I still remember the day that Isabelle and Mark reached out to me about their Devon Wedding celebrations in South Pool at South Allington House. I always remember when an initial email is full of excitement, when it has an appreciation for the craft and when a couple so clearly “understand” and just “get it”.
Isabelle and Mark certainly “got it” and they had a vision, a vision we’d read (and experienced) before and a vision that when digging through the archives of our website, they found I’d already captured. I’m sure Iz and Mark won’t mind be referencing their “wedding inspiration”; Freya and Nick’s wedding in Wiltshire that I’d documented back in 2017. When I read their enquiry, I knew they’d love Freya and Nick’s photos!
Whether it be the rustic feel, the giant tipis, the countryside setting, the intense emotion during speeches, the beer pong or the gifted British sunshine, Isabelle and Mark had a truly fun, vibrant and emotive day – one which neither they nor I will forget. SO MUCH FUN!
A few words from Isabelle and Mark…
How and why did you choose your venue(s)?
Isabelle has been coming to this area in South Devon with her family since she was little, and always wanted to get married in the lovely church in the village where her Aunt and Uncle live. We then really wanted to find a way to incorporate our favourite pub in the world (The Millbrook) where we’d shared lots of great memories over the years with family and friends, and wanted to create some more all together! But being a small, quaint pub with low ceilings it was never going to work as a reception. So to be able to lead the way in a casual procession with all the congregation in tow from the church down the hill to the pub for a drink in the sun (thank you English weather!) was just bliss for us.
For the reception, we were set on finding an outdoor location for giant tipis…. somewhere that had the space for people to camp and stay, but that also had everything we needed like electricity points and access for caterers, the band, etc. The first place we viewed was a country house with huge amounts of land and a very pretty enclosed lawn surrounded by trees, where Isabelle used to go camping with her family in the ’90s. We knew straight away it was the perfect place.
What were your top one/three priorities in planning your wedding?
The top three priorities for us, after location/venue (and making sure there was actually enough local accommodation/camping space for everyone to stay!), were music (throughout the day and live music for the party), our photographer, and the food. Those were certainly the three areas we put the most time into research to make sure all was as we wanted. When you’re planning your own wedding from scratch, in essentially a field, where every single decision from lighting, parking and heating to the type of chairs and even cutlery to hire needs to be made, it’s easy to get totally swamped. It’s way more than we ever thought it would be (all totally worth it though), and requires some serious organisation and spreadsheets! But it’s amazing to realise that once you engage with a professional band as we had, the incredible photographer we were lucky enough to secure, and the formidable caterers whose dates lined up with ours (all of whom we could not recommend enough), those key areas don’t need to be managed in nearly the same way as everything else. Pick the right people, who have been there and done that with so many apprehensive and excited couples over the years, and they just GET it. They seriously know what they’re doing. With those three areas, we always felt in such safe hands… Which was hugely reassuring.
We still got to put our twist on each aspect, but it was all effortless and so straight forward. And those three areas massively delivered, with our priorities being the most raved about and complimented by our guests after the event. Across months of literally hundreds of decisions, those were the best 3 we made.
Oh, those and making sure there was a surplus of booze for the party….. Find a supplier that will offer sale and return, and you can’t go wrong. Any concerns about running out on the night can instantly disappear!
What one thing most surprised you about your wedding, or planning your wedding?
We’re lucky enough to say that it surprised us that it literally was the best day of our lives. We’d heard people say it, and we knew it was going to be great, but we weren’t prepared for just how alive and unreal it would make us feel with all the love in the room at the same time. It also surprised us how relaxed and ‘not-nervous’ (for want of a better phrase) we were on the day. We had a little word to ourselves in the days before to make sure we just tried to take in and enjoy every moment, no matter what happened or if/when didn’t go as planned….. which as advice to future brides and grooms, is well worth doing. After all, you don’t spend all the time and money planning one day to find yourself being hung up or distracted by things on the day itself! We’d delegated certain responsibilities to our incredible and devoted squad of ushers and bridesmaids… Meaning we could just be fully present in every moment of the day. The other surprise was how much everyone cried during the speeches! Never did we expect the speeches to touch everyone in the room in the way they did. To have some of those incredible moments captured in the professional photos means the world!
If you could do it all over again, which one thing wouldn’t you change, and if anything, what one thing would you change?
To be honest, we loved it all and felt SO lucky with how it all went. There are only a couple tiny little things we’d change, but they feel so irrelevant and we’d really be splitting hairs on what was such a magical experience. One thing we would definitely keep exactly the same is the service. One of the most emotional and uplifting moments was a friend playing the piano whilst everyone sang ‘Stand by Me’ at the top of their voices. Two close friends also performed ‘To Build A Home’ and ‘Come Away With Me’ whilst we signed the register which was completely and utterly spellbinding. After that, the bells rang and we left the church feeling on top of the world! It really set the mood and tone for the rest of the day :)
A few lovely words about us from Isabelle and Mark…
We whole-heartedly cannot recommend Barney highly enough (and haven’t stopped raving about him to anyone that asks) if you’re considering booking him for your wedding. We literally couldn’t have imagined before going through the process that such an amazing, professional, helpful, supportive, approachable and talented man for the job existed! BOY are we glad we found you, Barney.
Throughout the build-up, to the day his communication was SPOT ON…. and from day one we felt 100% safe in his experienced hands. He’s been there, done that, and knows all the tricks of the trade from doing so many weddings – yet makes you and your day feel special and personal, with all the details really mattering to him as much as it does to you. I imagine that is very rare to find.
On the day itself people noticed how brilliant and personable he was, and yet didn’t notice him (in the right way) at the same time…. subtly sneaking in at the right moment like some sort of wizard without you noticing there was a camera on you. Barney blended in like another guest at our wedding, and he was our guest…. and we wouldn’t have had it any other way!
Complete supplier list can be found in the footer.
Complete supplier list:
Ceremony Venue: St Nicholas and St Cyriac’s Church, South Pool
Reception Venue: South Allington House
MUA: Louise Espley
Catering Team: Fego
Band/DJ: Brother From Another
Dress Designer: Charlie Brear
Shoe Designer: Whistles