A Rustic Devon Winter Wedding - November 2020

Now we're over a month into planning and I've been loving reading everyone else's planning threads I thought it was about time to start my own! Plus it'll be so nice to have a record of everything as it happened to look back on. We've only been engaged for a little over a month but it feels like so much has happened already! I've not found any other Devon brides on here either so I feel I have to represent us West Country girls ;)

How We Met
I met M in the most traditional and romantic of ways... online! My work friend was on POF and she persuaded me to join in the hopes we could go out on a double date once we'd found some guys! She made me promise I would sign up that night and said she would be checking I had in work the next morning and so I did. Just a couple days later I got a message from M and the rest is history! 

We arranged to meet up two weeks later but on the day of our first date, everything seemed to go wrong and he had to cancel. I thought he was standing me up so I asked if he wanted to go out the day after instead, thinking if he said no he obviously wasn't interested and I wouldn't ask again! Luckily he said yes and we went out for lunch the next day. Well lunch turned into an all day thing and by the end of the day we had a second date arranged. 

We totally fell for each other and we both knew fairly quickly that this was going to be a serious thing and we moved in together 9 months later. It wasn't long before we started talking about marriage but still very much as "one day", and he definitely made me wait for the proposal!



  • MrsW2020MrsW2020 Posts: 222 New bride
    The Proposal
    So after 4 and a half years, last month M finally got down on one knee!

    The marriage talk had definitely got more serious in the last few months and M told me he had the money for a ring. We talked about when we would like to get married and how long we wanted to be engaged for and so I roughly knew the proposal would be in the first half of this year, but didn't know when or how it would happen!

    Every year we go skiing in the French Alps with M's family and some of his best friends and this year was a group of 9 of us which was our biggest yet. On our third day of skiing M went off with his friend in the morning to teach him on some easier slopes whilst I went with M's mum and dad to tackle something a little bit trickier. Unfortunately the slope we went down was steeper than I like and extremely icy and nearly put me off skiing the rest of the day. For some reason though his mum and dad seemed really determined to get me to the top of the mountain and practically dragged me to the chairlift. M also joined us along with his friend who was new to skiing which really surprised me as the slope down was a lot harder than anything he had already done but still nothing clicked. When we got off the chair lift the rest of our group was also there but I just thought what a nice coincidence that we could ski down with them! :lol:

    M's mum suggested we all take a group picture at the viewpoint looking over Mont Blanc and there was lots of shuffling to make sure I was stood next to M but I still didn't twig what was going on. We stood posing for the picture and suddenly M was on one knee in front of me with a ring box in his hand asking me to marry him. I burst in tears and just about managed to squeak out "Of course I will" before everyone started clapping and hugging us. It turned out that everybody had known it was going to happen for weeks and there had been lots of arranging to get everyone in the right place at the same time but somehow no one had given anything away! I was so sure I would know when it was going to happen because I thought M would be insanely nervous but he was super chilled for the entire build up! The group picture was a ruse and his parents actually filmed the whole thing, it's so lovely to have a video of the moment!

    And now for the all important ring picture...

    He did good! It's a tanzanite with diamond halo and shoulders set into 18k white gold and it's absolutely perfect!

    Later that evening we had fajitas and wine and facetimed my mum back at home who was really shocked but happy as she loves M, and my best friend who had a hilarious reaction that I can't repeat here. I think she was even more excited than my mum! Probably because she knew she would get MOH duties!
  • MrsCToBeeMrsCToBee Posts: 2,934 New bride
    Congrats, lovely proposal and gorgeous ring! Looking forward to reading more 😀
  • CoffeeDogAddictCoffeeDogAddict Posts: 1,249 New bride
    Aw thats so lovely!! That ring is bloody beautiful too! Cant wait to read more 
  • MrsW2020MrsW2020 Posts: 222 New bride
    @MrsCToBee @CoffeeDogAddict thank you both! And thanks for commenting, nice to know I'm not talking to myself!

  • MrsW2020MrsW2020 Posts: 222 New bride
    And so the planning begins! Or should I say continued :D Because we already had an idea of when we wanted to get married and our budget, we (I) had already started researching potential venues a few months before the proposal which meant we already had a shortlist and a favourite before we even got engaged.

    We knew that we would be having around 60-70 guests, that we wanted a sit down three course meal with a drinks package and we wanted it to be in Devon. It had to have accommodation either at the venue or close by because most of our guests would be travelling, and no dodgy carpets! In terms of price we wanted the whole package for venue hire, food and drinks to come in under £5k which initially we thought would be doable because we were going for a low season date, but actually ended up being much harder than we thought! A lot of venues seemed to have major price increases for 2020 weddings.

    We definitely wanted a Saturday wedding because of the number of guests that would be travelling, and M's mum and sister are teachers so a weekday was out of the question. We had a look at Saturdays in October and November 2020 and my first thought was the 10/10/2020 because I like dates that look nice (weird I know!) We ended up ruling it out because it's the day after M's birthday and most venues didn't extend their winter packages to October. Then we started to look at November and realised that the 6th anniversary of our first date was on a Saturday in 2020 and it just felt meant to be! Saturday 14th November 2020 was definitely our date to be, now we just had to find a venue in budget that had it available.
  • MrsW2020MrsW2020 Posts: 222 New bride
    Venues continued

    Some of the venues we looked at online included Horn of Plenty Hotel, Woodbury Park Golf Club, and Buckland Tout-Sants. Although they were all nice options they were either over budget or just not quite right for what we wanted. That left us with a very short shortlist of two venues!

    Reed Hall

    Initially this was our first choice venue. It's somewhere I've imagined my wedding at for a really long time as it's very close to the house I grew up in. It would also mean that we would be close to the church where my parents got married and I thought it would be a lovely way to honour them to have our wedding at the church and our reception at Reed Hall. I was a bit concerned that it might be too big for our guests as the main reception room in the picture above seats double our guest list. I contacted them anyway as up until now they had been well within budget, but next year they've had a big price rise and they are no longer offering any discounts on low season weddings. It meant it was just too expensive and so we ruled it out.
  • MrsW2020MrsW2020 Posts: 222 New bride
    edited 27 March
    Venues (again)

    With Reed Hall ruled out and all the other hotel/country house venues we liked also over budget we start looking in a totally different direction.

    Bickley Mill Inn
    I actually found out about this venue because one of my old school friends got married there last year and the pictures on facebook looked really nice. I downloaded the brochure online and was amazed to see that it was under budget by quite a large chunk, so we wouldn't have to cut down our guest list as much as I thought we would. It's a gorgeous 800 year old flour mill that's been converted to a country pub in a pretty valley about half an hour away from where we live. 

    The day after the proposal I booked a viewing and we went to have a look round a couple days after we got back from France. Both of us loved it straight away, the events manager was lovely and I felt I could trust her with the planning, she also showed us around some of the bedrooms which was a nice unexpected bonus. We had lunch there after our viewing and the food was amazing! Even better, they had our date available and offered to hold it for us for two weeks at no charge while we made our decision. Here's some pictures:

    The ceremony and reception will all be in the same room which is separate to the pub itself so it feels nice and private. There's a covered heated deck outside the room so even with a winter wedding there's an outdoor space for our guests and a bar area with log fires for people that would prefer to stay indoors during the room changeovers. The whole place had a lovely cosy, rustic feel that is so much more us than a posh mansion house would have been. Because it came in under budget we think we'll be able to add extras like canapes and extra menu choices which I'm really pleased about.

    We would have been quite happy to book it there and then but decided to go away and sleep on it, but ended up putting our deposit down later that week. Less than two weeks after our engagement we had a venue booked and the date was set!
  • MrsCToBeeMrsCToBee Posts: 2,934 New bride
    Looks amazing, our final 2 venues were both lovely old pubs, they are just such good value compared to 'stately home' type venues .
  • MrsRendall2BMrsRendall2B Posts: 749 New bride
    Yay, another planning thread to follow! Your venue is beautiful! I much prefer it to your other option, it definitely looks a lot cosier and like a wedding of 60-70 guests wouldn't look out of place or too small for the surroundings. :)
  • MrsW2020MrsW2020 Posts: 222 New bride
    @MrsCToBee @MrsRendall2B Thank you, I'm so happy with our choice! Looking at pictures of the other venues we considered now I don't like them nearly as much as what we've booked. I'm taking my mum there for the first time on Sunday for Mother's Day lunch so fingers crossed she likes it as much as I do!

  • Your venue is lovely. I'm so glad I'm not the only one that rejected venues because of horrible carpets! Everyone just thought I was being weird! :D 
  • MrsCToBeeMrsCToBee Posts: 2,934 New bride
    Your venue is lovely. I'm so glad I'm not the only one that rejected venues because of horrible carpets! Everyone just thought I was being weird! :D 
    I also rejected places with swirly hideous carpets! The worst was the Dale Hill Golf Club, hundreds of different hideous swirly carpets, a different one in each room, all meeting each other in giant pools of hideousness - ugh!

    My venue has wooden flooring!
  • MrsW2020MrsW2020 Posts: 222 New bride
    Golf clubs seem to be the worst culprit for the ugly carpets! Woodbury Park is a lovely venue and has the most incredible views but the carpet in the main reception room is really off putting and ruins the whole room IMO! Very happy with the wooden floors at our venue. Also, excitingly a wedding at our venue has been featured on the Maggie Sottero blog today! I know it's on there to showcase the brides dress but still :smiley:
  • MrsW2020MrsW2020 Posts: 222 New bride
    After booking the venue I put the deposit down on the registrar. Because we were the first couple to book on that day we had our pick of timeslots and so we've gone for a 1:30pm ceremony time. Was anyone else shocked by the cost of registrar fees? :anguished: Our council wants £500 to come to our venue, I had no idea it would be that expensive! 

    Colour Scheme
    So this I'm still a bit torn on so would love some opinions! My first thought was burgundy bridesmaid dresses with burgundy and dusky pink flowers and accents of gold or rose gold in the decorations. Something a bit like this:

    I still really like this colour scheme but I'm struggling to find bridesmaid dresses in the right colour in a style I like (I want full length with lace sleeves). I found a lot more dresses in navy, but I'm not sure if that's just because of the time of year. Can anyone that's been planning their wedding for a while already let me know if there will be more burgundy bridesmaid dresses around in autumn?

    For the time being I've started looking at a possible navy colour scheme. I still want to keep the burgundy and gold where I can and good old Pinterest has pulled through with some examples:

    I think I'll be happy with whatever one we end up with to be honest, and for what it's worth M absolutely loves the suit in the top right corner of the navy picture, which is swaying me more towards that colour scheme! Opinions please ladies!
  • Our venue has wood floors too! I've just looked at Woodbury Park and eberytever about it is lovely except the carpet. That pattern would make you feel sick! I think they do it so spills don't show up but some of them are hideous.

    I love both your colour scheme ideas for a winter wedding. I think both navy and blush are popular at the moment so that's why there's so many dresses in those colours around. I love the burgundy though, it's perfect for a winter wedding and it's a little bit different.
  • Eberytever? Everything!!
  • MrsRendall2BMrsRendall2B Posts: 749 New bride
    Those colour schemes are so similar that you could essentially do both - navy, burgundy, dusky pink, blush and gold accents. :) 

    There will definitely be more burgundy dresses around when we hit autumn again, it tends to be a pretty popular colour :)

    https://www.forherandforhim.com/2018-fall-and-winter-collection_c3152.html - this website has tonnes of different styles and they can do most in pretty much any and every colour you could think of. You could always have a MoH (if you're having one) in navy and the rest in burgundy or vice versa or mix and match! So many options xx
  • That's a good idea that @MrsRendall2B suggested! Even if you have burgundy dresses your fiance could wear the navy suit.
  • MrsW2020MrsW2020 Posts: 222 New bride
    I hadn't thought of having navy and burgundy bridesmaid dresses together! I am having a MOH so that might be a nice way to make her stand out. I've been on that site before and they've got some really gorgeous dresses, but ideally I'd like something a bit cheaper if I can! We've set a budget of £100 per bridesmaid dress so technically they are in budget, I just love a bargain! If I can't find anything I'm sure I will end up buying from there though. Ithink this dress is the closest I've found to what I want so far but obviously in burgundy or navy https://www.forherandforhim.com/lace-chiffon-long-sleeved-dress_4093-Soft%20Pink.html
  • MrsRendall2BMrsRendall2B Posts: 749 New bride
    Yeah, you'll be fine once autumn/winter collections start rolling in :) and to be honest, it's probably best not to buy them too, too early anyway in case somebody gets pregnant in the mean time or loses/gains a substantial amount of weight haha! :)

    Oh totally do both colours! Like you said, it's a good way to have your MOH stand out and that way you get to incorporate all of the colours you're wanting.

    Those dresses are nice :) if you're wanting to save money, get the BMs to wear their own shoes. Under full length dresses you'll hardly see them anyway so it saves you buying some and they can wear something they're already comfortable in.
  • MrsW2020MrsW2020 Posts: 222 New bride
    I'm going for heels but definitely planning on getting them all to wear flats! I'm only 5 foot and all my maids are over 5 foot 7 so need to make up some of the difference! Yeah you're right about waiting a bit longer to get the bridesmaid dresses, I don't know why I'm worrying about them so much! I've spent more time looking for bridesmaid dresses than I have my own dress so far :joy:
  • MrsW2020MrsW2020 Posts: 222 New bride
    So we've had a pretty productive wedmin weekend including booking our photographer which I'll talk about in the next post!

    Today I took mum to Bickley Mill for Mother's day lunch as she's not been there before. I'm happy to report she absolutely loved it! It was a bit of an emotional trip to as while we were there I asked her to give me away and she said yes! My dad died when I was 8, I don't have any brothers and I lost my granddad 3 years ago, and whilst I do have uncles I could have asked I really wanted my mum to be the one to walk down the aisle with me. I'm so glad I did as she's really pleased!

    I also got a couple of wedding bargains in TK Maxx and Home Bargains. I got two of these silver plated photo frames in TK Maxx for £12 each which I'm going to use for a memory table:

    And in home bargains I got this wedding countdown sign for 79p :open_mouth:

    Oh and I got these stamps from hobbycraft for table numbers and invites! The alphabet stamps were £7 and the save the date stamp was £3.

  • Ooooo you’ve chosen the same colour scheme as us! I must admit there were far more navy dresses available but I love burgundy and was prepared to hunt quite a bit. The high street was a bit naff for choices and we had a pretty disastrous shopping session, however eventually I found the dresses we decided on from ASOS. Also another tip, some websites don’t call the colour burgundy but wine instead. Good luck 👍

  • I've heard good things about Ever Pretty for bridesmaids dresses. They're cheap and they have burgundy!
  • MrsW2020MrsW2020 Posts: 222 New bride
    @MrsMacAskill2B ohh that dress is lovely, thank you for the suggestion!

    @Cluelessbridetobe I've looked at Ever Pretty but I'm a bit nervous because of the prices. Most reviews do seem to say the quality is decent, it's just the sizing that seems to be the issue so may try and order one dress in a bigger size and if that's right order the rest after. Plus they have this dress which is basically the exact style I want, and comes in burgundy or navy https://www.ever-pretty.com/uk/lace-long-sleeve-floor-length-dress-ep07412.html?gclid=Cj0KCQiAkfriBRD1ARIsAASKsQIGkAa4TGuuyjWXUu-CO_nq7A1k3t3fwQBo0CeACubUKJVEFAriSGcaAuSpEALw_wcB

  • MrsW2020MrsW2020 Posts: 222 New bride

    This is the part of planning I've found the hardest so far because there are just SO many options and I was really stressed about making the wrong decision and ending up with wedding photos I hate, but we've now booked someone and I'm so so happy and excited about our choice! I must have looked at about 100 photographers online (no exaggeration!) but eventually narrowed this down to around 4-5 and we met 2. Warning - this will be a long post!

    We set a max budget of £1200 for a photographer with the aim to spend less than this if we could! We knew for sure that we wanted an all day package starting at bridal prep and ideally wanted an engagement shoot included. I also decided I would prefer a female photographer, nothing against male photographers! I just knew that personally I would feel more comfortable and relaxed with a woman, especially during the bridal prep. 

    Some of the photographers in the short list included Holly Collings who is one of the reccommended photographers by our venue. Unfortunately she was over our max budget by about £200, it's possible she might have offered a low season discount but we ended up not contacting her to find out. We also looked at Katy Jones who has some gorgeous photos in her portfolio but no prices on her website. I emailed her to ask about a price list and she came up as even more expensive than Holly, so that was a no go!

    Then I found Paige Grace, she was in budget but at the very top limit but her photos were amazing and very magazine worthy! I contacted her by her website (twice!) but got no response. It was a bit annoying but we'd found other options we liked just as much so it wasn't the end of the world.

    Now to the two photographers we met! Hannah Wilde and Melanie from Memories and Milestones. Both came in a couple hundred pounds under budget which was ideal. I found Melanie from searching for pictures of our wedding venue as she's photographed there quite a few times. Hannah I found in the South West edition of Bride magazine as she had a couple of features in there, including in one of their real weddings.

    We met Hannah first and me and M both absolutely loved her! Her package included everything we wanted; roughly 12 hours coverage, 700-1000 photos on a usb and 50 prints in a lovely oak box and a free engagement shoot.  We end up spending 2 hours at her house talking about absolutely everything and came away feeling like we'd made a new friend rather than booking a supplier! We were 99% sure we wanted to book her but decided to go through with our other meeting as we already had it booked. 

    We met Melanie this weekend and she was really nice, and she also threw in a curveball by offering a 25% low season discount making her £450 under our budget. Her package was for less time than Hannah's and although she doesn't offer engagement shoots she was happy to throw one in for us. Despite that we just felt that we clicked with Hannah better which we decided was ultimately more important than the price. Hannah also offered us 10% off if we paid in full which we were fortunately able to do, so she came in £300 under our max budget, we went ahead and booked her and signed the contract on Monday!
  • MrsW2020MrsW2020 Posts: 222 New bride
    edited 17 August
    Here are some of Hannah's photos! You can also go here to see a big selection of her photos from a wedding on Dartmoor she did the weekend before last https://www.hannah-wilde.com. I'm so excited for her to photograph our wedding!

    Image result for hannah wilde photography uk

  • CoffeeDogAddictCoffeeDogAddict Posts: 1,249 New bride
    Theyre gorgeous!! Looks like your research paid off :) 
  • GinAndBlingGinAndBling Posts: 1,311 New bride
    I've just caught up on your thread- absolutely love your colour scheme. Very classic. 

    Those photos are lovely too! Great choice. 
    Our planning thread: We're completely winging it.
    Our report: A fun, classic May day in navy and blush
    My weightloss thread: Diet denial! 
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