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Happy Monday Lovely People!

Hope you all had a lovely weekend. How gorgeous was the weather? I said it last week and I am going to say it again…..spring has sprung peeps and according to the weather man we are in for a heat wave for the next 2 weeks. Bring it on! I have already dusted off my flip flops and harem trousers and will be making the most of this much needed sunshine.

So as the sun is beaming in all it’s marvelous spring glory we thought we’d share with you an equally marvelous wedding.

Yevette and Andy wanted their wedding to not only represent them as a couple but also their friends, family and most importantly their 3 gorgeous children. So, with a little help from Just Bespoke wedding planners, they put on a family summer fête which consisted of a sports day for the children, Morris dancing for the adults, a bouncy castle, a pop up cinema, a magician, a cake bake off, amazing buffet style food and so much more! They really went to town with their entertainment, styling and catering and you can see from the pictures, captured beautifully by Laura Babb, that  everyone had a ball. They even hired child carers for the babies and toddlers so their friends could relax and enjoy the day knowing their children were entertained and safe.

Never before have we featured a wedding that has been so family orientated and it has been a pleasure reading about all the ways Yvette and Andy ensured that the children had just as much fun as their parents. With many couples choosing to get married after they start their families, entertainment for kids is becoming a very important aspect of planning a wedding so it is refreshing to share with you today a wedding today that is full to the brim with cool and fun ideas to entertain children.

I also love and admire that, instead of wedding gifts, Yvette and Andy asked for guests to donate money to an inspirational primary school called Sandarama in Burma and as a result raised £6000. Amazing. This meant that the school could build an additional class room and provide even more resources for the education of almost 400 of Burma’s poorest children. I think it’s safe to say that Yvette and Andy are an inspiration to us all.

Whatever you are doing today, poor yourself a G&T or an iced coffee and allow yourself to be transported for the next 20 minutes to Yvette and Andy’s Family Summer Fête Wedding……

A Valentine’s Engagement

We didn’t meet until I was already 35 and Andy 40 so once we knew we were going  to be together  we decided children needed to come first –  before it was too late! Andy proposed  whilst our two oldest children were asleep upstairs one valentines evening.  11 years after meeting,  eight months after the arrival of our  third (and final!) child we finally did it! It was very special having all of our children there to celebrate with us.

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A Unitarian Chapel and Two Enormous Fields….

We only looked at one venue and knew North Hill Farm was it as soon as we saw it. Close enough to London where we wanted to actually get married, two enormous beautiful  fields where we could erect the amazing tipees we wanted, magical views, a tree-house for us to sleep in, space for camping and close to where Andy had grown up. It really was a perfect fit for us. Finding Rosslyn chapel was also a stroke of luck. Given it’s a Unitarian chapel we could make up whatever ceremony we wanted – it could be religious AND secular unlike any other church or marriage venue we considered. It was also walking distance from our home, large enough to accommodate 200 guests and extremely beautiful.

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A Shop of Wonder and a Candy Anthony Dress….

All I knew at first was that I didn’t want formal but instead wanted something pretty, unusual, fun and fifties/vintage. I tried hard not to be stressed about the search but given my limited free time I knew I was going to struggle. I’d asked Just Bespoke for some help on this and they were helpful in giving me a list of possible suppliers but I had no idea that most needed at least a three month (if not more) lead-in. I missed most of the deadlines.  I panicked a bit, explored getting something made, tried on some conventional dresses which I loathed, dabbled briefly with buying a Temperley dress and finally tumbled wearily into Candy Anthony on London’s south bank with my parents – and a 5 month old Nell. It was immediately clear to us all that we were in the right place. The shop is a wonder of the most glorious dresses imaginable. I had worryingly missed their deadline for getting a dress made so  I was truly truly fortunate that one of their sale dresses fitted me pretty perfectly. Given the shortness of time at first it seemed I wouldn’t be able to get the lace overlay I had fallen for made but the lovely Rachel at Candy Anthony had a quiet word with the owner and suddenly it was possible. I totally loved wearing my dress on the day. it was exactly what I’d wanted and so very beautiful. I had so very many compliments about it. 

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The Extraordinary in The Ordinary…

The ceremony and the music meant a great deal to us. Although we hadn’t planned to we ended up writing every word ourselves – even the celebrants – in order to be sure we created something that had meaning for us. It was a very special ceremony – inclusive of all the children present, our own most of all. Lucas and Dougal were the little leaves in the very poignant poem – ‘A little yellow leaf’ by Carin Berger. and made everyone smile, we also used a reading by Ogden Nash and a truly beautiful excerpt from a novel called The Last Good Time by Richard Bausch – which for me says all there is to say about what love is really all about – the extraordinary in the ordinary. We have extremely talented friends and our lovely neighbour the well known pianist Dorian Ford. played for us, together with the superrnely talented  Jonny Gee of the Jazzberries (who masterminded all the music on the day) and Sara Spade (The ukulele lady). We had known we wanted Sara to play at our wedding for a very long time having seen her play just once before. She is extraordinarily good. We picked all the music ourselves and Sara, Jonny, Dorian and their musicians played everything beautifully and movingly. We walked in to Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s Somewhere over the rainbow, had Malvina Reynolds’ Magic Penny, then Evelyn Knight’s A little Bird told me and one of Sara Spade’s own songs ‘long long time’ during the signing of the register. Everyone then sang ‘if you’re happy and you know it’ after all the vows and we finally walked out to a jazzed up version of ‘Bring me sunshine’ by Morecambe and wise. This was the perfect end to a wonderful ceremony and made everyone smile.

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A Quintessential Summer’s Day….

We wanted  the quintessential summer’s day. A happy relaxed summer fete feel – celebrating us but also celebrating family. Having our three children be a central part of the day was really important to us and given our fous on family we included all our family and friends’ children – which meant we had around 80 children on the day. We wanted to make certain children were well catered for so they were happy and parents could then relax. So many of our friends said it was the best wedding they’d ever been to.

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Bunting, Tipi’s, Family Sports Day, Morris Dancing and a Pop-Up Cinema….

The ideas for our wedding came very easily; vintage summer fete, bunting,  tipees, family sports day, cake competition, high quality food, morris dancing, pop-up cinema, fire performers, camping, bonfire, really good live jazz music and the wonderful Sara Spade on ukulele in the chapel. What was harder was putting all the ideas together with a newborn baby and two lively boys in tow. In the end, although we had the ideas and most of the suppliers already secured, we approcahed Lisa Baker of Just Bespoke to help with pulling things together and logistics on the day. They helped with researching and finding remaining suppliers, they managed our RSVPs, conducted trouble-shooting where necessary. Their on the day coordination was essential given our split venues.

Peter and Lee – our boys football coaches at school – masterminded a truly superb traditional sports day – much enjoyed by all the children. The bouncy castle, giant garden games, children’s entertainer, roving magician, the pop-up cinema and the child-carers all helped ensure all the many children had a ball and were kept safe.

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An Amazing Photographer and a Primary School in Burma….

Our photographer was the amazing Laura Babb. Laura was without a doubt one of the  best favours just Bespoke did for us as they introduced us. Her pictures speak for themselves but we loved her quirky, inspired creative style as much as her talented beautiful photography. She was lovely and our guests thought she was brilliant. She also very generously donated part of her fee to our wedding fundraising! Instead of wedding gifts we opted to ask our guests to donate to an inspirational primary school in a very poor area of Burma – that we support called Sandarama School. We raised just short of £6000 which blew us away. Every penny has already been sent into Burma and delivered to the school who were immensely grateful – enabling them to build an extra classroom and provide resources for the education of almost 400 of Burma’s poorest children.

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Vintage China, Amazing Food and Ginger Beer….

I have to say something about the food because it was – unlike so many wedding meals – truly something special. Our caterer Claire Carpentier of Dallings &co pulled out all the stops to produce a veritable feast for our guests. We’re not able to speak highly enough of Claire and her team. They dressed the tables beautifully sourcing lots of vinatge china for us and nothing was too much trouble for them. They were supremely professional but personal too, enthusiastic and just extremely lovely talented people.

As well as lots of champagne we served jugs of rum and ginger beer with lots of ice and mint (it was a searingly hot day). This proved an enormous hit.

Decor-wise the tipees set the scene – we dressed these with beautiful summery bunting and fairy lights and dressed haybales formed much of the seating. We also hired beautiful vintage furniture (a Just Bespoke idea) which ended up being the centrepiece of many of my favourite photos of the day.

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Favourite Moments…

So many! our boys performing the little leaf and their interview which had been recorded by Warrick our best man and which brought tears to everyone’s eyes,  Sara singing ‘ a little bird told me’ (it will forever make me smile), making our vows to each other and then to our children,  dancing back down the aisle with our children to ‘Bring me sunshine’, leaving the chapel in our rickshaw, the amazing food, our guests Morris-dancing, everyone sitting on blankets listening to the jazzberries in the glorious sunshine, the speeches, the magical fire-performers, our tree-house!

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Any Advice For Couple’s Planning Their Wedding Day?

I’m not sure I feel able to advise as it’s so dependent on what kind of wedding you want to create. Generally I’d say leave yourself plenty of time to plan and book key suppliers. I’d also say try and find enjoyment in the planning process- stressful as it definitely is – I loved thinking up ideas to surprise and entertain our guests. And on the day – relax and let whatever happen happen! It’s one irreplaceable day in your life and so rare to be surrounded by all those you love best so savour it all!

The Line Up

Photographer: Laura Babb
Ceremony Venue: Rosslyn Hill Chapel
Reception Venue: North Hill Farm, Chorleywood
Brides Dress: Candy Anthony
Bride’s Shoes: Rachel Simpson
Bride’s Hair & Make-Up: The Perfect Marriage
Groom’s Suit: Ted Baker
Bridesmaid Dresses: ilovegorgeous and Angel’s Face
Wedding Planner: Just Bespoke
Flowers: Jo Sherren
Decor and Styling: DIY and Just Bespoke
Catering: Dallimgs & Co 
Tipi: Tipi’s 4 Hire
Bell Tents: Cariad Canvas
Fire Performers: Flambe Circus Theatre
Jazz Band: The Jazzberries
Ceremony Music: The Ukulele Lady
Child Carers: Safe and Sound Mobile Creches 

 

If you would like to make a donation to Sandarama School in Burma please click here.

Thank you so much to Yvette and Andy for sharing your gorgeous wedding with us. I was smiling from ear to ear reading all about your day! Also a big shout out to Laura Babb for sharing yet another awesome wedding with us – we salute you lady!

Enjoy this sunny Monday peeps

Big Love

Festival Brides xxx

Ps we will be featuring an AMAZING alternative first dance love song under Independent Love Song this afternoon so make sure you check back in with us later!

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