After nine years together, Jess and Joe’s holiday to Greece was more than just a post-lockdown celebration, as Joe had managed to sneak an engagement ring in his luggage. “It was the morning of my birthday and we were enjoying watching the sunrise over the sea from our balcony with a glass of fizz when he popped the question,” says Jess.
Deciding to get married on May Day, the couple chose Kingston Estate for a whimsical, fun and Beltane-inspired day. “Our focus was on lots of colour and beautiful wildflowers, along with plenty of disco balls to make sure everything sparkled!” says Jess. “We knew early on in our planning that we wanted to keep things relaxed and not too formal, so music and entertainment were a priority to create the party vibe we were after.”
The couple held their ceremony in the walled garden, which was decorated with wildflowers, disco balls and May Day-inspired wands for guests to wave as the newlyweds walked back down the aisle! “We kept the ceremony short and sweet, with a May Day reading by the best man and a Dolly Alderton reading by one of my best friends,” says Jess.
After the ceremony, the spring sun shone down on the beautiful gardens where the reception took place. “That post-ceremony high where we walked out to the cheers of our friends and family for our confetti shot was amazing!" says Jess. “We wanted to start the party early, and Clare made sure to bring the Ibiza party vibe with her saxophone set providing the perfect soundtrack for our guests.”
A carnival of flowers and May Day inspired ribbons, together with disco balls, brought colour and sparkle to the wedding feast with views across the rolling hills of Devon beyond. Guests tucked into heritage tomato and burrata salad, berbere squash with turmeric yoghurt and slow-roast mechoui lamb with sharing sides of crispy roast potatoes, and salads of carrot and radish, and sweet pea shoot and mange tout. Dessert was a trio of chocolate brownies, mini pavlovas and lemon tarts – delicious!
The party then moved to the yurt, where Jess and Joe’s first dance to It Must Be Love by Madness was performed by The Indie Killers, who had everyone rocking. “To keep energy levels up, we had a very well-stocked sweetie stall and evening food of pasties,” says Jess. “As the music finished, Katy Sea surprised our guests with a nod to the fire celebrations of Beltane, which had everyone entranced and amazed!” Those who wanted to keep partying then headed to the Undercroft bar – “a hidden gem and the last surprise for our guests, where we kept the dancing going until the early hours”, says Joe.
Looking back, it’s the overwhelming feeling of love that fills the couple with wonderful memories. “The whole day was really special, and we both felt so much love from all of our friends and family,” reflects Jess. “One detail that stands out is the guest of honour, Teddy – my family dog – making his entrance during the reception, complete with matching bow tie to the groom. He stole the hearts of everyone!”
When it comes to top tips, Jess recommends blitzing wedding admin little and often. “Lots of spreadsheets helped keep us organised! Also, if you’re doing lots of crafting, we would recommend starting as early as you can as it’s surprising how quickly the weekends run away.”
Venue Kingston Estate kingston-estate.co.uk
Photography Lyra & Moth lyraandmoth.co.uk
Dress Stella York from The Wedding Room theweddingroomnottingham.co.uk
Suit Moss Bros. moss.co.uk
Hair & make-up Amy Baker from Blush Hair & Beauty Salon blushhairandbeautysalon.com
Flowers Moth Florist mothflorist.com
Entertainment Clare Marie Saunders cocktailpianist.webs.com
The Indie Killers theindiekillers.com
Katy Sea alivenetwork.com
Cake Cupcake Cottage Ivybridge cupcake-cottage.co.uk
Stationery Papier papier.com