We’re at the inimitable River Cottage in Devon today for a wonderfully-natural, kitchen garden wedding featuring seasonal flowers, fresh, organic food and a laid-back and intimate vibe.
Lead dietitian Siân wed professional investigator Justin on 25 July 2021 at River Cottage near Axminster in Devon. Inspired by the natural, rambling garden setting, the simple day made the most of the fresh summer air, with the ceremony held outside beneath a flower-bedecked pergola.
Photography Jennifer Jane Photography
“We were inspired by the beautiful countryside location of this 100-acre organic farm and the ethos of River Cottage. “
“We wanted an intimate, laid-back wedding that was a bit different, with amazing food in a fabulous location.”
“Exclusive use of the venue was also important to us and we loved the idea of getting married in River Cottage’s ‘Kitchen Garden’.”
“We loved the surrounding area as our guests could stay in Lyme Regis and make a weekend of it.”
The bride selected a dreamy, floaty gown by Savin London, just wonderful for the garden vibe.
“Things aren’t always how you ideally imagine them to be. Due to Covid, I had to look for my wedding dress close to the wedding date and tried on the dresses on my own.”
“My perfect dress was in the last shop I went to.”
“My dress was from Lace & Grace Bridal Boutique in Keynsham. The collections were stunning and the staff were friendly and helpful. Having tried around sixty dresses on, I knew this was the one.”
“I loved the warm tone, the delicate detailing, the front split and the luxurious material. It just felt right!”
The clear day allowed the couple to wed outside in the kitchen garden, beneath a pergola decorated with flowers and foliage by florist Charlie Ryrie at The Wild Gardener.
“We were impressed by Charlie’s beautiful, home-grown flowers and ecological gardening ethos. We had a pergola bar for the wedding ceremony and a horizontal hanging hoop in the main barn for the wedding breakfast.”
The guests were transported from River Cottage’s Tractor Stop in the carpark at the top of the hill down to the farm by a fleet of Land Rovers before taking their places in the garden.
As the bride walked ‘down the kitchen garden’ with her father, ‘Over the Rainbow’ by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole was played.
The ceremony, in which the couple exchanged bespoke rings from Titcombe Bespoke Jewellery, was the couple’s favourite part of the day.
“We were so happy that we couldn’t stop smiling for the rest of the day.”
“Our rings were bespoke. For my ring, a mould was made to match the wedding band to the unique shape of my morganite (my birth stone) and diamond engagement ring, with hidden ruby and sapphire stones (representing Wales and Scotland). The service we received was fantastic.”
The newly-weds left the ceremony setting to ‘Higher Love’ by James Vincent McMorrow.
Justin wore a navy suit with a tweed waistcoat from Peter Posh. It was tailored by Bertoldi Bristol and he added a tailored shirt by Tailor Store and a pocket square and tie, both from Swagger & Swoon.
“I would always recommend buying a suit and having it tailored to fit perfectly, even if your budget is restricted for the suit itself.”
“A fitted, cheaper suit always looks better that an expensive, ill-fitting suit.”
After the ceremony, the couple and their guests made the most of the River Cottage setting, which such fun activities.
“We had outdoor games including Skittles and Welly Wanging, and a tour of the farm which included meeting the pigs and a cat called Marmalade.”
Marrying in the summer of 2021, the couple had to consider some Covid regulations in the planning of the day, which they worked with the River Cottage wedding co-ordinator Phoebe Taylor.
“We were very lucky to have our original wedding date. Our wedding venue was intimate and predominantly outside, mitigating risk.”
“We were lucky as the restrictions on numbers had just changed and guests were also able to dance.”
“This was the first time our guests had been able to socialise to such an extent since the restrictions had been put in place, which added to the occasion.”
“We were very lucky with the weather as there were thunderstorms the night before and forecast for the wedding day. However, on the day it was dry with bright sunshine – perfect weather for the ceremony and activities outdoors.”
Siân and Justin got engaged on a cruise in 2019 and were engaged for two years before their wedding.
“This Welshman and Scottish girl met through a social event and activity group hosted locally in Bristol in 2013.”
“We got together a year later. Justin had planned a surprise romantic proposal during the cruise at the ‘Lake of Love’ in Bruges.”
“Sadly, the weather had other ideas which meant his last chance to pop the question was while we were moored in a not-so-romantic Southampton.”
“He slipped the ring into a glass of Champagne and got down on one knee but, as a typical Scot, I was more interested in phoning reception to query something on the bill.”
“When the penny finally dropped, I was ecstatic… nearly as ecstatic as he was!”
“Having looked at several photographers, we chose Jennifer Jane due to her unique artistic style, using warm tones and a soft focus to capture the story of the day.”
“We designed our own stationery through Zazzle. River Cottage provided the menus and place cards.”
“Our favours were personalised strawberry & champagne miniature jams with bespoke labels from Tiptree.”
The wedding breakfast and fruity wedding cake were served in River Cottage’s barn, along simply-decorated tables.
“The food provided by River Cottage was amazing. We had a meeting with Gelf Alderson, their head chef. He explored our favourite foods and we created a menu together for the day, bespoke to us. There was nothing he could not accommodate.”
“We even had a take on Welsh Cakes and Tunnock’s Tea Cakes as a nod our Welsh and Scottish heritages. We also got to meet Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall whilst he was filming for TV.”
Later on, there was dancing to music from The Haus Band.
“Our first dance was ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’, customised by The Haus Band.”
The couple extended the celebrations by staying overnight at River Cottage.
“We spent our wedding night in the 17th century farmhouse with the whole farm to ourselves. The next morning, the sun was shining and the chef prepared a delicious breakfast for us, which we enjoyed in the serenity of the kitchen garden.”
“We spent the morning relaxing in the kitchen garden and playing garden games.”
Words of Wedded Wisdom
“We found that keeping the wedding simple and having the wedding ceremony, reception, evening reception and accommodation for us all in one location saved a lot of time, expense and planning.”
“River Cottage provided the venue, the food, cake and games, which allowed the day to run smoothly.”
“We wish we could experience our wedding day again. It went far too quickly!”
“Just go for it; you never know what is around the corner. Things fell into place perfectly for us, having initially not known whether the wedding would happen or whether we or our guests would test positive prior to the wedding.”
“It helped to have one supplier providing and organising the day, as insurers were not covering cancellation due to Covid, so it would have been easy to move the date without losing any money in the worst scenario. Other suppliers such as the band, hair and makeup had a minimal deposit, mitigating the risk.”
Siân and Justin, thank you so much for sharing your beautiful River Cottage day with us. What a pleasure to see your simple, natural celebration and the gorgeous Savin London gown.