Good morning and welcome to the first ever Festival Brides real wedding of 2019! Last year we brought you the most spectacular real wedding blogs, from quaint rustic English field festival weddings to misty cliftop Icelandic elopements. We were fortunate enough to showcase the work of some of the best wedding and event photographers the UK has to offer….and let me tell you, 2019 will be no different!
We kick start the new year by bringing you the utterly enchanting pagan wedding of John and Brittany. It’s outdoors, it’s hippy, it’s simply unique and full of so much character. The pair created a celebration to suit them and only them….
Keep to what you want no matter how unorthodox or odd – this is you and your partner’s day and not anyone else’s. People will chime in with their opinions and that’s fine, listen to what they have to say, but ultimately, it’s your decision in the end. .
Set in ancient Norfolk woodlands, the couple were married at The Keeper And The Dell by a close Pagan friend of theirs who conducted their hand fasting ceremony surrounded by nature and loved ones. Following the rituals, the party moved into an ivy-draped marquee fit for any pagan princess, with vegetarian food, a Beatles tribute band (to appease John’s own John Lennon obsession!) and so many other magically stylish elements.
Captured by the amazingly talented Emily Tyler Photography, this wedding is perfectly free-spirited and one-of-a-kind. Such a beautiful wedding to open up 2019 here on the blog.
Here’s bride Brittany to tell you all about it….
Engagement at Paris Music Festival with Plastic Ring!
We did a mock engagement at Pitchfork Music Festival in Paris. I saw a plastic goose ring for sale and said to John ‘Imagine if that was my engagement ring!’. He bought it for me, got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. Even though we were doing it for a laugh, I got an overwhelming feeling and said ‘Yes’. About a week later we were on our way to London to see a band we both love called Deerhunter. John told me he had booked a room at budget hotel. As we got closer, I knew we weren’t staying anywhere budget! We arrived at the K West Hotel where I had previously met Nick Cave years before, and I realised he had booked a room here as a surprise. We were then about to leave for dinner when John grabbed my hand and said my full name which usually means I’m in trouble. I turned around and he was on one knee with a ring box in his hand. I was overcome with emotion and he asked me to marry him. Of course I said yes and wrapped my arms around him. My beautiful ring was silver with a large green tortoise spiderweb turquoise stone. The gig was amazing and we drank porn star martinis all night!
Ancient Woodland Estate Venue in Norfolk
We were married at The Keeper And The Dell in Norfolk. A friend of John’s had been to a wedding there a few years before and said it was beautiful. We looked it up and we both really liked the look of it. We visited it and fell in love with the place….we knew we had to get married there. There were two small cabin huts on site. We stayed in one and one of my bridesmaids and her fiancé stayed in the other. The rest of our guests stayed in tents. We hired a beautiful vintage style marquee.
Pagan Handfasting Ceremony
I am pagan so I always knew I wasn’t going to get married in a church. I have been going to pagan meetings at a shop called Sacred Earth in Ipswich once a month for over three years. I asked the men who run it to do the honour of conducting my hand fasting ceremony. Anthony and his husband Nigel have been conducting pagan ceremonies for years, so I knew I was in safe hands. Anthony made the sacred circle out of ivy positioned to the side of the marquee and the altar was in the middle. I came down the aisle to ‘Oh My Love’ by John Lennon and during the ceremony we had the soundtrack to Braveheart playing. Anthony then walked us into the circle where he invoked the quarters and invited the god and goddess as well as our ancestors to witness this right of handfasting. The words were beautiful and powerful. John and I then recited our vows to each other. Our hands were wrapped in a red ribbon and to finish the ceremony, John and I jumped over the broom I’d made especially for the day. We then passed out a vegan carrot cake (that Anthony had made) and red wine to all our guests. The cake and wine represented a wish that that our guests will never hunger and never thirst.
Bespoke Embroidered White Silk Empire Line Gown
My dress was hand made by Anthony who conducted the ceremony. Not only does he run Sacred Earth, but he also runs his own tailoring business known as The Elvish Tailor. My dress was white and made of silk. It had a square neck with long bell sleeves and an empire line emphasised by a Japanese obi like sash. The dress draped to just above my feet (Anthony insisted it not be any longer at the front just in case I tripped over it because I am notoriously clumsy). It had a long train at the back which was embroidered with green and gold ivy. I had a metal acorn attached to each sleeve to weigh them down for dramatic effect.
During the ceremony I was barefoot. I had Indian bridal henna tattooed on my feet and hands, and later on I put on a pair of black boots.
John wore a white suit with a white kaftan style shirt and white shoes (his reasoning for this was because John Lennon got married in a white suit…. and he really loves John Lennon)
I asked the bridesmaids to wear a maxi dress of their choice. I didn’t want uniformed bridesmaids – they each wore a different colour; cinnamon, soft orange and dark blue. I had bought them each a pewter necklace from Sacred Earth; the tree of life, a fox and two hares.
Ivy, Lavender and Hessian Draped Marquee
The marquee had fake ivy hanging from the roof and attached to the middle bar which hung across the two beams with lavender and fresh white baby’s breath flowers. The tables had white table cloths with hessian runners running along the center. The table settings had various sized jars wrapped in hessian ribbons which sat on large ash wooden plates. The jars were filled with delicate white flowers and various green foliage. I had friends and family collect jars for over a year!
My Father-in-Law is a wood burning artist so he burned the seating plan onto a large bit of wood which we had positioned outside the marquee. He then burned the names of each guest on to small wooden circles for their place settings.
The caterer we used was called Lightfoot Catering who was recommended to us by a friend. Since john and I are vegetarians we decided that we were to have a vegetarian wedding breakfast (to many peoples dismay.) It’s funny how in this day and age, some people can’t have a meal without meat…. but I can honestly say that it was absolutely delicious and most people loved it. We had a Mediterranean tapas starter of feta cheese, olives, homemade bread, sun blushed tomatoes, artichokes and guacamole. The main was marrow filled with ratatouille and goats cheese with a side of tatties. Dessert was Norfolk Mass, meringue covered in fresh berries with cream. I don’t mean to toot my own horn here but it was one of the best wedding meals I have ever had if not the best. A lot of wedding breakfasts are super expensive and not as good as they should be, especially the vegetarian choice, but our caterers were excellent. In the evening they laid out a nibbles table which consisted of an amazing cheese board with biscuits and home made vegetarian pizzas. I heard it was very nice but my this time I was too drunk to even think about food!
Simple Cake and Lots of Gypsophila
We had a three tier chocolate cake from M&S. It was great value and very delicious. The venue decorated it with strawberries and flowers.
My Mother-in-Law’s friend Gill is a private florist so she was able to get all the flowers and foliage from a wholesaler and did all the bouquets, buttonholes and flower arrangements for us…. for free! Along with Gypsophila we had two types of foliage; Sprengeri Greens and Ruscu. Altogether they looked simple and really effective.
Natural, Vivid Photography
I have known Emily Tyler for many many years. I have always loved her natural photography style. I didn’t want a lot of staged photos. The colours are vivid and crisp and she perfectly captured the magic of the day. She mentioned that she had never captured such a chilled out bride and bridesmaids and said the wedding had a fantastic vibe which made me very happy.
My uncle David is a retired professional videographer. Luckily he still had a few spare cameras laying about and offered to capture our day.
Beatles Tribute and Love-Filled Music
Our good friend DJ Ben Marr DJ’d for us. The music was brilliant and each song had a lovely reference to love. For our live entertainment in the evening we had a Beatles tribute act called The Vox Beatles. They were fantastic. They wore the outfits and wigs and the music was spot on. Everyone of all ages really enjoyed it.
Our first dance was Father John Misty – ‘Chateau Libby #4’. When John and I first started seeing each other, Father John Misty had just come out with their second album containing some of the most honest love songs I’ve ever heard. We met Father John Misty before we got engaged, and we told them that if we were ever going to get married, our first dance would be to Chateau Lobby #4 . We kept to our promise.
The whole day, every bit of it.
My advice is, take your time, and enjoy being engaged for a while. Don’t rush it and become stressed. No matter what, it will be a little bit stressful, so you don’t need to make it any more stressful than it already is.
Keep to what you want no matter how unorthodox or odd – this is you and your partner’s day and not anyone else’s. People will chime in with their opinions and that’s fine, listen to what they have to say, but ultimately, it’s your decision in the end. Remember, it’s not just you getting married but it’s your fiance’s day as well. Allow him to be apart of it and let him choose things too. John helped with everything, from table runners to flowers, but I knew he should ultimately have range over the music since he is a singer songwriter and music is his passion.
The Line Up
Photographer: Emily Tyler Photography; Venue: The Keeper And The Dell; Bride’s Dress: Sacred Earth; Groom’s Outfit: The Elvish Tailor;
Florist: Karen Lear; Caterer: Lightfoot Catering; Band: The Vox Beatles; DJ: DJ Ben Marr; Henna: Rajia Henna; Jewellery: Samaritan Jewelers