Organic Sunshine… Part 2

You can’t get more eco-rustic sunshine style into a wedding than Sarah and Tim did with their community built wedding. What a way to start married life… in an explosion of colour and love.

All the beautiful Photographs are by Mister Phill.

Captured by Mister Cool

Mister Phill’s web site drew us in and never spat us out – it is filled with amazing images of the real, honest moments that capture the essence of the weddings that he attends. Once we met him, there was never any going back. Mister phill is mister chill! He loves what he does and that is evident in everything he says and does, but it is a listening passion rather than a shouting one.

Unlike many photographers, he doesn’t just stay until the cake is cut – he is there for the full event without clock watching. I actually believe that there is nothing that Phill wouldn’t do to get the shot for his couple. He manages to do this extraordinary stuff in a seemingly ordinary way though – quietly blending in to proceedings.

The pictures speak for themselves. They are spectacular.

We love that we have the digital images to do with as we wish – which also meant that our guests didn’t have to snap away at everything; safe in the knowledge that they could get copies of the pro pictures.

One of the most exciting things is the publication of phill’s blog! Phill likes to weave a storyboard together of the day, picking out the images that capture the key moments and wittily commenting on the days proceedings. It generated a lot of excitement amongst our guests and extended the great sense of wedding community that bit further.

All of this good service came at a very good value price.

Building a Venue

We built our own venue in our back garden with the help of Tim’s best man and another friend! Using wood sourced from the local coppice and eco-friendly Hessian around a layer of white tarp, we made a giant sack tent! My sister decorated it with crab apples, hops and other bits and bobs she found out and about the day before. Local friend and artist Madeleine Allison made us a big bentwood heart. Tim’s sister dressed the bar and cake tents.

We borrowed chapel chairs from my Mom’s church giving the would-be hire cost as a donation. We felt that the money was better spent there and the chairs were nicer too!

Over the last year, we have collected coloured glass bottles and crystal glass decanters from car boot sales. Tim’s nephew and girlfriend made wooden tags to hand around them denoting their content. These added some colour and shape to the tables. We hired coloured glasses too. My Mom made the table runners. We also collected pewter mugs from car boot sales for the beer drinkers.

We re-cycled an old picture frame for the table plan, using blackboard paint and chalk pen. We printed place names for the tables using PEFC certified paper from Ink2Paper We designed the placeholders ourselves as part of a series of designs for our own wedding web site, e-save the date cards, e-invites and e-thank you cards. (samples attached)

Japanese friends Hiromi and Tami made ‘teru teru bozu’ dolls (sunshine monk dolls) to hang up in prayer for good weather. We were due rain, rain and more rain, so we have to question their magical power as we got fine clear weather within minutes of them being hung!

For the evening, we moved the tables out and had straw bales to sit on with old wooden apple crates for tables. We made bride and groom scarecrows with Tim’s Niece and Nephew using charity shop wedding gear. Our neighbour Lucy grew the scarecrow bride bouquet at school. Miss Scare and Mr Crow welcomed guests at the bottom of our veg patch. Lucy also painted a load of glass jars to hang up as lanterns.

We had a little camping area for friends who brought tents and we dug two fire pits to snuggle around at the end of the evening. We wanted kids at our wedding – they are an important part of our lives, but we didn’t want them to be bored. We live surrounded by woodland – the perfect adventure playground. So, we set the kids the task of building us a wedding den.

My fellow youth club volunteer Kayleigh and her fiancée came along to supervise. We pitched my friend’s tipi tent for the kids too, and filled it with games and crafts that we keep for kids that visit us. Kayleigh and Mike also brought their circus stuff – juggling, unicycle etc. They were great. Kayleigh works with kids of all ages as a child carer and is just starting to do kids parties around the Liphook area (contact can be made through me).

Ethical Decor

We try to live our day to day lives with minimum waste and extravagance, ethically and sustainably, counting our blessings and trying to support the things that we believe in. Our wedding was an extension of that ethos and a chance to get creative and have fun. It took time, thought and effort, from us and from our friends and family, but these were the magic ingredients.

There was a lot of love and community in the effort – it was all very humbling and inspiring, and when we think about our wedding day, it is that which strikes us the most. We have been firmly set upon our marital path with the confident belief that with love, effort and good intentions, we can do anything!

We had help from Jar & Mike, Monte, Ros, Karen, Jane, Sara, Tami, Hiromi, Liz, Rob, Dave Cline, Dave Jackson, Jon, Steve, Paul Ford, Caron, Paul. Lucy, Sue, Harry, Rita & Bill.

Just a quick mention of other suppliers….
We used local catering company Moodies – They were exceptional. They were the glue that held everything together. We chose them because their food is locally sourced, organic produce, and they have heaps of experience in catering for such events. We wanted our guests to share a meal together with a sense of community. We didn’t want them to have to keep getting up to go to a buffet table, and we didn’t really want each person to have their own meal. So Moodies did us dishes that could be passed around and shared. The food was the best! They went well above and beyond though – laying out our tables, decanting all our drinks, manning our bar, helping to clear the tent for the evening dancing. The whole team really bought into what we were doing and gave it their every last drop of energy.

We invited our local one-van-band ice cream man, Dylan’s ice cream to the wedding. He is a young chap with a local venture to provide artisan ice cream using locally sourced produce to the community. He laid on vanilla, honey (using honey from the lady down the road) and brown bread for us – all a great hit.

We used local independent wine merchant ( to stock our bar with organic fair-trade wines, British sparkling wine and casks of British beer. We also had bottles of Stella for larger drinkers in acknowledgement to the town where we met – Leuven. For non drinkers we had organic juices, sparkling elderflower and a range of fizzy pops.

We love local band ‘Burning Glass’ They play quirky songs on quirky instruments covering topics as diverse as ants and bumble bees, bicycles, and lemonade icebergs being swallowed by whales. They have a folky festival feel with undertones of the feel good jazz and swing of the 20s and 30s. We wanted to cosy up with everybody before the high energy stuff started – a kind of calm in the storm. They did a mesmerising set that was popular with all, including the children who were singing along and set the tone for the evening perfectly. They have a CD for sale, with part of the proceeds going to charity.

Irish band ‘The Flying Toads’ followed with some high energy jigs and reels. With the help of their caller, our guests danced the night away and loved it. We wanted a céilidh to enhance the sense of community that we felt around us – to get everyone dancing and laughing together. Even if you aren’t a dancer, the music draws you in. We got people dancing that we never thought we would!

I’d also like to mention…..
My neighbour who drove me to the church in his black cab which he had polished and decorated for the occasion.

My dearly missed Dad, whose much loved and home restored MGB roadster was gleamed up for the occasion by friends at Strand Motors, (Portsmouth’s largest luxury mini bus fleet) and used to transport us into married life.

Sigh. Really makes you think doesn’t it? That it doesn’t take air miles and pound signs and huge amounts of waste to make a beautiful wedding.

Huge thanks to Sarah and Tim for sharing, and to Mister Phill, for sending this one in.

Have you taken any eco-friendly ideas from this to help make your wedding greener or did you have your own already?

Yours Truly,


Author: Becky Sappor
Becky is at her happiest when dunking a slightly chilled chocolate digestive into a very warm, very milky cup of tea. She also loves her job and pinches herself every day to make sure that she isn’t in a graphic design dreamworld.

28 thoughts on “Organic Sunshine… Part 2

  1. So creative and inspired! Love it. Nay, adore it! Oh I’d give my right arm to have been a guest at this shindig, it looks so wonderful and full of community spirit.

    I knew the marquee was something special. Handmade, oh my x

  2. Love the stationary, it fits the wedding vibe perfectly (apart from the ‘coz’.. sorry, I’m a little pedantic about text speak!!) and as I said on part 1, massive applause for the consistency with the eco values. Feels a like a wedding full of love

  3. this is such a heartfelt wedding.

    its so easy to start out with loads of good intentions around the whole eco thing (and I should know, its my job!) but much harder to find things that REALLY are eco and then carry it through in the face of the many challenges it raises.

    so a hearty congratulations to the happy couple x x x

  4. That is some of the best stationery I’ve seen.
    Full stop.Eco or not.

    I love it when Eco stuff turns out even better than expensive brand new air milesy type stuff – just goes to show that ‘Eco’ doesn’t have to be boring or bland, or even a compromise.This is one of the most colour infused and just downright happy weddings, and therefore one of my most favouritest. xx

  5. My favourite photo. The one above the stationary where they’re in a wood and the Bride has the biggest grin I’ve ever seen.

    The cat that got the cream.

    And I can’t believe they MADE that marquee. How uberly cool is that??!

  6. This wedding was joyous. So full of love for each other and for our planet. The togetherness that went into creating this lovliest of day’s shone through for all to see, feel and be part of. Congratulations Sarah & Tim. And Mister Phill – wow!! you have captured so exquisitely the fun, laughter, love and happiness of the day in your photographs.

  7. Hi there,

    I’ve just been looking at the wonderful coverage from the ‘Organic Sunshine wedding.’ I’m looking for a Ceilidhs Band and thought I would check out ‘The Flying Toads’ however the link takes you to a picture of a band that looks very different to the one that’s on the blog. Don’t suppose that’s the wrong link? And if so could you let me know the correct one?


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