A rustic country garden wedding in Herefordshire

10 Feb 2020

Sophie Saunders and Matthew Jones married at St Andrew's Church in Hampton Bishop, the village where they live, before a marquee reception on the village hall green

How did you meet?

Sixth form. We are childhood sweethearts.



Tell us about the proposal.

It was on our 10-year anniversary of when we first met and we love to hike, so we went up Pen y Fan, near Brecon and Matt got down on one knee halfway up. It was raining when he proposed and there was a rainbow in the distance.


What was the theme for the day, and did you have a colour scheme?

Rustic country garden.



What venue did you choose and why did you choose it?

A marquee in our own village, because we could decorate as we wanted it. It was also so close to home and meant more to us than any venue would have.



When did you know you’d found ‘the’ dress? 

I tried on quite a few dresses, but before I tried any on I had seen the one on the internet and knew that was the dress I was going to wear. It was by Pronovias and called Princia, in an off-white lace.

I also had a bespoke veil made by Iris Anne Bridal Accessories, which featured our initials and date of marriage. 



Who were the bridesmaids and what did they wear?

I had four bridesmaids: Alice, Lydia, Beth and Cass, who are all best friends of mine from school. I also had my niece as a flowergirl, Esmae, who was nine-years-old. The bridesmaids' dresses were from H&M's bridesmaid range in pleated chiffon.


What did the mother of the bride wear?

A pink floral dress from Phase Eight.



Where did you find your suits?


Tell us about your floral arrangements.

My mum grew all the flowers in her garden and turned her vegetable plot into flower beds especially for the wedding. I am so proud of my mum as she actually had a serious heart operation that same year and even after the operation, she still managed to grow the most perfect flowers.

I am very close to mum as we lost my dad in 2010 and she walked me down the aisle. She is such a strong woman and had an amazing recovery for the wedding.

The day before the wedding, we hired the village hall and created all the flower arrangements for the church and venue. I had 100 old jars and bottles, a milk churn and old wooden boxes in which we created the amazing displays. 




Often the aspect that makes a wedding original to the couple is the detail – tell us about the details of the day.

I made the wedding favours and created homemade elderflower jam in mini jars. We also had seeds from our garden that I collected over the last few years so our guests could 'grow our love'. I also made elderflower cordial for each table.

I am also a bespoke Illustrator and graphic designer with my own company, Saunders & Jones, so I created our wedding stationery.  



How did you feel as you walked down the aisle?

Perfect. Because we live in the village, I decided I wanted to walk to the church which I was nervous about, however all our neighbours were stood outside the church cheering the bridal party on. It was so special. Once the music started, it was just perfect and I think I squeezed my mum’s hand a bit too tight walking down the aisle so we didn’t cry.


How did you make the ceremony personal to you?

We had a violinist that played Coldplay's Yellow as I walked down the aisle. My sisters, Helen and Kathryn, and my brother-in-law gave readings and poems we had selected.



What was your most memorable moment?

When the church bells started ringing while us girls were getting ready in our cottage. I was in my dress ready to walk to the church and my make-up artist, Ruth, was just adding the finishing touches . It suddenly felt real that I was about to marry my best friend and all my worries went away.



What was the most challenging aspect of planning this wedding?

Getting everything in order before the big day and getting it all done. I literally made 100 lists.


What was the most important investment for you?

Food. We had Elaine’s Farmhouse Kitchen and had a triple dessert, which ended the meal on a high and was perfect. The band, The Midways (from Builth Wells) also made the evening; all the guests loved them, it was the best wedding evening ever.




What song did you choose for your first dance, and why?

Toploader's Dancing in the Moonlight, because it was our favourite song together when we were younger and went to Young Farmers parties.

Our last dance was George Ezra's Hold My Girl and everyone was in a circle with Matt and I dancing in the middle. It was so special because it meant so much to us to have all our friends and family there on our wedding day.


Tell us about your wedding cake.

My sister made our amazing wedding cake. It consisted of Victoria sponge, lemon sponge and she decorated it with buttercream. It was so beautiful and everyone commented on how delicious it was. It was decorated with Tuston’s Market Garden edible petals, which we also used in our wedding breakfast champagne flutes.


Was there anything you wish you’d known before?

How planning a wedding does take over your life months before. And after, when it’s all over, you have serious wedding blues. I loved planning our wedding as I’m a creative individual, so it was my chance to do some crafts.



Where did you go on honeymoon?

We went away in our VW camper van two days after the wedding and toured Europe. We went over to France, then Italy (Lake Como) and then Switzerland for two weeks.



Do you have any advice for couples in the planning stages?

Just enjoy it and no matter how much planning you do, it will be the most perfect day ever.



Steal their style: 

Photography: Jarek Lepak
Dress: Pronovias
Veil: Iris Anne Bridal Accessories
Stationery: Saunders & Jones 
Catering: Elaine's Farmhouse Kitchen 
Marquee: Burgoynes Marquees 
Bar: Oasis Bar Services  
Edible petals: Tuston Market Garden 
Band: The Midways
Make-up: Ruth Rowberry
Hair: Hair Comes the Bride, Hay-on-Wye
Flower wall: The Flowerwall Girl

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