Woodland weddings are always a risk in the UK, but when the weather plays ball (and to be honest, even when it doesn’t) they are truly magical. There’s something so spiritual and earthy about getting married amongst ancient trees and wild animals. It can, however be a logistical nightmare. That’s where Woodland Weddings come in. A woodland venue that has it all, onsite for you, ready to go. And yet weddings from there always feel completely different as the space is prime for personalisation.
Claire and Tom’s rustic, home spun wedding is just utterly beautiful. The girls all look stunning, like woodland fairies carrying freshly picked blooms and the decor feels striking but simple and very welcoming. Images come from the fabulous Chris Barber whose fun style is always a winner when it comes to capturing a wedding day.
Claire the Bride: Before we got engaged, we had always said we wouldn’t have a big wedding and thought we would just get married at a Town Hall and have a party afterwards, but as soon as Tom proposed that all went out the window. We knew straight away we wanted to have an
outdoor wedding, and even though it’s quite risky to do that in England, it was something we weren’t willing to compromise on. We knew we wouldn’t be able to find anywhere sufficient in London, so we started trawling the internet and eventually found Woodland Weddings in Tring, Hertfordshire. It was the first venue we saw, and as soon as we got there, we knew it was the one for us. As soon as we walked down the driveway, saw the woodland clearing, the tree house and the stretch tent with all the festoon and fairy lights, we were in love. Faye and the whole team there were absolutely fantastic for the whole lead up and were really great on the actual day.
My dress is from Luella’s Bridal in Wimbledon. I really wanted something that would go with the theme and setting of the wedding, and the selection of dresses they have were perfect. My dress is Netta by Inbal Raviv and I am still so in love with it. As soon as I got my dress, everything else fell into place. We knew what the colour theme would be, what style and colour the bridesmaids would be wearing and what colour Tom and his groomsmen would wear.
Tom got his suit custom made from Tailor Made London, over by Old Street. They are a fantastic bunch of guys who are immaculately turned out. You only have to see their suits to know you are in good hands. A huge selection of cloth and an incredibly personal approach to tailoring that we couldn’t find even on Saville row. Pair that with a cutting edge laser measurement system and you get a flawless suit.
The Wedding Party
My girls wore 2 different styles of dresses from To Have and To Hold (Edie and Olympia). I randomly found them trawling for #blushbridesmaidsdresses on Instagram and their dresses were perfect. We wanted something simple as my dress was quite detailed, but also something that would go with the theme of the day. The girls were also so lovely and helpful, every time we spoke it felt like we were old friends. The boys just wore plain light grey trousers from Suit Supply, with braces from Mrs Bowtie. As the whole wedding was going to be quite casual and hopefully warm, we didn’t think it was a necessary expense for them to get a whole suit, and plus it made Tom’s suit all the more special.
Our ceremony was very relaxed. We had actually gotten legally married the week before, so a lot of the pressure was off and we were able to make the ceremony really personal. We had a Humanist Ceremony and Tom and I wrote a lot of the sermon, which was really special. For the main body of the ceremony, Tom and I wrote 5 things we love about each other and sent them to the celebrant without showing one other. When she read them out to us at the ceremony it was the first time we’d both heard them, so our reactions were completely genuine, it was really, really special and a real highlight of the day for us. It was also great for our guests cause it was a lot more interesting, funny and different to what you would usually expect from a ceremony. It also made a LOT of people cry.
One of the other highlights for us were the flowers and table decorations. My incredible mother in law spent hours collecting and spray painting hundreds of wine and beer bottles, which we then filled with flowers. We did all the flowers ourselves; the bouquets, Tom’s buttonhole, the table decorations, the 2 arches and the top table. We got all the flowers from Zoe at Swan Cottage Flowers. She’s a wonderful woman who has a flower field near the venue and I can’t recommend her highly enough. We met her about 5 months before the wedding, explained what we needed the flowers for, told her our colour scheme and what flowers we like. We met again about a week before the wedding and walked through her garden, picking all the flowers and leaves we liked. She then picked them all for us and we collected them the day before the wedding. She was unbelievably generous and so, so helpful and encouraging. None of us had a clue what we were doing, but with her advice and just naturally beautiful and huge English flowers, it was easy to make them look beautiful. Again, we felt like we were working with a friend.
Our venue was great as they also supplied all the food, the bar and the music. We had a BBQ buffet for dinner and then a hog roast later on in the evening. It worked really well with the relaxed feeling of the wedding. We also had a GINORMOUS cheese tower instead of dessert. My bridesmaid Zahra’s mum made our cake, but we also had some giant Colin and Connie the Caterpillar cakes from Marks and Sparks.
Chris Barber was our photographer and he is amazing!!! He captured the whole essence of our day, the fun, the laughter and the love. When we got our photos back, we were both saying “how did he get that photo, I don’t remember him being there!”. He was so discreet, but then when he did interact with our guests, everyone loved him and felt really comfortable with him. He made the effort to make sure we got all the typical photos with different groups of people and family, but after that he just hung out with our guests and caught some hilarious moments from the speeches right through to the impromptu dance offs and silent disco. He really has a unique gift for capturing emotion and on the most emotional and amazing day we have both had we are so grateful we found such an incredible photographer.