I’m a little behind with my wedding photography updates, this year seems to have flown by in a heart beat! But I am so pleased to share with you wedding photography from Lains Barn with one of this years funniest and friendliest weddings with Charlene and Simon, simply awesome from the moment I met them through to their big – even with rain all day!!
Couple: Charlene & Simon Mansell
Wedding Date: 3rd April 2015
Ceremony Venue: Lains Barn, Wantage, Oxfordshire
Wedding Venue: As above
How did you meet; what attracted you to one another?
We met at V festival in Staffordshire. We went with different friends but merged groups.
The first thing Simon said was “you’re vine girl” as he remembered me from the pub I used to work in when I was 18. I was attracted to his eyes as I thought they were smiley and his sense of humour! Having never met him before (I couldn’t remember him from working in the pub, oops). He put me at ease straight away and had me doubled over laughing for the whole weekend.
How long after you first got together did you get engaged?
5 ½ years.
Who proposed? How, when, where? Was the timing/date significant in any way? Was it a surprise?
Simon proposed. We went for a weekend away on August Bank Holiday weekend 2013. It was organised as a surprise by Simon as I thought he felt guilty about going on his “lads” week away the following week. We went to various places. Cheddar Gorge as I said I’d wanted to go, Wookie Hole as apparently I looked like the witch for the poster. Wells, as it is the setting for one of my favourite films Hot Fuzz and then Glastonbury, as I had never been and wanted to go. We are also very geeky and love history so the fact there was so much history relating to Glastonbury Abbey we were excited to go.
Every one of my friends had said he was going to propose this weekend but I did think it would happen, we had been on many weekend and holidays away where he had the chance and it didn’t happen. While we were walking around the Abbey and I was explaining the history behind the Abbey, Simon (so I thought) was suffering with his hangover and not really listening for a change. We sat at the back of the Abbey on a bench away from all the tourists, Simon started talking to me about the past 5 years and next thing I know he is in front of me on one knee. My first reaction was, is he was winding me up and I didn’t believe him, it took him a while to convince me he was serious; I started crying then went in for a hug after finally saying yes. Next thing I know I’ve knocked him off his knee in a rugby style tackle and we are rolling around on the floor!
Although there was no significant date we had been to nearly 20 weddings as a couple and at the final wedding we had been to 3 weeks earlier I caught the bouquet for the first time ever, apparently only a couple of days after he had bought the ring too.
What attracted you to the venue you chose for the day?
Originally I wanted to get married abroad in a roof top garden in New York. Simon was not so keen, so after much discussion he convinced me to have it in England. I looked high and low for the venue I wanted. I had seen pictures of Lains Barn come up on different websites when searching, but idnt view it until we had exhausted venues closer to home.
As soon as we pulled into the car park, I instantly knew this was the venue but Simon told me to play it cool. We walked inside and it was picturesque, rustic and had a comfortable feel without being too formal or stuffy. I loved the cobbled flooring the fact that everything was linked and the old wooden beams in the main barn area. Plus the chairs were gorgeous too no need for a chair covers, for me this was important!!!
The staff and the people we met when looking around the owners were so friendly and Katie who runs events was so friendly, she made us feel comfortable right away. Simon was swayed when Martin (one of the owners) told him the turf in the middle of the courtyard was ex Stamford Bridge turf, being a Chelsea fan this sold it to him right away. He did not play it cool from that point!
Theme / colour scheme
We wanted to incorporate things about us a couple. We went for a festival themed and music themed wedding having met at a festival and having a huge love of music this was important to our day. The colour was less important to us, I allowed my bridesmaids to pick their dresses without worrying about the colour, and once they picked their bridesmaid dresses the colour was set and we picked the mens suits around that.
Favours could only have been chocolate eggs with it being good Friday. (and Skittles for those in the “wolf pack”)
I won’t get into the details of the 7 hours of post it note sticking we did!!!
We went for something simple with no flowers (hay fever) so we had birdcages and tea lights with some wicker hearts and heart shaped confetti made from old song sheets.
Having a family who suffer from hay fever we only had the bouquets and button holes. We kept it simple with white roses for my bouquet and gypsophila for the bridesmaids. The button holes were mixtures of these.
The cake was a mixture of 2 tiers and cupcakes I wanted it in the colour of the bridesmaids dresses without being too much so we went for a ombre effect starting of peach getting lighter to cream up the tiers and the cup cakes were a mixture of peach and cream. The cake tiers were sponge cake chocolate and vanilla. According to Simon my mum and I are the only people on the planet who like fruit cake!
These were kept in the style of our invites VIP festival entry passes.
These had to of course the names of bands. We used a mixture of the bands from the festival we had met at and of gigs we had been too. The top table was after Simons favourite boyband Boyzone.
Any other venue décor
From the table plan to the guest book sign to the signs for the bar etc, everything was kept within the same theme as our invites with the idea of it being a festival event.
What dress did you wear (who was it by/what was it called); why did you choose that particular style? How did you accessorise it? What was your style of bouquet/flowers used?
My dress was by House of Nicholas, it was called Patricia. I got it from a lovely bridal shop called Bridelicious Boutique, Heather who owns the shop was very patient and helped me feel comfortable when deciding on a dress. I had no idea what I wanted, only what I didn’t. So I must have tried on all the different styles in the shop.
The dress I chose was purely on the basis that my mum cried and my little sister had tears in her eyes. My sister cries at nothing so this was a huge achievement and I knew it would be the one I wanted to wear.
I’m not one for accessorising so I wanted to keep it simple with the dress. I wanted people to say I looked beautiful not my dress and accessories were beautiful. I had a short veil and simple single diamond necklace I was bought for my 21st birthday by my parents. I bought a simple bracelet and matching earrings to give a small bit of sparkle, but nothing which would take away from the small detail of my dress. I had a simple bouquet of white roses with foliage.
What did the bridesmaids wear?
The bridesmaids picked their own dresses I wanted them to be comfortable. The picked a dress from Virgos Lounge called Wendy which had some lovely details on the top half and a cowl back giving it a different look to the generic bridesmaid dresses.
What outfit did the groom wear?
The groom and groomsmen wore some simple blue suits with ivory waistcoats. The grooms men, dads and best man wore peach accessories and Simon worse an ivory dickie bow.
How did you entertain your guests?
It all started with a running joke, by me offering one final chance to our friends’ son to run away with me during the “speak now or forever hold your peace” bit. I got a fit of he giggles and couldn’t stop laughing just before our vows. According to most our guests, this was the start of the entertainment! We chose to have a band and a DJ and a photo booth as we love a silly photo.
What music did you choose?
The music we chose related to us as a couple, from the songs during the ceremony to the music during the dinner, not many people noticed but we used a lot of our guests first dance songs where we had been to their weddings, as well as songs from the bands on the table names.
Our first dance song could only be by Boyzone really. And the song “love the way you love me” had such a special meaning to me and Simon as it describes us perfectly as individuals and a couple.
We also gave our guests a chance to pick some song requests for the DJ and band which were passed on prior to the day.
How did you both feel on the day?
Charlene – I was really excited; I’m rarely on time for anything and was ready early on the day as I just wanted to get to the venue and marry Simon. Although by the time I turned up I did get nervous which I knew would result in inappropriate laughter.
Simon – I wasn’t nervous until Denise (photographer) arrived and told him I just wanted to get to the barn and get married, then his nerves kicked in!
What parts stood out for you the most?
During the evening once all the evening guests had arrived, we were on the dance floor as the band were playing and we noticed majority of our guest were on the dance floor. They were all mixed together family and different friends. They were all dancing singing and having a great time. We stood there and we just watched everyone for a moment taking in how many people had come to share our day and how much fun everyone seemed to be having!
We also loved that during one point in the night one of the cousin’s who is the only musically talented person out of the lot of the family, stole the DJs microphone and started singing along to the songs, everyone loved it and was cheering him on!
Any funny stories or unusual anecdotes from the day?
Charlene – There were a couple of points, one where Simon was doing his speech and me now being his wife and thanking the bridesmaids and grooms men, I stood up to get the gifts and my dad has his chair on my dress sending me hurtling backwards towards my dad, Simon without missing a trick told my dad he had to let me go I was married to him now!
Who/what made your day extra special? Eg, a friend’s speech/ supplier that went above and beyond?
We don’t think we could pinpoint any one supplier who went above and beyond as we feel everyone did their upmost to ensure our day went smoothly and we had an amazing time. If anything went wrong we weren’t aware.
However, for us Denise was amazing, she made us feel so comfortable like we had asked a friend to do the photos. She even created the term “poo face” during the day!!!
Where will / did you go? Can you share a few highlights? Anything you did which you could recommend to other couples thinking of the same destination?
We went to Mauritius for 7 night then Dubai for 3 nights. We stayed Near Grand Baie in the north west of the Island, although it was beautiful and the hotel amazing, we felt a bit isolated and was a bit quieter to what we are used to.
We went onto a day trip to the south of the island and this also was beautiful. We did some sightseeing and went to the national park. If we were to visit again we would probably stay in the south of the Island as there seemed to be more to do.
Dubai on the other hand was crazy busy. For anyone who is apprehensive about visiting, don’t be. The rumors of how strict it is have definitely been blown out of proportion. Just be respectful and mindful of the rules in the country.
The desert safari is a must just be careful if you get travel sick!
The Burj Khalifa is also amazing to do especially in the evening, the entrance is in the Dubai Mall, don’t be fooled by dodgy directions saying you get in from the outside! And you MUST see the fountain show in the evening.
You need to check out Brunch on a Friday too it’s the “done thing”, sadly due to the short time we had we never got to take part.
We would recommend more time in Dubai if you can there is so much to do and not enough time in 3 days to do it.
Do it their way
Please give details of how you created some key elements of your day. Such as choosing the tableplan design, organising the flowers and choosing your gown.
- We thought about us as a couple, our likes and dislikes. We excluded anything we didn’t like
- We kept it simple. We wanted to make sure our day was a celebration of us and used elements of where we met to help design our day, were not a fussy couple and hate feeling uncomfortable, less was more for us
- For the Bridal Gown and Suits it was important that people thought we looked good. As the bride there was a choice in two dresses, my mum said “wow the dress looks amazing” to the first, and the second she said “Wow you look stunning”, for me it was important that people remembered me on the day not just my dress. For the groom it was important he matched the grooms men to an extent, all of whom were different shapes and sizes, so getting a happy medium was great, and the less formal suits were great. Simon Looked so handsome on the day!
4. Wine/ Beer – You’d be surprised how well ideas flow with some wine!
Venue – Lains Barn. Simple, rustic and amazing! www.lainsbarn.co.uk/
Bride’s dress & Accessories – Bridelicious Boutique – Wallingford – Heather was amazing, able to put me at ease and feel comfortable in choosing a dress.
Jewellery – Debenhams, Jon Richards range
Hair and make-up – Bella Hair by Stacey. Stacey was a dream to have to do my hair, she knew what styles would work and would suit my dress and was able to get the style right first time. She is linked to a makeup artist Kelly who for me worked wonders. During my trial she listened to what I wanted completed the look and asked what I thought. She was able to show me that I needed more during the day and was able to do this without me looking like I had too much on or feeling like I had too much on. I couldn’t recommend them enough!
Bridesmaids’ dresses – www.virgoslounge.com
Groom’s suit – www.windsorformalhire.com
Wedding cake – Done by a friend Louise who makes amazing cakes!
Flowers – Also done by a friend Emma Williams who runs her is starting her own business as a florist.
Transport – www.weddingcarsoxford.com/vintage-car.htm
Stationery – Mike Sumpter as well as being a friend of ours, is an absolute perfectionist with amazing ideas and the ability to develop our minimal ideas into exactly what we wanted. He was able to put up with demands from the bride without managing to throttle her and keeping her at ease that the job will get done! He made sure we were happy with all the final design work prior to printing even if it meant to odd last minute tweak!
Photobooth – Daryl was brilliant and put together a book of our crazy guests who had their photos taken. He also sent through a disc containing all the photos after the event. He was so natural he fitted into the party as if he was a friend doing us a favour. www.daryljohn.com
DJ – Visually Sound. Matt our DJ was recommend by the venue. He was brilliant at embarrassing the craziness of our requests including a power ballad hour. He was able to play all the songs requested by the guests, even Taylor Swifts “shake it off” 3 or 4 times due to my best friend demanding it on my behalf as it is our “jam”. The dance floor was packed right up to when the night finished.
Band – Totallyfunktional. The band we had at our wedding were awesome. They were completely professional looked amazing and had everyone up on their feet from the moment they started playing. We had heard them at our friends wedding and at a charity gig previously to that. From the moment we booked them we were excited for the evening. Even one month on from the wedding everyone is commenting on how brilliant the band were and their range of music was great as it wasn’t all modern music, so the “oldies” could still get up and have a boogie (mother of the brides quote not ours). This is proven by the number of pictures we have while they played where the dance floor is full. To have another band at our wedding I feel might have left us disappointed! Can not recommend them enough!
*** Note from Denise – I promise I did not pay or reward Charlene or Simon in any way for there truly lovely comments below ***
Final shout out for us is to Denise. Although this may seem biased as this is her page she was THE only photographer out of 25+ that we met who we wanted to capture out day.
From the moment we started speaking with her at the wedding fair in Ascot she had us at ease. At no point did we feel uncomfortable and she embraced our “chandler from friend’s smiles” and our request for natural photos as we just feel awkward. We cannot wait to be able to recommend her and to show off our amazing pictures to everyone. I am sure in the future there will be more occasions we will use her as a photographer. She felt more like a friend than a supplier!
Ahhhhh I am truly blessed to have the most amazing couples in the World – I love my job!