Lauren the Bride: We had so much help from various family members helping set up, building things, making favours, hanging lights everywhere, writing signs, setting out the tables, setting up and packing down. We couldn’t have done it without them.
As Nick and I both love the outdoors and nature, we knew we didn’t just want to have a ‘copy and paste’ wedding. I had always dreamt of getting married in the woodland but being in the UK we had to think about the weather, access and all the details. Nick found The Wild Garden at Hyde Estate, West Sussex from a lot of searching online. We went to see it and fell in love with the big pond, the trees and the little bridges and decided it was the perfect space. It wasn’t licensed so we ended up doing the legal bits at Guildford registry office a few days before. There was no power, toilets or anything but we knew we could make it how we wanted. We found two giant white tipis from Makatipis, which had a dancefloor, a mirror ball and lighting. We hired toilets from Sweetpea Toilets, a generator from James Marquees, chairs and tables from Rustic Hire and crockery and glassware from Co-ordination Catering It was a lot more expensive than I thought this sort of low budget DIY wedding would be so that was a shock. We figured not hiring a big manor house with all the trimmings would be much cheaper, but with all the extras we needed it kept adding up so we had to prioritise the budget.
The venue was beautiful itself, but I had a Pinterest ‘wedding’ board for a couple of years before Nick proposed as I couldn’t resist when seeing gorgeous things and great ideas on there. I pretty much knew what I wanted straight away and luckily Nick and I have the same taste so we knew what we wanted the venue to look like. I had a colour palette in mind, with a lot of foliage and subtle botanical/vintage/DIY theme. We went to a lot of charity shops and car boot sales to get the little pieces we wanted. Some things we found online from Gumtree and some we things we bought new. We split the venue up into sections, so it was more interesting for people to sit and chat or explore. We had a bar area, where we borrowed a trough for drinks, displayed everything on a table with big drink dispensers. Nick made the ‘bar’ sign and the ladder with shelves for glasses. The chill out a reaI wanted after seeing similar things on Pinterest. I found a green leather chesterfield armchair and bar trolley from gumtree. Nick made all the dreamcatchers as well. We made a ‘Family Tree’ next to it as well with old family pictures, which meant a lot for the relatives who are no longer with us. The ceremony was our main focus. We used the trees to give us an aisle, Nick made everything - benches, doors and archway. It wasn’t a huge space so we had a lot of people standing but it felt a lot cosier and intimate. We lined the aisle with glass flagons filled with flowers and giant white balloons tied to them. This was probably my favourite bit! We wrote all the signs ourselves by stained plywood and painted the writing.
We also had to decorate the tipis which were quite big! Thankfully we had a lot of help from family members setting up the few days leading up to it. We had giant clear balloons filled with confetti and ferns hanging from the apex of the tipi. During the speeches, one of them popped and confetti fell from the ceiling! It was great timing even though we didn’t plan it. We had long tables for the sit-down meal which were full of flowers! We had planned the table setting beforehand with what we wanted on each one. We had collected lots of old bottles, jars and vases of different sizes to put flowers in. I had little terracotta pots filled with eucalyptus and waxflower too. The tea light holders were jars from Nick’s parents that I painted gold! For the table names we had vintage bird postcards from Etsy, I love birds and old things. We found some rose gold wire stands from Etsy too to put them in. Nick had a great idea of having a ‘Hook-a-Duck’ to find your seat. So we found some ducks online, wrote the bird names on the bottom and stuck peoples names on the top. Nick made the big barrel for the pond and he made the sign as well! I think people had fun doing it and it fills the gap when people have to kill some time during photos etc.
It took a while to find the right dress. I went to three different bridal boutiques and didn’t find the one. I found Dreamers and Lovers on a wedding blog which is an LA-based company that only sell online in the UK. It was definitely more my style and I ordered two sample dresses to try on. As soon as I put the ‘Valentina’ gown on I loved it. I sent them all my measurements and asked for certain customised bits. I was a little dubious about ordering my wedding dress online but received the dress complete with extras I’d requested in the post and it fit perfectly! I was so happy to have something not a lot of people in my area could easily get hold of, I was so comfortable all day and felt amazing! Instagram – “Dreamers and Lovers”.
I loved the look of mix match bridesmaids dresses and wanted the girls' dresses’ to kind of match the flowers. The girls are all different shapes and sizes and my sister-in-law was pregnant too so mix and match was definitely a good shout. They were all from ASOS and Boohoo in the end. It’s so hard anyway getting dresses that suit everyone shape and style but I think the girls were all happy with them and they all worked well together.
Oliver Wicks, another US-based online company where you send them all your measurements.
Something I knew we had to prioritise the budget for was a photographer. Nick hates cheesy photos and standard bridesmaids and groomsmen pose's. We trawled through google and also asked friends. I found Louise Scott on a wedding blog and instantly loved the look of her photos. She was so lovely to communicate with even though she’s based in Ireland. We had a skype chat about the sort of wedding we were having so we were all on the same page. On the day Louise was so patient and managed to help get everyone together. She made us feel comfortable when we went off for our couple shots and we were in love with the final shots! Instagram @lousiescottphoto
Makeup and Hair
I was so lucky to have my cousin and maid of honour Becky Kempton around as she is a professional make-up artist and also works on West-End productions in London. In between her shows we had a trial where I had some Pinterest photos of how I wanted my hair and make-up. I don’t usually wear a lot of make-up but I trusted her to make me look beautiful. She pulled it out the bag on the day and we obviously had a laugh getting ready.
This was a big part of the wedding for us, and we had quite a lot of space to decorate. Florists are so expensive and the look we were going for was loose and wild and natural anyway so we wouldn’t need any centrepieces or formal looking bouquets made. We looked online and found Triangle Nursery where you order all your own flowers and foliage. I bought floristry tools online too. It took a while for us to find out the names of the flowers and foliage we wanted and also I did a lot of research for the bouquets for what went well together. It was hard work and took a while on the day. Nick made the arrangements for the archway and ceremony doors and we had lots of family help putting all the flowers in the tipi and around the place. Becky my maid of honour made all the bridesmaids bouquets, flower crowns and in the end helped me with mine as I was panicking the day before the wedding! For my hen do the girls took us to a flower crown making workshop which was perfect in run up to the wedding and meant we had an idea how to make them ourselves.
As Nick is a vegetarian we went for a vegetarian BBQ by Jonathan’s Catering near Cirencester. It was a sit-down meal but everyone went up table by table to the buffet BBQ so it was more relaxed. Everyone enjoyed the food and Jonathan managed to get in all the extras we asked for within the budget.
Thankfully baking is in Nick’s genes and Nick’s brother Dom made our cake and we were so happy with it. It was a 3 tier blueberry and lemon sponge. We wanted ombre icing with gold leaf and edible flowers on top. It was beautiful.
Our first dance was to ‘Home’ by Leon Bridges and I walked down the aisle to Ben Howard ‘Old Pine’ which were both special to us. We just had an iPod playlist for the evening but we have a PA system anyway and we had the idea of having a projector playing videos in the background on the tipi which Nicks brother arranged and it added a little something when everyone was dancing – we loved it!
Originally I was just going in my mum’s car but Nick arranged a surprise vintage car to pick me and a couple of bridesmaids up from the hotel! It was stunning!
We got married at Guildford registry office a few days before so it meant we could ask my uncle Glenn to marry us on the day which was so special. We wrote our own vows and script from various bits on the internet. He was brilliant!