"Our early dates were mostly outdoor picnics on the North Devon coast by Abbotsham Cliffs which is where Ian proposed exactly one year later on our anniversary. He had prepared a champagne picnic to celebrate and unbeknown to me had spent the last week fashioning a wooden engagement ring (he's a creative carpenter) which he presented to me that afternoon when he asked me to marry him! Although I had secretly been hoping that we would get married, it still came as a wonderful surprise and after a few tears I said 'yes.'"
"We're fortunate to live in a stunning secluded location set in two acres of gardens on the banks of the River Torridge where we are renovating a retreat, Hadlow, designed to provide accommodation for yoga and walking trips so there was no question that we would hold our wedding right there at our home, it was the perfect location!" Chloe says. "We had a legal ceremony at the Torridge Registration Office, followed by a hand-fasting ceremony where we exchanged vows that Ian and I contributed, plus celtic vows that were found by my step-daughter, Beth, the next day at Hadlow. The entire day was such a success that it inspired us to extend our business plan to include small weddings and events."
The couple wanted an informal day with no seating plan or formal wedding breakfast. "We served pizzas with toppings of the guests' choice from the outdoor pizza oven that Ian built especially for the occasion," Chloe describes. "Instead of having a wedding list, we suggested that guests might like to bring a gourmet gift to supplement the wedding feast. I got together with my friends Janet and Rhi to make the sponge cake, and on the day, my sister-in-law Deborah supplied the fresh fruit to decorate it with."
The couple's guests enjoyed their food seated on straw bales placed around the open-sided marquee located down by the picturesque lake. "The beauty of our garden shone through after all of our hard work to prepare it," Chloe says. "We had flowers for the bouquets to complement our the me that Ian's sister Jackie arranged, and we had colour coordinated balloons with ribbons to tie in with these and the bridesmaids' dresses which were deep red, purple and pink."
The couple arranged for their friend Tim to collect the bridal party from the quay in Bideford in his100-year-old clinker-built boat to take them up the river to the venue. "This was very special, not least because the sun was shining but also because the journey was so leisurely that it enabled all of us to relax and enjoy the ride," Chloe says. "When I arrived, our celebrant Deborah, Ian's sister, calmly explained that some of our guests were late due to the recent bad weather halting the clearing of the grass in the car parking field so I was able to sit on the riverbank with a glass of bubbly and wait for everyone to arrive!"
Chloe tells us how her wedding dress was one of the most important factors in their planning. "Having visited numerous bridal shops with my mother and two sisters and finding nothing that I loved, my future sister-in-law, Jackie, called me and very modestly offered me the material she had used for her wedding dress which was from the same gown worn by her mother, Gillian,in the 1950s. Bridal dress designer Sarah Treble relished the idea of incorporating the material into a design inspired by my soon-to-be mother-in-law who was in poor health and very sadly unlikely to still be alive for our wedding. She passed away exactly three months to the day before our big day, but the dress lived on and I cherish the memories of sharing the evolution of it with her before she passed away and felt so special wearing it."
Chloe kept her accessories to a minimum, choosing to wear a pair of earrings given to her by her mum as her something borrowed and her new wedding ring which was very special because it was a true representation of the couple's courtship, depicting the stretch of coastline from their shared home town of Appledore going westward to Welcombe which was the location of their first date. "Many bottles of prosecco were consumed on this coast path in our first year together!"
Chloe also describes how she, along with Ian and the couples' bridesmaids and pageboy, went barefoot on the day. Because their wedding was so laid back, Ian and their pageboy wore a matching waistcoat and cravat with identical cufflinks featuring the registration plate of the first Land Rover. "Our two best men wore the same waistcoats and ties and our bridesmaids chose the design of their dresses in one colour that tied in with our theme which was a muted blue shade mixed with purple," Chloe says. "They all looked so beautiful on the day."
Chloe and Ian booked a string trio who played a combination of classical and contemporary pieces, followed by a Spanish guitarist who performed throughout the rest of the day. "For the evening, we both compiled some Spotify playlists which we played through a sound system," Chloe explained, "and we had a dressing-up box containing funmasks..
What with the youngsters ditching their glad rags to go swimming in the lake and some guests paddle boarding or rowing around it," there was something for everyone. This was in addition to myself and Ian dancing around the croquet lawn, our 'dancefloor' to Let There Be Loveby Nat King Cole – we had taken dance lessons six weeks previously and not told a soul – our guests loved it!"
As a grand finale, fireworks were set off from the far shore across the River Torridge at midnight. "As the evening grew closer, there began a debate between Ian's nephews as to who would get to row the boat over to the far shore to deliver, and set off, the single ignition box of fireworks," Chloe explains. "Once decided, two of the nephews made it safely across the river only to find that the instructions were written in Chinese so it was not clear which way up the box should go! With a riverbank full of guests waiting to see the display, they took a gamble, lit the paper and rowed away as quickly as they could - thankfully they had made the right choice and the fire display was spectacular!"
Bridal party accommodation
Hair and make-up