WWW readers Ruthanne and Matthew had a vision of a natural, outdoor vegan wedding. They found a beautiful stone circle in the woods for their ceremony and had a reception in a yurt which was filled with rustic home made touches.
Ruthanne wanted a bohemian bridal look, with a flowing dress, flower crown and henna on her hands and feet. Matthew looked dapper in a grey suit with DIY buttonhole and bow tie. Such a special wedding.
Thanks so much to CT Images for sharing their lovely photographs with us today.
The Proposal… Matt cycled to Spain from Manchester in the Summer of 2011. During the ride he decided that he was going to propose. He had planned a Midsummer proposal for the following year; however, in October (the day before Halloween…) we attended his friends 30th birthday. On the walk home, Matt just came out with his ‘secret’ – and proposed.
The Vision for the Day… Matt is an environmentalist and we both wanted the day to reflect our personalities and ideas. We knew that we didn’t want a traditional wedding or anything in a hotel. I have always wanted to get married outside and at first had the idea of a twilight wedding. We searched for appropriate venues but at the time you couldn’t legally marry after 6pm and all of the outside venues were either too far away or didn’t give us enough freedom with things like catering. I am a vegan and it was really important to me that all of the food complemented my beliefs. We wanted a church of England ceremony combined with a handfast ceremony; an intimate service but a big reception party which was at one with nature. I have always loved yurts. Matt and I spent a week in December 2010 in a snowy isolated yurt so this seemed like the perfect reception venue. Matt was more ‘typical man’ in the planning process; he had ideas but when it came to the details, he was happy for me to get on with things. We had no theme but were inspired by nature, music, novels and the ethereal world of fairies. Later on, we were also influenced by South Asian influences – we found out we would be moving to Nepal 7 months before the wedding.
The Planning Process… Although we had 18 months to organise the wedding, we literally planned every detail ourselves from scratch and so this amount of time was needed! Initially things went slowly as we searched out a venue. Then, one of our friends suggested his father’s Shropshire farm as a reception venue. We visited the location and it had amazing panoramic views over Wales (where my great grandfather was from). As Matt grew up in Shropshire and it isn’t too far from Manchester, we accepted Jim’s offer. Matt then took me to a place he had frequented as a child; Temple Wood in Weston Rhyn, Shropshire. Next to the woods is a stone circle replica of Stonehenge which was built about 100 years ago. The ambiance in the circle was magical. Matt wrote to the owners who very kindly agreed that we could marry there. We took out insurance in case of any falling stones – luckily all went well! The date was set to coincide with my first Saturday off work for the Summer holidays and in the hope that the weather would be suitable for an outdoor wedding. Next, we got in touch with Cheltenham Yurt hire. They provided us with a stunning wooden yurt, rustic tables and lighting. The other easy bit was choosing our photographers. I have known Catherine from CT Images since school. I knew that I wanted to avoid traditional, formal photos and that she would create something magical which matched my vision so we booked her really early on.
The other details fell into place more slowly and were a real labour of love. Our friends and family were incredible and did so much for us in terms of logistics; for example, a friend collected all of the food on the morning of the wedding and set it up at the reception site. My sister spent hours and hours making decorations; my dad and Matt’s younger brother made loads of signs and the ‘door’ for the wedding ceremony and Matt and his best friends lived on the site the week before the wedding making it perfect!
Budget… In all, about £10,000
The Venue… The Yurt was from Cheltenham Yurt hire. We knew we wanted a yurt because they are so earthly and resonated so strongly with the inspiration we took from nature. The second tent was from Green Events Services Limited – we knew we needed an extra space for people to dance in! The ceremony took place in the stone circle at Temple Wood, Weston Rhyn which is private land and the reception was on our friend’s father’s farm.
The Dress + Accessories… My dress is by Kula Tsurdiu which I found in The White Closet, West Didsbury. My feet and hands were covered in henna; I wore silver Indian bangles on my arms and vintage anklets and toe rings. My silver chain mail sandals were from Dune. The ring on my right hand was bought for me by my mum. I didn’t wear a veil; instead I had a fresh flower circlet for my hair. The necklace was my great grandmother’s an original Edwardian piece which I borrowed from my mother.
Finding the Dress… I have a very bohemic style and wanted to feel like myself on the wedding day. Lacey, vintage creations grabbed my attention initially and so I was surprised when I went into the White Closet, West Didsbury and fell in love with my dress instantly. It was the buttons and tie sash which caught my attention and the natural beauty of the fabric. My dress was only the second dress which I tried on!
Groom’s Attire… Matt’s suit was from Reiss. His bowtie was from Mrs Bowtie. He wasn’t convinced about this at first but after some pinterest and wine, I convinced him and he looked fab!
The Readings + Music… My entrance song was Latika’s Theme from Slumdog Millionaire. Our exit ceremony song was Alone in Kyoto by Air which Matt chose as a surprise. Our entrance to the reception (where more friends and family greeted us) was Somersault by Zero Seven, also chosen by Matt. Our first dance was Joe Moralez, Love Will Be Enough. At the ceremony, my dad read Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116; we also had The Message version of 1 Corinthians. I read Rabindranath Tagore’s ‘I Dreamt’ to Matt and he read from Ruth 1 to me. We read from Song of Solomon to each other before our vows.
Beautiful Bridesmaids… My sister wore a Ted Baker dress and my maid of honour, Sarah, wore a mint green dress by Coast. I bought their accessories from Accessorize, including their drop necklaces which were elephants to symbolise Matt and I moving to Nepal. They also wore the same bangles as I was wearing and the bag Sarah carried for me was vintage. I gave each bridesmaid a pair of heart shaped pink glasses for photos and a vintage Indian lace handkerchief.
The Flowers… We visited several Oswestry florists and decided that Maxine at The Flower Gallery understood our vision the most. I wanted the flowers to look natural, ethereal and to be local and seasonal. I was very naughty with the flower budget because I doubled what I was meant to spend but it was 110% worth it; they were one of my favourite things about the day and looked amazing. I spent months collecting vintage vases and my sister painted loads of jam jars for our centre pieces. Some of my ideas were a bit unusual, such as a half flower covered vintage glass bowl filled with jelly beans! Maxine wasn’t at all phased even though most of our planning was done over the phone. She was happy for Matt to make his and his groomsmen’s own corsages and she made me the bouquet of my dreams! I was desperate for peonies which are out of season in July. Luckily, they blossomed late so I was thrilled on the day of the wedding when I saw my bouquet! The flowers were taken to a hospital the day after the wedding and I gave my bouquet to my 90 years old grandmother. My mum kept one posey and has dried them; when we return to England I am getting them put inside a bauble to hang on our Christmas tree!
The Cake… took ages to source! It had to be vegan and beyond London, finding a vegan cake is a challenge. Stumbling across a graffiti cake in a magazine, I was sold. It didn’t fit our ethereal vision but it did resonate with my passion for working in inner city Manchester and reminded me of the kids I worked with there and adored. This cake was way beyond our budget so we compromised and ordered a three layer vegan cake from Sugarbliss Cake Company in Birmingham. I bought icing pens online and we got our guests to write messages onto it. The cake was SO yummy and it was all eaten. It was a mission driving to Birmingham to collect it two days before the wedding but totally worth it! My sister made the dragon and fairy cake topper made to represent myself and Matt.
Your Photographer… Catherine and Suzanne from CT Images were one of the first things we booked and with good reason- they are amazing! At our first meeting, they completely understood our vision. We did our engagement shoot on a miserable Winter’s Day and this reassured my dad (A photo geek) that even if it rained on the wedding day, they would do an amazing job. I wanted our photos to look deconstructed and natural rather than formal. They got every shot I had thought of – even one with my sister’s gorgeous puppy, Lyra.I love the photos so much!
The Details + Decor… Took ages to make! My sister, Helen, of Three Cotton Hankies, made the ribbon drapes, the bunting, the centre piece jars, cake toppers, handfast…pretty much everything you see in the photos! My dad made the tree slice centre pieces, Matt’s mum made the table runners. I bought the vintage crockery and containers from ebay and car boot sales over 18 months, along with strings and strings of fairy lights and wicker hearts! My mother and I made the vintage map table plan the day before the wedding which was displayed with Nepali prayer flags along with the vintage 1940s child’s suitcase used as a card box. My mum made all of the wishing tree labels, including sticking on thousands of rhinestones by hand. The vintage sheet music was sourced on ebay and made into confetti cones; the doors for the ceremony and many of the signs were created by Matt’s little brother.
The Honeymoon… was originally meant to be in a tree house in France. I then got a job in Nepal which would start 2 days after the wedding! This meant flying out the day after we got married! My parents went on the honeymoon and we delayed ours for Pokhara in Nepal in October (we just got back. It was awesome!)
Memorable Moments… Matt getting really emotional in the speeches! He is such a charismatic public speaker so it was really moving seeing him all welled up. Also taking the Orkney Cog, a gift from my maid of honour Sarah, around to all of our guests for a sip of extremely strong Scottish brew. I have so many lovely memories, especially because we moved countries the day after the wedding.
Advice for Other Couples… Planning can be painful but it is worth it on the day when you see all of your details come together. Also, really cherish every second. It isn’t worth stressing! We got lost on the way back from the hairdressers to the hotel but it was honestly fine! Also, I think it is worth getting a great videographer. We recently got ours and it captures so many moments I hadn’t seen, including Matt on the morning of the wedding.
Credit Where Credit is Due…
Yurt: Cheltenham Yurt Hire
Dress Shop: The White Closet
Flowers: The Flower Gallery: 44 1691 671977
Photography: CT Images
Film: Seal Films
Toni and Guy, Oswestry: 44 1691 653222
Bridesmaid Dress: Ted Baker
Cake: Sugarbliss Cake Company
Bridesmaid Dress: Coast
Bow Tie: Mrs Bowtie
Details & Decor: Three Cotton Hankies
Photo Booth: Knotted Beard
Green Events Services: mailto:[email protected]
Amazing! Didn’t Ruthanne look incredible?! Thanks so much to Ruthanne and Matthew for sharing their beautiful wedding with us today XOXO Lou