Happy Monday lovely people.

So I’m on a bit of a high today for two reasons. Firstly, Bob and I went to the 6 Music Festival on Saturday and were blown away by a fantastic (and I mean of the epic kind) set from The National as well as brilliant performances by Franz Ferdinand, Lykke Li, Bombay Bicycle Club, Jake Bugg and The Pins to name but a few. It was such a brilliant and intimate festival and we had a blast. Secondly, it’s our 10 year anniversary today! Can’t quite believe that on this day in 2004 Bob and I decided it was ‘official’ after 2 months of Bob chasing and me playing hard to get (of course!) Now we are married and have a very special announcement to make which I will be sharing with you all later on………..hmmm wonder what it is!?

Talking of 10 year anniversaries, Ozz proposed to the lovely Faern on their 10 year anniversary which led to their gorgeous outdoor summer festival-esque wedding which we are sharing with you today.

Faern & Ozz married at the New Forest Outdoor Centre on the 13th July 2013. They wanted their wedding to be one big party where people could relax and enjoy themselves and that certainly seemed the case if their photos are anything to go by. Almost by accident their relaxed party theme became that of a summer fête and this style was carried through to their handmade decor and wedding detail such as the decorated jars on the table, the vintage post box, cake table and relaxed trestle table plan.

With a stunning venue surrounded by woodland, cool charismatic Shepherd’s huts onsite for guests to stay and some lovely images all shot on film from Peachey Photography, their powder blue summer fete wedding certainly ticks all the boxes for a cool outdoor festival style wedding.

Over to Faern and Ozz…….

Blissful Obliviousness, disbelief and Smiles…

Ozz proposed on our tenth anniversary. He had suggested (and in hindsight insisted) that we went to Roche Court Statue Park to mark the occasion.  This is a private estate set above the Wiltshire countryside, somewhere we had been a number of times over the previous ten years and, unbeknownst to me, it had long been the intended location of Ozz’s proposal.  It was the most beautiful hot day and we wandered around looking at the statues and art, with me in blissful obliviousness.  About halfway round we spotted a bench with a view out across the green fields and valleys beyond.  We sat and chatted about the survival of ten years together, and we reminisced about how we’d started going out – Ozz had asked me out and I’d teasingly said I’d think about it.  As we sat on the bench Ozz said “Ten years ago I asked you a question and you said you’d think about it… but I hope you won’t have to think about this,” and before I could process what he was doing, he was down on one knee, with a ring in his hands, asking me to marry him.  After I’d said yes, and had the tears and the hugs, the rest of our walk passed in a blur of disbelief and smiles.  Despite the number of years we’d been together, I think we were both just so excited about the prospect of a new adventure, and a big party!

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A Stephanie Allin “Bardot”

Without having meant to, I started obsessing about the dress early on and I had a clear idea about what I wanted, of course as soon as I started trying dresses on, those ideas went out the window.  I realised I was going to need something that was going to be practical enough to suit the outdoor nature of the venue, and not drag too much as there was the potential for mud.  I only really tried on this particular dress because it was different to everything else I’d tried and looked a bit fun.  The moment I put it on, I loved it, and knew that nothing else would do.

My shoes were from Schuh.  These were a revelation as I’d set my heart on Irregular Choice, but had been unable to find any that either fit or were going to be comfortable for hours of standing.  It was as I was leaving Schuh one day that I spotted my flowery vintage-style beauties.  I replaced the twine laces with gold ribbon to match the sash of my dress.  I’m not used to wearing heels, but they were so comfy (although I did eventually change into my battered old flip-flops (should I admit that?!).

For my headpiece I found a simple gold metal band with enamel flowers for about £8 in Accesorize and it went perfectly with everything. I wore a simple bracelet with charm from Pandora and flower earrings, both of which Ozz had given me.  My necklace was one that Ozz gave me for my 18th birthday (made by my Dad!) and my other rings were ones I wear every day, also made by Dad.  As you’ve probably guessed, my Dad is a goldsmith and he made us fantastic, individual wedding rings and my engagement ring.

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A Wedding In The Woods…..

We were married and partied at the New Forest Outdoor Centre which is an old carpenter’s barn set in woodland, surrounded by a lawn and tall old oak trees.  We wanted to get married in a barn from day one and this venue was just perfect.  The Wedding Coordinator, Simon, and his team were fantastic throughout and made the day run completely perfectly.

I’d spent most of the months before the wedding convinced it was going to rain, and begging quietly for sun, and well, sun was what we got – 32 degrees of it!  I arrived in a gorgeous, yellow VW Camper called Dolly and walked in to an acoustic version of Everlong by the Foo Fighters, which Ozz had played recorded a few days before.  A friend played songs from Studio Ghibli films during the signing of the register and our readings were Marriage is madness, read by Ozz’s sister Hannah, and Nuptials by John Agard, read by our friend Bryony.  Bryony was so emotional through the reading and it was wonderfully touching, but lead to laughter when she inadvertently took a tissue from the box hiding the PA system microphone.  We’d written our own vows

A Shepherd’s Hut for Four….

There were these wonderful purpose-made shepherds huts scattered about the site that slept four people each, so lots of close friends and family stayed.  Once the other guests had made for home or hotels we had a sing-along by the fire pit and toasted marshmallows before people gradually crawled and clambered their way into their nearby bunks.  It was fantastic to then have breakfast around the fire with them in the morning, nursing hangovers and reliving the previous day.  That was one of my favourite parts of the whole thing

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Waistcoats,Trousers and Ozz4Faern…..

For Ozz, we wanted something a bit more relaxed than the traditional three-piece suit and so decided to go with just waistcoats and trousers.  Ozz and I took all the boys out on a shopping trip around Southampton and, somewhere between the indecision and the lunchtime pint, we picked up most of the waistcoats at Next.  The trousers came from Matalan, and the ties from a lovely lady in the States who handmade them all from our choice of cotton fabric. Early in the planning process I’d suggested the idea of Ozz wearing a hat and we stumbled across the perfect one on a little market stall in France.  To finish off the outfits, Ozz and the guys all wore Converse All Stars; Ozz’s were personalised with Ozz4Faern, and we gifted them each a different set of superhero cufflinks.

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Bunting and Light-Up Bunnies….

I spent a lot of time on wedding blogs and craft sites gathering ideas and learning how to make things. Pinterest was great for gathering everything together and each idea led to another site with another thing to think about.  The venue, which we had booked within two weeks of getting engaged, was so unique that it really steered our thinking and inspired a lot of what came to pass like the bunting and even the light-up bunnies we hid around the fire pit.  I was worried that it would all look mismatched, but everything really complemented us and the venue.

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Mum-In-Law’s Famous Potato Salad…..

Tony from New Forest Hog and Lamb sorted us out with a fantastic spitted pig for the wedding breakfast, with the best crackling we’ve ever had.  Along with that was a delicious spread of coleslaw, couscous and salad, and my mum-in-law’s famous potato salad.  For dessert we cheekily got our guests to bake us a huge selection of cakes and cookies, worthy of even Paul Hollywood’s scrutiny!  For the tired dancers later in the evening, we put on a help-yourself buffet of bread, pâté, pies and my friend’s mum’s fantastic vegetable samosas.  Oh, and of course more cake!

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Blue, White, Purple and Green….

My intention had been to make hundreds of paper flowers to decorate the venue, but I realised about five months before the wedding that it was going to be too much work with everything else.  The lovely Annie from Blossom and Bird was my saviour.  She came over for a cuppa, patiently listened to all my ideas and desires and had some excellent suggestions to bring it all together.  I felt completely confident in her and it was a relief not to worry about it anymore.  On the day, she delivered the most stunning collection of wild flowers and foliage, in an array of blue, white, purple and green, in jars and wellies we’d collected and decorated.  I still made paper bouquets for Janna and I, but I loved to have the real thing alongside and the wellies looked amazing either side of the fireplace in the barn.

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Handmade Decor and an Evening of Giggles….

We wanted to save money where possible, so I decided to make as much as I could myself.  I made about 100 meters of bunting, and huge hessian table runners with the bunting fabric running down the middle.  To save money on centre pieces we, our family and our friends spent months collecting old jars for us.  My friend Michelle and I had a gigglesome evening decorating them with ribbon and lace from eBay and remnants of the other fabric.  Each centre piece comprised three jars – one with a poesy of flowers, one with a tea light and the final one contained either sweets or moustaches on sticks!  We also put bags full of squeaky balloons, party poppers, toy planes, silly glasses etc. around the tables to keep people entertained during the quieter moments of the evening: they were a huge hit and resulted in some…cheeky photos!  For later in the night there was a huge basket of dressing up props that people took full advantage of!

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A Topsy Turvy Wedding Cake….

My Bridesmaid Janna designed and made a fabulous topsy-turvy cake based on the film Totoro, which is close to our hearts.  Janna worked fantastically hard on the whole thing, fighting against 30 degree heat to keep it together, whilst also making her own jewellery and enhancing her dress, not to mention keeping me calm! I made the bride and groom toppers from wooden models and painted on our likenesses.  I had to keep mini-me well hidden so Ozz wouldn’t see what I was wearing.

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A Secret Something for the Wedding….

In the months ahead of the wedding, I knew my Dad had been working on something – a secret something for the wedding – but I had no idea what.  During his speech, he presented us first with a Welsh love spoon, carved intricately with the tree motif from the invites, and with details of the wedding.  Then, as if it was just something he’d thrown together, he revealed a huge, hand embroidered family tree of Ozz’s and my families.  It was a very touching gift, and I was again amazed by what a wonderful and talented man my dad is!

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A delight to Work with…..

Peachey Photography was recommended to us by another photographer, and we liked her from the very first phone call.  We had a wonderful day with her at the British Museum in London: she took us for cake and spent a lot of time getting to know us and our vision for our wedding day, before taking some beautiful and fun photos of us around the museum.

On the day itself, she left home at 7am and didn’t stop working until well into the evening!  She was an absolute delight to work with, and have as our guest, and she truly captured the heart of the day, giving us some beautiful memories to treasure.  I loved how she quietly made her way around everyone and captured natural portraits and scenes, and our guests all commented on how subtle her presence was, when the results were so striking.

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An Awesome Selection for the Best Party…

We both love a huge range of music, from 70’s cheese to ambient electronica; dance to metal, so a DJ seemed the obvious choice.  A friend at work recommended Steve White, who played up an awesome selection for the best party I’ve ever been to.  We even crowd surfed!

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Favourite Moment….. 

Faern: I loved the speeches: my Dad’s was a really touching tribute to us and also our Grandparents, all of whom were sadly missing from our wedding day.  The best man’s made everyone laugh til our sides hurt, and was delivered with comedic precision.  The readings during the ceremony were so touching – just the emotion shown by Ozz’s sister Hannah, and our friend Bryony who set everyone laughing when she pulled a tissue from the box hiding a microphone, but her tears…  I also loved the end of the night, sat round the fire pit, toasting marshmallows and singing along to guitar music.  To be honest, there wasn’t a moment I didn’t love.  It was all amazing, all perfect and I’d do it all again in a heartbeat. 

Ozz: It’s so hard to distinguish a single moment, because the whole day was fantastic and, I know it’s incredibly twee, but seeing Faern arrive was my favourite moment.  I’d recorded an acoustic version of Everlong by the Foo Fighters and as soon as the music started, I knew she was coming and all my nerves evaporated.

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Any Advice for couples planning their wedding day?

As much as it’s your day and you should always be the one to make the decisions, think about creating an enjoyable day for your guests too.  We were really lucky that no one tried to interfere, but it was always in the back of our minds that we wanted our friends and family to have a great day too, so we’d think about them when organising the details.  It will go so so quickly and you’ll want to be in ten different places at once, so do all your worrying before the day, so you can enjoy it as much as you possibly can.

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There is so much we could recount about the day, and we can say with no reservation that it was completely and utterly perfect!  We have to say an enormous thank you to our friends and family, who not only provided help during the planning process, but also rallied together on the eve of the wedding to decorate the barn, marquee and trees.  It looked fantastic and it was all down to them, and we love them lots!

I am also really grateful to Ozz’s family for helping us throughout, coming dress shopping with me and just generally being wonderful!

The Line Up

Photographer: Peachey Photography
Venue: New Forest Outdoor Centre 
Brides Dress: Stephanie Allin’s Bardot
Bride’s Shoes: Schuh
Bride’s Jewellery: Headpiece – Accessorize, Bracelet – Pandora
Groom: Waistcoat – Next, Trousers – Matalan, Ties – Tux and Tulle
Bridesmaid Dresses: Phase Eight
Flowers: Blossom and Bird 
Decor and Styling: DIY
Catering: New Forest Hog and Lamb
Cake: Homemade
Vintage Post Box: Wedding Party Post Box Hire 

Thank you so much for Faern and Ozz for sharing your lovely wedding with us today. We loved all your handmade details and those Shepherd’s Huts looked awesome!

We will be sharing Faern and Ozz’s first dance under Independent Love Song later on today so don’t be a stranger.

Big Love

Festival Brides xxx


Wedding beauty on its way!

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