Happy Thursday to all of you wonderful babes! We hope you’re having the best September week and not feeling the cold too much? If you’re anything like me, being cold isn’t your favourite, so you’re probably wishing upon this Indian summer we are supposed to be having soon?! My summer playsuits and flip flops are absolutely NOT ready to hibernate just yet, so bring back the sunshine perleeeese!
On to today’s bright and cheerful giant tipi wedding, set at the beautiful Evenley Wood Garden just outside of Milton Keynes. Lizzie and Mike planned their wedding in 3 months….yes that’s right people, 3 months! And you would NEVER know it. Every detail was covered, each supplier provided exquisite service and having a short planning time actually worked to Lizzie’s advantage – it meant that she made quickfire decisions with minimal deliberation!
We’ve proven that you don’t need a long time to plan – I liked the fact that I had to be ultra decisive! As long as the people who are important to you are there, it will be perfect! I had the best day due to the laughs and love, not material things….it didn’t even matter that it rained! In fact we think the rain added to the authentic festival theme!
The couple hired a giant 2-hat tipi from The Stunning Tents Company and bell tents from Beau & Bell to create a fun, rustic and full-of-love glamping village where her friends and family could stay over and enjoy the celebrations all weekend long. This wedding features some absolutely gorgeous elements – bursting sunflowers, DIY centrepieces (in fact, most of the décor was DIY!), and a fabulous Motown band which kept the party alight until the early hours.
Even with only a short time to plan, their vision was always clear and their theme was set from day one…FESTIVALS!
We love festivals and we’ve been to over 10 together in the UK and abroad, so this was our ideal theme! Also, the really important thing to us about our day was for everyone to relax and really enjoy it. We wanted it to be informal, fun and not showy or extravagant, as that really wouldn’t reflect what we are like as people or a couple.
We hope this wedding brings you joy and sunshine this morning. Captured by the talented photographer Laura May, this celebration played out beautifully, even in the rain! Here’s Lizzie to tell you more….
Surprise Prague Engagement with 77 Russian Diamonds
After 6 years together, Mike got down on one knee and said, ‘what are you doing for the next 80 years?’ and produced a beautiful pear-shaped diamond ring. It was a complete surprise despite the fact he’d been organising the ring for months – working directly with a Russian diamond mine to then ship the diamond over to a jeweller on Oxford Street to set the ring. It was a very romantic and surprising proposal and a fabulous ring!
Beautiful Rustic Woodlands
We found Evenley Wood Garden after a lot of arduous searching on the internet. We’d seen a handful of other venues but this one ticked all the boxes. It was only 30-mins from Milton Keynes where my parents and family live. The woodlands are beautiful and rustic, there was a lovely space for camping, lots of parking, loads of flexibility on how to use the space, no corkage charges and friendly and relaxed staff.
Large Glamping Yurts and Stunning Two-Hat Tipi
Our wedding was so much like being at a real festival! The car park, yurts, reception tipi, the bar and the ceremony were all in the same area and close together making it nice and easy for our guests. We used Beau & Bell to hire 18 large yurts for us and some of our guests – there were around 70 of us glamping altogether. We had a bridal yurt, which was beautiful, and our guests shared either as couples or up to 6 friends sharing.
We used The Stunning Tents Company – we hired a two-hat tipi and it was exactly as we wanted! The company were fantastic to deal with and I couldn’t recommend them enough! They supplied fairy lights, dance floor, tables, chairs, basically everything we needed, and they were really flexible about when and where to put it up and take it down too.
Woodland Handfasting Ceremony
We had an outdoor ceremony in a clearing in the woods at Evenley, and we had a celebrant who was amazing – Lynn Tierney Ceremonies. We wanted a personal ceremony and Lynn took the time to get to know us prior to the day. We wrote our own vows and had quirky touches like handfasting which Mike’s grandma helped with. We walked up the aisle to ‘A Thousand Kisses’ by Luther Vandross. Our guests sat on hay bales that we bought from a local farmer, which we covered these with blankets bought from Ikea.
DIY Reception, Up-Cycled Antique Hire and Help from Friends and Family
We had so many personal touches – we provided 2 large kilner jars of cocktails we made in the morning. Our friends and family love a drink, so our favours were mini spirit bottles chosen based on what we knew each person would like! We also handmade and painted all the signs such as order of the day and all the arrow signs that directed guests through the woods to the ceremony. In fact, most of the decor was DIY. We made the signs and used an old pair of ladders for the table plan. My mum wrote the guest and table names in glitter which we hung from the ladder. We hired the centre piece lab stands from an antique, retro, up-cycled business called Retrovation. We also hired the suitcases and random props such as riding boots, test tubes, decorative jars and shirt stands. We saved a lot of money by ordering around 30 individual flowers (not arranged) from our florist and placing these in the test-tube holders ourselves. These made great centre pieces!
We had a load of friends and family come to the venue with us the day before the wedding to set up – this really was great fun, a lot of hard work, but it all paid off!
DIY Photo Booth and Flipflops for all of the Guests!
We made our own ‘photo-booth’ by putting lots of props/wigs in a suitcase in the tipi with our own ‘Photo booth’ sign. I also bough 50 pairs of cheap flipflops in assorted sizes and left them in a suitcase on the dancefloor – these were really appreciated!
Indian Sharing Sit Down Meal
Indus Catering were recommended to us as we wanted Indian food. We went to two tasting sessions to chose the menu and had around 6 starters to share on each table, followed by naans, 5 curries and rice – most of which made fresh on the premises in their catering vans! There was so much food and the quality was fantastic, the best Indian food we’ve ever eaten. It was a great way to have an informal sit-down meal. We could also hire table cloths, glassware and tableware from them – I could not fault the caterers in anyway!
Hand painted Cake Toppers from ebay
The cake was made by my Maid of Honour’s mum’s friend – a 3-tier sponge cake – lemon drizzle, victoria sponge and cherry bakewell. We bought blank wooden figures from ebay and my husband hand painted them to look like us for toppers! My cousins and aunt also made various cupcakes which were placed around the cake.
Vintage Scalloped Pattern Dress and Multi-Way High Street Bridesmaid Dresses
My dress was from Amelia George Bridal. I knew it was ‘the’ dress the moment I put it on – it was simple with a boho feel due to the vintage scalloped pattern and I felt so comfortable in it! I had the train removed due to the nature of the wedding with a few other small alterations. I wore shoes from Clarks – nude with a chunky heel.
I also had small white flowers in my hair (gypsophila), brought by the florist the morning of the wedding.
Stunning Sunflowers and Vibrant Flowers
Willis Flowers are a local florist – we wanted vibrant, in season, bright, non-traditional bouquets. I don’t know flowers at all. so apart from sunflowers, I didn’t have specific preferences. They were even better than I could have imagined, and everyone was in awe when they arrived in the morning! They also supplied single stem flowers for the lab stand centre pieces which we were so pleased with.
Laura May Photography was fantastic and could not have worked harder on our day. She captured the most amazing moments, bearing in mind it was quite a full on and very untraditional day! Laura was so dedicated and professional throughout. Our photos were phenomenal! It was SO hard to pick the album as she took over 1300 photos and they were all stunning. I couldn’t have asked for a better photographer and highly recommend her.
Cousin Filmed Entire Wedding on a Camcorder!
We didn’t have a videographer as couldn’t fit it into the budget, but my cousin surprised us by filming the day with a camcorder! We used the People Per Hour website to find a videographer to put the clips together with Laura’s photos and our chosen music and we were so happy with the result. It only cost £130. You can see our video via this link – Facebook Video.
Motown Gold are a 6-piece Motown band who were incredible! I could not recommend them more, they performed our first dance song and then went into the set we’d chosen – they had so much energy and the dance floor was full the entire night! So many people commented about how brilliant the band were.
Our first dance was to Redbone’s ‘Come and Get Your Love’. We both love the song and wanted something a bit upbeat that we could dance to.
The ceremony was so special. I loved the bits outside when everyone was chatting and drinking. The meal was delicious, the speeches were all so good and hilarious, the band were brilliant and I loved seeing different groups of people all enjoying themselves on the haybales. Everyone was laughing and getting on so well!
Throw away the wedding rule book and just do it all how you want to! Agree on the important stuff and spend your budget on those things. For us the band and food where priorities so we spent more on these,
We actually planned our wedding within 3 months! It was brought forward by almost a year as my fit and healthy mum, 63, was suddenly diagnosed with terminal cancer. All of the suppliers we’d booked were so understanding and accommodating. My mum was undergoing very severe chemo at the time of the wedding, yet absolutely loved the day, looked stunning and was on unbelievable form. Mum passed away in Jan 2018 – having the memories of all the planning we did together, the beautiful photos of her looking so well and happy are just priceless. On this note, my advice would be NOT to get stressed about the minor details!
The Line Up
Photographer: Laura May Photography
Venue: Evenley Wood Garden
Giant Tipi: The Stunning Tents Company
Bell Tents: Beau & Bell
Bride’s Dress: Amelia George Bridal
Bride’s Shoes: Clarks
Groom’s Suit: Master Debonair
Bridesmaid’s dresses: Next
Hair and Make Up: Christos Hair
Florist: Willis Flowers
Catering: Indus Catering
Cake Topper: ebay
Celebrant: Lynn Tierney Ceremonies
Vintage Props: Retrovation
Band: Motown Gold
Freelance Video Editor: People Per Hour