A Wild Flowers & Rustic Vintage Wedding Weekend in Picturesque Clovelly: Lara & Jack
Today’s real wedding was held in the picturesque village of Clovelly in North Devon. A gorgeous little seaside / fisherman’s village where the cobbled stones are traffic free!
Lara and Jack planned their rustic, vintage charm wedding from abroad and had a day full of love and lots of laughter. This totally looks like a wedding I would have loved to attend.
Lara looked amaze in her romantic Caroline Castigliano gown and veil and a highlight has to be Lara and Jack leading a couple of donkeys to their wedding reception.
Words by Lara. Images by Barney Walters Photography.
Jack and I love rough and rustic landscapes. We love the sea as well as mountains so when we came to Clovelly we knew we found our wedding location. Both of us wanted to have the party of our lives for a whole weekend with all our friends and closest family members.
Living in the Middle East we knew quite early that we wanted to get married in the UK. Germany seemed a bit too boring for myself. Jack grew up on the border to North Wales where we started looking for barn venues at first.
Having our guests in mind we wanted to select a spot where they could turn our wedding weekend into their holiday. North Wales being more of the hiker’s and biker’s destination, we opted for our second choice: North Devon which has been Jack’s favourite UK surf spot since back in the days…
Planning a wedding from abroad is absolutely doable if you are keen to spend the time contacting suppliers and looking for decoration elements online. We picked the DIY wedding package which also meant we did about 3 venue visits to meet with all our suppliers in person while painting wayfinding signs and decorating candle jars in the Jones’s family garage.
Following our rustic wedding theme, Clovelly as a location in itself ticked all the boxes while having its own very particular charm: No cars, cobble stone, rough sea, cliffs, wild flowers, Landover shuttle and let’s not forget the donkeys…
With the help of Emma, Clovelly’s wedding coordinator, we were glad to have used different venues of the village throughout the weekend. On Friday we had a get together in the Red Lion pub with life music from our band while the reception and the dinner took place in the terraced garden of Clovelly Court, just around the corner from the church.
From the beginning I was looking for a lace dress with an open back. I had 10 bridal shop appointments over 2 days in London. One of the shops had this Caroline Castigliano showroom dress which I bought with the condition that it is going to be fitted and adjusted by Caroline Castigliano in Knightsbridge. Lisa at CC did an amazing job!
Besides the beautiful open back, I love the Italian lace, the caped shoulders, the way it falls on the bottom, the train and the few sequins embedded within the dress which give the dress a subtle sparkle depending on the light. The second dress was actually meant for our Sunday Brunch.
However, since the grass was so wet, my wedding dress got quite heavy so I decided on the spot to change to the short dress after we took our photos at the harbour.
The short dress which I bought online in Qatar is made by a great upcoming Kuwaiti designer. The lace bolero however was done by mum Ulla. We bought lace in London together and she made me this bolero which is now one of my favourite pieces.
Jack’s wedding suit was Electric Blue and bought from a cool, relaxed, and non-stuffy shop with great atmosphere! Also Adam [the owner] had a vintage motorbike in the shop which sold the suit to Jack.
All my bridesmaids picked shoes and dresses themselves according to the colour guide – there was no specific cut, length or designer. I gave my 7 girls a colour range from beige to light rose/peach. The rest was up to them.
Megan from Bob’s Hairdresser did most of the bridesmaids hair. Up, down, with braids, flowers or without, as per their own references.
Claire is the best florist I know. She has a great personality and her Doberman “Boots” goes everywhere she goes. She turns your dreams and wishes into reality. Tailored to whatever budget you want to spent + great eye for decoration as well.
I was inspired by wild flowers on pinterest so I did not want to have anything neatly tied together. All flowers were more loose, vintage tones arranged in a wild flowery way. Lots of different greens and whites with the odd colour touches of different rose tones. We had big milk churns at the chruch, crates of flowers, pedestals, a flower backdrop behind the cake as well as random flowers in glasses and vases scattered around.
I was in love with our flowers from the moment they arrive. Even my bouquet had a delicate bit of green hanging down.
My Dad wolf walked me down the aisle.
In Germany we walk into the church to the Bridal March by Mendelssohn, whereas in the UK this song is mostly used for leaving the church.
Leaving the church we had “Trumpet Voluntary”
Jack and I met on Facebook – “Hot or Not” application in the beginning of 2008. Jack is convinced that I stalked him!
He was working in the Maldives as a Project Manager, building Shangri- La’s Resort & Spa, while I was doing my Bachelors in Business Communication & PR in Brussels, Belgium.
We randomly met on the Fb app one week before we both accidentally ended up skiing in Ischgl, Austria, at the same point in time. I was working for the ski school, while Jack was boarding with his mates. At first, both of us thought it was a windup from the other side but it turned out to be anything else but fake.
Living on an island, Jack made sure to have female companionship on all of his trips. Therefore, the girl he brought to Ischgl was my first challenge which I successfully managed by suggesting a race down the mountain. While waiting for Jack’s girlfriend and his South African wingman Chris Pitcher, Jack and I sat on the side of the slope discussing the life bubble of people and their comfort zones, while the sun was setting behind the Austrian mountains.
7 years later Jack asked me to marry him on the side of the slopes in Zermatt, Switzerland, in front of the Matterhorn, a few hours after he asked my father’s permission. Also on the same trip were my sister and another 10 of our ski friends, all of whom were waiting at the Apres ski bar for us thinking we got lost on the only way down the mountain.
That night we danced until 5 am to Good Noise Inc. from Manchester. The guys were so great that I asked them to play at our wedding without knowing when and where it would be. They said yes and 17 months later they rocked up in Clovelly for our wedding weekend.
In the meantime, Pitcher got promoted from wingman to best man who likes to drink the odd Shandy…
To continue our rustic theme, we had 2 village donkeys waiting for us at the church. We led them to the reception at the Clovelly Court just around the corner.
The donkeys then took children for rides and were more than happy to eat the fresh grass amongst our guests having their reception cocktails.
We put a lot of thoughts into personalised details which started with our self-made way finding signs and finished with stamped tags.
Our Hatch Marquee created a cosy atmosphere in itself with the clear span bell end, fairy lights, beige carpet, ivory cloths and lime washed chairs.
Additionally, I hired a random selection of vintage furniture and props which I set up and decorated with lace table cloth, blankets and cushions ordered online on the spot without having a certain plan in mind. Previously I had prepared jam glasses with hessian and lace for candles as well.
Our florist Claire from the Wilde Bunch was a major help, adding her decorative touches everywhere – I gave her completely free rein! She brought a van full of rustic bits and pieces which worked perfectly with our theme.
Our decoration was rounded up with personalised creative ideas mainly coming from Jack. Throughout the year we worked on individual sheets for our 100 guests with some information on how we met them and what they mean to us. These sheets we displayed on hessian boards in the bar area for all our guests to read, laugh and have a chat.
Our handmade table plan was based on our love for travelling. We named each table after a country we have visited or lived in. In addition to self-made flag poles for each table, we worked on country sheets which had pictures of us + some interesting/funny facts about the country.
Each table also had a country specific musical instrument, such as the cowbell for Switzerland, which people had to use if they wanted to give a toast with our branded shot glasses which were our wedding favours at the same time. For more toasts Jack was in charge of the wheel of fortune, built by his father Glyn.
As the special couple for that night we ordered 2 poison chalices for us to toast with and for our table place names we collected and painted pebbles from Clovelly’s harbour.
To top up the personation my mum Ursula together with my sister Mira-Maj and my maid of honour Laura Sachse worked on a wedding newspaper for which most of our guests contributed articles about us.
We wanted our cake to be personal so Janet, Jack’s mum, made it. Janet is the only one of both of our families who can bake so there was certainly no fights about it! For Janet it was a great honour :) The personalised cake toppers she got made in Shrewsbury as well, then brought it all down to Devon.
Our wedding photographer Barney knows how to capture those precious moments of life without you even noticing it. Each individual picture brings back the feelings and atmosphere on that particular time of the day!
There is so much energy and movement in his photos which makes them very natural rather than posed. Besides capturing the weather characteristics and the surroundings, skies and landscapes in a unique way, Barney really brings out the connection between the couple. He basically allows you to re-live every special moment once again.
As our first dance Jack and I chose “Your Love is Strong” + “Under My Thumb” by Rolling Stones which really kicked off the party. Certainly because of Jack’s Jagger Swagger moves and maybe because of a minor dress malfunction on my side…
If you could impart any words of wisdom to a future bride planning their wedding day, what would they be?
Try to organise as much as you can in advance so you don’t face any last minute surprises while setting up. Make yourself an excel list with every little thing you need and want to buy. That way you don’t have million things racing around your head. Make sure you have a fully kitted toolbox for the day to fix and glue some final items.
Give yourself more time than you need. Things take longer to prepare than you think. If you don’t have a wedding planner get yourself a few creative helpers (preferably no guests) for the day who can help you setting everything up. Doing it all by yourself is impossible…
On the day however, enjoy every minute of it. Time flies and despite the fact that we started early in the morning, the day and night were gone in an instant. Make sure that you have one person/bridesmaid who is in charge of checking your dress, veil etc. so you don’t have to worry about the details.
Also, don’t let the weather annoy you, sometimes things happen for a reason…
I absolutely adore this rustic, vintage charm Clovelly wedding! Congratulations Lara and Jack, you make such a sweet and seriously fun loving couple!
wedding credits / photographer: barney walters / wedding venue: clovelly estate / brides dress: carolina castigliano and bazza-alzouman / brides veil: carolina castigliano / grooms suit: adam waite / brides shoes: benjamin adams / bridesmaid dresses& shoes: their own / hair & makeup: isabelle grace & tangels & beauty / florist: the wild bunch / wedding cake: family / catering: ha catering / entertainment: good noise inc / vintage furniture: virginias vintagehire & props factory