The couple chose idyllic country venue Deer’s Leap Retreat in South Molton, Devon, in which to tie the knot because it felt so relaxed and natural to them as soon as they first visited. “The owner, Heather, was very welcoming and made us tea which we enjoyed in the stunning farmhouse,” Laura tells us. “The retreat was perfect for our special day because we wanted an intimate wedding with just our close family members at the ceremony. The farmhouse offered enough rooms for our ceremony guests to stay over in (with a couple of people camping in the grounds), and the beautiful barn was big enough for the party for all of our friends the following day.
"We both love Exmoor, so we wanted our choice of decorations and food served at our wedding to complement our location, Laura says. "My sister, Jane, owns Eden Flower School & Wedding Flowers so naturally she was very involved in the decoration and theme. All I said to her was that we wanted to create a natural, autumnal and relaxed feel and she did the rest, she was amazing!"
"Heather and the team at Deer's Leap Retreat were brilliant. They looked after everything."
"Our entire day was so lovely and chilled which we wanted. There was no strict dress code or formalities, and the children (and pets) could run around and do what they wanted."
The couple chose to decorate the outdoor wooden gazebo for their informal ceremony with autumn flower varieties and plenty of greenery, and the barn was styled similarly. "We opted for a long table for us all to sit around with no dedicated seating plan," Laura tells us.
"This was placed under a canopy of fairylights and topped with gold candelabra, seasonal flower arrangements that incorporated feathers displayed in different vessels and elegant tableware that looked stunning. For our wedding favours, we provided homemade hangover kits that included paracetamol, sunglasses, coffee pouches and bottles of water which went down well with our guests!"
The couple served their guests welcome drinks and canapés followed by a mix of a farmhouse picnic (created by Le Frog Catering) and homemade dishes cooked by their family members. "Instead of having a traditional wedding cake, we decided to have a family bake-off which was so much fun and everyone got involved. We ended up with a great selection of puddings and cakes!"
The couple hosted a big party in the barn the following evening complete with a hog roast from Oak Top Catering for all of their friends. "The music performed by local band Leave Before Dawn was brilliant," Laura tells us, "and we also had a DJ who raised the roof and got everyone up and dancing - which was our only request!"
Laura wore a light-blue dress teamed with a gold jacket and gold sparkly heels. "I had a beautiful tiara made by my sister, Jane, that was gold and intertwined with flowers, leaves and berries – it was stunning," Laura tells us. "Frank wore smart jeans, boots, a shirt and a jacket accessorised with a colourful buttonhole. Our much-loved Labrador, Molly, was our 'bridesmaid' and Jane made her a lovely little decoration to attach to her collar."
"Our photographer, Matt, was an excellent choice. His brief from us was no formal photos but instead capture the essence of the day, which he did perfectly. We went off for some couple portraits on the moor which was a two-minute walk up the road and were glad that we did because we were delighted with these pictures."