An intimate, rustic wedding in Devon

17 Feb 2022

Emma Worley and Alexander Ward’s magical wedding day included Italian touches and handmade details

Photography by Wildly in Love

How did you meet?  

We met at Bristol University. We were sent on a placement together to Weston-super-Mare and love blossomed there. 

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Tell us about the proposal.  

Alex took me on a surprise holiday to Umbria, Italy. We went to the town called Castiglione del Lago where the castle looks out onto the lake. There was no one else in the castle and on one of the turrets, Alex got down on one knee and asked the question. 

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How was your wedding affected by Covid-19? 

Our original wedding date was scheduled for 22nd May 2021. We had to delay it to September and re-organise the hair stylist. On the whole, we were very lucky that Covid did not affect us as much as some people.  

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

The wedding theme was rustic with some Italian aspects coming through. We chose green and blues for our wedding colours.  

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

We chose The Great Barn Devon in Higher Ashton for our reception. We didn’t really have a specific area of the country in mind, but Devon was fairly close to both sides of the family. We really liked barns and we wanted somewhere we could also stay on site. When we went to visit The Great Barn Devon, it really blew us away. It was utterly beautiful, and the owners were lovely and really wanted to make our day special.  

The venue and owners sold it to us straight away. We cannot recommend The Great Barn highly enough.  

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

I am not sure when I knew I had found the dress. I bought a dress that I tried on in a different colour and ordered it in the colour I wanted, so it was a slight risk. I tried on all my dresses with a mask on due to Covid restrictions, which I found difficult.  

I bought my dress from Maria’s Bridal Boutique. Heather, the owner was so lovely and personable, and I think that helped a lot in choosing the dress. 

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Who were the bridesmaids and what did they wear?  

The bridesmaids each wore a blue floor length dress that I found online at Ever-Pretty. The flower girl wore an ivory dress from Next. 

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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. 

Most of our floral arrangements were done by Alex’s mother. Jen is a very talented gardener and wanted to help out. We said we wanted rustic with a lot of green and she did an amazing job. We also arranged my bouquet of flowers from Alison Yeoman Flowers.  

We organised some garden games during the canapés. We specifically asked for limbo as we love that game and both get very competitive over it.  

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The details of the day were all very homemade. We made our own signs to go around the church on pieces of wood that said 'pick a seat not a side’. We had a sign and photos of family and friends that are sadly no longer with us saying ‘we know you would be here today if heaven wasn’t so far away’. That was incredibly special to us.  

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We put a lot of old and new photos around the reception venue to personalise it. The table numbers included a picture of us at certain ages. For example, table seven had a picture each of me and Alex when we were seven. We bought Polaroid cameras so people could capture some of the day that we would otherwise miss. It was lovely to go through those photos after the honeymoon.  

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We also made the favours which were homemade limoncello. It was fun to experiment when we were making the liqueur. We over made the drink and still have litres at home.  

Another personal touch was the car we used. Alex’s father Mark had spent years restoring his Morris Minor so it was a real privilege to use the car on the day. The plan was to sell the car after the wedding, but it is now so special to Mark he cannot face selling it. 

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How did you make the ceremony personal to you?  

Our reverend, Ruth, was amazing at making the whole ceremony personal to us. We walked in to the piano version of Songbird by Eva Cassidy. Both our fathers did a prayer and reading. My mum did a reading from the letter she sent us when we got engaged which was funny, poignant and very personal to us. 

When we were doing the signings, we played The Luckiest by Ben Folds and then we exited to This Will Be (An Everlasting Love) by Natalie Cole. All the songs mean so much to both of us.  

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What was your most memorable moment?  

There are so many memorable moments that it’s impossible to pick just one. For me, it was when my dad came upstairs to see me in my dress. I asked for no one else to be there, not even the photographers so it was just us two. It was incredibly special and a moment that will stay with me forever.  

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The speeches had more people in tears and laughter than I ever thought they would. After most people went home, the wedding party along with a few others sat on the steps of the barns for a few hours with some drinks and just reminisced about the day. Both myself and Alex sat there beaming and taking in the day.  

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What was the most important investment for you? 

The most important investment for us was by far the music. We wanted a band that would keep people on the dance floor and that they would talk about for years to come. We hired the band called The Scene and they were amazing. People are still talking about them and my dad even wants to hire them for his 60th birthday party. 

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

The band played How Long Will I Love You from the film About Time. We both love the film and fell in love with the song since watching the film. When we got engaged, I think this song was the first decision we made about the wedding.  

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Tell us about your wedding cake.  

The wedding cake was actually made by my dad’s partner. It was a semi-naked three-tiered cake. We did not want to go for traditional flavours so we chose limoncello, espresso martini and amaretto. The cake went down really well, there was hardly any left to take home. 

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Was there anything you wish you’d known before?  

I think we had such good advice from our family and friends. We really didn’t stress on the day; we enjoyed every moment, and we also took ten minutes to ourselves to take everything in.  

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Where did you go on honeymoon? 

We went to Sicily for our honeymoon. Our wedding was on Saturday, and we left on Monday morning. It was perfect, we had a big brunch with the wedding party on Sunday and then drove to a hotel near Heathrow Airport.   

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

Try not to stress, everything will work out. Enjoy every minute of planning it because it is such a special time. I am slightly jealous as I want to do it all over again. 

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Steal their style:
Photography: Wildly in Love
Videography: Tick Tock Films
Reception venue and catering: The Great Barn Devon
Hair: Laura Elizabeth Hair and Makeup Artist
Make-up: Justine Olver
Bouquet flowers: Alison Yeoman Flowers
Entertainment: The Scene

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