WWW readers Ellen and Josh married back in the Summer and wanted a relaxed wedding with a country fair feel.
They married in a field on a farm in Wales, with a personal and touching ceremony, followed by a party in a yurt which they decorated beautifully. There were DIY seasonal flowers, bunting, games and book favours. And of course one very loved up and gorgeous couple.
Thanks so much to Marta May for sharing her lovely images with us today.
The Proposal… E: Very sweet and very us. (Complete with a beautiful 1920’s ring he’d chosen all by himself).
J: Very us equates to quite low key! It was the day after my 30th our friends had left (I knew that if there were anyone else around then Ellen would be mortified). I’d double wrapped an extra present so that when I opened it there was another present inside with instructions to give it to Ellen and ask her to open it. Obviously I pretended to know nothing about this but when she’d opened it I asked her to give me the best present of all.
The Vision for the Day… E: A relaxed day filled with all our favourite people. The checklist for success boiled down to key ingredients of people, food, dancing (we had a ceilidh) and more bunting than seems reasonable…
J: Somewhere between a relaxed wedding and a country fair.
The Planning Process… E: I hadn’t ever imagined getting married before I met Josh so I did that a LOT once we got engaged! It all got a bit more complicated when 5 months after he proposed we decided to take over Alice’s Bookshop, a second hand bookshop in Melbourne so had an across-the-world move to sort out too. We knew we wanted to get married in the UK though so planning mostly involved lots of emailing, trawling Etsy and many moments of ‘how on earth are we going to make this happen??’ We had the venue sorted in plenty of time and booked everything else much closer to the day. I went back in May and with the help of my amazing mum ran around testing ciders, buying a hotchpotch of linens from car boots, filling the living room with bunting I’d made and calling Josh in panics over various unimportant things. I had a lot of fun in the process but never felt very at home being particularly ‘bridey’ so it was probably a good thing that most of the planning was from afar.
J: Ummmm, well, I may have been somewhat slack to start with; a combination of the bookshop buying and my own inability to realise that the future tends to approach more quickly than we might think being principally to blame. But as the time got nearer and I found my stride I spent many an hour glued to wedding blogs or pondering favours (books, of course!). And while Ellen certainly did more of the planning I hope I wasn’t too much of a stereotypical groom!
Budget… E: errrr *gulp* ten thousand pounds. That is a lot more than either of us imagined at first, and we did think about keeping it really small and simple (and cheap) initially. After a lot of thought though we decided this is what we wanted to spend the money on, especially as we’d just moved away. We saved enthusiastically so we could just about afford it!
J: Worth every penny!
The Venue… E: The Sidney Nolan trust which is at the Rodd Farm, Presteigne in Powys. We had a non-legal ceremony in a field, drinks and speeches in a gorgeous old barn and then hired a giant yurt from Cheltenham Yurt Hire (such beautiful structures) for feasting and the ceilidh. They have never held a wedding on the site before so it was a new thing for all involved but was the absolute perfect place. I’m lucky enough to have a family connection and have known it since I was little; it was really nice to have that sense of familiarity.
J: They were great, letting us build our own small ceremony area in the middle of a field and allowing us to make use of all of the amazing space on offer which gave the day a very open feeling. Legalities were a week later with a handful of people at Hereford town hall followed by a swim in the river Wye.
The Dress + Accessories… E: Floaty prettiness from the Lace Market Bridal Boutique, fresh flowers in my hair and the best garter I’ve ever seen, made the day before from bird print fabric by my sister.
Finding the Dress… E: I only ever went into 3 shops and in 2 of them I felt like I was five years old and trying on grown up clothes. Then in the Lace Market Bridal Boutique in Nottingham I was just in love with pretty much everything and they were great at working with me to find something in my budget. When we first got engaged I nearly bought a lace tea dress from a charity shop for fifty pounds, but the assistant ended up ripping it badly getting it out of the window. I was gutted at the time but actually really glad in the end, it was so much fun having something so fancy made for me!
Groom’s Attire… J: I may have got a bit carried away… a grey Prince of Wales check suit and matching brogues, both Paul Smith were quickly snapped up but it took me a goodly while to find the rest to match. After many failed shopping expeditions and some false turns (golden waistcoat – just not me) I happened upon a marvellous shirt emblazoned with ducks; just right for getting married on a farm.
E: He looked scrumptious!
The Readings + Music… J: We didn’t have recorded music but our lovely friend Emily played some Bach guitar pieces before the ceremony and as Ellen made the long trip down the imaginary aisle. As for the readings, we nearly got carried away and had nothing but Don Paterson poems but managed to cut it down to two in the end; there are definitely several pictures of me clutching my copy of his collection Rain. I also wrote my vows in the form of a sonnet as I know how much Ellen loves them.
E: My friend Rosie read ‘I Like You’ by Sandol Stoddard Warburg, my dad read one of the Don Paterson poems instead of a speech, and my wondrous brother read an extract from Rilke’s letters. We wrote the whole ceremony together too which I’m glad we did, it felt more meaningful because we’d really thought about what we wanted to say throughout.
Beautiful Bridesmaids… My brilliant sister Florence was my maid of honour, and then I asked two of my bestest ladies Ruth and Mayita to be maidens. They are all the most wonderful women and I couldn’t have done it without their no-nonsense attitudes and unwavering support.
J: The best men weren’t bad either; thanks to my brother Ben and my best friend Adam.
The Flowers… E: I’m a big fan of wildflowers, and was thrilled to find the lovely Chloe Plester of Bare Blooms right around the corner from the venue in Presteigne. She grows the most stunning seasonal flowers locally and was incredibly helpful and generous with her time. We bought a few buckets of cut flowers from her which were delivered on the day and we arranged on site. Our friend Paula did a particularly great job putting together my bouquet!
The Caterers… Our amazing caterers Simon and Sara of Purple Carrot Catering are based in Brecon. From the first email they were brilliant, very friendly and flexible with their menus. They make use of local and seasonal produce wherever possible and the food not only looked incredible but was amazingly delicious too. And they are just lovely people! Very glad to have stumbled across their website.
The Cake… E: Made by the ever talented bridesmaid Ruth. It looked stunning decorated with fresh flowers and was completely scrumptious. We were having so much fun we forgot to bring it out until after 11pm but by breakfast we were finishing off the last crumbs.
Your Photographer… J: The wonderful Marta May Photography. It was very important to us that the non-guests were people we felt comfortable with and who would both enjoy and add to the feeling of the day. We had emailed a few photographers and not felt quite right about them even though we loved their pictures but when we found Marta we knew she fit the bill perfectly and she was an absolute pleasure to have around!
E: Marta and Artur were such fun, they even managed to work with my general aversion to cameras and the end results were perfect.
The Details + Decor… E: The hills and trees! It was such a beautiful setting to start with, we just added some extra flowers and a good dose of bunting. Jugs and little bottles of flowers in the dining/dancing yurt; mismatched table coverings; some random pretty crockery; book favours…
The Honeymoon… J: At first we had plans for a ‘grand tour’ of sorts but at some point we realised that, having travelled from Australia for the wedding and having just three weeks post nuptials until we headed back, all we actually wanted to do was be somewhere together with no calls on our time and minimal travelling to get there. A thatched cottage on the mid Wales coast was just right; simple but with a hint of the luxurious.
E: The perfect calm after the storm. Hot tubs; walking the coast paths; sea swimming and plentiful fish and chips made for a wonderful first week of Mrs and Mr.
Memorable Moments… E: Oh so many, but I suppose I have to pick a couple so… Walking to the ceremony site which involved going through a barn where the caterers were preparing and across a couple of fields, quite some “aisle”. I had my mum on one arm and my dad on the other, and my bridesmaids following behind. Very surreal but I definitely had a total calm moment, and felt so happy seeing everyone there for us. Leading the first Ceilidh dance with Josh (and trying not to trip over my dress whilst spinning around) was just the most amazing feeling of carefree.
J: Everything! But, of course most of all Ellen making her way across the field towards me, seeing how beautiful she looked and just is, and realising I was going to cry for the whole thing, which I promptly did. Also the speeches by my dad and best friend and then, after the sun had set and while the ceilidh band were taking a break, having a moonlight waltz with my new wife to a tune of our own devising.
Advice for Other Couples… E: I know it has been said a million times before, but just to reiterate it – don’t sweat the small stuff. Enjoy it! The amazing thing about weddings is that people are there because they love and support you. It’s hard to go wrong with that around. Remember that there are two of you –it’s all about you as a couple, not as individuals so stresses can be shared and you never know what genius ideas your other half might come up with. Think about what you actually want to say/will say in the ceremony. For us writing it ourselves meant we were really sure about exactly what we wanted and why we were doing it all in the first place!
J: To grooms; get involved as much as you can, share the planning and the work and just enjoy the whole process.
Credit Where Credit is Due…
Yurt: Cheltenham Yurt Hire
Catering: Purple Carrot Catering
Photography: Marta May Photography
Flowers: Bare Blooms
Venue: The Sidney Nolan Trust
Dress: Lace Market Bridal Boutique
Utterly gorgeous! And I just love the wedding report written by Ellen and Josh together.
Thanks so much to Ellen and Josh for sharing their beautiful wedding with us today XOXO Lou