Inspiration

After seeing Abi & Toby's woodland engagement shoot captured by Darina Stoda Photography we absolutely couldn't wait to see their 'at home' DIY wedding. And it definitely didn't disappoint. The whole day looks so relaxed, with everybody enjoying the outdoors, sitting on the straw bales, chatting away and generally having a blast. Not only was the location (Abi's Grandparents field, where she spent a lot of time when she was little) special but so was all the effort love and care that went into decorating the tipi. There's homemade cakes, chalkboards, bunting and SO much more. The flowers are absolutely fabulous, and Abi's Lace Maggie Sottero gown is truly divine. Enjoy every minute of this sentimental day.

Location

Abi the Bride: Ever since I was a little girl I had dreamt of getting married in the field my grandparents own. It really is the most idyllic setting with all the wild daisies and beautiful views and, with so many memories, it was priority to figure out how to do so without a licence. Me and Toby ended up ‘signing the paperwork’ on the Thursday before the wedding on the Saturday, a concept which confused some but made it all the more meaningful for us. We exchanged vows and rings on the Saturday with one of our good friends marrying us and it was perfection

Venue

From the initial Pinterest-ing Toby and I just knew that a tipi marquee was the only way to go. We ended up going with County Marquees in East Anglia, and they provided all the furnishings and flooring too. One of the things that I found useful to know was all tipis in the UK are exactly the same from Sweden, so really it is just about the different services each offer.

Dress

I had always planned on having a dress made, and visited Fleur de Lys Bridal in Saffron Walden just in the pretence of having a try-on to get a sense of different styles. Then I tried on the Ellis dress by Maggie Sottero. That was that. The lace was just incredible, so different to anything else I'd seen. Sarah Jordan from Aisle of Dreams is an old family friend and she did the alterations and did a stellar job. The dress went from feeling a bit like dressing up to really truly being mine. I also wore the Dune Karper sandals and carried on the tradition by wearing my great-grandmothers pearls as a bracelet.

Bridesmaids

I wanted each and every one of my bridesmaids to feel comfortable in what they wore, so we went for white or cream dresses and I let my bridesmaids decide. It couldn't have worked out better and I think they all looked amazing together. I tied this in with the little one’s dresses from Monsoon which were just gorgeous!

Groomsmen

Keeping with the mismatch theme Toby decided upon himself and the groomsmen wearing their favourite suits and then each choosing a tweed waistcoat. Again a detail that looked amazing once we got them all together! Toby’s waistcoat was from Next and the suit and shirt from Charles Tyrwhritt, they did a great job of making trousers that actually fit my 6’5” husband! Toby’s ‘Peaky Blinders’ obsession came through when he purchased sleeve garters but despite my apprehension they looked pretty good!

Photography

Darina from Darina Stoda Photography was our photographer and I honestly just don't know where to start. From our initial exchanges and then engagement photos I just knew we had made the right choice. She was just a dream all day, blending into the background to get some amazing shots and then grabbing us at exactly the appropriate times for some couples shots which were just completely natural and just all kinds of perfect. When our band’s guitar strings broke she even drive him to our house to get some spares! There is honestly no better photographer in the world, of that I am sure.

Food

We decided upon a hog roast for the wedding breakfast to keep things as chilled as possible. ‘Go the Whole Hog’ provided this and it was incredible. We also used local caterer Chris Burford for crudités for the tables and salads. The main attraction for me was the wood fired pizzas in the evening from Baytree Pizza, people couldn't stop raving about how amazing they were and still are all these months later. Our lovely family friend Nicky made the most beautiful cake as a wedding present, and it definitely tasted as good as it looked!

Entertainment

We feel very privileged to have such talented friends and family in our midst and we were so lucky to have our friends George and Jack play as their cover band ‘The Freaky Dukes’. Not only did they play all our favourite songs all night they also did a beautiful cover of one of our favourite songs ‘Brown Trout Blues’ by Johnny Flynn for me to walk down the aisle to. However, my highlight has to be them playing us out to The Beatles ‘Ob La Di Ob La Da’ and crying with laughter when we realised they'd swapped in our names and changed it to ‘Tob La Di’ in honour of the groom!

Flowers

The beautiful bouquets, button holes and hair flowers were all from Heather Carpenter Floral Design. I really wanted very soft, natural looking arrangements that resembled the English countryside and Heather for the bill. She was so lovely, and after a meeting where I simply specified peonies and gypsophilia she arrived on the day with the most incredible flowers. It literally looked like she had picked wildflowers from fields on the way, and they were beyond my imagination.

Decor & DIY

As soon as we got engaged I knew I wanted to do all the décor myself, with huge help from Pinterest and RMW! We wanted to go for a rustic theme with a touch of Bohemia which we hopefully pulled off. We hoarded wine bottles, made countless chalkboards and sprayed so many tin cans copper but I really did enjoy every minute off it! One of my favourite features were the tins which we filled with rosemary, lavender and bedding plants. They looked so gorgeous on the tables, and they all doubled as wedding favours for people to take home and enjoy. I found 50% of the finishing touches walking down the garden to the tipis and I loved all the quirky finishing touches like the wheelbarrow of flowers! It all made such a difference to our budget and I couldn't have done any of it without our families. My cousin Amie did my hair, my uncle Paul made all the invitations and rsvps, the lovely June did all of the place names by hand. My mum became wedding planner extraordinaire emailing everyone and booking everything, my poor grandparents had to deal with us taking over their house and gardens, and my dad was running around with hay bales the morning of! The list goes on…

Advice

  • 1. Accept help. People want to have a part in your special day, let them.
  • 2. Treasure every moment. Everyone says how fast it goes but it's true. There is no better feeling than seeing everyone you love gathered in one place.
  • 3. Things go wrong. My veil fell out halfway through the ceremony, the hog roast was ready before the salads arrived. It doesn't matter, it was still the most perfect day.

Written by Lorna Shaw

Featured suppliers

Dress Designer: Maggie Sottero - Ellis | Bridal Boutique: Fleur de Lys Bridal | Alterations: Aisle of Dreams | Bridal Shoes: Dune - Karper Sandal | Flower Girl Dresses: Monsoon | Groomsmen Suits: Next | Shirts: Charles Tyrwhritt | Marquee: Country Marquee East Anglia | Caterers: Go the Whole Hog | Bay tree Pizza's | Entertainment: The Freaky Dukes | Florist: Heather Carpenter Floral Design

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