A beautiful Afternoon Tea Wedding at The Out Barn with a Sassi Holford Gown

Today I am thrilled to share this beautiful Afternoon Tea Wedding at The Out Barn with a Sassi Holford Gown.

The couple are Rachel and Ste and their gorgeous celebration had a relaxed feel just how they wanted it to be.

Images of the day were captured by Gavin Forster Photography.

Gavin Forster is based in the Tyne valley, just outside Newcastle, in the North East of England.

He feels lucky to live in such a beautiful part of the world, only a stones throw from the stunning Northumberland where he was born and raised.

He is a full-time professional photographer but hasn’t always been.

Back in 2003 he graduated from the University of York with a BSc in Chemistry and an MRes in Clean Chemical Technology, but a chemistry career certainly wasn’t for him.

He wanted a job where he could make a real difference and loves helping people so he began a career in environmental and community development.

After years of helping others and making a real difference to inner city Leeds (Yorkshire) and areas of Hexham (Northumberland) he took the plunge and turned his ‘part time’ photography work into a full time business.

A decision that he is so pleased he made as he absolutely loves photography and the opportunity to be creative.

His unique style of wedding photography can be summed up in three words – natural, simple, personal.


I hand you over to beautiful Bride Rachel to tell you all about the couples fantastic day…


“Most people have been to their fair share of weddings over the years, all of which the bride and groom have tried to introduce as much personality as possible to make the day unique to them.”

“One wedding that really stood out for us a few years ago was a Glastonbury inspired festival wedding, complete with tepee, which was totally unique, personal to the bride and groom, and most importantly for us – a relaxed day.”

“Our own ‘Afternoon Tea Wedding’ at The Out Barn at Clough Bottom Farm filled all these criteria to us, and allowed us to meet all our guests for a chat, drink and afternoon tea before the actual wedding ceremony.”

“This put us at complete ease and seemed to remove all the nervousness from walking down the aisle and set the tone for the laid back atmosphere for the rest of the day.”


What we wore…

The Bride

“Although I wore a different dress for the Afternoon Tea portion of our wedding, as my actual wedding dress I wore a buttermilk Sassi Holford dress which I had initially tried on in a bridal shop but found online in a sample sale, which made us a big saving.”

Legend Bridal created a beautiful pearl and crystal shawl to cover my shoulders as I wasn’t a big fan of the bolero that came with the Sassi Holford dress.”

“They embellished the dresses waistband and also did all the alterations, meaning I ended up with a bespoke one of a kind wedding dress for my big day.”

“My veil was my something borrowed; it was worn by my great aunt on her wedding day and provided a lovely vintage touch.”

“The veil was oyster pink and one of my favourite parts of my outfit; wearing it was made even more special by the fact that my great aunt and uncle were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary the year we got married.”

“To the complete my outfit I had pink Kurt Geiger shoes and wore a pearl bracelet from Debenhams and pearl earrings from Sarah Layton Jewellers in Whalley.”

“My hair and make-up were done by two lovely girls from the company Flossy and Leigh who did a great job and really put everyone at ease.”

“Myself, my maid of honour, and my mum had been for a tester session a few weeks before the wedding, and everyone at Flossy and Leigh were fantastic. They really listened to what we all asked for and made everyone feel really special”.

“The flowers were provided by Voila Florist in Clitheroe and were absolutely beautiful.”

“The florist was extremely helpful and more than happy to make suggestions about how to get what we wanted whilst sticking to a budget.”

“It would have been easy to spend an absolute fortune of flowers and get a little carried away, but the florist came up with some great money saving suggestions.”

“My bouquet was a beautiful mixture of wild flowers including blue thistles which I requested as a nod to my Scottish grandparents who had passed away some years before.”

The Groom

“Steven wore a blue suit by Hardy Amies from Harvey Nichols which we purchased in the January sales, and as with my wedding dress, gave us a great saving.”

“He wore this with a white Ted Baker shirt and pink tie and pocket square from Reiss.”

“This was finished off with gold cufflinks and tie bar from Debenhams and a brown belt and shoes from Aldo. He looked super stylish (his own words).”

The buttonhole was made of gypsophila and a blue thistle tied together with hessian. The Groomsmen wore their own suits including one who wore pink shorts and blue knee socks, however they did all have matching buttonholes made of gypsophila to provide some continuity.

Bridesmaids / Flower Girls / Page Boys

“The maid of honour wore a navy maxi dress from Very and our two flower girls wore dresses from Monsoon which we customised with navy sashes from ebay. ”

“All the bridesmaid dresses were purchased in the January sales. Save save save.”

“The maid of honour had a wrist corsage from Voila which was made of fresh flowers rather than a bouquet as Suzanne would have her hands full with our two little page boys who had just learnt to walk.”

“The flower girls had wands decorated with gypsophila which they were able to keep as princess wands afterwards.”

“Our page boys wore white vests with navy trim from Trotters and navy shorts and braces from Etsy with navy knee socks from Next.”


The Wedding Day…

“Our pre-wedding Afternoon Tea was held at The Out Barn in the Forest of Bowland which was the venue for the whole day.”

“Our guests were greeted with a glass of sparkling strawberry wine on arrival supplied by Whalley Wine Shop and an afternoon tea buffet with a twist, as well as lawn games such a connect four, giant jenga and dominoes.”

Absolute Hog Roast catered the entire wedding and served up a delicious afternoon tea including; miniature chips in gravy, homemade sausage rolls, miniature portions of tomato soup with a grilled cheese sandwich and many more delicious savoury and sweet treats.”

“The standard of food throughout was excellent, and James was full of ideas on what to serve, including how to cater for our celiac and vegetarian guests.”

“For the afternoon tea portion of the wedding I wore a Karen Millen dress and shoes and Steven wore his wedding suit trousers, wedding shirt and a green tie from Marks & Spencer to match my dress.”

“The bridesmaids and page boys wore their own outfits for this portion of the wedding as we wanted there to be a clear separation between the pre-wedding gathering and the ceremony.”

“Plus I would have felt a little odd eating afternoon tea and chatting to our guests in my wedding dress a full 2 hours before the ceremony.”

The Ceremony

“As neither myself or Steven are religious, we decided to have a civil ceremony which was held in the new circular extension of The Out Barn, which provided stunning panoramic views of Pendle Hill and the surrounding countryside as the back drop to our ceremony.”

“One of the reasons we chose this venue was the ceremony room, which had beautiful stone floors, a high ceiling, and amazing views with floor to ceiling windows, as well as feeling separate from the bar area.”

“The florist decorated the ceremony room using mismatched jars filled with wild flowers that were hung off the chairs, two pink blossom trees were placed at the start the aisle and the ceremony table was decorated with a garland of gypsophila.”

“All the flowers used in the ceremony were later used to decorate the tables for the wedding breakfast.”

“Music for the ceremony was provided by harpist Maxine Molin Rose who played instrumental versions of some of our favourite songs.”

“I walked down the aisle to Phil Collins Groovy Kind of Love and we left the room as a married couple to Guns and Roses Sweet Child of Mine which sounds surprisingly good played on a harp.”

“During the ceremony we chose two readings; the first was Marriage Joins Two People in the Circle of its Love by Edmund O’Neill and the second was The Future by Emma Salmon which didn’t leave a dry eye in the house.”

“Our favourite bit of the ceremony was the harpist, she played music which was personal to us and having live music gave a real sense of occasion.”

The Reception

“After the service as the guests left the ceremony room they were given the choice between bottles of beer or glasses of prosecco, which they were encouraged to ‘pimp’ at the pimp your prosecco station were a selection of fresh fruit purees allowed them to create their own cocktail.”

“The children were given disposable cameras along with a list of different pictures to take, which they loved and kept them busy up until the wedding breakfast.”

“The harpist continued to play outside on the decking until the wedding breakfast was served. The guests loved playing name that tune as she played a mixture of well known pop songs (Oasis on the harp sounds very different) and songs from the musicals.”

“The wedding breakfast was held in the same room as the ceremony, therefore we had a short period in which the room was turned around, however; as it was a beautiful summer’s day our guests enjoyed drinks on the decking. They were also free to use the bar area and the original old barn which had sofas for the guests to relax on.”

“For our seating plan we wanted to strike the right balance between family and friends, some of whom had travelled all the way from Bermuda to share our special day.”

“We decided not to use a traditional table lay out, our top table was in the middle of the room with guests seated on both sides and consisted of our parents and friends.”

“Family members were seated at round tables that formed a circle around the top table. Our seating plan was displayed in a wheelbarrow filled with wild flowers.”

“The round tables were decorated with blossom trees to add a bit of height and the top table was decorated with a garland of gypsophila and the bride’s bouquet as the centre piece.”

“The table numbers were pictures of us as children at various ages which we printed and framed ourselves.”

“On the tables we had placed activity boxes for the children which we bought from ebay and filled with a variety of toys and games. For the adults the favours were blank key rings which they could take to the photobooth in the evening and have filled with their picture.”

“One of the biggest surprise successes of the day was the slideshow we had made from our guests own wedding pictures; it’s amazing how much styles have changed since the 70’s!”

“People loved watching the slideshow which was displayed on a screen throughout the wedding breakfast and guessing who was who in the pictures, with people cheering for their own weddings.”

“For our wedding breakfast we had a starter of Smoked salmon and mackerel mousse which was served to the table.”

“Our main course was a roast hogget of lamb served two ways, one with rosemary and garlic and one with peri peri spices. This was served buffet style with a selection of potatoes and salads.”

“The desert was a trio of miniature treats including a chocolate brownie, crème brulee and a cheesecake shot. All the wine for meal, as well as the rest of the wedding, was provided by the Whalley Wine Shop and the feedback from guests was excellent.”

“We didn’t have a wedding cake, and instead we chose to have cake pops made by Polka Pops.”

“We toyed with lots of ideas as what to do for our wedding cake and at one point seemed set on the idea of a tiered cheese wedding cake, but in the end decided that our guests would want something sweet.”

“For the cake pops we picked a selection of colours to tie in with our pink, blue and gold theme, as well as a bride and groom cake pop, which were all individually wrapped and formed the centre piece for our pic ‘n’ mix table.”

“We bought all the sweets ourselves from Costco and personalised plain sweets jars with handmade labels and ribbon, as well as having stickers made to personalise the plain sweet bags we used. This was set up after the wedding breakfast and was a big hit with both the adults and kids.”

“As we wanted the whole day to be as relaxed as possible, we initially decided against the traditional speeches, however we were a little worried that it would feel like there was something missing from the reception without speeches therefore the best man gave a short speech and toast and delivered all the thank you’s on our behalf.”

The Evening

“After the wedding breakfast we left the guests to have some pictures of us taken, which would act as our formal wedding pictures.”

“We decided against the traditional group shots as we wanted our pictures to look as natural as possible. ”

“The owners of the venue were kind enough to let us use the farm and their beautiful walled garden for our shots. Our photographer, Gavin, was absolutely fantastic and got some amazing pictures which really complemented the stunning location.”

“For our first dance we chose the song Love Somebody by the Bee Gees, it was played acoustically by our wedding band ‘After Party’ who we booked through Warble Entertainment..”

“The band were great, really friendly and although we were running late from the wedding breakfast they were happy to go with the flow, and had people up dancing.”

“As part of our evening entertainment we also had Wildside Party Booths.”

“Although the original plan was to have an enclosed photobooth, the vehicle transporting this broke down en route. So instead they brought a green screen and took the photos themselves which was hooked up to a lap-top.”

“This actually worked out better as guests loved watching each other dress up and have their photos taken; it became a real focal point of the evening and brought all the guests together for a giggle.”

“At the end of the night we also got a really cool album containing all our gets photobooth pictures, with some heartfelt and some not so heartfelt messages.”

“We provided the female guests with flip flops to rest their tired feet. Guests loved this and some had them on as early as after the ceremony.”

“To finish off the evening Absolute Hog Roast provided guests with homemade pasties which went down a storm as they were served as handy bite-sized treats.”

“Our day was captured by our wedding photographer Gavin Forster who was amazing throughout the process, many of the guests commented on how helpful and friendly Gavin was, and it felt like he was one of our guests.”

“The pictures he took really captured the atmosphere of the day, his style of photography was exactly what we were looking for and we can’t recommend him enough.”

“Part of our photography package with Gavin was an engagement shoot which we felt was a really good idea as it meant we already knew Gavin and felt comfortable giving him complete freedom on the day.”

“All the wedding stationery were designed and made by ourselves and the mother of the bride who is a keen crafter.”

“As the venue was in a remote location, one of our friends had professional roads signs made directing people to the wedding, and preventing any of our guests getting lost in the countryside. These also acted as really great mementos, with one now in our garden.”


Our Advice to other couples…

“Relax and enjoy the day, it flies by and if things go wrong or end up off schedule don’t worry the guests will have no idea!”

“Shop around to get the best price and if you can plan ahead and make the most of the January sales.”

“Make sure you get time to enjoy all the food on offer at your wedding it’s the most expensive meal you will probably ever buy and we didn’t feel we ate anywhere near enough of it!”


Our Favourite Moments of the Day…

“One of our favourite parts of the wedding was getting ready together in the morning.”

“We used the onsite cottage The Old Dairy which I had stayed at the night before with my mum and maid of honour, Steven joined us in the morning with his mum and our son Billy.”

“Myself and Steven exchanged cards and gifts and Steven presented everyone their own bottle of sparkling wine to drink whilst they got ready which was a very thoughtful touch.”

“It was a lovely atmosphere, everyone had breakfast and then took turns getting their hair and make up done.”

“Our son Billy had a wonderful time running around the cottage and making friends with the cockerels outside.”

“Once everyone was ready they made the short drive (2 mins) across the farm to the venue giving myself and Steven a few minutes alone before the festivities began.”


Wedding Team

Photographer Gavin Forster

Dress: Sassi Holford

Pearl and Crystal Shawl: Legend Bridal

Accessories: Pearl Bracelet – Debenhams and pearl Earrings – Sarah Layton Jewellers

Shoes: Kurt Geiger

Suit: Hardy Amies from Harvey NicholsTed Baker shirt and pink tie and pocket square from Reiss, gold cufflinks and tie bar from Debenhams and a brown belt and shoes from Aldo.

Bridesmaids: Very ( Maid f Honour) Monsoon (flowergirls)

Hair & Make Up: Flossy & Leigh

Flowers: Voila Florist in Clitheroe

Harpist: Maxine Molin Rose

Cake Pops: Polka Pops

Wine:  Whalley Wine Shop

Catering: Absolute Hog Roast

Band:  ‘After Party’  –  booked through Warble Entertainment.

Photobooth: Wildside Party Booths


To Contact Gavin Forster Photography

Website: http://www.gavinforsterphotography.co.uk

Email: gavin@gavinforsterphotography.co.uk

Phone: 07794351930

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UK Wedding Blogger with an eclectic style based in Glasgow

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