Good morning beautiful people! And what a fresh, happy February morning it is. I’m sure most of you are super glad to turn your back on dull, cold January as we enter the homestretch before Spring! Just a few chilly weeks to go before sunshine and daffodils! We’ve started our week by totally overindulging in this glorious real wedding, captured by London-based photographer Lex Flemming. This wedding took the words ‘festival-inspired’ and ran to the hilltops with it, for everything featured would sit very comfortably at one of our very own big traditional British music fests. A play on a ‘Secret Garden Party’, Emma and Paul’s lakeside glamping wedding featured four live bands (yes, I know, four! Well, they did meet at a music festival), three DJ’s, bubble show, hoola hoop workshop, glitter bar, face painting, bouncy castle, ice cream van, smoke bombs, fire show, unicorn cake and stunning woodlands at the very cool Frickley Lake in East Sussex. And most of all that was supplied by their very kind and talented friends and family! With a marquee to fit 200 people, the couple achieved a stripped-back, bohemian vibe with a ton of imagination, Pinterest and DIY.
I’m still swooning over the flower crowns….I so want one! The styling of the bride and her girls is to die for – those bursts of oranges, pinks and raspberry reds is all a bit too much for me to take. Sooooo beautiful. Here’s the gorgeous bride Emma to give you more details about her outdoor festival-inspired wedding.
We love music festivals – we actually met at one – so it was no surprise to our friends and family that we had a festival theme. We wanted everything to feel relaxed, stripped back, a little quirky and bohemian – a lot of the ideas just flowed naturally. We used Pinterest and my bridesmaid’s Ali and Shauna were a big help on décor ideas too.
Indian Beach Proposal
We got engaged on Palolem Beach in Goa, India on 13 February 2016. We were in the 2nd week of a two week trip to India. I had an inkling that Paul would propose, however expected this to be on the first part of the trip, in the mountains in Kerala. When that didn’t happen, the thought left my mind and then it was a total surprise when it happened in Palolem. We went for a stroll on the beach at sun down, and as the sun was nearing the horizon, Paul got down on one knee on the beach. Paul tried to put the ring on the wrong finger – It was goofy and romantic!
We were married at Frickley Lake, Ninfield (near Battle), East Sussex. We knew we wanted a festival themed wedding, and so knew we needed to find a field as a starting point. Nothing too exciting about how we found it, just good old Google. However, this one was well hidden, and a little bit further from Brighton (where we live) than we’d planned to venture. On the day of us viewing the venue, Paul was tempted to cancel, as it was a fair old trek away. But I convinced him to go…. Frickley Lake just blew everything else out of the water. There was something very whimsical even about the drive there, and Dave (the farmer who runs Frickley Lake), was so warm and welcoming the moment we arrived. The immediate vibes were good, but everything that came after blew our little wedding minds! It was so much more than a field; there was a meadow for camping, a lake with a boathouse, a woodland full of sculptures, textures and interesting things to explore. The base price was ridiculously competitive, including the boathouse as accommodation, toilets, shower, running water and electricity. This place was a no brainer!
Preloved Dream Dress
I wore the Gaston dress by Delphine Manivet. I’m not sure you are supposed to have a favourite bridal gown designer before you’re even engaged (but we all do right?!), well, Delphine Manivet is mine. But with a budget of £1,000 max for my dress (incl alterations), having one of hers was more a of dream. BUT – I thought I’d give it a shot and look for a second hand dress looking at pre-loved sights and eBay. I was shocked when I actually found one, in my size and a style I loved…. I made an offer of £550 which was accepted! DREAMS DO COME TRUE! I also wore Kurt Geiger Carvela Stunn Sandals and a flower crown by Pastiche. I borrowed a blue stone pendant from my bridesmaid and fake pearls from Primark!
Paul wore a tailor-made tweed suit from A Suit that fits to the taller man (he’s 6’8”!!!). The bridesmaids wore tulle full Maxi skirts in mocha by True Decadence, purchased in the ASOS January sale for £24.50 each. The girls were allowed to pick their own tops (in off-white/ivy/cream) and shoes, so that they all looked the same, but added their own personal touch/style to their bridesmaid outfit. Groomsmen wore blue/mocha floral bow ties from Poser Club (via Etsy) and blue braces from ASOS. They we asked to wear short-sleeved white shirts and grey trousers.
Ice Cream Van and Glitter Bar
Our wedding was BYOB, however we did supply some wine and fizz for speeches – all bought via M&S. We also had a case of Stellacello gifted to us by our friend who makes the stuff – it was perfect to mix in with the bubbles at speech time for an extra kick! We went big on the wedding favours. We had an ice cream van serving up ice cream to guests between 3-5pm and there was a glitter bar as well as glow sticks and sparklers.
Outdoors Humanist Ceremony
Our friend Tim is a pastor, so we asked him to lead the ceremony. However as we are not religious we worked with Tim to adapt a humanist ceremony wording that we all felt comfortable with. The ceremony was outside under a large metal arch which a couple of the bridesmaids had covered with foliage from the forest. We put the final touches to it by draping a large piece of muslin cloth through it. Hay bales were laid out for our guests to sit on during the ceremony. We had the theme from Jurassic Park as the processional music and ‘That’s Amore’ by Dean Martin for recessional. Readings were read by Paul’s mum Tess by our good friend Richard Stevenson.
British, Wild and Seasonal
My friend Elisa is one half of Pastiche Cakes & Flowers and we worked together to create a floral style that was bohemian. My big want was that the flowers were British, wild and seasonal. For the bouquet and flower crown, I wanted a deep, purplish-red that I could match a striking red lip to. We used Protea, Garden Roses, Wild mint, Craspedia, Lisianthus and Bupurlem. On the day, Pastiche turned up with an optional South African Protea in the bouquet, completely off brief, but it looked amazing and created a stunning focal point – it stayed! I feel like Baby’s Breath is overdone in bridesmaids flower crowns, so I asked Pastiche to create something a little more quirky, that would adopt similar colourings to my crown, and pair well with the mocha skirts. Finally we had Craspedia for the button holes – bright and fun – the perfect vibes for the festival theme.
Stripped-Back Rustic DIY Decor
We wanted the décor stripped back….with over 200 guests to cater for, we needed to keep a close eye on budgets anyway. We opted for undressed trestle tables and wooden folded chairs with cushions. The marquee was simply dressed with colourful bunting and lanterns. The bridesmaids and I did a little DIY, creating mason jar lanterns for the tables (mason jars covered in colourful tissue paper with led tea lights). We didn’t have a top table – yes it was that informal – but we had a couple of prop thrones which were used for speeches and doubled up for guest photo opportunities.
Festival, games and bouncy castle!
I really don’t know where to start… 4 bands, 3 DJs, a bouncy castle, tombola, bubble show, fire show, pompom workshop, hula hoop workshop, glitter bar, face painting, giant jenga, corn hole, chillout pagoda, silent disco…..The key thing was that a lot of this entertainment was provided by our very talented friends – who gifted their time and skill to make the wedding as much fun as it could be. We had bands called The Equitorial Group, Town of Cats, Smythe Smythe and Smythe and Stac. The tombola was a genius idea by our friend Tim. He set this up as some added entertainment on the day (old school summer fete style). He’s an antique dealer, so collected a few random and quirky items around car boot sales, to make up the swag pot along with cocktails and home brew cider. It was £1 to play, and all proceeds went to our honeymoon.
Cool and Quirky Photographer
Lex Flemming – I met Lex at the Alternative Wedding Fayre at Brighton Dome. I loved her portfolio immediately, it popped with colour, was cool and quirky – pretty much everything I wanted. But then as soon as I spoke with her, I knew she was special. I arranged a Skype call with her so that Paul could also meet her – and he thought the same as me. Lex was so much than a photographer – she was basically Miss Organisation on the day, making great suggestions to make up for our perhaps “too laid back” approach, and she pretty much took the role of Master of Ceremonies…. And she totally owned shooting and shepherding 200 odd people!
Secret Garden Party
For us, the thought of wedding stationary was just too formal and not us. We didn’t have invitations, we bought a domain (a play on a ‘Secret Garden Party’) and built a website using Wix. This allowed guests to rsvp and see the most up-to-date information, as our festival wedding evolved. The same went for the day, there were no seating plans, table names/numbers… we wanted to keep everything relaxed! We had two sittings during the day. Immediately after the ceremony we served a cheese ploughman’s buffet. One thing we hate most about the formal wedding structure is that the Wedding Breakfast usually takes place hours after a ceremony, leaving guests hungry and also too close to evening food, meaning all days guests don’t have room. This included rustic bread rolls, cheeses: cheddar, stilton and brie, meats: ham, chorizo and pate, plus a selections of pickles. In the evening, we went for a traditional hog roast with all the trimmings, plus vegetarian and vegan friendly options including a halloumi burgers, Italian salad and three bean salad. We also had mini hot dogs for the kids. All catering was provided by Harold’s Hog Roast.
Our first dance was to SBTRKT & Little Dragon – Wildfire (covered by STAC). I mentioned that we met at a music festival – it was actually Little Dragon who were performing when we bumped into one another. They’ve been ‘our band’ ever since.
So many moments, it’s really hard to pick! BUT we think just before the ceremony, when we had those precious few moments that was just the two of us – as it did feel like we hardly saw each other all day. And Paul cried when he saw me, so….
One of the biggies for our DIY wedding, was asking friends to gift their time/talent to make the festival wedding a real experience…this resulted in us having bands, DJ’s, Face Painter, Cocktails, Fire Show and so many other wonderful extras at no cost to us! So get the people close to you involved! Also, if your venue allows and you have large numbers, BYOB is a big hit… just consider the clean up the next day, as this was epic and not what our hangovers needed. If we did it again, we might have hired/paid for the clean up!
We’d originally had our wedding planned for end of May bank holiday in 2017, however we thought that planning a wedding wasn’t enough of a challenge, so decided to have a baby alongside it. With that in mind, we pushed the wedding back to September, which was a good idea as our baby was due in June. I actually went into labour on the way home from seeing the caterers! That was fun! And just another great anecdote which makes Baby Wilbur a huge part of our special day. Our total budget was £17,000 all in, excluding honeymoon.
The Line Up
Venue: Frickley Lake
Photographer: Lex Flemming
Bride: Delphine Manivet / Kurt Geiger
Groomsmen: Poser Club
Florist: Pastiche Cakes & Flowers
Bands: The Equitorial Group, Town of Cats, Smythe Smythe and Smythe and Stac.
Hair: Lizzii Morris
Make Up: Lydia Pankhurst
Cake: Gift from the Kneady Baker of Berkshire
Caterer: Harold’s Hog Roast