Florence Griggs and Daniel Curtis-Cobbledick: A Paris meets English Country Garden wedding

18 Jan 2019

After a romantic proposal in Paris, Florence and Dan spent three years planning their wedding at Upton Barn & Walled Garden

How did you meet?

Dan and I met at School – we had Maths and Drama classes together. We were just 15 when Dan finally asked me to be his girlfriend on Valentine’s Day.

Tell us about the proposal.

Dan popped the question while on a surprise birthday trip to Paris. We had gone on a little day trip sightseeing around the city and stopped off in some beautiful gardens for ice-cream near to the Eiffel Tower. I was lying on Dan looking at the Eiffel tower when Dan told me he had my birthday present for me. I immediately turned around and saw a box in his hand and to my surprise it had the most beautiful yellow diamond ring inside of it. He said “Florence, will you do me the honour of becoming my wife?” – in utter shock, for once I was completely speechless. Of course I said yes and felt on cloud nine.  

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Did you have a colour scheme?

Our theme was loosely built around Parisian meets English Country Garden, and our colour scheme was yellow, pink with a dash of gold – I love yellow.

Why did you choose your venue? 

We fell in love with our venue Upton Barn & Walled Garden as soon as we arrived and walked in to the magical walled garden which is hidden away in the Devon fields. It is completely beautiful, elegant and intimate, and suited us perfectly; we couldn’t wait to start planning the day.

Upton Barn included a wedding planner for the run up to the wedding and to be there on our day which was very handy and she was great on the day. Luckily at Upton you literally drop everything off on the Friday and the wedding planner sets it up for you ready for Saturday.  

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

I went dress shopping with my mum and two sisters who are all extremely honest, so I knew if anything looked horrendous on me they were going to let me know. We chose to go dress shopping in Exeter and the first shop we went to let us each pick out some dresses for me to try on. I had no expectations of finding ‘the one’ so I was completely overwhelmed by the different styles but as soon as I started trying them on I knew exactly what I wanted and wasn’t going to waste any time. 

The last dress I put on was the only one I picked and it turned out to be the one. It was an A-Line tulle number and exactly what I had in mind. I didn’t want a dress that would restrict me at all – I wanted to be comfortable on the day and I could move around in this dress and dance which was ideal. We went to two other dress shops after that and neither compared to the ‘one’. My mum told me to sleep on it and see how I felt about it in the morning. I still absolutely loved it so we ordered it the next day. It is by an Italian brand called Cosmobella and I bought it from Prudence Gowns.  I got my veil from Pirouette.

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What did the bridesmaids wear?

I actually bought the bridesmaids dresses from ASOS at least a year before I bought my own. They were sateen bow-back maxi dresses by TFNC in yellow and mink. I had four bridesmaids: my two sisters Vikki and Ellouise, and two of my best friends Sophie and Emmie.

What did the mother of the bride wear?

My mum wore a pale yellow picture collar dress from Bruce by Bruce Oldfield at John Lewis.   

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Where did you find your suits?

We got the best men and ushers tuxedos from ASOS. Dan and the dads’ suits were from McKay Menswear. 

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Tell us about your floral arrangements.

We had peonies, my favourite flower, mixed with spring flowers and old English roses, tulips and narcissi in yellows and pinks to match the season. The bouquets had trailing ribbons which matched the bows on the bridesmaids’ dresses perfectly. We had a stunning flower arch outside the church and a mixture of jam jars filled with mixed flowers to give the wild flower effect on the tables. The church pew ends had gypsophila tied to them as well which looked great. I loved my flowers as soon as they arrived, Lydia at Eclectic Bliss is a genius, she created my dream flower arrangements.

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Tell us about the details of the day.

We spent quite a bit of time planning the small details. 

  • Our table favours were drawstring bags with a gold heart on with a yellow, pink and gold mini egg inside. They were tied up with the guests name on calligraphy tags. 
  • I had personalised hangers made for my bridesmaids with yellow ribbons and their names on and filled mini picnic baskets with some mini bottles of fizz, jewellery and dressing gowns for the morning.
  • I had a fashion illustrator create an illustration of me Dan and our dog Bella in our wedding outfits and printed out for guests to sign as our guest book which we have hanging up in the house.
  • I made all our confetti by freezing and drying petals from flowers we had in the house for months running up to the wedding. Anyone who knew me would give me their flowers after they were done with them so that I could use whatever I could from them.
  • We had a photo booth with props which we set up in the evening which had its own clicker so we were in charge of the pictures – they turned out so great.

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How did you feel as you walked down the aisle?

I felt totally amazing walking down the aisle. My stomach was filled with butterflies but I took in every step as slowly as I could to try and savour every second because all the planning was leading up to that very moment. Dan didn’t turn to look at me so when I got to him and saw how happy he was all my butterflies went away. 

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How did you make the ceremony personal to you?

We had different songs significant to us throughout the ceremony including an acoustic version of Chris Malinchak’s ‘So Good to Me’ as I walked down the aisle which I kept a secret from Dan. A friend read ‘How Long Will I Love You by Ellie Goulding. We walked out to Coldplay’s ‘Adventure of a Lifetime’ which is one of our favourite songs.  Two friends signed the register and our usher rang the church bell as everyone arrived. The orders of service included a little timeline of our day as well.

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What was your most memorable moment?

Saying our vows was the most memorable moment to me as we really meant what we were saying to each other and almost forgot everyone else was in the church with us. 

I also did a sand story as a surprise for Dan just after the speeches. It was basically the story of our relationship which an artist in Russia created just for us using a series of photos which she made in to a video. It went through from the first time we met to our first holiday, our first house and finally our wedding day. It was worth the hours of collating all of our years together in to a timeline to see Dan’s face after it played on the screen.

I also loved our sparkler shots which was both exciting and scary at the same time – I  was so worried my dress was going to catch on fire.

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What was the most challenging aspect of planning this wedding?

Dan and I chose to pay for the wedding ourselves so sticking to our original budget was challenging. But we made it work and soon realised it doesn’t matter how much money you throw at a wedding, it’s the little homemade personal touches that make it. 

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What was the most important investment for you?

Probably the honeymoon. We took a mini moon back to where it all began to Paris the Monday after the wedding and then went to Bali and Singapore in May. 

We wanted to really enjoy our honeymoon and knew we would only get to visit somewhere like Bali once so made sure it was super special.

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What was your first song? 

We chose ‘Under the Stars’ by John Legend. We love his songs and had never heard this one before, just came across it one night when deciding what to choose and we instantly loved it. We didn’t want a song that everyone necessarily knew, just something that was special to us. We both love the stars too so it fitted.

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Tell us about your wedding cake.

My mum made my sister’s wedding cake so when she offered to make ours we were thrilled. We had a four tier lemon, chocolate, vanilla and fruit flavoured cake in pink, and gold covered in flowers. It was so delicious and the fact that mum had made it was even more special. It was so lovely having updates from my parents as they were making it throughout the lead up to the day – my dad even got involved using his plastering skills to ice the cake.

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

I would have made sure we had Jonny our photographer take some pictures of Dan and his groomsmen getting ready. I was in Topsham at our house and he was at his parents house in Chevithorne, so quite a drive and by the time he was meant to leave to get pictures of them I wasn’t in my dress and decided to keep him with us. I adore the shots of me getting in to my dress and walking down the stairs but felt super guilty I didn’t have any of Dan. 

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Did anything go wrong on the day?

When we left the church we soon realised that a local farmer had accidently left his tractor on the track leading up to the car park blocking all of our guests in. We couldn’t find him for a good 20 minutes but eventually he moved it for us. We also couldn’t have as many photos as we’d have liked because of the rain but that can’t be helped.

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

Don’t get too wrapped up in the small details like the weather because it can’t be controlled. Make sure you get some photos of just the two of you together on the day and don’t wish the planning stage away because it goes so quickly.

Steal their style:

Venue: Upton Barn & Walled Garden
Photography: Jonny A Photography
Videography: Cupcake Videos
Flowers: Lydia at Eclectic Bliss
Catering: Peter Mundy
Band: The Shuffles Band
Fashion Illustrator: Melissa Bailey Illustration
Transport: Self Drive Classics

For more Devon wedding inspiration, pick up the latest edition of South West Bride magazine.

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