love shoot #69: a festive barn wedding {kate & alex}

Hello my lovely brides to be!

With Christmas just a few days away, I thought that this week I’d indulge in some festive real weddings.  Today I’m sharing a wedding that was inspired by all things wintery and Christmassy, and shot in a slightly unusual photography style.  Kate and Alex decided to celebrate their wedding in relaxed and informal festive style, holding their wedding in a beautiful barn and decorating with twinkling fairy lights, Christmas tree and decorations!  The stunning bride in her Jenny Packham dress stayed warm in a gorgeous fur jacket, matched by the bridesmaids and flower girls with wintery fur wraps.

Kate & Alex’s wedding photographers, Alys and Dan from London based wedding photographers Our Labour of Love, shoot weddings in a documentary style capturing the details and moments as they occur, and mainly in black and white.  This creates a set of images with a wonderful timeless and emotive quality, as a viewer you can’t help being absorbed into the moment.

I’d always had a crush on Alex growing up (he was my brother’s friend). We got together in our early 20s for 6 years but the time wasn’t right for us and we broke up, very amicably and sadly. We always stayed friends though and 5 years later when I was living in New York, Alex came out to stay, and left me a beautiful love letter on his return to England. We very happily got back together and 8 months later he proposed to me whilst on holiday in Devon. He got down on one knee on my favourite beach where I’d spent many family holidays. It was a drizzly winters day but it was amazing. It felt like a fairy tale ending to ‘our story’ – which inspired a bit of a fairy tale theme to the wedding day.

We got married at Edburton church in Sussex. The Vicar is very sweet and full of character and took lots of time to get to know us, which he then fed in to a really personal service. The Mother of the Bride and her friends had decorated the church beautifully with fairy lights, candles, and gorgeous Christmas greenery arrangements. And as it was the depths of winter our guests were all given a cup of hot chocolate laced with Cointreau on arrival – which went down very well! The reception was in a barn, it was great as we were allowed to do what we wanted in terms of decoration.

We wanted it to feel as informal and relaxed as possible – so we did things such as having shepherds pie for dinner that the guests helped themselves to on each table. Our catering company hadn’t done this before. Plus we tried not to get too carried away in the detail – it was planned and well thought out but not obsessively so, as we wanted to really enjoy the run up to the wedding and of course the day itself without worrying too much if it was all going according to plan. Whilst making our vows our 5 month-old baby wouldn’t stop crying so he ended up in our arms as we were trying to exchange rings. It was the vicar’s idea to stop him crying and it worked! If we’d have been too worried about creating the ‘perfect wedding’ we might not have been comfortable with that but as it was, it was all part of what made the day so special.

We got married on December 11th and wanted the wedding to feel as festive as possible, so there were lots of twinkling lights, candles and silver decorations. Plus the brides dress was platinum. We got engaged in December and immediately planned to get married the following December so the Bride’s mum was out shopping for Christmas decorations in the January Sales pretty much immediately! We had little stockings as favours – filled with sweets, jokes and indoor sparklers. Our honeymoon was a stay in the Ice Hotel to see the northern lights – all in keeping with the winter wonderland/Christmas theme.

We wanted the wedding to speak of us as much as possible so in lots of ways we didn’t follow the conventional route. In our invite we wrote a little story about us in a fairy tale style – with a prince and far away land and a happy ending! Our first dance was to an upbeat dance song that spoke of our time in our lives, rather than a slow love song. The cake was designed by the Bride’s father (an engineer) as a surprise and featured a talking Snoopy, and exploded with confetti! The groom’s mother wrote a poem about us that she read out in the church. And the groom even did a stint on the decks at the end of the night as he loves to DJ.

What was your first dance, and how did you choose the song?

It was to a song called ‘Bruises’ – not the most romantic title for a song! But it was about a couple in love and had sweet words. Alex made me a playlist when I was living in New York and that was on it and we both loved it. Plus it was upbeat so we spent our evenings in the run up to the wedding choregraphing and practicing a little dance, as the Alex was so worried about the first dance that we had to plan something. It worked really well, and was fun to practice too.

Any advice for future brides?

Do what you like as much as possible – don’t feel you have to do what’s conventional. And don’t get overly caught up in obsessive planning. Think of it as a lovely big party for all the people you love most in the world and not a day that has to be the ‘perfect’ wedding.

Aah, isn’t it fun to see such a festive wedding?!  I love all the Christmassy details!  What do you think of the black and white photography?  Would you consider this approach at your wedding?  Why not check out more of Our Labour of Love’s work to help you decide?



Dress ~ Jenny Packam

Shoes ~ From a ballroom dance shop – I needed silver shoes with a lowish heel and they were perfect

Veil & Accessories ~ headpiece from White Mischief Bridal

Bridesmaids dresses ~ Coast

Stationery ~ Lucy Machin bespoke stationery

Venue & Coordination ~ Pangdean, Brighton

Flowers/Décor ~ Brides mum and her friends

Hair ~ Kevin Ware

Makeup ~ Bride’s sister

Groom’s Suit ~ Tailor made at Gresham Blake, Brighton

Catering ~ Hunger Pangs (at Pangdean)

Cake ~ Brides father

Music ~ DJ’ing by friends of the couple



After a decade-long career in corporate interior design, I took a giant leap of faith, left the security of an office job, and founded B.LOVED in 2011 as a platform for romantic and beautiful wedding inspiration. Thanks to a whole lot of creativity, hard work and passion, my gamble paid off and B.LOVED became one of the leading wedding blogs in the UK.

I'm also a co-founder at The Brand Studio, where I design and curate beautiful photoshoots for wedding and lifestyle brands, as well as running wedding industry community the B.LOVED Hive where I support and nurture wedding pros building industry leading businesses. Yep, I definitely have the best job in the world.

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