A country house, bubble guns and food trucks... a September wedding in Devon.
When I was asked to coordinate this lovely couple's big day, little did I know that this wedding would be one of my all time favourites. The brief was simple - there was to be lots of food, drinks, entertainment and ZERO fuss. The venue, a stunning Grade II listed house in the deep Devon countryside, was the perfect DIY wedding backdrop for this incredible day.
The phrases 'relaxed' and 'no fuss' are ones that I hear time and time again as a wedding coordinator. However, unfortunately, more often than not this does not end up being the case. One of the most stressful and least relaxing parts of planning a wedding is the table plan, food choices, dietary requirements... the list goes on.
Luckily, at Ross and Ricky's wedding on 16th September 2022, the vibe came somewhere between luxury decadence and festival chill. There was a string quartet, but also food trucks selling pizza and paella. There was a grand fireplace with tumbling florals, but also bubble guns in the place of confetti.
This idea was carefully crafted by the grooms and totally summarised them as a couple, which is something that a successful wedding day should always be.
Huntsham Court is like no other venue that I have ever had the delight of coordinating at. The house itself, built in the 1800s, still displays its grand staircases, floor to ceiling bookcases and original wooden flooring, but also glitters with eccentric decor such as a pink Art Deco chandelier in the entrance way. What makes this venue really special is the exclusivity that comes with hiring it for a wedding. The house boasts 40 stunning bedrooms, which can sleep up to 92 guests!
However, this isn't like a hotel set up. You are given the keys at the start of your weekend, and then the space is yours to do what you wish, which includes access to the cosy Butler's Pantry (which Ross and Ricky filled with local pastries for guests to snack on) and the sweeping lawns and gardens. I also heard that there was a tennis court tucked around the back!
This all means that you can design your wedding your way. Of course, there are staff on hand to help you as much or as little as you like, but there is something really informal and relaxed about allowing your guests to help themselves to drinks from behind the bar whenever they wish.
It is important to remember, however, that venue with so much freedom comes a bit more forward thinking. Having a coordinator to take care of the details and remind you of things that you may not have considered can avoid anything being forgotten.
Ross and Ricky's ceremony was one like no other... and after coordinating hundreds of weddings, this is the only one to date that has brought me to tears!
The ceremony was beautifully written and delivered by Julia of Joyful Ceremonies, who personally wrote Ross and Ricky's love story which really showed their personality, humour and love for each other. There were lots of tears and laughter and some really beautiful words.
Then came the walk back up the aisle, with an amazing alternative to confetti... bring in the bubble guns! I can't explain this in a way that does it justice... so here is a photo that speaks for me!
Food is a huge part of any wedding day, but as I have already mentioned, can be incredibly stressful for those planning the wedding. It also might not fit into the vibe that you are after for your day. With a sit down meal comes table plans, chasing guests for dietary requirements and menu choices, and eating at weird times of the day (I've never understood the tradition of a 3pm wedding breakfast!). It was really important to Ross and Ricky that there was constant food and drink available throughout the day, and my goodness did they stick to this idea!
A lot of the food was supplied by Milkshed, who have catered weddings at Huntsham Court many times in the past (top tip, listen to your venue when they suggest suppliers - it's so much easier for everyone when a supplier has worked at the venue before!). They supplied a sumptuous BBQ the evening before the wedding, delicious canapés after the ceremony and a grazing table bursting with meats, cheeses, salads and other homemade snacks.
Throughout the day, a wide variety of catering available. In the morning, coffee was served from an old converted VW camper and in the afternoon there was a taco truck, paella truck and pizza truck.
The beauty of this idea is that your guests are always fed and watered, and more importantly, can eat when they're hungry, instead of having to wait for food to be served! It creates such a chilled, relaxed vibe and reflected the couple perfectly.
With all of this outdoor food, there would need to be somewhere for the guests to sit... so trestle tables and wooden chairs were hired in and dotted around the gardens. Guests could choose to sit at these, sit on the grass, find a bench... it really worked especially as the guest list was large. It felt like a garden party!
We decorated these tables with vintage milk bottles full of flowers and cheesecloth table runners, which tied the tables into the rest of the wedding.
It would be impossible to sum up this day in one word, but if I had to, I reckon 'joyous' would come pretty close. A gorgeous couple, very happy guests and a weekend of food, drinks and laughter - what more could you wish for
Here are all of the amazing suppliers that made this day possible: