Morning Lovely People and what a gorgeous one it is. I hope the sun is shining where you are and you all had a good weekend.
I have loved putting together today’s real wedding for you. Elise and Archie have been so detailed in explaining the many aspects of their gorgeous wedding that I really feel like I have got to know them. Like most of the awesome weddings we feature, it is full of fabulous ideas and DIY details and it also comes with some very special stories behind it. We love that Elise’s sister booked tickets to fly them both to Poland to try on the Anna Kara dress that Elise had fallen in love with but wasn’t stocked in the UK. We also love that Elise and Archie married in the same church where her Mum is buried so she could lay flowers on her grave straight after the ceremony with her husband – that part brought a tear to my eye.
Their main aim for their wedding was to keep the day colourful and relaxed with no real time pressures for anything and no time limits on the things that people might enjoy through out the day – such as the dodgems ride (yes they had dodgems!) the handmade fun fair games and their VW Camper Photo Booth. With a love for the outdoors and a fairground/festival theme already decided before Archie even popped the question, their wedding was always going to be something unique….
Before we got engaged we talked about having a massive party for no reason, and decided on a fairground/festival theme for this party. When costed out our crazy idea was far too expensive to have as a party for no reason so naturally when we got engaged the After Party was born. We’re both quite outdoorsy people and with the space that was available to us we wanted to be able to have as much of our wedding outside as possible and we decided that with it being in summer it should also be as colourful as possible. Luckily for me Archie is a product designer, which meant that he managed to turn some of my ridiculous ideas of things to build into reality!
Captured by Richard Galloway, Elise and Archie talk us through their day…
Tinder, A Secret and A Ring….
Archie and I met on Tinder and went to Disneyland Paris on our fourth date. The proposal was nowhere near as dramatic as a date to Disneyland!
The day Archie proposed we had been down at his parents for the weekend and we had gone for a drive round the fields (where we later turned out to have the wedding) in the Land Rover with our breakfast. We went to see my dad briefly afterwards on the way home. Once we got home we were making some lunch and I was in a bit of a grump as Archie was being a bit weird and I knew he was hiding something. I sat on the sofa huffily and he asked if I wanted to know his secret – that was when he got the ring out and asked me to marry him!
It turned out that he had really quickly asked my dad when we went to see him as he hadn’t had a chance before that, and after he had asked he couldn’t hold it in anymore and had to ask straight away!
2 Flights, Poland and An Anna Kara Dress….
I live in either hospital scrubs or jeans and a jumper, so trying to find a wedding dress was probably the most daunting thing for me.
After I got engaged, my sister and I spent hours trawling the internet and pinterest for dresses and for weeks didn’t find anything that particularly wowed me. I was looking mainly for something with a detailed back, and not too ‘poofy’.
One day my sister sent me a picture of a stunning dress which I instantly fell in love with, by a Polish designer called Anna Kara. As it turns out, her dresses aren’t stocked in many shops in England, and this dress was last year’s collection so the few shops that do stock her didn’t have it.
After a lot of phone calls to various shops in England, Germany, and eventually Poland, we established that they only had ONE sample of the dress and they wouldn’t release it from their store in Krakow. My amazing sister could obviously tell that I wanted it and wouldn’t like anything else as much, so she took a day off work and we booked day return flights to Krakow! A week later we were on our way, and spent about 6 hours total in Krakow. It was the first wedding dress I tried on, and I ordered it that day (although I did try on about 10 of her dresses and they were all stunning).
It sounds mad to have gone all the way to Poland for a dress, but even with the flights for 2 people and a second trip for fittings, it saved me well over £1500 because the dresses are so much cheaper over there! Plus, it makes for a fun pre-wedding trip away!
My hairpiece and veil also came from Anna Kara in Poland, which I picked up when I went over for my final fitting. Again, these were SO much cheaper than they would have been in the UK- they custom made my full length veil for about £30, which I couldn’t believe!
A Very Special Church….
We got married in Holy Trinity Church, Ebernoe. It’s just over half an hour away from our reception venue but is mega important to me as my mum, grandma and lots of other family members are buried there, and on a happier note my sister was married there about 6 years ago! Plus it’s in the same Parish that I was Christened in and my parents got married! I wanted to feel like mum was a part of our wedding and it was lovely to be able to walk out of the church doors having just got married and lay some flowers down for her with my new husband.
Tailored Tails And Brightly Coloured Chinos….
What the bridal party was going to wear was a topic of discussion pretty early on for us- Archie is very traditional and wanted to wear tails, but I wanted a bit more colour than just plain tails. After looking at a gazillion options, and with a bit of help from our wonderful photographer, we decided that we would combine the two.
Archie had tails made for him by a fantastic tailor called Martin Pryke, but only used the top half of the set. His trousers were a pair of bright pink chinos from Gant, with plain black shoes from Russell and Bromley.
The ushers all had different coloured chinos to go with their tails- it was SO fun having such a colourful bridal party and it looked so cool with the tails, I absolutely loved it!
A Farm and 3 Fields….
Archie’s parents live on a beautiful farm and when we got engaged we decided that we would have our reception in one of the fields. Due to access problems with the dodgems, and lots of weather problems in the run up to the wedding we had to change the field 3 times!
It turned out really well, as we actually moved down to the farm in May and the field that we ended up having it in is visible from our bedroom window- it’s pretty cool to wake up every morning and be able to look at our venue!
100 Campers in Colourful Bell Tents….
We had about 200 guests, and the farm is in the middle of nowhere with limited access to taxis, so we thought we would offer people a place to stay! We used Baylily Bell Tents who were an absolute dream to work with!
We ended up with just over 100 people staying and we also slept in a tent- Baylily set up the most incredible ‘Honeymoon’ tent with a few lovely surprises for us.
In the morning we had a really relaxed barbecue with bacon and sausage sandwiches on the go for whenever people woke up, with takeaway coffee cups for the hungover journey home.
I would definitely recommend camping if you have the capacity to. Our actual wedding day was a whirlwind and it was so lovely to be able to wake up and spend a bit more time with our guests.
DIY Decor, Hangover Kits, Hand painted Sings and A Pimp Your Prosecco Bar….
With a huge field as our canvas, every single bit of our wedding became part of the decorations.
We had 3 huge teepee marquees as the main backdrop, with 20 smaller different coloured bell tents at the other end for people to sleep in. We created a big hay bale ring outside the main marquees as a seating area with fire pits in the middle. The mini bell tents were decorated by the team at Baylily, but we kitted them out with water bottles and hangover bags which I painted and filled with paracetamol, dioralyte, sweets and mints for the following morning.
We spent a few days making an enormous After Party sign from plywood which we painted with bright colours- these letters went either side of our honeymoon tent near the main marquees with up lighters to keep it visible all night.
Our wine bar was built from an old shed that we bought on gumtree, the candy cart from an old table and we made a load of little tables from old palettes which were scattered about. We also built a soft drink stand, a beer table, the pimp your prosecco bar and decorated a massive glass fronted fridge for the rest of our drinks. We made a massive sign from old bits of wood to signpost everything (we took all the flowerpots from our garden to decorate round the bottom of the sign!). Most things around the field had either fairy lights or flowers dotted around to make them prettier.
We made the coconut shy very bright and had some other games around to add to the decoration and made the candy cart roof with some colourful tablecloth and colourful sweets.
The meatball truck, hog roast and photo booth all added to the decoration as well and the Jamettes from Jam and Tea fitted in perfectly with the theme.
5 Bridesmaids, 5 Multiway Dresses….
The bridesmaids’ dresses came from a shop called Madeleine Isaac-James in Hartley Wintney but are made by Eliza and Ethan. I wanted the bridesmaids to feel comfortable in what they were wearing so we chose 5 different colours from their colour palette and they all tied the dresses how they wanted to. The multiway dresses are really great for that as they are one size fits all and they don’t have to suit one specific body shape! They’re also easy to alter- one of my bridesmaids came over from Australia the day before and it was too long- all you have to do is get a pair of material scissors and chop off the bottom!
Dodgems, Fairground Games and A VW Photo Booth….
In addition to the music we had dodgems, which I have now decided everyone should have at a wedding! They were a logistical nightmare to get into the field with all the rain the week before the wedding, but all the heartache of changing fields and layout of everything was worth it – they were SO fun! We opened them after the speeches with the whole bridal party having a go. They were busy all night and I think almost everyone had bruises to show for it!
We had a few other bits and pieces to keep kids and adults entertained during the reception. We built a coconut shy and lucky dip, a hoop toss and a candy cart in the run up to the wedding – all a lot of effort but again so worth it to see everyone enjoying it so much!
Our wedding car (VW campervan) also doubled up as a Photo Booth for the evening which went down a treat. I looked through all the photos for the first time the other day and it looks like everyone had a great time with all the props they provided!
An Amazing Photographer With Ninja Moves….
Richard Galloway was absolutely the most amazing photographer and we are so glad we chose him. I absolutely hate having my photo taken so needed someone who wasn’t going to make me smile and say cheese all day long. Archie and I loved his portfolio when we looked at it initially, and I knew as soon as I met him that he was the right guy for us.
In the run up to the wedding he gave us loads of helpful tips about timings and other bits and pieces, and was genuinely interested in what we wanted our day to be like. I think he totally understood what we wanted and us as people and that really helped when it came to being photographed on the day.
We hired him and his second photographer, David, and they were both fantastic on the day. They were like ninjas- we barely noticed them, but having looked through over 1000 photos after the wedding they definitely managed to capture everything! The photos are all so natural and perfect, I am obsessed with them and look through them every time I’m sitting around with nothing to do!
I was lucky to have my talented sister (Adele Behles Photography) with us all morning as well to take photos before the day officially started. Obviously I couldn’t use her for the wedding as she had such an important personal role in the day but she took some beautiful pictures in the run up to the wedding which I’m so pleased to have.
A Naked Cake, A Profiterole Tower and Cheese….
Our naked cake was made by my lovely Auntie who lives in Somerset – she has always been fab at making cupcakes and baking in general. We were struggling to find someone to make a cake we liked that was still within our budget so I asked her if she would consider doing it for us as a wedding present. When we asked her she had never made a wedding cake and I think she was slightly stressed by our request. I know that one weekend she had a ‘practice’ round where she made a full 3 tier cake and used 52 eggs! It was a beautiful cake and exactly what we wanted, and it was so special that she had put so much time and effort into it for us.
We also had a Croquembouche (profiterole tower) which is a French wedding cake. My dad is a (French) chef and had previously made one for my sister’s wedding so offered to do the same for us. It was unbelievable – he made all the profiteroles the day before the wedding, and filled them all on the day. He had to put the whole thing together during the reception so that it was fresh and stayed together. I knew he was making it for us, but I didn’t know he had planned to make it into the shape of our marquees with sparklers on it to represent our fireworks! It was such a great surprise when it was brought out.
Our families love a bit of cheese so we decided that as well as our 2 sweet cakes, we should have a cheese tower as well. We bought this from West Country Cheese and it went down an absolute storm when it was brought out as a late night snack.
Live Music And Dancing Till 3am….
Good live music was important to us for part of the wedding, as well as having a DJ for later on so people could request whatever songs they wanted.
We booked a wonderful singer/songwriter called Martha Paton to play acoustic music during our drinks reception. She is beautiful and so talented- it was the perfect way to kick off the reception.
Portland UK (lovely guys called Dan and Charlie) followed Martha with some more upbeat music to get everyone going once the speeches were done and food stalls were open. They are unbelievably nice guys and even recorded us our own song for our first dance! So many of our guests have said that they could listen to Martha, Dan and Charlie for hours- Archie and I agree and couldn’t recommend them more highly!
Our DJ was excellent and stayed until 3am (which is tricky to find without paying extortionate amounts). The dance floor was full all night and he played brilliant music without any unnecessary talking!
Honestly, all of it. I loved every single minute. I think we both agree on that!
My absolute favourite moment has to be standing in my family church actually marrying Archie – it felt like we had been building up to it for so long and it was like nothing else in the world mattered at that moment. It was perfect. That, however, is closely followed by arriving in the wedding field in the Land Rover and seeing it all how we had been picturing it for months, our hilarious speeches, and the half hour that Richard (our photographer) took us off for us to have some time alone and just mess around. I don’t think I’ll ever forget just having a few minutes with my husband(!) and watching everyone loving our wedding day.
- Don’t give yourself too long to plan it. You will always come up with more ideas and more things to do if you have longer, but you will get things done in the time frame you have.
- Take advice and suggestions from other people but ultimately choose the things that you want. No one else will be able to picture what you can and when it all comes together everyone will love it. Besides, you getting married is what is important to everyone on the actual day and people will forget about whether they thought you should have a sit down meal/boring trousers or not!
- If you plan something in a field, be sure to have a coordinator for the day. We used Alex from Alexandria Events, and she was a total godsend. You put so much effort into one day and you can’t control any of it on the day, but someone else can! You will be far too busy having fun to worry about whether the fairy lights have been switched on or if the candles have been lit- let someone do the worrying for you.
- Accept all the help in the world the day before the wedding! Especially if you are doing a lot of it yourself- you will need man power!
- Meet your photographer before you book them. We instantly fell in love with Richard’s photos when we saw them online but we knew he was the right photographer for us when I went to meet him. You need someone you are going to get on with and who is discrete as not many people will be used to having their photo taken all day.
- ENJOY IT. It sounds cliche, but the day goes SO fast. Take it all in and enjoy it. So far, our wedding day is a million times over my favourite day ever, and I’m glad I took the time to take it all in on the day.
Lastly, over budget for everything- weddings are EXPENSIVE. If you desperately want something and can stretch to afford it, go for it. You only get to do it once.
The Line Up
Photography: Richard Galloway
Ceremony Venue: Holy Trinity Church, Ebernoe
Reception Venue: Family Farm
Wedding Coordinator: Alexandria Events
Bride’s Dress: Anna Kara
Bridesmaid Dresses: Eliza and Ethan
Hair and Make Up: Caitlin Scott
Marquees: Stunning Tents
Bell Tents: Baylily Bell Tents
Canapes and Staff: Jam and Tea
Meatball Caravan: The Bowler
Hog Roast: Forest Hogs
Bands: Martha Paton & Portland UK
DJ: Andy Milner
Dodgems: Walls Funfair
Wedding Car/Photobooth: Buttercup Bus
Flowers: Gabrielle Manivit
Cake & Proffitorole Tower: Homemade