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Happy Monday Lovely People!

Hope you all had a lovely weekend.

We have a very beautiful and very personal woodland wedding to share with you all today.

Emily and Sean said ‘I do’ on Saturday 9th August 2014 on a beautiful summer’s day at the fabulous Camp Katur in Kirklington, North Yorkshire. Their ceremony, styling and on the day co-ordination was done by Jan Shillito of Celebration Ceremonies & Weddings who describes Emily and Sean as being ‘a gorgeous couple inside and out and whose wedding was wrapped in boho festival style’ – sounds right up our street!

Emily and Sean wanted their wedding to be relaxed, informal and fun and to be as much about their friends and family as it was about them. With a personal woodland ceremony, laid back gin cocktails, a wonderful feast of fish ‘n’ chips, a selection of cakes, desserts and marshmallows and barefoot dancing around the fire – their wedding sounds more than a little bit awesome!

Emily tells us how it all started….

Perfect For Me, Perfect For Us

Sean proposed on the 7th anniversary of our very first date together and it was the biggest surprise. We had very recently moved to Saltaire, West Yorkshire and bought our first house together. We ha d fallen in love with the village (and love it very much still!) as well as each other and it seemed as though everything in our lives was slotting into place. We go away every year for our anniversary in August and usually spend a long weekend in York together – 2013 was no different and we’d booked a trip over, leaving the day after our anniversary. Sean had managed to get the day of the anniversary off work but I couldn’t – he’d been nagging me for weeks to try and get the afternoon off or leave early but I was so busy I thought it would be impossible and had a bit (a lot) of a go at him about asking again! In the end though I managed to get away from the office after lunchtime and as it was a glorious Summer’s day Sean suggested he’d meet me in the beautiful Robert’s Park by the river for a picnic and a drink. He chose a lovely, quiet spot in the middle of the grass and popped out a bottle of champagne. As it was our anniversary I didn’t think anything was untoward until I turned around to get something from my bag – when I turned back Sean was sitting there next to me with a beautiful ring and asked me to marry him. I’m sure everyone says the same but it really was so perfect – perfect for me, perfect for us. I never thought we’d get married so it was a huge and wonderful surprise. Very understated (Sean knows I get very self-conscious in front of lots of people so purposefully kept it private and personal) and so romantic; and now every time we go for a stroll around the park we talk about that amazing day.

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 A Bespoke Dress, Shoes caked in Mud and a very special Locket….

My dress was designed and made by Vivienne of Sophie Louise Bridal boutique in Boston Spa, North Yorkshire. Vivienne is an amazing and inspirational woman and I so enjoyed spending time with her throughout the year of planning our wedding. By the time my final fitting came around I not only had a stunning dress but a new friend – I couldn’t recommend her enough.

For my shoes I wore ivory satin with a small heel and diamante strap, made by Belle and purchased from Sophie Louise in Boston Spa (details as above). Very beautiful shoes but now completely caked in mud! That’s exactly what I expected to happen to them though, and I’m going to keep them that way in their box so I will remember how much fun I had dancing in the meadow and the forest when I am ancient and unable to dance any more.

My Jewellery consisted of Vintage gold-set moonstone earrings which have been in the family for several generations (now belonging to Mother of the Bride) and a vintage gold and silver hexagonal locket pendant (worn as a bracelet) presented to me by my gorgeous head bridesmaid Sophie Meacock on the morning of the wedding as a gift from Sean. I spent the night before the wedding with Soph in the Meadow Unidome and Sean spent the night with the boys in one of the Safari Tents and I had no idea he had bought this for me.

Inside the locket was a photograph of my Grandmother, Jean, who sadly passed away before Sean and I got engaged. She meant the world to me and I wished so much that she could’ve been there on our wedding day, so the locket was the most wonderful surprise and a lovely way to bring my memories of her close on a day when I knew I would miss her so much.

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Glamping, Camping, Teepees and a Unidome…

Our venue was Camp Katur which has a number of glamping huts, bell tents, teepees, etc. of varying comfort levels and sizes all nestled in the forest surrounding a big meadow. We hired the land and all the accommodation so that some of our guests could stay on-site with us. A few guests also brought their own tents along with them and camped in the meadow and surrounding woodland. Sean and I spent our wedding night in the Meadow Hide Unidome in the middle of the field and it was simply gorgeous.

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Friends and Family, the countryside and a love for music…..

It sounds cheesy but our friends and family were probably the biggest inspiration for our wedding; we were very clear about wanting to have a weekend-long celebration for everyone to enjoy and get stuck in – and party and celebrate and dance with us! Our friends/family are all very laid-back and enjoy life to the maximum so we knew the theme of our day would be along the same lines.

We were also hugely inspired by our surroundings and home; we’re both from Yorkshire and so getting married in the beautiful Yorkshire countryside was a must for us, and Camp Katur is such an amazing setting – I shed a little tear the first time we visited! We’d been to see so many places that just didn’t feel quite right, and to finally find somewhere that was just what we’d been looking for was more emotional than I’d bargained for!

In addition to the above, music was a huge inspiration for us. My Mum & Dad were real music lovers and so I was brought up with the wonderful tones of The Velvet Underground, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Joni Mitchell, Motown…. I could go on forever… and Sean certainly gets his love of funk & disco from his parents too. So having the right music was really important to us as it just sets the theme of the day and can be hugely emotional.

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Home Grown Flowers….

All of the flowers were grown by Jeanette (Mother of the Groom) in her allotment in Cottingham, East Yorkshire – a real labour of love! She spent almost a year carefully choosing what to plant when and tending to the flowers as they bloomed. My bouquet was made by my Granny (Mildred) and head garland made by my Mum. Bridesmaids’ hairpieces and bouquets were made by the bridesmaids themselves. Groom and groomsmen’s buttonholes were made by myself, the bridesmaids, my Aunt and my Granny, all headed up by my Mum (team effort on the morning of the wedding!).

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A Personal Ceremony in the woods….

Our ceremony was held in the woods surrounding the main meadow. We wanted our ceremony to be nontraditional but meaningful, quirky, fun, romantic and beautiful and just a representation of Sean and I. My bridal entrance was to “Strangers by the Kinks” escorted by my three bridesmaids and Dad who was dressed in a bright red top hat and tie! We walked down the long “aisle” through the woodlands to the ceremony area and it was just perfect.

The ceremony itself was wonderful – crafted for us by the amazing Jan Shillito and just so personal and beautiful. We love our family and friends as well as music and reading so all of this played a huge part in our ceremony. I (Emily) love literature so Jan included quotes and readings by Oscar Wilde and the very beautiful and romantic “I carry your heart” by EE Cummings; Sean is more of a self-confessed geek so we incorporated “Notes on Marriage” by Charles Darwin. The ceremony ended with Sean and I walking back down the aisle to “She’s A Rainbow” by The Rolling Stones. We couldn’t have asked for a more fitting way to mark our marriage.

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A Relaxed Atmosphere for Family and Friends….

One of the most important things for us was that our friends and family didn’t feel uncomfortable or under any pressure during the day as so often happens at weddings and other big group events – we just wanted everyone to have fun and to enjoy getting to know each other. We worked very hard throughout the year to make sure everything was in order, but I think at the end of the day it was everyone there who made it so special. We are truly lucky to be surrounded by such utterly wonderful people. Many of them had never been to a wedding like this and we were just over the moon that every single one of them completely embraced it – and genuinely enjoyed themselves! It was everything we’d hoped for and so, so much more.

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DIY Decor, Team Work and A Collection of Photos….

Jan Shillito arranged all of the decoration and styling of our ceremony area in the woods on the day – she helped us to plan everything in the lead up to the wedding and gave us some amazing ideas for how the area would look. The décor and styling inside the Papakata Tipi was another team effort really but the ideas were mine with help from my bridesmaid, Sophie Meacock (who is an interior stylist by trade – pretty helpful best friend to have!).

In the year before the wedding I spent hours buying pottery, vases, tablecloths and bits & bobs from charity shops and car boot sales almost every weekend to use as centre pieces and table decorations. My Mum made personalised bunting with her friend to hang around the tepees and friends and family all donated photographs, new and old, of myself and Sean with family/friends from various stages of life which were clipped up around every wall of the tepee for guests to enjoy and giggle at. Furniture and lighting inside the tent was provided by Papakata themselves. Many of the guests were invited to come along to the venue on the Friday before the wedding and EVERYONE got stuck in to help decorate the Papakata tent ready for the morning! (We paid them in beer, of course… ).

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A 3 Tiered Pork Pie And Two Little Dolls…

For our cake we had a Pork Pie 3 tiered wedding cake with initials and date decoration made by Wilsons Butchers in Crossgates, Leeds and cheese (in between each tier) from The Cheeseboard in Harrogate. The woolly Sean and Emily dolls that guarded the pie-cake were knitted by my Mum. We also had a cake table with a wonderful selection of cakes, sweets and marshmallows (for toasting around the campfire) all baked by our family and friends – we made little blank lolly-stick flags for everyone to fill out when they arrived so they could label their cakes.

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Favourite Moment….

It’s so hard to choose a “favourite” moment because it was all just so wonderful. I think my bridesmaid, Lucy Pattison, summed it up perfectly – she sent me a message after the weekend just saying “MY FAVOURITE PART WAS ALL OF IT” which made me laugh a lot J But kissing Sean at our ceremony and knowing we would be spending the rest of our lives together is definitely up there…

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Any Advice For Couples Planning Their Wedding Day?

GET A JAN SHILLITO IN YOUR LIFE. I don’t know what we would’ve done without Jan – she was just amazing from start to finish. The planning in the run-up to the wedding would have been a complete and utter shambles if it weren’t for her and her on-the-day co-ordination was so much more than that! She was (and is) honestly like Superwoman. She made our so personal and so perfect for us, and all our friends and family loved her – she was a guest as much as she was anything else (although she was working her a*se off so I’m sure she didn’t feel that way!) and spent the afternoon making sure everyone was ok and had everything they needed and that the day ran smoothly.

I would also recommend letting friends and family help in any way they can! It’s such a busy time so help from the ones you love is invaluable – but more than that, they will be so touched and happy to be involved, as will you. It will make the whole day feel so much more personal when everyone has chipped in and helped create it.

One final thing – on the actual day, everything goes so, so fast. Everyone will tell you that though, and you will nod and listen to them, but won’t be until you wake up the next day that you’ll realise just how right they were. The most important piece of advice I can give is one that was given to me by a dear friend and I am so glad I heeded it – on your wedding day just try, maybe every 30mins or so, to take a step back. Stop talking, listening, laughing, or whatever you are doing, and just stand back and look at everyone enjoying themselves. Just look around you and soak it all up.  Everyone is there because they love you and because they want to celebrate the love that you have found, and that is something so special and so overwhelming. It might never happen again, so bank those little snippets because they will be some of the moments of your life that you will no doubt remember and cherish forever and ever.

The Line Up

Venue: Camp Kátur
Photographers: Renata Stonyte and Bradley Potterton
Celebrant: Jan Shillito of Celebration Ceremonies & Weddings 
Bride’s Dress: Sophie Louise Bridal Boutique
Bride’s Make-Up: Zara Cantara
Groom: Suit – Victor Valentine; Shirt – TM Lewin
Groom’s Shoes: Office 
Bridesmaid Dress: ASOS
Tipi: Papakata
Flowers: Home Grown by Groom’s Mother
Pork Pie Cake: Wilson Butchers & The Cheeseboard
Catering: Chips and Things via Camp Kátur
Band: New York Brass Band 

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