Elegant barn weddings don’t come much more beautiful than Francesca and Joe’s. Soft blush roses, ivory dahlias and eucalyptus formed her wild bouquet and adorned their fairy-lit venue of The Tythe Barn, Launton when they married in September 2019.
It was an incredibly personal day with guests treated to an acoustic set by their talented groomsman, Robbie; nods to the bride’s Greek Cypriot heritage; and a memory corner to honour the loved ones who couldn’t be there.
The wedding was a long time in the making. Francesca and Joe first met in sixth form over 14 years ago, but they spent the majority of their college days “playing it cool”. It took a few more years before their first date and, finally, in 2017, Joe popped the question on a trip to New York with a classic Tiffany diamond solitaire ring. “After a morning’s shopping on Fifth Avenue (something Joe wouldn’t normally tolerate), he surprised me by proposing in Central Park. Turns out he’d been carrying the ring around with him the entire weekend!” revealed Francesca.
One other thing: see if you can guess just how tall the groom is… Keep scrolling to find out!
Photographer: Alexandra Jane Photography
The Wedding Dress
Francesca wore a gorgeous Donna Salado for Mark Lesley dress, finished with a impressive cathedral length veil. One of her favourite parts of the day was getting ready with her Mum and bridesmaids in The Nook, a luxury hideaway at the Tythe Barn, filled with mirrors, lights, dressing tables and sofas.
“I wore a fitted sheath dress, with an illusion neckline and lace back. It had lots of beautiful detail, from pearl buttons all the way through to a lace trim and the train of dreams!
“I bought it from a little local boutique in Northamptonshire called Stunning Bridal (owned by Donna herself). The experience I had there was unlike any other – they were so patient and really looked after me from the first time I tried on the dress in store to my final fitting a couple of weeks before the wedding.
“I’m naturally REALLY indecisive, so I dragged my poor Mum to a good six or seven shops before we went to Stunning Bridal. It’s quite funny to look back at all of the photos of the ones I tried now though – some of them were terrible!
“As soon as I walked out and saw my Mum’s face, I knew this dress was ‘The One’! Even though it was totally different to what I ever imagined I would choose, I felt so good every time I tried it on.
“I didn’t change into a reception outfit as I didn’t even want to take my veil off! I just bustled my dress so that I wasn’t standing all over the train.
“Some of the most special moments of the day for me were my Mum helping me in to my dress and, of course, my Dad coming in to see me.”
Francesca decided to use extensions for the first time for her wedding to give her that full and luxurious half up, half down look. Her hair was styled by Katie-Jane Whitlock, while Hayley Thompson was in charge of her makeup.
“Makeup-wise, I wanted to keep it really natural, so Hayley did a fab job of choosing colours that didn’t look ‘too much’ but there was still enough to give me that bridal glow on camera.
“For my hair, I had always dreamed of having long loose waves but my hair takes forever to grow. Katie-Jane recommended I look in to some clip-in extensions from Milk and Blush – I’ve never worn extensions before, but these were perfect! They blended in really well and were exactly what I needed to give me a bit of extra length for that dreamy half up, half down look. I wore it to the side, so that I could show off the back of my dress.
“In my hair I wore a vine and my veil. Jewellery-wise, I wore some lovely pearl drop earrings that my parents bought for me from a pearl farm from their travels in Vietnam and a diamond tennis bracelet which I chose with Joe as a wedding gift (his was a new watch, which he also wore on the day).”
The Wedding Party
Despite one bridesmaid living in Canada, it was easy to find a dress that all three of them loved. Finding a suit for 6ft 8in groom Joe was a different matter!
“I had three bridesmaids – my best friend, Joe’s sister and my cousin – and then my godson as page boy and his sister as flower girl. My best friend now lives in Toronto so we weren’t able to go shopping together, but we had lots of links to dresses flying around on WhatsApp.
“The dresses were a floor-length halterneck in a grey/lilac shade that I ordered online from TFNC. The overall colour palette was very soft and neutral with a hint of dusky pinks and lilacs.
“The groomsmen wore three-piece navy suits with grey ties. We gave all of the groomsmen silver knot cufflinks as a thank you for helping us tie the knot!
“Joe wore a grey tweed waistcoat with a navy tie so that he could stand out a bit more and we went to pick it together! We hired the groomsmen’s suits from Salters of Rugby but we had to buy the groom’s suit as he is 6ft 8inches so wanted to make sure that we got one to fit!”
The Wedding Ceremony
The couple married in a civil ceremony at The Tythe Barn, Launton, in Oxfordshire, and hosted their reception their too.
“We had three readings – from Joe’s sister-in-law, Francesca’s brother and the maid of honour – all tearjerkers! One of them was an extract from one of Francesca’s favourite films, The Vow, which had a line about agreeing to disagree on red velvet cake, which is something we’ve had to do.
“Francesca walked down the aisle with her Dad to Ludovico Einaudi’s I Giorni. Seeing me walk down the aisle was Joe’s favourite moment of the day.
“After the ceremony, we took 10 minutes to ourselves in The Nook just before we went in to our wedding breakfast. It was really lovely to have the time together to take it all in before we joined our guests as husband and wife! The evening party was our favourite bit too – nothing beats dancing all night with all of your family and friends!
The Wedding Venue
Decked with fairy lights and framed with traditional oak beams, Francesca and Joe choose the rustic venue of The Tythe Barn, Launton for their day. They complemented the chic barn venue with a muted green, white and grey colour scheme, and hints of dusky pink and lilac.
“It was important to us to have the wedding ceremony and evening reception in the same place.
“We chose The Tythe Barn because it was a lovely barn location, not too far from where we live. The layout was perfect: a beautiful setting for our guests to enjoy cocktails and canapes in the gardens (as well as those all-important outdoor shots) and lots of little touches throughout, like the wood-fired oven so that we could have a pizza party in the evening!
“The team at The Tythe Barn were incredible and always on hand to help with any questions we had from the initial booking of the venue to the last minute details. They were all wonderful to work with and really helped to bring all of our ideas to life – a real dream team.
“What’s more, we were assigned a dedicated event manager who spent time to meet and get to know us beforehand and then helped to ensure that everything ran smoothly on the day. Laura was amazing, from helping to straighten my veil before I walked down the aisle to making sure that Joe and I had a glass of champagne to celebrate as soon as we’d said our vows!”
The Flowers and Décor
Their elegant and subtle colour palette continued throughout the décor and floral arrangements.
“I had a romantic hand-tied bouquet with eucalyptus and lots of soft flowers in ivory and blush, with a trailing ribbon to the knee. Jem from The Flower Shed did all our wedding flowers – she’s incredible!
“The stationery was the inspiration for a number of my meetings with suppliers, I took a copy of the invitation round with me everywhere! It complemented the colour scheme with simple grey font and green, grey and blush/lilac flowers, and eucalyptus. One of my very talented friends, Nicola, designed them and we printed them at a printer locally.
“We also used flowers throughout the venue. We had posies hand tied to the chairs along the aisles, and flowers to decorate the altar. As well as flowers throughout the barn, we used flowers in glass vases and candles as centrepieces on the tables for dinner in the evening.
“The tables weren’t named – we just had two long banquet-style tables and a top table. There wasn’t any entertainment extras apart from our DJ either, we wanted to keep it simple.”