When Shona and Dan met online they quickly discovered that they had plenty in common. "Dan tested my knowledge of country music and apparently I passed the test! We went for drinks and dinner for our first date followed by a trip to Skegness the next day and then the day after that Dan took me out on his Harley-Davidson motorbike, and that was that," recalls Shona.
The relationship was meant to be and Dan proposed on Christmas Day 2017 at Shona's mum's house. "I had no idea it was going to happen, despite him acting a bit strange. He even got me a card and wrote in it that it would be a Christmas to remember, but I still didn't suspect!" After giving her gifts of perfume and jewellery, Dan then presented her a trinket box decorated with pictures of the two of them. "When I opened it and saw the box, I thought it was earrings, I literally had no clue until I saw the diamond ring and Dan down on one knee!"
They set the date for 7th October, 2019 and chose Bassmead Manor Barns in Cambridgeshire as the perfect setting for their country wedding. Shona explains, "It was the first and only venue we looked at. The charm and beauty of the Rickety Barn sold it to us immediately and we booked our date on the first viewing. We loved that we could have the entire day there."
Shona looked every inch the beautiful bride in a gorgeous Venus nude dress with an ivory lace overlay. "It was the first one I tried on and I loved it immediately," she recalls. She accessorised with a gorgeous hairpiece, her grandmother's pearl earrings and on her feet, what else but her much-loved Corral cowboy boots of course!
The bridesmaids wore navy knee-length lace dresses with petticoats and cowboy boots too! Dan and his groomsmen also looked the part in jeans, shirts and waistcoats and Dan stood out in a statement Greeley Western hat.
"My favourite part of the day was just after the ceremony when we went to a cute little hideaway overlooking the Rickety Barn. It was the first time it all felt real, just me and Dan together, drinking a beer," remembers Shona. While having their couple shots done in a nearby stubble field they were also able to pose with a passing tractor. "Being country bumpkins, we were well up for it, so Ben, our photographer, flagged down the tractor and snapped some shots of us standing in front of it! It was totally unplanned and was a whirlwind session as it was freezing and threatening to rain," Shona adds.
When it came to the venue décor, they didn’t need to add much as the barn’s wooden beams and wrought iron chandeliers provided the perfect atmosphere. “It was already exactly what we wanted,” enthuses Shona. They decorated the reception area with photos of them and their families and used decorated pallets for the table plan to add to the rustic look. The centrepieces were whiskey bottles filled with flowers on log slices with horseshoes and photos of them together.
"We asked everyone to sign a guitar as our guest book as Dan is the lead guitarist in a band. We gave our guests bags of sweets that my mum and I made together and the place names were written on pieces of branch from a tree we cut down in our garden," adds Shona.
To complement the relaxed country feel, the flowers were chosen to create a meadow effect and included sunflowers, roses and thistles. A family friend made their naked cake, which was displayed on a rustic cake stand with a cowboy and cowgirl topper from Shona's mum.
"We had an amazing DJ for the evening who played all our favourite country songs. I don't know if our guests liked it, but we certainly did! Our first dance was to I Cross My Heart by George Strait and we finished the night with Take My Drunk Ass Home by Luke Bryan." Afterwards they performed a line dance with the bridesmaids and groomsmen, which they'd rehearsed the week before. "It was so much fun and a total surprise for everyone!" Shona adds.
"Do a Monica from Friends and give everyone in your wedding party a list of all the things you're worried about, with supplier contacts and a plan for the day. That way, they can all muck in and help everything run smoothly so it's not all on your shoulders."
Bride's dress and accessories