Just look at this gorgeous wildflower themed barn wedding! How beautiful, please? Lucy & Jake got married at a new venue in Devon, the properly rustic Bickham Barn – a gloriously blank canvas perfect for DIY weddings and making it totally YOU. Which this pair certainly did!
Lee Maxwell, the photographer says: ” I have never photographed a wedding with soooo many personal touches that they put together; a marathon bike hung from the ceiling and a wedding flag for a great start! They’re a super lovely couple who wanted a relaxed vibe to the whole day. The huge blow torch to light the sparklers was a great send off!”
I love all the rustic, wildflower touches, the picnic wedding breakfast, and the wonderful attention to detail. An absolute corker, I’m sure you’ll agree!
We met in 2013 through friends. We bought our first house together in 2016 and got engaged on the Bank Holiday weekend in August 2017, while out on a training run for the Great West Run, where Jake got down on one knee, and proposed with a homemade ring which he had made from a tree in our back garden. I didn’t want to go on the run but Jake made me as he told me it would be worth it- it definitely was!
Both of us grew up in St Thomas, Exeter and had connections with St Thomas Methodist church for various reasons. Jake runs a boys brigade section there on a weekly basis, and the company Captain is the Church’s Minister, so it made sense to ask him to marry us. The church is lovely, bright and welcoming, and could fit as many people as we wanted to attend. We wanted a barn with a chilled-out, country feel for the wedding and we wanted it to be as hand-made as possible. We planned the day and chose a venue around our idea to have a Ploughman’s picnic lunch as the wedding breakfast, so we needed a venue which would allow us to have our own food.
Theme-wise, we decided on wild flowers – basically any bright, bold, stand-out colourful flower; making it all a bit mis-matched, but in a the barn setting, it looked perfect. We decided on navy blue for the bridesmaids and groomsmen so the flowers would standout against the clothes. We decided to buy the suits and gift them to the groomsmen as it was more cost-effective, and they could wear them again.
Finding suppliers was probably the largest admin job. Our bar was stocked and run by Oddfellows, Exeter, who run various pop-up bars all over the region, so were true professionals. The best supplier we found was actually someone we met when we visited Bickham Barn to measure up for things we wanted to make, and that was Charlotte Hogg our florist. She was decorating the barn for an event they were running and made the place look stunning. She understood our ideas instantly- we wanted flowers to be the biggest focus, nothing too symmetrical, with lots of different colours and textures, and it was important to us to have seasonal flowers. We knew we could trust her.
For evening food, we wanted something hot, like a food van, so looked at the options in the local area. We tried a pizza oven but as soon as we went and tried Dan’s American Kitchen and had his pulled pork and phili-cheese steak he was booked without doubt! All the comments we had after the wedding was how big and amazing the food was and that people couldn’t finish it – which means after the lunch we really achieved our goal of people not going hungry.
We viewed a few different venues, another barn and a village hall, but I found Bickham Barn by stumbling upon it during a Google search of Devon Wedding Barns. It was a new-ish venue which hadn’t had many weddings yet but was only 15 – 20 minutes from the church we were going to get married in. As soon as you arrive at the end of a long country road you turn into the parking area and see a bright pink barn. Once we saw the inside with all the fairy lights, we were sold! It had a separate bar area, and commercial kitchen on the back. It would hold the right amount of people and we could do anything we we like inside – even suspending a bike from the rafters and having them covered in flowers!
Rod and Karen at Bickham were great with planning the day, we had access to the venue two days before the wedding which for a lot of venues is unheard of, but for a barn which is empty it gave us so much time to get things set up without rushing! The two days before if we needed something, Rod was around to help or make suggestions, which was great.
Capturing the Day
We found our photographer, Lee Maxwell, on Google too. Within 5 minutes of meeting Lee, we were sold on his laidback style- being a fly on the wall and not judging us for asking silly questions which we had found on Google! Our videographer, Mike from Purevida Cornwall, was a very last-minute booking and we are sooooo glad we did. When Lee emailed a month before to check on everything he mention a friend of his had had a cancellation and sent us a link to his work. Our budget was tight but BY GOD, the results were worth it. Lee and Mike worked seamlessly on the wedding day and the banter with the bridal party was great; it made for some really laid back pictures and video, which we love.
We begged and borrowed as much as we could for the wedding day. Family friends acted as co-ordinators on the day for food, and two others were waiters. We borrowed a sound-system off a friend, which gave him chance to crank it up to the heavens, as we were in the middle of the countryside! Our friend, who has a local radio show, acted as DJ in the evening, playing peoples requests, and one of the groomsmen acted as the Master of Ceremonies, letting people know what was going on throughout the day.
We loved so much about the wedding, especially seeing all our friends and family on a nice,sunny day enjoying themselves. We did plan a few surprises. Every year the boys brigade battalion which Jake belongs to has a summer camp in Wales. Each day as flag is raised to a trumpet call of ‘reveille’, the barn happened to have a flag pole, so we decided to design our own flag and have an opening ceremony to welcome everyone to the wedding breakfast. Up until it happened it was on a need-to-know basis, even the Maid of Honour didn’t know! One of the bridesmaids was a trumpet teacher so secretly learnt the music; everyone’s reactions were priceless as they were not expecting a flag, let alone a bridesmaid playing the trumpet!
Top tips and lessons learned…
Prep, prep prep. Our day wouldn’t have been as such a success if we didn’t prepare as much as we could before hand- stringing bunting, making gift bags, drawing signs. But also be open to change, I made 300 paper hearts on sticks out of Joules wrapping papers. I didn’t have a clue where I was going to put them but I knew there would be places- when we were nearly finished decorating it was a case of groomsmen went around placing them in flowers and hay bales or just tucking them in wooden slots at the barn. We did picnic hampers for the wedding breakfast and we did two trial runs before hand with family and bridesmaids and groomsmen. At the end of the day I think we over-catered in the hampers as people took a lot home after the wedding for packed lunches for the next week – but lets face it no one wants to leave a wedding hungry!
The biggest tip I would give people – trust your suppliers – Our florist- we left her to it, because we trusted her. She did all the bouquets, button holes, two chandeliers, table flowers, cake flowers and decorated the bike. It was great and I truly don’t think we would of got that if we had been really picky – they are professionals for a reason!
Venue- Bickham Barn
Photographer- Lee Maxwell
Videographer – Puravida Cornwall
Florist- Charlotte Hogg
Hair & Make-Up- Rebecca Jordan
Bar- Oddfellows, Exeter
Food- Dan’s American Kitchen