This countryside barn wedding is a food-lover’s delightJen and Luigi’s barn wedding in the Suffolk-meets-Cambridgeshire countryside was the perfect combination of everything they loved: food, partying, their Italian and Asian heritages, and each other! Jen tells her story to Bouquet Catch.
“We met at Warwick University where we were in the same halls and on the same course. I didn’t really get to know Luigi until halfway through the first year and we were just friends for a while, but always got on well. We got together about a year later.
Our wedding was in October 2015. We had been together for over 10 years by that point, so everyone was like, “about time!”.
Luigi went shopping for my engagement ring with the help of my sister Nicky and my best friends (and bridesmaids) Hannah, Tara and Amy. Unfortunately, he left a planning email open on our iPad and I saw the whole thing! I kept it to myself though, until a surprise weekend in Milan in July 2014. We were staying in an amazing two-storey suite, where he proposed, and then whisked me off to the opera where we had a box at La Scala to see Mozart’s Cosi van Tutti. It was amazing.
When I look back on my wedding day, it’s all a bit of a blur really, but I remember it was really fun and a beautiful day. I can’t think of one thing in particular but every now and then I’ll remember some small part and it’ll make me smile.
Getting ready was fun. The bridesmaids and I were staying in a cottage at the venue so it was nice and relaxed. I was quite chilled but started to get nervous right before.
My lace, strapless dress was by La Sposa, which I got from Emma Victoria Payne in a sample sale. My bridesmaid Amy is a dressmaker, so she made my veil. My shoes were from Dune and my hair and make up was by Valentina Minei.
The bridesmaids’ dresses were from Coast, while Luigi’s suit was from Hugo Boss, and the groomsmen wore M&S. The cute bowties were from Mrs Bow Tie.
For me, the ceremony was the most daunting: it was the thought of everyone staring at me. I was shaking, but Luigi squeezed my hand to calm me down. His sister, Carmelina, did a reading, which was so lovely and my friend Louise sang two songs accompanied by my sister on guitar. I wanted to listen but the registrar kept talking to me about signing the register. I kept thinking, “shut up!”.
Our wedding venue, Granary Barns, had everything we needed. It was beautiful; it had a ‘rustic barn’ feel but with proper toilets! And we had exclusive use too. We wanted to have the ceremony and reception all in one place so we didn’t have to worry about travelling. You also cannot rely on British weather at any time of year so we expected the worst, knowing that our venue was both big and pretty enough for everyone if we weren’t able to go outside.
The weather was actually perfect on the day, and we got to spend some time outside in the stunning gardens and got some gorgeous photos. Everyone was telling me how beautiful I was which I know they have to say but it was still quite nice to hear.
Photography was really important to us as I think it’s the one thing you don’t want to skimp on. Lina and Tom just really got us and made us feel comfortable, as neither of us like having our picture taken. We just loved the relaxed, natural style of their photos.
Our videographer was Mark Asplin.
Jen and Luigi on Vimeo.
We snuck off to get some photos of just the two of us then did the obligatory receiving line before having our yummy food. There’s an Italian tradition where they tap their glasses (like how the British do for speeches) and the bride and groom have to kiss. I’ve witnessed it at other Italian weddings and it’s quite funny…it gets old really fast if you’re the bride and groom though!
I didn’t have a strict theme; it was quite relaxed. Since I’m an interior designer with my own design business, Feioi, I DIY’d a lot of stuff, mostly to save money but I think it also added a personal touch.
I did my own flowers which was the main thing, despite having no experience with flower arranging, but I saved a fortune. The flowers were mostly white and green with some pale pink roses. I created arrangements in tin cans that I’d spray painted and looped jute twine so that I could hook them into chairs to line the aisle. We then put them on the tables after the ceremony. We also had our family collecting glass jars all year to put on the table for candles. Louise harvested loads of lavender from her garden and dried it for us to use as decoration, too. Elsewhere I used pink, gold, white and brown kraft paper.
Our favours were mini succulent plants, which were super cute. Favours often get left on the tables so I was pleased they all went, and I even heard about guests trying to steal other guests’ plants!
Food is super important to us so we knew we wanted to use the Cambridge Dining Company. The food was amazing and they dealt with our high standards very well! We had an Italian wedding breakfast including our own pasta sauce recipe and Asian street food in the evening, including some of my mum’s recipes.
The speeches all went really well (Luigi’s other sister Maria was the MC) then it was into the evening fun.
Luigi’s aunt made our cake which was so kind of her and it was delicious. She made 700 flowers to decorate it with!
We cut the cake, I threw the bouquet, and then we were into the first dance. We were dreading this as we can’t really dance and again, everyone was staring. However, there’s another Italian tradition where they wrap you up in streamers and confetti so that avoided the need for any fancy moves!
I wanted to make sure it was a fun event for our guests so we had loads going on. There was a photo booth by Fun Pix and a casino by Fun Casino Events which everyone loved; it’s nice to have something other than dancing to do for those who aren’t interested in it. We also had little comment cards on the tables for people to write on and a Jenga guest book.
Luigi and I spent our wedding night at The Packhorse Inn. We hadn’t booked a honeymoon at that stage, but we’ve since been to Iceland and we’re off to New York shortly for the second part of our honeymoon and to celebrate our first anniversary.
We have no regrets about our wedding day. It wasn’t all perfect – nothing ever is – and those little imperfections are the moments that make the best memories.
My advice to other brides would simply be: don’t sweat the small stuff. It’ll all be fine on the day and if it’s not then you can have a laugh about it! Just remember why you’re doing it and what the day is really about, and have fun!”
All images by Lina and Tom and published with the bride and photographers’ permission.