Fern & Joe's intimate, secret Cornwall elopement

October 7 2014 | offbeatbride  
Photos by: Debs Ivelja Photography
Fern & Joe 0196
Photos by Debs Ivelja Photography

The Offbeat Bride: Fern, nanny

Her offbeat partner: Joe, security engineer

Date and location of wedding: Boscean Country House, Boho Cornwall, St. Just, UK — December 13, 2013

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: I think the best thing about our wedding was the surprise of it — and I don't mean for our friends and family. The date was set only six weeks before, and we knew we wouldn't have a chance to visit the venue. But by this point, I really was not interested in heavily planning anything. We really wanted zero responsibility — to just turn up at the location and we would just embrace it! We chose Boscean Country House for our elopement, sight unseen.
Fern & Joe 0002

Fern & Joe 0003

Fern & Joe 0020

I told our florist to just think up something amazing, and she didn't disappoint. It was great to just give up any expectations and just trust others. Seeing my bouquet on the morning of our wedding was great — it was like nothing I'd seen before and it fit perfectly with the wintry day.

Fern & Joe 0072

Fern & Joe 0024

Fern & Joe 0033

Fern & Joe 0056

When it was all over just a few hours later, we headed back to the beautiful cottage on-site, and dug in to the most amazing deli platter provided by the venue. Joe threatened to take a picture of me scarfing a giant bag of crisps in my wedding gown! We put our slippers on and chillaxed for the rest of the evening!

Here's our highlight video:

Fern & Joe 0141

Fern & Joe 0087

Fern & Joe 0098

Fern & Joe 0108

Tell us about the ceremony:
I walked down the staircase to The Piano Guys' version of "Can't Help Falling in Love," which I love. The room was filled with candles which gave off a gorgeous glow and warmth.

Fern & Joe 0116

Fern & Joe 0120

Fern & Joe 0129

We had decided that as it was just us, we would write our own vows. Joe, in particular, hates being the centre of attention so this is a big thing for him. But it was wonderful to be able to reminisce about our past together, celebrate our present, and make promises to one another. Penny, our daughter, handed us our rings, which made her feel really included. After being pronounced husband and wife, the three of us toasted with bubbly (and orange juice for the little lady).

Fern & Joe 0161

Fern & Joe 0149

Fern & Joe 0156

Our biggest challenge:
We had been attempting to plan a wedding for almost a year when we called the whole thing off. It had just been one huge headache: vendors falling through, going bust, and messing us around. We couldn't agree on what we really wanted, we couldn't fit our wants around family and friends wants or needs, and it all was just doomed from the start. By October, we'd both reached the end. We were due to be married on Valentine's Day and I think it's fair to say neither of us were remotely excited — not a good feeling.

We called our families and friends and told them we were cancelling, but that WE were fine. We just no longer wanted to get married in the February and asked for a little time and space. A few weeks later, we decided to elope, Googled "Cornwall elopement" and just chose a venue!

Fern & Joe 0194

Fern & Joe 0234

Fern & Joe 0190

Fern & Joe 0223

Fern & Joe 0004

My favorite moment:
The first would be sitting in my chair, on the top floor of the Ochre cottage, with the doors wide open overlooking the miles and miles of green and onto the Cornish coast. Cornwall is where my heart is — it's like coming home every time we visit. When we woke up on our wedding day, it was chucking it down with rain and it was grim. As I sat there over the course of the morning, I watched the rain slowly cleared and the gloomy skies turned to bright blue and it felt so apt after our struggle planning our original wedding. I just felt so totally relaxed and I knew I was where I wanted to be, with whom I wanted to be.

Fern & Joe 0144

Having my beautiful baby girl walk me down the big staircase towards Joe was perfect, too. To have her leading me towards her daddy felt so right. As we heard the opening bars of the song, and we began making our way down, I heard her gasp, "Hello Daddy!" and she waved at him. He just stood there with the biggest grin waiting for us and I honestly felt like my heart might just burst.

Fern & Joe 0165

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

  1. Such a sweet wedding. I love your story. It's so great it worked out for you in the end. I feel the same about Cornwall, it's an amazing place. I'm kinda disappointed we're not marrying there but relieved I'm not planning a long distance wedding. All the best to your cute family 🙂

    2 agree
    • I hear ya! long distance planning is HARD! it was one of the biggest players in our failing in planning first time around. But I don't think I'd ever have felt right getting married anywhere else, we live in Bristol and it was a good 4+ hrs to St. just.. The only reason this worked is because we A) told no one and B) planned nothing. Tom and Maya who own Boho Cornwall were just amazing. They just sent us a list of vendors and we picked and booked all so last minute. We got so lucky, everyone we booked was just the best! I never had any trials, it was weird to have no control and yet liberating and I just loved the surprises of the day having no idea what anything would pan out like! Your day will be amazing Katie, enjoy every second. Xxx

      2 agree
  2. Everything looks perfect and wonderful, and I am dying of envy for those shoes, which seem to no longer be sold. I'm melting with anguish, I tell you. Melting!

    Congratulations, and I'm glad you found a way that worked without stressing yourself into oblivion. 😀

    2 agree
    • Oh no! How annoying! They are super cute huh? I wonder if anywhere has left over stock? The inner pattern looks really similar to irregular choice but they are totally lush in true hush puppy comfort style. I hope you manage to find some! They also came in teal iir, shout me if you find them.. I regret not snatching a 2nd pair!

      1 agrees
  3. Beautiful! That picture of you kissing in front of the boats is just spectacular! The color! The light! The love! Everything about this wedding is just perfection. So glad it worked out and you had the day you wanted.

    2 agree
    • Thank you! Cape Cornwall is just amazing, rugged spot! I really love our wedding pictures, Deb was just incredible and Ben made us such a fab video.. Our families love watching it!

      1 agrees
  4. Lovely pictures! my fav is the one of B&G in front of the sea by the red boat – perfect colours and textures. Have pinned it to my board of wedding dresses with cardis – love that look! Lovely story to go with the pics too.

    2 agree
    • It's (one of!) My favourites too! We're just printing and framing our pictures now and I'm going big with that one! Thank you for your lovely comments. X

      1 agrees
  5. Hello Wedding Fraternal Twin!

    I'm so excited to read about a wedding situation similar to mine! Planned a bigger wedding. Cancelled it because it was getting out of hand, and took some time to recoup and decide what we wanted. Planned our mini-wedding (us and bio-parents) in a month and 1/2 at an inclusive venue that does elopements/small weddings. Glad to know someone else ended up where I did during wedding planning. Your wedding is so lovely. It reminds me of the calm intensity of ours.

    Thanks for sharing!

    1 agrees
    • Whitney, big love to you- it's so difficult isn't it! I am sooo pleased for you the you guys have put a stop to wedding madness and are having an intimate do. Our day was nothing at all like I'd ever imagined but it was so great, I wouldn't change a thing- I've no doubt you'll feel the same. Have a great day and I'm sending you loafs of happy stress free wedding vibes. X

      1 agrees
  6. The scenery is nearly as stunning as the bride. What a gorgeous execution of a personal, and private ceremony. LOVE!

  7. Such a beautiful story! I had tears in my eyes over this one… and almost makes me want to elope rather than carry on with the wedding planning!

  8. Love it, Deb has done a fantastic job on these wedding pictures, Fern, Joe & Penny you are a beautiful loving family and i wish you every happiness x x x

Join the conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

No-drama comment policy

Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. Make sure you're familiar with our no-drama comment policy.

Biz owners & wedding bloggers

Please just use your real name in your comment, not your business name or blog title. Our comments are not the place to pimp your website. If you want to promote your stuff on Offbeat Bride, join us as an advertiser instead.