Do we have a cracker of a Festival Wedding to share with you today. In fact I think this might possibly be the most ‘festival’ real wedding we have ever featured on Festival Brides.
Simon and Sarah, who met at the Isle of White Festival in 2011, both have a huge passion for music and have built their relationship on watching live bands and going to festivals. They didn’t want the conformity of a traditional wedding so decided if they were going to say ‘I do’ it was going to be based around motorbikes, their love of music and their family and friends. Both with careers in the events industry, they thought what better way to encompass everything they love than putting on a 3 day music festival aptly named ‘The Celebration Festival.’
With a guest list of 450 people and entertainment that included a hoola hoop disco (amazing), a mad hatters tea party (with Alice, The Queen of Hearts and The Mad Hatter making an appearance), a theatre performance, a bouncy castle, a magician, a caricaturist, face painting, candy floss, a band line up that Glastonbury would be proud of, a slient disco and a peace & love VW camper – what more could you really possibly want from a festival wedding?
Hold on to your wellies peeps as you’re about to go on one hell of a festival wedding ride!
Sarah tells us all about it….
There’s Something I Want To Ask You…..
Sat in an Irish pub on the West Coast of Ireland enjoying a session and the Cider and Simon said theres something I want to ask you…Marry me? My reply ( prob best to exclude this was “Are you sh*tting me?” ) Either way I was over the moon and said yes. However, when we got back he said he would like us to choose my ring and then he would do it his way and put some thought into it. Six weeks later we were in Rome walking through a beautiful square. There in the middle of the square was small band playing and we wondered up to watch them. Just as we approached them Simon dropped to one knee in front of a packed square and with that ( this bit is no word of a lie ) the saxophone player came over to us and started playing I did it my way!!!!!!. The whole square started to clap and cheer and all the people in the cafes and restaurants took to their feet and started cheering and clapping to include people in their balconies. It was absolutely brilliant and will always remain as one of the best days of my life, totally blew me away.
A Biker Legal Ceremony….
We initially went with ten motorbikes from Warsash to Winchester in Convoy. I traveled with Simons witness Jake on his Harley on the way up and my Witness Kat travelled on Simons Triumph. The day started off very relaxed with a group of bikers in the back garden being served croissants and tea before we departed in convoy on the bikes to Winchester. Our registrar said she had never had a biker wedding come through her door. I was in leather biking trousers a T shirt and Simon was in Jeans and T shirt. We left the bikes outside and went in with our two witnesses and a friend who took some pictures. We didn’t exchange rings and had no music played at all. In fact I don’t think we were in there for any longer for thirty minutes from the start to the end. When we came out the bikers created an arch and threw confetti in true wedding style and the Triumph had officially been pimped! Off we all went for an hour riding through some of the best biker roads ( A272) and ended up at the pub for a pint and a packet of crisps. We had arranged with a lot of our local friends to meet us back in Warsash where we live at the pub (The Rising sun) for a few drinks and a buffet supplied for free by the pub. It was fantastic, friends and family just came and went all evening. Simon especially wanted to see all the bikes lined up at the pub on the shore as they had been in years past, it was quite a sight if you like bikes! We went home by about 11pm as we knew the next day was going to be a long day putting up our festival. We, with the help of family and friends had been starting to prepare the ground and by this stage the marquees and main stage were up and ready and waiting.
We Did It Our Way….
Our day was just perfect for us, we did do it our way. It was ambitious but so many people, as in hundreds, have said to us it was the just the best wedding ever. The first part of the day during the blessing was about us celebrating our love, we feel ridiculously lucky to have found each other. The rest of day turned into a full on festival for everyone to enjoy, it was quirky and very different. We had live bands on back to back from 11am to 00.30 followed by a DJ set put on by our friend Martin in the main tent while the mad hatter tea party tents and festival site turned into a silent disco.
Weddings can be costly for the guests and the bride and groom. We made it really clear to all of our guests that there was absolutely no dress code. They could wear full on wedding attire or what they had worn the day before.
The day was very relaxed where people could wonder back to their tents for a bit then come back to enjoy the festival.
We had people from all walks of life from bikers to punks to barristers and directors of large corporates all come and leave their normal lives at the festival gates and enjoy the day together as our family and friends.
Our festival was amazing but it was the guests that made it perfect. We were equally very very lucky to have had a brilliant framer who just made anything happen that we needed from the sites to the bonfire. We had a camping field, parking field, campervan field and the festival site itself.
Our wedding seemed to go on for a week from the arrival of our overseas guests before our civil ceremony through to the Sunday at the festival site having a big family BBQ.
We Got by with a Little Help from our Friends…..
We were able to invite 450 guests. 22 of them were from overseas to include France, Bulgaria, New Zealand, Australia and New Zealand.
Every day we are grateful for our family and friends. However, during this festival from the set up to the break down and running it so many people gave their time to give us the best day of our lives. Two friends of ours took two really big tasks on. One ran the logistics of everything that happened outside of the main marquee and the other inside whilst being the MC for the day.
Simon’s father who is 76 hired a vintage 1964 vw camper van and drove it all the way from Anglesey down to us camping en route then decorated it on the day as a surprise for us. He drove it in a yellow wig with john Lennon glasses on!
Our dear friend Siou spent months picking slows for the slow gin and traveled all over the country to pick them in bulk (I think she had exhausted local supplies) for our wedding favours and decanted them all out into the bottles with our pictures on them and beautiful organza ribbon. It took a massive amount of her time and we love her for it.
Our food was provided by Kings Country Bar and Restaurant who did a five pig hog roast and nut roast for Vegetarians. These guys were working from 7am that day to pull this off with all the trimmings and they were divine. I even got brides rights on the crackling!
Tea and cake was served by our guests with cakes supplied by our guests from 2pm-6pm. It took me well over a year to collect all the vintage china.
Flowers with a Poetic License….
Our flowers were by Tracey Griffin Flowers and she was truly amazing. She also did all of our vintage displays. I got hours of consultation with her and she worked remarkably hard to create the perfection that she did. All of the bouquets and head dresses were in true festival style. I actually gave her poetic license to produce something that she felt fitted with the day with one guideline only which was pink. I felt we needed pink to go with the green in the bridesmaid dresses. She did not disappoint.
Vintage Bunting, Wooden Posts, Food Colouring and Bird Cages….
We docorated the venues with 500 metres of Vintage bunting, paper lanterns, 250 straw bales with the ends decorated with felt coloured hearts on sticks and various other hanging decorations. We also handmade 20 wooden posts and signs to highlight where everything was, all painted and rubbed down by us.
For the mad hatters tea party decor we filled bottles with water and food colouring with drink me labels as well as giant props of champagne corks, teapots, the flamingo, and a hobby craft tree with lots of Alice signs. we scattered keys across the tables and put ‘Drink me’ and ‘Eat me’ labels on the drink and cakes.
We used bird cages and bird tables for the main floral display in the main marquee by the main stage where the blessing was held and vintage displays provided by our florist.
This must be impossible to answer for any bride…! The planning of this event due to the scale of it was immense, it took a lot of my spare time for the best part of nine months. Don’t get me wrong I loved every part of the planning but it was hard work. Just before the first band came on ( The day of the Rabblement) prior to my arrival Simon got up on the stage and announced over the microphone that he wanted the guests to greet me and blow the roof off as I deserved it after all the hard work. When we walked in through the marquee the whole thing erupted with people clapping and cheering stood on hay bales it was just incredible. Equally walking out with him down our aisle after our blessing to the bar with all the rose petals and vintage newspaper hearts being thrown at us with also mind blowingly amazing.
Seeing so many people smiling and enjoying the free spirited event. Some of which we know where slightly sceptical about the wedding.
Seeing Simon waiting for me as I came around the top part of the Marquee.
My 16 year old son and best male friend from Bulgaria collectively giving me away.
Musicians that we have come to know and love performing for us to make our festival happen.
Two friends of mine that had never met each other jumping in the mud by river in their pants and running through the festival field towards me whilst dressed in white! It was hilarious.
Jay Gibbs ( Close friend and guitarist from the undecided) running out during his set to serenade me and the look of disbelief on my face that he was on the site not the main stage playing in front of me.
Yes. It’s your day, make it your own and don’t feel that you should be pressurised by anyone to have it any other way. Get your invites out early. If you are holding a festival wedding use social media to get your guests excited about the event, lots of them may not have been to music festival before. It’s important to raise awareness and build the excitement.
Again if you are holding a festival keep in regular contact with your musicians and suppliers. Make sure your suppliers don’t sub contract.
If you are putting on a festival book the week off beforehand! Even with the help of our friends we left our site at 11.45 the night before the big day.
Keep all your event licenses, supplier contact details, risk assessments in a folder and delegate to people who want to help.
When it comes to the day let go of all of the logistics, it will be what it is, it’s your day to enjoy that you would have put your heart into for a long time prior to that special moment.
Special thanks to Nick Myers our Celebrant who gave the most amazing blessing, it was funny and equally captured our love for each other. Also a huge thank you to Max Lindsay from the Nuffield Youth Theatre who spent a ridiculous amount of time helping the performers. Also of course to all of the guest’s performers and suppliers that gave us the best day of our lives.
The Line UpPhotography: Chris Meany Photography Venue: Pinkmead Farm in Botley Bride’s Dress: Bespoke from Phoenix Gowns
Bride’s Shoes: White Custom Made DM Boots Bride’s Headpiece: En Vogue Accessories Bride’s Veil: Richard Designs Bride’s Hair: Strands Hairdressing
Bride’s Make-Up: Hill Head hair and Beauty Bridesmaid Dresses: Gino Cerruti from The Bridal Mill
Flower Girls: Monsoon Flowers: Tracey Griffin Flowers
Stationery & Lanyard Design: Media 10 Lanyard Printing: Lanyard Factory Humanist Celebrant: Nick Myers Event Organisers: The Wedding Festival Company Theatre Performance & Alice In Wonderland Performers: Nuffield Youth Theatre Bands: The day of the Rabblement ( British folk Band); Eagle and Weeks ( High energy acoustic band); RemedySounds (Loop pedal artist); The Swing River (Folk pop); The Summer Project (Unique acoustic rock); The Undecided (70’s 80’s and 90’s rock); Time Bomb (R&B); Butterfly Collective (from The Who to Weller); Jouis ( Caravan meets the Doors); Kassassin Street ( Psychedelic trance) Bucking Bronco & Lasso Game: Happy Days Events Candy floss & Popcorn: Funday Events Children’s Entertainer & Magician: Silly Scott Silent Disco: Silent Disco King Hoola Hoop Display: Globe Fit Caricaturist: Chris Pavlick Face Painting: Face Fanatics Festival Flags: Event Flag Hire Toilets & Skips: Ace Lift Away Straw Bales: Party Bales Hog Roast: Kings Country Bar