A 3-day Wedding at a Rockstar’s Retreat: Holly & Karen

Ridge Farm, a working farm and ex-recording studio in Surrey, proved to be the perfect location for Holly & Karen’s May wedding. “What made our wedding Rock n Roll? Definitely the venue!” Holly told me. “Aside from being a beautiful farm that we fell in love with instantly, Ridge Farm is also a recording studio where so many of our musical heroes have recorded albums and stayed – so our wedding guests were partying in the very same place that Queen, Whitesnake, Muse, Roxy, Rush and many more have partied! We hired the farm for the entire long weekend – Karen is Irish and it’s Irish tradition to hold 3 day long weddings so we had a big meal on the Friday for family and friends then the wedding on the Saturday, followed by a pool party with live music and a hog roast for everyone on the Sunday. The farm sleeps 24 plus there is a camping field so all our hungover guests could just crawl out of bed on Sunday morning and stumble over to rejoin the party. By Sunday evening everyone was in the jacuzzi swigging prosecco from the bottle, even Karen’s mum!”

“We wanted to fit a lot into our 3 day wedding but we were also determined not to start married life with a ridiculous amount of debt so we decided to try and swap our skills as web designers with various wedding suppliers,” she continued. “I would definitely recommend doing this, Karen posted an ad on Gumtree and we had over 20 bands offer to play for free! We also had offers from florists, entertainers and videographers. We chose 4 of the bands and they played in a mini festival on the Sunday in return for either website help or just a few beers! The bands were all lovely and we’re planning to go and see some of them when they next play in London.”

“Our friends and family also helped out massively – our ceremony was conducted by a friend, she was even ordained especially for the occasion! My mum made over 90 metres of bunting, a friend made us origami cranes, my aunt made our cake, my dad, best woman and Karen’s sister made all of the cupcakes and canapes – which were all served on large slates provided by my brothers roofing firm.”

“Karen made a sweet table to keep the children happy, although it was the adults that ended up eating most of them! It was the adults that had the most fun with the space hoppers we had too! We also made a lemonade stand and our page boys, my little brother and Karen’s nephew, served homemade lemonade to guests on arrival. We made a huge batch of rum and elderflower punch for after the ceremony and the caterers topped up glasses using a watering can.”

“We didn’t really have a specific theme,” Holly responded when I asked about it, “we kind of just picked all things that we liked. We wanted our wedding to feel more like a big party or festival than a wedding so we kept everything relaxed and tried to avoid anything that we felt was too wedding-y. The most important thing to us was that everyone else had a good time, so big sharing platters of food, loads of rum and wine and lots of music were the main things we focussed on.”

As the venue played such a huge role in the look and feel of the wedding, the couple did have a slight musical theme with their table names being named after albums. “We named our tables after albums that had been recorded at the farm – and I made a table plan using old records with mini doilies covering the record label to show the table name/number. I also used some of the old records that had been recorded at the farm to make bowls for our sweet table – I put the records in the oven on a low heat and placed them on top of various bowls/containers with a tin of beans on top to weigh them down as they melted into the shape of the bowls.”

“For the table decorations, we scoured charity shops and car boot sales for old china cups and bowls, we then filled them all with wax and made them into candles for each table. We made vases from old glass bottles and jars that our friends saved for us, then decorated them with the fabric that was left from the bunting. We also used the leftover fabric to tie each persons cutlery together, to make table cloths and to attach name tags to the favours (personalised m&ms) and my Nan made aprons from it for the waiting staff to wear. Maybe our theme was leftover fabric! I also cut up strips of burlap fabric to make the table runners and scattered each table with butterflies punched from our invites, beads from broken necklaces and old badges. I loved styling our wedding so much that I’m considering starting up a wedding styling and catering company now!”

“We both dislike the term ‘civil partnership’ so we went with ‘Karen and Holly are becoming civilized…’ as the introduction on our invites,” Holly concluded. “Karen wrote our ceremony and it was conducted by our close friend in Ridge Farm’s beautiful orchard. Having a friend carry out the ceremony made it much less intimidating and really personal, Karen’s sister wrote an emotional poem that she read during the ceremony and another friend did a reading that included quotes on love/marriage from our flower girl and page boy.”

Gorgeous! I am totally in love with this venue and the girls’ enviable style! Thank you to Holly, Karen and their wedding photographer Lisa for sharing with us today.