Tears and laughter

Stephanie and James had an emotional, fun-filled wedding at Lains Barn

As a reluctant online dater, Stephanie was attracted by James's description of himself as a "gentle giant". Unfortunately, the first date was a disaster, as James cried off early feeling sick. "I just thought this meant he didn't like me," says Stephanie. But clearly that wasn't the case. Some time later, on a break to London during a huge snowfall, they arrived at the Shard (the scene of their first date), where James insisted on going up to the viewpoint – of snow-covered windows – and when they got there, he proposed, presenting Stephanie with a sapphire ring gifted from his great aunt. "James had asked my father 11 months previously, before he passed away. This meant the world to me and made me love James even more," says Stephanie. "We had a glass of champagne to dry the tears and saw The Lion King in Covent Garden that evening." Here the bride tells us more about their big day...

Tears and laughter: Image 1 On the morning of the wedding, I jumped out of bed to see a bright blue sky. Given that it was the end of November, this was a miracle.

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We had a buttercream cake decorated with flowers to match the rustic style, and for flavours, we had lemon drizzle, salted caramel and banana and Victoria sponge.

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We wanted a rustic wedding, and Lains Barn was perfect, especially as James is from Oxford. It looked stunning even before we even added any decorations.

Tears and laughter: Image 3 My dress was a two-piece; I always imagined myself in a boho-style dress, low back, sleeveless but just couldn't seem to fall in love with any. As soon as I tried on this outfit, its simple elegance just felt right.

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James had a suit made especially for him, in navy blue with a gold tie.

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The bridesmaids all wore dusky pink and plum-coloured dresses from Victoria Lou.

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For the table plan, and in keeping with the gold theme, we had a faux gold winter tree, from which we hung handmade cards.

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For the flowers, we had dusky pinks and green foliage with extra details.

Tears and laughter: Image 6 My dad had written a father-of-the-bride speech before he passed away, which my brother read out. I felt so lucky and proud, and I know he was there celebrating with us.

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We wanted to avoid the traditional three-course wedding meal, and Lain Barn was able to cater perfectly for that, with sharing platters of grilled meats with big bowls of sides for the table to share. Our evening food was freshly cooked stone pizzas from the newly built outdoor pizza oven.

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We had a DJ, who also provided the extra pink lighting, which really created a party atmosphere. Our brief was "no cheese!" The music was a hit, and the dancefloor was bustling.

Tears and laughter: Image 8 We had no worries or stresses, everything was perfect and we were on cloud nine. It was the best day of our lives.

Stephanie and James' contact book

Bride's dress

Bride's hair and make-up

Victoria Percival

Bridesmaids' dresses

Victoria Lou


All Cakes and Sizes


Visually Sound


Sorcha Herbert Flowers

Groom's suit

Suit Supply


Nigel Chapman Photography

Venue and catering


Hushabye Films