Messy Countryside Playground Wedding

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It’s an undeniable cliché that I love all things surrounding weddings: the love, the family, the pretty dresses, the flowers… but I also love to hear the real stories behind these magical looking days. It’s all very well and good sharing the perfectly edited highlights online, but what really went down? Were there injuries? Was one supplier an utter nightmare? Did someone jump on a bouncy castle and end up with a bloody nose? Well, actually, now you come to mention it…

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Jack and Krysten were married last July at the groom’s family home. “We wanted it to feel like a playground”, the bride told me. “One of the starting points was having the venue as Jack’s family home, a six-hundred-year-old farmhouse with outbuildings and a pond. There was also the fact that many guests were travelling for the wedding: I am Californian and had friends and family coming in from all across the states. In addition, both of us had friends flying in from various other countries; Canada, Israel, Korea. We felt that because people were travelling such distances, we should really give them a trip to remember, which led to the idea of having it over two days – the ceremony and reception on the Saturday, then a barbecue/ garden games/ recovery day on Sunday.”

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“I am a sucker for anything ‘magical’ and Jack is sucker for building said magical things. We really just wanted it to feel like this big magical playground for adult children (and indeed quite a few real children) to get lost and have fun in. ”

“There are quite a lot of funny/ dramatic stories around our wedding”, the bride laughed, “I’m not really sure where to begin! The first incident really started a few days before the wedding when we thought one of the best gals was coming down with a cold. On the wedding day, she made it down the aisle then immediately passed out in the guest bedroom. The paramedics were called and it turns out she had pneumonia. She was in intensive care for a week after the wedding! Its funny now because she’s fine and because she made it down the aisle like a true champion!”

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And it calamity continued… “In the early evening, our friend, who stands at about 6’4″ headed onto the pond for a quick race with another friend… as you do. He quickly capsized, again, as you do, and I just overheard the best man ask the groom’s mother for ‘a very large towel’.”

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“And lastly a good friend of Jack’s bled all over the white bouncy castle after kneeing himself in the face during an attempted somersault. It turned out he’d broken his nose, making a total of three hospitalisations due to our wedding (as one of our other friends was leaving she tripped over a bench and sliced her knee open!) Oh and how could I forget, one of the bridesmen managed to fall asleep in his own vomit… on the back porch of the house. Lovely! Of course, thanks to the amazing Nick Tucker, we got all of these incidents on camera!”

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However it wasn’t all drama! There was plenty of the aforementioned magical moments too. The couple did a lot of DIY as the wedding was at home, including completely renovating the barn where they reception was held. “When we started planning the wedding, the barn was full of junk, all on a dirt floor. Jack, and his mother and father cleaned the whole thing by hand, had the floor cemented and built a stage. Jack borrowed an industrial hoover from the local farmer to clean the walls and painted the floors with PVA. It was a huge undertaking that he had to spread out over about six months.”

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“All of our favours were handmade too”, she continued. “I made an orange blossom-coconut hand cream and the bridesmaids helped to put them in little jars. Jack designed labels for them. We made CDs of all the important songs involved in the wedding and Jack’s mum made little jars of rhubarb and apple and date chutney, and she also made little corn dollies for everyone!”

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“My outfit was also a bit DIY. I wore a skirt from Charlie Brear and an amazing yellow top which was handmade by the Jack’s sister. All the décor was made by family and friends. Our personal favourites were the DANCE sign over the stage, and the crossroads sign post. Our friend designed the seating chart and other friends purchased all the flowers from New Covent Garden Flower Market, and arranged them all for us. We made all the paper goods ourselves and we designed a couple of cocktails to go with (or without) the whiskey. The band was completely DIY, a rolling line-up of friends and family!”

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“As cliché as it may sound, it’s difficult to pick a favourite part of the wedding”, Krysten concluded. “Everything was so full of love and life (and sweat and tears!) and just having so many of our most important favourite people surrounding us for a few days of utter ridiculousness and total self-indulgence. It was lovely to have so many friends and family pitching in and helping us bring it all together, and then enjoying it with us.”

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