"So after a couple of months, I called his bluff and said 'OK then, let's do it!' We booked the date and venue before we had even chosen the ring. When we had found the ring, we announced our engagement to our families
The couple loved Monkton Barn as soon as they first saw it. "The main attraction for us was the flexibility of the venue because we wanted to have a big party and Monkton Barn allowed us to stay there until 3 am which was very important because it was New Year's Eve!" Rachel tells us. "I also wanted a relaxed, rustic-looking venue so it was perfect."
The couple chose a winter wonderland theme decorated with navy and silver touches. "Our centrepieces were a mix of glass milk bottles brimming with gypsophila and glass vases filled with silver and navy baubles and fairylights," Rachel explains. "We also had empty wine bottles that we sprayed silver each holding a candle.
The table plan matched the couple's invitations with each table named after a country or special place that they had visited together and was presented, along with each guest name, on a sheet of paper featuring a navy and silver background suspended from a large wooden board using string and pegs. "As favours, we gave each guest a 50ml bottle of whiskey, gin or vodka, displaying a homemade label. We wanted to buy everyone a drink so thought that this would be a good idea and we gave the children and non-drinkers a non-alcoholic option," Rachel says.
The couple's guests were treated to canapés during the drinks reception, a hog roast as the wedding breakfast followed by a choice of two puddings, a cheese tower made with sausage rolls and pork pies, and slices of pizza for the evening buffet. "Our three-tier cake offered guests a fruit cake option, a delicious chocolate layer and a Victoria sponge cake," Rachel says.
“The cake topper was a Sylvanian Families bride and groom which were toys that I absolutely loved as a child.”
Rachel and Dan opted for plenty of green foliage, ivy and holly in their flower displays and Rachel's bridal bouquet contained thistles, gypsophila and green foliage. This was the finishing touch to her open-back lace dress which she chose for its vintage style.
"My gown was my something new and my veil that was borrowed from my mother's friend's daughter which matched it perfectly was my something borrowed. I also wore a silver diamond necklace which had been given to me for my 21st birthday as my something old and my engagement ring contained a sapphire so became my something blue
Because our wedding was in December, I also wore a furry jacket while we were outside to keep warm."Dan hired a navy three-piece suit for himself and his three groomsmen. "Dan's waistcoat was silver while the groomsmen wore navy ones," Rachel says. "Dan and his best man Russ had silver ties while the groomsmen wore navy ones and my brother, who gave me away, also wore a navy suit and the same buttonhole as the groomsmen.
"We had two black Friesian horses pulling a closed carriage that collected me, my brother and my bridesmaids from the Crowne Plaza hotel and transported us to the venue. After the ceremony, myself and Dan went for a short ride which was wonderful."
Dan's buttonhole included a thistle as a nod to our seasonal day." The couple's bridesmaids wore navy floor-length dresses with a lace design around the collar. "They all looked so beautiful and were very emotional just before we all walked into the ceremony," Rachel tells us.
The couple had a violinist play traditional Irish music during their drinks reception and hosted a music quiz during their wedding breakfast. "The winning table received the prize of a magnum of prosecco which they loved and after dinner, we had a band who then DJ'd until the early hours," Rachel says.
"My mum gave a lovely speech. I know she was nervous but she delivered it beautifully and it was really heartfelt and very special."
Horse and carriage
Luxury toilet hire