Afternoon Lovely Peeps and Happy Friday!
We have a very inspiring festival wedding to share with you all on this sunny afternoon. If you are planning your wedding on a shoe string and are questioning whether it can be done, this wedding proves it can.
Keli and Bertie’s vision for their day was simple: festival wedding fun. All they wanted was to have their family and friends together for a special day in the sunshine that was full of love and happiness, as well as some brilliant music. They also wanted to plan a day that had no rules, no regulations and no restrictions. They didn’t want to be dictated too on their wedding day so made it their mission to find a venue and source suppliers that gave them the freedom to make their own choices….
Bertie has worked in festivals as long as I’ve known him, and through him I have been introduced to the festival lifestyle. Every summer we would travel from festival to festival, sometimes doing up to six in a row! His work has allowed us to make so many contacts with so many amazing people and combined with the years of festivals we have attended and enjoyed, we just knew that our wedding would have to be a festival. We both hate ‘over formality’, and the expectation that things “have” to be a certain way, and this just seemed like the only path we could take. We also wanted things to be very free and to flow, and we hated that every venue had such a mark up for food, drinks and even tablecloths! By doing a festival themed wedding we had control of everything and it just meant it could become more “us”.
With a budget of just 5K, Keli and Bertie used their initiative and searched hard for ways to save money. They found their venue through contacting a local farmer who agreed to hire his land for just £300 for 5 days – yes 5 days! Not only did this save them a huge amount of money, it also meant they had no time restrictions and could party until 4.30am. They called on the help of family and friends to help design, make and setup all of their decor. Keli designed all of their wedding stationery by downloading free fonts and pretty rustic style images. She also made the flower garlands for her and her bridesmaids at a craft stall at Glastonbury festival the year before for just £15 each. The bridesmaid dresses were from eBay and were only £20 as was their ceremony arch, which they ‘upcycled’ with handmade paper flowers and lots of colourful ribbon. I could do on! Their wedding is such a brilliant example of how you can save so much money if you have the time and can think a little outside of the box.
If you have a spare 30 minutes, please take the time to read all about this laid back, quirky, colourful and fun festival wedding. It’s a great read and full of so many money saving tips.
Over to Keli and Bertie and their wonderful ‘HunterFest’ wedding.
Christmas, Cuba, The Beach and a Fridge Magnet!
We had gone on holiday to Cuba over the Christmas Holidays. We had been there over a week, and we had agreed we would each buy each other a small gift from Havana to exchange on Christmas Day.
On Christmas Day at 7pm, Bertie said we should go to the beach to exchange gifts. We were next to a paradise beach, white sands and completely empty. I agreed, got dressed for dinner, and we went on down.
When you buy presents in Havana, they wrap them in a huge amount of brown parcel tape to keep them safe for the journey back, so I wasn’t at all surprised when Bertie told me to turn my back so he could unwrap my present. When he told me to turn back, he was down on one knee in the sand, holding the most gorgeous ring! He asked me to marry him, and I was so shocked all I could do was swear! After crying with shock and happiness, I said yes, and then presented him with a fridge magnet that I bought him in Havana which was nowhere near as good as an engagement ring!
Straight Talking Shopping….
My dress is a Romantica of Devon dress from a shop called Posh Togs in Bournemouth. The lady who owns the shop, Rachel, is amazing and I cannot recommend her highly enough. She is completely straight talking and will always tell you the truth. When I went in I explained how I wanted an A-line, lace sleeved, tea length dress – she nodded, and told me it wouldn’t suit me. I was shocked! But she found me one to try on; with the agreement I tried on a dress of her choosing afterwards.
I tried on the dress I thought I wanted and I looked awful! She then handed me this white meringue covered in sequins and I immediately said no! She insisted I tried it on and from the moment I saw it, I knew it was the one. It was a corset back, strapless, sequin filled dress with no train and it was absolutely perfect!
Handmade At Glastonbury….
I made my headpiece (and the bridesmaid’s headpieces) at Glastonbury the year before. There was a stall called Stitch Sisters, which offered the chance to create floral headdresses using artificial flowers. It took me two hours, meticulously creating holes and threading wire through and then tying to an elastic headband, but I was so pleased with the finished result, and the fact I made it myself made it so much more special! It only cost £15 to make which was a bargain!
A Gold Ring & Handmade Jewellery….
I have worn the same jewellery for most of my life, and I kept this for the wedding – a handmade platinum necklace and earrings that Bertie chose for me from an independent shop in Bath, and a bracelet he bought me for our first anniversary. However, I did add a gold ring that had belonged to my Grandmother who passes away when I was ten. Wearing the ring made me feel that she was there with me on the day, and I was really honoured my mum lent it to me to wear.
A Farmer With a Field….
After searching online and being repeatedly disappointed at the fact that any field we found that could support our wedding had a 11pm cut off, we had almost given up with the idea – then a friend of the family mentioned that she knew a guy who had a farmer for a dad! We called him up and arranged to view one of his fields and have a chat and he was amazing! He was a proper country farmer and basically said if we left the farm the way we found it, we could have it for a full 5 days for £300! We agreed immediately! It was perfect – it had a lowered section which would be perfect for the ceremony and party, and a high section for camping, away from the madness for those with young children.
Two Big Tops, Upcycling and A Promise….
The whole site held two tents, one small big top, with open sides, and a full sized circus big top. We held the ceremony in the smaller tent, and filled it with bunting (including personalised bunting a friend made for us!), lit it with festoon, laid out the chairs to create an “aisle” that we lined with flower garlands and installed an arch to get married under that we found on gumtree and upcycled!
The actual ceremony we wrote ourselves by stealing all the best bits of wedding vows we found online! It included a reading from my favourite book (called “Love is a face” by Mike Gayle) an Apache Wedding Blessing and a promise to each other. The service was very relaxed and was led by a teacher that had taught me (Kelly) at primary school and who had always been a huge influence to me! We had stayed in touch and I couldn’t think of anyone more perfect to hold the ceremony.
For music we had a friend sing Newton Faulkner’s “If this is it” which is a song we first heard at Glastonbury 6 years ago. It includes the lines “if I had one chance to freeze time/stand still/and soak in everything/I’d choose right now” and it was just perfect. She sang it acapella and it was magical. To walk back down the aisle we had Bob Marley’s “is this love” which had perfect lyrics and kicked off the festival vibe!
We had spent two days setting up the field, and it included a bouncy castle, a huge fire, face in hole boards, a dancefloor, a snug and posh toilets! The tent was filled with bunting and festoon, as well as tables and chairs for those who preferred to sit and boogie!
We had our wedding breakfast in the big top, then pushed the tables back after to make more room for dancing. It also held a table showing our cake, a gift box and all the bouquets.
Mark Atkinson, a family friend and part time photographer captured our wedding. We chose Mark due to wanting relaxed pictures of our festival experience with only one “posed” photo of the whole group behind our giant Keli and Bertie letters. We also had a photo booth which came with a guestbook that the photos were stuck in and people wrote their messages in – it gave us a true reflection of the wedding and the fun people were having!
Wheat Free Cupcakes and A Pair of Welly Boots…
The cake was always going to be a slight issue – I have Crohn’s disease and manage my symptoms better if I don’t eat wheat, and my best friend and bridesmaid is Coeliac! Thankfully, one of my parent’s best friends in an incredible baker, and she had made some amazing wheat free birthday cakes for me in the past. I contacted her to see if she knew what I should do, and she offered to make the cake for us as a wedding gift!
We knew we wanted cupcakes rather than a large cake, both as it meant they could double as dessert, and also because it added to the “help yourself”, relaxed vibe of the day! We spoke to Phillipa (Phil) and asked her to make a giant cupcake to go on top of the cupcake tower for us to cut, and for the rest of it to be made from cupcakes with different creations on top. Phil asked us to list things we liked, such as bunting, butterflies, welly boots etc, and incorporated all of these into the cupcake decorations. They were absolutely delicious and looked amazing! On top of the giant cupcakes, she made two pairs of welly boots (to symbolise our festival lifestyle) and a little bee, as I was previously known as Kelly B!
Festival Inspired DIY Decor….
For months before my friend Megan, who is an Artistic Director and amazing Scenic Artist, and my friend Jo, an incredible Events Co-ordinator and I worked endlessly on making things for the wedding, from the flowers for the arch to the hand stamped luggage tags. My mum even spent a week topping the mini pots of jam with floral covers!
The whole festival was created by our friends, family and us. Megan made the giant “Keli and Bertie” letters that we created after being inspired by the large “BESTIVAL” letters, the signpost was also created by Megan to add to the festival theme. The arch we found on gumtree, painted white and stapled all the paper flowers to!
Bertie has so many contacts in the festival industry that we gained the two tents at a really good price, and just filled both of them (as well as the surrounding area) with festoon and bunting to give the wedding an actual “area” to exist in. I was a teacher at the time of the wedding, so every Friday afternoon I held an art club and provided children with drinks and biscuits in exchange for helping me create some amazing “face in hole” boards – one of Bertie and I, and the other of a couple on an elephant! I got all the resources from the school for free and the kids worked tirelessly which made it so special.
The table centrepieces were book-folds, made to look like birdcages – I made these myself and took many hours, but were so easy and such a labour of love! I decorated them with ribbon and lace, and I’m still so proud of them.
I also made the table plan out of a giant piece of card, several pieces of string and a load of miniature pegs! The table plan was designed to match the invites, and we mounted it on an easel in the entrance of the tent. Megan also made an amazing sign out of a pallet, asking for people to sit wherever they wanted for the ceremony. She and all our friends worked nonstop in the run up to our wedding and we’ll be forever grateful for what they did.
Card and Paper Flower Bouquets….
From the beginning I knew that I didn’t want a real flower bouquet. I am terribly clumsy and I just felt without a doubt I would crush the flowers before the day had even begun. After extensive researching online, I found Georgie at Sapritas Designs, who created card/paper bouquets to any specification! I gave her a ring and she was so lovely, so friendly, and so on board with my brief (“basically, I would like gerberas, sunflowers, roses, glitter, and butterflies on wire that stick out?”) and rather than being phased, she completely ran with it and went above and beyond anything I could have imagined! The flowers were made from painted card, with the centres made from painted lentils and beads! She made bouquets for me and the three girls and they are easily one of my favourite purchases ever.
For the flowers for the tables, my mother’s friend owns a florist – I gave her a very similar brief to the one I gave Georgie, and just trusted her to get it right! I had spent months collecting teapots, jugs and watering cans from charity shops, and all the flowers were presented in these. They looked absolutely magical and were covered in glitter!
The whole day was just absolutely magical, but for me the most magical moment was the way Bertie and his best men took control of every aspect of the running of the day. I felt that every time I turned around, something else had happened, such as the festoon coming on, the flowers being lit, or the dance floor suddenly appearing. It made it so magical, with everything just appearing as if by magic.
Another amazing moment was the moment our wishing tree lit up, and to see everyone’s wishes hanging off it and fluttering gently is a moment we’ll never forget.
Bertie says his favourite moment of the day was the actual ceremony, where we got married. We had legally got married two days before in our trainers and jeans, with just two witnesses, and we had agreed from the beginning not to put any emphasis on that. The festival ceremony was, in our eyes, our actual wedding. It was so emotional and special, and arriving in a camper van and walking down the aisle was so special, it blew us both away. We couldn’t stop holding hands throughout the ceremony, it was so mind blowing to believe we’d actually created this special event and it all came true from the vision we had two years ago sat in a bar in Cuba!
Lots of Entertainment and a 4.30am finish….
Due to my husband’s job, we know lots of people who provide musical entertainment! My father is a wedding DJ, and Bertie’s previous boss manages The Common at Glastonbury, as well as being a well reknown DJ himself! We created a line up of our favourite DJ’s, all of whom play different styles of music, and let them do their thing! The music lasted well into the night, and only ended when the generator tripped out at 4.30am!
We also had a bouncy castle for the kids (which I did go on!), face in hole boards that I designed and painted with local school children, and a photobooth with props for guests to take a range of silly photographs!
Keep true to yourself! Remember it is a day for you and your other half – don’t give in to pressure that you undoubtedly will receive from well meaning family and friends – it should be a reflection of the both of you, and only you two know how that can materialise.
I would also say to utilise all the amazing people you have around you – people have so many skills and are often more than happy to help and can bring so much to your day.
Our budget was £5000, very generously given to us by my parents who were very brave – giving their savings to their festival mad daughter and son in law! Due to calling in many favours and creating lots of the decorations ourselves we managed to achieve the wedding on this budget.
We also made the event a Bring Your Own Drink party – a friend of ours has a fridge trailer, so we set it up and let everyone store their drink in there. Although we supplied alcohol for the meal, there were so many people coming to the party, we thought this worked out best. It allowed for people to spend as much as they wanted on alcohol, and meant some corporate bar wasn’t making money out of our nearest and dearest!
The Line Up
Photography: Mark Atkinson
Venue: Field Nr Corfe Castle, Swanage.
Big Top Tent: Nigel Baker
Bride’s Dress: Posh Togs
Groom’s Suit: TK Maxx
Bridesmaids Dresses: Ebay
Headdresses: Stitch Sisters (handmade)
Cake: Phillipa Atkinson
Food: CrabApple Catering
Furniture Hire: Allens Hire
Artistic Director: Megan Harrison
Events Co-ordinator: Jo Templeton