A family affair for Laura and Frank

Laura and Frank met when they were teenagers and were set up as a joke by mutual friends. They started dating and always knew that they wanted to get married but had plenty of other things to spend their money on beforehand. “In the end, we gave in to the constant questions about it from our friends and family and got engaged,” Laura says. “It was a joint decision between us both when the time was right.”

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.

Outdoor ceremony "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!"

Bubbles instead of confetti
Vows
Candle decorations

"Heather and the team at Deer's Leap Retreat were brilliant. They looked after everything."

Chesse board

"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."

Wooden gazebo 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.

Candles

"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!"

Nattural centrepieces

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!"

Place settings 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!"

Couple pose in woodland 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."

Newlyweds walking their dog "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."

Jess and Ted's contact book

Band

Leave Before Dawn
leavebeforedawn.com

Catering

Le Frog Catering
Tel: 0333 301 2349
www.lefrog.co.uk

Catering

Oak Top Catering and Hog Roasts
Tel: 07584 071 233
www.hogroasthirenorthdevon.co.uk

Decorations

Jane Cowling at Eden Flower School & Wedding Flowers
Tel: 01823 276 633
www.edenweddings.co.uk

Dress

Phase Eight
www.phase-eight.com

Flowers

Jane Cowling at Eden Flower School & Wedding Flowers
Tel: 01823 276 633
www.edenweddings.co.uk

Jacket

Photographer

Passion 4 Photos Wedding Photographer
Tel: 07988 202 825
www.passion4photos.co.uk

Venue

Deer's Leap Retreat
Tel: 01398 341 407
www.deersleapretreat.co.uk

Wedding rings

Les Grimshaw at Lantic Gallery
Tel: 01884 259 888
www.lanticgallery.co.uk