We have been itching to get this post live for a few weeks now.. It is quite simple the coolest festival wedding ever!! The wedding took place at Glastonbury’s home, Worthy Farm in Pilton Somerset (Please note – This wedding was a one off and the farm unfortunately does not take wedding bookings)

The wedding of Alice and Matt took place on 23rd June 2012. They aptly named their day Glaston-marry – Military meets fancy dressed music festival! Here is the story of their day in their very own words!!

Your Story – How did you meet?

Matt and I first met when we were 15 in the West Wiltshire Youth Orchestra; he played the cello (very well), I played the violin (very badly) and sat next to his best friend Tom Wojcikiewicz. Woj, as he is known to his friends was a bit of a hunk by band camp standards and I tried all my best moves on him, much to Matt dismay putting my future husband firmly in the (friends you vaguely fancy box!) Even a week long orchestra tour to Norway where we flirted outrageously and I was (along with most of the other girls on the trip) treated to more than a flash of Matt’s naked form, couldn’t bring us together. We went to different Universities, inevitably lost touch and it wasn¹t until we were both back living in the shire that we finally put those years of teenage hormones to good use. Having exhausted all normal approaches to dating me, Matt went for bust, bought a vintage Spitfire to try and tried sweep me off my feet with a surprise New Years day picnic. I reacted by telling him this was the most effort anyone has ever gone to to see me naked which Matt used to great comic effect in his wedding speech!  It was an amazing romance but terrible timing with Matt halfway through Sandhurst and me trotting the globe for work; though it was good training for a relationship with the army.

Four and a half years later Matt made his decision to propose on the long drive home from Glastonbury festival last year. It had been an amazing weekend of music, love and cider fuelled revelling plus the somewhat ill-advised attendance of 2 lovely friends weddings on the Saturday and a month later, over a surprise picnic exactly like our first he plied me with alcohol, set off some fireworks and popped the question. Oh, and I said YES!

WHY GLASTONMARRY AT GLASTONBURY

It was pretty much an unspoken agreement from the off that our wedding would be an homage to Glastonbury. The festival has played a massive part in both our lives and running around in the mud, dressed like loons, dancing until dawn is high on our favourite things to do list. As soon as we’d verbalised the words festival, camping and fancy dress the thought occurred that it might be worth a punt asking the Eavis family if they would consider letting us use Worthy Farm  the site of Glastonbury Festival* Michael’s daughter and her family are great friends of my parents and scrumptious people. Amazingly they were really excited about the idea and more than happy to help. Glastonbury was having a year off (it’s like they planned it for us!) so we chose to wed on Saturday 23rd June, a date which anyone who knows anything about Glastonbury will know understand to be highly significant!

Matt was about to begin a 3 month tour of Afghanistan but we wanted to get the ball rolling and designed some corking save the date postcards, pimping the WW1 Kitchener recruitment poster we gave his Lordship a few fancy dress accessories (we stopped just short of a spliff) and added the words – Matt and Alice want you to save the date. It set the tone for things to come!!

*For the record, those inspired by this story should know I am absolutely not suggesting anyone contact the Eavis family about hosting further weddings (we might have put them off for life…eek!!), that’s not their bag. However I am an absolute advocate of the (if you don’t ask, you don’t get approach to life, particularly when it comes to wedding planning. It’s amazing how generous friends and family can be with their time and expertise, we pulled in favours from all corners and it made our wedding so much more than it would have been with just mine and Matt’s efforts.

The Dress

Once we’d settled date and venue my only thoughts (much to Matt’s despair)  were of – THE DRESS. I was never one of those little girls that dreamed of her perfect wedding dress as a child, in fact most of the times we played (let’s get married) as kids I was stuck as the groom thanks to my lofty height and absence of anything resembling a graceful air. Undeterred I plundered countless bridal magazines and spent hours devouring various bridal blogs. With Matt out of the way the coast was clear to indulge my wildest fantasies and I headed to the most expensive designer bridal boutique in the West, fully intending to play dress up, drink their wine and leave full of ideas of what to look for in a flea market. FYI, beware you brides to be. Start at the top and there is a very real danger it’ll go to your head!!

I fell in love with the Jenny Packham Eden dress, which was way beyond our means but after much agonising and many months of searching for second hand Edens’ I came up empty handed and decided to bite the metaphorical budget-busting bullet. The beautiful, full length veil was chosen partly due to being fabulous and creating the effect of a train I wanted and mostly down to it’s name. As soon as we discovered the veil was called the golden shower and my bridesmaid Jess fell off her stool laughing, we proclaimed it was the one. Some things are meant to be!

Matt chose to wear his Army Air Corps regimental blues, which he already owned. Although I was initially opposed to the idea of embracing military tradition so literally  (you may already have gathered I am a somewhat reluctant Army Wife!) I came around to the idea once I realised what it meant to Matt. His best man and ushers were all non-military folk and we suited and booted them in standard grey morning suits from Moss Bros and sky blue ties to match Matt’s AAC beret, which helped to tone down the army-barminess.

The Ceremony

We chose to have a traditional church wedding as both Matt and I are Christians and neither of us could imagine such a rite of passage without the religious ceremony. The local vicar, David Osborne was a very jolly fellow, full of wisdom and struck exactly the tone we wanted for our marriage. Particuarly when on first meeting us he explained he’d love to marry us but might be at a music festival that day so couldn’t promise anything! St John the Baptist in Pilton is a beautiful Medieval church which on the day was dressed to the nines by friends and family  one in particular who knows her halo is shining brightly having stripped most of her own garden in the process! We wanted the church and flowers throughout the day to reflect the outside landscape; wild, free and flowing. We did everything ourselves, using masses of greenery  in a myriad of tones with white flowers in loose arrangements and on pew ends tied with raffia. These were later moved to the reception venue for decoration  a great money saving tip! We also bought standard roses and pots of daisies to brighten up the church entrance. We were on a tight budget at this stage (i.e. Post Eden!) so plastic pots were sprayed with natural stone effect paint available in DIY stores to save pennies.

The ceremony itself was a like dream. My Dad and I entered the church to a string quartet (led by Matt’s high school cello teacher) playing Matt’s own arrangement of Coldplay’s Mylo Xyloto. The music used thoughout was significant to our relationship, made even more so by the hours he spent hunched over his computer writing it. Matt and I were on cloud nine from start to finish but the calm solemnity of the service (interrupted only by some belting hymns!) allowed us both to reflect on the importance of the vows we were making. The readings by our collective brothers were taken from Louis de Bernieres’ Captain Corelli’s Mandolin and Tolkein. The latter was  read by my two very handsome but not so secretly geeky brothers who love a bit of Lord of the Rings and anything relating to Warhammer  so for them to read a loving exchange between (Ent and Entwife) was perfectly pitched! Finally, having proclaimed myself a reluctant Army Wife I have to come clean and confess that I fully embraced the theatre of the military guard of honour, performed by Matt’s closest friends from work. On exiting the church Matt and I walked hand in hand through a tunnel of swords, kissed and were showered in rose petals. A perfect end to what felt like a truly personal marriage ceremony.

Tradition done with we all jumped in our cars (no fancy wedding transport for us) and drove the mile of farm track the famous stone circle field for the after party. High heels were swapped for wellies and those that hadn’t already pitched tents headed to set up camp. We laid on an outdoor Pimm’s reception and let our guest explore the festival site we’d created which included the beautiful big top, ice cream cart (supplied by family friends), fire baskets, ale and cider bar, a chill out sofa area and Kidz tent. The sofas all came from charity furniture shops who, for a small donation let us  take their most revolting chintzy number which they’d been unable to sell and would have had to take to the tip. Another huge favour we pulled in came in the form of the hot air balloon, provided by two of my parents oldest friends. The inclement British Summer weather  cough  meant we were never sure this would happen but luckily there was a half hour gap in wind and up she went. Poor Neil our amazing photographer was shoved in and won the hearts of literally every guest by looking absolutely terrified as the balloon, battered by gusts of wind, swung up and down. Incredibly on one of  the fleeting moments he dared pop his beardy head over the edge of the basket he captured a cracking shot of us all from the air. Well done Neil or should we say Alan from The Hangover.

Our Photographer

A word on Neil Douglas, the photographer. Neil was a star from the off and did everything we asked of him and more, even sleeping in a damp tent in a muddy field to capture our late night frolics. He totally understood the tone of the wedding and got stuck in with his own interminable laid-back style. He also put us both at ease  it wasn’t an issue that we’d only ever met on Skype (he lives in Glasgow), it felt totally natural to have him there in the thick of it and most of our guests assumed he was a long lost      buddy of ours! Neil came up with loads of ideas and managed to capture some stunning shots in a location that would have, I think overwhelmed a less experienced photographer. I would recommend him in an instant.

Food and Cake…

The wedding breakfast was provided by our favourite festival foodies, Pieminister. As well as being local and exceedingly tasty, they were also great value and brought humour and charm by the bucket load. After much shameless pleading they even agreed to bring along Kenneth, their ageing pie scream van who rarely makes it out of the garage these days. It added a certain je ne sais quoi to the proceedings and made a great talking point.  We saved money on the deserts by buying our own from Waitrose, who delivered to the site. An artistic splodge of coulis made the shop bought cakes look designer and the taste was just as good as anything a professional caterer could have  provided at a fraction of the price. We also cut costs by getting Uni mates of my brothers to man the bar and work as waiters in return for beer, a great party and eternal love.

The cake, well that’s a  story in itself. Our INCREDIBLE wedding cake was made by Matt’s very talented mother who spent an obscene length of time bringing to life our  madcap idea of ‘an edible Glastonbury festival’. It was so detailed, from the sugar wellies and porta-loos to an edible stone circle and Pyramid complete with the two of us rocking out on stage! It was the very delicious embodiment of the saying ‘money can’t buy’. Our wine was sourced from Majestic and in addition to being great value also came with free glass hire. I should also mention that we shirked the traditional Champagne in favour of a much more Glastonbury cider toast. We discovered Pilton Cider which is made by a friends father in the village (and currently stocked in Harvey Nichols!), it’s naturally sparkling and comes beautifully bottled with a cork that pops. It was cheaper and tastier than Champers and had the  eco thumbs-up on food miles.

The table dressing and design was very much a DIY job and considering how  thrown together at the last minute it was, worked really well. The table centres were potted arrangements of daisies and ferns my Mum put together, brightened up with colourful decorative birds on I found on ebay. We used squares of astro turf for place mats, combined with cow print paper napkins  and a festival flag place name which my Mum and maid of honour knocked up using crepe paper and bbq skewers. This was set off by the strings of prayer  flags (Matt’s mum brought back literally hundreds from Nepal for us) and ivy that festooned the big top. The overall effect was great and although it was  heavy on the labour, surprisingly cheap to create.

I feel I should quickly mention the speeches, not because they were wonderful, funny and heartfelt  which of course is true, and I’m sure all brides would say the same  but because they were followed by the most hilarious, unexpected musical performance I have ever seen in my life.  Matt’s siblings took to the stage and announced they were the surprise first act of Glastonbury 2012. They launched into a belting parody of Queen’s   ‘don¹t stop me now’, the lyrics reworked into ‘You¹re married now’ even managing to shoe-horn the line ‘look at you’re beautiful wife, isnt’t she tall’ kareoke at it’s most inspired!!

That was the official end to anything resembling a normal wedding and beginning of Glastonmarry Festival 2012. Our 180 guests trotted off to change into their fancy dress as more friends arrived for the evening celebration. The theme for the party was anything beginning with A or M – the first letters of our names, an inspired choice which let people get creative and resulted in some truly imaginative costumes. It was a wonderful  way of ridding people of their inhibitions and breaking down the cliques of  relatives and friendship groups that so easily form at weddings. From the minute everyone reappeared in their fancy dress laughter filled the big top and the party was swinging with full body painted Avatars and a Milky Way downing ciders with the Messiah and a chain smoking, morph-suited Absolom  (the caterpillar from Alice in Wonderland) entertaining with his ground breaking shapes on the dance floor. The Moon was seen doing shots with an  Aquarium whist her Astronought husband initiated a dance off with some Angry Birds. My bridesmaids turned themselves into godesses beginning with A (Aphrodite, Apollo, Amazonion godess etc) and there were other great team efforts from an entire family that dressed as an Airline to the Three Musketeers complete with long curly wigs. We¹re blessed with some incredible friends and family who love a good party and were happy to indulge mine an Matt’s passion for looking like a bit of a prat, but even I was impressed by their ingenuity.

Bands and Music…

The music was top notch and played by a mix of friends and professionals. Our proper wedding band were called Halflight and they played a fantastic      combination of old and new covers that got everyone on the dance floor and kept them there. They are lovely, down to earth, talented guys who come with my whole hearted recommendation. A mention should be made of mine and Matt’s  musical debut  which happened at around 10pm when we were probably both feeling more than a little bit merry. Inspired by Radio One’s Soundclashes (where DJs battle it out, song for song, judged by the strength of audience applause) we took to the stage and launched into a highly competitive Bride Vs Groom version. It was a great opportunity to play our favourite cheesy classics from Beyonce to Tenacious D (which I still can’t quite believe Matt had the guts to play in front of our older relatives!) and as we simply had to press play on a laptop it quickly digressed into a sing-along-a dance off. It was a controversial win for the groom, I’ll say nothing more.

Oh, and Tom Wojcikiewicz (orchestra hunk  see start of story) did a great job as our wonderful best man. Thanks mate!

Favourite part of the day..

It is so hard to choose a favourite part about our wedding as the day was genuinely amazing from start to finish. I had a bit of a moment when my cousin’s daughter (aged 5) tapped me on the arm outside the church and whispered this is better than that wedding on the telly with the princess, and Matt has told me his highlight was standing on stage hearing hundreds of people shouting his name during a particularly triumphant round of the soundclash! But in all honesty I think the best thing of for both of us was the sheer joy of sharing this incredible thing we had both poured our hearts and souls into with all our friends and family  it felt like a real expression of our personalities and to celebrate that everyone we love most in this world is what made it the best day of our lives. Sob!

Would you have done anything differently…

I can honestly say that for the full 4 hour drive to Cornwall micro-moon at the Scarlet Hotel. FYI the most gorgeous place we have ever stayed!! We were beaming like idiots and both saying we wouldn’t have changed a thing. Inevitably as time has passed there are a few little things we feel we could have done differently. I think we both could have delegated better (Matt more, me probably less!) to manage stress levels before the weddings; my poor Mum was so exhausted from her floristry efforts and playing host to the wedding party the night before that her pre fancy-dress power nap turned into a 4 hour sleep fest and she missed quite a bit of the party, so I really wish I had been more sensitive to her needs and directed some jobs elsewhere. We also left cutting the cake really late so hardly anyone got to try it, which was a shame after the effort Matt’s  Mum put in…actually this is only half a regret since it resulted in the cake ending up at our house and being my main dietary food group for the past 3 weeks. Nom!

Final Words…

Don¹t underestimate the hidden costs and organisation involved in planning an outdoor wedding! We had to source everything from generators to toilets and fridges, cutlery and glasses. We built our own stage and hired in sound systems and techs, basically everything that a venue would normally take care of. There was a lot of work involved and we could never have done it without the help of our incredible families and Matt’s A grade precision Army planning. But it was all worth it in the end!!

Thanks so much to Alice and Matt for sharing their fab festival wedding!! If this doesn’t inspire you guys to have a festival wedding (massive party) then I don’t know what will??

Photography Credit: Neil Thomas Douglas www.NeilThomasDouglas.com

Ceremony Venue: St John the Baptist Church, Pilton, Somerset

Reception Venue: Worthy Farm, Pilton, Somerset

Bride’s Dress: Eden by Jenny Packham: bought from Carina Bavistock in      Bradford on Avon,  www.carinabcouture.com

Bride’s Shoes: Indian Khussa Shoes (£15 on ebay)

Bride’s Headpiece: £12 Accesorize

Bride’s Jewellery: Vintage, brides own.

Groom’s Outfit: Own military blues

Fancy Dress: Bath Theatrical Costume Hire, Frome www.baththeatrical.com

Bridesmaid’s Dresses: £40 French Connection Outlet, Bicester      www.bicestervillage.com

Bridesmaid’s Accessories: Flower hairslide, made by Alice’s Mum!

Cake: Made by Matt’s mum!

Cider: www.piltoncider.com

Flowers: Alice’s Mum! Bought from Bristol Flower market.

Hair: Loretta Moore:      loretta.mobilehair@hotmail.co.uk

Make Up: Sophie Cox:      www.facebook.com/pages/Sophie-Cox-Make-up/195022410510660 or  www.modelmayhem.com/2016055

Band: Halflight: www.halflightband.co.uk

DJ: Dial A Rave!   http://www.facebook.com/dialarave

Stationery: Designed by groom, printed by Vista Print:      www.vistaprint.co.uk

Caterers: Wedding breakfast by Pieminister: www.pieminister.co.uk

Reception Decor/Props: All ebay!

Marquee: Bigtopmania:  www.bigtopmania.co.uk

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