The first thing your eye will be drawn to is the amazing bamboo arbor. Such a fabulous altar to say I do at whilst drinking in the views of the Hill Top Farm in Cheshire. The next thing you'll be itching to take a look inside is the fabulous tipi. Which due to its wooden structure became the inspiration for all the rustic decor & details. Keeping things au naturale are the spectacular blooms and foliage. Which I have to say are my absolute favourite thing about this botanical wedding. Perfectly complimenting Laura's boho lace Daughter’s of Simone gown, and those pictures captured by Paul Joseph Photography of the mis-match blush maids holding their bouquets and donning their flower crowns are just perfection.
The DressLaura the Bride: I wanted a really laid back dress that I felt comfortable in and wouldn’t be too restricted so I could get involved in the lawn games. I also knew I didn’t want a traditional wedding dress, so I fell in love with Daughter’s of Simone when I saw some of their designs online. I was taken by the simplicity of the Dylan gown and I adore the unusual racer back and crochet lace detailing. I was super excited when I found that Heart Aflutter in London stocked the dress and I knew it was the one the moment I tried it on. Heart Aflutter were brilliant at altering the dress to better suit my body type. I accesorised with a bohemian style gold necklace and bracelet from Anthroplogie. My shoes were Kurt Geiger wedges which I loved, but I chose with the expectation of them being totally ruined by the end of the day. They were and I have no regrets as I picked them up in the sale!
The Grooms Fashion & accessoriesToby was umming and ahhing about what to wear for a while as he has a very casual style usually and he wanted to wear something that fit with the laid-back boho vibe of the wedding. In the end he found a summery blue-grey suit at Reiss in London. He went for a classic style and colour as he had to coordinate with two of his groomsmen, who live in New Zealand. His shoes were from Poste and his linen shirt was from Topman.
The VenueWe got engaged on a camper road trip around the South Island of NZ two years after we had met in Vietnam, just outside of Hokitika on the wild-west coast. It was a beautiful spot at Lake Mahinapua with snow-capped mountains in the background and with no one else around. I fell in love with NZ after moving to Auckland and tripping around the country, but having a wedding there was too hard logistically as most of the guests live in the UK and we were living in London at the time. Toby is a Kiwi so we really wanted to have an outdoor ceremony and we had been to some beautiful outdoor weddings in New Zealand, where it is very common. After looking for the perfect venue, we found Hilltop Farm, which is close to Manchester, where I grew up. We knew that we couldn’t bet on the weather in the UK so we decided to hire Tipis to keep everyone dry if it didn’t go our way. We did have a few downpours on the day, and it super chilly, so the three Tipis we hired were such a great choice. We even had the fire going in July! The farm meadow had stunning views across the Cheshire countryside, and even though we were close to Manchester city centre, it felt like we were miles away from the city buzz. We especially cherished the British country feel to it as the following month we moved to Bangkok in Thailand.
Colour Scheme/DecorWe decided on a neutral and botanical colour scheme as we loved the wooden interior of the Tipis and wanted to complement it’s simplicity. Laura’s step-mum Christine made 330ft of white bunting that we hung everywhere, Laura made burlap runners for the tables and family and friends were roped in to paint table numbers, create chalkboard seating plans decant sweets into jars and just generally be superstars. Toby also built some giant L & T letters out of plywood, which proved to be a good backdrop to the dance floor, it was all very DIY. We used biodegradable palm leaf plates and pocket napkins wrapped in twine with Rosemary sprigs and name tags for the table settings, which were put together by Laura. We kept the table settings simple, as the sharing platters of charcuterie were our only sit down meal. We didn’t do favours, just a huge selection of pick n mix.
FloristSian at the Flower Lounge just got our concept straight away. We wanted the styling to be very green, natural and botanical and we wanted to include ferns in a nod to New Zealand. The bouquet had some lovely trailing ivy and lots of eucalyptus, rosemary and ferns amongst the foliage, as well as white and subtle blush roses and other ivory flowers. The bridal party all had matching flower crowns too to ‘tie in’ the mismatched bridesmaid dresses. We had a bamboo arbor built for the ceremony, which was one of my favourite things about the decoration. The Flower Lounge covered tables in trailing eucalyptus and scattered jars and vases around the venue with a selection of foliage and flowers. They also dressed the cake.
The Wedding Party FashionOur wedding parties were from all over the UK and NZ so getting them together proved impossible. We kind of like a more thrown together look anyway, so decided to go for a mismatched look. My bridesmaids chose nude coloured dresses in whichever style best suited them and the groomsmen went for blue grey suits, with matching pocket squares to ‘tie’ them in. It looked brilliant on the day, which was a relief as it was hard to imagine everyone together.
BeautyThe bridal party had hair and make-up by Charlene Cameron-Mobey and Rebecca Anderton and I couldn’t recommend them enough. They were so lovely and relaxed in the chaos of 6 ladies getting ready. We went for light and natural makeup that was unique to each of our look and style and hair was loose curls and plaits. I decided last minute to go for a bold lip and wore a deep red lipstick.
CeremonyWe were married outside in a perfect little gap in the rain, the minute the confetti was thrown it started to rain so we were incredibly lucky to have our moment. We had a humanist ceremony with a blessing by Liz Thompson, a Manchester-based celebrant who we clicked with straight away. She got that we didn’t want a cheese-laden ceremony, it’s just not us, we wanted to the ceremony to be light-hearted and fun and she was perfect. Laura’s sister Kelsey did an edited version of a Bob Marley reading and conquered her fear of public speaking. Toby’s mum Sage gave us some heartfelt tips on a happy marriage, which she had penned herself. We were officially married the day before at Manchester registry office with a small group of close family and friends, although to us, our outdoor ceremony was our ‘proper’ wedding.
EntertainmentOur good friend Luke played the acoustic guitar during the ceremony and even cracked it out later for a sing-along after the band finished and no one was ready to leave. We also recruited another good friend of ours James to be the toastmaster. As well as providing regular laughs, he was invaluable in fighting fires on the day and making sure everything ran smoothly. I would fully recommend that every wedding has a James! Our band were called The Sonics from Liverpool. They blew all of our guests away and packed out the dancefloor for the whole set. We wanted a proper party band whose repertoire covered a whole range of music and they definitely delivered. I even got down to do oops upside your head in my wedding dress. Our only complaint was that we were having too much fun and dancing so much that we were exhausted by the end of the set!
FoodToby and his brother are brilliant cooks so they took care of the sharing platters the morning of the wedding. These ‘starters’ were our only sit down meal and were served before speeches. We had driven over to Calais beforehand to get all of the wine, champagne and French charcuterie and they were a big hit with the guests (as was the free flowing booze). Manchester Hog Roasts provided the ‘main’, which was a really casual way to do it and ensured everyone could mingle really early on; the food was delicious and fit the wedding vibe perfectly. Dotty about Ice Cream provided a choice of lovely Cheshire Ice Cream from her very cute pastel coloured van and I definitely spotted a few guests queuing for seconds. Other food details were a NZ/UK sweet table with treats from both countries, which proved very popular. Toby’s mum came laden with a suitcase full of Pineapple Lumps and Chocolate Fish on the way over. We also had a crisp area for peckish guests and I loved seeing the Brits talking to the Kiwis about the merits of a Wotsit.
PhotographerPaul and Kelly from Paul Joseph Photography were just the best. We met them over Skype before the wedding and really clicked with them. We loved their fun, documentary style and we didn’t want anyone else. They put us totally at ease, and having two photographers meant that all aspects of our day were captured. They are such lovely people it felt like they were old mates by the end of the day and we just love looking at the pictures and reminiscing about the day.
Special Moments & AdiceThe most unique aspect of the day for us was the bringing together of our closest friends and family from all over the world. We met in Vietnam and have lived in both NZ and the UK so this joining together of people was so important to us. So many people made the journey over from NZ and seeing everyone in one place was the best. It’s the people that truly make the wedding, regardless of all the lovely touches (but I guess that’s hard to Pinterest), so a tip would be to not become obsessed with having all the perfect little details. We also got a Haka, which was pretty special.
Dress Designer: Daughters of Simone - Dylan | Bridal Boutique: Heart Aflutter Bridal | Jewellery: Anthropologie | Bridal Shoes: Kurt Geiger | Grooms Suit: Reiss | Grooms Shoes: Poste | Shirt: Topman | Venue: Wedding Meadow at Hilltop Farm | Tipi: Marquees and Events | Florist: The Flower Lounge | Bridesmaid Dresses: ASOS | Hair & Makeup: Rebecca Anderton | Celebrant: Liz Thompson | Band: The Sonics | Food: Hog Roast Manchester | Dotty about Ice-cream | Transport: Vintage VWs 4 Hire