I am in love with Clare and Ian’s wedding. Fact.

I don’t love it because of the decor, even though it is epic. I don’t love it for Clare’s dress by South African designer Kobus Dippenaar, even though it is gorgeous. I don’t even love it for the beer ping pong game they played at the reception even though its a genius way of getting your guests relaxed and into the festival mood (and slightly pissed!) No, I love it because Clare and Ian did exactly what they wanted to do no matter what. They had the wedding of their dreams and stayed true to themselves throughout the whole of the planning process and in my eyes that is how a wedding should be. They didn’t worry about whether their choices ‘fitted in’ with wedding etiquette. If they liked it they did it – simple, and the result was a day full of so much laughter and fun that I just wish I had been there. They played post it notes during their meal – need I say more!? Described as being fun, relaxed and country; get ready to be inspired by Clare and Ian’s rustic romance….

A Picnic, Hungry Dog and One Knee…..

We live just near Tooting Common. It was a Wednesday evening and we were heading off on holiday to Croatia the following day. Clarkey had suggested a picnic – something we always do – but I was running late at work. Anyway, I didn’t have a clue but as the September sun set and with one eye on a dog that was eyeing up our picnic, Clarkey got down on one knee. To say I was in shock is an understatement. He has been telling me how he hates marriage for 11 years!!

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A Friend of A Friends Farm….

Our wedding wasn’t held at a wedding venue. We hired a ‘friend of a friends’ farm. It had this beautiful empty old barn that they used for the village Christmas carols. It was a blank canvas that we could do what we wanted with. The fact that we weren’t tied to a certain caterer/band/drinks/decorations was important to us.  We had the ceremony on the top field and moved down to the barn for the reception. We had the meal in a marquee (from a company called Pole to Pole) which we attached to the barn.

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A Team Effort….

Our wedding was a team effort. We actually got legally married in Ireland the week before our big day as my grandparents weren’t able to travel over. It was important that we included everyone that we loved and it was our way of making sure they had a part in it. It also meant that we could design our own ceremony for our big day and get married outside which we wanted to do. A family friend, who is also a minister, conducted our ceremony and we designed the whole thing ourselves. We had four readings read by two friends and a representative from each family. We got married under a willow pagoda, which was grown by our friend Sushil. My friend Sam has his own classic car company and drove my dad and me to the ceremony in the most beautiful car. It was great having someone I love collect me – it helped my nerves.

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Inspiration built from Family and Friends…..

The inspiration behind our ideas was our family and friends – they mean so much to us. We identified everyone we wanted to be there and then built the wedding around that. We didn’t want to be constrained by a number. It was also really important that we had the day we wanted. We got to choose everything; what we wanted to eat and drink, we picked every song that played and we wrote our own ceremony  Every inch of the decoration were our own ideas.

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Spread The Love…..

Our favours were little jars of strawberry jam, which read ‘spread the love’. My Dad grew the strawberries and my Mum made the jam. Our confetti was made from dried flowers, which my grandma collected with her neighbours. She even made the little confetti pouches out of brown paper.  Everyone sat on hay bales that we hired from a local farmer. My mum made 72 metres of bunting to decorate the barn and the field. Our centrepieces were all home made. The logs were cut from a tree at my grandparent’s house in Ireland and driven over – My mum wanted a little piece of Ireland there! We collected the jam jars throughout the year and decorated them with ribbon. As decoration in the barn we asked everyone to bring a photo of themselves with either of us. These were hung using little brown pegs and we now have them in an album. We also had a hen and stag wall so that those not at the pre-celebrations could see what happened. We had a free bar so asked everyone for a contribution to the Anthony Nolan Trust, which is a wonderful charity.  We made our own flavoured vodka and created our own labels. The suitcase I used for collecting the cards was my Grandma’s great uncles. We used beer mats collected by Clarkey’s grandad. We used chalk and a duster for a photo booth blackboard that belonged to my grandad. My friend Satal made all of our signage. Instead of a wedding book we asked everyone to sign a picture which Clarkey’s auntie Iris had drawn for us. That’s not to mention everyone that helped us decorate the day before.

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Addicted To Cheese…

We decided to have a cheese cake, as we’re addicted. We got it from a shop called the Cheese Board in London. We served the cheese with an iberico ham for the evening buffet. We also had cupcakes for those with a sweet tooth that were delicious and made by a local cake maker called Amanda Reilly.

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A Spotify List and The Replays….

In the evening we had a band called The Replays, which played all our favourite classics. We created spotify playlists that we could put on when the band were taking a break. It meant the dance floor was full all night.

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Favourite moment….

The thing I remember most about the day was how happy everyone was. I remember sitting for dinner and just listening to the room – everyone was laughing and giggling.

Any Advice….

Just have fun. Remember it’s your day.


The Line Up

Photographer: Dasha Caffrey
Venue: Friend’s Farm – West Stoke near Winchester
Marquee: Pole To Pole Marquees
Brides Dress: Kobus Dippenaar from Morgan Davis
Brides Shoes: Jimmy Choo
Brides Jewellery: Bride’s Family
Groom: Reiss
Bridesmaid Dresses: Ghost
Make Up: Isabell Boettcher
Flowers: Joanna Rivers Flowers 
Catering: Tall Hats 
Cake: Cupcakes by Reilly Cakes 
Band: The Replays
Decor & Styling: DIY

Thank you to Clare and Ian for sharing your very special wedding with us and to Dasha Caffrey for her beautiful wedding photos.

Don’t you just love all the little touches they did? The photo wall was a great idea and that cheese cake looked immense!!

I’m off to play a game of beer ping pong!

Big Real Wedding Love

Festival Brides xxx

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