A summer wedding in the Cotswolds filled with fun

20 Aug 2019

Victoria Wells and James Maulgue's 'fun'-themed wedding ensured both their adult and children guests had the best time

How did you meet?

At a local pub, we lived 10 minutes’ walk away from each other and didn’t even know.

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Tell us about the proposal.

James was incredibly nervous; he knew for months he wanted to propose but didn’t know when or how..He measured my ring finger with a piece of string, managed to get the perfect size and then bought the perfect ring.

On the day James eventually proposed, he had been grinning from ear to ear all day. We had been out for the whole day as a family and had dinner, then walked to the pub we met at for a drink. But James hadn’t plucked up the courage to propose yet... He waited until we got home, then on our doorstep decided he needed to do his shoes up and popped the question. Obviously, I said yes straight away without even looking at the ring until the next day. He did good, a beautiful princess cut solitaire with an almost colourless diamond. I couldn’t have picked better myself.

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

The theme of the day was 'fun': bouncy castles, space hoppers, giant garden games, grass sofas, bubbles, ice cream bike, a guitarist and a magician. The colour scheme was pale pink and we had lots of fairy lights.

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

We wanted a barn wedding and chose The Barn at Upcote for the wedding and reception. We wanted just one venue for the day and just one set of guests; small and intimate, with fun in mind. The Barn at Upcote ticked all the boxes, it’s stunning, has so much space and is completely exclusive. It is also a family-run business and they are the nicest family. 

Guests could camp there if they wanted as the venue has some glamping huts. James and I stayed in the Bridal Barn.

We could decorate the barn as we wanted. On the morning of the wedding, James hung some pale pink lanterns in the bar area and put some light pegs up with photos of us on. We also put flowers around the barn that my mum had arranged.

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

I saw my dream dress in a magazine. I tried a few different ones on first, but they just felt wrong. Then I spent an afternoon phoning around bridal shops to see if they had the dress I initially saw. I tried Belle of the Ball Bridals in Melksham; they didn’t have my dress, but would order it in especially for me. As soon as I tried it on, I knew I had found my wedding dress. Annabel and her team from Belle of the Ball Bridals made me feel so special too. I chose Ian Staurt’s Pracatan in lilac, which was a beautiful dusky pink colour. It was an absolutely stunning dress.

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Does the dress match the one you originally thought you would choose?

Definitely not, when James proposed I pictured myself in a simple fitted A-ine dress... however, I went for a full on princess dress. When else can you dress up like a princess for the day?

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What did the bridesmaids wear? 

I had four bridesmaids: my older sister as my maid of honour, Sarah; my daughter, Megan; and my best friends, Kelly and Melissa. My flowergirl was Kelly’s daughter, Willow, who was 23-months-old at the time.

I found my bridesmaids' dresses online, from Atom Attire in New York. I chose navy, multi-way dresses which were very chic and flattering, plus the bridesmaids could decide how they wanted to wear them and could even wear them again. My flowergirl wore a cream dress with navy flowers, from Mothercare.

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Where did you find your suits?

James wore a bright blue three-piece suit from John Lewis. One of his best men, Jamie, wore the same. His other best man, our son Oliver (who was 10 at the time) and the father of the bride, Philip, wore the same coloured suit from Next.

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Tell us about your floral arrangements.

Jo from Aqua Flowers created our bouquets. We had Mentha roses, which matched my wedding dress perfectly and featured gypsophila wrapped in hessian. Jo also made matching buttonholes plus a ‘fairy’ flower wand for Willow.

My mum made the table arrangements with flowers I had grown in my garden especially for the wedding: white hydrangeas, white roses, sunflowers, lavender and alliums. We foraged some greenery too. My mum arranged them in various glass jars that we collected over a year. 

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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.

We chose an open photo booth from Picture Perfick, a husband and wife team who offered a huge selection of props and made all our guests feel at ease. We have some fantastic memories from this.

On the table we had tabletop games such as dominoes and pick-up sticks to keep the children entertained. We also had some personalised planes for the children to build – which proved popular with our adult guests too, prompting them to throw them at each other. Our son won £40 in a bet by hitting James in the face with one. 

Every guest also had a personalised wild seed packet featuring the words ‘Wildly in love’. 

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How did you feel as you walked down the aisle?

A real mix of nerves and excitement. My dad walked me down the aisle which was down the steps of the beautiful gardens of the barn, prompting me to look up and smile for our photographer. 

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How did you make the ceremony personal to you?

As James and I are not religious, we didn’t want a long ceremony and there were no readings. However, our song choices were as follows: 

  • Guests walking in: Better Together by Jack Johnson, Stand By Me by Ben E King and How Sweet It Is by Marvin Gaye
  • Bride walking in: Feels Like Home by Edwina Hayes
  • Signing the register: The One by Kodaline and Songbird by Oasis
  • Walking out: Rule the World by Take That

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What was your most memorable moment?

After the moment we first saw each other. James forgetting what to say when the registrar asked ‘Are you free to marry this person?’ the only accepted answer is ‘I am’. He said: "Yeah, yep, yessssss", before finally remembering. 

Also, an hour after we were married, James was planning our 10 year vow renewal. And not forgetting our son Oliver’s best man speech which was easily the best speech of the day.  He was only 10 at the time and very nervous but smashed it. 

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What was the most challenging aspect of planning this wedding?

Planning our wedding was a breeze, we did all the planning together. We both knew exactly what we wanted and that happened to be the same as each other, so it was very straightforward.

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What was the most important investment for you?

Fun! We chose a package for the day which included drinks and food. What we really wanted was the guests to really enjoy themselves. 

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

We chose Crazy Love by Van Morrison. We really didn’t want a current song that we would hear over and over for years after. So we chose a few love songs that we really liked, put them in a hat and pulled out this one. I was quietly relieved that it was the shortest song at just over two minutes as neither of us can dance, although that doesn’t stop us.

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Did you have any evening entertainment?

We had a disco provided by Serenade Entertainment. Again, a husband and wife team, Chris and Donna. Chris was amazing and kept everyone dancing until the early hours, not an easy task on a Monday night. We chose their stunning 'Walking on Clouds’ package for our first dance which includes dry ice. 

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Tell us about your wedding cake.

We almost made our own cake with James being a chef and myself, a keen baker. However, we thought we may be too busy in the run up to the day, so we had a look at professional cake makers and found that all the really good cake makers were busy.

We ended up choosing a four-tiered chocolate cake with white icing and white and pink chocolate shards around it from Marks and Spencer. It fitted our colour scheme, tasted great and was an absolute bargain. 

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If you could go back and change anything, what would it be?

We would make the day longer, as it goes so quickly.

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Did anything go wrong on the day?

Yes! One of my bridesmaids alerted us, two days before, that the postcode on our invitations was wrong. It could have been a disaster, but luckily everyone turned up on time.

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Where did you go on honeymoon?

We had a few days in Berlin, our minimoon. We’re saving up for a trip to New York. 

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

Enjoy it! It seems to take forever for the day to come, then it’s over in a flash. Go all out, you only do it once.

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Steal their style: 

Venue: The Barn at Upcote 
Photography: Nick Adams 
Catering: McBaile
Floristry: Aqua Flowers 
Hair: Stacey at Updoo 
Make-up: Maddy at Weddingpaint 
Guitarist: Levi from Alive Entertainments 
Disco: Serenade Entertainment 
Magician: Ginger Magic 
Bouncy castle and grass sofa: Every Event Hire
Ice cream bike, sweet cart, postbox and party games: Gabanzos

For more Cotswold wedding inspiration, browse the latest edition of Cotswold Bride magazine.  

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