Tag Archives: Festival

A Casual & Intimate Outdoor Wedding: Michael & Mariko

Michael asked Mariko to marry him at a festival, “in a trashed tent with some beers, talking with some friends about relationships and life,” he told me. “You know… those most profound things you talk about at festivals. It was just the right moment.” So then they had their wedding theme – a festival style, party wedding!

“We wanted our wedding to be intimate, nothing big, loud or expensive,” Micheal continued. “The most important thing was that we were getting married and be together forever, to share our love with the people we love, all our friends and family.”

“Being both outdoor cosy crazy people, we decided to give our party in a forest in Antwerp, called St. Anna bos, near the river de Schelde. There was no real theme, we just wanted to give our guests a ‘welcome home’ feeling.”

“Almost everything was self-made, made by us or with the help of our friends. With some colorful ribbons, simple bouquets, 1000 candles and a couple of balloons, we did so much more than we expected. The place where we held our wedding party was not fancy at all, it was kind of dusty and old. It was a clubhouse that had probably had it’s best days somewhere in the 60s. You could tell by the hundreds of different vintage dishes we found in the kitchen!”

“It was a beautiful night, there was moonlight on the trees, candles lighting up everywhere and we and our guests were happy and relaxed, just as we wanted! Everybody was sitting on the benches, having conversations and drinking.”

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“Joyfest 2011″ A Weekend-Long Festival Wedding: Jen & Rob

“A weekend of celebration” was how Jen & Rob described their festival wedding to me, and that couldn’t have been a more perfect description. Stokes Barn, specialising in self-catering group accommodation, in the Shropshire hills played host.

“We knew we wanted something different,” explained the bride. “We wanted to celebrate with the special people who enrich our lives and who share and understand our values and beliefs. We had the idea of a festival type celebration where we could create a magical, memorable and warm weekend (whatever the weather!) of celebration, relaxation, much merriment, Peace and Love!”

After the ‘legal ceremony’ at a register office on the Friday morning, the couple had a humanist ceremony outside, on the Saturday afternoon, in front of all their guests. “We made our commitment to each other, and shared our aspirations with our guests as they sat on rugs and chairs in a semi circle around us. My brother was our celebrant and our daughter read ‘the Owl and the Pussycat’ and my son read ‘The Art of a good relationship’.”

“We are not practising pagans but are pagans by heart and believe deeply in our connection with Mother Earth,” Jen continued. “Therefore we wanted to find a peaceful and natural environment where our friends and family could also share with us the beauty of nature and of the countryside. We found Stokes Barn, the most perfect location imaginable, a place which provided shelter but also allowed our guests to camp while enjoying views stretching across Shropshire.   Our daughter came up with the name ‘Joyfest’, a perfect description of what we were hoping to create: A Festival of Joy!”

For catering, the couple asked their guests to bring their favourite dish instead of wedding gifts. This not only meant they had a really unique and delicious meal, but that everyone was able to feel involved in the day. “We asked people to bring a dish for the Friday night buffet and, if they wanted, to bring something to decorate the courtyard or marquee. We wanted to make the whole event very personal to every single person that was there. We wanted our friends and family to feel like they were truly a part of it and that they could make themselves completely at home!”

“We hired a bouncy castle which was a complete success with not only the 46 children who celebrated with us, but with many of our adult friends and family too,” the couple continued. “We asked people also to contribute to the entertainment so our guests organised tug of war competitions and rounders. We also put on a morning of archery.”

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Giant Teacups, A Homemade Bouncy Castle & Elvis – A DIY Wedding to the Extreme!: Caroline & Stuart

Caroline & Stuart were married at St. Annes Church in Littleworth Common, Burnham. They held their reception in a field right opposite the church. Their wedding was a super creative affair with them making and styling the whole thing themselves, they even renovated some giant funfair teacups!

“Bizarrely we had in our minds a vision of an abandoned set from an old Elvis film for our wedding ‘theme’,” Caroline told me. “We did things differently by building almost everything ourselves and loving doing it! In the end we made…
The stage (old fashioned wooden with footlights, which several guests sat/ fell on when drunk!)
4 giant funfair teacups for sitting in (we renovated them ourselves)
1 giant funfair teacup cake table
Giant wooden light up initials
Old fashioned funfair stall drinks bar
An oversized cake stand for every table
Giant lollypop table numbers
Maypole wedding cake stand
The light up frame for the table plan
All the other signage
Old fashioned style high striker to play on (now that was a challenge!)”

“We even designed the bouncy castle ourselves! Any wedding ones we could find were too trashy, and not in a good way!”

Phew….(and yes dear reader, I have asked Caroline if she’d like to do some DIY tutorials for the blog, let us know in the comments which ones you’d like to see the most!)

Caroline’s wedding dress was made by her Mum from an original 1960’s pattern. She also wore a beautiful original 1960’s headpiece. She bought herself some plain shoes and added all the swarovski crystals (all 2400 of them!) herself.

Caroline & Stuart now hire all their wedding props out through their company Vowed and Amazed.

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A Farm & Festival Wedding: Roisin & Paul

Roisin & Paul’s Somerset wedding makes me ache for those long Summer days again. The Apple Orchard at Brook Farm played host to their August nuptials – a celebration of love, life and all things good. The couple opted for a humanist ceremony led by Alison Orchard, “She was so crucial to the success of the ceremony, which was such an emotional and wonderful experience,” the bride told me. “I think lots of people thought it might have a been a hippy-dippy, tree-hugging, fingers down-your-throat service, but instead found it was a lovely and romantic experience. We wrote our vows and kept them quite similar to the traditional ones. We sang, ‘A little Help from My Freinds’ by the Beatles and I cried all the way through it.”

After the moving ceremony, came cocktails and games on the lawn and in the marquees hired from Abbas Marquees, “This was very much a DIY wedding,” Roisin continued. “All of my friends and family got involved which made it a lovely and personal wedding, along with being quite a lot cheaper. We picked stones from the beach for name places and brought ‘Brighton rock’ as favours. I also made lots of little clay hearts.”

“Our theme was, ‘Festival’ which was fitting as the site of the farm is less than a mile from the Glastonbury Festival site. My bridesmaids and the Best Man were incredible. It was quite an organizational feat and they took it totally on board. In fact we had a ‘hand-over’ on the Thursday evening. They then became in-charge and only came to me if they really needed to. This made me be able to really enjoy the day and not worry about all the details that had been prepared.”

“My sister organsied games in the field of ‘Welly Wanging’ and ‘scissors, paper stone’. It was one of the highlights of the wedding! It was a really relaxed affair, full of love, romance and fun. People dressed how they wanted to and children were very much allowed to run around and have loads of fun. At my hen-do, the girls hired a hoola hooping instructor and we learnt a routine that we performed at the wedding. Everyone loved playing with the hoola hoops and it added to the festival feel.”

“My favourite ‘home-made’ bits were the clay hearts that we made and put in the orchard. We just bought heart shaped biscuit cutters, rolled out the clay and hung them from the trees using ribbon. It made the ceremony feel so magical.”

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A Vintage Festival Wedding…in the Rain!: Natasha & Charlie

Natasha & Charlie are the kind of couple that wedding photographers dream of – creative, unique in their inspiration and totally in love. The bride told me all about their vintage festival wedding. It may have rained for their outdoor ceremony, but it certainly didn’t damper their spirits!

“Even though I had prayed for months for sun on our wedding day, it still rained! I thought that this would ruin the day as everything we had planned involved being outside – including the ceremony. Just before we were due to go down, the wedding organiser at Maunsel House said that it was raining and tried to convince me to move everything inside. But I couldn’t bare the thought of not getting married under the beautiful bandstand as this had been my dream from the start – so I made everyone stand outside with umbrellas! It actually turned out really well and everybody loved it – the pictures of everyone with umbrellas looked great as well!”

“Even though we are from London we both knew that we wanted to celebrate our big day somewhere further afield,” the bride continued. “We are also huge music festival fans so the idea of a festival-style, open air wedding was really appealing for us. We saw about 5 places before we finally settled on Maunsel House. With a licensed bandstand set in the grounds for wedding ceremonies and a roofed Pergola for outside dining, it totally fitted the bill for our outdoorsy festival theme.”

“We really wanted the wedding styling to reflect our personalities and our love of vintage things, so we began trawling car boot sales for trinkets and props to start creating the look.” Natasha continued. “As an alternative to the standard marquee uplighting, we bought loads of cheap old lampshades in different colours and shapes to hang from the centre of our marquee. We lit some with bulbs and others with fairy lights creating a vintage living room effect.”

“I also found a beautiful 1950’s record player on eBay which we set up in the main hall playing ‘The Sound of Music’ soundtrack to guests as they arrived. Instead of a table and traditional guestbook, we hired an old 1920’s bureau from The Little Wedding Helper and put a typewriter on there with a typed welcome letter to our guests. Kirsten, our wedding helper styled it beautifully with our vintage books and telephone as well as some flowers and luggage tags for our guests to write messages to us.”

“We used old scrabble sets to create our table names which were all based on the different festivals we had been to over the years and the walkways were adorned with hundreds of metres of vintage style bunting made by myself, my mum and my mother-in-law. We also made satin bows from the left-over bunting material to decorate the wedding cake (a delicious cake of cheese!) and little jars of home-made chutney for our wedding favours. My mother-in-law sketched a lovely drawing of the garden bandstand (where we had the ceremony) for the cover of our Order of Service booklets and we included poems and readings, as well as the words to our our Elton John and Kiki Dee Sing-a-long.”

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48 Couples Marry at Bestival in the Big Love Inflatable Church

Taking place on the Isle of Wight for the past 7 years, Bestival music festival has fast become sinimomous with crazy antics, fancy dress…oh and a big dollop of awesome music thrown in for good measure! Each year it also plays host to the Big Love Inflatable Church, where couples can go to tie the knot. This year wedding photographer Chris Cowley was there to catch all the action!

He explains, “A grand total of 48 weddings took place over the 3 day festival, Reverend’s ‘Nickerless’ and ‘Randy Johnson’ preformed ceremonies with the help of dishevelled bridesmaids, a mother in-law and a maid of dishonour.”

“Those wanting to get married booked up early on Friday to prepare themselves and their partner or partners, for a wedding they would never forget! Before the ceremony the bridesmaids dressed the groom and groomsmen in a variety of wedding dresses and suits of their choice. They then dressed the brides, who got to fulfil their fantasy of a semi traditional white wedding. When the groom, best man and any wedding crashers not in the bridal party were ready – they were taken to meet the Vicar who would be performing the ceremony.”

“In the meantime the “Pamper Posse” looked after hair, makeup, face painting and offered calming massages to the bridal party. Each bride was pampered and made to look stunning for their special moment as they were given away down the aisle of the Big Love Inflatable Church.”

“At this point, this is where the similarity to a traditional white English wedding ends and the uniqueness of a Big Love Inflatable Church begin! The ceremonies themselves were far from conventional! The Reverend’s took it in turns to conduct each service where anyone and everyone was welcome. The congregation packed tightly into the church with the bridesmaids kneeling below the Vicar. At the end of each very risqué service music played and the congregation danced in celebration whilst the bridesmaids encouraged everyone to create an archway for the couple to exit through under their arms.The wedding certificate was then signed outside the church, whilst the bridesmaids gathered the congregation together for one big wedding photo as the group shouted ‘BIG LOVE!’.”

“A wide variety of ceremonies took place over the weekend including numerous blessings, vow renewals (one only a week after the couple were legally married), civil partnerships and a stand-in wedding for a couple who couldn’t afford the one they initially planned.”

“Whilst every wedding was memorable for its own unique reason, a few in particular services stood out for me, including an Island group who have gotten married every year at the Big Love Inflatable Church for the last 7 years. A pirate wedding who were getting married for their 3rd time in a row (this time in the presence of their new-born daughter), another wedding who were led down the aisle by Edinburgh brass band ‘Horndog’ and the grand finale which was a special wedding for the Inflatable Church company director Tristram (a former Inflatable Church vicar) and his partner Sophie.”

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