The wedding was carefully styled with nostaligic art deco flare and majestic 1920s touches, to recreate the feel of a Great Gatsby-esque house party in the Devonshire countryside.
With it’s delicious oak pannelling, bookshelves stuffed with old books, and a grand entrance hall, exquisitely able to play host to a champagne tower – Huntsham Court certainly provided the perfect backdrop to echo this era of glamour and grandiose and the party elite.
Lara and Ben had opted for an outdoor wedding blessing, braving a slight chill in the air to celebrate outdoors in the pagoda area of the sweeping grounds that Huntsham Court has to offer.
In the nearby fields, cows gently murmured their soundtrack of approval, and wedding bells rang out from the village church as guests took their seats and snapped selfies.
Lara and Ben had decided to enter the ceremony together, and so they had a moment alone indoors to greet one another, and to compliment eachother’s outfits and smiles, thus giving reassurance to each another before they began – how sweet!
The ‘first look’ of the bride and groom was captured so beautifully by their photographer Karolina of Bears Collective. It was a really a very heart-warming moment to see Ben smile so broadly as his bride-to-be Lara descended the grand staircase, giggling her way down every step!
The final few bars of Somewhere Over the Rainbow were played, followed by Dance Me to the End of Love as the clock struck 1pm and we approached the moment to begin.
Guests were asked to be upstanding, as Lara and Ben entered the garden to the soft sounds of Coming Home by Leon Bridges.
We began the ceremony with some all important thank yous, as guests had travelled from as far as Cyprus, Dubai, South Africa, Canada, America and even Australia to be here at Huntsham Court. A few guests had even made it out of London, journeying into the depths of the Devonshire countryside on a Saturday afternoon in Spring time – quite the achievement!
We shared some stories of how Lara and Ben had first met and come to be together, including a tale about Tinder, and the moment when they “fell in love at first shawarma!”
Guests laughed over Lara’s own admittance that her ‘swooning’ in Ben’s presence really came down to clumsiness, and Ben gave away the secret that buying their first home together had made him feel far more grown up than he cared to admit!
We included three readings in the ceremony. Ben’s brother, Daniel, began with – Shine – a prose of scientific pondering over love, inspired by the works of Carl Sagan.
“…It is wonderful to think that the reason for our existence could be love: a mechanism used by the universe to reunite the stars, so that we can once again shine together…”
This was followed by What Goes With What … an extract taken from Appetite by Nigel Slater, read by Lara’s work friend Cordelia. Finally, Simon Armitage’s contemporary poem Let Me Put It This Way, was read by Lara’s God sister, Heidi, who had travelled in from South Africa.
“Let me put it this way:
if you came to lay your sleeping head against my arm or sleeve,
and if my arm went dead,
or if I had to take my leave at midnight,
I should rather cleave it from the joint or seam than make a scene
or bring you round.
There, how does that sound?”
Then came the all important part: the declaration of promises in marriage. Ben and Lara were asked the questions to which their response was simply… “I do.”
Luckily, they got the answers right!
Lara and Ben had written their own vows, personally penned from the heart to embody their truest thoughts and sentiments for one another.
It was a beautiful moment. Tears were shed, interspersed with giggles and laughter. I love it when a couple can deliver such a mixture of emotions with just a few short sentences!
In addition to exchanging their wedding rings, Lara and Ben had also opted to include a crystal healing ceremony as part of their celebration.
Lara’s sister, Taryn, had earlier prepared the ceremony area with crystals to help bring good energy and protection to the marriage service. She was then asked to come forward and assist in cleansing Lara and Ben’s auras with sandalwood incense, before offering them the wedding rings which she had placed on a pyramid of carnelian, in the centre of a crystal grid, prior to the ceremony.
Taryn believed that by placing Lara and Ben’s wedding rings together in the centre of this sacred formation, this would harness and focus the energy of the crystals into the physical material of the wedding bands themselves.
Through transference, this energy and the qualities of the crystals would live on in the body, mind and spirit of both Lara and Ben as they wore their wedding bands, forever after.
Lara and Ben took turns to make one final declaration to forever honour the commitment that they were making, as they placed the wedding rings onto one another’s third finger.
Finally, with all the formalities said and done, it was time to introduce them to their guests as husband and wife. Ben didn’t miss the opportunity to steal the moment with the most grand of kisses!
Cheers and applause erupted around the garden as Lara and Ben made the most of the final moment of the ceremony. The couple were then showered with confetti canons as they walked together down the aisle once more, this time to the sound of Dean Martin’s Volare.
There was only one thing left to do after that – crack open the bottles and pour out the champagne! Which they did, in true Gatsby style, of course!
I’d like to say a huge thank you to the staff at Huntsham Court for their welcome and support on the day, and to Bears Collective and Mrs Mash Up for all being such a pleasure to work with.
“Well played, old sports!”
More importantly though, a big, big thank you to my gorgeous couple, Lara and Ben, who were not only so wonderful to work with, but who also invited me to join them as their guest for the remainder of the day… and I was positively charmed to do just that! x
All images by Bears Collective and kindly donated to this blog post by Lara and Ben.