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"We ventured out to our local woods with our puppy for what I thought was her first experience of snow, but it turns out that I had a bigger surprise waiting for me! What made it even more special was that Patrick had already asked for my dad's permission on Christmas Day."
The couple decided to have a church ceremony followed by a marquee reception in the grounds of Rachel's family home where her parents, auntie and brother had all held theirs. "It has become a bit of a family tradition so I couldn't have imagined having our reception anywhere else," she explains.
Rachel and Patrick wanted the decorations to be an extension of the garden. "Because my mum is a keen gardener, we already had the benefit of manicured rose beds and colourful flowers displayed in pots dotted around," Rachel tells us. "My auntie and uncle gave us some beautiful bunting which they made based on all the colours found in the garden. My auntie also handmade crochet butterflies and flowers to scatter around."
The couple also chose to have homegrown blooms including sweet peas from the vegetable patch in their floral table displays. "These were all arranged by my mum on the morning of the wedding who did a wonderful job. We also had log slices, mini watering cans and a succulent plant which worked well with our theme."
"I couldn't stop smiling on my wedding day - it shines through in our wonderful photographs.- Rachel.
Patrick made the couple's personalised table plan. "Because my new married surname was going to be Hill, we decided to name all the tables after the hills found in places relevant to both of us," Rachel describes. The hand-crafted plan was in the shape of a hill decorated with fake grass and flowers." The couple gave each guest a packet of seeds as favours while the children received a crochet frog handmade by Rachel's auntie.
Rachel and Patrick decided to serve their guests an afternoon tea followed by a barbecue during the evening. "I had my heart set on an afternoon tea for our garden wedding," Rachel explains. "Everything was homemade and the caterer did an excellent job.
There was so much food that I was just sad that I couldn't sample it all! We hired the local butcher to take care of the barbecue that worked well."
The icing on the cake was the three-tier lemon, chocolate and carrot cake made for the couple by a family friend who runs a small cake-making business. "Delicate handmade sugar paste flowers decorated it," Rachel tells us. "There wasn't any planning between the florist who made our bouquets or the cake designer but the flowers matched perfectly. We have some of the carrot cake left in the freezer ready for our first anniversary!"
"I wore a dress from Victoria Kay (style no 1555)," Rachel tells us. "It was the fourth one that I tried on. It had a sparkly belt and lacy straps that weren't my style although, without them, I loved it, especially the lace detail on the skirt and the way that it flattered me around the waist. I added a simple belt and a lacy bolero to wear during our church ceremony."
The couple's four bridesmaids wore the same dress in different colours. "I chose blue, green, yellow and lavender to represent the main shades of the garden flowers," Rachel explains. "They all looked so beautiful.
Patrick and his best man coordinated with them in their navy suits with lavender ties and pocket squares."
"We had a DJ playing during our evening reception which was fun for all of our guests," Rachel says. "Lots of our loved ones had contributed to our special day, along with a team of talented local suppliers, so it felt like the community had gathered together to support us."