staffordshire wedding photography

The Chilli Barn Wedding – Laura Rhian Photography

Mike and Dally were hitched in a beautiful, relaxed wedding at The Chilli Barn in Otley last October. I was super lucky to be able to meet and work alongside Bex from Oakleaf Weddings, who was such a great presence and kept things running like a finely oiled machine. Mike and Dally are such kind hearted, friendly people and it was a genuine pleasure to spend time with them and their loved ones. The day was full of fun, pumpkins, a little rain and an unexpected appearance from the fire service!

Here are Mike and Dally who will talk you through their day!

Venue:  The Chilli Barn

We chose the Chilli Barn on Otley Chevin because it is a charmingly beautiful, informal venue and the food is delicious!! We are not the type of couple to choose anything grand or formal and would have felt out of place in a big venue. It was an easy venue to decorate because it’s so cute as it is, so we just went mad on fairy lights, and it was really effective, especially as it was quite a dark autumn day.

Another factor in us choosing this venue is that the chilli barn is just across the road from the Chevin forest and we both absolutely love woodland, (We got engaged in the woods in the town we live in).

Bex from Oakleaf Weddings coordinated the wedding day, and was absolutely lovely. In the run up, she helped us plan the day completely as we wanted, providing suggestions when we were unsure. Then on the day the team were brilliant in ensuring everything ran smoothly, and it never felt like we had to ask for anything because she already had it covered.

We had a pretty eventful wedding, with adverse weather conditions causing our hay bail and firepit circle to catch fire, and she dealt with it expertly. We didn’t even know it had happened until after it was resolved, which is pretty impressive since the fire engine was called out!!

 Outfits: Amelia’s Bridal Boutique, Coast, Asos, Jennis and Warmann

 
Bride – I was fortunate enough to find a dress I really loved in the SALE at Amelia’s bridal boutique in Skipton, my home town. I had initially thought I wanted a simple flowing white dress, or maybe a cute tea length option….but then when I tried on a dress with a humongous train I thought “what the hell!” because you only get to have a train once!!
 
Bridesmaids – We went on a big team shopping trip to find bridesmaids outfits and as soon as they all tried on the lovely grey skirts from Coast, I was sold! We then found some tops from ASOS which worked perfectly and added a bit of sparkle to the occasion! Both the skirt and top happened to be available in petite, which was helpful given that a couple of the bridesmaids were under 5’3″ and formal wear can be a challenge!! I love how re-wearable the outfit is and hope they’ll all get plenty of use from it because I hate the idea of something being worn only once.
 
Groom & Best man – Mike is very specific about what he wants when it comes to clothing, so I left everything to him. He and his best man got off the peg grey tweed suits from Jennis and Warmann in London and we were really pleased with the quality and fit. He’s been styling the jacket out with jeans since the wedding to get his money’s worth!!
 
Rings: Fraser Hart
 
My rings were both from Fraser Hart; a simple solitaire engagement ring and plain wedding band in white gold. Mike had inherited a gold ring from his grandad which he had resized and shaped to a flat court for his wedding ring.
 
Cake
 
My mum offered to make us a wedding cake, but she said she would like to surprise us with the design. We were pretty nervous about what it would be because she can have some quite whimsical ideas, but it was perfect and really thoughtful. She had made three separate cakes – each depicted a verse of the owl and the pussycat poem (our favourite, and one of our readings from the ceremony).
 
Flowers
 
Partly to cut costs and partly because we fancied giving floristry a go, we decided to do our own flowers. Me and one of the bridesmaids did a trial run a month before and were pleased with the results.
 
For the big day, we bought the flowers from a wholesale market in Bradford the day before and a couple of my bridesmaids put the bouquets together and decorated the aisle with the leftovers, plus some foraged bits from the forest. We chose a quirky autumnal ensemble, with ornamental cabbages and lots of thistles and we were all really impressed with the end result: We saved loads of money, the flowers looked great and the aisle decor received loads of compliments!
 
 
We agreed early on that choice of photographer would be important to us, since the photographs will influence how you remember your day in years to come. Neither of us feel comfortable in front of the camera, and really dislike overly posed, formal photos, so we were looking for someone with a relaxed but interesting photography style.
 
After an intense amount of googling, I came across Laura Rhian Photography and instantly fell in love with her natural and quirky style. I could tell she was right for us because her website said she wouldn’t make us feel or look awkward, which was our biggest fear!!
 
Laura was so warm and lovely on the day, she’s one of those people that you meet for the first time but feel like you’ve known for aaaages so she makes it easy to feel comfy, have a laugh and be yourself! I would hand on heart recommend her to anyone and everyone, and have been doing!!
 
Evening Entertainment: The Rhythm Chaps
 
We used a band called “The Rhythm Chaps” for our wedding ceilidh. We had wanted a ceilidh because we like that it breaks the ice between different groups because of the enforced mingling. I’ve never not had fun at a ceilidh and we wanted our guests to have fun…The Rhythm Chaps did not disappoint – they knew how to get people dancing and have a good time.
 
People really got involved and there was actually a queue to join in at times! Even people who would not usually dance got involved – I think it takes the vulnerability of dancing away because you get instructions, so you can just relax and have fun.
 
Table Decorations: A Little Pigment
 
Our beautiful wedding invitations by the talented A Little Pigment were herbal-themed and so we ran with that idea for our table decor. We bought some terracotta plant pots that we filled with 6 different herbs; one for each table. Lauren from A Little Pigment (one of my bridesmaids) also put us together a stunning calligraphy table plan on chalk board so it all tied in together nicely. We were really pleased with how simple yet beautiful it looked.
 
 
What was important to us when planning
 
When we were planning our wedding, the most important thing for us was that it would be a really fun, relaxed and personalised wedding that reflected who we are as a couple. Concentrating on those things influenced who we picked for our venue, entertainment etc.
 
We also felt that the photography was really important so that we could remember the day fondly without cringing at awkward pictures of ourselves trying too hard to look like we are in love!
 
Anything we wished we had done differently
 
Honestly I don’t think there is anything we would have done differently…even having an accidental fire just adds some excitement to the stories we’ll tell our kids someday! It was our day and it was perfect for us.
 
Advice
 
Our advice would be to not stress and plan too many details because what you see on Pinterest is not real! Keep in mind that after the ceremony is over you’re planning a party, so people want to have fun, eat, drink and dance and they won’t be worried about the smaller little details. Having said that, there is a lot to plan, so make sure you’ve got a good spreadsheet on the go!!
 
The wedding industry can be quite cagey about pricing, so make sure you do your research before committing to anything. We were conscious that while we wanted the day to be amazing, we didn’t want to be poor or in debt because of 1 day of our lives! Therefore we made very considered purchases, and did anything we could do ourselves.
Plus we hate waste, so tried to only buy things we felt we would use again, like for decor, we had fairy lights (which we will use again at Christmas) and potted plants (that now live in our garden).
 
Finally, we think it’s important to be relaxed and go with the flow on the day. For example, we had planned to have sparklers but after the fire, it didn’t feel like a good idea(!) and so we didn’t and we accepted that straight away and carried on having fun!
 
 
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