Afternoon Lovely Peeps,
I hope you all had a good weekend.
We have such an inspirational wedding to share with you today. Not only is captured beautifully by one of my favourite documentary wedding photographers, John Barwood Photography, it also epitomises everything that Festival Brides stands for which is to plan a wedding that is all about you.
Rob and Amy didn’t really have a theme, they just took the bits they loved about a traditional wedding, got rid of the bits that they didn’t and then created a day that was a wonderful mix of DIY details and the things they love. What I love the most about it is how interactive their whole day was. They put a lot of thought into including their guests in their day from creating personal table placements to a pub quiz and sing-a-long session. A huge chunk of their guests also helped in the set up and break down as well and got busy with baking things, building things and styling things! It was an all hands on deck wedding which just makes it so much more rewarding and fun for everyone involved. It also brings people together and you can tell through these images and Rob and Amy’s last thoughts that that is exactly what happened at this wedding.
If you are planning your wedding please take a moment to read this post. I am sure it will encourage you to have the confidence to do things your way.
Over to Rob and Amy’s beautiful DIY tipi wedding.
A Treasure Hunt, Tea Lights and One Knee….
Rob did very well. He planned a treasure hunt around London, stopping at places with lots of memories (like our old flat, our favourite chippy, the first place we went to the theatre..). Two of our closest friends were in on it and also came along. The clue cards when reshuffled spelled out the address of a posh hotel near Trafalgar Square. By this point I had a good idea of what to expect. The others stayed in the lobby while I was given a room key. When I unlocked the door I found a dark room lit by tea lights leading to Rob, who then got down on one knee and proposed. The others came up and we drank champagne and then we asked them to be our best man and bridesmaid!
A Photo, Etsy and a Handmade Dress….
I found a photo of someone wearing my dream dress on a blog but the dress was from a boutique shop in France. Then I found someone on Etsy who made her version of the same dress for £150. I sent her all my measurements and crossed my fingers. When the dress arrived it didn’t fit amazingly but I got a seamstress to make some alterations and ta-da! I added a flower broach I had had lying around for a few years, a simple green necklace and a flower head band from ebay, and bought some strappy shoes from Jones.
Tailored Tweed and Mix Match Bridesmaid Dresses….
Rob had no idea what to wear – all he knew was that he didn’t really want to wear a proper suit. In the end he got a tailored tweed waistcoat and trousers. He DEFINITELY left his outfit to the last minute!
I gave my bridesmaids a vague theme and a budget and let them buy their own dresses. My sister was the first to buy her dress and then the others based theirs around hers. Amazingly, their dresses all co-ordinated, though I think that was just luck!
Supermum and her side-kick Antonia took charge of the flowers! My mum put together some beautiful bouquets which were a combination of home-grown and shop bought flowers. Mum also created a flower arch at the entrance to the field.
And surprising though it may seem, Rob took charge of the table flowers and button-holes – he gathered lots of wood and moss and bought various flowers off the internet. He actually had a pinterest page dedicated to flower arrangements!
A Perfect Venue For A Party in The Woods….
Everything took place at the cricket grounds of a little village called Holmbury St Mary. The ceremony was in the surrounding woods and the reception was held in a tipi erected on the cricket pitch.
We knew we wanted to have a tipi wedding and had been looking for a good (and cheap) place to set up. Rob’s dad used to play cricket at Holmbury so we emailed them and arranged a visit. We knew as soon as we saw it that it was the perfect location – a quaint little cricket club in the middle of the woods. They were fantastic – they had only had one or two weddings there before, and let us have the run of it for the weekend (but really the whole week leading up to it!) They let us camp on the pitch and there were no noise restrictions as it was in the middle of nowhere! Perfect venue for a party in the woods.
Our main expense was the tipi – that was our priority. Our second was making sure we had hired good photographers. Apart from that we tried to do as much as we could on a budget. We had a very complicated Excel spreadsheet which detailed how much we wanted to spend (minimum and maximum) for every element… Rob can be quite nerdy. I think the total cost was around £11,000.
A Uke Band, 2 Songs, Song Sheets and Lots of Instruments…..
My dad and brother play the Ukulele and are part of a UkeJam who play at various events. We were hoping we might be able to nab at least some of them for our wedding but unfortunately it wasn’t possible. So my family decided to form our own uke band! This meant that me, Rob and my sister had to buy ukuleles and teach ourselves…! We formed our band, with our friend Ivan playing the bass and my mum on the tambourine. We played (and sang!) two songs during our ceremony which no one was even remotely expecting! Then, after dinner, we got up, handed out song sheets and various triangles, maracas and wood blocks (borrowed from Rob’s mum, a primary school teacher), got on the stage and made a loud noise. Everyone belted along and it went down a storm (people were looking extremely merry at this point, having polished off our friend’s home-made Jolly Ranchers vodka!)
Everything was DIY…..
We had lots of bunting (mainly made by my mum of course!) for our decoration as well as lots of fairy lights. Rob put together the table centre pieces by sawing up lots of tree trunks and adding moss, pinecones and flowers. I decorated some jarjars with lace tape and twine, which we glue-gunned to the wood and added some candles to. We also cut up some burlap to use as table runners. Rob made the bar with the help of some friends! He designed it so it would fit around the horizontal fridge. Our friends also helped saw up and make sign posts which were dotted around.
Our whole wedding was put together by us and a LOT of help from our friends and family. Everything was DIY down to the embroidered Mr & Mrs hand towels in the toilets. Loads of our friends came down the day before and got to work helping us set up. Rob and I wrote the script for the ceremony, and our friend (who happens to be a tv presenter) acted as our MC. We held the ceremony in the woods surrounding the cricket grounds and it was actually Rob’s groomsmen who decorated that whole area. My vows took the form of diary entries and quotes from my “funny book” (since I was 16 I’ve written down every single funny thing I have overheard) dating from when we first met. We had a pub quiz led by my dad, to encourage table-bonding, and of course, our home-made band. Guests camped and we had also hired a bell tent village (we had the “honeymoon” bell tent which Rob had decorated with fairy lights).
My favourite personal touch was the place names. We had secretly managed to get hold of a photo of every wedding guest. Rob then defaced each photo using Posca pens and I wrote on their name and stuck a piece of card on the back to prop it up. We found it hilarious, and so did (most of) the guests! It took him weeks and weeks to complete though!
A Cake Baked By Mum….
My mum volunteered to make the cake! Neither of us are huge fans of fruit cake so my mum ended up making three cakes – a carrot cake, a chocolate cake and a fruit cake – they went down very well indeed! The best part was the taste tests leading up to the wedding.
Documentary Style Photography….
We spent a lot of time trawling the internet looking at the portfolios of wedding photographers. As soon as we saw John (and his wife Sophie) it was a done deal. We really liked their documentary style and how they managed to capture each moment so naturally, plus we could see they had experience at capturing outdoor and tipi weddings. It was one of the best decisions we made as they were fantastic and we were blown away by the photos. In fact, guests kept coming up to us during the evening (as they had put up a slideshow of some of the photos) gushing about how good the photos were!
Home cooked food and a Pub Quiz….
I guess this is the point where we should mention just how much help we had from our family and friends. My mum and her friend Antonia prepared crudités including home- made guacamole for each table during the pre-dinner “pub” quiz led by my dad (seasoned Quizmaster!). For dinner we had a hog roast, and I had also made a huge vegetarian Mousakka and fahita wraps. The best part was that many of our guests volunteered to bring along side dishes so we had a huge, amazing spread of food!
A Playlist and Cinema Screen….
After our jamming session with all of the guests we put on a playlist we’d created (we connected our laptop to a sound system we’d hired). At 2am the music stopped (as the man turned up randomly to collect the soundsystem!), and after a brief arm-wrestling tournament, Rob put a film (Baseketball) on a large projector screen which we watched while lazing on beanbags and reindeer skins by the fire.
Both of us loved the ceremony the most. It felt so surreal and I don’t think much will ever match the feeling of walking down the “aisle” while all my friends and family beamed and waved at me, and there was Rob standing at the front grinning at me. It just felt so laid back and our guests laughed, cheered, whooped and cried at all the right places.
During the evening every now and then I would take a step back and feel a bit overwhelmed by how much effort all our friends and family had put in to the day. My second favourite moment was right at the end of the night – everyone had sloped off to their tents while Rob and I disassembled the projector. We just stood there in the field and looked out over all the quiet tents and agreed that we have the most amazing friends and family in the world.
Recruit your friends and family to help out! Ours were all so willing to give up their time and skills to help us and it just made everything that much more special.
Don’t feel you have to stick to tradition if you don’t want to. You could call our wedding humanist, but really we just planned our day from scratch, editing out the bits we didn’t want and focusing on what we thought would make for a fun day (we officially got married in a Registry office the day before).