We love Monday mornings here at Festival Brides as it’s our chance to share another inspirational festival-style Real Wedding with the world! We’ve absolutely loved hearing all about Steph and Jason’s big day, brought to us by creative Essex-based duo Sam and Louise Photography. Captured last Autumn, this relaxed, farm chapel wedding features tractor rides, table football, air hockey and hessian laced dried flowers…….it certainly packs a real punch on the festival Richter Scale! Married at Kent Life in an adorable pink chapel not far from their home, Steph and Jason tied the knot under autumnal forestry beams and played out their day with games, hay bales and music from the gloriously 50’s inspired rock ‘n’ roll girl band The Daisy Chains. With a touch of good old-fashioned DIY décor, pine-cone centre-pieces and hand-painted orange building bricks for table numbers, this wedding was fields apart from ‘average’. Not to mention the fact that the bride wore pink sparkly trainers with her Lilian West dress! Here’s Steph to tell you more….

If we liked it, we went with it. We didn’t want to get bogged down with colour schemes, themes and general wedding ‘rules’ so we just went with the flow. We just knew we wanted some of our favourite things there (like air hockey!) which was a good starting point and everything rolled into place from there.

Spanish proposal and a little pink chapel

Jason surprised me with a trip to Mijas, Spain for our 8-year Anniversary and popped the question in a beautiful spot with a stunning view. Mijas is a special place for us, we have visited a lot over the past ten years. Jason had a panoramic photograph of the spot where we got engaged shipped over from Spain and gave it to me on the morning of the wedding.

Pretty pink sparkly trainers and bargain ASOS Bridesmaid dresses

I bought my dress from Lilian West and wore pink sparkly trainers with it! I never wear heels so it would have been completely unnatural for me to wear anything too fancy. I knew I wanted a flat and comfortable shoe, and one that wouldn’t limit any dancing in the evening! A few of my bridesmaids were on a quest to help me find shoes (I’m awful at shopping!) and we saw these in the sale, they were the only pair and in my size…it was meant to be!

A few weeks before the wedding I decided I’d like to wear a veil and also wanted some dried flowers in my hair. I took a chance and ordered a veil from ebay and  Antonia Hopkins Floristry made a gorgeous little hair slide from dried flowers to accompany my bouquet. I loved both, so in the end I wore the veil for the ceremony and then popped the hair slide in for the rest of the day. Jason brought me some lovely earrings to wear and apart from my rings that was the only jewellery I wore. I did have a little crochet butterfly pin on the inside of my dress. It was a gift from my nan when I was younger, and it was really special to have it with me for our wedding.

I bought the Bridesmaid Dresses from ASOS – a real bargain at £15.00 a dress. By complete chance I was browsing the ASOS sale and saw some pretty grey dresses. We didn’t have any colour scheme, or idea of what we were looking for so we took a chance and ordered lots of different sizes. The girls all looked gorgeous in the dresses, and once they had all tried them on and felt comfortable we decided to stick with them. My sister is a whizz with a needle and a thread so did some alterations to some of the dresses. All the girls  wore their own shoes and jewellery. I brought them all a little rose gold button necklace as a little thank you for being such strong buttons in my life holding everything together. They were not brought intentionally for them to wear, but they all chose to pop them on and they looked lovely. It’s really lovely when I see them wearing the necklaces now.

Jason’s step sister Sophie did my hair. I sent her a few pictures of things I thought I would like and when we did a trial we decided very quickly with what I would have. I loved the plait, and even though I was doing some crazy dancing in the evening it didn’t fall out! It was really special to have someone in the family to help and be part of the mornings fun. I found Natasha Valerie Make Up online and although I booked her really late (make up was one of the last things I thought of!) she was so accommodating and popped over for a trial before the wedding. I felt so comfortable in my make up. Natasha was great!

“going to the chapel and we’re, gonna get ma-a-a-ried”

We got married at Ulcombe Chapel. We loved the little pink chapel! We wanted to have our ceremony in a building that had character and history, but also wanted it to feel intimate and personal. As soon as we saw the chapel we knew it was the perfect place for us.

We had our reception at Kent Life – The Wagon Store & Village Hall. We loved the village vibe at Kent Life. There was a different venue for each event in the day, but no travel required for our guests other than a few steps in between.

We knew about Kent Life as its not far from our home and we had previously been to the venue for a fireworks display. Being so close to home, it went straight on our shortlist as I really wanted to spend the morning in our first home. As soon as we went to the venue we knew it was the perfect place for us to have a Kentish wedding.

DIY Décor and a brick-wall table plan!

We handmade our save the dates, order of service and menu cards and we decided to have a website for our guests instead of paper invites. The venue didn’t need too much additional decoration but we used lots of bits and bobs we’d been given from friends, took frames and photographs from home, collected tins for flowers and candles and scattered leftover rose petals and pines cones on the tables. We painted table numbers onto bricks and one of the best men, Sam, built a little wall with painted names on for the table plan. Blue Sky Bunting hung some bunting and fairy lights in the Village Hall for the evening.

3-tiered chocolate, coconut and lemon cake….

Our cake was made by Cakes by Penny and Sue. Jason already knew Sue as she is one of the best mans Mums! He has eaten lots of her chocolate cake throughout his life so there was no question as to who would make the wedding cake. We had three tiers – chocolate, coconut and lemon and it was delicious! The cake topper was a bride and groom pine cone to match the pine cones used in the corsages and bouquets.

Zest Creative Catering provided all the food and drinks. We had lots of compliments about the food and we both filled our boots throughout the day. We had a fairly formal wedding breakfast, with three courses (brushetta, lamb and chocolate fodue) and a delicious hog roast in the evening.

Dried flowers with hessian and lace

An old school friend provided all our flowers and we absolutely loved them! I’ve always joked about having to have dry flowers on my wedding day as I suffer from hay fever and when we started looking at ideas we decided we would stick to mainly dry flowers as I loved the idea of being able to keep them afterwards. Jason liked the idea of using pine cones too so these were used in all the bouquets and corsages. We collected tins for the flowers for the tables and my sister decorated the outsides with hessian and vintage lace she had been given. They looked lovely! I love the fact my bouquet was dry as I now have it in my living room to remind us of our day. One of my bridesmaids also made some beautiful autumnal hangings from foraged leaves and twigs for the side of the pews in the chapel. It was a very last minute decision, but they looked brilliant and were moved into the reception room later in the day.

Rock and Roll and Confetti cannons

My older sister is part of a band called The Daisy Chains. They are an all female, rock and roll band and are all incredibly talented musicians and singers. Everyone loved them – the dance floor was constantly buzzing! My sister hopped on the drums for a few numbers which was really special.

We started with a slow dance to ‘Better Together’ by Jack Johnson as it’s a special song to us. About a minute into the track, the band then started playing ‘Pencil Full of Lead’ by Paolo Nutini, and we did a little dance. There was a lot of expectation for us to do a choreographed dance as I’m a dancer, and Jason has some pretty good moves so we kept it as a surprise for our guests. It was great fun!! We had confetti cannons go off as the band kicked in too to get the party started.

Favourite moment

One hundred percent the first look. We read a blog from Sam & Louise explaining what a first look was and straight away we knew we wanted to see each other alone first. It was the best decision we made, and an incredibly special and precious moment. Just before I tapped Jason on the shoulder, I couldn’t stop myself from giggling in suspense of finally seeing him and in the moment he turned around I don’t think I’ve ever felt love and happiness so strongly. It was so special to share that moment, just the two of us and have a minute to laugh together and have a cuddle! We’re so pleased we have photos of the first look too so we can re live the moment.

Any Advice?

Just do whatever you want to do. There are no rules. And although we did end up having some very traditional moments in our wedding, these came from deciding that they were moments we would like, rather than the following of how we thought a wedding should be. As soon as we started planning, we said we didn’t want to stress during the process, and I think we managed to stick to those words by reminding ourselves that it was our day, we would only do what we wanted and if anything started to feel stressful then it probably wasn’t the right path for us to pursue. I feel so excited for any couple embarking on planning their wedding, it’s such a wonderful and special time!

The line up

Photography: Sam and Louise Photography
Videography: Gione Da Silva
Venue: Kent Life
Caterers: Zest Creative Catering
Band: The Daisy Chains
Bunting and lighting: Blue Sky Bunting
Brides Dress: Lilian West
Brides Make up: Natasha Valerie
Cake: Cakes by Penny and Sue
Flowers: Antonia Hopkins Floristry

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