Roll up, roll up we’ve got a stunner of a Sussex barn wedding, with all the fun of the fair coming your way today, in the shape of Julie and Sam’s AH-MAZING big day. Held at Upwaltham Barns in West Sussex (one of the most popular Sussex barn wedding venues!), this cool, fun-loving couple planned one of the most epicest (new word alert!) weddings in just six months. There’s bold and beautiful blooms, an epic cake AND a FUNFAIR. Oh and just to top off celebrations, two weeks after saying ‘I Do’ Julie and Sam started their YEAR LONG honeymoon backpacking around the world (jealous, us?).
Right, we’re piping down and passing over to beautiful bride Julie, as we’re chomping at the bit to share this sensational September wedding with you…
Sam proposed to me in January 2015 in Rome after seven years of being together. At this point we were already planning a year trip around the world backpacking and were aiming to leave in September 2015. I think Sam had thought we would get married when we returned from travelling in 2016, however that didn’t last too long and once we were back from Rome we were already starting to look at venues to see how possible it would be to get married before we left and how great would it be to have a year’s honeymoon travelling the world together!
We chose to get married in Sussex as we have both lived in Brighton for 12 years, we went to Brighton University and loved it so much that we stayed. We knew we would be going away travelling for a while so wanted to keep the wedding local in the Sussex countryside which we both love.
I found Upwaltham Barns online when looking at Sussex countryside venues. We booked a weekend up of seeing lots of different venues, with Upwaltham Barns being the first and when we saw it we instantly loved it. There are lots of gorgeous different areas that can be used around the barns, such as the courtyard and the Moroccan snug as well as the beautiful flowers they have planted everywhere. They also give you lots of freedom over what you can do to add your own touches and how to use the space which we really appreciated.
Needless to say it was a pretty busy 6 months!
Within a couple of weeks of being engaged we had the venue booked for 17th September and had bought our round the world ticket to leave 2 weeks after on the 1st October! So 6 months to plan a wedding, leave our jobs, find some tenants, move out of our house and find a home for our cats! Needless to say it was a pretty busy 6 months!
Wedding-planning social media style…
The rest of the planning then started with looking for my dress being the next important item as I knew some could take 6 months to order, and then we moved on to finding our photographer.
We spoke to many people and asked on Facebook for photographer recommendations, of which we had a few. Daniel was the photographer at our friend’s wedding the year before and their photos were beautiful, we loved the laid back style, the natural photos and how he blended in with the wedding party. As soon as we spoke to Daniel we knew he was right for us, and he agreed to come over for the day before and after the wedding so could capture even more of the events surrounding the wedding which was important to us. He got to know everyone really well, captured people amazingly and the quality of the photos are just stunning. As he stayed for the evening you can really see how it descended into madness at the end!
I was on Pinterest A LOT and shared boards with my bridesmaids to help get inspiration for their dresses and understand what kind of styles they liked. I also have a very good friend who is an interior designer and we shared a Pinterest board and just added to it when we came across things we liked for inspiration, which was a great help.
Doing things differently
We got married on a Thursday which was a bit unusual, this was partly due to there not being any other days free as we were working on a short time frame of six months, but it also meant that we could make a long weekend of celebrations, as we also held a BBQ in a beautiful Sussex pub the day after the wedding for everyone to get together again and for us to say thank you to everyone for coming. It was great to have another day to look forward to after the day of the wedding and to see all our family and friends again before saying bye.
We had a round table in the middle of the room for the wedding breakfast rather than a long top table at the front, we liked the idea of being in the middle of everyone and for us all to be able to see each other and talk to the people around us than be in a long line where one end can’t speak to the other!
We had a civil ceremony as neither Sam or I are religious, however my mum’s side of the family are catholic and my uncle had come over from the USA. He is a priest and so once the civil ceremony was over he gave us a blessing at the end.
My top tips for other brides (and grooms!) to be are…
It’s your wedding so it should be about what you both want and not anyone else. We ended up having a huge wedding party (6 bridesmaids, 3 flower girls, 2 page boys, 2 best men and 2 ushers!) as we wanted the people closest to us to be part of the most important day of our lives. And it was the best decision ever. It’s the one day in your life that all the people you love will be in the same place together celebrating and it truly is the best day of your life. So remember this, relax and enjoy it!
Also try to be decisive. I found this quite difficult but there are so many options for flowers, food, music, dresses…the list is endless! But once you have made your decision it feels great and you can move onto the next thing.
Making it personal
The table names were all places we had been which were important to us. On each setting we wrote a story about the place and why it was important to us with a picture of us in that place. One of my favourite ones was New York which my sister Michelle was sat on with her husband and they were celebrating their 5th wedding anniversary that day. This is one of our favourite places and we have been there twice, however this is also where Michelle and Ian got engaged at the top of the Empire State Building and we gave them a special shout out in the table story, which reduced Ian (not Michelle!) to tears! All of the table stories got taken home by people on the tables as a keepsake too which we loved.
As part of Sam’s speech he also got the whole wedding party to sing happy birthday to my dad which was lovely!
There were quite a few children at the wedding and we know they can get bored in between speeches so we left them each a toy at their table setting to keep them entertained and their parents all expressed how grateful they were.
A wedding with WOW factor…
The fairground in the evening was a surprise for everyone, as they were setting up during the wedding breakfast in the courtyard so people were not aware. My nieces had been outside playing and came running into me so excited asking if the circus was coming. Keeping that part an element of surprise for everyone was great and the impact of coming out of the wedding breakfast barn to seeing the lights of the fair was a great sight and got the party started instantly whilst keeping the kids entertained… and the adults too! There was a lot of competition over the Strong Man and the atmosphere was buzzing! You could also win stuffed toys on the stalls, the kids loved these and took home bags full which their parents were very happy about!
What we enjoyed most about planning our wedding was…
The excitement of the day approaching and all the events leading up to it. Our wedding brought together both of our families with all of our friends with planning of hen and stag dos, or shopping for dresses and suits. By the time the wedding came round so many people had met and it created such a great atmosphere on the day which was full of fun, laughter and love.
If we could do it all again we would…
Slow down time if that was physically possible! The day whizzes by so fast and you never want it to end.
What. A. Wedding?! We’re sure that this super-duper Sussex barn wedding has had you reaching for your wedding notebooks and jotting down inspiration – isn’t it Pinterest perfection?!
From the bridesmaids in cream (so fresh!) to that funfair, Julie’s fabulous dress to all the laughs captured, along the way, by their fantastic photographer, we’re not going to lie – we’re a bit obsessed with this big day beauty!
Of course, the celebrations for the newlyweds aren’t over just yet, as they’re still backpacking around the world (you can follow their adventures via their blog!)… anyone else tempted to have a massive honeymoon too?!
Thank you to Julie and Sam for chatting to us, whilst traveling and of course – we’re sending a lotta love to their photographer Daniel Karczag for letting us share and swoon over these beautiful photos!