I love getting real weddings sent in by newlyweds, and being able to share their day with brides and grooms on their own wedding planning journey.
Big thanks to the lovely Fran and her hubby Ryan for sending in their story and images by Afina Photography…
Ryan proposed on Christmas day in 2016 with a 1920’s antique gold ring with a trilogy of diamonds; handed to me by our 2yr old son (and under the watch of our 1 month old son) in front of my 90yr old Nan and Gramps. They raised me as a child so we are very close and it was very important to me for them to be involved in someway.
Ryan had secretly written to them earlier that year and formally asked them for my hand in marriage and they had written back to him. We were spending Christmas day with them back in my hometown in Wiltshire (we live in Hampshire) and he popped the question over dinner. It was a hilarious meal as everything was going wrong that day. We had car issues before we drove down, I had been upset over my post-baby outfit choice, the boys were unsettled, we had rushed present opening and some of the dinner was burnt to a crisp. But the moment was still so special. Our son came over with this huge sparkling box for me that I had apparently “missed” and it was filled with countless other smaller boxes (like a Russian doll effect) all the way down to a lovely little red box. I finally realised what was going on, Ryan dropped to his knee and started to speak. I still don’t remember what he said as I burst into sobbing tears, knocked a glass of wine absolutely everywhere and was so frantic in trying to clean it up and not ruin Nan’s table that I had forgotten to answer. It took my Nan asking Ryan if I had infact agreed for him to say that I hadn’t yet and for me to come to my senses and say yes!! We then celebrated and had dessert; cue an entire tub of cream being knocked over the entire kitchen counter and floor!
It was frantic, messy and overly emotional but typically us and all the people most special to me were there which meant the world. Sadly my Gramps fell seriously ill a few days later and passed away in January. This was the last time we saw him before he was unconscious so I will be forever thankful that he got to see this moment and was involved in it. My Nan still jokes about the cream drama and is no longer allowed to touch it! Ha!
Where it all happened
For many reasons we decided to elope! Just me and Ryan; no children, no family…just us! We found the most perfect venue in Cornwall thanks to Jane at Petite Weddings who specialises in elopements and we instantly fell in love with The Cowshed at Freathy Farmhouse in Millbrook, Cornwall and it was the most perfect choice for us. Intimate, stunningly beautiful and very personal. We came away feeling like family and that was wonderful.
We stayed for 4 days (Saturday to Tuesday) and our wedding was on the Monday. We chose this date as it was also the day my Nan and Gramps’ were married and it would have been their 69th wedding anniversary that day.
There was alot of snow that weekend so ended up inviting our photographer and his girlfriend to come and stay the night before and share the wedding morning with us. Ryan and I stayed together throughout and had breakfast the morning of the wedding before going our seperate ways to get ready.
We had our ceremony in the stunning Cowshed followed by photos and an intimate dinner in the Milking Parlour. After the “wedding” itself we decided to wrap up and go for a walk along the cliffs, beach and coastline to see the sun set. Our amazing venue then made us a stunning supper spread later that evening.
What they wore
We bought our outfits from ASOS actually; Ryan had a navy slim fit suit with black trim detailing, white textured shirt and skinny tie. I had an off the shoulder white dress with a small train by Jarlo. My shoes were also by ASOS; glittery ballet flats and my something blue!
My necklace was a birthday gift from Ryan especially for the wedding made by a company in Texas listed on Etsy. It was my Nan and Gramps signatures which were photographed from a letter they had written to me and then made into a silver necklace. I adored it.
My hair and makeup were done by a local salon; Beauty Within in Torpoint by the very lovely Avril and her assistant.
Styling and decor
I am a huge Pinterest lover and have spent years pouring over dream wedding decor! I knew I wanted big, bouncy flowers, textures and delicate lighting. Soft dreamy fabrics and a really dramatic effect with the combination of everything together. I looked at blush, greys, white and neutral tones mixed in with lots of nature: greenery, foliage, succulents etc with metallic elements thrown in amongst it to mix it up. We love the woodland and had chosen a rustic venue so this all matched beautifully.
I sent all of my thoughts over to Sarah at our venue as we had a wedding decor element included in our elopement package. Her vision for our day was even more stunning than I had hoped and she worked miracles turned it into reality. It absolutely surpassed my expectations and was breathtakingly beautiful.
Sarah from our wonderful venue did all of our flowers and decor. I forgot a bouquet and she stayed up late before the wedding to make me one with some of the flowers that were in our ceremony decor. It was so professional and beautiful. Everything Sarah created was breathtaking. Her ceremony arch and the tiny pieces of decor throughout the whole barn were aromatic and beautiful. The wedding breakfast table and decor in the Milking Parlour was also so stunning and our tablescape was one of my favourite parts.
What they ate and drank
We hired a private caterer to cook our 3 course wedding breakfast and it was heavenly! Debbie Thorpe from Kcalfoods Cornwall designed and created a stunning menu for us:
Looe bay mussels, seasonal sea greens, crusty bread
(Looe bay mussels steamed with sea herbs in a white wine and cream sauce, served with crusty bread)
Belly pork, creamed potato, greens
(Slow braised then glazed belly pork, served with creamed potato, seasonal greens and a cider Jus)
Organic chocolate brownie, clotted cream, berries
(A slightly warm organic chocolate brownie, served with clotted cream and raspberry)
In the evening we then had a supper created by our wonderful venue host Sarah from Freathy Farmhouse.
Capturing it all
We had both a photographer and a videographer.
Craig Bracefield from Aroha Films was an immediate choice as I had seen some of his work online which I adored. He was eccentric and WONDERFUL. I absolutely hate having my photo taken let alone a video but it was important to us for the wedding to be filmed being that we had no guests. We wanted to be able to show our children and family after so this was top of our list. His work was incredible and we had both a short highlights film aswell as our full length ceremony which we just adore. I have lost count of how many times I have watched it!
For photography we decided to support a new starter launch his business and chose Tommy Lumley from Afina Photography. Throughout the planning process, Tommy was incredibly supportive, calming and helpful. I was a stressful nightmare during the planning and he was always so kind and calming. When the snow hit that weekend he was constantly checking in with us so we (me!) didn’t panic. He then happily travelled down to the venue the night before with his lovely girlfriend so that he didn’t miss our day. Good job he did too as his hometown got snowed in! We all went for dinner that night and got to know eachother and both him and Emily were so lovely and we got on great with them both. We all still speak now
After the ceremony
We went for a long walk along the clifftops to watch the beautiful sunset.
Favourite part of the day
Exchanging vows. It was freezing cold and I was windswept, dishevelled, turning blue as so cold and we could see our breath as we spoke but the overwhelming beauty of the barn that our wedding venue created for us and the intimate moment of saying our vows….it was utterly perfect.
Advice to others
Try to follow your heart and no matter how unconventional; choose what you both love, what makes you happy and what symbolises you the most. Everyone else will have an opinion but they will forget once the day is done, but your memories will last forever so make sure you follow your heart.
We were blessed to work with such wonderful suppliers. Both myself and Ryan work in hospitality ourselves and we felt really privileged to have found some amazing people who created a wonderful day for us. We could not recommend any of them any higher than we do <3
found through Petite Weddings
Hair & Makeup
Kcal Foods Cornwall