I would like a genuine Romany caravan in my back garden. Not sure where it would go exactly but still, I think they are so beautiful, mystical almost.
Andrea and Darrens South Farm wedding is full of warmth, happiness and rustic chic . And many of the delicious details are both effortlessly effective yet startlingly simple, empty frames hanging from trees? why of course! a perfect outdoor make-in-a-minute photobooth!
Also a big fan of the homemade jam favours, now that’s an example of a guest gift I wouldn’t accidently leave behind.
Oh. And one of the best first dance songs EVER.
Right Up Our Street
Our photographer Sarah Gawler was amazing. She photographed our good friend’s wedding the year before, and many others’s since, so we already knew she was a fab photographer and her friendly, fun and relaxed style was right up our street.
We shared a glass of wine and some nibbles at her flat in south east London, followed by a visit to South Farm a couple of months before the big day, to run through everything we were thinking. We all agreed having fun and capturing that in our images was the most important thing. Sarah did this brilliantly and got a great mix of silly photos of the two of us, some fun group shots and lots of candid moments of our guests enjoying themselves.
South Farm has an abundance of quirky features, including four colourful gypsy caravans, a steam engine and a thai tuk tuk, all brilliant fun and perfect for some fun unusual photography!
One of our own decorations was to hang open picture frames from the trees for guests to pose behind, which provided us with some brilliant snaps of our mates pulling silly faces and having a laugh. Sarah also bought some creative props along with her, including red heart shaped string lights and a colourful country blanket, which she draped over us as we mucked about on the gypsy caravans!
One of my funniest memories from the day is jumping a wire fence into a ploughed field, with Sarah and Darren to get a shot of us in the corn field with sun going down behind us. We got our stunning shot, and it was more than worth turning my shoes brown with mud for!
A great thing about Sarah is that she seemed to get loads of shots of us in different locations around the venue without feeling like we were away from our guests for too long.
We had originally decided not to have favours as we thought they were an unnecessary expense, but when we were viewing South Farm we noticed that they had small pots of unusual homemade jams and chutneys such as Green Marrow Chutney or Chilli Jam, which were just too tempting to turn down. Jayne Downes makes them and adds an attractive label with the Bride and Groom’s names and the date of the wedding. They were so cute we couldn’t resist!
We got some of our most creative friends round for a jam pot cover making session, using brightly coloured fabrics and ribbons that matched our colour scheme. They also doubled up as pretty table decorations, which was a bonus.
The Production Line
We loved the idea of our friends and family getting involved in the wedding to add personal touches to the day. So when my sister Emily offered to make our cake, we couldn’t say yes fast enough. She went on a cake decorating course and decided to make 150 blue and cream Victoria sponge cup cakes, each with a beautiful handmade decoration.
The production process was a slick operation which involved making all the sponge cupcakes a month before, freezing them, then creating a production line of my sister, mum, niece and cousin, icing and decorating them for two whole days before the wedding! The cup cakes looked absolutely stunning on a 5 tier stand, which was decorated with fresh flowers. Everyone thought we’d got a professional wedding cup cake company to do it, they looked so stunning, but it was so much more special because Emily made them.
Making It Ours
My good friend Anna is a designer and she came up with some great ideas for decorations to personalise our day. Instead of name cards, we had a polaroid picture of each one of our guests on a little photo stand. It was hard work sourcing all the photos (thank you Facebook!) but it was worth it in the end to see everyone’s faces when they walked in – especially as we’d tried to find funny and embarrassing photos to cause a stir.
Another thing Anna did for us was design our table names with quirky illustrations and stories. Instead of table numbers, we named our tables according to places that have been really important to our relationship. There was Polzeath in Cornwall, where she designed a couple surfing; Mackinnon Pass on the Milford Track in New Zealand, where we got engaged and she had us walking over the mountain pass, and Grosvenor Crescent the sight of the Red Cross building where we met and started to play softball together in neighbouring Hyde Park.
Each table had a little story about why we loved the place, which made it personal for our guests. She used the same designs to make the table plan and instead of having it on a board, she made it into bunting and hung it from the old wooden beams in the barn.
Until The Early Hours
Darren and I both love a good ‘ol knees up, so we paid for a late licence till 1am so we could have an extended party with our friends and family. It was one of our best investments!
As we had about five hours of party time we decided to have a band and a DJ to keep people entertained through out the night. South Farm has a sound limiter so we needed to find an acoustic band that wouldn’t trip their system. We were at our mate’s wedding a few months before and we heard Andy Philip and his two musician buddies, who are all in a theatre orchestra. They were brilliant, so much so that Darren and I didn’t leave the dance floor all night! They play a great mix of songs from popular modern classics from the Killers and The King’s of Leon, to eighties floor fillers such as Starship’s Nothing’s gonna stop us now, to old favourites such as Andy William’s ‘You’re just too good to be true’. They were awesome, and the perfect warm up for the party long haul!
Once the booze had been flowing for a good few hours and guests had been refreshed with a cheese board and Pie Minister pies (bought from the supermarket to keep costs down), it was clear everyone was craving some classic party tunes, so our DJ took to the decks to the small hours. There was some air guitaring to Guns n’ Roses, salsa-ing to Shakira and big fish, little fish, cardboard box-ing to N-trance ‘Set you free’. We finished off the night with a raucus chorus of the Beatles’ ‘Love is all you need’.
A perfect end to the best day.
We had ‘Islands in the stream’ by Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers for our first dance. It’s not a song that was significant to us before the wedding, but it bought a smile to both our faces, as soon as we played it. Its fun, upbeat and the lyrics pretty much say how we feel about each other. Well, maybe not ‘I set out to get you with a fine tooth comb…, but definitely ‘you do something to me that I can’t explain!
Dolly and Kenny’s country style was also the perfect excuse to pull some hoedown dance moves, which bought a smile to our guests’ faces.
Don’t Miss A Thing
Some of my best memories from the day and the build up to it, is all the things our friends and family did to make the day special. My sister who made the cupcakes, my bridesmaid Anna who designed our invites and table décor, our friends June and Amy that did readings, our Mum’s who were our witnesses, Darren’s Groomsman Fanos who filmed and photographed the day, Darren’s Dad who was toastmaster and my mate Rob who sang at the reception…Whatever they do, having your friends and family involved makes your big day really personal and you’ll always remember the effort they go to, to make it extra special. It’s also a great way of sharing out all the work and keeping costs down. Find a role for as many people as you can I say!
Another of my over-riding memories of the day is how quickly it went and how much I wanted to press pause so I could enjoy every second of everything that was happening – the canapes, the champagne, the photos, the party, the cheese and pies – I really didn’t want to miss a thing! I’m known for suffering from FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), so I guess it was pretty natural for me to feel like that, especially as I’d spent so long planning every detail.
The best advice I can give is not to sweat it. The day will whizz past at 100 mph and as long as your guest’s are loving all the things you’ve planned for them, then the most important thing for you and your groom is to drink in the occasion of becoming man and wife. When I look back on what I loved most about the day, it was that…Walking down the aisle and seeing Darren’s face, then exchanging our vows with massive grins on our faces and love in hearts, surrounded by all our amazing family and friends. That’s what it’s all about. It was awesome and I’ll remember it forever.
Photographer – Sarah Gawler
Favours – Homemade DIY
Venue – South Farm
“I’ll remember it forever” …. and you will. All of you will. Because it will be the best day of your lives.
Now then. Where do I find me one of those caravans………..
Big Gypsy Love