Helen and Phil met through friends of friends on a night out in Barnstaple in 2011.
Helen tells us, “He was tall, dark and handsome with plenty of charm and personality!” Phil adds, “I was instantly drawn to Helen’s gorgeous eyes and thought what a little stunner!
We got talking and hit it off right away, sharing similar interests in farming, countryside sports and socialising with our friends. We enjoyed several dates and 11 years later, here we are!”
The couple became engaged when Phil proposed in January 2020 in their favourite holiday destination of Tenerife. "Phil did very well hiding the ring until the second day of our holiday," Helen says.
"After enjoying a long walk, we got back to the hotel as the sun was going down and enjoyed a glass of sangria whilst taking pictures of the sunset. Without any expectation, Phil suddenly asked me to be his wife. Of course, I said yes after crying happy tears!"
Being a traditional couple, Helen and Phil both wanted to be married in church.
"We live in the parish of East Down that's home to a beautiful church," Phil tells us.
"We wanted to host our reception at home and are lucky that Helen's parents own the farm where we live so we were able to organise a marquee wedding keeping our fingers crossed for good weather!
The field we used for the marquee boasts spectacular views across Exmoor and Dartmoor."
Helen's uncle Richard drove Helen and her father Steve to the church. "My uncle Alan and auntie Alf arranged the additional transport for our bridal party and decorated the cars with ribbon and flowers," Helen says.
"Phil and his best man, Nick arrived at the church in Nick's uncle's van via a quick stop at the pub en route! We were both a bit nervous but once the ceremony started, we relaxed and enjoyed every minute.
Both the Rev'd. Rosie Austin and Rev'd Sue Davies-Fletcher took the service and did a fantastic job of making it fun, relaxed and very fitting for us as individuals. Everyone commented on how wonderful it was and Phil made everyone laugh when he started to read his vows to Rosie instead of addressing them to me!"
At their reception, Helen and Phil had round tables of eight guests. "Our table plan was designed with purple flowers, wheat and horseshoes which suited our country theme perfectly," Helen says.
"We made our centrepieces using logs that were cut, sanded and varnished by Phil. We displayed glass jars on top decorated with ribbon and hessian made by myself and my mum, Pam.
These were filled with flowers provided by our florist and arranged by my sister-in-law. Our table names were traditional horseshoe-shaped stands welded together and spray-painted in rose gold.
A card was placed in each horseshoe featuring the names of the fields on the farm including The Moor and Stone Field. We kept our favours simple by filling small boxes with sweets and small packets of personalised love hearts."
The couple chose a three-tier fruit cake with royal icing that was made by a very good friend. "It was decorated with handmade iced flowers and real horseshoes," Helen says.
This was served to their guests after dinner which included plated roast beef, chicken or spinach and feta tart as the main course followed by a trio of desserts. "The service by Liz White and her incredible catering team was faultless," says Helen.
Gratton's Butchers provided a delicious hog roast for the evening.
"Liz put together a mix of brownies, rocky road cakes and meringues to accompany this and we had a cheese board and the wedding cake cut for our guests," Helen says.
Helen and Phil decorated the marquee with bunting in shades of purple, green and grey with help from their bridesmaids, family and friends.
"Purple paper lanterns were suspended from the ceiling of the marquee along with fairylights and chandeliers that lit up the space.
We had bottles filled with lights which shone in the evening and solar lights and more bunting provided a boundary to the marquee area.
We placed straw bales outside for everyone to sit on which looked fantastic! Phil painted a pallet outlining the order of the day and made the wedding signs so that our guests could find their way to the farm."
Helen wore a Mori Lee gown called Saskia. "I fell in love with its sleek, sophisticated silhouette which was very flattering," she tells us. "I wasn't sure whether I wanted lace detail or plain fabric but this dress offered it all! It featured Chantilly lace panelling down the sides, a beautiful illusion back, a sweeping neckline and it was scattered with sequins that sparkled in the light.
The long train was impractical but I loved and embraced it! As soon as I put it on I knew it was the one for me. My mum, Pam and stepdaughter, Hollie were there with me and they loved it too. I teamed it with a full-length veil which was the same length as the train and decorated with crystals."
Helen's bridal sandals were perfect for a hot summer's day and very comfortable. "I lasted all day and night wearing them!" she tells us. "They had a blue gem underneath which was my something blue and I also wore a pair of delicate drop earrings and a bracelet borrowed from my maid-of-honour, Debbie as my something old and something borrowed.
Phil's best man, Nick along with his brother Chris, son Callum, nephew Daniel and Helen's dad, Steve all wore the same dark-grey suits with grey tweed check waistcoats.
Phil tells us, "I knew I wanted a dark-grey suit and chose purple ties and pocket handkerchiefs to match Helen's choice of colour for the bridesmaids' dresses.
I also wore a pocket watch which was a wonderful gift from Helen on the day engraved with our wedding date, time and the words 'Please meet Miss Parkin – 16th July 2022, 2 pm – and leave with Mrs Daniels".
The couple's bridesmaids were Helen's sister Gemma, Phil's daughter Hollie and Helen's cousin Hayley. Their maid-of-honour was Debbie.
"Their purple floor-length gowns were all the same halterneck styles," Helen says.
"We gifted them bracelets to wear and they chose the rest of their jewellery, hairstyles and shoes themselves.
We also gave them personalised robes to wear while we all got ready."
Phil made Helen's horsebox into a homemade photo booth which was a great hit with their guests.
"We captured plenty of fun photographs and hired a double-decker bus for the bar which was cool!
It was fun climbing up on the top deck to see the surrounding views - you could even see the sea!" Helen says.
The couple hired a live band to kick-start the evening and they performed until late. "They played a varied mix of songs which suited all ages.
When they finished, our DJ Chris took over playing 90's classics and dancefloor anthems to keep the party going until the early hours!" Helen says.
"It was amazing to see the dance floor full and everyone having a great time.
It was funny watching everyone stagger out of the marquee afterwards and we both stayed on drinking red wine and eating cheese and biscuits until 5 am after everybody had left. We always planned to be the last ones to leave the marquee and once it was quiet, we strolled back down the lane to our house with the sun just starting to rise."
Jewellery and wedding rings
Stationery and bridesmaids' robes