Today I am thrilled to share Caroline and Mark’s beautifully rustic Smeetham Hall Barn wedding.
The couples day was full of individual touches, personally created details and family providing handmade flowers and cake with the added attraction of Gizmo the owl ring bearer!
Images were captured by Ayshea Goldberg Photography.
Ayshea Goldberg Photography offers a luxury approach to beautiful, romantic and personal photography for UK and destination weddings and lifestyle portraiture.
She says of her work…
I love care free and natural wedding days where the most important thing to the bride and groom is to enjoy themselves and live in that moment.
I’m a storyteller and this wedding had so many moments that will become memories for this family. It makes my work even more enjoyable.
She says of the couple and their day…
I initially met Caroline and Mark on a really cold January day at a wedding fair.
It was at the venue that they had chosen for their wedding and is a beautiful barn in the Suffolk countryside.
I get to travel to some stunning and this one is beautiful, set in a picturesque setting and so peaceful.
It has character and soul and I love that about Smeetham Hall Barn.
We all just clicked and chatted for ages at the fair, and by the time we actually sat and had a meeting I felt that I knew them already.
Their day was just how Caroline had described it. Built around their loved ones and family being the heart of it.
They’ve both very individual people in their interests and style and although they included traditional elements, they wanted something to reflect them as well.
Caroline is very spiritual, loves the natural world, the history and ‘feel’ of barns and because Mark works with wood to restore graded buildings this venue was just right for their dream.
They organised for a barn owl to deliver the rings which was a surprise for almost everyone, and then to have birds of prey brought round the marquee afterwards for the guest to enjoy was really fun.
Mark’s parents aren’t here any more, so in order to honour them and their loves they created a tombola draw using the tombola that his Dad had hand crafted.
Everyone got a little prize that was to do with them personally, or the wedding day. Lots of fun!
I started the day by joining Caroline and her Mum and children at Caroline’s home in Essex.
It was full of excitement and perhaps a few butterflies. Caroline had selected a satin ballgown with just enough crystal to shine throughout the day and for her to feel like a princess.
It was a flurry of activity as we approached the time to leave.
We were running behind schedule, but with everyone getting involved, including hair, makeup, dresser and Mum of course we managed to get Caroline, her bridesmaids and pageboys ready to make their grand journey into Suffolk for the wedding.
The day had started with gorgeous spring sunshine, but as I arrived at Smeetham, the weather had turned from blue skies to leaden grey.
Knowing what Caroline and Mark had planned for after their ceremony it was a shame, but they were not letting it bother them at all.
The venue and grounds looks gorgeous in any weather anyway.
By the time of the ceremony it started to rain – and then continued for most of the day.
As everyone got into their positions for the start of the ceremony, Mark looked relaxed and ready to meet his bride.
He’d chosen a traditional morning suit and his buttonhole – along with the table centrepieces – were created by his brother a gardener and florist with rich red and ivory blooms along with pretty greenery.
Caroline couldn’t have been happier or more ready to walk down the aisle to Mark!
And for an extra special (and new element for me!) they had Gizmo the barn owl from Lavenham Falconry deliver their rings.
This was a complete surprise that they’d managed to keep from all their guests and everyone loved it!
After the vows we just about got the group and couples portraits finished in the dry, but Caroline and Mark were so happy they didn’t even seem to notice the rain let alone mind it.
Caroline and Mark had used Tying the Knot Creations for their interior styling and decor.
They’d opted for rustic lace and bold red flowers to decorate the chairs and compliment the barn.
A dash of ivy at the top of the aisle made a lovely setting. Caroline had also put her own crafted touch on the day too.
As well as Gizmo, Caroline and Mark had arranged for a falconry display with a raven (Caroline’s favourite) and a Big Owl (Mark’s choice) unfortunately it was raining heavily by now, so the birds were brought inside for guests to enjoy and hold. Caroline couldn’t have been happier!
As a thank you to all their guests for travelling to their day, Mark used his parents old Tombola to have a little fun with people winning gifts for coming.
It was a fun touch and a lovely way to remember his parents who’d made the tombola themselves.
After the meal it was still raining – it still didn’t matter. We went outside anyway and had a great time!
Their DJ was from Your wedding disco and got the mood ready for evening fun which included a casino table that was popular all evening.
I’ve never seen such a dirty dress by the evening, but Caroline shrugged it off and said it was part of the story of her day.
They’re a really easy going couple that just wanted to laugh (and dance in the rain!)
I hand over to beautiful Bride Caroline…
How did you meet?
We met in the most unusual of ways. We were both hurt and not looking for a relationship. We met and we just knew!
Tell us about your wedding planning journey
It was so straight forward as if we were being guided by angels.
We found the experience “meant to be” and quick and it only took us three months to plan.
We did the planning ourselves as we wanted to have something that was so personal to us but hired a stylist to bring it all together.
What was the colour palette of your big day?
We tied red, gold, silver and royal blue together to achieve the look we wanted.
What was the best bit of your day?
Had to be the birds of prey as a highlight, but really the whole day!
What advice would you give to other couples getting married?
Don’t stress, go with the flow, have faith, things happen for a reason.
Venue: Smeetham Hall Barn – Suffolk
Photographer: Ayshea Goldberg Photography
Wedding Dress and Bridesmaids Gowns: Facebook Market Place
Shoes: Rainbow Club
Suit Hire: Formal Suits
Cake Maker: My lovely Mum made my cake and carefully transported it from Kent to Suffolk!
Florist: Mark’s brother Jonathan is a florist and gardener, so created the centrepieces for us in our chosen colours.
Videographer: Chris from Smeetham Hall Films
Rings: Stag and Doe (We took in a ring that Mark had collected on his travels in Sri Lanka and had a bespoke engagement ring and both our wedding rings designed and made by them.)
Stylist and Love Letters: Tying the Knot Creations
Entertainment: Bird of prey display from Lavenham Falconery
Make up/Hair stylist: O’RANI, and her mum (Jackie) and sister