For one young couple, with a love of the sea and the outdoors, there was no way rain was ever going to stop play...

And with storm clouds gathering over Blackpool Sands, you could be forgiven for thinking that anyone who had ordered a beach wedding with outdoor games might be a little down in the mouth as they tapped the barometer that morning.  But with Sam a fireman (Fireman Sam!) and Heather a marine engineer, there was never any likelihood of them bringing anything other than their own brand of inner sunshine to the proceedings.

Staying at the lovely boutique Strete Barton guest house nearby, Heather and her bridesmaids were determinedly cheerful.  Perhaps as locals, they're used to the overcast sky...?


And certainly the guest house itself is not only picturesque but comfortable and stylish enough to put a smile on anyone's face. 

With a simple line of pearls, and a subtle, figure-hugging gown from Allure Bridal, Heather's look was effortlessly stylish.  Keeping everything low-key and minimal, while at the same time, choosing the best, can really pay off for a bride.

And a touch of the sea in the turquoise bridesmaid's gowns.  Because for this couple, the sea and the coast play a huge part in their lives, both professionally and personally.

Simplicity is so often the key to a great wedding.  With so many things to worry about, with so many friends and family members, with so many lists and with so many choices, it's easy to forget that the best weddings are not the ones where people remember the gowns or the cake, the colour of the balloons or the paper the invite was sent on.  People remember the simple idea of who the couple were and how much they valued the people around them. 

And so it is that with a dress, a ring, a necklace, a tiara, an outfit.  If you keep your style simple, you can often cause a greater sensation.  You don't have to go Liz Hurley to achieve a stand-out 'less is more' style, though certainly you'd be remembered for it.  But think of the first adjective that springs to mind alongside the word stylish.  Simply?  Simply stylish. 

and so, from the rustic charms and simple style of Strete Barton...

with a quick, jokey flounce on the stairwell, for a bride too uncomplicated and unpretentious to want to spend too much time posing... was a quick car journey to the Blackpool Sands cafe for the ceremony and reception.  Blackpool Sands is a privately-owned beach in Dartmouth, Devon, with permanent access to the public.  The cafe itself is elegant and - again, simple, and has it's own particular beach-side charm. 

with guests ranged around in fold-out chairs, the room alive with the energy of close friends and family, the warmth and happiness dispelled any sense of the rain outside.




... as did Sam and Heather's sweet and tender ceremony, sealed with a loving kiss.

and of course, with laughter.  

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and yet more kissing....

.... and yet more laughing.... 

...oh and did I mention kissing?

and... um... more laughing....

In every picture, you can see how Sam and Heather's personalities have really come through, their love of nature and the sea, from the simple tea lights and fairy lights to the bunches of hand-picked flowers, candles and driftwood table ornaments. 

with almost no budget, our couple have turned a simple cafe into an ode to the elements, applying their love of the nature and all things natural to their styling.  Handcrafted, artisan-like simple touches throughout can be a great way to achieve a harmonious and rich atmosphere without spending a fortune.  

one of my favourite stylish budget touches, was the wedding tablewear, in particular Sam and Heather's ingenious use of scallop shells tied with a  bow, and a simple printed personalised name card

and another  sweet touch, was the handmade cake tray.  Here Heather and Sam have chucked out the huge layer cake and frills, going once more for the humble and down-to-earth minimalism of home made cakes and sweets. 

and then it was time to meet the dark queen of all the elements, the rain... 

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and of course, Heather and Sam were undeterred. 

Something that many couples might overlook, and again it is such a simple thing:  a really good, really sturdy, and really pretty umbrella!  This is Britain after all, the island of rain, summer wedding or not! 

and then it was back inside for a quick warm-up, a glass of wine, and, of course, some more laughter...

or some more sophisticated entertainment for the more mature guests...

But for Sam, the big highlight of the day was to get back outside, rain or no rain, with his family and his rugby mates

Beach games are of course a brilliant alternative to the formal first dance and disco.  For this couple, it was nature and fresh air all the way, as a superb way to bring friends and family together, although this might not be quite everyone's perfect idea of a big hug...