Cardigans and wellies at the ready? Good, it’s time to indulge in a festival feel tipi wedding today and it’s a corker.
WWW readers Rohan and John were married on the 5th September 2015 at the Secret Garden in Northamptonshire. Country fete meets Glastonbury Festival was order of the day, inspired by their meeting at the festival. They organised the wedding themselves and decked out the striking tipi in DIY décor which looked wonderful.
The attire was really rather marvellous too. Rohan had her romantic gown custom made and wore dreamy florals in her hair, John had a country gent look with chinos and a check jacket. The bridesmaids meanwhile donned fun vintage inspired frocks with petticoats and cardies. Just so gorgeous.
Thanks so very much to Sharon Cooper for sharing these stunning photographs with us.
THE PROPOSAL | Initial proposal with the diamond in a log cabin in Wales in December, and then a surprise trip to Paris in March, inclusive of a crossword; treasure hunt on the channel tunnel to find my hotel and then clues to find John waiting for me in a gorgeous Parisian restaurant with champagne on ice and my ring. Plus, of course, the obligatory trip up the Eiffel tower. It was pretty amazing and when re-told had most of my girls pals in tears and most guys giving John a dig in the ribs for setting quite a high bar!
THE VISION | Country fete meets Glastonbury Festival (we met at Glastonbury so we took a lot of inspiration from festivals).
BUDGET | 20K
THE VENUE | The Secret Garden in Wymington, Northamptonshire. A perfect little secluded wooded glade, which provided the best spot for our after party. Tucked away on the way out of a tiny village, this space is perfect for what we wanted. It was pretty much a blank canvas for us to play with, with a great backdrop of lush greenery. It was quite close to the Village and we were a little worried about noise, but we got around that by having an amazing silent disco once our band – The Big Town Boppers – had finished. A lot of our friends stayed on-site in bell tents or campervans and we stayed in a bridal suite supplied by Love Lotus, which was beautifully decked out for us – if a little chilly (It was the coldest Sept day ever!)
Our Tepee was provided by Katah Events and put up by Ed who was excellent. He had a great deal of vision when he came on a site visit and really put us at rest. His team set up the tent really quickly which gave us more time to get it decorated.
Our site coordinator Mary-Anne was super helpful and even provided an lovely big fire pit when the one we ordered turned up looking a bit on the small side.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | Handmade – design by Becki O’Keefe (pattern by Becky and machine by Mary).
FINDING THE DRESS | The dress – was an absolute nightmare to begin with. I didn’t really have a firm style in mind, which made finding the right one a real stress. I knew I didn’t want to spend a fortune as the wedding itself was more of a priority for me, and I spent hours (too many!) searching on line for one I liked. In the end, my wonderful friend and bridesmaid Becki took the lead and suggested I have the dress made. She works in fashion and so knew pattern cutters and machinists and is a great designer herself. She sat me down – drew me some sketches which combined all my favourite elements from the dresses I had picked out online – and she made it happen! She even went up to Leicester to visit her lace suppliers to get a load of sample cuts and I got to pick the one I loved best. I did cut it a little fine, with the final dress fitting just days before the wedding – but it was so worth it. I had a bespoke dress for me that was just perfect. Everyone commented on how lovely it was, and it was all the more special to know it was one of a kind.
GROOM’S ATTIRE | John’s outfit on the other hand was a lot simpler. We were shopping in London one day and came across a lovely old-fashioned men’s fashion shop called Cordings, which had some beautiful “country gentlemen” style suits. The chap who tended to us was great and had a very discerning eye. We told him the type of wedding it was and what type of look we wanted and he pulled together John’s blazer with the chinos. We really wanted a relaxed look for the wedding, with nothing too formal, so this look was perfect. I especially loved the tie with tiny little dogs on. The shoes we got from Dune in Selfridges.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | We had Corinthians 13 as our bible reading as it was the one that suited us best. And then a very good friend of the family, who is pretty theatrical, read “The King’s Breakfast” by AA Milne – this was chosen by him to highlight the importance of good communication in a marriage. It was read superbly and brought the house down. Our Vicar Jane took inspiration from her sermon and based it on Pooh Sticks in Winnie the Pooh – which we thought was lovely. My Grandma chose the walk in and walk out music and we chose our favourite hymns – Morning Had Broken, One More Step, and Give Me Joy In My Heart.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | I had 5 bridesmaids! All of which have very different styles and colouring so this too was a bit of a nightmare. I ummm’d and ahhh’d for a very long time and drove the girls a bit mad, but in the end settled on some beautiful 1950’s style floral dresses from online store Elsie’s Attic, with nude shoes. The girls did their own make up and they all looked amazing on the day.
THE FLOWERS | My flowers were by a close friend and very talented florist – Roots Creative Floristry. She did a great job on the day as she had 2 venues to deck out and had brought all the flowers in her camper. She also sorted the flowers for my hair and some beautiful displays at the entrance to the Tepee.
THE CAKE | Made by my amazingly talented friend Michelle who is starting up her own cake company in Norfolk. The “we do” sign was also made by one of John’s friends who works with metal. It had to be assembled on the day in the morning, but it all came together exactly how I wanted and looked great. The cheese cake was from M&S.
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | Some friends of ours recommended Sharon to photograph our wedding and we weren’t disappointed. We wanted someone who was relaxed and down to earth, who would capture those special moments that weren’t too staged and she did just that.
From start to finish Sharon put us at ease, meeting us for a pre-wedding shoot to find out about us as a couple and to give us a flavour of her style, and then making sure we had thought about all those tiny little things that help make the day run smoother.
We have many lovely memories of the day and the pictures were delivered and packaged with such attention to detail. We would thoroughly recommend her services to any other couples who are looking for a natural, engaging and incredibly talented photographer!
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | We did most of the details and décor ourselves, with help from some very good friends. I decided to make tiny hearts as favours and a packet of seeds, and John ordered some small personalised whiskey bottles for the boys. It was quite a stressful job getting the tepee set up how I wanted it as we didn’t have much time, but everyone pulled together and it ended up looking great.
THE HONEYMOON | A mini-moon for 2 day to a Shepherds Hut just outside Wells-On-Sea in North Norfolk, (which we loved!) and then a few months later a 2 week trip to Thailand and Burma. We stayed a lovely 5 star hotel in Kho Lak (The Sarojin), then a tree house jungle in Kho Sok and then went on a 5-day sailing holiday around the Burmese islands with Burma Boating. It was incredible.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | Saying “I will” in-between the AA Milne inspired reading and sermon.
A lovely dove release organised by my mum who owns the Doves – we were only a few villages away from where they live so they all flew back home within days.
The silent disco – looking one way and seeing my bridesmaids all swaying to a Robbie Williams song and then looking another way to see a group of other friends jumping around like mad people to drum and base!
My Dad’s speech – not a dry eye in the house.
The fire pit – everyone sat round at the end of the night playing guitar and cuddling up to stay warm.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Be decisive and know what you want – I wasted quite a few days going round in circles, not quite knowing what I wanted!
Maybe pick one or two people to bounce ideas off – asking too many people their opinions will only confuse matters.
Get a photographer who understands what you want as a couple – Sharon was great and really added to the enjoyment of our day and the pictures were fab.
We didn’t have a wedding planner, and for a DIY wedding, it was hard work. Make sure you enlist a good group of friends who are willing to help and give them specific jobs or instructions – they’re happy to do what ever so long as they’re given what they need (and booze / food!)
Don’t be a perfectionist – things will inevitably not be quite as you imagined but at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter – what matters is that you have all your favourite people in one place.
ENJOY – you’ve paid a lot of money and worked extremely hard to plan the wedding you want, so don’t worry too much about the cake or timings and enjoy your day with the people you love and cherish every moment.
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photography | Sharon Cooper
Teepee Tent | Katah Events
Flowers | Roots Creative Floristry
Lotus Bridal Suite | Love Lotus
Venue | Secret Garden
Hair | Browns
Make up | Marissa at Picture House Beaty
Dress | Designed by Becki O’Keefe (Becky and Mary)
Mini Moon | Godwick Shepherds Hut
Burmese Sailing Honeymoon | Burma Boating
Cake | Michelle Baron
Silent Disco | Hedfone Party
Band | Big Town Boppers
What a fun celebration. I do always love the look of a silent disco, awesome.
Thanks so much to Rohan and John for sharing their amazing story with us xo Lou