Jess & Matt – Polhawn Fort

couple on a beach at Polhawn Fort

Jess & Matt

Real wedding at Polhawn Fort

We love the scenery and the view from the Polhawn Fort’s gardens. It goes without saying that the location is unbelievable and so unique. The Polhawn Fort team also made everything so easy; it really is flexible and they are all genuinely willing to help make your day exactly how you want it.

The day

We had the ceremony outside, which was always our (hopeful) plan and thankfully the weather allowed! We had clear blue skies with a slight breeze; it really couldn’t have been better, so most of our day was spent outside. After the ceremony, the guests made there way to the lawn and formed two lines facing the sea, ready for a confetti throw – these are some of our favourite photos.

We had canapés and drinks on the lawn, enjoying the afternoon sun. Our photographer took our wedding party and the two of us down to the beach for the couple shots and some fun photos with bridesmaids and ushers – Jess loves the photos of her and her bridesmaids running into the sea.

In the evening, we had the excellent band AKA, a four piece that kept everyone dancing all night! They played a real mix and it was a lot of fun!

Why Polhawn Fort

We are huge lovers of the outdoors and of the coast, so we wanted to reflect the Fort’s naturally beautiful setting and surroundings. We kept things simple, with a relaxed, coastal theme and wanted decorations to be as personal as possible (which also helped keep costs down). We hand-made candle and flower vases from recycled jam jars and rope, we made signs from up-cycled pallets and borrowed our friend’s handmade bunting they had at their wedding.

When we were planning our day, we also had to think about Jess’s Dad who uses a wheelchair and therefore could only access some areas and via the ramps. Even though we had Dad’s carer with us, I was nervous about how my Dad would get on, however I needn’t have worried – its quite surprising how wheelchair friendly a rural, cliff-side, converted fort can be! And it was very special to see our guests playing heroes and carrying my Dad in his chair to the lawn so he could be involved in every part of the wedding.

Simple and elegant attire

Matt didn’t want a traditional morning or formal 3-piece suit, so went with chinos, tweed-style waistcoat, smart-casual jacket and tie, same for the ushers and all bought online from high-street shops. The bridesmaid dresses were from ASOS and Jess wore a Pronovias sample dress, which she found in a local dress shop and wore her Mum’s veil for the ceremony, something old and borrowed.

Family of florists

We have a family full of florists and floral enthusiasts who did a fantastic job of decorating the Fort! We collected foliage from a family friend’s garden and bought in-season flowers from a local nursery. We had small displays in jars on tables and around the fort and two large displays of foliage, gypsophila, sprayed hydrangeas and cornflowers either side of gazebo entrance. We had a thick garland of foliage over at the arch in the Main Hall, which was really impressive. So that the family didn’t have to do all the flowers, Jess handmade silk bouquets for her and her bridesmaids… and now they are on display in our houses.

Designing the stationery

We kept save the dates really simple by sending a digital personalised photo of us, the guest and the date that we made on a photo app, then sent them over WhatsApp. Jess designed and printed the invitations herself, which was time consuming but they looked effective and it was a nice personal touch. It also helped us create a coastal theme for all stationery. We handmade the table plan using the same stationery as the invites and wrote the table name on the glass flower jars, which made the tables less cluttered.

Glorious food

We used the full capacity for a sit down meal with speeches before so everyone could relax during the meal. We had been recommended Couch’s and they were incredible from start to finish. We met Rich a few months before to discuss menu options; Rich and his team were so flexible, knowledgeable and willing to shape the menus so you were happy with every aspect. We wanted the food to be high quality and locally sourced but without being too pretentious, Rich got the brief completely and we were so happy with the food, as were our guests, who still rave about how delicious it all was!

Matt loves canapés so we made sure we had lots of delicious ones for our guests. Our main meal was sharing boards of racks of lamb, grilled salmon, seasonal greens, couscous, amazing focaccia breeds and dressed new potatoes. Desert was a trio of champagne and elderflower jelly, chocolate brownie and a mini cheesecake. All of our favourite tastes. At 10pm, we served homemade Cornish (and veggie and vegan) pasties, and our wedding cake. They went down a storm!

Matt’s sister is an incredible baker and made us a 3-tiered naked chocolate cake with buttercream icing and decorated with the same flowers that we had around the venue. I picked up ta floating cake stand from Gumtree, which made the cake look grand.

Amazing photography

The Wild Bride was our photographer and videographer; a husband and wife duo who are incredibly talented, a bonus that Emilie is also Jess’s school friend. We loved their relaxed and candid style and we thought it really suited the venue, we couldn’t be happier with our photos and video.

Memorable moment

We honestly couldn’t pick a specific point; the whole day/weekend was brilliant. Spending time with our family and friends in such a breath-taking location was really special and there is something about Polhawn that makes everyone relaxed, we had the best time.

Top tip

Enjoy every moment of it, even the bits that might seem stressful at the time. On the day you find everything just happens.

Who they used

Venue – Polhawn Fort
Marquee – Devon Party Marquees
Photography – The Wild Bride
Catering – Couch’s
Bridal Wear – Pronovias
Bridesmaids – ASOS
Stationery – Greetings Island
Band – AKA
Accommodation – Rame Barton