A Whimsical Outdoor Destination Wedding in England
Lucy and Robie
Lucy Begg, a native Brit, and Robie Gay, an Alabama boy, met in a small, rural town in Alabama. Both designers, (they now run a business, Thoughtbarn, based in Austin, Texas) they were participants in a program focused on building structures from salvaged materials. Robie helped Lucy construct a screen porch, and eight years later, they were married in England surrounded by 140 loved ones.
Lucy and Robie designed and produced their stationery, starting with the save-the-date. Robie, a partner in a digital fabrication business called BBIITT, had access to a laser cutter, so they added a decorative border. The hot-air balloon illustration reflected an engraving that hung in their wedding venue.
The card set the scene: "English wedding festivities with a twist of the Deep South."
The laser-cut details and hot-air balloon imagery were included on the couple's invitation too.
Lucy drew a map of the venue and the local village of Corsham.
At the top of the map was a crest that incorporated the hot-air balloon, the couple's native flags, and the wedding date (June 18, 2011). Their nickname of "RoLu," formed from the first two initials of each of their first names, also crowned the map.
The Rehearsal Dinner
The night before the wedding, the groom's parents hosted a Southern-style rehearsal dinner. The menu included barbecue chicken, greens, corn on the cob, potato salad, and quail-egg Scotch eggs. Activities including family slide shows, trivia games, and bluegrass picking kept everyone entertained.
Guyers House, a hotel in the English countryside, accommodated half of the guests for the weekend-long affair. The charming location had manicured gardens, a croquet lawn, a tennis court, and a wood-paneled bar in an old stable.
The intimate setting allowed friends and family to get to know each other. "Nothing gave me greater pleasure than seeing an American friend swapping stories with an English godfather, my aunt two-stepping with an Austin friend, my mother-in-law taking care of my little cousin, and our two sisters walking down the aisle together," Lucy said of the camaraderie that developed over the weekend.
Lucy wore a dress by Louise Selby. "Visiting her lovely studio in London was one of the highlights of the planning process," she says. "Her dresses are simple, romantic, and modern, and it was a privilege to be fitted by the same person who was making the dress." The rose-patterned lace mimicked the climbing flowers on the walls of the wedding venue.
Robie looked dapper in a three-piece suit from Gieves and Hawkes, a quintessential London tailor.
Roses, freesia, Lady's Mantle, Love in the Mist, sweet peas, and astrancia, were used in the bridal bouquet, made by Jane Pratt.
A Family Portrait
The couple, joined by their families, posed for a portrait by photographer Ashley Garmon. The bridesmaids wore Alfred Angelo dresses. Even spread across the U.S. and England, Lucy and her bridesmaids coordinated the dresses, thanks to lots of online research and store visits in their respective cities.
Robie's wedding band formerly belonged to the bride's grandfather (who started the family tradition of transatlantic love affairs) and Lucy's held a diamond that used to belong to the groom's grandmother.
Lucy's engagement ring was also quite special and unique: The spoon ring -- a Southern folk-art tradition wherein a spoon handle is bent -- was something Robie's father had given to his mother when they were first married.
Everyone walked across a wheat field to a little stone church for the ceremony. The organist from Lucy's Catholic high school, who traveled from London, played during the traditional ceremony and accompanied by Lucy's sister's friend Alice, who sang.
Flower arrangements created by Ornamental Tree Hire decorated the church. They were designed to look just-picked from the garden.
Many of the guests -- including the Americans -- wore hats and fascinators.
The newlyweds were showered with dried rose petals.
After the ceremony, the couple posed for portraits in the picturesque garden.
The Seating Chart
Lucy's dad, Peter, drew the seating chart for the reception.
The couple's friend Nancy, the graphic artist behind WeCan, Ok!, created an "I remember when ..." memory for guests to fill in their fun stories of the bride and groom. The papers were attached to hanging ribbons and displayed throughout the reception.
Fun and Games
Croquet matches were held during the reception and continued until 4 in the morning.
Long tables filled the tent. During the reception, guests dined on asparagus salad with Parma ham, peas, broad beans, and a light mustard dressing; roast rack of lamb with cherry tomatoes, new potatoes, and vegetables from the garden; and Southern pecan pie with ice cream and fruit salad.
Simple glass vessels housed organic flower arrangements.
The Place Settings
Luggage tag-shaped place cards stamped with a hot-air balloon image and a sprig of rosemary (from Lucy's mom's garden) were tied around the napkin at each setting.
The evening's entertainment included an after-dinner cabaret with children in the starring roles and dancing to traditional Alabama folk songs played by friends on the fiddle and guitar.
Laser-cut birds designed by the couple's friend Julio Reyes and produced by BBIITT were detained in customs but arrived just in time to be hung up for the reception. On the day after the wedding, they were cut down and given to guests, who also walked away with homemade pickles and relish from Robie's parents, Bob and Connie Gay, who run Papa's Nubbins.
A sugar-flower fondant-covered cake by Cakes4Fun was dressed with lace trim and fresh blooms. It was displayed on a tablecloth that belonged to Robie's grandmother in Alabama.