If you go down to the woods today you’re going to be in for a treat and half at Francesca & George’s beautiful boho wedding at Two Woods Estate in Sussex.
There’s wild flowers from Daisy Ellen, moroccan rugs, peacock chairs and so much more from The Vintage House That Could to add to their DIY decor. Not forgetting pizza’s from Baz and Fred, plus giant Jenga, hula hooping and generally what looks like the ultimate wedding celebration.
Every photograph captured by PJ Phillips Photography perfectly radiates the relaxed, warm and inviting atmosphere, and all the love and heartfelt moments this couple shared with their nearest and dearest.
Can I also just say ALL the heat eyes for Francesca’s bespoke gown which she had made near her home town in Italy and totally rocks!
Francesca the Bride: Dress was purchased in Sora near Frosinone (Italy) where I was born. The shop is called ‘Atelier Emozioni’ and it is a family run business. The dress was made by the in-house Taylor and is a unique dress (only one was produced). My earrings were handmade by the tailor using the leftover fabric taken out the dress to do the final adjustments and I was only wearing those. I bought my shoes from accessories and they only cost me £30.
As we love nature and great outdoors, we had this dream of getting married in a forest. We searched and found Two Woods Estate in West Sussex. We went to see the place and met Jade and Mark, the venue owners, who are just two wonderful people that really love what they do and put love in every detail of their work. We saw the forest and that was it. The forest at Two Woods is just stunning and magical and we decided the same day we wanted to get married there, it was the first and only place we visit to choose a wedding venue but thought straight away that there couldn’t be better place than that. We will cherish for a lifetime the memories of that magical forest, the smell of the trees, the fresh air, the sound of the birds and the leaves around us.
The whole wedding was set to have a very natural, wild and rustic feel. For the bridesmaids I opted for mismatched colours, and the colour palette was a range of dusky pastel colours (light grey, light blue, light pink. The groom had tile suit and brown shoes to match with the colours forest and the natural setting of the ceremony, with a cream flowery tie – the colour of the tie was suggested by me to match the champagne colour of my dress, although this was kept secret until the end obviously. For the groomsmen we decided for a neutral colour like grey and with a green flowery tie matching for all of them.
Daisy Ellen Flowers did mine and the bridesmaids’ bouquets, all the buttonholes and the basket for the flower girl. She also did all the flower arrangements for the pagoda where the ceremony was held, and in the barn where we had the reception. We worked together on ideas to achieve a rustic/non structured scenery and I asked to have feathers scattered around and in my bouquet which was done beautifully. I asked the florist to give me a box of flowers and leaves and with this I made my own centrepieces and flower crowns for the bridesmaids. I also had flowers and feathers from Daisy for the cake maker to decorate the wedding cake and the dessert table.
Wedding Party Fashion
All the bridesmaids bought their own dresses and shoes for very cheap (ASOS, ebay etc..) and the groomsmen too
At our ceremony we had two readings: one was a reading called ‘Maybe’ and it is from an anonymous that I find on the internet and I just thought was so suited to me and George.
The other reading was a letter/poem written by my best friend and maid of honour’s dad. Emanuela read this in Italian and I translated it in English for all the English guests to understand and printed on our order of services. On the order of service I also translated in Italian – instead- the reading that was read in English, so that all the Italian guests could understand what it was said. The rest of the ceremony was in English with no translation for the Italians, but at the end of the ceremony we ask all the guests to stand up and sing together ‘What a wonderful world’ by Louis Armstrong. During the ceremony we had the most amazing music plaid by Simon Wood – he is a hang drummer and we choose three of his pieces to be played with the hang drum in different moments of the ceremony (entrance of the bride, signing of the registrar and the exit).
We got married at 12 and so we had a long day of celebrations. We divided the day in two ‘sections’. The first was a 2.30 hours spent in the meadow where we had most of the group photos taken. Simon Wood played during the first part of the reception which was in the meadow at Two Woods. We entertained our guests with music and then we had games like jenga, molky etc.. and also hoola hoops, bubbles, etc.. We basically filled the field with playful and funny things mixed with a shabby chic décor.
The second part of the reception was held in the barn at Two Woods where we had a sit down dinner and the dance later on. We had our amazing friend and DJ Alec Falconer playing music for the party. Our first dance was ‘That’s amore’ by Dean Martin, we wanted a funny song that reminded Italy and it was one of the best moments of the day.
After the ceremony pizza was served in the meadow by Baz and Fred Pizza, along with pimms and beers served by The Little Wooden Bar. Both suppliers have been sourced by the bride and groom and were excellent.
We had a caterer of our choice serving the food, and the cake and dessert table by Ellie Bunston of Bunston Bake. All the drinks and the wine was sourced and provided by us.
We found Patrick after having looked at dozens of photographer’s websites. We instantly fell in love with his style and the way he beautifully captures the light. As we as a couple do also work as wedding photographers occasionally, we clearly were very ‘picky’ in choosing the person that could have been the best in photographing the most important day of our lives.
We had a chat with Patrick over the phone and thought ‘yes, it’s him!’ As he already sounded so nice, friendly and chilled. This is exactly how Patrick is been during the day and he captured every moment in the way we wanted and were wishing for and in any moment of the day he was just a pleasant and lovely presence.
I have done a few DIY projects like all the table centrepieces (glass jars decorated by me, flowers etc..), also I placed in the ‘stone area’ of the estate lots of mini ‘love potion’ bottles as a wedding gift for guests – all the guests had a mini bottle where I put a drink in it and all the labels where handmade by me.
Also our wedding invites where entirely hand written and hand painted (each individually personalised) by me and George.
People that contributed to some DIY things are my auntie from Italy Fiorella who is an artist and couldn’t attend the wedding. She sent me a box of hand painted mini pebbles she picked from the beach she lives in South Italy, and each pebble was painted to represent the sky and the field at the wedding and these were put on each table as sitting sign for each guests, together with cut out feathers I made with the names of guests written on it.
George’s sister Louise, beautifully made for us all the bunting that was hanging in the barn – again together we shared ideas and inspiration to achieve the look I wanted.
Me and George sourced wooden palettes and painted on this to write order of the day and ‘rules’ for the ceremony. We really enjoyed doing that.
The biggest help we had at the wedding in terms of ‘hands on jobs’ was from George’s dad Graham, who made 100+ candle tea light holders made out of wood and metal to represent the pagoda of the ceremony, that we used also as a sitting sign on tables and to give to guests as gifts. He also helped us designing and realising other moments of the big day like how to display the field and the gazebo for the cake. He also rented a massive trailer that we used to transport all the things we needed for the wedding.
I contacted Katie from the vintagehousethatcould as I realised at some point I needed more help in sourcing stuff: all the plates for the cake, rugs and a lot of other things where bought by me at car boot sales and charity shops…at one point I had no more time to get more stuff as I was really busy so Katie got involved. She not only supplied the final things that made the day so special (more rugs in the field, lampshades and vintage chairs) but she was a great help in the day and she really was friendly and discrete.
My two sisters Ilaria and Viviana helped me hugely to set everything up the day before, whilst the bridesmaids handmade their own flower crowns (under my delegation) and the groomsmen helped the day before to set up tents for people who were camping the night of the wedding.
What I learnt from the experience of planning my wedding is that you don’t need so much time in advance – we got engaged In November and got married the following August, in less than 9 months we organised a big celebration of two days including overnight camping for guests and lots of other logistics around the fact that part of the guests were coming from Italy and not speaking English. The only thing that really is important is to enjoy the planning, having fun with it and share this process with people you love. And during the big day the only thing that matters really is you and your partner getting married and just live every moment having fun and being grateful for who is there celebrating love and life with you.