A Rain-Soaked Wedding Festival: Helen & James

Neil Thomas Douglas Photography

September 30, 2013

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Rain on your wedding day is a big worry for a lot of couples, but today I’m here to prove to you that it can actually be pretty amazing! Yes, Helen and James’ outdoor festival wedding was a wash-out, but they definitely didn’t let it ruin their day. Check out the amazing photographs their photographer Neil Thomas Douglas was able to capture… of course shots like this requires a couple who aren’t afraid to get a little wet and muddy, but these guys went all out! They even went out in a boat on the river during the downpour!

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The ceremony was held at The Secret Garden of Kingston Bagpuize House in Oxfordshire, which it actually stayed dry for. Their festival style reception was in a field in Crowmarsh. “The ceremony was perfect, so intimate and emotional, all of the people we love, in the sunshine in the secret garden”, Helen began. “A little shower cut the group photos short, and the sun came out again for our couple shots. We were due to arrive at the reception in our gorgeous little boat, it started drizzling as we got in, thinking it was another brief shower, we decided to pursue. The best man had gathered all the guests on the river bank and we set off down river. The rain got heavy, like we never see in England! The heaviest downpour ever! Initially it was funny, we got wet, then… The heavy rain caused the engine to cut out! With no choice but to row to the riverside and abandon the boat on the bank; we called our bridesmaid to rescue us and we finally arrived at the reception in the car!”

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“But the boat story doesn’t end there! The boat remained on the bank over night, we went to collect it on Sunday morning to discover it had been stolen. We were devastated! Lots of calls to the police and environment agency just seemed useless. We headed off on honeymoon thinking that would be the last trip we’d take in our little vessel. Little did we know an entire facebook campaign was underway. Our amazing Mummy Trish asked our amazing photographer for a picture of the boat, the story was shared, a tip off came in, and with the help of a rather unsure policeman, the boat was recovered and we got our boat back!”

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After an eventful time on the river, it was finally time for their reception. The couple were engaged at Reading Festival so what could be more perfect than a Wedding Festival theme!? “Anyone who knows us would always know we could never do anything ‘normal’”, Helen continued. “The theme was perfect to us as huge festival goers. The most important thing was how personal it was. Every detail was thought through, had meaning, or was handmade. We are very lucky as we are both very creative, so we had the ability to make what we had in our minds. Even after a year of working on it, the moment we shared on the Friday before, when the whole venue was set up, all of our hard work was over and we were finally prepared for the day, we looked around, so proud and overwhelmed with what we had created, and it looked a billion times more incredible than we had imagined!”

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“James built the bar and the tables, the gorgeous double swing and the bucket bar. The peep through boards were painted by me and my extremely talented bridesmaid Phili. The Love letters and signpost were painted by me and made by James and all of the bunting was handmade by me, Mummy Trish and Granny. I’m a teacher and the oil drum bins were designed and painted by the children in my class! The cake stands were made by me and I collected the mix match crockery too.”

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The DIY wasn’t limited to the reception décor though, Helen actually made her own wedding dress and they both made each other’s wedding rings. “Making our own rings an incredible experience and so personal.” she explained. “We took a little road trip to Cornwall, slept in the back of the van and had just the best weekend! We had a great time at the Mid Cornwall School of Jewellery and are SO pleased with our rings. I made his, and he made mine, and the wonderful Lisa was there every step of the way to make sure we didn’t mess it up!”

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Helen and James are now selling a lot of their wedding décor items so if you’d be interested in any of it for your own wedding be sure to check out their facebook page!