This time last week I blogged a wedding at the beautiful Fforest Farm Campsite in Wales. I loved the location so much that when Francesca & Iain sent me their wedding at the same venue I didn’t hesitate to want to share it too! I think it really interesting to see two different weddings at the same place actually and to see how different a venue can look with a different couple’s aesthetic and vision stamped on it.
Francesca described her wedding theme to me as “Bohemian England meets Mexican Fiesta.” I just love how they brought this out with ideas such as the decorations from Lisa Piercy, the paper goods by Thunderwing Press and the amazing screenprinted napkins personalised by Leonie Flower. I’m also swit-swooing over the flower garland head wreaths worn by Francesca and her bridesmaids. This is a wedding trend that I hope doesn’t go away any time soon. I love it!
“We knew early on that we wanted to make a weekend of it, not just a day, and we couldn’t have found a better venue – in the middle of the Welsh countryside,” the bride explained. “Within an hour of people arriving they were tobogganing down hills in push-carts and sinking the local ale in our on-site pub. We had the whole place to ourselves and it felt really magical – the trees lit with fairy lights and big communal brunches and campfires.”
“We wanted an unforgettable experience that everyone could be part of, and so many people helped with decorating, flower arranging – even bringing and cooking me a special bridal champagne breakfast on the outdoor stove whilst I got ready. It was important to us that things be personal and that as many friends be involved as possible in bringing our vision together.”
Check out the beautiful video, made for the couple by Francesca’s brother…
Irma & Dan’s Rock n Roll wedding was held at Windermere Manor in Ontario, Canada. Originally from Mexico the bride wanted to bring colour and fun into their big day.
After proposing at Sunfest, the bride’s favourite festival in Canada (check out the video!) they set to work planning their ‘butterflies, rainbows, flowers and Rock n Roll’ themed wedding. “Thank you to everybody that made possible and perfect,” wrote the bride. “Starting with God that gave us a sunny beautiful day, following with our professional vendors Brent Foster Photography who was amazing, human and an authentic artist.”
“Julie-Ann from Windermere Manor for her efficiency and easy going personality. Patti Lofgren from Kettle Creek Weddings for providing the most beautiful service in the ceremony and making clear our deep love for Jesus. And Ana, my sister, Maid of Honor and bestest friend ever.”
“My sister woke up at 5am on our wedding day to finish the centrepieces and to decorate the hall. She rocks my world. My sis is my most important support and everything she has done for us is amazing. I love her to death event hough she never closes the doors of the cabinets in the wash room! Thanks to everybody’s good vibes, love and blessings. That is why our life is so easy. We are around good people that has peace to offer. No party poopers in our lives at all!”
The bride wore a dress Sears which she got in an outlet store for just $70. She also made her bouquet herself from paper butterflies, “I made my bouquet with florist wire and dollarama butterflies,” Irma told me. “I love butterflies and I didn’t want a real flower bouquet as many are so expensive. I was either going to bring a single calla lilly (my Mom’s favourite flower) or a bouquet made by myself with butterflies incorporated to it. Then I saw a magazine with a bride that had a bouquet of floating butterflies, and since I had thought about something similar, I decided to give it a try with my own materials and creativity.”
When this photo shoot landed in my inbox with the description “Barbie and Ken’s wedding” I thought oh Christ…what’s this?! However I’ve got to say that as soon as I saw the photographs my initial scepticism and preconceptions were totally eradicated. I laughed as I looked at each photo, set up to show Barbie and Ken getting married and photographed in the way an actual wedding might be. The quality of the photos is totally brilliant – and there lies the hilarity.
French photographer Béatrice de Guigné has set up each shot and photographed it like it would be with a real life couple. There are certain photo set-ups that you see all over wedding photography (the shoe shot, the dress shot, the bridal portraits just after she’s got ready, the groom getting ready with his boys etc…) and the whole set just made me laugh!
Maybe I’m going a bit mental from looking at so many wedding photographs every day!? This may well be funnier to wedding photographers and bloggers who do look at weddings all day long (the ‘portraits’ are particularly accurate!) but I hope you all get a little chuckle out of these…
“Barbie and Ken were married at Faraway Castle, in Plasticity,” Béatrice told me. “The bride bought her dress from The Fairy Godmother shop and her shoes from the Cinderella Store. The groom wore a suit from The Prince Charming Emporium. The couple met more than 50 years ago (yes I know they look young). Barbie was tired of waiting so she asked Ken to get married.”
I did however want to ask Béatrice a semi-serious question to see where she got her idea for this ‘shoot’ from. “I don’t know why I wanted to do this but I did!” she told me. “Everything started last year when one day I wanted to make some boudoir shots I had in my mind, but nobody to pose for me except Barbie. So I photographed her and published the photos on my blog. Everybody laughed about it and found it was a nice idea. After that, everytime I wanted to test some ideas, I took Barbie as my model.”
“One day she said to me ‘Hey Béatrice, now that I have my boudoir, can you be my wedding photographer?’ LOL. So I started this crazy adventure! More seriously it was weeks and weeks of preparation, three days to shoot everything, a lot of sweat and finally a wedding day! I’m laughing alone looking these photos, so I hope it’s the same for people looking at them! Or I think I’m totally crazy!”
Well I’m laughing with you lady. I love them! Pretty genius I say.
When I saw Elisha & Russell’s wedding I knew they’d made the perfect choice in their photographer Joanna Brown. If you follow Joanna on twitter you’ll know that she loves her garden and grows her own veg, so the fact that this wedding was held on Magdalen Farm on the Dorset/Somerset border…well she must have been in her element! “The staff of The Magdalen Project at Magdalen Farm are amazing and even joined us on the dance floor and around the campfire at the end of the evening,” the newlyweds told me. “We loved that our wedding was helping to support the Wessex Foundation who encourage active learning in and about the outdoors.”
“I have a background in informal education with young people,” continued Elisha, “and Russ set up www.rocknrolladventures.com to encourage people to spend time in the outdoors which has evolved to organise activity and educational travel for schools and colleges as well as training camps and other holidays. We hope to provide a quality of service and a similar conviction shown by the staff at Magdalen. We found they really did walk the talk as they claim to do which meant excellent, tasty fresh local food and a friendly and happy staff team. And a deliciously relaxed weekend wedding for us in a beautiful place!”
The bride wore a two dresses – the first which she bought from ASOS and customised by adding some crochet lace hand-sewn by Great-Grandmother. “My Auntie Margaret is a creative wizard and offered to make a dress to my design as she had done for my cousin and bridesmaid Siobhan,” explained the bride. “Looking around for ideas of shapes and materials I found this dress on ASOS that the catwalk video showed to have a great flowing skirt that I thought would be a lot of fun on the dance floor! I showed it to my Aunt and described the changes I hoped to make. She found some lovely cotton, crocheted lace in her textiles cupboard which her grandmother had made and said we could use it. She used natural tea-dye to bring it to the same colour as the dress which was reshaped.”
The bride’s second dress came from Damsel in a Dress. “Closer to the wedding I was worrying that I might prefer to wear something more sophisticated (than my usual style!) for the ceremony and while looking for bridesmaid dresses on John Lewis website found the Damsel in a Dress dress – very different to anything else I’d seen and within budget! So the two dress wedding was decided. I felt sleek walking up the aisle in the Damsel in a Dress number and had a lot of fun skanking to the ska band and cosying up round the campfire until early hours in my free flowing skirt of my ASOS dress.”
It was the little and fun touches that made this wedding brilliant. For example, after the ceremony they had the Street Heat Samba Band to entertain their guests and playing late into the night were Skar Wars. The couple asked a number of their guests to make a cake instead of having a traditional wedding cake and they were helped by their friends and family with making and displaying the reception decor.
“We didn’t really identify a theme,” concluded Elisha, “other than we knew we wanted to create an informal event with as much time outside as possible. You could say our theme was evolving! I grew up loving the Dorset countryside and felt closest to my family when there, where our time spent together was focused on getting muddy in streams or eating picnics on the beach. Russ had enjoyed similar times with his family and it was his determination not to feel part of a ‘wedding machine’ of many, more formal venues, but focus on finding somewhere that we wanted to spend time with family and friends to celebrate our happiness and excitement for the future. We felt very lucky to find that in the venue and staff of Magdalen Farm.”
Fiona & Rob were hitched right by the beach at The Gallivant in Camber Sands (formally called The Place). The style of the beautiful hotel suited their beach theme perfectly. “I was quite keen for it not to look too wedding’y – or formal or too orchestrated” newlywed Fiona told me.
“We didn’t consciously go with a theme but it kind of happened! We live on a beach and both my husband and I are kitesurfers so it had to feature strongly and in the end it made it easier to have a focus shaping our creative decisions! I think always try and make stuff, not only to save money but to make it more personal and make your loved ones feel involved.”
“Many of the homemade elements were made with thanks to my Mum who worked hard on all this stuff. We made our own table displays. We bought glass bowls from Argos and filled them with stones, seaweed and shells form our local beach. We all now have one in our houses as nice ornaments! We made shell garlands, buying large shells from a seaside tourist shop and drilling holes in them to then thread onto thick string. These were hung up around the venue – adding to the beach theme!”
“Finally, we collected large pebbles from our local beach, wrote names on them using liquid craft pens and used them as place names. We also put together kids packs including a colouring book, plastic bangles & bucket and spade. Rather than having ‘favours’ we had big bowls of hairdo and love heart sweets dotted around.”
The bright sunflowers were also really important to the couple as they added some sunshine to their day, “It was all about sunflowers being my favourite flower and perfect for a sunny beach wedding,” Fiona said. “My parents and in-laws all grew some in their gardens over the summer which we used as extras in a few ceramic jugs and vases around the venue (which were all bought from Ikea.) We then ordered a few tall glass displays from brilliant flower shop in Rye near to the venue called Cafe Des Fleurs. They also provided smaller sunflowers to put in small glass vases on the tables (bought from Ikea again), the little flowers for my hair & the button holes and finally my absolutely beautiful bouquet. We all had sunflowers in our houses for weeks afterwards! The little flower girls also had baskets of yellow petals which they spread down the aisle as I walked in – very cute!”
The bride wore an informal tunic style dress from Phillip Lim. “I always imagined my wedding style to be a bit 60’s hippy love child – no idea why…I literally searched online for ‘short cream tunic dress’ and found it! The lace just made it look more delicate and special although I had to have a new under layer made as the previous one was a bit see through! I was nervous about the length but it wasn’t a church wedding and I am so happy I went with it as it looks awesome with our venue and theme.”
The couple certainly didn’t take themselves or their wedding too seriously which was reflected in the fact that after dinner they had organised a salsa class as entertainment for their guests! “It was very funny, not everyone loved it but we did which is the main thing!” continued Fiona. “We also asked my husband’s brother and wife to sing ‘All I Want is You’ by Barry Louis Polisar during our ceremony to a backing track, placing a song sheet on everyone seats to join in. It was funny as they’re not professional singers (!) but its small things like this that make it way more personal and much less formal than a reading.”
The next day all the guests were invited back for a celebration BBQ on the beach.
“The day after our tea party reception we went on a adventure to an abandoned fairground that I used to visit as a child when it was still open,” Regula told me. “I suddenly thought about it a few months ago and wondered what had become of it. I have some vivid childhood memories of it. Bruno and I wanted to go there as we love the creepy and romantic forgotten world feeling about it. We have a thing for the strangeness of old fairgrounds and fairs, hence the rock candy and candy apples at our reception. When I told our photographer Sassy of it she was so excited we decided to make a trip together.”
“We drove up to the old parking area, the sign and everything was still there, yet in decay.The rusty gate was closed but not locked. As we walked in I tried to reconstruct the fairground like it used to look. Everything was still there, the attractions, the ticket booths, even the tickets were still scattered around. A lot of it was vandalized and destroyed. We past the ghost house, the dolls used to be still here but were now all stolen. Nature was taking back it’s territory as all the big squares with souvenir stalls were now becoming woodland. Strange feeling knowing that you came here to have fun for the day and that now, it’s still there but fading away in time.”
“It’s been closed for over 10 years but I’m surprised how quick nature is taking over the grounds. There was something peaceful and beautiful about it, we felt like we could wonder here for days. I’ve never had this strange feeling before, decaying beauty yet frozen in time.”
“You could almost still hear children playing … not being creepy now, there were actually kids running around as the children from the villages around were still playing here. In a different way, the fairground was still ‘a children’s paradise’ which was it’s tagline, like it used to be in the 1950’s.”
“It closed never to open again after an accident, but in a way it never did close. It just became a place out of this world, did we find the real wonderland after all?”