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Afternoon Peeps,

Hope you all had a great weekend.

Whenever a wedding is submitted to Festival Brides, we always ask the couple to fill out our real wedding questionnaire so we can get a good feel for their day as well as links to all of the amazing suppliers involved. One of the questions we ask is ‘describe your wedding theme?’ Usually this is answered with at least a few paragraphs on the couples theme and why they chose it. Jenna and Tom however, whose beautiful outdoor wedding we are featuring today, kept their answer very simple with one word: Us. Nothing more and nothing less and that is what I love the most about it. They thought about what they like as a couple and why they fell in love and everything else just fell into place. From the venue and ceremony design to the napkins on their tables, their wedding was a complete celebration of who they are making it not only incredibly unique but also very special and personal for everyone involved. In Jenna and Tom’s words they describe their day as being….

Laid back, informal and about us. It was important that lots of our family and friends were included throughout the day and that our guests took it in the spirit that it was intended.

With a gorgeous woodland ceremony that was designed by Jan Shilito of Celebration Ceremonies & Weddings and a stunning beaded Monsoon wedding dress, this ‘Midsummer Nights Dream’ Wedding ticks a hell of a lot of our festival wedding boxes!

Jenna and Tom talk us through their day.

A Secret Garden, A Selfie and One Knee….

A trip to Paris in December 2013. In-between Christmas and New Year. We were walking down towards the Eiffel Tower when Tom pulled Jenna into a secret, quiet garden just in front. He suggested taking a selfie but it was all an act. Instead, he got down on one knee and popped the question. There was only one answer. Yes.

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Informal and Festival-like…..

We knew from the beginning that we wanted to get married outside, but had no idea of places/venues. We looked over in the Lake District and none of them felt quite right. Then, we found Camp Katur on the Internet and excited by the prospect of glamping, we went to have a look around. Needless to say, it was perfect.

We had glamping. The meadow on the site is surrounded by numerous hobbit pods, safari tents, geodeomes, bell tents and teepees. Our family and friends took up all the accommodation – it was so much fun and exactly as we imagined it: informal and festival-like.

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Handmade Napkins, Wild Flowers and Vintage Cups….

We decorated the teepees with bunting, painted jars and candles to create a cosy atmosphere. With this, we also had fairy lights around the dance floor to give it a magical feel.

The tables each had a mirror in the centre on which a bowl of natural, wild flowers was placed. Candles, handmade napkins and some homemade strawberry and lemon cello (courtesy of the groom) were also placed on the tables. Our seating plan and order of ceremony boards were created by me (the bride) and we used old, vintage suitcase for cards and presents. Our dessert table was decorated with vintage cups and crockery. We also has a chill out area filled with sofas, flowers and our guestbook.

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Guess How Much I Love You….

Jan Shillito, of Celebration Ceremonies & Weddings, helped us design the ceremony and dress the ceremony area. She was wonderful. Right from the beginning, she got to know us and chatted to us so informally that you almost forgot she was taking it all in and putting a wedding together in her mind! Working with someone that got married in her own garden, we knew that she would fully understand what it was we wanted and most importantly why. Weddings are about starting a new chapter, celebrating love and sharing it with family and friends. She understood this and made the whole process easy and enjoyable.

After chatting with us about our lives, experiences and what is important to us as a couple, she sent us ‘THE SCRIPT’. Wow. Reading it was a beautiful moment. She had somehow managed to capture us from one meeting – it was definitely emotional and unlike anything we’d ever read before. It was us.

She had chosen a reading that she thought we would like: ‘Guess How Much I Love You’ a gorgeous children’s book. A book that I just so happened to read to my school children. Totes meant to be.

We chose two readings ‘Union’ and ‘The Future’, which Jan incorporated perfectly – creating some lovely links between them and our lives.

We wanted the ceremony area to be as natural as possible with lots of flowers. We left most of the design up to Jan, who of course, came up with a stunning backdrop. A hanging flower chandelier, ice flower bowls and floral wicker balls lining the aisles. When we saw it for the first time, we were blown away. As were our guests. They have since told us they’ve never been to a ceremony like it: so personal, so emotional and natural. It didn’t feel forced or expected, it was simply stunning.

A lot of our guests have likened the ceremony to ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ – a feel of total fairy-like beauty. Something we will never forget.

A woman of many hats, Jan also co-ordinated our special day. She organised timings with our suppliers, settled and chatted to guests, announced our speeches, set up the ceremony area, married us and even checked there was enough toilet paper in the toilets! Phew! The day flowed so perfectly and it was because of her. We never had to worry.

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The BEST best man’s speech…

In our opinion, our wedding has The BEST best man’s speech of all time! Seriously, we still have people talking to us about it. James Byrne – one of our closest friends. It was so funny and sincere, complete with big pictures of Tom on his stag do in Poland (in a dress!). We are so lucky that that speech belongs to us.

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A Band of Friends….

We really wanted to be in control of the music and make it about us. Our friend and usher Liam Sanders was in charge of music.

We made 3 playlists:

  1. Evening Music – light-hearted, feel-good songs for our guests to mingle to.
  2. Party Time – Tunes to get everyone on the dance floor!
  3. 90’s – Those childhood classics.

We also had our musical friends performing throughout the night; Liam Sanders and James Byrne (on guitar), Clare Hargan (on keyboard) and Liz Jayasuriya (on violin).

Gareth Stephens also played the guitar and performed our first dance song.

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Favourite Moment….

Stepping outside the teepees when darkness had fallen, the bonfire in front of us, our guests dancing around us and looking up: The sky was over-flowing with stars. An incredible moment.

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Any Advice….

Make it about you. It’s so easy to get caught up in the usual traditions that society expects. Make it memorable and something you will never forget.

The Line Up

Venue: Camp Katur
Photographer: Sally T Photography
Ceremony, Ceremony Design and Wedding Coordination: Celebration Ceremonies & Weddings
Ceremony Flowers: Owl House Flowers
Bride’s Dresses: Monsoon
Bride’s Shoes: Tom
Bride’s Flower Crown: Diana Kaye Florists
Groom’s Suit: Next; Waistcoat: Debenhams
Bridesmaid Dresses: Debenhams
Bridesmaid Shoes: Matalan
Tipis: Papakata
Decor: DIY
Catering: Chips and Things
Bouquets & Reception Flowers: Diana Kaye Florists
Cake: Homemade by a friend

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