Our wedding || Reception at the Barn.

11.09

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T H E   B A R N   A T   B U R Y   C O U R T ,  F A R N H A M .

The first visit we made to our reception venue, the Barn at Bury Court, was back in May of 2014. All of our other visits- where we met with suppliers and made plans about how our day would look- took place early in Spring this year, and so we’d never actually seen it in all its high Summer glory before.

Right from when we first got engaged, we’d always said that we’d love to have a wedding day that was spent mostly outdoors, and Michelle (our friend, florist, and all-round wedding guru) had advised us that Bury Court would be the place to go, for a English country garden-based day. And she couldn’t have been more right…

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Jason and I arrived at the Barn after a half hour or so journey from the church, gratefully picked up drinks in our way through to the gardens (gin brambles, and elderflower coolers!), and then promptly lost one another amongst our family and friends! In fact, I lost my drink right away too, which became a running theme for the day.

That first half an hour or so in the gardens was spent greeting and catching up with all of our friends and family in turn. I remember hugging cousins and aunts and uncles and siblings and friends, and seeing trays of canap├ęs flying in and out of the kitchens, and wondering at what point in the day it would be acceptable for me to ditch my heels…

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My Mum had advised us to try and seize brief moments just for the two of us throughout the day, whenever it was possible, and so after we’d seen each of our lovely guests in turn, we headed further into the gardens to take a moment or two just with each other.

B E L O W :: We’d put together a little photo treasure hunt for each of the children, with a disposable camera and set of photos for them to take throughout the cocktail reception. They took to their tasks like professionals! When the little girls weren’t busy taking their bridesmaids’ duties seriously and helping me with my train, that is…

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Looking back now, I hardly remember having Sam, our photographer, with us at all during these moments.

Jason and I walked round the gardens slowly, pausing every now and again to look back at our party eating and drinking and laughing together, and we kept turning to one another and saying, ‘We did it! We did it!’

Silly though it sounds, it felt so wonderful to be together again, after having been apart for the previous 48 hours. It’d been the first time in just shy of six years that we’d gone longer than a few hours or so without talking, and despite the fact that all we’d done, since saying goodbye to one another at the ceremony rehearsal on the Wednesday evening, had been centred around getting ready for the wedding, it still felt as though we had so much to catch each other up on!

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A B O V E :: I remember watching as this photo was taken, and wanting to drink in every moment of seeing my new husband as he stood in front of the camera, turning and adjusting the wedding band that looked so strange and new and wonderful on his hand. I kept catching myself staring at the ring on his finger throughout the day- even more than I did my own!

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Both Jason and I had been nervous that the reception in the garden would feel as though it lasted a long time, and that perhaps our guests would begin to feel anxious to be called through to eat, but it went by in the blink of an eye! We had a few photos taken with our families (and failed miserably at being sensible in a single one of them…), I took single sips from at least two more drinks, until at a little after 4.30, our coordinator for the day slipped over to us to say that it was time to come through for the wedding breakfast…

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I N T O   T H E   B A R N . . .

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Jason and I had been able to have a sneak peek of the barn, which had hidden from view behind a big velvet curtain until it was time for the wedding breakfast to be served, but nothing compared to the moment when we walked in as ‘the new Mr and Mrs Chappel’!

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The whole room glowed, thanks to the fairy lights that wrapped around each wooden beam and the candles that Michelle had incorporated into each of her table settings.

‘This can’t be our wedding, surely?!’, I remember thinking to myself!

In fact, so many people through the day told us that it was a beautiful wedding, and I told them, time and again, that the praise had to go to Michelle. The flowers were more perfect than Jason and I had ever imagined they could be- every bit as soft and delicate and loose as we’d asked Michelle to make them, and yet with something special and unique incorporated into each arrangement too.

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During the meal, we sat back and watched as our friends and families got to know each other on their tables, and smiled as we heard the laughter ringing loudly from one corner of the room or another.

We’d asked each of our siblings to ‘host’ a table, and I could barely take my eyes off my sister as she chatted happily and hosted her table of my friends and our cousins so confidently. I’ve never been able to help but see her as my ‘baby sister’, with there being eight years between us, but that changed completely (‘at last!’ so says Cesca!) at the wedding.

As the meal drew to a close, the waves of nerves began to radiate from Jason on one side of me, and Steve on the other. Speeches were coming, you see…

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Really though, they needn’t have worried. All the speeches, from Steve, my Mum, both of Jason’s brothers, and Jason himself, were just brilliant.

I glanced up midway through Jason’s speech, and saw a room full of people with tears in their eyes as he spoke about what a special role my Grandma played in bringing us together. With my own eyes brimming over, we raised our glasses, and 80 voices choked out,

‘To Grandma’.

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With the speeches over, and the band beginning to set up behind the curtain that divided the main hall of the barn from the dance floor, we moved through to the courtyard on the other side of the barn for coffee.

B E L O W :: It might have tested Farnham’s 3G signal to its very limits, but we managed to have a brief but wonderful FaceTime call with my cousin Natalie in Sweden! She’d had a baby just a couple of weeks before the wedding and so wasn’t able to come over, and I think what Sam captured here was the exact moment the call went from ‘ringing’ to ‘connecting’! It’s another of the tiny moments of happiness from the day I never even noticed him photographing at the time, and am so very glad he did.

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T H E   P A R T Y   B E G I N S

Strangely enough, our first dance was one of the parts of the day I felt most nervous about! I think it’s because the song we’d chosen, so many months ago, is one that we’d only ever danced to in quiet moments- always late in the evening, usually midway through a sink-full of washing up- and so it felt so very personal to us.

The song we’d chosen for our dance was Lennon and Maisy’s cover of ‘That’s What’s Up’. I’d stumbled upon it whilst browsing their music one day, and as soon as I’d played it to Jason and really listened to the words, (‘…forever, no matter what, you’ve got my love to lean on darlin’, no matter what’), we knew it was the one.

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We’d beckoned our parents onto the dance floor to join us about two thirds of the way through the song, and as the band continued to play through their set (they were *amazing*!), and the rest of our friends and family began to dance, Jason and I snuck away.

Sam had whispered ‘wheat fields, 15 minutes until sunset- after you’ve danced, let’s go!’ into our ears right before our first dance, and never ones to miss a good bit of golden sunlight, we jumped to it!

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It was that field right there that caused the demise of a good four or so layers of my dress, and my shoes were removed right before we ran into it and never went back on, but truly? I didn’t care.

We stood in the middle of the crop field and breathed in the warm summer air as deep as we could, and it felt like the first time we’d relaxed all day.

In the distance our wedding was taking care of itself (we could hear the bass note of the band playing, and the occasional shout and hoot of laughter), and we were together, in the quiet, surrounded by peaceful fields and with swallows swooping low over our heads.

It was perfect.

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By the time we came back, the evening was in full swing!
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Burgers were beginning to fly from the food truck, marshmallows were being toasted over the fire pit and then sandwiched between biscuits, and inside the barn, the band were playing a set of folk songs (think Mumford & Sons and Vance Joy…) that was so infectious it was hard to decide whether to stay out (and start s’more-ing) or head in to dance!

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ABOVE :: My cousin’s daughter Emi caught my bouquet when I did the ‘bouquet toss’ right at the end of the evening! I went to her Mum and Dad’s wedding when I was 14 (10 years ago! Goodness me!) and so this felt like a funny moment of closing the loop!
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The evening, like the rest of the day, went by far faster than I’d have liked.

As it drew to a close, I remember thinking to myself ‘But Jason and I barely got to dance together!’ and ‘I never got to speak properly with my sister-in-law, or Godmother, or Jason’s Grandmother’! But so many people had warned us that the day would race past at the speed of light, and so we savoured every last moment of it.

Our car pulled up outside, and we ran beneath an archway of arms made by our family and friends on our way out of the barn. We made a final few emotional farewells, then waved goodbye to our wedding day as our car slowly pulled out of the driveway.

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And that was us. Mr and Mrs Chappel, out!

We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day, or for a more perfect start to married life. And reliving it here has been such a fun and emotional and wonderful experience…and did I say emotional already?

So thank you, my friends, for letting me walk through our wedding day throughout this week. I’ll be wrapping up this week’s posts with a supplier list on Sunday, so again, do let me know if there’s anything specific you’d like a link for.

<3

{All photographs by Sam Docker}

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