R & J's Wedding

Located near the M40, and a short drive up a long and winding road, I found Rackleys, on the Chiltern Hills, a beautifully restored country barn that dates back over three hundred years. 

With a welcome break from the incessant rain of our English summer, I parked in glorious sunshine in what must be the most picturesque of car parks.  If this is the starter, I cannot imagine how magical the barn and wedding will look like.

Today I will be assisting Beth, a wedding and event stylist, and owner of Miss Carlysle & Co.  We will be dressing the chairs with chiffon sashes, tables with gold rimmed glasses, linen napkins and gold cutlery.  Beth’s loaded her van with charger plates, lanterns and enough glasses for three servings.  After gently decanting all the material for the wedding into the beautiful oak lined barn, we take in our surroundings. 

Even relatively empty of décor, the building and the grounds are exceptionally well appointed.  The bathrooms are gorgeous; who’d have thought so much design style would go into the loos?

Beth directs me on exactly how she would like the sashes and ribbons attached to each chair.  I’m surprised at how long it takes me to line up each chiffon sash on the eighty chairs in the main hall.  I then must tie them carefully with white ribbons.  Beth in the meantime is tending to the tables.   After placing the very heavy charger plates for each place setting, the cutlery and plates make an appearance whilst she waits for me to finish ironing each oatmeal napkin, which will be draped attractively from the plate.  The finishing touch will be the cut-out names of each guest, in cursive text.

The hall starts to fill up with florists, photographers and the cake bakers setting up their wares.  A moon shaped flower stand tastefully filled with flowers in pastel colours, pop and bring life to the hall, with the bakers dressing the wedding cake to complement the colour scheme, the dream R&J had wanted for their wedding is blossoming.  Flower stands are placed at the end of each aisle for the ceremony.

The first part of the ceremony will only require rows of chairs and a table for the formal ceremony to take place.  Along with the Rackleys team, we are on hold to help ‘turn around’ the barn from ‘ceremonial’ to a dining area for the wedding breakfast.

After the ceremony, the wedding guests follow the newlyweds outside for their ‘confetti shot’ and champagne.  Meanwhile there is an explosion of activity within the barn.  Staff, along with the Miss Carlysle team, start moving chairs to allow the inclusion of the pre-prepared dining tables. The top table is created in front of the ‘moon flower stand’, with the table decorations added and the flowers, which had decorated the aisle, now accentuating the seniority of the Bride and Groom’s immediate family.

Once the chairs have had their chiffon sashes ‘re-zooshed’ and the tables have the once over to ensure the names plates and cutlery are neatly in place, it’s time to say goodbye to this assignment.  Beth will be back in the morning to pick up her equipment, which has kindly been held overnight on the Rackleys site.

It’s been a delight to join Beth on this styling assignment.  I’ve learnt a lot about the preparation needed to create a fairytale background and wedding tablescape for R&J and their guests.  With the M40 calling and the sun still shining, I drive out of the beautiful grounds of this great barn with a smile on my face.