A rustic farm wedding in Nottinghamshire

24 Jan 2020

Following a church ceremony and blessing at their local church, Elsa Trueman and Ian Rickett held their celebrations at Elsa's parents' farm in Upton

How did you meet? 

We met at Southwell Young Farmers (part of Nottinghamshire Young Farmers) at their AGM. Ian was chairman at the time and it was my first meeting at the club. 

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Tell us about the proposal.

I am a part-time model and Ian got in touch with one of the photographers I work with. He asked the photographer to set up a fake photoshoot with me and the photographer told me the shoot was for a romantic book cover they needed a couple for.

The 'shoot' was held at Rufford Abbey Country Park in Sherwood Forest, and the scene the photographer created was a picnic with a bowl of strawberries underneath a giant oak tree. To begin, I would turn away from Ian and then look back and he would offer the strawberries. The final time I turned, Ian was holding a ring instead and he was down on one knee. 

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

We knew we wanted a rustic country wedding. There wasn’t really a specific colour scheme, but we both love natural colours. We used a lot of hessian and string for the centrepieces mixed in with wildflowers grown on Ian’s farm and sheaves of corn. My mum made all of our bunting by hand, using scraps of material which made a beautiful patchwork of colours.

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

For us, the decision was easy. Both of us have grown up in the countryside and lived our whole lives in our respective villages, and we wanted to stay true to that. My parents' farm was the perfect place – there is a large enclosed barn with huge double doors that open out onto a small field. We thought this would be perfect for our afternoon tea and the lean to the barn, attached to the side, would be just right for a ceildh. 

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

I frequently model bridalwear, so I already had worn a fair number of wedding dresses before even thinking of my own. The dress I chose in the end was the very last one. 

I first went to some boutiques in Nottingham city centre, but then a friend told me about a small bridal outlet out of town. The boutique had a section at the back with end of line dresses and the staff member picked out a few for me to try. The last one just happened to fit perfectly, and it had the classic shape and country feel that I wanted. 

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Who were the bridesmaids and what did they wear?

My youngest sister, Jessie, was my maid of honour; my middle sister, Mair, and sister-in-law, Sam, were bridesmaids and my niece, Isabella, was my flowergirl.

For the bridesmaids, I ordered some '50s-style dresses from America, all pale blue green and decorated with tiny pink flowers. I knew it would be difficult to find a style that suited both my sisters, but luckily the dress came in two slightly different styles so they were both happy.

For Isabella, the dresses did not come in a small enough size but Sam managed to find a company on Etsy that would make a skirt in the matching blue green colour, and she wore this with a white leotard.

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What did the mother of the bride wear?

My mum knew she did not want to wear a hat. She wore an outfit in pale grey: trousers and a long top with a floaty scarf and ceramic leaf pin badge I gave to her on the morning of the wedding. 

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Where did you find your suits?

Occasionally Ian has come to my modelling jobs with me, and one time I was doing a bridal fashion show where some male models were needed. I immediately suggested Ian and he, somewhat reluctantly, agreed.

The menswear company, Wiseguys, were based in Newark - our local town, and their suits were so lovely. Ian knew straight away when we started to think about suits that he wanted to go with them. He left it quite late though, only ordering the suits the week before the wedding. They arrived just in time.

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Tell us about your floral arrangements

The flowers we used were a mixture of gypsophila and wildflowers grown on Ian’s farm as a cover crop. The day before the wedding we went to pick them, and the evening before the wedding our families helped us to decorate the barn with them.

We put bunches on the tables in the hand-decorated jars, while some went in old milk churns and baskets and then we put some in pots around the field. 

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

  • I had seen a picture on Pinterest of a few hay bales pushed together to make a backdrop for wedding photos. I asked Ian if we might be able to do something similar and he said he would build one much better. He built a bale pyramid with a mixture of the huge modern bales from his farm and smaller ones from a local village farm. It looked amazing and our guests loved it. It looked like a straw wedding cake.
  • Ian’s father made us a fire pit out of an old oil drum for all our guests to gather round in the evening. It was a hit and looked very impressive.
  • The ceilidh we had in the evening was led by one of my parents’ friend’s bands, The Lonely Mr Punch. They were great. They began the evening by backing our first dance, followed by a Romanian first dance where the couple hands out pieces of cloth to the guests to invite them to join the dance. 

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How did you feel as you walked down the aisle?

I was so nervous, but as soon as I saw Ian it went away and I just felt so happy. 

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How did you make the ceremony personal to you? 

Our niece and flowergirl did a reading for us, which was so sweet. We also had our dog, Lucy, with us for both the ceremony at Halam Church and the blessing at Upton Church. She was our dog of honour and joined everyone in sitting on the pews, even standing when everyone stood. 

The blessing at Upton was a first – the vicar said they had never had a blessing so close to an actual church wedding before. So they did a special small ceremony just for us, with traditional Welsh wedding music in memory of my grandparents.  

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What was your most memorable moment?

There are so many! But it was really a beautiful moment at the end of the night when our niece and nephews were leaving and shouted: "We did it!". Also, the morning after, before we left for our honeymoon, my youngest sister hugged us and said: "I have a brother."

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What was the most challenging aspect of planning this wedding?

The guest list. We found this so hard, as we couldn’t invite everyone to the church – there just wasn’t enough room.

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What was the most important investment for you? 

For us, we really didn’t want anyone to be bored and we wanted it to be a memorable day. Our guests were very much involved in our photographs – after the ceremony we did all these on the bale pyramid, calling up different groups of people to be pictured with us. And we filled the field outside the barn with games for people to play. 

We also didn’t want people going hungry or thirsty, so we had an afternoon tea in the barn where the tables were bursting with cakes and little sandwiches. We hired an old fashioned horsebox bar to come and serve drinks, and Ian’s sister prepared gallons and gallons of Pimm's. We also had hot pork and vegan rolls with chips for people to eat in the evening, as well as a snack station covered in crisps, popcorn and sweets. 

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

Aerosmith's I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing. Ian loves this song so he chose it, and it did make me cry. 

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Tell us about your wedding cake. 

My aunty used to make wedding cakes, and she agreed to make ours. It was a huge cake featuring tiers of cake made to look like logs piled on top of each other. Each layer was a different flavour, and tasted amazing.

She even carved our initials into the bark effect icing, encircled in a heart. Our cake topper was made of wood – so we can keep it as a memory – and featured Lucy with us. 

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Did anything go wrong on the day?

Amazingly, no! It did pour with rain at several points, but only while we were in the churches. 

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Did you have a custom hashtag for social media? If so, what was it?

Yes, it was #ianandelsa.

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Where did you go on honeymoon? 

We left for our honeymoon the morning after the wedding and went to Whitby to stay in a cottage right on the harbour. Whitby is a special place for both of us, we put a love lock on the cliff side and did a lot of crabbing. Then on the way home, we stopped at a wildlife park. 

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

Try not to get overwhelmed; we went to a few wedding fairs and there is just so much on offer. There are a lot of lovely things, but you don’t need everything... just pick out what works for you. 

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Steal their style: 

Photography: Carol McNiven Young and Bob Galley
Suits: Wiseguys in Newark
Dress: La Belle Boutique 
Catering: BJ Bakery
Bar: Glass Half Full
Band: The Lonely Mr Punch
Tables, chairs and lights: The Marquee CompanyLtd 

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