Why Ufton Court?
The grounds at Ufton Court are beautiful and the barn sold the venue to us. We didn’t feel that our theme would suit any other style of venues and the blank canvas inside the Tithe Barn and Archers Hall enabled us to dress the venue as we wished.
We could tell that the garden between the Archers Hall and the Barn would be perfect for family and friends to enjoy our day in the sun and we were extremely lucky as we got married on one of the hottest days of 2018.
The location was great for us because we were getting married at St Mary’s Church in Thatcham meaning our guests didn’t have far to travel and we were keen to spend our wedding night at the Hinds Heads, Aldermaston which is a beautiful boutique B&B nearby.
Nearby Accommodation: The Hinds Head, Aldermaston
Our wedding was always going to have a rustic barn theme, but it was becoming more and more popular and we wanted to be different. We wanted to have things at our wedding that nobody else would have so we opted for an Alice in Wonderland theme. We wanted our brightly coloured wild/garden flowers to stand out and we wanted lots of them! Our centre pieces were different on each table and surrounded by moss on logs; we had a top hat, white rabbit, large pocket watch, tea pots, books, large keys and lit up corked bottles. Each table was completed with vintage crockery and a variety of miniature alcohols with a ‘drink me’ tag as our favour. Oh and of course, we had a flamingo croquet set in the garden. We were very cautious that we didn’t want our themed wedding to be too over the top as we could have quite easily got carried away with it, but we hope that our Alice touches were just enough and not too wacky and tacky!
All our larger props were handmade by Chloe’s dad such as the post box, ‘Christie & Chloe’s wedding this way’ sign and the photobooth backdrop etc. All the smaller props were sourced from one of our favourite shops, Home Sense and our festoon canopy and Chandelier with greenery in the barn was supplied by Oakwood Events, High Wycombe.
Supplier: Oakwood Events
We followed Chloe’s family tradition of getting married at St. Marys Church in Thatcham, Chloe was late of course! The ceremony was due to start at 1.30pm but Chloe left her family home a mile away at 1.28pm. After a few photos at the front of the church, Chloe walked in with her dad to Christina Perri – A Thousand Years. We had a reading from 1 Corinthians 13:4–8, which was read by Lewis, Chloe’s brother and two traditional hymns. After exchanging our vows and rings designed by Lover’s Rock Diamonds, we exited the church to Little Bitty Pretty one – Thurston Harris; we knew this song would make everybody get up and wiggle along to the music! The best man hired a BMW M2 to drive us to Ufton Court after the ceremony, unfortunately the M3 that we were having was involved in an accident the day before and was a write off!
Supplier: Lovers Rock Diamonds
Chloe originally set out to find a plain dress with a back bow to match the wonderland character, Alice. After visiting multiple bridal shops, she had a change of heart and decided on a lace princess ballgown. After falling in love with a local dress priced extremely high, Chloe went to Wed2B in the hope they had a similar dress, she was in luck and found ‘the dress’ and veil with her mum. The only alterations that Helen Moss of Sew Loving had to complete was taking the dress up an inch. Chloe opted for Rainbow Club shoes (Madeline), they were extremely comfy and weren’t kicked off and exchanged for flip flops until about 10pm. The bridesmaid’s dresses were bought from AX Paris, needed no alternations and were given to the girls when they were asked to be Bridesmaids, lucky the right sizes were chosen! The hair was styled by Charles hairdressers in Thatcham.
The grooms party wore tweed suits, we didn’t know the weather was going to be 30 degrees on our wedding day! The suits were hired from Phil at Stress 3 hire and he was fantastic. Phil visited our home, measured the men when it suited us and he delivered the suits 2 days before our wedding. He did have to visit again the day before our wedding too as Christie decided he needed the next size up in his trousers! The wedding diet hadn’t gone quite to plan. The suits were then left with a family member and were collected 3 days later whilst we were on our honeymoon.
Suppliers: Stress 3 Hire
Karen at Allium Florist was used at our friend’s wedding in 2017. To us, Karen’s style was like no other, so we knew we wanted her for our big day. When we contacted Karen, we asked for bright flowers and as many as possible! Karen was very keen to take on our wedding when we mentioned our Alice theme, she was flexible and open to all our ideas. We asked for bright summer garden flowers of Karen’s choice; Sunflowers were our only request as they were the favourite flower of Chloe’s Grandad who is sadly no longer with us.
As we hadn’t given much guidance to Karen of what we wanted, the day of the wedding was the first time we saw the flowers and we were totally blown away! In fact, they were the talk of day after Chloe’s dress of course!
The flowers consisted of peonies, roses, clematis, stocks, chamomile and so much more. There was a large flower arrangement at the head of the table, flowers in vases or teapots on the tables surrounded by moss and a beautiful display hanging along the doors of the photobooth back drop.
The Food & Drink
The Great Food Company were our caterers. From the moment we met Clarissa at her home, we knew we were in safe hands and our wedding catering experience was a breeze. Nothing was a problem and everything was made possible! We originally wanted our guests to have a mad hatter experience with afternoon tea, but we knew this type of food wasn’t going to be filling enough especially with lots of alcohol to be drank on the day. We opted for 3 types of canapes whilst arrival drinks were served; Pimm’s, Archers & lemonade and a variety of beers in the wheel barrow. No corkage at a venue is rare to find! We had pate for starter, steak and ale pie with mash for main and brought our theme back with the pudding of a cupcake. The cupcakes were an amazing surprise for us on the day, they were Alice themed (Cheshire, Queen of Hearts, eat me tag etc) and our guests chose which one they wanted to eat. As we previously said, Clarissa made everything possible and Christie had a different menu choice of BBQ chicken wings for starter and a key lime pie for pudding – his favourites!). Our guests all expressed how delicious the food was and even made room for our sweet table and a pulled pork roll for supper.
Our tables were beautifully presented with china crockery from the Dragonfly Vintage China Hire, Wiltshire. The crockery fitted with our theme perfectly and it was so lovely to watch our family and friends pour each other tea in the floral design teapots, it was just like a mad hatter’s tea party.
Supplier: The Great Food Company
We know that the cake can be such a big feature for some weddings but to us, we didn’t really mind what type of cake we had so we were delighted when a family friend offered to make our wedding cake! The pressure was off us and on to Jill! Jill lived in the Forest of Dean, so our cake had to safely be transported to Berkshire and survive the heat. We don’t know how the cake hadn’t completely melted or collapsed by about 9pm when we finally got around to cutting the cake (yes, we were running quite behind on the day). Jill made us a delicious 3 tier semi naked cake consisting of carrot cake, red velvet and Victoria sponge and the finishing touches on the cake were faultless to us.
We wanted a photobooth back drop similar to designs we had seen on Pinterest however we think that Chloe’s dad made us a photobooth better than any other we saw and the flowers from Allium completed the rustic door look. It was great fun collecting the photobooth props, most of them were bought from eBay so often arrived a lot smaller than we had expected! It was also quite handy than Chloe had been to Disneyland Paris for her Hen only two weeks before as we had a lot of Buffalo Bills Wild West Show Cowboy hats to use. We asked each guest to have a snap in the photobooth and their photo now features with their comment in our guest book.
We chose Phil at Storm Disco, Thatcham for our evening entertainment. Picking the evening entertainment is certainly a difficult decision because unless you have heard the DJ or band previously, you can only really go by reviews. We were really pleased that we chose Phil though and will certainly use him again. The songs were varied and got our guests up onto the dance floor. We did ask our guests to request their favourite songs on our RSVP’s but some of the choices were terrible and we are glad that Phil didn’t play them!
Choosing a photographer was probably the hardest decision of our wedding planning as you only get one chance to get the shots of your special day. We chose Arwyn Fitter, Thatcham as our photographer because he was known by a family friend. We also chose Sparks Films, Chard as our videographer. We read on so many sites that a videographer is a must and we agree with that too! Having a 6-minute snippet video of our day that we can always look back on is priceless! Sam also captured our whole wedding ceremony, the speeches and our first dance.
As we previously said, our wedding was on an extremely hot day so we waited until after the wedding breakfast to have our photos, this certainly delayed our day resulting in our cake cutting and first dance not being until 9pm so if there was one thing that we could change about the day, it would be having our photos when we arrived at 3pm. We would have looked a bit fresher in our wedding pictures rather than after the meal and multiple drinks! Before Arwyn and Ellie left for the evening, our guests’ lit sparklers and it was a lovely experience to be captured.
Your advice to future couples
*Be organised is so important, it was so nice to not have to worry about last minute wedding stress. Although we couldn’t decide our first dance song, so Christie made the choice on the day and Chloe found out as she stepped onto the dance floor! The dance went well but could have ended terribly so maybe practice your dance and pick a song in advance.
*Have a DIY wedding if you can, we had everything we wanted in our budget as we were smart with it. We also used Pinterest and Instagram for ideas and we have since sold most of our props on Facebay making us some money back.
*Use suppliers you trust and take advice about the timings of your day from your Ufton wedding co-ordinator and caterers as after all, they know what they are doing!
*Make the day about you two – It is your one and only day, have what you want and who you want at your wedding!
*We don’t have children and none of our immediate family do so it was an easy decision for us to not have young children except our pageboy. Give parents a night off without their children, they will love you for it.
*If you are anything like us, you can’t have enough pictures – ask your guests to take lots too! A DIY photo booth is a must, some of our favourite pictures are from the booth!
*Your guests will love you if you have flipflops by the dancefloor and a sweet table by the bar!
*Other than sitting next to each other at the wedding breakfast, it sounds silly, but you often get caught up chatting to friends and lose each other so make sure you spend time together! We took a couple of minutes together to walk around the grounds before the speeches started to digest how surreal our day was, but we did forget about playing croquet and Jenga together!
*Our closest friends and family stayed with us at Hind Heads and it was wonderful to sit with them the following morning to chat about our day before we flew off on honeymoon the next day. We would certainly recommend this.
*Book Ufton Court, you and your guests won’t be disappointed.