one compromise I did make for her, and it did make me feel pretty special, there’s something super majestic and ritual like about veils and as much as I wanted my wedding My way and I did – I am a bit of a sucker for traditions and rituals, I did only pick the traditions I wanted though haaha)
- Crown and Glory – ‘Lovesick’ red glitter birdcage veil – This was just so fun and flirty, I kept seeing it in photos and I love the way it sits just about your eyes. I also loved the way you can insert pops of colour into it and as I was trying to pull the look together with touches of red accents, I felt like was a must-have!
- Etsy ‘The Tile Style Shop’ – Sacred heart head band. I love sacred hearts and so when I stumbled across this Californian seller on Etsy it was like Aladdin’s cave, I got this head band and the sacred heart red waist cincher belt which I love
- Jacket – I’ve long admired customised leather jackets and got a faux leather jacket from Ebay and had it customised by Laura at One Off Designs. Planning the jacket with her was one of my favourite things in the run-up to the wedding, she customised it with our horoscope symbols, our new surname in a giant sacred heart, calavera style faces of us, ‘til Death’ text and our wedding flowers, red roses, sunflowers and chillies. It’s amazing and I wear it all the time
- Jewellery – red garnet sacred heart necklace & earrings were from Regal Rose. These were my ‘Something New’
- Rings – ‘Star Set Diamond’ Wedding band from Carrie Elizabeth, my engagement ring was from Tessa Metcalfe and is a rose quartz heart with gold pigeon claws which I now wear on my right hand and I also wore my Mum’s gold wedding band on my little finger as my ‘Something borrowed’ for the day
- Garter – I wore a West Ham United Garter that I actually bought back in 2017. My Dad was a supporter and all of his side of the family are Hammer fans, when my Dad passed in 2017 we wore West Ham memorabilia to the funeral, so I had this from back then and wore it in tribute to my Dad.
- Undies – The foundation is the most vital of all! I wore a What Katie Did merry widow basque which had removable straps perfect for my strapless dress it was also really comfortable but definitely made me feel more put together after months of braless lockdown!
- Robe & Slippers – gifted by my Bridemaids – my Mum wore a matching one
Grooms & Groomsmen outfits: Alex wore a grey suit from French Connection at Moss Bros, with a red tie, white shirt and shoes from a local shop called Mr Macky’s Menswear. I’d bought him his cufflinks years ago which were silver skulls from Butler & Wilson.
Bridesmaid dresses: ChiChi Clothing ‘Dione’ Dress – I knew I wanted a bold red colour, and I sent plenty of options round to bridesmaids, this was the one they seemed happy with and I like how the scallop lace hem complimented my dress.
Cake: Three-tiered wedding cake, bottom flavour lemon, middle red velvet, top chilli chocolate. As well as vegan sunflower cupcakes for our vegan guests – these were lemon flavoured. Sophie is a family friend and calls herself a ‘hobby baker’ but she was so professional, the cake tasting morning was definitely a highlight of the wedmin we felt like Prue & Paul from Bake Off. We knew he wanted something bold so chilli chocolate had to be included as we love all things Mexicana and spicy, but we also wanted to make sure there was something for everyone! Of course, our initial plan for the cake was to have it double the size as initially our wedding was planned for 100 people but with the 30-number restriction, Sophie shrunk it to half the size and we sent slices to some of our family who were no longer allowed to attend the wedding. Our cake topper was sparkly red and read ‘It Must Be Love’. The version by Madness was our first dance song and the lyrics just mean a lot to us and our family, it was also played at my Dad’s funeral so has a big family significance.
Hair & Makeup : Yasmin Brown Make Up Artist – My childhood best friend Yasmin is an amazing make-up artist, we’ve stayed in touch on social media but hadn’t seen each other in years! I reached out to her when I got engaged and she made me feel like a Hollywood starlet by doing my hair and make-up on the day. It was so lovely having her there, we used to do makeovers for each other when we were 7, her skills have come a long way since then and she told me “You were the first person I ever did makeup for!”
Flowers: Sarah Maylin Flowers – My Bridal bouquet was Sunflowers, red roses and red chillies. Sunflowers remind me of childhood and I just think they’re so fun and happy looking, I’ve always loved the rock ‘n’ romance style of classic red roses (plus they smell amazing too!) and I wanted to incorporate chillies too as my husband is obsessed with growing them and we have chilli plants all over our house so this was a bit of an homage to him, plus we love all things spicy and putting a little fiery edge on things! We had sunflower buttonholes for bridal party and red chilli buttonholes for groom party.
Decoration : Fleur de Lace – Our florist did such an amazing job and worked closely with our decorations lady – Alice from Fleur De Lace – together they set up the bright & bold décor. We had loads of tiki vases we bought from home, as well as quirky bottles we’d collected, we also bought lots of clear glass skull bottles (from Tiger’s Halloween range) and Sarah filled them with colourful dahlias, sunflowers and roses. On the tables we had palm leaves, and they made an amazing garland which hung behind the ceremony table and the head table for the reception this included sunflowers, red roses and dahlia and other tropical flowers and Fleur De Lace popped in two flamingos in there whose necks made a heart shape.
Entertainment: Due to the covid restrictions we weren’t allowed a DJ or live music but we enjoyed our own curated playlists – we also had to cut our photo booth because of social distancing rules but we decorated with polaroid’s instead.
We loved catching up with Sarah & Alex and hearing all about the story from when they first met right up until their wedding day. We love how all their hard work and planning came together to create their very personal, very magical day! Their awesome style and creative personalities shines through the story of their wedding day and their wedding photos!! We absolutely loved hosting Sarah and Alex’s wedding day and we all wish them every happiness for the future 🙂
If you are looking to book your dream wedding just get in touch. We’d love to hear all about your wedding plans and to show you around our rustic barn wedding venue set in stunning gardens on the borders of Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire. We have an fantastic choice of ceremony and reception spaces to suit weddings large and small and offer exclusive use for your wedding day so you can enjoy our countryside wedding venue in complete privacy! Contact us today to book a showround or discuss our availability.