An autumnal wedding with a twist in Devon
16 Sep 2020
Emma Pitkin and Luke Atkins used the colours of a traditional autumnal wedding, making it unique using maple leaves instead of English oak
Photography: Richard Palmer Photography
Tell us about the venue
We were sold on our venue, Shilstone House, the second we stepped foot on the estate. It boasted gorgeous views of its surroundings and the house and yet still had that off-the-beaten track, secluded countryside feel. The team did their utmost to make our day as perfect as it could be and even the thing everyone dreads, the weather, came through for us on the day.
What theme/colours did you chose?
We decided on an autumnal wedding in October. Our colour scheme followed the autumnal theme with rustic burnt oranges and deep purples. But instead of traditional English oak fallen leaves, we opted for maple leaves which gave it a nice twist.
Tell us about the details
We mostly made the decorations ourselves, except for hiring a few props from the wonderful Unique Designs by Tina and Elegant Oaks Wedding Hire Company. Tina also created the gorgeous bouquets for myself and the bridesmaids and her attention to detail was spot on - if you are after fake flowers I can’t recommend her enough. We mostly bought bits online and upcycled to our liking using our DIY skills. I highly recommend doing the odd few bits yourselves if you can; as well as it often being cheaper, its good fun to add a personal spin on things. Our vision became a reality thanks to the amazing team at Shilstone House who implemented our ideas perfectly - so don’t worry if you want to decorate yourself but can’t, they know what they are doing.
Did any family members help?
We were very lucky to have family members with varying talents. My uncle baked our gorgeous rustic wedding cake. And my nan made my wedding dress - I went dress shopping but there seems to have become a tradition in our family for handmade dresses. We pulled ideas from many dresses I tried on, but it became something else entirely and so special, when I put it on - it was definitely the one.
Tell us about the ceremony
The day went without a hitch. My make-up and hair were flawless thanks to Adele Hack. I was not nervous at all, just so excited to marry my soulmate. The nerves only started kicking in when we began our vows. My walk down the aisle was a blur - it really is true what they say, it goes so fast.
Tell us about the reception
The wedding drinks reception followed the beautiful ceremony in the barn and the canapes and drinks were delicious. We used the surroundings of our venue to get some incredible shots - something we were so pleased our photographers, Richard and his wife Traci, were eager for. They traipsed merrily through meadows and brambles to help us capture the essence of our day.
And the wedding breakfast?
The wedding breakfast went smoothly, and the food was incredible. I made sure the tables were kept busy using table games/ice breakers to get everyone talking and also had them fill out their own advice card. Honestly, I can’t recommend these enough, they were hilarious to read back after the day. My husband was so nervous for his speech, but he did amazingly. Luckily the speeches followed dinner, which I recommend, so he was able to get some liquid courage in him. We were so pleased that we booked a videographer, Captured Moments Videography, to video the wedding as we can listen back to the speeches always.
Did you have any evening entertainment?
We had a DJ (Perfect Wedding DJs), play for the evening entertainment and he was very attentive to our music requests. Our first dance was magical, and oddly when I was most nervous. This was quickly followed by a daddy-daughter dance, another high recommendation. We also hired a magic mirror from, The Magic Mirror Co, and they really kept everyone entertained and gave us a hilarious book at the end so, if you can afford to splash on this little extra, go for it.
Were there any special touches?
Our wedding was incredible from start to finish, however one of the hardest things for my husband and I was our missing family members. We made sure to honour their memories with a memory ladder, but I also gave my mother a chair in our ceremony barn as she was the only immediate family member not with us and I needed her there. If you do this, please tell your family in advance so you don't startle or upset them. But it was so nice to see her photo and know she was there with us all.
Do you have any advice for other couples?
Just relax, everything will go smoothly and be exactly as you wish it to be. Don’t let the stress of planning the perfect day stop you from enjoying the process. It will be magical just like ours was.
Steal Their Style
Photography: Richard Palmer Photography
Venue: Shilstone House
Wedding rings: Fraser Hart
Hair & Make-up: Adele Hack
Bridesmaids’ outfits: AX Paris
Flowers: Unique Designs by Tina
Videographer: Captured Moments
Entertainment: Perfect Wedding DJs, The Magic Mirror Co