Happy Tuesday lovely People!
So here it is – the final part to our epic wedding that was the very reason Festival Brides started in the first place!
Bob and I married on the 4th May 2013 at The Great Higham Barn in Doddington, Kent. It was an epic day that was filled with laughter, music, lots of festival elements and of course a hell of alotta of love!
I hope you enjoy reading this last part as much as I have writing it.
Cotton Candy Weddings…
As soon as I saw Cotton Candy Wedding’s website I knew they were going to be the ones who would capture our wedding, even before we had met up with them! I fell in love with the soft vintage feel to their photos, the way they captured the story of all the weddings they shot beautifully and their use of film and Polaroids. Their photography style was fun, arty and different and that’s what instantly attracted me to them.
When we met up with them in a pub in London, within 5 minutes of being in each others company we were chatting away about travelling, relationships, box sets! You name it we were talking about it! It felt like we were having a drink with mates, not people we’d just met! Phil and Gemma are two lovely girls who are incredibly talented photographers and are very passionate about what they do. We instantly felt relaxed in their company and after seeing more of their work it was decided – they were going to be our wedding photographers.
I love our wedding photo’s. Despite the rain and wind, Phil still managed to capture our day perfectly and brought the best out of Bob and I when it came to taking those all important couple shots. I loved the fact that she encouraged us to go out into the surrounding fields and the pictures in the woodland are gorgeous – we love them!
It’s really important to find a wedding photographer you get on with and who makes you feel comfortable in front of the camera. I was a bit worried about how I was going to feel posing and doing the more natural shots where you don’t smile but actually, when it came to it, I loved it and that’s all because Phil made me feel relaxed.
A Festival Flag or Two…..
Being a festival wedding it was only right that we had festival flags as part of our decor! Many people will argue that these have been over done in the last few years but our wedding just wouldn’t have felt like a festival without them and they looked awesome! To really create the feeling like you were entering a festival, and to let people know they were in the right place, we placed two flags at the entrance of the long driveway that led to our venue. This generated a lot of excitement as people could see the flags from across the fields as they drove up! The rest we placed in the live lounge area and on the slight ‘hill’ that was to the right of the bar.
The colours of the flags worked really well together and being an exceptionally windy day they all looked great blowing in the same direction!
Coloured Glass, A Wishing Tree and Painted Signs…..
In the very early stages of planning our wedding, Bob and I had our heart set on hiring the amazing Kata Tipi tents for our reception. The only problem was they came with a pretty hefty price tag that would eat into the majority of our budget. The only way we could justify booking them was if we saved money elsewhere so out came the pen and paper and we started to look at things we could do ourselves. As we weren’t having evening guests we decided to provide all the evening food ourselves and keep it really simple by having cheese and biscuits, pate, chutneys and bread. This worked really well especially because we had so much red wine left over so people were loving the combination! Providing all the wine for the meal ourselves was also another way of saving money as it meant we could search the internet for the best deals and test out our bargaining skills! Bob managed to find our favourite red wine for just £3.99 a bottle (bargain considering its usually £7.99) and we ended up getting a really nice white wine after a trip to France.
Doing all the wedding decor ourselves was another way we saved a lot of money and was also one of the highlights of planning our wedding! I loved all the time I spent with my Mum visiting charity shops and boot fairs on the hunt for eclectic coloured glass and objects that we could hang from trees and fill with flowers. I also had some hilarious nights with one of my best friends Tammy, decoupaging our guest book/board’s, and making the straps for our festival lanyards. The only problem was we were drinking G&T’s at the time so the length of the straps started to vary slightly! Oops!
Because the venue and tipi was already stunning by itself, we decided to keep the decor relatively simple but in keeping with the eclectic festival theme of our wedding. To enhance that feeling that you were at a festival we created 4 different areas for our guests to explore: The Tipi Arena, The Live Lounge, The Goal House aka Pub and In The Woods which was where our ceremony was held. Each area had a different theme but all with eclectic coloured glass running through them to bring it altogether. We also had a wishing tree, wellie park and photo booth – all of which added to that festival vibe! Unfortunately for us, the weather didn’t play ball on our wedding day so most people stayed inside the Tipi or around the bar! We did get to use the other areas the next day though as we had an open house BBQ and the sun came out to play!
Of course no festival wedding is complete without a wedding sign or two! Kelly was behind our amazing wooden signs that we had darted around the venue. My Dad and Bob sourced and cut the wood but Kelly painted them all and I absolutely loved them!
Find your photo to find your seat…..
When we sent out our invitations we asked our guests to send in a photo of themselves either at a festival or a party. We then used these photos as part of our table plan with the idea that you had to find your photo to find your seat! I was so happy with the way this worked. It ended up being a real talking point when people first arrived and acted as a bit of an ice breaker between our guests. Everyone was laughing at the pictures people had sent in and it was just such a good way of involving everyone in our day.
Each photo had the name of the table that person was sitting on written on the back and using string and mini pegs, we hung them all in a washing line affect between the first four pillars at the entrance of the Tipi. Our guests then had to find their photo, find out the name of the table they were sitting on and then refer to their festival guide to see where inside the tipi that table was located!
A bit of magic from a florist in the forest…..
Inside the Tipi we arranged all the different coloured glass that my Mum and I had been collecting for the past year, down the middle of the long trestle tables. Katherine, from Florist In The Forest, then filled each of these with a stunning mixture of seasonal flowers that just brought the tipi and glass to life. They really did look so stunning all lined up along the tables and created such an impact when you first walked into the Tipi.
In the build up to our wedding Katherine spent a lot of time discussing all my ideas with me and sending examples of what she thought we could do with the space. She really tried to gain an understanding of what I wanted to achieve and was brilliant from start to finish. Everyone said that our flowers were some of the best they’d seen at a wedding and the tipi smelt so good!!!
Along with the flowers we dressed the tables with colourful napkins from Ikea and used luggage tags as name placements. Each tag had it’s own hand drawn illustration on it (drawn by 2 of my lovely bridesmaids) which related to the place the table was named after. For example one of our tables was named The Bothy which was the name of the cottage where Bob proposed and another was named Winchester which is where we both went to uni. For the illustrations we drew an engagement ring and a pint of beer! Of course there had to be a table named after India and for that illustration we used a gorgeous stamp of an Indian Elephant!
Favourite Moment of The Day….
Apart from our wedding ceremony which I loved so much, I would have to say that my favourite moments would have to be our sit down meal and speeches – they were brilliant!
Up until that point I hadn’t really had a chance to talk to Bob or take in the fact that we were actually married and this was our wedding day! Sitting down for those few hours really gave me a chance to reflect on the day so far and take it all in. It was also so lovely seeing everyone enjoy themselves and the amazing Caribbean feast we had! Bob’s Dad was born in Barbados so when it came to our wedding food we knew that jerk chicken, rice and beans were going to have to be on the menu! We also had goat curry which was delicious, a vegetarian curry, salmon and planting. It was yum!
After the meal we had our speeches and they were hilarious! My Dad was on top form with taking the mick out of my Lauraism’s (I have a tendency to mispronounce almost everything!) and had everyone in the room laughing at his stories of me growing up, Bob pushed all the right buttons and managed to make me cry and Baby (the best man) pipped the others to the post with some hilarious stories about Bob! They were all so funny and I am so glad that we decided to have a videographer as its been great reliving them again.
1, 2, 3 go…….
For our wedding cake we had a gorgeous Victoria sponge with blueberry and raspberry jam supplied by the amazing Juliet’s in Tunbridge Wells. We’d already decided that we were having their Victoria sponge for our wedding cake before we were even engaged! We’d just moved into Tunbridge Wells at the time and spotted the cake in their shop window. After one slice we were hooked and it was decided that when we got married that was going to be our wedding cake!
Because we were on a tight budget we decided to mix our wedding cake with desert. Instead of having just one wedding cake, Bob came up with the genius idea that every table could have the same cake as us and then 2 people from each table could cut their cake when we do ours! So after the count of 3 we cut the cake. It was a brilliant idea and worked so well. My friends have some hilarious pictures of people cutting their cakes!
One More Time and Get Lucky……..
Music was constantly playing through out our wedding day. My Dad, who has been DJing since he was 17, had spent all of Friday setting up the sound system so we could play music around the entire venue. He was amazing and worked so hard. He was also responsible for all the lighting both inside and outside of the tipi.
In between our playlists we had 2 bands playing during the reception. The first were Ross and The Wrongens who played an awesome acoustic set just before our sit down meal and the second were The Swing Ninjas who kick started the party in the evening! Both were brilliant and really added to that festival vibe!
We also had friends of my Dad DJing until the early hours of the morning and of course there had to be a guest set from DJ Bailey himself (aka My Dad!) He ended up doing two sets – the later continuing until 4am!!
One of the highlights of our wedding was seeing all our favourite people having such a good time. I didn’t leave the dancefloor all night and I just remember one moment in particular where it seemed like everyone was on the dance floor and the atmosphere was amazing! It was during a mix of Daft Punk’s One More Time and Get Lucky – it was epic and a very special moment.
Amazing Friends + Amazing Family = An Amazing Wedding…..
There were so many aspects of our wedding that just wouldn’t have been possible if it hadn’t have been for the help and support we received from our family and friends. In the two days leading up to our wedding, we were overwhelmed by how many people came to help us set up the venue and finish off all the DIY elements that we still had to do! Everyone was amazing and just kept taking more and more jobs away from Bob and I so we could focus on the things only we could do. One thing I have noticed in almost all of the weddings we have featured on Festival Brides is how much family and friends pull together to help the bride and groom in the planning and preparation of a wedding and I think this is so special. We certainly wouldn’t have had the day or experience we had without our friends and family and I will always be so thankful to everyone who helped.
What I loved the most about our wedding was that it was spread out over 4 days; 2 days setting up, the wedding day, and then the BBQ we had on the Sunday. Because we had the venue to ourselves for these 4 days everyone that was staying there had really bonded. It felt like we’d all had a little holiday together! What was also really nice is that because everything was in one place it felt a lot more relaxed. If you are still looking for your venue, I would definitely recommend finding a spot where you can have your wedding and accommodation in the same place as it does make such a difference for you and your guests.
Don’t sweat the small stuff and let things go! I think most brides will admit that they can get stressed out over the tiniest little things because you spend so much of your time researching and planning your wedding that the slightest little thing going wrong can really get to you. BUT…..I can’t stress enough that on your wedding day you really won’t care – I promise! Things did go wrong in the build up to our wedding. Our bunting didn’t turn up, the weather was awful and on the Friday night before at about 8pm I realised I’d left our really cool camper van napkins at home that we were meant to be using at the reception. I was almost in my car ready to do the 1 hour and 20 minute journey back to our house to pick them up I was that gutted about it! Looking back now it was ridiculous that I almost did that but at the time I was convinced our tables would look bare without them (they were really cool napkins!) Did anyone notice they were missing on the day – no! Did anyone notice our bunting was missing on the day – no! Did I notice on the day – no!
I know its easier said than done but try your hardest to not worry about little things and focus on the big things like the fact that you are about to marry the person you love, because that is the moment you will cherish on your wedding day – not camper van napkins!
THE LINE UPPhotographer: Cotton Candy Weddings Venue: Great Higham Barn, Doddington, Kent Tipi Tents: Beautiful World Tents Brides Dress & Veil: Bespoke Design – Wilden Bride Brides shoes: Head Over Heels for Dune Groom: Suit from Dressed 2 Kill; Shirt from 1 Like No Other Brides Jewellery: Earrings from BHLDN; Bracelet from Astley Clarke Bridesmaid Dresses: Maids To Measure Bridesmaid’s Jewellery: Fenwick, Tunbridge Wells Make Up: MUA Sabrina Lily Hair: Family Friend Flowers: Florist In The Forest Stationery: Rhubka Design Festival Flags: festiflags Wedding Decor: DIY Acoustic Band: Ross and The Wrongens Swing Band: The Swing Ninjas Catering: The Caribbean Cookpot Wedding Cake: Juliets and More Photo Booth: Cotton Candy Weddings
So there you go! My wedding in all it’s glory!
I would just like to to thank all the amazing suppliers that were involved in our wedding day – they were all brilliant and helped make our wedding as special as it was. I couldn’t recommend them more highly.
I would also like to say a massive THANK YOU to all my family and friends who helped make our day as awesome as it was – you all rock! Especially my Mum who was just amazing throughout the whole planning process and then on the wedding day itself.
If you are planning your wedding then let us know how you are getting on!
Big Festival Wedding Love,
Festival Brides xx