My my my do we have a beautiful wedding to share with your eyes this morning. Not only is it gorgeous to look at (think an enchanted woodland theme with lots of mosses, ferns, wildflowers and feathers, a Mongolian yurt, a completely bespoke ceremony and beautiful handmade details) but also gorgeous to read. Mia writes so beautifully about her and Mark’s wedding and how it all started for them. It is clear that they adore each other and poured so much love into the planning of their wedding.
Held on the 16th July 2016 in Mark’s parents garden, Mark and Mia wanted their wedding to be as green and natural as possible so handmade, foraged, grew and cooked pretty much every aspect. From Mia’s pretty veil to the food they ate – they got their hands dirty and the result is wonderful….
We really wanted the wedding to be green so we kept everything as homemade and secondhand as possible, which meant that there was a real feel of connection to everything. We both really love the outdoors, especially forests and natural habitats so we wanted the wedding to reflect that and to feel that we were out in the meadows, surrounded by woodland.
With a stunning Jenny Packham dress, a gorgeous bouquet of home grown and wild flowers, a handmade cake with foraged edible flowers and some truly wonderful readings – this is a wedding that is going to make your woodland hearts sing in so many ways.
Mark and Mia talk us through their day…
Grantchester Meadows, A Poem and One Knee….
We met in Cambridge over 5 years ago when we both went for the same job! Mark got it but I already worked at the organisation so it was a bit awkward to begin with! We soon became best friends and used to spend our lunch times together climbing trees and picking blackberries. We shared our first kiss on Grantchester meadows and began dating after a weekend camping in North Norfolk. Since then we’d both started PhDs and moved to Australia. We came back to the UK for Christmas in 2014 and I took Mark to see where I grew up. We had a wonderful day walking along the beach and climbing trees near my old house. Mark was very insistent that we went for a late walk at Grantchester meadows. We got there as the sun was getting low and walked down to the river, where Mark asked if he could read me a poem he’d written (he had been panicking about losing the light!). Halfway through a lady walked past with lots of excitable dogs which I thought was wonderful, but Mark looked very stressed out so I stopped petting the dogs as I started to realise what was happening. He ended his poem by getting down on one knee and asking me to marry him – I burst into tears and of course said ‘yes!’. He cried a little too and then we suddenly got really excited about what had just happened. It was wonderful!
Eden, Clean Heels and A Handmade Veil….
I fell in love with ‘Eden’ by Jenny Packham after looking for dresses online. I never actually went dress shopping! I managed to find a secondhand Eden on Preloved. In the spirit of recycling, I sold the dress on again after the wedding – I love the idea that this dress has meant so much to so many people, like its carrying a little piece of magic with it each time it gets passed on.
I teamed my dress with No. 1 Jenny Packham Designer Ivory embellished T-bar strap shoes, bought second hand, worn with ‘Clean Heels’ heel stoppers – essential for the festival or garden bride! I made my own veil to match my dress, with hand sown beading and scalloped edging. It was such a fun project – I ended up making a veil for my cousin-in-law’s wedding too, we had lots of fun making veils together. It was lovely to wear something that I’d made and was a beautiful souvenir of the day.
Vintage Jewellery and Saltwater Pearls….
My necklace was bought from a second hand vintage store from where we were living in Australia for $20. I love mother of pearl as I used to have a gorgeous ethereal mother of pearl pendant from my grandmother when I was little – I completely believed it was magical. The one I wore on my wedding day looked very similar to the one I had when I was a child. My watch was a gorgeous silver and marcasite vintage piece that Mark bought for me from an antique shop in Devon. My pearl bracelet was hand made by my mum from saltwater pearls with a silver clasp – she’s so clever! I wore saltwater pearl drop earrings from where we used to live Australia.
Bohemian Hair and Natural Make-Up….
The wonderful Kyrelle at Devon Wedding Hair did all the wedding party’s hair in a lovely relaxed, loose bohemian style. I loved that she only uses natural, organic products, so my hair felt soft and natural. Gemma at The Event Studios in Devon used BareMinerals makeup to give me a natural look. I don’t wear much makeup normally so I really loved the way she did my make up very light and natural so it didn’t feel like I was wearing any. It was really important that I looked and felt like myself on my wedding day.
Blue Silk Suit and Mismatched Bridesmaid Dresses….
Mark wore a gorgeous blue silk suit from Victor Mellick in Australia. He teamed it with a white cotton shirt and vintage leather shoes. The boutonnieres were hand-made by the bridesmaids and the mother of the groom out of wildflowers from the meadows and the garden.
My flower girls wore beautiful matching lace dresses from Australia; my bridesmaids all wore their own favourite dresses. I wanted everyone to be comfortable in what they wore and I loved the mismatched look with everyone wearing their own style. We all made our own flower crowns from flowers we’d picked from the meadows by the garden. We were still making them on the morning of the wedding! The floor of my room was such a mess the morning of the wedding as there were flower petals everywhere. The bridesmaids all had freshwater pearl bracelets I bought them as souvenirs from Australia.
No Peevish Winter Wind Shall Chill….
We held the ceremony and the reception at the Groom’s parents’ garden in rural Devon.
Mark and I are both studying for our doctorates and didn’t have much money to spend on the wedding so we wanted to keep it as home-made and affordable as possible, whilst also keep it green. I walked down the aisle accompanied by music played by some local friends on the flute and guitar. We wanted our ceremony to represent us, so we wrote our own vows and included some beautiful poems that we read to one another. Mark read ‘A dedication to my wife’ By T.S. Eliot which was so beautiful, it brought me to tears. I absolutely melted when he read the lines ‘No peevish winter wind shall chill; no sullen tropic sun shall wither the roses in our rose-garden which is ours and ours only’. I wrote a poem for Mark as I couldn’t find one that I felt did him justice. It was full of little references to the things we love to do together and the things that made me fall in love with him. We also had the best man (the groom’s brother Matt) and the maid of honour (the bride’s sister Kerry) read poems that were close to our hearts. We had gotten married legally at a registry office the day before, but we really wanted to express to everyone the importance of promising ourselves to one another in front of our friends and family, so we chose poems to articulate that – Rashid (our informal celebrant) read a quote by Marcel Proust:
“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom”
and Kerry read a poem from our childhood called ‘Friends’. We also wanted to thank everyone for taking time out of their busy lives to stop and smell the flowers with us, and to celebrate our happy day, so Matt read ‘Leisure’ by W.H. Davies. It was magical. We recruited a family friend, Rashid, to be our celebrant and it was so lovely having someone we knew to marry us. He did an incredible job and made it all so fun. Unfortunately, Mark and I completely forgot to write anything to accompany our ring exchange, but luckily Mark stepped up and said some beautiful words to fill the gap!
A Mongolian Yurt, Enchanted Woodland Theme and Willow Hearts….
We held the wedding in the groom’s parent’s garden in a Mongolian yurt, surrounded by woods, and decorated the yurt with lots of ferns, mosses and ivy. I’ve always been entranced by the nomadic Mongolian way of life so I loved the thought of getting married in a yurt – it was my one wedding must-have! We decorated the yurt and the garden with rugs and it was so cosy and magical. We wanted an enchanted woodland theme, with lots of natural elements, so we decorated the tables with blankets of moss and fallen branches, with ferns and wildflowers and twinkling candles and fairy lights. Mark and I had so much fun collecting vegetation from the woods and making little terrariums! My very talented bridesmaid Grace made hearts from willow and put them up around the yurt. She also made a beautiful flower bower using wildflowers and feathers, under which we held the ceremony. We hung dried lavender everywhere so it smelt amazing. We bought a lovely old typewriter to use as our guest book so that people could type us a message.
Homemade Organic Food….
The mother of the groom Eileen made all the food, with help from the rest of the family. Almost all of the fruit and vegetables were grown organically by Mark’s parents in the veggie garden so it all tasted fantastic and there was a lot of love woven into the food. We wanted our wedding to be environmentally friendly and as green as possible so we used palm leaf plates, bamboo cutlery and biodegradable ‘glasses’ from Little Cherry.
A Handmade Victoria and Lemon Sponge Cake….
I made the cake myself, with lots of help from the mother of the groom Eileen, my bridesmaid Rosie and my sister-in-law Laura. I baked 6 victoria sponge cakes and 3 lemon sponge cakes a week before the wedding and froze them. Mark and I collected edible flowers from the meadows and frosted them a few weeks before. Then on the wedding morning the bridesmaids and mother of the groom assembled the cake with buttercream and jam and the flowers, a dash of icing sugar and voila! It was actually really easy to do and everyone loved the cake.
Enchanting Pictures That We Will Cherish Forever….
After the wedding ceremony, Mark and I went for a walk in the woods. It was so lovely to be alone for a little while to absorb what had just happened and spend some time in nature. I’m so glad we did it as it felt so dream-like being wrapped in this happy bubble of love, wearing this amazing dress and walking through the woods that we love. Emma, our photographer, came with us and captured some really enchanting pictures that we will cherish forever. She was such a star and a real help at the wedding since both Mark and I were so relaxed (and a bit clueless!) about wedding structure, she came in very handy reminding us to cut the cake and have our first dance! She did such a fantastic job with the photos and we had a great time with her on our engagement shoot.
My favourite moment of the day was when we were dancing to our first dance. We were having so much fun dancing around and then Mark held me and kissed me and everyone cheered. I remember looking around at all these people we love and seeing how happy they were to celebrate our love and I just felt so incredibly overwhelmed with happiness. I whispered into Mark’s ear ‘this is the happiest moment of my life’ and he said ‘me too’. Then he spun me round and everyone joined in the dancing!
The funniest moment of the wedding for me was probably when I was eating dinner. My biodegradable fork snapped as I was eating and flung a piece of beef into my bra! Luckily my wonderful bridesmaid (and best friend) Marie was on hand to rescue me and I managed to get away with it with minimal embarrassment!
Don’t fret the small stuff. At the end of the day, as long as you have the people that you want there, you will have a wonderful time. Since we ‘handmade’ our wedding, we were able to keep the cost down which meant we could invite as many people as we wanted, which was really important to us. I would also recommend giving important jobs to trusted people…. And making sure someone has sorted out a playlist for dancing – we ran out of time and had to recruit an impromptu DJ!
The Line Up
Photography: Freckle Photography
Yurt: Hooe’s Yurt
Venue: Bride’s Family Home
Bride’s Dress & Shoes: Jenny Packham
Groom’s Suit: Victor Mellick
Hair: Devon Wedding Hair
Make Up: The Event Studios
Cake: Handmade By Bride
Band: The Hollocombe Trio