Wedding at Shilstone House, Devon
Walk With Me
Anna and James embraced all things wild and natural for their heartfelt wedding that reflected their love of coastal walks
Going to university more than a decade ago didn't just result in a degree for Anna and James: it led to a lifetime of love, thanks to being next-door neighbours. "Anna knocked on my door to find some missing ingredients for a quiche she was making," says James. "The rest is history!"
Whisking his beloved to Cornwall several years later for a surprise weekend in a romantic cabin, the couple went for a walk at Lantic Bay, where James sat Anna on a rock whilst - unbeknownst to her - he carved "Anna, will you marry me?" in six-foot letters across the sand. He then guided Anna up the cliff where she looked down on the beach... and said yes!
Their venue of choice was Shilstone House, where the couple planned a "natural and wild" theme with a dusky pink colour scheme.
"We are both keen walkers and lovers of the outdoors so wanted the wedding to reflect this," says Anna. "James made mini walking sign posts for our table centres, which were surrounded by wild flowers, and each sign was engraved with the name of one of our favourite walks."
The wedding started with Anna being driven to Shilstone House by her father in a beautiful vintage car. In an ivory off-the-shoulder gown with a long train, customised to incorporate satin buttons down the back from waist to hem, Anna dazzled guests as she walked down the aisle in the barn, to the sounds of a string quartet.
"First seeing each other during the ceremony was a very special moment," remembers Anna. "It was so lovely to have all our family and friends in the same place and celebrate with them all." A drinks reception in the grounds of the house followed, before Anna, James and their guests took their seats in the marquee for the wedding breakfast.
Starters of couscous-stuffed roast pepper and aubergine, mozzarella and tomato towers were followed by one of James and Anna's favourite foods: pies! Steak and ale, and creamy mushroom pies were served with crispy roast potatoes and vegetables, before chocolate mousse pots and sticky toffee pudding.
Speeches and games in the walled garden preceded Anna and James taking to the dance floor for their first dance, 'Stuck On You' by Lionel Richie, as band Superlive played into the evening.
One of the standout moments for Anna was having treasured family members present on the day. "My auntie, who had been very ill, was able to make it to our special day and this meant the world to us," she says.
"We also have wonderful memories of walking around a field of sheep on the estate - our first moments as husband and wife. It was at the top of a hill, there were amazing views across Devon and watching the sunset from here was incredible!
Anna's top tip for other engaged couples is to try to relax when wedding planning. "Don't make panicked decisions," she says. "We would sit down with a glass of wine when we needed to make big decisions!"
Photography Jennifer Jane Photography jenniferjanephotography.co.uk
Venue Shilstone House
Dress Alan Hannah from Clifton Brides cliftonbrides.co.uk
Groom's suit Ted Baker tedbaker.com
Hair and make-up Arena arenacreativehair.co.uk
Flowers Flowersmiths flowersmiths.co.uk
Transport Berrybrook Morgan berrybrookmorgan.co.uk
Videography Ever After Films everafterfilms.co.uk
Cake Catherine Smith
Entertainment Four Seasons String Quartet fourseasonsstringquartet.co.uk Superlive alivenetwork.com/superlive
Copyright Wed magazine 2018