Bbbrrr……..feel that cold! Wherever you are in the world we hope you’re wrapped up warm this morning, especially if you’re in the chilly UK like us. Today we have a super-quirky and totally original wedding to share with you. In fact, it’s been a long while since we’ve seen a wedding this beautifully nonchalant and adverse to tradition. Taking place on a windy Peak District mountain, this wedding brought together friends and family in a unique, show-stopping ceremony with the couple’s gorgeous doggy Coco as bridesmaid! Bea and Green brought absolutely everything about themselves to their one-of-a-kind celebration, including Green’s love for running. With a homemade dress, delightful Bea rocked a super-pretty alternative style of beauty, naturally windswept and glowing with excitement as her dream day unfolded on the mountain top. Spontaneous and so far from textbook, we’ve loved reading Bea’s account of her big day. Here she is to tell you all about it….
Go with your heart and be inspired by the unique relationship the two of you have together. Decide what is most important to you and prioritise that, especially when you’re working out how to spend your money.
On 29th February 2016 I fired up Facebook and publicly proposed to Green. It was a fun way to propose to a man who had been clear that he had never wanted to marry and never would. Because I knew he was going to say ‘No’ it was fine to do it in front of the whole world, most of whom would see it long before Green would (he wouldn’t see the post until after work). Green didn’t say no but he didn’t say yes. Instead he asked, “how long is this offer available?” followed by “can I phone a friend?”. And then he said ‘Yes’! So I rang him to check that he really meant it – he did.
Peak District wedding planned by the groom
Our ceremony was at Higger Tor in The Peak District, just outside Sheffield, South Yorkshire followed by a reception at Yellow Arch Studios, Sheffield, South Yorkshire. The Peak District is our back garden and Higger Tor is one of our favourite places! Green said that as I had taken care of the proposal he wanted to take care of the wedding so it was his vision and it was perfect. We chose Yellow Arch Studios because of its unique vibe. It’s an independent Sheffield business, the staff are amazing and it really represented ‘us’. We love being outside in the Peak District – we spend a lot of time walking there and going on adventures. Getting married there was obvious. Green is a keen runner and wanted to run up to his wedding so he asked his running club if any of them wanted to join him and about 20 ran up with him. Myself and all the guests stood on top of Higger Tor and watched them run up from the pub below which was a stunning sight and really built the excitement.
Handmade dress by mother-of-the-bride
I asked my mum if she’d be willing to make her dress and between them they redesigned a Vogue pattern to create a backless dress that shows off my tattoos. The dress-making process was pretty stressful at times but I thought it was more important to wear a dress made by my mum than to wear a perfect dress. I wore a silver running outfit made by a UK company Designs Alike that also had the words “Team GBea” across the front. This is the name that we use to refer to ourselves as a couple. He chose silver to echo the traditional grey Morning Suit that grooms traditionally wear. I live a predominantly barefoot lifestyle so I had no shoes at all!
Windy Hilltop Ceremony
We wrote our own ceremony structured around guidelines we’d found on several websites. It was incredibly meaningful to us. Our vows were inspired by one of my favourite poems, “The Invitation” by Oriah Mountain Dreamer. My oldest and best friend, Barnaby, married us and he wore a Cardinal’s costume which was completely irreverent but utterly perfect. The only decor we had were the prayer flags that surrounded everyone and were held by a team of friends and family that we called “The Flag Flyers”. This ceremony was not the legal ceremony.
Dress Code – For adults we asked them to “dress to impress (us and the weather!)”. We really wanted everyone to feel completely at home and, as I’m the Founder of Yes Parenting, this really applied to all the children who were completely welcome. To honour the kids we gave them their parents the following instructions: “Please say Yes! to whatever they want to wear. Onesies, fancy dress, three piece suits, tracksuit bottoms etc.”
Coco the Staffy played Bridesmaid!
I couldn’t choose between all the amazing women I know to be bridesmaids so I chose my gorgeous rescue Staffy, Coco. Coco wore a flower collar from Swallows & Damsons who are a local and independent florist. I wasn’t planning to have my own flowers but I changed my mind the week before and grabbed two bouquets that were reduced price from Aldi! My mum turned them into a stunning and simple bouquet.
Green has a dream to summit Everest so we bought prayer flags from Nepal to create a circle of prayers and blessings around us and our guests during the ceremony. This theme of mountains inspired the name of our celebration – we called our wedding “The Summit of Love”. And my boys (from a previous marriage) took full control over the cake design – one of the cakes was mountain themed and the other was called “World War Fart”
Megaphones and pink freezer full of ice-cream
For the ceremony we hired three megaphones to ensure that everyone would be able to hear us on Higger Tor. We also laminated the vows in case it rained or was windy (which it was!). We hired a pink freezer, which we filled with ice cream for the reception, from Our Cow Molly who graze their cattle locally.
We also created our own special moment after the ceremony which we called “Bubbles of Love”. We had seen a lovely Unity Candle tradition at a Christian/Muslim wedding in 2016. We made it our own by asking everyone to create a corridor and fill that with bubbles. We then walked through the bubbles and watched them fly away over the valley.
DIY Hair, sentimental fragrances and something old
I had asked her neighbour to do my hair and the practise run went brilliantly. Unfortunately my neighbour lost her phone and had a family emergency so she didn’t turn up and couldn’t get in touch! So I did her own hair and sprayed it with lots and lots of Elnett hairspray which I’d bought especially because it reminds me of my granny who died in 2012. I wore a bird necklace that was originally from Topshop in 2010 and has since been silver-plated by Jessica Flinn who also provided my engagement ring and both wedding rings.
Kindred Wedding Photography
Our photographer was Shelley Richmond of Kindred Wedding Photography. Shelley embraced our vision even when it was just a wild skeleton of an idea. On the day we barely noticed her and yet she captured everything – so many things we didn’t even see because we were focused on each other. I know lots of wedding photographers want to know exactly what is happening and when, but Shelley went with our flow and responded to things as they unfolded. Shelley’s photos tell the story of our wedding and it’s that story which will remain with us forever. Here is a video of highlight images: https://vimeo.com/227615209
The children designed the wedding cake
My boys, age 11 and 12, designed the cakes with the cake maker Cakes By Pippa. She created brilliant cakes to their specification. Both were gluten free and one was dairy free also. The cakes were inspired by their own interests and also by Green.
We didn’t do a first dance. Instead we did a First Song with the awesome Rockaoke. This was the best wedding entertainment ever and we sang and danced with our friends and family until the early hours! We chose “I’ve had the time of my life” by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes. It was a song we both knew and so we didn’t have to learn it which was the last thing we wanted to do in the lead up to our wedding day! Green is a huge David Bowie fan and had been having secret singing lessons since May in order to perform a David Bowie set as a surprise at the reception. He dressed up as Ziggy Stardust and he’d even changed some of the lyrics to make them personal to him and me.
Bea – “The best bit for me was standing on our rock with Barnaby, our officiate and one of Bea’s oldest friends, in his Cardinal’s costume and the wind blowing madly. I kept looking at Green and just loving everything about this bonkers way of getting married that seemed so perfect for us!”
Green – “For me it was the moment that we completed the circle of Nepalese prayer flags and all our guest were inside it for the ceremony.”
Go for it! Go with your heart and be inspired by the unique relationship the two of you have together. Decide what is most important to you and prioritise that, especially when you’re working out how to spend your money. Don’t worry about being different or doing the unexpected – take the time to communicate with your guests beforehand so that they feel relaxed during your special day
The Line Up
Photographer: Kindred Wedding Photography
Reception: Yellow Arch Studios
Food: The Street Food Chef
Flowers: Swallows & Damsons
Running Outfits: Designs Alike
Ice Cream: Our Cow Molly
Games: Giant Game Hire
Cake: Cakes By Pippa