In a world where weddings seem to be more about the ‘theme’ than anything else (and yes I have been guilty of this!) Helen & Gary’s wedding is a breath of fresh air. They wanted nothing more than an informal garden party by day and a good old fashioned knees up by night surrounded by all their favourite family and friends. Full of simple homemade touches and mouth watering food, Helen and Gary’s beautiful intimate wedding is the perfect example of what a wedding should be – good company, good food, plenty of drinks and lots of  smiles – that is all you need to have an amazing day.

Helen tells us all about it……

It started with a city break….

We were on a city break in Prague in April 2011, unknown to me Gary had already brought the engagement ring.  After an amazing dinner we went for a walk.  We were walking over Charles Bridge, Gary said he wanted to take my photo with the castle behind me. He started to kneel down saying he couldn’t get the castle in, and then he proposed.  

Informal, relaxed and chilled…..

We knew the day was going to be extremely emotional, I lost my dad a few years ago and my Nan (Dad’s mum) last year so getting married without them really hurt. Other family members offered to step in but I decided to walk down the aisle on my own. We decided not to have speeches or seating plans, we wanted the day to be informal, very chilled & relaxed.  We wanted our family and friends to enjoy the day, the amazing tepee’s and to have lovely food and lots of drinks!!

A Tepee and DIY Decor….

For inside the tepees we hired a majority of the furnishings from The Beautiful Tent Company which included a fire pit, dance floor, fairy lights around poles over the dance floor, glitter ball, relaxed lounge with low level tables and cube cushion seats & bean bags.

My sister & I made hanging hearts from wire & beads to hang from the trees.  We made small coins & hearts from Fimo, using old typewriter letters we wrote different messages on them (Gary & Helen / 3rdAug 2012 / Mr & Mrs Dewhirst etc.).  My friend arranged the flowers which consisted of Roses, Gypsophila, Lavender, Love in the mist and wax flowers which she put in large glass jars which I had decorated with lace & old pearl buttons. She also had lots of hanging tea light lanterns which we borrowed and hung in the trees & put on the tables. We collected small jam jars which we used as candle holders and we decorated them with lace and placed them around the garden.

The garage was turned into bar, we decorated the walls with material.  Gary, his step and friends also made an aurning off the front of the garage to extend the bar in case of bad weather.

A BBQ Aussie Style….

For the food we used the Australian Style Catering Company. We knew we wanted a buffet but Gary LOVE’s food so it had to be extra special. The wedding breakfast consisted of King Prawn Satay with a Malaysian Style Peanut Sauce; Calamari with Sweet chilli Sauce & Fresh Lemon; Fillets of Scottish Salmon; Leg of lamb steaks with Garlic & Rosemary; Kangaroo steak Skewers; Snags; Chicken Filet; Goujons marinated in sesame oil & soy sauce; Vegetable stir fry – Zucchini, Onion, Red & Yellow peppers & button mushrooms barbecued in olive Oil & Butter; Vegetarian Sausages; Spicy bean burgers;Greek, Wardorf & Mixed leaf & herb salad; Hot new potatoes with melted butter and a selection of rustic breads – yum yum YUM!

For the evening food, Gary’s uncle made loads of homemade Chilli which he’s well known for with the family and I made a large batch of three bean chilli for the vegetarians. There was also a Cheese board & a ham joint with loads of crusty bread & salad.


We hired a sound system and put together music lists on our laptop from music we both like but also guests requests made prior to the day, by the evening there were a few guys who liked to think of themselves as DJ’s!

 Photography – Kerry Ann Duffy
Ceremony Venue – Archbishops Palace, Maidstone
Reception Venue – Parents Back Garden
Bride’s Dress – Sottero & Midley ‘Goldie’
Bride’s Shoes – Schuh
Bride’s Headpiece & Veil – Bridal Gown at Jodi’s
Groom’s Outfit – Ted Baker
Bridesmaid Dresses – Dessy
Bridemaid’s Earrings – Pandora
Flowers – Family Friend
Catering – Australian Style Catering

Thank you so much to Helen and Gary for sharing your day with us – that Australian BBQ looked amazing! I want some now!

Happy Monday lovely people.

Big Love

Festival Brides xx

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Wedding beauty on its way!