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A gorgeously autumnal wedding at Dewsall Court

A gorgeously autumnal wedding at Dewsall Court

Written by Katie Byrne

Thoughtful favours and handmade details set the tone for Elizabeth and Daniel's cosy celebration


Elizabeth and Daniel tied the knot in a seasonal celebration held at Dewsall Court in Herefordshire.

Photography: O&C Photography

We wanted our wedding to be relaxed but with a formal edge to it. Dewsall Court captured this so well with the grand country manor house for the drinks reception and then the relaxed 15th Century Wainhouse Barn for the main wedding breakfast, all with a picture postcard church at the end of the garden path.

Ever since I can remember I have wanted an autumn wedding. I think there is something magical in the air in the autumn, it could be the falling leaves, the smell of burning fires and smoke or the haunting atmosphere on Halloween. I also think it might stem from the film Robin Hood Prince of Thieves; right at the end of the film Robin marries his Maid Marion underneath a canopy of trees, with the leaves gently falling all around them, it looks desperately romantic. So this was to be the vision and inspiration for our October wedding day!

I tried on 55 wedding dresses before I found the one for me: I put on a gown by New York designer Anna Maier. With its nude figure-hugging slip and the way the exquisite vintage lace fell over the top of it, there was no other dress that came close. 

I wore a pair of beautiful rose gold Jimmy Choos that I had worn when I was my best friend Hannah’s Maid of Honour earlier in the year. It was only the second time I had worn them but they were so comfortable and felt so special to wear for both of our most important days.

Dan struggled to find his suit at first but eventually found the perfect navy, three-piece suit from Adrian Burrows, The Bespoke Tailor. When it arrived, it fitted him perfectly and needed no further alterations. I got him a pocket watch to wear with it as when the jacket is taken off the chain on show smartens up the waistcoat and gives it a traditional feel.

The bridesmaids wore full-skirted Biba maxi dresses in a gorgeous champagne colour and looked gorgeous!

The only flowers I really wanted were freesias (my Nan and Mum's favourite flower). I wanted the buttonholes and bouquets to look like they had come straight out of an autumn-set fairytale, so our florist added little acorns and pinecones, spending the weeks beofre the wedding foraging for them! The bouquet was finished off with small whisps of wheat for a real harvest feel.

We wanted the inside of the barn to equal the ethereal beauty of Dewsall’s grounds so I knew that the floral and foliage arrangements would be key to creating the desired impact. This would mean dressing all five beams and the gothic candle lit chandeliers which is rather a large task. 

We had more copper torches lined the path from the house to the barn and then my brother-in-law, Terry, is an infamous pumpkin carver, so him and his nieces spent the days before the wedding carving wedding-themed pumpkins as a nod to Halloween which was just two days after our wedding.

We had festoon lighting zigzagging outside the Wainhouse barn and then a canopy of light inside the barn itself which instantly created a magical atmosphere. I remember standing outside looking back into the barn and seeing all the fairy lights and candles twinkling. That, mixed with the sound of music and the laughter of our guests made my heart soar.

Two large wooden teak tables were used for decoration purposes, I love bread, so my bridesmaids created an amazing bread table which was all wicker baskets, dried flowers and wheat sheaves. This then doubled up as the evening food table with the cheese cake and freshly baked artisan breads completing the décor!

The second teak table had our wedding cake, the guest book and the Polaroid camera that we had used for people to capture moments of the evening and then write a message in for us.

We had a little slipper area and my sister had ironed on our names and the date of the wedding as a reminder, the women found these very useful as we danced the night away and then we also had a sparkler and blanket area outside by the fire pit.

I am a self-confessed book worm. So on each table number card we put a different love quote that meant something to us. The table plan was then a large floral heart that stood proudly at the entrance of the barn.

The place settings doubled up as favours and my family and I spent many hours creating them. The women all got pastel coloured cotton scarves which had their name and then ‘to have and to hold in case you get cold’ on the tag. We wrapped them in twine and then adorned them with two small brass acorn charms (which we also used on the invites).

The men received a shot (or three) of Johnnie Walker Black Label that my Dad had decanted into small glass bottles (whilst finishing the leftovers off)! These were then finished with a luggage tag with their name and ‘a wee dram’ as their message as Dan spent many years growing up in Scotland (and also loves whisky).

My sister made our wedding cake: I found a picture on Pinterest and sent it to her, and she replicated it to perfection! She had even added gold leaves for that autumnal feel. Dan is half Iranian and his younger sister, Ariana, did a Persian ‘Knife Dance’ before we cut the cake. In this tradition, the groom has to pay the dancer to get the knife back before the cake can be cut. Ariana did this so gracefully and beautifully… and left £50 richer!

I loved getting ready with my mum and my bridesmaids - we were up so early, it felt like Christmas Day! I also loved walking to the church with my dad and my 'maids, knowing that Dan and all the people we love were in the church waiting for us!

Steal their style!

Venue: Dewsall Court Florist: The Great British Florist Dress: Anna Maier at The Mews Bridal Bridesmaids: Biba at House of Fraser: Groomswear: Adrian Burrows Cake: Dawn Holliday

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