Hope you all had a lovely weekend.
We have a gorgeous wedding to share with you today.
Michelle and Justin married over the Summer Solstice weekend of 21st – 23rd June. Their wedding, which took place at the beautiful Hawthbush Organic Farm in West Sussex, was a Festival delight. Spread over 3 days, it kicked off with their legal ceremony at Brighton Town Hall and was then followed by a personal ceremony led by their very good friend ‘Reverend Bunches the Third” in a beautiful glade at the farm. The grand finale was a silent disco in the barn and a dip in the hot tubs in the woods!
They had glamping in the form of Shepherds huts, safari tents and bell tents, as well as the converted Piggery and Cowshed for the parents and their friends. They also used seasonal wild flowers of corn flower blue and wild green ferns, complimented by salmon pink and white roses to dress the venue. These colours were also reflected in the invitations through to their clothes, and décor. Just lovely!
With a theme of Love & Friendship, Michelle and Justin wanted their wedding to be informal and non conventional with a nod to tradition. Judging by the pictures they achieved this beautifully.
A Poem, a log fire and a cosy winters night…..
The proposal was originally all set for a Glastonbury sunrise setting in the stone circle back in 2011. I had the stunning engagement ring that was passed on from my mother’s mother to me. I had sourced a linen suit and a head turning sparkly red dress from a Brighton charity shop for Michelle. I was armed with a bottle of bubbly and a poem. The plan was to have a quick costume change and appear poised on one knee to pop the question. Sadly mud, epic traffic and a highly stressful arrival meant swerving the occasion. The romantic poem was postponed until a cosy winter’s night in front of a log fire at home.
200 Festivals, Camping and Friendship…..
As a DJ and festival lover I’ve been to over 200 festivals in my years, and that’s not an exaggeration. Festivals and camping is something most of our friends are used to. We didn’t want guests to typically just turn up, drink bubbly, eat, dance and go home without a chance to catch up properly and celebrate our special day over the whole weekend. It’s also a great opportunity to rekindle the connections of friendship and indulge in the amazing surroundings. Michelle and I researched the web for ideas and collated mood boards, lots of inspiration came from Festival Brides site, other ideas we had clocked at other weddings. For the ceremony we took advice from other couples that had done it their way and generally gathered all the ideas and conceived our own wedding festival.
You get by with a little help from your friends…..
The farm prides itself as an organic farm. Michelle uses the venue for her yoga retreats, so she was already familiar with the beautiful setting of rolling hills, the surrounding nature and the roaming sheep. We wanted to make the whole wedding in keeping with the ethos of the farm; simple, natural and to create a DIY vibe with the philosophy that “you get by with a little help from your friends”. The 130 guests arrived and settled in on the Friday night. On Saturday the day of the celebration we wanted to encourage movement around the venue and started by suggesting guests cook their own breakfasts in their tents/yurts/shepherds huts/safari tents and share with friends. We then gathered everyone in the glade for the ceremony. We then moved onto the Safari tents for Pimms & Pizza, then to the Bran lawn for pre ceremony cocktails, then into the barn for the big feast, speeches and dancing. The silent disco spilled out in the early hours and finally it was back to the tents with a quick stop over in the hot tubs in the woods.
Reverend Bunches The Third….
We enlisted a good friend to hold the ceremony in the glade on the farm. He wasn’t a real Reverend but we didn’t tell anyone. Martin aka ‘Reverend Bunches the Third” helped us create our very own tailor made ceremony. The Reverend set the scene and asked everyone to be quiet, turn off their phones and cameras, to acknowledge the natural surroundings, the friends and family around us and hold a moments silence. It was then that Michelle appeared on a tractor and trailer with her very proud father and the beautiful bridesmaids leading the way. A total surprise to all awaiting the bride! We sang songs including “Michelle” by the Beatles which I had to do a solo to, (I don’t sing) and “Don’t worry about a thing” by Bob Marley. We closed the ceremony with “One Love” and on an otherwise cloudy but warm British Mid Summer’s day the power of everyone’s singing created a break in the clouds and the sun burst through onto us all, there was a huge cheer and a nod of approval from the powers above!
Japanese Parasols, white paper lanterns and 60 wooden hearts….
We bought some Japanese parasols, a nod to Michelle’s year in Japan, inspired from décor we had seen at a local festival called Elderflower Fields. We hung these around the venue, in the trees etc. We also bought white paper lanterns to hang in the big barn. We cut out 60 wooden hearts and got the kids to paint them on the morning of the celebration. We picked wild flowers and collected jam jars which we decorarted with hessian and string. For the communal feast we washed out old wine bottles to use for the water on the tables. We borrowed some up lighters from an events company, bought some solar fairy lights for the mess tent and a good friend spent hours weaving ivy, ferns and wild flowers into displays around doors and beams about the venue. The Bugbar created a fantastic center piece in the outside the barn which was laden with LED lights and parasols.
Vegetarian food from a yoga retreat….
Michelle runs a yoga retreat company called Adventure Yogi and enlisted the talents of Tatu, one of her finest chefs from her retreats. On Friday evening Tatu and her small team of kitchen staff made a communal curry with popadoms and chutneys, an informal feast. For the main meal on Saturday evening we were treated to a mint & pea soup followed by a sweet potato & aubergine Tagine served with cous cous and green leaves. We finished with ice creams served from a vintage refurbished caravan courtesy of another local business the gelato queens from Sugar Mice. Without telling anyone we served vegetarian food, no one missed the ‘steak/roast beef/spit roast pig or smoked salmon’ in fact the guests were blown away by the food and it cost a tenth of the price of hiring caterers.
For presentation we hired some huge Moroccan serving dishes from a local shop in Brighton. We bought some bio degradable palm leaf bowls and plates from the Whole Leaf Company to serve the food. Not only were these a great product they also cut down on washing up!
Everything takes so much longer than you expect. I worked flat out for 3 weeks in the build up solely dedicated to planning, organising, booking and buying. The small details make the whole wedding so special but take time. My advice is that on the day you don’t want to be thinking about anything other than enjoying the love. Pass the responsibility of running the day onto a dedicated person who is responsible for the running order. Nothing has to be clockwork so be flexible with timings. I didn’t drink for 2 weeks prior to the big day and resisted a drop until the speeches were over late into the evening. This truly helped me to take it all in, and remember and enjoy to the maximum. It was brilliant and far exceeded what we expected.
THE LINE UPPhotographer: Mark Arrigo Photography Venue: Hawthbush Organic Farm Brides Dress: Bespoke Design – Ciel by Sarah Ratty
Brides shoes: Vivian Westwood Groom: Suit Trousers from Ralph Lauren; Suit Jacket from H&M; Shirt from Paul Smith Groom shoes: Jeff Bank Bridesmaid Dresses: French Connection & ilovegorgeous Little Bridesmaid’s Accessories: ilovegorgeous Hair: Halo in Brighton Flowers: DIY Bouquets & Buttonholes: Miss Moles Flower Emporium Catering: Adventure Yogi Cake: Real Patisserie Celebrant: Family Friend Bar: The Bugbar Wedding Decor & Stationery: DIY
Thank you so much to Michelle and Justin for sharing their wedding with us and how cool was that Bugbar!? Justin actually provided The Bugbar at Nadine and Neil’s Latitude Wedding back in July so we have first hand experience of how cool it is!
Their first dance will be coming up this afternoon peeps so don’t be a stranger!
Festival Brides xxx