A Relaxed Beach Wedding in Devon With A Neutral Colour Scheme: Rebecca & Tom
The seaside wedding venue and its beach setting was the main style inspiration for Becky and Tom’s big day. For their colour scheme they wanted a neutral colour palette of white with very pale greys, pinks and greens to enhance the natural surroundings, rather than detract from them.
We think their relaxed wedding is absolutely gorgeous and Becky looks amazing in her Stephanie Allin gown, dusky blue Rachel Simpson shoes and beautiful hair vine.
Words by Becky. Images by Jacqui McSweeney.
We chose Tunnels Beaches venue for its beach setting and the relaxed style – it was perfect for us and completely unique. When we first saw it we were blown away and booked it there and then.
We could have the ceremony and reception in one location. It needed minimal decoration and catering is provided in-house, which meant we didn’t have to spend lots of time arranging our own suppliers. The staff were really cool, helpful and professional, which made the organisation so straight-forward and the day itself really fun and relaxed.
When I first started my search for a wedding dress I was immediately drawn to Stephanie Allin. I just knew I would find my dress from her collections. I liked that she uses quite classic shapes and materials, yet adds unique, but subtle, detailing and features. I also liked that my dress was made in South Wales, where Tom and I spent many happy years at university and in the early part of our relationship.
My husband used to live in Clifton in Bristol and most Sundays we would go for lunch in the The Brunel pub next to the The Mews – on the way I would walk past The Mews and gaze at the beautiful dresses in the window. When I found out that The Mews stocked Stephanie Allin and were having a Stephanie Allin Designer Day I knew I had to book an appointment. The dress I chose, ‘Arianna’, was a brand new style and, with the firm approval of my mum and best friend Kat, I knew it was ‘the one’.
I only had one bridesmaid (my best friend Kat) and a flower girl (our niece Grace). The bridesmaid dress was from Jenny Packham at Debenhams. I wanted very neutral colours so when I saw the gorgeous pale grey I knew it would be perfect.
My flower girl also wore a cute Debenhams dress in a pale dusky pink and sparkly pink shoes! Grace definitely had the best shoes that day!
Sadly my dad passed away suddenly about 8 months before the wedding. Whilst it wasn’t the original plan, my mum stepped in to give me away; it couldn’t have been anyone else. I actually loved the ladies-only procession on the day, it was very special.
I walked down the aisle to ‘Life in Technicolour’ (instrumental version) by Coldplay.
Tom and I met at university in Cardiff – we are both civil engineers and were on the same course together. We had been friends for a few years and got together in the last week of uni after our finals in June 2008, before we were all due to leave and go our separate ways!
Tom proposed to me in our kitchen in our old house in Swindon in October 2013; we had been on a few holidays that year and everyone was expecting it to happen then…but it didn’t. Instead he proposed when I was least expecting it, in a very low-key way in our kitchen, but I loved it and it was a special moment for us.
Our wedding photographer was Jacqui McSweeney. We first met Jacqui when she photographed Tom’s sister’s wedding in September 2011. I remember seeing the pictures at the time and thinking ‘I hope when we get married we have pictures like that’. We just loved her style of photography and we even put some of the pictures up in our house.
When we eventually began planning our own wedding a few years later, having chosen a venue in a Devon, we didn’t immediately think of Jacqui, who is based in Brighton. We looked at a lot of local Devon photographers but couldn’t find one we felt happy with.
At this point Anna, Tom’s sister, reminded us of Jacqui. I contacted Jacqui and she got back to us straight away with an enthusiasm and warmth for our wedding we hadn’t experienced with the other photographers. The trip to Devon didn’t seem to phase her and she even made a weekend of it with her husband Andy, who is also a photographer and joined us for the day as second shooter! It worked out so well and the pictures were better than we could have ever imagined.
The venue needed minimal decoration and we wanted anything we added to seem as natural and in-keeping with the setting as possible. I think the most creative we got was to make a tree table plan! we also borrowed decorations from friend’s weddings for the gazebo and the beautiful flower arrangements was all that was needed on the tables.
We didn’t provide wedding favours, however as a touching surprise Tom made donations on everyone’s behalf to the British Heart Foundation and Cancer Research in memory of close family members we had lost in the year prior to the wedding.
Again we didn’t have a proper wedding cake, mainly because the ‘cutting of the cake’ thing just wasn’t really us. Instead we asked friends and family to bake cakes of their choosing for a table of cakes. Some really went to town with the decoration – I think it became quite competitive! The cakes were then put out in the evening for people to help themselves.
If we could imapart any wisdom to brides and grooms planning their day we would say…
Go with your instinct and it is never too early – We booked the venue the day we saw it, 21 months before the actual day. We booked our photographer Jacqui soon after this, knowing that she was the right person despite living in Brighton!
We bought my dress and Tom’s suit over a year beforehand at discounted prices. Not once did we feel we made a mistake or change our minds, it stopped us dithering too much over certain aspects and prevented the wedding from taking over our lives which can easily happen. It made the organisation so much more enjoyable.
Our best memory is our first dance with everyone around us – we danced to Iris by the Goo Goo Dolls, just because it is a song we both love and ideal for a first dance! We also had a last dance at the end of the night with everyone to Wonderwall by Oasis!
There is another moment which stands out for different reasons… it is fair to say our friends have a strong sense of fun, and given the seaside location some of the lads couldn’t help themselves and went skinny-dipping on the private beach! It was hilarious and is even featured in the official wedding pictures… I think it sums up the relaxed, unfussy day we were after.
Such a lovely laid back wedding. Loving its beachy, realxed vibe! Crushing over the Stephanie Allin gown? Planning a Tunnels Beach wedding? Want to see more of Jacqui McSweeny’s work. Check out all the links below…
wedding credits / photographer: jacqui mcsweeney photography / wedding venue: tunnels beaches / brides dress: stephanie allin via the mews / brides hair vine: ‘georgia’ by rosie willit / grooms suit: hugo boss / brides shoes: rachel simpson / bridesmaid dresses: jenny packham / bridesmaid shoes: kurt geiger / hair & makeup: louise allway & amy elizabeth / florist: friend / wedding cake: friends & family / catering: tunnels beaches