Monday’s really are the best when they’re this beautiful aren’t they? I hope you had a gorgeous weekend filled with a ton of summer loving; BBQs, park picnics and beach walks – hello sunshine! Don’t you just love these gorgeous, vitamin-D drenched days, although I admit I’m somewhat in limbo with ‘what to wear’ as the British weather runs as hot and cold as a first date. It’s impossible to nail the wardrobe! One thing for sure is my cosy knits are now bundled into the spare drawer with a ‘do not exit’ agreement until autumn. Choosing which month to marry in the UK is a headache for so many of us, as even the most sun-guaranteed summer wedding dates can end up in grey clouds and wet drizzle. This week’s real wedding couple know all about this, as their outdoor DIY countryside marquee wedding had it’s fair share of rain. Thankfully, Olivia and Lawrence were totally prepared for the September showers and didn’t let the it dominate the vibes. In fact, it made the day that extra bit special and gave way to some super cool umbrella shots, captured by the arty husband and wife duo Story and Colour. With Dan’s watchful eye behind the lens and wife Laura at the heart of the graphic and stationary design, the pair make quite a team!
Olivia wore the most breath-taking dress by stunning Spanish designer Pronovias whilst keeping it totally ‘real’ by teaming it up with a pair of comfy wedges! The pair married at The Paper Mill in Kent, which is a whimsical woodland hideaway ready for couples to takeover and decorate it as their own. Using hay bales and home grown flowers in copper spray-painted pots, they pulled off a unique, kitsch-countryside ceremony spot. With Wellingtons and umbrellas at hand, the wedding party then made their way to Olivia’s parents back garden where they partied the night away in true festival style in a marquee under the stars. Perfection.
We are delighted to hand over to the beautiful Olivia to tell you more about her woodland, back garden wedding….
We didn’t want a formal wedding but loved the idea of having a casual, country wedding. We wanted it to feel personal and reflect us as a couple, so we had a wedding in the woods!
Engagement Hike Through the Hills
We went for a walk in the Chiltern Hills. Halfway through he got down on one knee in front of a viewpoint overlooking a beautiful valley after a picnic lunch. It ended up being a 9 mile hike, so he made me work for it! But it was definitely worth it.
Beautiful Pronovias Dress and Emergency Wellies
I wore a gorgeous dress by Atelier Pronovias (the Vicenta). I tried on quite a few different styles but I just fell in love with this one as soon as I tried it on. It was totally impractical for a woodland wedding and it completely blew my budget but no other dress compared to this once I’d tried it on! I had 3 pairs…wedges from Dune for the ceremony (I needed something I could walk across the hay in!), some coral Monsoon heels for the evening that matched the bridesmaid’s dresses and some emergency wellies just in case!
Tea and Trim did high my hair and make up. Nicola really captured the look I wanted and my hair and make up stayed in place all day. She and Jessica did my mum’s and all of my bridesmaids hair and make up too.
Lawrence wore a 3-piece suit from TM Lewin worn with a white shirt, coral tie, coral handkerchief and coral socks! I found picking bridesmaids dresses one of the hardest things to do. Finding a colour and style that all six would feel happy in was really difficult and everything on the high street was either pastel pink, soft greens or navy blue which I knew I didn’t want. Two of my bridesmaids were pregnant but I managed to find an amazing coral pink dress in Oasis with a lace top and floaty mid length skirt that worked for all of them…with a little bit of tailoring! My flower girl wore a really similar dress from Monsoon and had a flower crown. They had flowers in their hair and rose gold engraved bracelet from Not on the Highstreet.
Magical Wedding and Reception in Parent’s Rainy Back Garden
We were married at The Paper Mill, Kent and had the reception in my parents back garden. I grew up in the countryside in Kent and there is a beautiful woodland 10 minutes walk from my parents house that’s licensed for weddings. We went to see it and fell in love with it. The setting was magical; a wooden gazebo nestled right in the woods and the idea of getting married outside in the woods close to where I used to play growing up felt so special. We had the reception in a marquee in the field behind my parents home. We loved the idea of our guests walking up the hill from the wedding ceremony to the reception although a sudden but short lived downpour just after the ceremony made this a little impractical!
We had a civil ceremony that took place in a gazebo in a woods clearing with our guests sat watching from hay bails. We had a couple of simple flower arrangements on the gazebo and lined the aisle with coral geraniums that my mum grew and potted in copper sprayed old tomato cans. I walked down the aisle to a recording of the Cairn String Quartet’s version of a Million Love Songs. I’m a huge Take That fan and it was such a beautiful version of the song.
Bright and Colourful Flowers and Naked Chocolate Cake
We used a local florist called Astilbe and Sorrel for the bouquets, button holes, table flowers and gazebo arrangements. A family friend grows beautiful flowers in her garden (Blue Hen Flowers) so I went and picked the flowers that matched my colour scheme a few days before and she delivered these to the florist for her to use. I wanted the colours to be bright and colourful and I have always loved snapdragons so used some of these in my bouquets and table arrangements.
We had a naked chocolate cake decorated with flowers that our caterer made.
Husband and Wife Duo Nailed the Photography and Stationary
Story and Colour were recommended to us by a friend who had used them and we were really happy with how the photos came out. Dan is incredible at telling the story of the day and capturing all the little details and special moments. He was professional throughout, made us feel totally relaxed in front of the camera and we honestly hardly noticed he was there.
Our photographer’s wife (Laura) manages the graphic design side of the business and we asked her to do our invites, menus, table plans and table numbers. We went through some ideas of the type of things we liked and she came up with some great designs, they fitted perfectly in with what we wanted and really helped pull the whole look together.
DIY Copper Sprayed Décor and Woodland Photo Display
We did a lot of the decoration ourselves and used a lot of copper spray! We made wooden signs, painted the running order of the day on a wooden pallet we found on our neighbours bonfire, put flowers on the table in copper sprayed old tomato cans and put tea lights in copper sprayed Gü dishes. We used hay bales to make the bar and wellies, watering cans and spades as props. We hung photos of us through the years from the trees and my Mum made leaf shaped bunting to hang around the garden. We set up a photo booth in the corner of the marquee using our garden bench, a tripod and our camera and used props from the hen and stag do’s, it went down really well and we have some great photos of our guests from it.
Sax and House Music
Having a brilliant band was one of our priorities for the wedding and we went with a band called Apollo Soul who are based in Birmingham. They’re a six piece band (two singers, guitar, bass, drums, saxophone) who did two sets and DJ’d in between. The saxophonist played along to some house music during one of the breaks which my husband loved! The band got everyone dancing all night and a lot of guests commented on how good they were.
Our first dance was Greatest Day by Take That. It was meant to play as we were leaving the woods after the ceremony but there was a huge downpour of rain so we had to cut that part of the ceremony short! My husband asked the band to change our first dance song at the last minute to that to ensure I had my full Take That fix!
We honestly loved it all and wouldn’t change a thing! However walking into the woods with the music playing, the sun streaming through the trees and all my friends and family watching me marry the man of my dreams was pretty special!
Don’t worry about the weather! I spent so much time checking weather apps in the days running up the wedding and worrying about what we would do if it rained. In the end it did rain, right at the end of the ceremony but it honestly didn’t matter at all, our guests just got on with it and it made the day all the more memorable – and apparently it’s good luck as well!
The Line Up
Venue: The Paper Mill
Photographer: Story and Colour
Dress: Atelier Pronovias
Hair and Make-Up: Tea and Trim
Groom’s Suit: TM Lewin
Bridesmaid Dresses: Oasis
Flower Girls: Monsoon
Jewellery: Not on the Highstreet.
Florist: Astilbe and Sorrel
Band: Apollo Soul