Happy Tuesday Lovely People.

We have a beautiful wedding to share with you today. Full of smiles, full of colour and full of love; Ashley and Peter’s wedding is guaranteed to warm your hearts and leave you smiling the January blues away.

Ashley and Peter wanted their wedding to have a cheerful and relaxed festival feel with lots of colour and no formality. A cross between a mayday gala with bunting, tea and homemade cakes and a festival with silk flags, camping, music and dancing round the campfire. Sounds like a good mix to me!

Their ceremony was held at St Michaels Church, Breaston, Derbyshire followed by their ‘Riot of Colour’ reception at  Draycott House Derbyshire

Here’s their story………….

A Proposal in Helsinki….

I was working out in Helsinki for 5 months in 2011. I flew out at the end of January and Peter was coming to visit a couple of weeks later in February.

I met him at the airport and took him back to show him my apartment. He was insisting that we should go out for dinner but it was -26 outside so I thought we should just stay in and stay cosy. He eventually agreed but said we should go for dinner the next night. It turned out to be even colder the next day and snowed heavily so we stayed in then too. On Sunday morning I woke up to a lovely breakfast of American pancakes with maple syrup and a steaming pot of coffee. As I sat down to eat my breakfast Peter came over to my side of the table and got down on one knee!! I couldn’t believe it but I now realised why he had been insisting on going out for a posh dinner!

We have been together since we met in our first year at university in Liverpool in 1999 so its taken quite a few years!

Ashley&Peter Ashley&Peter1 Ashley&Peter2 Ashley&Peter3

A mix of seasonal flowers and herbs….

I maintain that our florist Michele was one of my best buys. She was very friendly helpful and professional. She saved me lots of time and kept me well informed about costs. She totally understood what I was looking for and fulfilled the brief perfectly.

I asked for a mixture of whatever flowers and herbs were in season. I told her my favourite flowers were sunflowers and freesias and so she made sure that these were incorporated. They were in a mixture of jars and jugs scattered around the venue.


A Donna Lee with beaded applique and a pair of wellies….

Donna Lee bought from Brides and Gowns in Derby. I looked for a dress in Helsinki, Seville, London and Manchester but couldn’t find the right one. Then I came across a bridal shop in Derby while out shopping that I had never heard of before. I made an appointment and went in to try on a specific gown but after chatting with the girl in the shop she pulled out a dress that she thought I’d like. I tried it on and loved it! Dresses can look soo different on the hanger.

I had it altered quite a bit. My bridesmaid Vicki found the beaded appliqué which i had sewn on at the waist. I had a few of the beads on this changed to navy blue. I had buttons added down the back of the dress and the shape of the back altered a little so that it dropped into a gentle V rather than going straight across my back. And, I had the edging ribbon on the underskirt changed to navy blue too. I wanted to get some colour in there somewhere!

For my shoes I wore Jimmy Choos for the service. I thought as I’d saved money on my dress I could splash out a bit on my shoes. At the reception I changed into my Joules wellies which my bridesmaids had bought me for my birthday two weeks earlier. They had red ribbons when they bought them so Vicki bought some yellow ribbon to match the wedding colours and hand sewed them.


A Touch of Gospel….

I booked a gospel choir named Gospel Touch to sing Ain’t No Mountain High Enough for me to walk up the aisle to. Peter new I had booked a choir but he didn’t know it was a gospel choir. They also sang Oh Happy Day, You Love is Lifting Me Higher while we signed the register and Signed Sealed Delivered as we left.

We live in the village so I was able to walk to the ceremony with my Dad and Bridesmaids. It was lovely being able to wave to people in the village as we walked there. All our neighbours came out onto the street to wish us well.


Ashley&Peter7 Ashley&Peter8 



A wedding inspired by US….

We have been to ALOT of weddings all over the world but we felt the best ones were the ones that were relaxed and informal. One of the reasons we hadn’t been keen to rush into a wedding was because they just didn’t seem like ‘US’. We love music and dancing and being outdoors camping. We’ve both been to our fair share of festivals over the years and enjoy the colourful relaxed atmosphere.




Bunting, Paper Pompoms and a vintage delivery bike…

Our florist Michele Gledhill dressed a lot of the venue for us. She decorated the main part of the marquee with bunting and paper lanterns. She also put fairy lights and bunting around the outside of the marquee and candle bags that lined the pathway up to the marquee. Two of my bridesmaids and I made paper pompoms which we added to this and then we decorated the areas outside with more bunting and pom poms.

A friend restored an old delivery bike for us and had my new name put onto it. We had planned to cycle from the church but it looked like it might rain so we only got the chance to use the bikes outside the front of the marquee. Peter rode that delivery bike and I rode my Pashley Princess which despite looking very old is actually quite new. The bikes were parked in the entrance to the marquee.

We had a wooded area just to the side of the marquee which we had hay bales in so people could sit in there. They were much more popular than the normal seats and benches!!

10 Tents, a caravan and two camper vans…..

We had bell tents from Tinkers Bells and then another 10 tents, a caravan and two camper vans.

We also had a bridal tent and booked a chillout tent for our guests to use. This had power to it so we used that for the ipods for the silent disco.


Homebaked cakes, Caribbean rum punch and afternoon tea….

When we arrived at the venue the welcome drinks were rum punches served in jam jars with paper straws. This was in keeping with my Caribbean roots (my family are from Barbados).

Then we had afternoon tea which consisted of a selection of sandwiches, quiches and vegetable crisps. I had borrowed or bought all the teapots, teacups and saucers, sugar bowls and milk jugs that were on the tables.

For our desert, guests were invited to bake for us and so we had a table full of different and tasty cakes.

There was a tea station where people could help themselves to hot drinks throughout the day along with helping themselves to cakes.


A sustainable wedding….

I work in sustainability and try to live a ‘green’ life so we tried to apply those principles to our wedding too. The jam jars for the drinks were all saved by friends and family. We used local businesses wherever possible. I walked to the church. We used flowers that were in season, the tea cups and saucers, tea pots, sugar bowls and milk jugs were all from charity shops or borrowed from friends and we made as much as we could (tricky with a lively 14month old daughter!) ourselves. Using online invitations and thanks you cards  fit well with this philosophy.




Groove Nation and a Silent Disco….

For our evening entertainment we had a band called Groove Nation, a Disco and a Silent Disco. We had a DJ named Alan Toner who we had met at a friends wedding. He drove all the way from Manchester for us and used the DJ equipment we’d hired from DJ Rentals. The silent Disco kit came from Silent Noize. It was all very easy and straight forward to use. We had a battle between the ushers who did one playlist (80’s) and the bridesmaids who did one for the other channel (dance anthems). The result was great. There was always a great tune to listen to whatever your tastes and so there was dancing around the campfire until it started getting light again!

We had also left a bag of fancy dress items in the chillout tent for people to help themselves too.

For the silent disco we had glosticks and glasses that made everything look like sunrays.


Favourite moment of the day?

Dancing around the campfire at the silent disco with my best buddies. It was just soooooo much fun! 

Any advice for couples planning their wedding day?

Throw out the rule book and ignore all the people that say ‘but you have to do/have….’ we didn’t do favours or speeches or cutting of the cake because we didn’t want to. Be determined and stick to your dream.


The Line Up

Photographer: Ethan Elliot
Venue: Draycott House Derbyshire
Brides Dress: Donna Lee personalised by the Bride 
Brides Shoes: Jimmy Choo
Brides Wellies: Joules
Groom: Suit from Alexandre
Bridesmaid Dresses: Jenny Packham, Phase Eight & Coast
Flowers: Michele Gledhill
Catering: DIY
Cake: Brides Aunt
Wedding Decor & Stationery: DIY & Michele Gledhill
Bell Tents and Honeymoon Tent: Tinker Bells
Silent Disco: Silent Noize
Band: Groove Nation

Thank you so much to Ashley and Peter for sharing your wedding with us. Loved those vintage bikes!

Ashley and Peter’s first dance will be on Independent Love Song on Monday and its a gooden!

Have a good evening peeps.

Big Love

Festival Brides xx

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