The images captured by Divine Day Photography of this outdoor tipi wedding are just gorgeous. Everything soaked in dappled sunlight and everybody full of joy. It definitely warms the soul. Busbridge Lakes in Surrey is a little slice of heaven, tranquil, picturesque and chosen not only for its beauty but its sentimentality. Decorated only with a few personal touches, peach flowers and disco balls to give it an elegant festival vibe and allow guests to enjoy the outdoors in all its natural beauty. Bride Annabel wears the most beautiful Alice Temperley gown. I have included copious amounts of pictures for you to swoon over and pin, because believe me you're going to want to. Enjoy.
The DressAnnabel the Bride: We loved planning every single part of this wedding and finding THE dress was what I was so excited about doing, bubbles and a good bit of girl time and playing dress up– however, the reality was a little more down to earth and after MANY boutique trawls I put on this dress and knew it was the one. In fact, it wasn’t like playing dress up – this dress felt like my dress, I felt like myself in it – not playing a ‘bride’- it was so easy to wear and it was fun – oh and of course it had some sparkle… my favourite part of the dress was the incredible back and the gorgeously light train – that was too much fun to play with! I wanted a veil, yet didn’t want it to interrupt with the back of the dress, so I went for a shorter style from Alice Temperley also. For a little touch of sparkle, I had some LK Bennett shoes, a testament to their comfy-ness I was still in them at 3am even after all that dancing! I kept the jewellery to a minimum, one of my Bridesbabes lent me her beautiful drop wedding earrings – so it was my something old and borrowed.
The Grooms AttireMike really wanted a chilled, relaxed style – he is more comfortable in shorts and flip flops...but he decided on blue suits for himself and the best man. They looked so good on the stunning summers day that we had! The groomsmen wore their own navy suits and we coordinated it all with the sky blue pocket squares, ties and even the socks! (All from River Island).
The VenueIt is such a funny experience looking at wedding venues; it is so surreal to think that the places that you are looking at will have such a significant role in one of the most important days of your lives. Mike totally surprised me with the proposal and I have never been one of those girls that has been planning their wedding since they were little - we were totally clueless about the type of venue you could get and what was out there. We both grew up in Surrey and knew that we wanted to keep our search close. We also had the idea that we would love a venue that was near a lake, because we love going to the Secret Garden Party festival and know that any good party needs to have a lake, for lighting, atmosphere and also for the pictures!! Mike's mother used to take Mike and his brother to Busbridge Lakes (as it is an exotic bird sanctuary) when the boys were little and it was close to their home, we did some research and were lucky enough to find out that they had recently started to host select weddings. We booked in an appointment and as soon as we stepped through the little iron gate, we all fell in love with this magical secret garden, it had to be the one! No words can describe how beautiful it is, the sounds of the birds that you hear and the peace and tranquillity that the lakes provide. It was perfect for us, but it was a totally blank canvas, we needed to hire in suppliers for everything. That was what I thought was the best bit about it; we could decide on every detail that we wanted and make it completely personal to us. We knew that we also wanted tipis and found Beautiful World Tents, through our extensive research we found them to be the best and the most helpful too. The Lakes and the tipis worked incredibly well together and could not have looked more magical!
Colour Scheme/DécorWe love the summer and our favourite thing is the blue sky that you get in those gorgeous summery days – the colours were decided by that – the blue sky of a summers day with a touch of green and a hint of peach and a dash of copper. The décor was a mixture of incredible suppliers – lighting from Stressfree who put in the lanterns and the pretties pealights in the willow tree over the lake, which made for an excellent dancing backdrop! Not Your Average I Do, supplied the barrels, festoon lighting, hay bales and the bespoke signposts). We wanted a very natural, ‘secret garden’ look to go with the stunning setting – you really didn’t have to do too much! My mother sourced logs for the tables from her garden, I spray painted many champagne bottles copper for the candle holders in the middle of the tables – these champagne bottles had many happy memories attached to them – through the course of our engagement we saved any bottles that we drank with our friends and family and over the year - we managed to save quite a few! It was lovely to know that on the day the bottles were from many celebrations with all our guests. The candle favours were made for us by our friend and candle maker, Laura. She designed a bespoke scent for our day, Lavender, Jasmine and Orange. As the wedding was outside, I collected some industrial tins, spray painted them copper and she filled them with citronella! They went outside on the barrels and were fabulous! The men’s favours took me a while to make, they were handmade silk pocket squares! I love craft and I also made some signage for the day from an A-frame and chalk paint for our friend, the DJ Dom and for our cocktail menu and also used a pallet to write the order of the day on. Mike’s father made the seating plan flower ladder display and it was a work of art on the day! We spent a while thinking of how to display the names of the tables on the tables! We wanted a natural look – through a lot of Etsy searching I stumbled across a lady who can make personalised table names out of wood! They looked perfect with the rest of our décor and just what we wanted.
TransportWe love our cars and I had such fun getting to the church in the Big Green Bus and this took the guests from the church to the Lakes. We also used Mikes fathers E-Type Jag – just the most iconic British car you can find and we love it. Along with the Series 1 Land Rover Defender for the groomsmen – they all had fun getting ferried around in this all day – our friend Graeme who own the car loved being the chauffer and it made our day very special to have these icons of motoring history on the day.
FloristI have known our florist since I was 4, she is one of my Bridesbabes mothers and an utter genius with flowers – I adore flowers and was very excited to choose these – I knew I wanted a soft, pretty and romantic look- I wanted blues and whites and greens, Sue was the genius who thought I should have some peach in there too – it worked incredibly well and made the other flowers stand out even more. We used hydrangeas and roses throughout the day and the tables were covered in lots of clusters of bottles which were filled with the most gorgeous flowers you have ever seen! It was a very relaxed garden look – utterly perfect and she and her team of girls worked their magic on the tipi and the church – stunning! The boys button holes were a nod to the bouquets – a tip I was given and what we did on the top table – we had some vases so the bouquets lasted and could work as centre pieces and also could be found when the photos were taken! I LOVE craft and I did a lot, from home made silk pocket squares to the candles on the table made by my very talented friend Laura at ByLaura Candles and co-ordinated with cut offs from the boys silk pocket squares. I also bought myself a wood burning pen and wrote every guests name on wooden branches and found a funny picture that reflected their personality – it was a great ice breaker on tables and began many funny stories. The copper bottles on the tables were from the year we spent planning the wedding – they were all champagne bottles which reminded us of all the fun times we had in the lead up to the wedding - I had great fun spraying them copper and the table names which were lazered from wood looks incredible in them. To capture the memories we gave each table a selfie stick – I know…but the photos from these capture all the bits we missed!
The Wedding Party FashionThe bridesbabes (they are BABES and not maids!) I searched high and low, trawled a lot of dresses online and when I came across fun dresses from River Island. I and the girls were sold – they matched my dress perfectly with the sparkle, were fun and they were the perfect colour! They matched the colour of the sky on the day – how lucky were we?! The girls said that they felt great in them – they looked great too! They wore some nude/tan shoes from New Look and they too lasted the night of dancing. All groomsmen wore navy suits and had matching pocket squares, ties and even socks!
CeremonyIt was the most incredible part of the day – from getting there with the girls and my parents in the Big Green Bus to walking in and seeing your nearest and dearest, to the vows, the songs, reading and all the way through to the confetti – it was magical! We love our church, it is the prettiest little jewel with murals on the walls and what makes it is it is a short totter along a country lane to The White Horse Pub, where everyone gathered before the ceremony! What made the ceremony super special was that our vicar, Geoffrey, made us write a prayer for our wedding – it was incredibly special to us and will be treasured. Also the two readings by Robert Fulghum: ‘Everything I ever needed to know I learnt in Kindergarden’ read by Mike’s primary teacher cousin and as a nod to me being a teacher and ‘Marriage’ was read by our dear friends Alex and Katie who are getting married this Spring. We loved the hymns and they were belted out by our friends and family, especially the rather fun “this little light of mine”, one of my favourites, where the sheer loudness of the chorus more than made up for knowing the words of the verse!
EntertainmentMike is big on music and ours was jam packed with music from walking into the church to Bob Marley to the DJ at the end of the night – we filled the day with it! From walking in to the church to Bob Marley and leaving to “beautiful world, beautiful people”. We had a steel band for the champagne reception and this floated around the lake on the gentle breeze. We had our friend DJ Dom to play chilled Ibiza-esque house music for the cocktail hour after the wedding breakfast. Then it was on to the first dance, ‘Everywhere’ by Fleetwood Mac performed by the sensational and energetic band ‘Festival Roots’, this 8 piece Ska, reggae and funk band played classic and current tunes in their own funked up way and the dance floor was never empty and included my two 90 year old grandmas! We couldn’t stop dancing… and we already know many friends who are keen to use this band again. Our friend and magician, Darius went round the tables surprising us with his magic tricks which gave more magic to a day when it wasn’t really needed!
FoodThis was impeccably organised by Mark and Georgie at Caper and Berry. The canapes were a mixture of mini Yorkshire, cucumber and tuna, arancini balls and edible garden cones – it was just divine! For starters we had beetroot macaroons with smoked salmon, for mains we had ‘water bathed’ beef fillet – which guests still rave about! For pudding we had chocolate coffee torte with summer berries. Caper and Berry covered everything in edible flowers and the presentation was exquisite. They catered to all our needs and did so with grace and impeccable timing. Our wedding cake was made with love by my mother from my Great Grandmas recipe, Mike loves a fruit cake and we had three tiers of it! My very talented friend, Jen iced and hand painted it – it was a masterpiece!
DrinksWe had a few kegs of the local ale (Tea) from the Hogsback Brewery. Wine and champagne sourced from the knowledgeable team at Taurus Wines. Caper and Berry made up our two signature cocktails for cocktail hour – ‘Mike’s Moscow Mule’ and my ‘Miss Sprinkle’s gin fizz’.
PhotographerOur friends had used Sandra at their wedding and we knew how fabulous she was – she always made us feel at ease and was part of the party – never getting in the way – and with two very ‘camera shy’ people she got some good shots! She went above and beyond for us and it was her natural and relaxed style that we loved, and she really was one of the gang on the day. Sandra is a delight to work with, an incredible fun and positive energy and her work reflects this.
VideographerStephanie knew our photographer Sandra for a long time and they have begun working together – they were a great team on the day and complimented one another – they had a great eye for the shots and it all worked so seamlessly. Stephanie worked closely with our drone guy, Trevor from Fly Camera Action and together they made our memories come alive again! We would highly recommend a videographer (and a drone too!)– Stephanie and Trevor created the most precious gift of memories for us!
AdviceTo make a wedding a great success; Mike would say music, music music, we had lot of it, for every part of the day and also doing something unique to you as a couple. I would say, detail and a lot of support from your nearest and dearest – a wedding is a team effort and it really came together through everyone’s had work and involvement. We had a clear aim of what we wanted in our minds and wanted the same vibe. Set your aim high and you know that you can pull it off, you and your future partner are an awesome team and you know that you can support one another to make the best party! But the best success is being team mates for life!
Dress Designer & Boutique: Alice Temperley | Bridal Shoes: LK Bennett | Location: Busbridge Lakes | Tipi: Beautiful World Tents | Florist: Flower Loft | Decor: Not Your Average I Do | Stressfree Hire | Table Names: EngraveCelebration | Caterer: Caper & Berry | Wedding Managers: Blank Canvas Weddings | Stationery: Bridezilla Design | Candles: By Laura London | Entertainment: Festival Roots | Magician: Darius Magic | Transport: The Green Bus