REAL WEDDINGS: Alice and Kevin threw a laid back woodland wedding in the heart of Devon

25th February 2016


It was on a beautiful early summer’s weekend that Alice and Kev chose to hold their laid back woodland wedding at Middle Coombe Farm near Tiverton in Devon.  The day was captured beautifully by Becky Joiner of My Fabulous Life.  Over to Alice and Kev ...

The Venue

We got married at Middle Coombe Farm in Devon on a beautiful weekend in early June 2015.  The ceremony and reception were all at Middle Coombe with the wedding ceremony in the beautiful cider barn.  We had our reception drinks at the oak tree in the forest and a meal in a marquee by the barn.

Middle Coombe Farm near Tiverton in DevonThe wedding ceremony in the Cider BarnSigning the register after the wedding ceremonyThe drinks reception at the oak tree in the forest

The Guests

We had a total of 100 guests, which included family and friends from all over England including Bristol, London, the Midlands. Some were from the local area in Mid Devon.

Walking through the woods to our drinks reception

The younger guests having fun on the swing in the woodsGetting ready ...

Did you have a budget? Did you stick to it?

We were probably a bit too relaxed about the whole thing initially so didn't really create a proper wedding budget from the beginning!  But we did end up with a vague budget and stayed pretty close to it.

The Atmosphere

Relaxed and informal - we wanted to have everything in one place including the legal wedding ceremony, with as many guests as possible staying on the farm with us for the whole weekend.

The whole weekend was relaxed and informal with some time to ourselvesEnjoying a moment together in the woods

The Outfits

We weren't really concerned about everything matching.

Simple outfits with wild flowersIt was not important to have everything matching

I ended up with a lovely dress from Charlie Brear.  It was a long and hard process for me to find the right dress as I think I was looking at the kind of dress I thought a bride 'should' wear rather than a dress that made me feel good, even though I was determined, from the start that it wouldn't necessarily be traditional.

In the end I loved the simplicity of the dress I wore and felt great in it, I was also really happy to find a British designer.

I loved the simplicity of my dress and home grown flowers
Kevin wore a gorgeous linen and cotton suit from Dries van Noten and he and his best men all had neck scarves rather than ties which was lovely.  We didn't know what each other was wearing until the day and I just loved his outfit!

Kevin wore a gorgeous linen and cotton suit

The Food

We had Devon cream teas in the morning then a hog roast from the neighbouring farm with shared salads and bread followed by a shortbread dessert. The caterer was Lucie at Feast Without Fuss who was local, lives very nearby and knows the venue well.  She was totally amazing.  People are still talking about the food now!

Our wedding cake was made up of local cheeses and it made an amazing night time snack.  In the end it was like a second meal as everyone tucked into the leftover hog roast as well!

We had another BBQ the next day which was also amazing.

Our cake was made up of local Devon cheeses

The Eco Elements

When we visited Middle Coombe Farm on our search for a wedding venue, we not only immediately loved the place but also their ethos and the fact that they try to do everything in such a sustainable way.  It was definitely really important to us to make sure everything came from the local area and that the people we asked to provide food, flowers, etc. were also local.

My bouquet was made up of locally grown flowersSeasonal British flowers from a local grower
We found Richard at Clements farm who grows wild flowers for weddings organically, and they were so beautiful.  While we were planning the wedding we visited him on his plot and saw how he ran his garden which was a real pleasure.  We also got our bacon for the morning sandwiches from the local farm!

We made the decorations ourselvesOur guests helped decorate the venue
We did most of the decorating ourselves - we are extremely lucky to have a lot of friends who are designers and artists so they were amazing and made it all look so beautiful!  We used fallen branches from the forest and wrapped them in fairy lights for the barn and it worked so well - I think one of the arrangements might still be there! We were allowed to collect ivy from the woods so we used that for decorations and I had it in my hair with flowers.  We collected jam jars and arranged flowers ourselves and collected bottles for the wine which we had in barrels.

The wine came in barrelsWe collected reclaimed bottles for the wine

Kevin makes beer so we had 2 barrels of that for the bar too.

It did all take a lot of work and planning, but we were so happy that it made everything feel so personal.  

Can you be Stylish AND Green?

I think you definitely can!  If you think about the people and the products you are using and do your research well, you can easily find out from a vendor's website if they use local products or not. 

Of course everyone has different tastes but we feel that natural products can be really beautiful and their use reflected our own personal style and ethos.  We certainly found that using people nearby and being allowed to pick foliage from the beautiful woods at the venue made the wedding look amazing.

Tips for Brides Planning to throw a Green Wedding …

It starts with the venue, I think - if you can find a venue that is already working hard at being a green, then they will help you and be able to suggest local people who can supply you.

Top Tips from the Groom

From a sustainability perspective I think it’s important to think about how your guests will get to your wedding and where they are going to stay.

We encouraged our guests to camp on site for the weekendOur guests stayed all weekend and the camping was fun!

We tried to encourage as many guests as we could to arrive by train and camp on site.  As a result we had to think about how to set up the campsite and make camping easy for our guests.  We had a supply of toiletries, towels and bedding which meant that people travelling by train wouldn’t need to bring bulky bags with them.  We also tried to bring as many tents as we could with us.  I think this encouraged a few people who would otherwise have travelled by car.
Because we stayed on the site from the Thursday, it meant that it was difficult for Alice and I to avoid each other on the morning of the wedding. As a result we decided to abandon that tradition which I think made the whole morning a little less stressful than it could have been if we had to constantly worry about avoiding each other!  I think what I’m trying to highlight is that just because something is traditional, or expected of you, it doesn’t mean you can’t change it slightly, or forget about it completely, to make your day as stress free and memorable as you wish.

Make sure you take some time for each otherThe photography sesssion in the woods meant we had time on our ownEnjoying some time together during the day
Make sure you take some time for each other - just the two of you on the day, even if it is just 5 minutes somewhere away from the main wedding and this happened naturally for us.  We all walked through the woods to the oak tree for our speeches and after the speeches the photographer let everybody return to the farm before us so we could get some photos in the woods.  As a result we had a short walk back to the venue on our own, which I think we both really appreciated when we arrived at the breakfast.  It turned out to be a very special private moment for us both.


Alice & Kev’s ’s other Top Tip …

Just to say, if you're considering a wedding in Devon, do visit Middle Coombe Farm.  It's so beautiful and the owners are so lovely you'll have a wonderful time.  The farm will always have a special place in our hearts.

By the way you can rent Middle Coombe for holidays too!  Before the wedding we arranged to spend a couple of weekends there, it was wonderful.

Wallow in the wedding by clicking on this wonderful wedding video by Tim Joiner Films.

Huge thanks to Alice and Kev for sharing their gorgeously laid back farm wedding and to Becky Joiner of My Fabulous Life and Tim Joiner Films for their stunning photos and video.

Middle Coombe Farm is a handpicked eco friendly wedding venue loved by Green Union and listed in our wedding directory.

Thanks to Alice and Kev for sharing their beautiful wedding with us


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