Hello oh beautiful ones, and welcome to another epic instalment of festival-inspired real wedding love! One of my favourite things about working for Festival Brides is writing up the real wedding features. Not only do I get to showcase work from the hippest and hottest wedding photographers in the world, but I’m also invited by the couple to share and relive their most intimate and memorial moments with all of you – it’s such an honour to be able to do that, and I really do love spreading the joy of their wedding stories! Today’s wedding is no exception, and it stars not only the gorgeous bride and groom, but one of our exclusive woodland wedding venues too.
Bethany and Dom married in the heart of the Cotswolds in the summer of 2017 at beautiful outdoor, woodland venue Wildwood Bluebell. Set within 200 acres of farmland, ancient woodland, meadows and streams, this unique wildflower meadow haven is the epitome of serene, bohemian beauty. Surrounded by nothing but nature, wild flowers, countryside and of course bluebells, this venue is so enchanting and such a special place uniting couples in love and marriage. And, we are SO proud to say that Wildwood Bluebell is exclusive to Festival Brides.
Bethany took full advantage of the opportunity to create her perfect outdoor festival wedding in a completely private and natural setting, as she hired in all of the suppliers herself from marquee to bar, created much of the reception décor herself and put a personalised stamp on the entire venue.
We didn’t really have a theme, we just went with stuff that we loved that we thought reflected us and our lives together. Our theme was us, love and fun!
This couple even catered the wedding themselves and saved an absolute fortune in the process! On a £15k budget, Bethany and Dom pulled off an exquisite, boho-chic and creatively put together wedding day at Wildwood. Captured by the truly outstanding Daniella Victoria Photography, here is the Anna Campbell-draped bride (seriously beautiful too….that dress!) to tell us more about her dreamy outdoor woodland wedding to Dom….
San Diego Sky Bar Proposal
Dom was working at a conference in San Diego and I’d flown out to join him after him being away for almost two weeks. He told me to bring some clothes for a fancy date night and he said he’d planned something for the next evening. We spent a gorgeous day together exploring San Diego and I was told I had to be ready by 4.30pm specifically. I couldn’t work out why I had to be ready so early until he took me up to the sky bar at the top of a beautiful hotel overlooking San Diego Bay – I realised he’d timed our date so that we could watch the sunset. He asked me to close my eyes and told me he had something for me, and when I opened my eyes he was there with the most beautiful ring asking me to marry him. To say I was shocked would be an understatement, we had very little money and Dom was a PhD student at the time; I didn’t even think he could afford a ring! We spent the evening drinking champagne and eating seafood at a restaurant with a live jazz band that he’d booked in secret the week before.
Stunning Wildwood Bluebell
We were married at Wildwood Bluebell, Moreton-in-Marsh in the Cotswolds. We found the our venue through Festival Brides after looking at lots online that weren’t quite right, (or way out of our budget!). Wildwood Bluebell was the first and only venue we looked at! We wanted somewhere that was a blank canvass and our absolute requirements were a late music license, secluded area, bring your own booze and a place to camp. The fact it was a bluebell wood was perfect too, as bluebell woods have a special place in my heart. The owners were very accommodating and allowed us to have free reign of the site for the entire weekend which is exactly what we wanted. We hired everything in, including the marquee, fridge van, portaloos, extra bell tents, BBQs and a taco van…the works! My dad built and customised the bar, my mum made our beautiful cake and we did the catering ourselves (no mean feat considering we had 120 guests…).
Camping Onsite in Beautiful Bell Tents and Converted Barn
The site had four gorgeous bell tents already and we hired in extra. Wildwood Bluebell also has a camping field for people to bring their own tents and we had a few camper vans turn up too. We hired in a bridal bell tent for us to stay in which was gorgeous and came with a cast iron bed, mirror and all the trimmings.
I stayed in the beautiful converted barn and got ready there with my girls and my husband camped in a beautiful customised bell tent (decked out with cast iron bed!) hired in from a local company. We got married on Saturday and had a BBQ and sports day on the Sunday, complete with retro sports gear and an enormous game of rounders, all finished off with champagne in the wood fired hot tub with all our best friends. The absolute perfect wedding.
We also hired a traditional, unlined marquee from a local company called Space Intense who were absolutely brilliant from start to finish.
Bluebell Filled, Humanist Ceremony Officiated by Family Friend
Our ceremony was held in the bluebell woods on site. We had a humanist ceremony which was officiated by a family friend – we wrote our own vows and a piece about what we love most about each other. I walked through the woods and down the aisle to Old Pine by Ben Howard and we had two readings – ‘I carry your heart’ by E.E Cummings and an excerpt from ‘The Amber Spyglass’ by Philip Pullman.
We decorated the space with white paper pom-poms and strings of gold stars. We put hessian matting down on the forest floor to make it look more formal and we had folding wooden chairs which we hired from the marquee company.
Gold Bunting, Pastel Pom Poms and Gin Bottles
We decorated the marquee with home-made gold bunting and gold, white and pale blue paper pom poms strung from the ceiling. We had hundreds of meters of fairy lights and it lit the space beautifully. We kept it very simple and just decorated the tables with flowers in gin bottles. Outside, we had bought tonnes of rainbow coloured, traditional mexican bunting from a tiny local mexican shop, with festoon lighting hung up by the marquee company. We had fire pits, a home made bar (made by my dad) and we rented haybales from a local farmer.
Stationery and Bristol Themed Table Plan
One of our amazing bridesmaids designed our invitations and a stamp for us to use on our ‘save the dates’. We used little wooden discs and stuck magnets to them to create our own fridge magnets. Our table numbers were a personal favourite – we bought little cards from a local illustrator with animals and different parts of Bristol (where we live) on them.
Talented Photographer to Capture the Most Amazing Moments
Ah our photographer Danni! She was a total dream start to finish – so relaxed and accommodating and just so talented. She rocked up on our day and managed to capture so many amazing moments, really personal photos full of love and fun. We had hired her from the getting ready process through to the reception, but she ended up staying hours longer and catching some of the best shots of our evening party. She is an amazing woman with a huge talent – thank you so much Danni!
Foliage, Eucalyptus and pastel pink Dahlias
We hired an amazing local florist called Amy of the Blossom Parlour. She was creative, accommodating and did an amazing job with a very brief description of what we wanted. We had lots of foliage, eucalyptus and succulents for the boys button holes and I had lots of greenery and pale pink dahlias and white peonies in my bouquet. My girls had similar bouquets to mine but a little smaller and they were just so beautiful. We had so many compliments on the flowers.
Ethereal Anna Campbell Dress and Eucalyptus Crown
My dress was by Anna Campbell and I chose it because I wanted a light, floaty, almost ethereal dress that didn’t make me feel like I was dressing up! I wore a cathedral length veil trimmed with lace, and glittery gold block heel shoes from River Island. My mum bought me a tiny gold necklace, my dad bought me a bracelet and I wore a gold and diamond bracelet which was a gift from my husband on the day. I wore a half crown of eucalyptus and other foliage in my hair.
Dom wore a really beautiful Ted Baker suit, with tan brogue style Ted Baker shoes and a tie from Primark. All of the boys wore custom made tie clips with their initials on and Dom wore mother of pearl cufflinks handed down from his Grandpa. He looked so, so handsome.
Our bridesmaid dresses were from ASOS and I bought each of the girls a tiny bangle with their name and the date embossed onto it.
DIY Catering on a Budget!
We catered our wedding ourselves and we made picnic baskets for each table. We bought (a lot) of quiche, bread, dips, cheese, pork pies, pickles and made salads for the tables. It went down a treat and saved us so much money!
We pulled in a lot of favours when it came to the entertainment! Dom’s cousin is part of an amazing folk band called the Buffalo Skinners and they played during our reception drinks and in the early evening. Afterwards, our friends each did a Dj set in the evening with a different theme – 80’s, disco, funk and soul, 90’s and 2000’s RnB.
Our first dance was to ‘Only Love’ by Ben Howard, followed by ‘Respect’ by Aretha Franklin.
The whole weekend was just unbelievably brilliant! However, if we had to just pick one moment it would be in the evening when the sun had gone down and we stood together at the edge of the field and looked up at the stars. We looked at all our friends and family having an amazing time. We felt so lucky and so full of love and so proud that we had created something that was just 100% us.
You do you! This isn’t about anyone else – you don’t have to do traditional things just because they’re traditional. Oh and doing a bride’s speech was amazing! Who wants to let all the men talk all the time anyway?
The Line Up
Photography: Daniella Victoria Photography
Venue: Wildwood Bluebell
Marquee: Space Intense
Bride’s Dress: Anna Campbell
Bride’s Shoes: River Island
Bridesmaid’s Dresses: ASOS
Groom’s Suit and Shoes: Ted Baker
Groom’s Tie: Primark
Flowers: Blossom Parlour