A Duncton Village Hall Wedding, Charlie & James’ South Downs Country Fete Inspired Day (Part Deux)

We’ve been really excited about blogging this wedding! Now this is how to do a country wedding Sussex style! We just love the fun village fete theme, and the way that everyone (most especially Charlie and James) look like they are having the best time ever! So nice that their family and friends contributed so much to their amazing day too.

We must also give props to their super-talented (Sussex-based) wedding photographer Simon Fazackarley who has captured the day and the atmosphere so beautifully. The laughter and love literally leaps right out at you from his amazing photos.

Sussex bride and groom

This wedding was first featured on the fab Rock My Wedding blog. But the lovely Charlie has kindly given us more juicy info especially for Love Sussex Weddings readers.

So let’s start at the beginning, Charlie and James met whilst both working at Merdian TV together, where Charlie is a TV reporter. Charlie told us: ‘We’d worked at the same company for years but when we moved to a new building I suddenly spotted James and was like – Who is that?’

Sussex wedding photographer

They were friends for a long time before getting together, and had their first proper date at an Athlete concert in Portsmouth. Fast forward a few years and whilst on holiday together in Estonia James popped the question. James wrapped up a large box and told Charlie it was an early birthday present, she told us: ‘I was a bit suss that something was going on, I even thought for a second he was going to break up with me!! I was totally bowled over (and balled my eyes out of course) when I unwrapped it to find a ring inside!’

Charlie went on to tell us about their amazing village fete inspired South Downs Sussex wedding: ‘Whenever I look back at our wedding it just brings a huge smile to my face. Loads of our guests have said just how relaxed and fun it was and we are so pleased that our hopes and dreams for the day were realised.’

’We decided on a village fete theme mainly because we’d chosen a village hall to hold our ceremony. The grounds of Duncton Hall are spectacular and luckily we were blessed with relatively dry weather (despite a major thunder storm the night before!) so we were able to hold our ceremony in a marquee looking out on the beautiful South Downs. Somehow I wasn’t as nervous about the wedding as I thought I’d be – I think having the Thursday wedding really helped. It was such a magical day from beginning to end.’

Wedding marquee Sussex

Charlie told us that their wedding photographer was one of the first things they booked because the photography was so important to both of them: ‘Simon was amazing. We love his work and have since become good friends. He made us feel so comfortable and that really shows in our photographs.’

Charlie told us more about their big day ’I’d secretly arranged for two Minis to pick up James and his best man from the Bed and Breakfast to take them to the wedding – and unbeknownst to me he’d secretly arranged for a Morris Minor to pick me and my dad up – great minds really do think alike’!

‘The day itself was filled with personal touches and it’s thanks to the help of our fabulous friends and family that we had stunning flowers, that the venue was decorated and that we had homemade cakes and favours. I also spent months collecting jam-jars for the flowers!’

‘James’s mum and step dad had made lemon curd and chilli jam to give to our guests and my brother had made a coconut shy and a saucy postcard picture board so people could have silly photos as a reminder of the day.’


The whole family really did get involved: with Chalie’s two nephews reading one of the speeches – the words to the song You’ve Got a Friend in Me from Toy Story (how cute?), Charlie’s brother making their tower for the fondant fancies, and James’ cousin doing the amazing flowers and styling. Family and friends also helped to bake cakes for the wedding, decorate the venue with bunting that James’ mum made, and hang the coloured hanging lanterns that Charlie and James bought from http://www.hanginglanterns.co.uk/.

Wedding lantern lampshades

James’ mum Linda also did the alterations and fitted the petticote on Charlie’s dress. Charlie told us that she felt uncomfortable about the idea of spending thousands on a dress and so she ended up buying a second-hand 50s style polka dot bespoke dress online.

Brides vintage dress peticotte
Charlie’s killer pink heels were from Kurt Geiger in Brighton and she chose the same ones in nude for her bridesmaids. Charlie’s bridesmaids also wore silk chiffon dresses from LK Bennett which Charlie chose before her own dress, she told us that it was actually these dresses that shaped the whole colour scheme for their wedding.

Hair and makeup wise Charlie used Nicky from the Usual Suspects in Hove and local make-up artist Zena McCarthy. They both came to Charlie’s Bed and Breakfast the morning of the wedding.

Charlie also told us that James didn’t want to go down the traditional wedding suit road, and opted for a tailor-made suit from the ‘brilliant guys at Hugo Morris‘ in the Laines in Brighton. She said ‘they were unbelievably helpful and created an amazing bespoke suit, that he has worn lots since too.’

Groom suit Sussex
Charlie went on to tell us a bit about their wedding entertainment: ‘James and I arranged for a maypole to entertain our guests and break the ice – it was hilarious! We also had a giant Jenga set and a raffle of Brighton themed gifts for after the meal – we even gave away a genuine piece of the West Pier!

Wedding entertainment


Stationery wise Charlie and James found fonts and design inspiration on the net and made all their own table plans and name places.


They also used Sussex catering company Kettle of Fish for their food ’We filled our faces with a yummy barbeque during the day and gorgeous mezze at night, all washed down with sparkles. We were in our element!’

Sussex wedding caterers

And for their honeymoon Charlie and James hired a private villa in Andalucia in Spain  which Charlie told us ‘was not as expensive as it sounds’. They followed this with an amazing week in a yurt at the Hoopoe Yurt Hotel (also in Andalucia) which Charlie described as ‘Bliss, complete luxury, and something a bit different that was right up our street’.

Charlie summed their amazing day up for us: ’It was an incredible day and I didn’t want it to end. It was so amazing to be able to share our special day with so many of our family and friends and I would love to do it all again!’

Since Charlie’s wedding she now also runs the fabulous Brighton Bridal Bootfayre with her friend Emily which is a brilliant Brighton wedding fair full of pre-loved wedding dresses, décor and more. It is well worth checking out, and you can also get in touch with them if you want to sell your wedding dress or decor! We will update you here with news of the next one!

Team Wedding:

Photographer: Simon Fazackarley
Wedding venue: Duncton Village Hall
Wedding florist and stylist: James’ cousin
Groom’s suit: Hugo Morris 
Bride’s hair: Usual Suspects
Bride’s hair clip: Sainsbury’s
Bride’s and bridesmaids shoes: Kurt Geiger
Bridesmaids dresses: LK Bennett
Bride’s makeup: Zena Mccarthy  
Lanterns: hanginglanterns.co.uk  
Postcard photo display board: Splash Display  
Wedding videographer: White Star Pictures
Wedding caterer: Kettle of Fish 
Bride’s makeup: Zena Mccarthy
Bride’s dress: Preloved with alterations by James’ mum

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Thanks so much to Charlie and James for sharing their amazing Sussex wedding with us! We absolutely LOVE it! And we think that the colours of those fab hanging lanterns go rather well with our Love Sussex Weddings website too!

Thanks too to the amazing Simon Fazakerly for sharing these photos with us and making our blog look so pretty today!

And that’s not all folks! Charlie and James did their ‘legal bit’ wedding ceremony at Lewes Register Office a few days before this wedding, just them and their two best friends, one of whom happens to be another amazing Sussex wedding photographer. So. Watch. This. Space. Or alternatively follow us on facebook or pop your email in the subscribe box (in the side-bar on the right) and get notified of when our next post is up! Also do check out Charlie and James’ lovely wedding video here on Love Sussex Weddings if you haven’t done so already!

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2 Responses to A Duncton Village Hall Wedding, Charlie & James’ South Downs Country Fete Inspired Day (Part Deux)

  1. Wow, I just LOVE this whole wedding!!! Everyone loosk liek their having such fun, and the photography is just beautiful. Congratulations Charlie and James x

  2. Gorgeous wedding, fabulous photography!

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