When Rob and Laura told me they had a fancy dress Alice in Wonderland/ Mad Hatter’s tea Party wedding I thought “Wow that sounds cool, but I bet I’ve seen it all before…” Oh how wrong I was! Never in my life have I seen a wedding where everyone – the couple, the wedding party and the guests – threw themselves into it so much. These costumes are just off the hook awesome!
The wedding took place in September in a marquee on a field at Hodore Farm, East Sussex. It was decorated from top to bottom with balloon teapots and playing cards, oversized playing cards, papier-mâché mushrooms, giant paper flowers, giant paper clocks, blow-up flamingoes, blow-up bananas, giant bean bags and a black and white tiled dance floor!
“We had our first (and actual) ceremony at Burning Man in Nevada – the theme for that one was Mad Max vs Barbarella,” began Rob. “Laura had never been before but knew how much the place meant to me, having been the previous four years, so we decided we should get married there! Oh, and it was blogged by Buzzfeed!”
“This was our second (unofficial) wedding two weeks later. It was proper fancy dress as we love to dress up. I was the white rabbit, Laura was Alice, and all the people to do with the service were allocated characters. Laura had nine bridesmaids (and made the hats for all of them), a flower girl and a little drummer boy. I had Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee as my best men, whilst Laura’s best men were the Walrus and Carpenter. Of course, some people went completely off piste and we ended up with all sorts turning up, including Santa himself.”
“The wedding lasted three days, and was a proper festival, with 200 people, a campfire in the woods surrounded by bell tents and fairy lights, a live karaoke band, DJs, live jams, a home made wood fire pizza oven, bubble and fire performances! The majority of guests camped on site. Amongst all the revelling, we actually forgot to cut the cake, so decided to headbutt it into oblivion instead!”
“The ceremony was full of lively performances from family members and friends. We couldn’t decide what song to sing, so opted for (Day-O) ‘The Banana Boat Song’ (“daylight come and me wanna go home”) which I lead, and for each rendition of chorus, everyone joined in. Then there was a mass, group hug, and when the rings were exchanged, Laura drew mine on with a black marker, which I’m having tattooed on.”
“Our favourite part of the wedding was just how much family members enjoyed it”. he explained. “Our family don’t really know that much about our lives, or get to experience it first hand at least and meet all our friends, so it was really nice for them to see that and share it with us. A lot of them were blown away! It was awesome to bring together a lot of different groups of friends too, old and new. The ceremony was also spectacular! The mood was fun and relaxed, everyone who contributed outdid themselves and, like the speeches later, it was a thoroughly entertaining, roller coaster of emotions!”
“Almost all our budget went on the marquees. They cost a lot, even discounted! However, they are awesome and did basically make it. They also provided the toilet, generator and on site lighting. We couldn’t have done it without them. We were also able to use the 9 acre field for free! The food and drink was also done on a real budget. Our friends and family helped out massively with everything. The main catering was done by five different friends on very small budgets – ranging from £150-£250. It’s amazing how far that goes! The bulk of it was jerk chicken, burgers, wood fire pizzas, bulked out with a range of salads, veggies and a vat of hummus. Then, the wedding cake was made by Laura’s best mate and all the bridesmaid’s brought cupcakes. We also had cream teas after the ceremony, which was an affordable but lovely snack.”
“We also asked people to bring a bottle as there were so many guests that we couldn’t supply booze to everyone for the whole time. We had enough for a fair bit of prosecco though and bought a basic stock of spirits. So this, combined with what was brought, was easily enough to go right through to the following week, with plenty to spare as well – we gave a lot away as gifts.”
“There is nothing we’d really change about our wedding,” he concluded. “The Burning Man wedding was even more of a mission than we expected and it was tough to pull everything together, but a magical and memorable time nonetheless. Then, the UK event, with more friends and family in our own surroundings, ended up topping it. I never thought it was possible to top Burning Man, so that made it even better! Oh, and in case I didn’t say it yet, it really was the best day of our lives. I just thought that was something people said but it’s completely true!”