A pink and champagne rustic barn wedding in Sussex
28 Feb 2019
A snowy Brookfield Barn was the perfect backdrop to host Ashleigh Pitts and Ben Davies' wedding
How did you meet?
We met when I was studying in London at the Royal Academy of Dance. I was throwing a birthday party for my flatmate and he came along with friends.
Tell us about the proposal.
We had been out for dinner to celebrate our anniversary. When we got back our flat, he showed me a slideshow he had made of photos of us throughout our seven years. At the end, he got down on one knee and proposed.
What was the theme for the day, and did you have a colour scheme?
Rustic, relaxed vibes, with a blush pink and champagne colour scheme.
What venue did you choose and why did you choose it?
We instantly loved Brookfield Barn. It had a rustic feel, but was extremely modern and clean. Mark and his team were fantastic. Everything was under control.
When did you know when you’d found ‘the’ dress? Which designer? How many dresses did you try on?
I only went to one dress shop, White Mischief in Henfield. I had a designer in mind and tried on four of her dresses. None were quite right though, although all beautiful. The assistant pulled a few more for me to try and when I put on the ‘Tertia’ gown by Caroline Castigliano I knew it was perfect. It was comfortable, had pockets and made me feel like a princess. My sister and Mum both cried, which was a good sign.
Does the dress match the one you originally thought you would choose?
I didn’t have a dress in mind. I had a designer in mind, but it was not the one I thought I was getting.
What did the bridesmaids wear? How many did you have and who were they?
My bridesmaids wore blush pink Dessy dresses which had ivory lace bodices. I asked my sister, sister-in-law and cousin, who flew all the way over from Canada. My niece was our flower girl and three nephews were the pageboys.
What did the mother of the bride wear?
My mother was also in blush pink from Coast.
Where did you find your suits?
Ben wore a blue French Connection suit that we bought from Moss Bros. and had tailored to him. The best man and groomsman both wore navy suits which we hired from Moss Bros.
Tell us about your floral arrangements.
We used Katherine Bly Flowers. Our arrangements were beautiful. We had blush pink ‘Ballerina’ roses, plus gypsophila and foliage for our bouquets. Evie, our flower girl, had a flower wand and bunches of gyp were tied to the chairs as we walked down the aisle.
Often the aspect that makes a wedding original to the couple is the detail – tell us about the details of the day.
Not Your Average I Do really helped us to style the wedding. As our ceremony was so small, we used a white curtain to drape across the centre of the barn and create a smaller, more intimate space. White drapes were also hung from the beams to create a romantic feel. When the afternoon tea buffet was set up, the draping came down and underneath hung rows of fairy lights instead. For the table settings we used log slices in the middle, topped with hurricane lanterns, tea lights and our flowers. Our wedding favours were little mason jars filled with six different varieties of sweets or chocolates. They had our names and the wedding date stuck on top and became keepsakes for the guests to take home.
We had a photo booth. It was originally going to be in a camper van outside, but due to the snow we decided on the day to have it set up indoors instead. This was a much better idea, as everyone got involved, which may not have happened if it was outside in the cold. The bar manager made ‘Mr and Mrs’ cocktails which all the guests loved.
Our caterers, The Gourmet Chef, were fantastic. For our wedding breakfast we had a roast, but with a slight twist. We asked four of our guests to wear chef’s hats and aprons and carve the meat at the table for us. It was a great surprise and they did a great job. The caterers also supplied us with a beautiful afternoon tea and the most fantastic wood-fired pizza in the evening, straight from a converted horse trailer outside.
How did you feel as you walked down the aisle?
I thought I was going to be really nervous, but just before I started to walk I had a moment of calm wash over me. The staff at the venue had asked if I would mind if the bi-folding barn doors were open as I walked down the aisle. This was truly spectacular. The view of the snowy golf course and lake was epic and the icy cold air actually took my breath away. It was picturesque.
How did you make the ceremony personal to you?
We kept our ceremony short; no extra vows, songs or readings. It was personal to us due to the music we had chosen to play during my walk down the aisle and the signing of the register. As a ballet teacher, I had wanted to use classical music that was personal, so I walked down the aisle to a song called A Little Chaos by Peter Gregson. If I hear this song today, it still makes me very emotional. Our other songs were all instrumentals played by David Plumpton, my favourite ballet pianist.
What was your most memorable moment?
When I was saying my vows to Ben, the ducks out on the lake started making a noise which was caught on the video. It was a hilarious moment, as I wasn’t sure whether to wait for them to finish or try and talk over them.
What was the most challenging aspect of planning this wedding?
We were lucky that due to our date, most of our suppliers were free on our day. Sorting the numbers for the guest list was tricky, but we eliminated the problem of who to invite by only having our immediate family at the beginning and then lots of friends and family in the afternoon.
What was the most important investment for you?
Honeymoon! I didn’t really have many ideas of what I wanted my wedding to be like before we started planning, but we both knew we wanted our dream honeymoon in the Maldives.
What song did you choose for your first dance, and why?
Our song was Ed Sheeran’s Tenerife Sea, made extra special by having it sung live by our incredible band. It was the song playing on the slideshow that Ben made me when he proposed.
Did you have any evening entertainment?
Our band was called Buddhalicious by Uptown Music. They were incredible. We also had our photo booth to keep guests entertained by Gecko Campers.
Tell us about your wedding cake.
We couldn’t decide on one cake so in the end we went for seven different flavours. When we lived in London, our favourite cake shop was Hummingbird Bakery so we chose three flavours from them: red velvet, carrot cake and lemon raspberry. Our friend also has a company called Mr. Prempy’s which creates incredible vegan, organic cakes. They created new flavours for us: chocolate peanut butter, strawberry, tiramisu and lemon blueberry. Our guests were in heaven.
If you could go back and change anything, what would it be?
As cheesy as it is, I wouldn’t change a thing. We loved each part of our day. We created a unique day, specifically for us and loved every minute.
Did anything go wrong on the day?
Due to the snow, our photo booth, which was meant to be in a camper van outside, had to set up inside instead. In hindsight, it worked out better as more people then used it. I don’t think everyone would have braved the minus four degrees to go outside for a photo.
Was there anything you wish you’d known before?
Luckily both my siblings are already married, so I have seen the planning of two weddings and I read a lot of magazines.
Do you have any advice for couples in the planning stages?
Set out a budget straight away. That way you can’t get carried away. Read lots of magazines and visit lots of wedding fairs to get ideas. WedFest was a great idea, we were able to listen to lots of bands and try different caterers to get a feel of what we wanted.
Steal their style:
Rings: Patrick Wyatt
Band: Buddhalicious - Uptown Music
Cake: Hummingbird Bakery
Caterer: The Gourmet Chef
Stylist: Not Your Average I do
Flowers: Katherine Bly
Hairdresser: Gemma Souter
Video: Play it Forward Media
Dress: Caroline Castigliano
Venue: Brookfield Barn
Photographer: Murray Clarke
For more Sussex wedding inspiration, pick up the latest edition of Surrey & Sussex Bride magazine.