Gemma's Dress

Our wedding ceremony took place on a spring bank holiday weekend at St. Nicholas Church, Great Hormead, one of the five Churches that date back to the 13th century, which make in the benefice named The Quintet Churches towards north-east Hertfordshire.

Following a beautiful service and pictures amongst the blossom trees we took a detour through the country lanes in our 1965 silver blue Daimler before arriving at The Barn at Alswick for our reception.

After a week of torrential rain, we were lucky enough to enjoy a perfect spring day with our guests in the picturesque courtyard and barn. We took the opportunity to explore the gardens, greenhouses, and pear orchard at Alswick Hall for photos and even managed to make our way into the farmers field where the curious lambs made their way over to say “Hi!”

We wanted our day to honour tradition, but without the formality. So, we decided to inject as much fun and personality into the day as we could, with a burnt orange colour theme, overnight glamping, local ales, and a live band featuring a few guitar solos by the groom himself. There is an excitement and romanticism to the new life that spring brings that we wanted to capture in our day; being surrounded by nature and using as many local suppliers and small businesses as possible was really important to us. More than anything we wanted to appreciate each other, our friends and family, and the beautiful countryside that we are lucky enough to get to call home.

Gemma's bespoke dress

Having a religious ceremony was always going to be important to us. We were lucky enough to find ourselves excitedly moving into an unknown area a year and a half before the wedding, near to our reception venue. Haven fallen in love with The Barn at Alswick we embarked on finding a Church for our ceremony. What we weren’t quite aware of at the time was how special a place that would become to us. The congregation at St Nicholas have an appreciation for nature that we hadn’t quite seen before, and we loved joining them for cross-country walks between the Churches, services which welcomed all the community dogs, Palm Sunday processions lead by a donkey and services in the farmers barns to bless the harvest.

Living in a non-stop and often materialistic modern world, it’s easy to miss the things that matter, so it was so important to us to honour the teachings of our Vicar and ensure the spiritual commitment that we were making, surrounded by the ones we loved, in the most beautiful countryside formed the heart of our wedding day celebrations.

With April featuring non-stop torrential rain, we were blown away to see spring had finally arrived in full force for our wedding day (100% some kind of divine intervention), and we feel incredibly lucky for it.

It wasn’t just the spring flowers, lambs and ducks from the duck pond that served as a constant reminder of the beauty of mother nature that day; I even found a hornet slowly making its way up the skirt of my dress mid-ceremony and had to thank Clare our photographer for saving the day and helping Ben flick it off mid hymn.


Gemma's wedding day

Our day wouldn’t have been anything without the team of suppliers behind us. For those who were there on the day, we saw how incredible they worked together to make everything perfect, and we are truly grateful to them. All of them seemed to understand the inspiration behind our day: “fun and messy, yet traditional and romantic”, and all of them put sustainability and the environment at the heart of everything they did.

Lisa immediately understood how I wanted veer away from anything too trendy or sparkly, and helped me bring the dress that I had been dreaming about for years to life. The dress was a beautiful, romantic A-line dress. The nude bodice was decorated in delicate floral applique with subtle cap sleeves to create a balanced hourglass shape. A soft tulle covered the bodice and the champagne lining of the skirt, with the same tulle used to make create a matching cathedral vale. To enhance the deep-V at the back of the dress, I added a gold pearl back-drop necklace from Bradford-upon-Avon based Britten, a boutique bridal accessories store with beautiful pieces handmade in England. Rainbow Club provided the perfect 2-inch court shoe, comfortable enough for me to dance all night.

Within the dress Lisa had stitched in a blue Madonna from my late nan on my mother’s side, and I wore a blue garter with her medallion stitched – a gift from my aunt. I then completed my look with pearl earrings from my late grandma on my father’s side.

Gemma's bespoke dress

A friend did my hair, which was a messy updo, the twists adorned with pearls. Emma Rae made up myself and my bridal party with natural make up, featuring soft greys, pinks, and champagne colours.

Whilst we embraced a natural, romantic look, the day itself embraced fun. The wonderful Ellie at Wilt Studio provided the flowers for the day, a mix of exuberant orange lily’s, creamy tulips, daffodils and poppies and coral ranunculi. The flowers perfectly matched the terracotta and peach bouquet ribbons from SilkandPure and LaikStyle, and the pumpkin coloured napkins, neutral and rose-coloured pillar candles on our tables which were also scattered with tea lights. All of Ellie’s flowers were either grown locally on her flower farm in Hertfordshire or from other British flower farmers. The locally grown flowers then were complimented by dried flower petal confetti, sourced, and collected by my mum from her garden and the gardens of friends, family and neighbours.

Gold Wedding Cars provided us with a 1965 silver blue Daimler as our wedding car, with the chauffer John going above and beyond to make our day. He was even the first to offer us a drink as soon as we arrived at the reception!

Our cake, which was more like a piece of abstract art than a cake, was created by Butter and Boo. White chocolate and raspberry, lemon and cookies and cream tiers were decorated in peachy orange, gold leaf and butter cream.

The colours complimented the grand but light barn, making it feel fresh and fun. The perfect place to dance the night away to The Sonics, who were gracious enough to let the groom play along to The Darkness: ‘I Believe in a Thing Called Love’, but sensible enough to turn down several offers from other guests to get up on stage to play a few tunes.

Finally, we couldn’t have done any of this without Ellie from The Barn at Alwick, who made the entire day and wedding planning process seem completely seamless, even bringing in local ales from Buntingford Brewery; the team from B&R dining who provided the most delicious food and dealt with a million and one questions from me in the run up with so much grace; and our photographer Clare Smith, who put us completely at ease, and managed to capture the sweetest photos of even the most awkward couple. We do feel bad that she ended up soaked following a champagne popping shot at the end of the night though.


We feel so touched to have had the most incredible wedding weekend. The ceremony and reception couldn’t have been more perfectly ‘us’. As someone who has dreamed of the dress, and the day for a loooong time, it really is incredible to watch it all come together, especially when it turns out a million times better than you could have ever imagined. Now we just want to do it all again!


Photo Credit:




Tash, Hitchin


Neema, St Albans