It’s not so unusual to feature a wedding with homemade flowers, a vintage dress and suit… But flamingo art, a polytunnel ceremony, apples, pumpkins and vegetable bouquets?.. Now that is a little more unusual!
Nat and Dunc had a very personal wedding like no other, it was pretty much out of this world… And the report today is written by them both!
Natalia The Bride: I have been a school science teacher for 6 years and I also learnt Chinese at University and taught it for two years. I love fancy dress. My past fancy dress costumes include the Michelin Man, a flea and a piranha. In my free time I like singing and dancing around our flat!! I also like to read the newspaper and keep up with current affairs by listening to the world service. I’ve been vegan for almost 20 years and I love getting outside and taking photographs of nature.
Duncan The Groom: I a visual artist based in Bristol. I work in painting and sculpture. I have been vegetarian all my life and grew up in rural Herefodshire. Nat and I met in Hereford many moons ago and had the most wonderful evening together, the story of which I told in my speech to many ooohs and ahhhs. After meeting Nat just once I said to my best friends the following day – ‘’she is the girl I am going to marry’’. And we did!
Natalia: When I told my family I was engaged, my mum said I should try on the dress she had bought from a vintage clothes shop. She intended to try and sell it on Ebay for a profit. I tried it on and it just happened to be a perfect fit! The dress was quite a sweet and simple style with a flattering cut. I thought it was a bit ‘Little House on the Prairie’ which I liked. I knew I wanted platform shoes which were more like trainers. I don’t know why really, that’s just the style I like. Quite a contrast to the style of the dress but luckily the combination kind of worked (I think!).
Duncan: I wanted a less formal vintage look and I was lucky enough to find a suit in the first vintage clothes shop I went in, in Bristol. Because Nat loves insects I found a colourful shirt with lots of insects on and my shoes were green brogues. Got the whole outfit sorted in a couple of hours.
Natalia: Shipley gardens is my grandparent’s home which I love. It is a place which tries as much as possible to let nature take its own course. It was built in the 60s and the décor and the buildings haven’t changed since then and so the whole place has a very retro feel. There is a building in the garden made of glass and wood. On the inside of the glass is grape vines and a swimming pool is inside the building. Along one side of the swimming pool is an indoor flower bed and the swimming pool has been allowed to become a green pond, home to frogs, newts and lily pads. The whole property is very rustic, exotic and vibrant. There is also a polytunnel which we decided to use for the ceremony. It wasn’t in use, it just was full of bric a brac and had brambles and ferns growing on the inside which we really liked. We left all the bric a brac and foliage turning it all into features and Duncan made wooden flamingo sculptures which lined the aisle. Guests sat on hay bails. After the ceremony, guests made there way over to an apple orchard and we had a blessing under a pear arch, while a musical duo named ‘The Buskers’ entertained the guests from above in a nearby treehouse.
Lyde Court is my parent’s home that they run as a wedding venue. They used to use the barn for storing furniture for my dad’s antiques business, but it has now been tweaked, spruced up and turned into a beautiful wedding barn. Reception drinks were served from an eccentrically decorated room at the front of the house and then we had the meal in the barn. The top table was unusually adorned. Hung from the front of it were oversized acorns and oak leaves cut out of assorted old fabric. Prominantly positioned in front of the top table on the stage was a large gold painted iguana sat next to a giant gold cracked open egg!
The flowers were all taken from our own garden and quite a few different people helped with the arranging, particularly the mother of the bride and the mother of the groom. The mother of the bride had the idea for the quirky striking vegetable bouquets. One was a bunch of (smelly) kale, another an ornamental cabbage, some very random fallic shaped chinese cucumbers and finally a bunch of carrots. The mother of the groom and sister of the groom took charge of decorating the polytunnel with flowers.
What was most important for me was that the bridesmaids felt comfortable in what they were wearing, so although I had chosen that all their dresses be green, I left it totally up to them which shade of green and what cut and length of dress. What was really nice is they all ended up choosing different shades and together the combination looked really great!
The ceremony went really well. I played a CD track of the song Natalie Merchant ‘Thank you’ as part of my vows, as the lyrics said what I wanted to say. It was luckily I had this bit of the vows organised because as I got into the wedding car to go to the ceremony I remembered I had forgotten to write my vows and so I made up what I was going to say on the spot during the ceremony. It was a risk, but it went well, and I told the guests the situation so they understood why it sounded unprepared, and we did a little impromptu dance whilst the congregation clapped along. We had two congregation songs in the ceremony which were ‘Lavenders Blue Dilly Dilly’ and ‘Scarborough Fair’ which matched the kind of rural, quaint feel the wedding had. The celebrant Peter Murphy did a fantastic job and made us feel very comfortable and like we could do the ceremony in what ever way we wanted but also gave us lots of creative ideas that I wouldn’t have thought of myself. After the ceremony we had a blessing in the apple orchard. Duncan and I chose and picked an apple together, cut it in two and I ate one half and Duncan ate the other half, we then signed a scroll (with a feather) designed by my grandparents who then witnessed.
I really liked having my time in the limelight at the wedding (haha) and so in the evening I ended up singing 4 songs on the stage, accompanied by my friend Katya on the guitar. Two of the songs I sung were Lana del Rey – video games and Natalie merchant’s version of Space Oddity (Ground Control To Major Tom). I wanted to choose songs that sounded quite ethereal and that in my head kind of went with the surreal image of a bride singing in a wedding dress. The band, who are friends of Duncan’s, are called The Buskers. They are a nine piece ska band from Hampshire who have really high energy performances often with fancy dress. The flute player amused everyone by being dressed as an egg!
We wanted the food to be all vegan and gluten free. David Bennett who is the main caterer for my parent’s wedding business did a superb job. For the starter we had pumpkin soup served out of pumpkins. For the main course we had a lasagne covered with edible flowers, with mango chutney coated potatoes alongside. I liked the idea of having a ‘kid’s party’ style pudding, so we had pineapple upside down cake and red jelly and icecream, which went down very well.
The wonderful Camilla Rosa was our photographer, who shared my vision for the wedding totally from the start. She was a dream to work with throughout and the end package was perfect!! The smiley and charming Costa Sisters put me at their ease right from the moment we met! We were over the moon with the film they created for us! Our rings were designed and made by Duncan’s father, John Mckellar. They were made using rubies that belonged to Duncan’s grandfather. Duncan’s was shaped as a lobster, which is his favourite animal. They are a symbol of virility and longevity, and they mate for life. The lobster bonfire was inspired by one of our favourite scary movies, the Wicker Man! We love the style and vibe of the film and tried to incorporate elements into our wedding. The bonfire was a enormous imposing structure. It was a lobster constructed out of pieces of wood. It was a remarkable (and slightly eerie!) sight when it finally was set alight.