Lauren and Sam’s Canonteign Falls wedding
Hurrah! It’s another reader wedding!
Lauren used Pasties & Petticoats to research local suppliers and get inspiration from our beautiful real wedding features – and now it’s her and husband Sam’s turn to take the spotlight!
Here’s their Canonteign Falls wedding story, with images by Becky Joiner at My Fabulous Life….
(as always, more images and supplier links are available at the end of the post)
In August 2015 Sam suggested we go for a picnic (this has never happened before) so off we went to Wembury, just along the coast from where we live in Plymouth.
We walked along the coast path towards Noss Mayo, Sam marching ahead at speed because he “just wanted to sit down” – I now realise this was him being very nervous!
We sat on the grassy headland looking out to sea surrounded only by a few sheep and he said he had a card for me – I presumed this was a late anniversary card due a fortnight ago. He’d filled the front of the card with photos from our 8 years together and inside he’d written a poem – it took me a while to figure it out but the first letter of each line spelled out “will you marry me”, and then there was a little flap under which it read “tick the correct box” (and an arrow pointing to the “yes” box!).
When I looked up Sam was on one knee with my beautiful ring!
Where it all happened
We chose Canonteign Falls as the venue for our ceremony and reception. It is the most beautiful setting amongst waterfalls and lakes, and has its own bunnies!
We were attracted by the opportunity to get married outside under a pagoda on the lake, and the big barn next to the lake provided us with the perfect blank canvas for our dream DIY reception. We’re both from Teignmouth originally so I got ready at my parents’ house there and Sam at his best man’s house just around the corner.
I had my 5 bridesmaids plus mum & dad getting ready with me.
In true dad-style he didn’t want us to be late for the ceremony, but in fact we were so early that we had to pull over down the road from the venue to avoid arriving before most of our guests!
What they wore
On the big day I wore a beautiful art-deco inspired beaded sheath dress by Eliza-Jane Howell and a scalloped-edge veil custom made by Thomasina Brides on Etsy.
I found my dress in the first place I looked (The Bridal Rooms of Wellswood) and when I went back to decide between 2 dresses it had just arrived with a new V-shaped low back and I was sold! Jo and her mum at The Bridal Rooms were so very welcoming and have a wealth of expertise between them.
I wore champagne patent heels by L.K. Bennett and a simple rose quartz fine cord necklace from North Devon based Wanderlust Life Jewellery.
Our hair and make-up were by the talented Laura Elston Freelance and her wonderful assistant, who really put us all at ease on the morning.
My bridesmaids dresses were from H&M, accessorised with rose gold hair vines and the girls picked their own complementing shoes.
My mum chose a beautiful floral patterned navy dress with a blush jacket from House of Fraser.
We knew that we wanted to do as much of the decor as possible ourselves and also to tie it in with the outdoors.
Canonteign Falls has a beautiful Victorian fern garden so taking inspiration from this my sister and I designed “botanical” wedding stationery, I hand made artificial foliage chandeliers to hang from the ceiling of the barn, and we gathered foliage from the local hedgerows to mix with the table flowers. I also carved woodland animal place cards for the tables and grew succulents which I potted up into jars and terrariums.
I knew that I wanted burgundy and blushes in my bouquet so these colours loosely carried through into the venue decor including a ribbon curtain that I made for the photobooth backdrop.
As our barn was dry-hire only we sourced rustic trestle tables and chairs from South West Event Hire which fit in perfectly with the natural theme.
The barn looked even more ethereal after sunset lit by festoon lights set up by Dave Gregory of Party Lights and we brought our own chimneas for guests to snuggle around after dark.
The bouquets, buttonholes and corsages were created by the endlessly talented Holly Williams of Hollyhocks Florist. She was recommended by a friend and couldn’t have got it more perfect! From my somewhat elaborate brief of “peonies, dahlias, chocolate cosmos, trailing amaranthus, ferns, succulents, herbs, burgundy, blushes, rose gold and floaty ribbons(!)” what she produced was everything I could have wished for – and more.
For the table flowers my sister, mum, and I pitched up at Peamore Flora wholesale florist 48 hours before the wedding and, despite them not having received their delivery that morning, found the most perfect dark burgundy peonies to complement the ferns and cow parsley dutifully gathered from hedgerows by my sister and her partner!
Neither of us like royal icing so we knew that we wanted a naked cake, and I had a picture in my mind of a beautiful semi-naked 3 tier cake adorned with the same burgundy & blush blooms and just a hint of gold flecking (because I am a complete magpie!).
This was where Charlotte Crews of The Cake Lady in Exmouth stepped in and created exactly what I had hoped for, and it tasted delicious!
We chose a classic Victoria sponge for the base tier, lemon sponge with lemon curd for the middle, and lime & raspberry for the top. I sourced a quirky pink glass cake stand which we placed on a metal garden table covered in lace to display Charlotte’s beautiful creation.
What they ate and drank
I met Rory and Carly of The Cowlick Creamery at a wedding fayre in Plymouth, and although we weren’t especially planning on ice-cream my bridesmaid Pip and I were so sold on their gin & tonic sorbet with elderflower that we had to book them! It went down a storm served in the sunshine after our ceremony along with dark chocolate sorbet, and marmalade cheesecake & honeycomb ice-creams.
For our wedding breakfast I am very blessed in having a wonderful uncle who is a Royal Marine chef and offered to cater for us. He and his team served mouthwatering antipasti on sharing platters to start, followed by beef bourgignon, chicken with a white wine and tarragon sauce, and sauteed salmon with samphire, all accompanied by delicious salads. Dessert was a help-yourself table laden with creme brulees, meringues with strawberries, and chocolate torte amongst other treats.
In the evening we had a chilled out BBQ serving locally sourced burgers and sausages from Redfern’s butchers.
Capturing it all
Neither of us are especially keen on having our picture taken, or on having lots of posed photographs so we set about looking for a photographer with a predominantly documentary style. I came across Becky Joiner of My Fabulous Life whilst searching the internet and instantly loved her work – her ability to capture intimacy and emotion on film without you even knowing she is there is just amazing.
She hadn’t photographed Canonteign Falls before so offered to meet us there prior to the wedding and we had a relaxed engagement shoot to get used to being in front of the camera.
On the day I set up a DIY photobooth in one corner of the barn with handmade ribbon curtain backdrop and plenty of props and costumes. Guests took photos using their phones and a selfie stick.
After the ceremony guests walked up to the barn and were greeted by ice-cream served by The Cowlick Creamery and a live set from the Swing Kings. They sounded fabulous outside in the sun, set against the backdrop of the lakes. Our guests enjoyed lawn games and strolling around the lakes & waterfalls before settling down to feast.
We had the speeches during the meal – my dad and the best man Josh did a sterling job, but it was probably Sam that stole the limelight (as usual). He had gifted me a small envelope on the morning of the wedding and told me to keep it on me for later – when he stood up to do his speech our TV appeared and he told me to open the envelope, which contained a USB stick. What ensued can only be described as unique – a Flight of the Conchords tribute to myself painstakingly filmed and edited by Sam and his younger brother David weeks before the wedding. I think it was certainly the most individual speech any of our guests had ever witnessed and had everyone in fits of laughter!
In the evening we had our first dance to an acoustic version of Jess Glynne’s My Love, followed by our nearest and dearest dancing the night away to more live singing and a disco courtesy of the Swing Kings. When it was time for us to leave we said goodnight to our loved ones with a sparkler send-off and spent our wedding night at Bovey Castle.
After spending the day after the wedding clearing up the barn with help from our amazing guests and fueled by bacon sandwiches supplied again by my fantastic uncle, we drove down to Mousehole in Cornwall for our mini-moon.
We spent 4 nights in the most fantastic converted storeroom (booked through Boutique Retreats). We whiled away our time exploring scenic Cornish coastal walks and beaches and found a wonderful little cafe called the Rockpool which I may have forced Sam into visiting almost every day.
We had planned a day trip to the Scillies but unfortunately the weather was not in our favour on the day we were due to fly, but we’ll get there one day.
We spent a clearer evening watching a performance at the breathtaking Minack Theatre, an unforgettable experience.
A couple of months later during the summer holidays (Sam is a teacher) we flew to Croatia for a week, somewhere we have wanted to visit for a long time. We stayed in Rovinj, a really pretty coastal town in the north – highlights were visiting Plitvice Lakes national park and a day trip across the water to bustling Venice.
Favourite part of the day
The whole day was just totally amazing and we didn’t want it to end, but I think our favourite bit was dancing away the evening surrounded by everyone that we love and cherish all in the same room – how often does that happen!
Advice to others
Start early and don’t give up on your dreams of exactly how you want the day to be – make it yours and make it the best day you will ever have!
Pasties & Petticoats was great for browsing local suppliers and I love reading the real weddings featured!
Fabulous local suppliers
My Fabulous Life
Hair and Makeup
South West Event Hire
The Cake Lady
The Cowlick Creamery
The Swing Kings