Real Wedding – Sophie and Jonathan
Sophie and Jonathan tied the knot at Deer’s Leap weddings on 1st July 2023, where they were graced with endless blue skies and warm summer sunshine. It’s a pleasure to be able to share a glimpse inside their celebration with you, thanks to the gorgeous photography captured by Anthony Lyons aka Special Day Wedding Photos. Keep scrolling to soak up the sun-kissed countryside vibes and be inspired for your very own special day in Devon…
Following a romantic Christmas proposal, the couple began planning their big day. The wonderful rural location and unbeatable scenery of Deer’s Leap Weddings instantly captured Sophie and Jonathan’s hearts. “The location was also super convenient with Jonathan’s family being next door,” explains the bride. “It was beautifully set up, stunning scenery and offered comfy accommodation, Heather was so helpful and informative we didn’t even view any other venues!
On the morning of the wedding, the bride looked exquisite in a white asymmetrical Barabos dress. Sophie’s bridesmaids looked lovely in lilac gowns, while the groom and his groomsmen looked smart in grey suits, teamed with a lilac vest, tie and pocket squares.
An outdoor ceremony under the stretch tent awaited, with the glistening lake setting the scene for Sophie and Jonathan’s vows. An unforgettable confetti moment on the terrace followed, before guests headed into the Stone Barn for their wedding breakfast. When it came to styling their celebration, the couple opted for a gorgeous lilac and white wedding colour scheme. For their table centrepieces, Groovy Ruby Flowers created hoops adorned with florals (consisting of lillies and roses). The combination of twinkling fairy lights, lilac chair covers and gorgeous florals worked beautifully against the exposed walls of the space. A 3-tier wedding cake (made by the groom’s mother) was adorned with blooms and a little nod towards the couple’s beloved dog.
To keep guests entertained throughout their celebration, Sophie and Jonathan hired Route One, who kept guests dancing all night long. They also had a rodeo bull in the gardens (which guests at Deer’s Leap always adore) and a dinosaur pinata. It goes without saying, Sophie and Jonathan felt truly happy and loved on their wedding day, with the ceremony and their walk alone by the lake as newlyweds remaining some of their favourite memories.
If you’ve fallen head over heels in love with Deer’s Leap Weddings, we welcome you to get in touch to book in a private viewing. We have a handful of dates left for weddings in 2024! In the meantime, don’t forget to follow us over on Instagram to soak up even more love story inspiration!
Photos: Special Day Wedding photos –https://specialdayweddingphotos.co.uk
Hair – : Maddy Dorey – https://www.instagram.com/hairbymaddydorey/
Makeup: Eye Do – http://www.eyedomakeup.co.uk/
Flowers: Groovy Ruby Flowers – https://www.groovyruby.co.uk
Catering: Lyn’s Catering – https://www.lynscatering.co.uk
Real Wedding – Isy and Robin
“Our wedding day was perfect. Deer’s Leap Retreat was the perfect choice for us. They not only supported us through the whole process of planning but made useful suggestions all the way through. Many of the parts of the day that made it so special and successful were recommendations from Heather and team…”
Isy and Robin wanted a unique countryside wedding with a relaxed feel and all the fun of a festival. “We wanted a bespoke day and Deer’s Leap allowed us to select all the suppliers we wanted and run things the way we wanted them to run,” explains Isy. “Their flexible approach meant that we could have a wedding day that was truly ours and tailored to exactly what we wanted. And they made it happen for us.”
The bride-to-be looked an utter vision wearing a gorgeous champagne-coloured gown, paired with cream heeled sandals. Her bridal bouquet, created by Brompton Buds, was brimming with wild flowers in sage and pink hues. “I dyed my hair a dark red and it was long, so I had it pulled to one side, curled and it fell over one of my shoulders,” reminisces Isy. The bridesmaids looked delightful in light sage gowns with matching bouquets, while the groom and his groomsmen had buttonholes to match. Robin looked handsome in a dark blue suit with a brown waistcoat.
The couple opted for a sage wedding colour palette, which worked wonderfully against the natural backdrop of Deer’s Leap and the plants, trees and scenery surrounding the wedding venue. “As Deer’s Leap is so beautiful already, we didn’t buy that many flowers – we had some jam jars of different sizes we filled with flowers and scattered those by the ceremony and on the various tables outside the barn,” says Isy. “We ordered a lovely flower corner piece to go on the ceremony gazebo which was a gorgeous addition. This is the great thing about the venue – they already have lovely lights in the barn and hanging baskets outside, so you really don’t need much more.”
When it came to entertaining their wedding guests, the couple made the most of the glorious gardens and outdoor space on offer at Deer’s Leap. “We had lawn games on the lawn which was great as guests could just play if they wanted. The face-painter and bubble man kept everyone entertained throughout the day – this was such a great addition.” And in the evening, the band made sure Isy, Robin and their loved ones stayed on the dancefloor!
When it came to their wedding food, the team at Sunflower Kitchen spoilt Isy and Robin’s guests to an absolute feast. “Our food was incredible. Instead of canapés, we did a starter buffet so that guests had something substantial to eat after the ceremony. The main meal was a mix of shredded lamb with roast potatoes and a bean and fennel salad, with vegetarian and vegan options,” explains Isy.
Following the speeches, Isy’s family performed a surprise song for the newlyweds. The couple also swapped a traditional wedding cake for a ‘wedding cake pinata’ which was filled with sweets and was used as part of the dessert (alongside our ice cream bike). Loved ones had unlimited ice cream and sweets for the entire day – yummy!
As Isy and Robin wanted a relaxed, festival feel for their summer wedding, they invited their guests to stay on site. “The glamping tents, farmhouse and bridal suite made the whole weekend so much more special,” explains the bride. “Not only that but the fact that me and my husband could arrive on the Thursday and set up everything so that when people arrived on the Friday, we could relax and have a lovely evening before the wedding – this made everything so stress free for us. It was a lovely addition that us and guests could stay until the Monday – this meant we could have a lovely day after the wedding in the venue, reflecting at how amazing the day was and not having to rush off.”
Tips from the Newlyweds…
“I would say that if you want to do your own thing – do it! We didn’t follow tradition, and we prioritised where we wanted to spend most of our money – this went on the venue, photographer, food and band. I would advise couples to think – ‘what do people usually remember about weddings?’ is this the really small details or is this the vibe, band, food etc?”
“Our perfect wedding day will remain one of the most important and best days of our lives and Deer’s Leap were one of the main reasons it was so perfect. We really can’t thank them enough for everything they did for us and making the journey so special.”
It was such a pleasure to host Isy and Robin’s stunning summer celebration here at Deer’s Leap and it brings us a huge amount of joy to look back at their very special day. Don’t forget, if you’d like to see our countryside setting for yourselves, just drop us a message and we’ll get you booked in for a private tour!
Photographer – Louise May – https://www.instagram.com/louisemayphoto – she was incredible and I can’t recommend her enough.
Food – Sunflower Kitchen – https://www.instagram.com/sunflowerkitchencatering/ – absolutely amazing, their food is so delicious.
Flowers – Brompton Buds – https://www.instagram.com/bromptonbuds/ – a recommendation from Deer’s leap – their flowers are so beautiful.
Face Paint & Bubbles – Rainbow Gekko – https://www.instagram.com/rainbow.gecko.entertainment/ – they were so fun and a great addition to the day.
Band – Alibi / Shimmer – unsure of their Instagram handle but they were absolutely incredible. We hired them through hireaband – https://hireaband.co.uk/shimmer
Real Wedding – Jess & Ed’s Summer Celebration
As Jess is one of our beloved team members here at Deer’s Leap Weddings, it is a real pleasure to share a snippet of her summer wedding with Ed, on the journal today. Featuring blue skies, live music, tug of war, macramé details and oodles of flowers, their celebration is guaranteed to brighten your day and inspire your own wedding here in the countryside. Keep scrolling and enjoy a glimpse inside what was an unforgettable soirée…
Jess and Ed adored the fact they could bring all their friends and family together for an entire weekend at Deer’s Leap. “Even though I work at Deer’s Leap, we did look at other venues just to see what was on offer,” explains Jess. “However, as soon as we sat down with Heather and she ran through what our wedding day could look like, it was a no-brainer! The main reason was that we could make the weekend exactly how we wanted it. Lots of our guests said it was the best wedding they had been to. I think this was because we made it so personal to us.”
On the morning of the wedding, Ed made a music video with his best man and ushers to present to Jess. The video began with the groom and groomsmen sipping on fizz in the hot tub, before springing into action and dancing around the venue while singing the words to a love song. “It was wacky, funny and touching at the same time,” explains Jess. “When I was presented with the video, while I was having my hair made up, I was in hysterics and also a bit teary watching it.” The music video really did set the scene for what was going to be an incredible day overflowing with magical memories.
Jess and Ed opted for an alfresco-style ceremony by the lakeside, where the groom built an archway and the bride created macramé bunting to go with it. As Ed is a rope artist, the couple felt it was essential to have macramé involved, embracing an arty and handmade theme for the day. Plus, Deer’s Leap has a handy storeroom jam-packed with decorations, so they also incorporated lanterns and glass vases. Live music from Sam Dowden gently guided guests to their seats before Jess walked down the aisle with her dad to one of Sam’s original songs, In a Daze. “Sam is a good friend, so was extra special to have him there,” explains Jess. “We wrote our own vows and our mums read out a poem each. My mum wrote a beautiful poem and Ed’s mum read ‘I carry your heart with me(I carry it in)’ by E.E Cummings.” The groom made everyone laugh during the ceremonywhen he accidentally said ‘unlawful impediment’ instead of lawful, while Chris, Ed’s best man, also made out that he had lost the rings. “When we were saying our vows, three of the onsite chickens decided to come and watch us saying our vows. I could see them over Ed’s shoulder, and they flew back when everyone clapped, it was full of laughter, love and happy tears.”
Jess’ sister, Hettie, and Ed’s sister, Amy, were her bridesmaids and her best friend, Imogen, was her maid of honour. “After looking at thousands of dresses online and ordering a few, as well as going to a couple of bridal shops, my dress and shoes came from Monsoon and my veil was from Etsy.” The beautiful bride went for a half-up, half-down hairstyle with a loose French plait entwined with fresh flowers, courtesy of Pinned to Perfection. With Anna RJ MUA on-hand as part of her glam squad, Jess kept her make-up natural, with the addition of a subtle pink lipstick that looked oh-so-pretty. Her bridal bouquet by Harriet at Sweet Peas & Sunflowers effortlessly completed her bridal look.
Embracing a sweet pea colour palette, Jess and Ed combined their ideas to create a wedding day that was colourful, handmade and sometimes a little quirky and definitely ‘them’ all over. Gorgeous blooms by Sweet Peas & Sunflowers were popped into little milk bottles that hung on shepherd hooks down the aisle, as well as lots of small glass bottles on the steps up to the gazebo. Jess’ dad, who is a potter, provided six of his large blue ceramic vases that Harriet, from Sweet Peas and Sunflowers, filled with flowers to style the gazebo.
The couple hosted their wedding breakfast in the Stone Barn, where they had oversized paper discs painted in pastel colours. The tables had a strip of painted cardboard running down the centre, with antique cameras (because of Jess’ love of filming and photography), a macramé centre glass bottle (made by Ed) with flowers and the table name in them. The couple named their tables after places they had visited, adding a personal touch to their reception.
When it came to their wedding favours, this crafty couple got seriously creative. The groom made macramé keyrings, the bride made some dainty wool weavings, the best man made his famous chilli sauce, the father of the bride made blue heart-shaped magnets stamped with their wedding date and they also purchased some little Clovelly Soap Company soaps – a nod to where Jess grew up.
For their wedding feast, they opted for sharing platters including shredded spatchcock chickens, quinoa and herb stuffed peppers, hot roasted whole salmon and lots of yummy salads, not to mention the most delicious desserts. For those with a sweet-tooth, they could also enjoy an ice cream from Heather’s Styles Ice Cream Cart.
Jess & Ed’s wedding day was wonderfully laidback, featuring lawn games, live music, tug of war, dancing and even cowboy vibes from Ed – who got on Heather’s horse and entertained everyone! “It was the first time we had seen many of our friends and family since covid, so it was extra special because of this,” reminisces Jess.
The Newlyweds’ Advice
“Try to make the wedding represent both of your personalities. You may go into organising your wedding with a very solid idea of how you want your wedding to be – I did! However, this is a celebration of two people and their unique qualities. So, I would say soften your grip on what you want, so that you can include things that feel special to both of you.”
Little Love Notes
“What can we say, we couldn’t have asked for more from Deer’s Leap Retreat. It was just perfect. We wanted a relaxed, rustic wedding that allowed our friends and family to feel at home and really have a great time and this is what happened. Heather and James, and their team, worked tirelessly to help us create the best day. We were given guidance throughout the process meaning we never felt lost or overwhelmed. The long weekend, Friday-Monday for our onsite guests and Thursday-Monday for us, meant that we had a great bring-and-share gathering the night before our wedding and a relaxed BBQ with our nearest and dearest on the Sunday after, absolute bliss! So many of our guests told us that it was the best wedding they had ever been to, which was such a lovely thing to hear. Our wedding day was filled with love, joy and fun! Thank you so much, Heather and James, for what was truly the best day of our lives!”
We hope you’ve enjoyed every second of being transported back to sunnier days and feel utterly inspired! Don’t forget you can follow more of our loved-up adventures over on Instagram, or get in touch if you would like to book a viewing and explore Deer’s Leap Weddings.
Photographer Little Silver Photography
Photographer Hettie Pearson Photography
Photographer Faye Mendes Photography
Sparkly Evening Dress Winifred Rose Clothing
Videographer Charlotte Dart Videography
Hair Pinned to Perfection
Make-up – Anna RJ Mua
Groom’s Suit (store) Moss Bros
Flowers Sweet Peas & Sunflowers
Transport South Molton Taxi Service Ltd
Entertainment Sam Dowden Music
Entertainment Basil’s Balls Up Band
Real Wedding – Cat & Rhys’ Colourful Summer Celebration
“Get married at Deer’s Leap is the best advice I have, it’s worth every penny and more. We are so so so happy we chose Deer’s Leap as our wedding venue. It is absolutely beautiful; the staff are fantastic and so helpful. There is nowhere else like it…”
Cat and Rhys’ wedding at Deer’s Leap was hosted across a sunshine-filled weekend in August last year, where the couple and their loved ones were surrounded by colour, music, food, dancing, alpacas and happiness. You may have already spotted a couple of sneak peeks from their summer soirée over on our Instagram, but we couldn’t be more thrilled to share more about their big day with you on the blog today. Get scrolling and soak up the sun, courtesy of beautiful imagery by Grace Elizabeth Photography.
Cat wore the most incredible wedding dress, teamed with lace bridal booties. “I had a big glittery princess dress – I’ve always said it is your one excuse in life to wear an enormous sparkly dress, so why waste it on something understated?!” Cat says. “The bridesmaids and I made our bouquets in the morning while we got ready, and it was such a personal touch.” One of Cat’s bridesmaids also did her hair, while giving them the freedom with their make-up and shoes to have whatever they felt comfortable with.
“Deer’s Leap was a no brainer for us; complete freedom, wonderful family atmosphere, quiet and beautiful grounds, no get in get out time limits and Heather is the most accommodating, professional and helpful person to ever exist!” The families and bridal parties arrived at Deer’s Leap the day before the wedding to decorate, so that the whole experience was lovely and relaxed without the worry of rushing. “Heather was able to help us with anything we needed, and we were able to spend the day decorating and relaxing on the grounds,” reminisces the bride.
“Our whole theme was colour,” explains Cat. “We just wanted to capture all the bright colours and happiness of summer and I’m so glad we did. It was also much easier not to have to match anything while planning.” From the outdoor ceremony by the lakeside to the reception in the Stone Barn, Cat & Rhys’ wedding was a wonderful riot of epic florals, vibrant details, rainbow lanterns and personalised elements that worked beautifully against the backdrop of Deer’s Leap.
The couple brought out their own food, while the staff served it to the tables when everyone was ready. Cat and Rhys also spoilt their guests with a churros van and ice-cream – which went down an absolute treat as you can imagine. “In the evening, Heather went above and beyond making sure we had pizza and pasties well into the night,” says Cat.
Entertainment was a huge part of their wedding, featuring a string quartet, Alpacas, lawn games, a band, a photobooth, lanterns on the lake, sparklers, and dancing with their own personalised playlist on the sound system that lasted well into the night. The fun didn’t stop, and it really was a weekend filled with joy.
Thank you to C & R for choosing Deer’s Leap as the setting for your love story, it was an honour to be a part of your day. And to our newly engaged couples reading this, if you’re feeling utterly inspired by their wedding day, we welcome you to get in touch with our team to book in a private viewing. We’d love to show you around!
Photography Grace Elizabeth Photography
Wedding Venue Deer’s Leap
Real Wedding – Katy & Nina’s Love Story
Katy & Nina’s Love Story
“We had an unforgettable weekend wedding at Deer’s Leap packed full of wonderful moments.”
We’ll never tire of looking back at Katy and Nina’s sunshine-filled celebration – from the surprise flash mob (more about that later) to the relaxed and happy feel that surrounded their entire day. With that in mind, we’re offering you a glimpse inside their love story here at Deer’s Leap Weddings…
As very outdoorsy people, Katy and Nina had always wanted to get married outside. “We were immediately drawn to the gorgeous setting that Deer’s Leap offered across the whole site,” they explain. “We also wanted to spend the whole weekend with the people we love, allowing us to have more time with people who had travelled a long way to celebrate with us.”
On the morning of the wedding, Nina nipped for a swim in the River Barle while Katy and her bridal party got ready in the Wedding Suite. At 12.30 pm, it was time for their alfresco ceremony to take place, where their friends and family gathered around the wooden gazebo that overlooks the lake. The couple both wanted to walk down the aisle and have that all-important moment with their chosen people, so chose to have two aisles that gracefully met at the gazebo. “Heather and James were very helpful in accommodating this and setting it up for us. This arrangement allowed us to walk down the aisle at the same time and join together at the end, which was really special and felt quite symbolic as well,” the newlyweds tell us.
Once the ceremony was over, Katy and Nina spent the afternoon sipping on Kir Royal and tucking into miniature pies (renaming their canapés as canapies). “We had bought in lots of different Quantock Brewery Beers, Sanford Orchard Cider and a selection of Wines from Corks & Cru in Bampton, so everything was as locally sourced as possible.” They also went all in on the lawn games, making the most of the vast lawn space on offer at Deer’s Leap. Nina made the Danish game, ‘Konge Spil’, alongside giant Jenga, Table Curling and a few others that Heather brought out from the Deer’s Leap games room. It made for tonnes of fun (and some fierce competitions) for guests of all ages! Nina and Katy also spent the afternoon enjoying their speeches and taking fun photographs in their homemade photo booth.
As they sat down in the Stone Barn for a delicious feast of Moroccan-style lamb, warm salads and indulgent dips from Levels Catering, Katy and Nina were surprised with a flash mob dance that had been secretly organised by their families! They were then showered in bubbles as they cut their wedding cake on the patio – with the sunshine beaming and everyone having the most wonderful time. A rip-roaring Scottish Ceilidh got everyone dancing on the lawn under blue skies, with lots of laughter and swinging each other around.
When it came to styling their wedding day at Deer’s Leap, Katy and Nina kept things stripped-back and minimalist, embracing the charm, quirkiness and rustic feel of the venue. “We decorated the tables and gazebo with wildflowers that we picked from the lanes around Deer’s Leap, which worked really well and looked great despite not being arranged by a florist.” Hessian runners and linen napkins worked perfectly against the wooden tables and stonework of the barn, tying in with the natural materials – something that was very important to the couple.
“Deer’s Leap was the perfect place for us to get married, it’s gorgeous green setting felt like our own slice of paradise and the warm, caring support and attention to detail that Heather and James provided made our wedding weekend everything we had wished for and so much more. We are incredibly grateful, thank you.”
Wedding Planning Advice from Katy & Nina
“There are two pieces of advice we would pass on. Firstly, only do the things and traditions that you as a couple want to do. Choose the parts that you like and scrap the rest, it’s your weekend. Secondly, invest in good people who understand you and what you want from this experience. Heather, James and all the staff at Deer’s Leap were worth their weight in gold, as was our photographer Anthony who took time to get to know us and worked his socks off on the day to deliver truly stunning photos that we’ll always cherish.”
A huge thank you to Anthony at Special Day Wedding Photos for beautifully capturing their wedding on camera! It was such a pleasure to host Katy and Nina’s relaxed summer soirée here at Deer’s Leap and we hope their celebration has brought a smile to your face! Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram for even more loved-up adventures in the Devonshire countryside or get in touch with us to book a private viewing so you can explore the setting for yourselves.
A little shout-out to Katy & Nina’s team of incredible suppliers…
Corks and Cru, @corksandcru
The Levels Catering, @levels_catering_co
Special Day Wedding Photos, @specialday.weddingphotos
The Ceilidh Tree, firstname.lastname@example.org
Justine Kendall, @justinekmua
Reasons to have a Weekend-Long Wedding at Deer’s Leap
There’s no doubt about it, Deer’s Leap is indescribably special and it’s one of those places that you have to see it to believe it. We are thrilled to welcome couples from all over the country (sometimes even the world) to join us in our little corner of magic in the Devonshire countryside. As they have often travelled from afar, we find that our couples adore taking the opportunity to escape for a few days here in our tranquil haven, making the most of our cottages, views and little luxuries to really relax and unwind. When you book Deer’s Leap to host your wedding celebration, you’ll be spoilt with exclusivity from Friday afternoon until Monday morning, where you’ll have a ‘home from home’ that you can really call yours. Here’s why you should consider a weekend-long wedding at Deer’s Leap…
Why should you only celebrate your wedding day for one day?! A weekend-long wedding means you can spend a few days surrounded by your favourite people in the most magical location – and it’s not often you have the chance to gather everyone in one place! We have plenty of spaces here at Deer’s Leap and we generally give you the freedom to use them as you wish! From garden games, private dining experiences and checking out our farm animals, the options really are endless.
There is always an air of excitement and anticipation when you arrive ahead of your wedding day! Here at Deer’s Leap Weddings, our Bridal Suite is available for couples to check into on the Thursday ahead of the wedding day at 3 pm – we always encourage the soon-to-be newlyweds to enjoy this evening and relax ahead of the wonderful chaos. Then, with a chosen few, you can spend the Friday decorating ready for the big day to arrive. Picture the scene, your closest friends and family arriving, decorations in tow and plans in place. On the morning of the wedding day, you have nothing to worry about! You can instead relax and be pampered with a glass of fizz in hand.
We offer our onsite accommodation as part of our exclusive venue hire, with guests able to check into our gorgeous Farmhouse, accompanying cottages and glamping area from 4 pm on Friday afternoon (with everyone checking out at 10 am on Monday morning). Tuck into a huge feast (or takeaway) around the table, chill out in front of the fire and play board games or jump in the hot tub and enjoy the starry sky with a bottle of champagne. Then afterwards, our sumptuous and cosy bedrooms await so you can get a good night’s sleep before the shenanigans begin.
After the wedding day is over, you and your loved ones can host a brunch where you can catch up on all the antics that took place. It also means you’ve still got something to look forward to (bid farewell to those post-big-day blues).
Ultimately, as a family-run business, we really want you to make Deer’s Leap feel like yours. For the entire duration of your time here, you can fill the space with those you love the most, and use it as you want! Whether you want to hire fairground rides or roast marshmallows over the fire, we want you to be present and not feel rushed at any point. There are no wedding factory vibes here!
Please do get in touch if you’d like to have a private tour of Deer’s Leap, we’ll get you booked in as soon as we can! In the meantime, don’t forget to follow our Devonshire adventures over at @deersleapweddings and @deersleapretreat.
Photos in order:
Photos 1, 2, 7 and 8 by Jacob Boodrie Photography
Photo 3 by Mark Shaw Photography
Photo 4 by David Scholes Photography
Photos 5 and 6 by Little Silver Photography
Photo 9 by Grace Elizabeth Photography
Photo 10 by Fiona Walsh Photography
Photo 11 by Sam Box Photography
Photo 12 by Matt Willis Photography