Bohemian Festival Wedding with African Roots

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Chris and Jen wanted a bohemian, outdoor wedding inspired by their love of festivals and each other. “We’re lucky to be able to have a pretty bohemian lifestyle”, the bride said. “We like to travel and we like to let our hair down at festivals. Many of our friends come from theses and other creative pools. Chris has African roots and we both wanted to acknowledge this in the symbolism and ceremony of our day. So I guess our theme was… us?”

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“The inspiration for our wedding has to have been the party we envisioned throwing for all our family and friends. We knew from the various cabaret/ music tents we’ve hung out together in what kind of feel we wanted. First we found the venue, Wyresdale Park near Preston. We wanted somewhere that people would be able to stay for the full weekend and that we could have the reception outside.”

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The ceremony was held in front of Wyresdale Hall. “The skies cleared and the sun began to shine upon the lawns”, Jen continued. “Moments before some of the congregation had been frantically erecting the rainy day plan of gazebos. Now the diverse congregation were sat in the sun waiting for the day to unfold. The flowers and archway looked amazing, our friends who made it had surpassed themselves.”

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“We had African Djembe and Kora music played by two musicians from West Africa. Chris walked down to the alter first, accompanied by his daughter/best person, to jubilant drumming. When I approached it was to the song of the more feminine African harp, the kora.”

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“The ceremony progressed through a hand-fasting, using a length of traditional Ghanaian kente cloth from Chris’ Mum. The sun continued to bless us as symbolic candles were lit and rings were exchanged. We turned to the congregation and a cheer went up. Celebratory rhythms and tunes exploded from our musicians and we danced back down the aisle. We didn’t have confetti, we had bubbles. We then cracked open the prosecco to toast ourselves and the congregation before a buffet on the lawns still with the sweet African tunes.”

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After the ceremony, the wedding continued out in the meadow area. The set up was inspired by all the festivals they’ve attended over the years. “Our venue had a lake for boating, cabins with outdoor wood fired hot tubs and an old boathouse for after hours DJ sets”, the bride said. “But the main tent was where all the action happened.”

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“Various friends decorated glass jars to hang in the trees with candles. I made hula hoop flower chandeliers and the ceremony archway was made by our friend. We bought our wild flowers from the Manchester Flower Market the day before and our friends made these into beautiful heart shaped willow wreaths to attach to the archway.”

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The couple’s budget was £8000 and their biggest single expense was the bride’s incredible dress! “My dress was hand made by Liliia using polyester paper that was shipped in from the south of France and was then melted and painted and embroidered. The back was hand-painted with flowers.”

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“The best part of planning the wedding was seeing it all slowly come together and knowing it was totally for and about us”, Jen concluded. “The day was the sum of our friends and more. Every aspect made it what it was.”

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