A country affair

Sarah and James' rustic wedding featured an abundance of rich autumnal tones and woodland finds

Sarah and James went on their first date in December, 2002 to see the 1946 Christmas classic It's a Wonderful Life. “It went well: so well, in fact, that we've been back to the cinema to watch it every year since,” says Sarah. More than three years later James proposed shortly after returning from a week's holiday in Barcelona, where they celebrated his 30th birthday.

They were watching the film Pot Luck, as it's set in the city, and reminded them of their time there. As soon as it finished, James popped the question. “It wasn't pre-planned at all. We'd talked about getting married in vague terms before, but James says he was simply prompted by the moment,” Sarah tells us. After waiting a few years to finally set the date, they opted for an autumnal theme in a relaxed, rural setting.

Read on for Sarah's account of their big day...

A country affair: Image 1
Southwood Hall ticked all the boxes – it was close to where James was born, it looked wonderful and we could have the ceremony outside. The menu was great too and the food was locally sourced.


A country affair: Image 2aI don't wear make-up and was adamant I didn't want to on the day, otherwise it wouldn't be me. I had my hair done though and it was much nicer than I could ever do.

A country affair: Image 2 I tried on more than 70 dresses before choosing the one. Never let it be said that I'm not thorough in the search for what I want!


A country affair: Image 3
James wore a three-piece tweed suit, brown bowler hat and splendid facial hair. We didn't want the groomsmen in matching outfits, as we wanted to keep the atmosphere informal.


A country affair: Image 4aMy bouquet was a mixture of different coloured flowers, seeds, berries and wheat.

A country affair: Image 4 Our florist Sam made the buttonholes, each one slightly different, and created the centrepiece for the registrar's table, which we moved to the top table at the reception.


A country affair: Image 5
We can't praise our photographer Luis highly enough, not only for the quality of his work, but the way he made everyone feel relaxed and comfortable.


A country affair: Image 6aWe had board games on the tables, which went down well with the guests, and early in the evening our friend, performance poet Fred Slattern of Colchester, recited poems, including some he'd penned especially for us.

A country affair: Image 6 My bridesmaid Julie made the bunting and included tweed fabric with simple flower and moustache motifs, which looked awesome.


A country affair: Image 7
The tables were named after famous artists depicted by postcards of their work.


A country affair: Image 8
“James organised a mean spreadsheet to help us keep on top of all the costings, so we stayed in budget.” – Sarah


Sarah Ward and James Kinsley's contact book

Bride's dress
La Belle Angèle

Bride's hair
Hair Passion

Bridesmaid's dress
Bridesmaid's dress

The Little Flower Shop

Flowergirl's dress
Marks & Spencer

Groom's suit
Chadds of Norwich

Luis Holden Photography

Southwood Hall


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