Rustic Sophistication for an Autumnal Ovingdean Church Wedding with a Garden Marquee Reception

All photos in this post by Sue Kwiatkowsa Photography

After a Brighton sea front proposal, there was only one place Buckinghamshire couple, Rhiannon and Lewis could hold their October wedding celebrations — sunny Sussex of course.

This wedding is filled with personal touches and quirky individual charm. It’s a hazy October wedding that has us rejoicing for Autumn and proves that an outdoor marquee garden celebration is not just for the summer months.

Over to beautiful bride, Rhiannon for all of the fabulous details:

Lewis proposed on New Year’s Eve 2011 on Brighton beach. We were huddled under an umbrella with the wind and rain whistling around us, having just eaten turkey and stuffing sandwiches washed down with wine. When it turned midnight Lewis went down on one knee and proposed. He had made a ring out of wood with stones inset. It was presented in the most gorgeous wooden box, which he had also made.

We chose to get married in Sussex as it’s where I grew up.  We both love the seaside and really wanted it to be next to the coast.

Hours were spent looking at all the beautiful weddings people have had and the ideas they used online and in magazines, this is where we found most of our inspiration.

We were keen to source local suppliers

I was keen to try and source suppliers as locally as I could. There is so much choice today it can be so difficult to decide. It was the little things that made us think yes, this person is a good choice for us.

I chose our photographer Sue because I loved the style of her pictures. She was absolutely amazing on the day and took some beautiful pictures including some on Rottingdean Beach.

I bought my dress from Perfection in Brighton on the first day of wedding dress shopping. This was the third local shop we had visited. I chose a number of dresses to try on but none of them were ‘the one’. Then the lovely lady in the shop suggested a dress, I thought it was a bit fussy… then I tried it on and didn’t want to take it off!

My mum (and I) fell in love with the window displays at Miss Moles Flower Emporium some time ago. We went and had a look and met Miss Mole, who was so helpful and nice it was an easy choice. She provided beautiful bouquets and pin-holes, which were exactly what I had envisaged.

Our marquee company and our deli in Hurstpierpoint were recommended to us. When we chatted to the owner, he was so nice and enthusiastic about our home cooked feel, we just couldn’t have chosen anyone else.

Regally Rustic

Our theme was ‘rustic sophistication’- we wanted to create a home cooked relaxed feel to the day but with a bit of sparkle!

Our chosen colours were black, blue and white, although it did take a little while for me to decide between whether to have yellow or blue…

One of the side themes was squares, so we had square vases for the centre pieces and the slate mats were square or rectangular and our homemade cake was also square.

Pretty Personal Touches

My husband was superb and did a lot of the making. We made the invitations and thank you cards; my tip would be to remember that you have to make more than one!

We also made personalised aprons for the nominated head of table, whose job it was to serve up our beef bourguignon. We thought this was a nice touch and a bit different to the usual silver table service!

We also used homemade strawberry jam for the ladies’ favours (which we used as  place names) and honey (from my Dad’s bees!) for the men.

I also ordered extra cut flowers from the florist so we could make little mini posies for the back of each chair, we combined small pieces of hydrangea head with foliage from the garden and then tied them to the back of every chair with pieces of ribbon.

My mother in law and also my bridesmaid’s mum spent the day before the wedding arranging flowers for the church and also the centre pieces.

A Solid Statement

We decided to use the wooden ring box that Lewis had made for the proposal as our wedding cake topper.

One Of My Favourite Moments Was:

When the lead singer of our amazing band, did a jazz set at the pre-dinner drinks. It was lovely mingling in the sunny garden, sipping champagne and swaying. We then went on to party with some Motown classics, that had us all dancing.

My Top Tip for Sussex Brides is:

Enjoy the planning and be organised. Although it can at times be stressful remember you only get to do it once and you will miss the planning once it’s all over. Also, don’t fall into the trap that you need something just because the magazines tell you that you do it’s your day and your choices.

If We Could Do It All Again, We Would: 
Do it exactly the same! The day was perfect, we couldn’t have asked for better weather and everything came together so well.

Honeymoon Hotspot

We spent our honeymoon sailing in the British Virgin Islands. It was bliss!


Wedding photographer and website:  Sue Kwiatkowska Photography 

Bride’s dress and veil: Perfection, Brighton

Bride’s shoes: Rachel Simpson Shoes

Bride’s jewellery: Pruden and Smith

Bride’s hair: Zonia & Delia, Brighton

Groom and Groomsmen’s outfits: Moss

Rings: Biagio Jewellers

Flowers: Miss Mole’s Flower Emporium

Tent hire: County Marquees

Catering: Hampers Of Hurst

How lovely was this wedding? It was so sweet of Rhiannon to want to get married on home soil (and pebbled beaches) but let’s face it, who doesn’t love getting married in Sussex? Nope, we don’t know anyone either…

We loved the rustic charm and the very personal touches (especially the carved wooden cake topper and the homemade cake and favours) and as Rhiannon quite rightly said, it’s your special day, so do it your way! We couldn’t agree more!

Having an outdoorsy Autumnal wedding was a very brave move that clearly paid off, if these gorgeous golden-hazy photos are anything to go by.

Thanks ever so much Rhiannon and Lewis for sharing your Sussex wedding with us and of course, to Sue from Sue Kwiatkowska Photography for allowing us to show these fabulous photos off too!

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2 Responses to Rustic Sophistication for an Autumnal Ovingdean Church Wedding with a Garden Marquee Reception

  1. Pingback: Sussex Church Wedding And Garden Marquee Reception | Sue Kwiatkowska Photography

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