Having met at work in 2004, Laura and Earl took their first trip as a couple to Edinburgh the following year, and always vowed to return. After going their separate ways, the pair rekindled their relationship in 2016. 'In November 2018, Earl booked us a surprise weekend away,' reveals Laura. 'I didn't know where we were going until we arrived at the airport and was delighted to find out we were finally going back to Edinburgh!'
'We pulled up to the same cottage we stayed in 13 years earlier,' she continues. 'As I opened the door, candles lit the room and I noticed pictures of Earl and I throughout the years and a bottle of champagne. As I turned to look at Earl, he was on one knee. It was perfect.'
Although based in the West Midlands, the couple decided they would wed in Devon. 'Earl has some wonderful family memories from when he was a child there and over the past few years we have shared some fantastic times as a couple in south Devon,' explains Laura.
It was love at first sight when they set eyes upon Upton Barn & Walled Garden. 'We knew it was the perfect place for us: the beautiful backdrop of the Devonshire countryside, the elegant stable barn and modern open-plan feel was exactly what we were looking for,' she says.
Drawing inspiration from the rural setting, the couple opted for a palette of white, ivory, light dusky pinks and green foliage. 'The beautiful walled garden brought so much colour that we wanted our scheme to only amplify the stunning surroundings,' says Laura. 'We extended this to the table plan, where we named each table after a flower that could be found in it.'
The sense of the outdoors was accentuated with the interior dÃ©cor, including tabletops adorned with floral displays that echoed the bridal bouquet, and easels and seating plans decorated with foliage to tie the look together.
After marrying in the sun-drenched garden, Laura and Earl's guests enjoyed a drinks reception and a sumptuous feast featuring the likes of locally smoked salmon, pan-fried gnocchi with wild mushrooms, seared rump steak and a trio of desserts.
Guests spent the warm summer's evening throwing shapes on the dance floor and mingling in the gardens where a pizza van and firepit provided the focal points for the after-dark celebrations.
'Like many other couples, our wedding was postponed by a year,' says Laura. 'At the time this news was deflating, but it turned out that it made our day that much more special. It arrived two days after the lockdown restrictions were lifted, so we truly appreciated having our friends and family with us to celebrate.'
Laura shares a plethora of personal highlights from their day. 'Everyone on their feet dancing, kids playing football on the lawn, the blazing sun, the beautiful words and memories of loved ones lost, families meeting, seeing everyone's faces together in one room after a year apart...' she smiles.
'There were so many things we couldn't control leading up to our wedding,' she reflects. 'The lesson we learned was that things may not be perfect, but the main thing was we were finally going to be married ' and we didn't lose focus on this.'
Venue Upton & Walled Garden uptonbarn.com
Flowers Darling Buds darlingbudsofel.com