As you may remember, we got engaged back on Halloween 2020 (during lockdown) and I had been planning a rustic autumnal wedding ever since. With planning during lockdown, it meant booking our venue and suppliers right away in order to get ourselves in before 2023 since so many couples had their weddings pushed back. Waiting two years wasn't ideal but it did give us plenty of time to plan and save and this was the result.
The Gildings Barn was the first and only venue we visited. Having seen images online before visiting, I can safely say they don't do it justice at all and it is far prettier in person. The high ceilings, wooden walls and beams made for a stunning backdrop and were very in-keeping with the cosy, rustic aesthetic we wanted. It's made up of three connecting barns so is perfect for hosting your ceremony, moving guests in to a separate area for drinks and canapés and can hold up to 130 guests. The great thing about the venue is that it's entirely yours to do with what you wish in terms of décor and we had the entirety of the day before to set up. That meant we could bring all kinds of props, pumpkins and neon to really make it personal to us and no rushing on the morning of the wedding.
In terms of theming, we had so many people ask if we were having a Halloween themed wedding. Our day certainly wasn't specifically Halloween themed - although we did have over one hundred pumpkins scattered all over the venue and a few spooky nods to my favourite season. I'd say there was very much a celestial theme with accents of golds, stars and moons, combined with little nods to film. Our car, for example, was used in the Tim Burton film Dark Shadows and was driven by Eva Green and Johnny Depp and Don't Worry Darling (Olivia Wilde, 2021); our menus included the film quote "Wouldn't thou like to live deliciously?" from one of our favourite films, The Witch. We also had cinema inspired light boxes, as well as temporary tattoos for guests which featured our favourite films or actors (yep, Paul Rudd) and TV shows.
Music from the day included songs from our favourite film soundtracks, including Kacey Musgrave's version of Can't Help Falling in Love (from Baz Luhrmann's Elvis, 2022), Sally & Jack's song from The Nightmare Before Christmas, Iron & Wine's Such Great Heights (from Garden State, 2004) and God Only Knows by the Beach Boys for our first dance (it's in loads of films!).
The paper moon was something I had wanted quite literally since I was a teenager. Made popular in the 1920s, paper moons were often found at carnivals and people would gather to have their photo taken 'on the moon'. It's considered one of the earliest forms of special effects and, to me, they just look so romantic. My incredibly talented cousin, Becky, has worked as a set designer and, alongside my Uncle, worked really hard to create this moon from scratch. They truly made this dream a reality for me. It currently resides in our shed and I'm considering renting it out.
Another way we made our wedding personal to us was the temporary tattoo station. We purchased some printable tattoo paper online and created transfer tattoos on Canva featuring pictures of our faces, wedding inspired flash sheets and bits and pieces from our favourite films and TV shows, as I mentioned previously. The guests absolutely loved them and was great to see so many people with Paul Rudd or Prison Mike on their necks dancing by the end of the evening.
We also had a sweet table which included lots of Joe & Seph's popcorn* in various flavours including Belgian Chocolate, Pumpkin Spice, Honey & Hazelnut and Salted Caramel. These are available in beautiful large kilner jars and went down really well with the guests and were customisable for your wedding. You can also get smaller bags made for your favours with your names printed on them. A really nice touch, I thought.
It really is true what they say - it goes by in an absolute flash. I didn't expect it go quite as fast as it did and if I have any regrets, it's just that I didn't take a second to take it all in - and eat more. It really was the best day ever and I'm so grateful to all our guests and the amazing people in our lives who were there to celebrate with us. Here's to the next chapter as Mr and Mrs.
Photographer: Chloe Mary Photography
Venue: Gildings Barns, Dorking
Flowers: Femme Petale
Hair: Beckie's Bridal Hair (she was so so lovely)
Dress: Custom by Essense of Australia
Bridesmaids dresses: Closet London
Flower girl dresses: Etsy
Suits: Vintage Suit Hire
Lighting: Creative Spark
Pumpkins: The Patch MK
Props: Combination of our own and Surrey Wedding Company
Wedding Popcorn and Sweet table: Joe and Seph's (*gifted)
Paper Moon: Custom
Until next time,