HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE - What better way to celebrate the beginning of 2019 than sharing a special wedding from the previous year! 5th September 2018 was the day our buddies Abbi & Matt tied the knot at the stunning North Devon venue Ash Barton Estate. Abbi & Matt chose a mix of bespoke and DIY hand made details for their wedding day which included belting out Queen songs during their ceremony, evening sparklers, home baked cakes, hand painted stationery and more. This wedding day is bound to give you the all the feels so read on for heartwarming photos, beautiful details and top tips from the bride herself - Enjoy! Wedding day photography by Grace Elizabeth Photo & Film.
Abbi was keen to use stars within the couple’s bespoke wedding designs; from her clothing and jewellery to their home furnishings stars always feature and so this is where their invitation artwork began. We had previously created a portrait for the couple and this paired with a constellation motif became the backbone of their stationery.
We met with Matt and Abbi to chat about the feel they wanted to create for their wedding day and although formal they still wanted their invitations to feel fun. The gold detail gave an element of glamour and the sleek, slim shape kept it feeling like guests were invited to a black tie affair.
Ash Barton Estate is an exclusive use venue nestled in the North Devon countryside; chapel, party barn, farmhouse with kitchen and rooms for guests to stay, pool, games room, not to mention the view; this venue was perfect for Abbi & Matt who, with the help of friends and family, did everything from a big welcome BBQ to baking their own wedding cake before the official celebrations had even begun.
Their day had all the glamour of a (big) vintage white wedding - tuxedoes and all, but with the warmth of an intimate family celebration; this couple took their time spending a couple of years planning a day right for them. Read on for top tips from the DIY bride herself, our beautiful pal Abbi…
Find a venue that works for you: We knew from day one that we did not want a venue that you rock up to, in a hotel, and stay for 10 hours whilst making small talk at the shared bar with another wedding, or worse some sort of business convention. No, no, no. Luckily the year before we got engaged one of my best friends got married at a venue with accommodation for guests and it helped in our wedding venue hunt so much.
More than just one day: We knew we wanted our guests there to celebrate with us the night before and night of the wedding; with ours being a DIY wedding this venue also gave us the chance to get in and decorate the day before (which actually turned into 2 days before, what a dream!). Also having guests coming from such a mix of locations from Birmingham, Bristol, Torquay and Plymouth we tried to find a venue somewhat in the middle, and chanced upon North Devon and our incredible venue, Ash Barton Estate.
Look and feel: Think about what you want your day to look and feel like, do you want guests there over night all mucking in, having a bbq and sitting by the fire pit. Do you want kids (and many adults) running around, playing on trampolines and fighting about air hockey. Do you want a self serving bar for your guests to enjoy… because we did!
For these guys the party started right from the ceremony with guests taking part singing some of their favourite Queen songs.
For big family weddings having guests stay on site at the venue is a great idea, everyone was free to head back to their rooms to change out of heels/grab a jumper/take kids for a nap, but of course you don’t want anyone to miss any of the action. We created this Order of the Day sign featuring their bespoke constellation illustration to keep all the guests up to date with what was happening when.
Pastel florals with coral pink pops of colour created by Sophie Millington looked beautiful throughout the venue across the stone buildings and hanging foliage.
You cannot ever re-do you wedding photos: … so make damn sure your photographer can create what you are looking for. As you might have guessed from above, our wedding was a family affair, full of kids and so many of our friends chipping in and becoming immersed in the whole experience with us. We were not going to be able to capture the feel of this in posed, poised photos. We needed natural, candid shots throughout the day, and this is exactly why we went with Grace and Mitch. I had met them even before we got engaged, whilst Grace was still a student, as I helped on a styled shoot (with none other than Dearly Beloved). Grace and Mitch were shooting me throughout the day and made me feel so comfortable, when the photos came back in I felt she had captured me so well, laughing, joking, and relaxed. So, as soon as we got engaged we contacted Grace and as soon as the venue had confirmed dates we booked her there and then. Not only does Grace have this ability, but so does her (now) husband Mitch, and having them both there on the day meant while Grace stayed with the bridal party Mitch could shoot the boys, guests arriving, last minute touches to the venue, etc. When getting the photos back these were all the moments I’d missed but now could some how relive. Grace’s style is dreamy, relaxed and natural and Matt knew early on he wanted something like this. Getting those photos back a month all two later will bring it all back to you, emotions will be running high! There is nothing like it, these are the tokens from the day you will keep forever so again, make it work for you!
Plan a wedding you can afford: Unless you have been told, do not assume your family have been squirrelling away pennies for your big day. It’s not the 1950s! We decided on a budget of £6000 and for that we know we could get all the things we really wanted. Also our venue was a beautiful setting and completely DIY so it did some of the work for us but also allowed us to put out stamp on it. The £6000 did turn into £9000 after family members did want to contribute, but this money went on adding those finishing touches. We paid for the registrar to come to the venue (costing £500, instead of a 2 witness ceremony the day before which would have been £45), for the band to stay on for an extra hour, for a bigger hog roast to feed our guests, more flowers to help set off the tables during high tea as well as hiring more crockery and buying in all the majority of the high tea food. All these things made the day a little easier on me (the bride) too as many of these things were on my list of things to beg, borrow, make or steal!
To tie all the visuals together we created hand painted signage that not only helped guests in the absence of more formal serving staff but decorated the space with the illustrated elements featured on invitations.
Working with Dearly Beloved: Well as Abi and Ben have been dear friends of mine for 7 years this was a no-brainer for me, but when I met Matt his love of illustration made it even more clear that their work was the perfect fit for us. So, disclaimer, we love these guys… and might be a little bit biased, so I have written this more as a ‘tips’ during the bespoke design process. The beauty of working with a husband and wife team is that you get the best of both worlds. In this case, it is the blend of two styles: Abi being much more free, traditionally feminine and mostly hand painted; Ben being more clear, clean and digitally created - Abi and Ben married the clean and hand painted perfectly. We also kept in some of the hand painted elements I loved by using the portrait Abi had made for us for our save the dates (P.S if you are reading this as a wedding guest rather than bride, buy a freaking portrait for a wedding present, it is the best thing ever and so personal!). Also, if you want to be a fancy pants like us, get the gold foiling, it is delicious and your friends will swoon over it! the biggest lesson we learned was to have conversations and ask questions in those first few meetings/chats, the more you ask in the beginning the more you will love your designs.
CONGRATULATIONS and huge thanks to Abbi and Matt for letting us share their wedding story.
Stationery – Dearly Beloved
Photography - Grace Elizabeth Photo & Film
Flowers - Sophie Millington
Venue - Ash Barton Estate
Bride’s dress - Wed2Be
Bridesmaid dresses: Asos
Flower Girls: Next
Hair and Make Up: Bride