In my opinion, you just cannot help but fall in love with tipis. I love featuring real weddings with tipis, as they just ooze atmosphere and rustic vibes. Ever been inside one? They are just so magical and cosy. It’s no wonder this lovely couple chose to hold their reception in one and it looked magnificent.
Marley and Matthew tied the knot on the 3rd September 2016 at Marley’s parent’s house near Canterbury in Kent. The gardens and grounds are stunning, just perfect for an outdoor boho style celebration. They had a humanist ceremony in the barn, which fully involved their two children. It’s a special touch I really love, they even gave them rings to wear on necklaces until they are older. How lovely is that?
Delicious food, cocktails and live music was all on offer to entertain and delight. While wooden details, lush blooms, colourful lanterns and fairy lights decorated their day. Marley looked the ultimate bohemian bride in a two piece by Laure de Sagazan, teamed with flower crown to match her pastel laden maids. Matthew went for a laid back look in a vibrant blue suit and Hawaiian shirt, so cool.
Thanks so very much to Gabrielle McMillan Photography for sharing these brilliant images with us.
THE PROPOSAL | After ten years of being together with two young children Matt thought it was about time he added the icing to the cake. My whole family were on holiday in Barbados when a few days into the holiday Matt told me that he’d arranged an afternoon off childcare for us both and my Mum and Dad were going to have the kids whilst we went and hung out at the beach house. I was lying on a sunbed on the beach when this guy in a dingy came to the shore and asked for Matthew Painter – at which point I looked over to where the dingy had come from and saw a MASSIVE catamaran! Confused I looked at Matt and he looked at me with a massive grin (and with a lot of relief that the plan had worked I’m sure!). Now everyone asks me ‘at this point did you know that he was going to propose’ to which I say ‘YES, of course I did!’ Who gets this kind of treatment on an average day!? So I quickly learnt that we had the whole boat for 4 hours to ourselves – I can’t tell you how massive it was – it had four double bedrooms! We sailed and sailed with canapés and cocktails on tap. We stopped to snorkel and swam with turtles – it really was magical. But after about two hours I thought – bloody hurry and propose already then I can relax a bit more – kind of knowing it was going to happen but not knowing when was making me on edge! Ha. So after another hour the sun was setting and they let down the anchor and we faced out to sea – Matt put on my favourite music and came to lie next to me. At which point I got the giggles, not just the giggles but uncontrollable hysterics. I don’t know why, I think it’s just because I knew he was going to propose and just found it really funny for some reason – anyways over my roars of laughter he managed to actually ask me to marry him – I definitely ruined any romantic speech he had planned! We then got ready on the boat and the dingy took us to shore where he had organised a table on the beach by my favourite restaurant in Barbados with a pre-chosen menu of all the things he knew I’d love – the boy did good! Needless to say we ate and drank a lot and have a truly memorable day and evening. It is massively extravagant and not like us at all – but I think after 10 years of waiting Matt felt he had to pull it out of the bag!
THE VISION | Really relaxed and a lot of fun – nothing too formal. Just a day that everyone feels really comfortable and able to kick their shoes off and have a great time. Having already got two children we wanted it to feel less like a wedding and more like a union of us all – so for example in the ceremony we also did vows to the children and gave them the same rings we gave each other – that they can have when they are older – we put them on strings around their necks.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | Nothing too much to report about this, I love spreadsheets so found it all okay. It is never ending but it’s just a case of constantly chipping at the iceburg and being super organised. Anything I could do well in advance I did and I thought of everything that we would need for the whole weekends festivities. The final weeks were hectic as everything came together but again as long as I had my spreadsheets I was all good!
BUDGET | A painful £50k.
THE VENUE | My parents house near Canterbury in Kent, where I grew up. It’s a big country house at the end of a lane with lots of land and a lake. Perfect for a wedding! We used the barn for the ceremony, the lawn for the reception and then moved into a tipi marquee for the meal, speeches and dancing.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | A two piece by Laure de Sagazan, long skirt and a top with a totally lace back. I wore silver shoes, simple gold jewellery and a flower crown. It is now so filthy it can never be worn again, way too much fun had on the dance floor.
FINDING THE DRESS | I searched and searched for a designer that I’d want to try on and truly could not find any dresses that I even liked the look of. I knew I didn’t want something really flashy, just simple and easy to move and dance in. I ran across a picture of exactly the type of thing I was after and found that it was made by Laure de Sagazan. I found a wedding shop in Notting Hill that stocked his dresses and booked an appointment. I went armed with my mother and bridesmaids and after a couple of hours had two very real contenders. Unsure which one to go for I booked another appointment to confirm, I went with another friend and when I tried both of them on we both agreed on the two piece. It felt great to find something I felt good in without having to go to hundreds of bridal shops because it really is not my thing!
GROOM’S ATTIRE | Cobalt blue suit and hawaiin shirt :)
THE READINGS & MUSIC | We had a humanist ceremony that we wrote ourselves and our friend lead it.
My brother read my favourite poem – Desiderata.
Our friend Doug read ‘Gift from the sea – Ann Morrow Lindbergh.
Matt’s cousin read an excerpt from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin.
We then all sang and danced to ‘higher and higher’.
We loved the whole ceremony so relaxed with so much love and roars of laughter all over the place it exceeded all my expectations and I will treasure it forever.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | I had four bridesmaids, one of which couldn’t come as she was in labour! They could not have been more loving and supportive and most of all fun. They made it all so easy and I could not have done it without them.
THE FLOWERS | All very relaxed and rustic, loads of hops and daisies.
THE CAKE | A family friend made a ‘naked’ wedding cake for us. Simple and very tasty, I was eating fistfuls at 4am I seem to remember.
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | Gabrielle McMillan – could not have asked for more. Such amazing value for money, she came to do a test shoot pre-wedding and talk through the day. We got some amazing photos from this and Gabby sent us them all with various different filters on to help gauge what we’d like on our actual day, any major likes or dislikes etc. We discussed all the planned photos we’d want from the day too. Gabby was always so easy to get hold of and communicative and enthusiastic. On the day she and her husband did all the things we’d planned, not only do they take amazing photos but they were just such easy people to have around on the day. Let’s be honest getting married is one of the biggest days of your life and the photographer is there at the most intimate moments and Gabby just had it down to a fine art and we loved having her there.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | There were lots of details that although they were time consuming I’m glad we did them. Here are a few:
In all the glamping tents I put in home made hangover kits.
When people arrived I had a big mirror in the parking field so people who had travelled some distance could check themselves out and straighten themselves up.
Fix up kits in all the toilets (deodorant, spare tights, hair bands, plasters etc).
Table gifts for the kids.
Fire pit with blankets and marshmallows to toast.
Next day we laid on a massive breakfast – bloody marys and bacon butties with teas and coffees a plenty.
THE HONEYMOON | No honey moon! Although this year I am planning a hiking/camping adventure for us, which I think might have to count and I truly find romantic, not for everyone but it is for me!
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | The ceremony and the dance floor. I have the BEST friends and family to party with and I don’t think I could have had any more fun if I tried. Everyone says their wedding day went really quickly and in a blur, I’m the opposite I remember so much of it so clearly from beginning to end and have so many amazing moments of utter euphoria. I have to say though that I think I loved the next day almost just as much, bacon butties and bloody mary’s and a refreshing swim in the lake to scare the hangovers away.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | That if you have friends and family there that really want to celebrate the love you have for each other, it doesn’t matter what budget you have or what food/drinks you provide etc, true friends and family will have a blast wherever you put them.
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photography | Gabrielle McMillan Photography – could simply not have asked for more.
Bar | Stagg and Barber Events – the BEST cocktail events company, so professional, slick and fun too. Could not recommend more.
Food | Smokin Lotus – did our food – the best wedding food I’ve ever had, unusual, tasty and filling too. Rosie the founder was great to work with and gave us so much time in the planning stages.
Tipi | Beautiful World Tents – provided our tipi, amazing service from start to finish.
Catering | Create – provide all the staff and the canapés – totally professional and made the day run like clock work.
Band | Soul Machine – funk soul band found through ‘function central’ – blew our minds with how amazing they were and had everyone pulling out all the moves.
Musician | Double Bass Dan – our reception musician and his partner were really what got the party started, they had everyone on their feet dancing way before I thought we would and left us on a high we didn’t come down from.
What a party! It looked so epic.
Thanks so very much to Marley and Matthew for sharing their brilliant nuptials with us here at WWW xo Lou