We’re starting the week off with a fabulous outdoor woodland wedding at Whetstead Farm in Tonbridge Kent complete with hanging sofa swing, reggae tree house and tipi reception.
It was the perfect venue to host Emma & Stuart’s festival themed wedding and music soon became the inspiration for their planning. The seating plan was made out of records and each table was named after an album. I also LOVE the genius idea of having personal cassette tapes as place names too. I wonder what mine would have been…..
If it wasn’t enough that Emma had a B.E.A.utiful Pronovias lace & feather gown, she also had a second dress from ASOS so she could dance the night away to their funky Rollin Stoned band. I absolutely adore the laid back vibe of this fun & quirky wedding and the dressing up box looks like it brought so much fun & entertainment to the day.
Emma The Bride: My first thought when thinking about my dress is when I put the very first one on, I felt so uncomfortable, like dressing up in your Mums clothes when you were young again. I tried on so many dresses and I was actually starting to worry that I wouldn’t find one. I didn’t even know what I was looking for until I tried on ‘the one’. It’s so cliché but when you put on that dress, you just know. It was traditional but a little different with white feathers across the top and the most beautiful vintage looking lace I had ever seen.
My headdress came from Etsy and was shipped from the US and my shoes from L.K. Bennett. In the evening I wanted to have a little more dance room and found a beautiful dress on ASOS. I just need to think of another excuse to wear it again.
The Grooms Attire
What can I say about my ‘husband’, he always looks great so I knew I had nothing to worry about. He looked super handsome on the day. As expected. His suit from J Crew was blue with fine white polka dots. His pocket square and tie was also from J Crew and his shoes and belt were from Paul Smith. The colours went perfectly with the buttonholes from the florists. I should also include the captains hat from the fancy dress, as he practically wore it all day and night. Definitely loving being centre of attention. I’ve never seen him look as happy.
It took about a year to find the right venue. We knew that we wanted an outdoor festival feel and as soon as we saw the Wise Wedding Venue we booked it straight away. No hesitation. The woods are beautiful with the ceremony in a clearing under an oak tree. There are sofa swings in the trees, an arm chair see-saw, a tree house and a camping area. Oh and a bonfire. We made use of all of these and we even camped with our guests overnight. Sam, the owner of the venue, was so accommodating and helpful and even ran the bar in the evening for us.
We didn’t have a colour scheme or an actual theme really. We only wanted it to have a festival feeling and it be heaps of fun for the guests. There was the vinyl and cassettes on the tables and table plan and the live band in the evening but one other thing that makes you think of festivals… fancy dress. We put up a gazebo next to the marquee and that was the fancy dress area. There was a dressing table, mirror, clothes rails and a heap of fancy dress that we had accumulated over the years. We presumed that people wouldn’t use it until a little alcohol was consumed in the evening but we were very wrong. People were getting involved before the starters had even arrived and I myself woke up the next morning in an animal kigu suit.
We wanted the flowers to look like they came from a wild garden so when we found Blooming Green we knew we had to use them as that is exactly what it was. They have grounds that you can walk around and all the flowers they grow themselves and use in the arrangements. We were so vague and let them really do what they wanted with the plants and flowers that were in bloom at that time of year. We had a jar of flowers in the centre of each table, two huge buckets of flowers in front of the marquee and the bouquets and buttonholes were stunning. Having faith in professionals does take the edge off the arranging.
The Wedding Party Fashion
We wanted it to be very relaxed with no pressure to look a certain way. As long as the two Best Men wore suits we were happy and with our Sisters all I gave them was a colour scheme to stick to so we would all looked co-ordinated in the photos. We didn’t see all the dresses together on the girls until the actual morning of the wedding and we were so pleased with how it looked. They also wore their own shoes and jewellery and done their own make-up. We love how you can see each of their individual personalities in the wedding photos and how they put themselves together. The two Best Men scrubbed up very well and looked extremely dapper suited and booted.
The ceremony took place in a clearing in the woods under an oak tree that we decorated with white bunting and material and white rose petals on the ground.
I walked down the aisle to The Horrors – Still Life, that moment was the best feeling and sharing that with my Dad and my Sisters was a moment I will never forget. The Bridesmaids were more nervous than me. We also wrote our own vows which made it really personal, I had to try really hard to fight back the tears.
Music is a massive love of Stuart and myself so the entertainment was the most important thing. We decided that we would sort the music ourselves and not have the typical wedding DJ. We were crazy specific with what we wanted and it made the most sense. We were obviously worried about whether it would work or not but it was perfect. Plus we had the help of a life size cut out of Ron Burgundy behind the decks keeping an eye on things.
The live music was done by a tribute band called the Rollin Stoned. Words can not describe how utterly amazing they were. It was like the real thing. Absolutely everyone was dancing and singing and smiling. They started the set with Wild Horses which was our first dance and then went on to play all the classics, Ruby Tuesday, Gimme Shelter, Start Me Up and finishing up with people on stage singing with the band to Brown Sugar.
For the food it was really important for us that people served themselves, shared and really got involved as it’s a conversation starter and breaks the ice on tables where people may not know each other that well. The Complete Lunch made the best pies ever!! According to all the guests. Steak & Ale, Fish pies and veggies where put in the middle of the tables and people just got stuck in. We needed to line their stomachs well. In the evening we had a BBQ style jerk chicken and sausages in buns.
Stuart and myself definitely aren’t cake people so we didn’t want a traditional wedding cake, but we do love cheese!!! Everyone had my favourite cheese ‘Little Black Bomber’. Heaven. Such a good idea.
Maureen was perfect for us. We definitely aren’t the best at being photographed and we definitely get uncomfortable in front of the camera. Well I do, Stuart would say he has the perfect model poses. She put us at ease and it was an absolute joy to work with her. The photos make us smile every time we look at them. Maureen really captured the feeling of the day. We loved having her around and she’s just great.
To put a personal touch on the day we made a few things ourselves. The table plan we made with old vinyl and set it on an easle. The name places were fun. We brought a couple of cassette job lots from ebay and put peoples names in the spine. We tried to match the artist with the guest as much as we could for fun. 99% of those were taken by guests along with the vinyl we put in the middle of the tables for the tables names. My favourite part was organising the ‘guestbook’. Drunken photos are the best and with a polaroid camera and a blackboard in the shape of a speech bubble was genius. Early on in the night we got well wishes and lovely messages…. by the end of the night there are things written that can not be published.
One of the best pieces of advice I got was from a friend and it saved us from being completely over-whelmed with the amount of planning that goes into organising a wedding. We had 12 months before the big day so I made a spreadsheet of 12 months (geek) and broke down the individual tasks/meetings etc across those. This meant that instead of looking at the list of things to do as a whole and being over-whelmed and losing where you are in the planning, you can look at the current month and just have a couple of things to work on. Bite size chunks = happy planning and no bride/groom zillas.
Photography by Maureen du Preez
- Dress Designer Pronovias
- Bridal Boutique Pronovias Flagship
- Second Dress ASOS
- Jewellery Lance James
- Veil Etsy store deLoop by Theresa Dagenais
- Bridesmaid Dresses Coast
- Alice & Olivia
- Grooms Suit & Pocket Square J Crew
- Grooms Shirt Hugo Boss
- Grooms Shoes & Belt Paul Smith
- Venue Wise Wedding Venue
- Caterer The Complete Lunch
- Florist Blooming Green Flowers
- Cheese Tower The Cheese Shed
- Stationery Wed Fest
- Entertainment The Rollin Stoned Band