Creative Woodland Mad Hatters Tea Party Wedding

Creative Woodland Mad Hatters Tea Party Wedding https://www.clairefleckphotography.com/

 

This wedding is so achingly cool, I know I’ve said it before, but you lovely lot are officially amazing. The bride today submitted her wedding to us here at WWW and I totally fell for it’s quirky style and woodland setting.

WWW readers Cameron and Katy were married on the 3rd September 2016 at Marthrown of Mabie in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland. The glamping site had everything the couple were looking for, from accommodation to a large marquee and magical grounds. Due to worries about the weather they moved their ceremony indoors to the Roundhouse, which funnily enough worked out for the better. They tied the knot in front of a DIY arch complete with ribbons, lights and a fun stags head. Their two children were fully immersed in their celebrations, with a first dance song chosen as it was their son’s favourite tune and they also went on a family honeymoon together following. They also looked just adorable.

Talking of outfits, Cameron opted for a kilt and tweed combo while Katy chose the opulent ‘Flowerbomb’ by Ian Stuart, which she accessorised with flowers in her hair. Didn’t they look fabulous? There were an abundance of lush flowers, maids in lace dresses and a crafty mad hatters tea party in the marquee. You’re going to love it all.

Claire Fleck Photography, thank you so much for providing these marvellous photos.

 

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THE PROPOSAL | Cameron actually proposed on my birthday in March, back in 2012 when I was 4 months pregnant with our first little one. He produced my beautiful white gold and diamond engagement ring in the evening whilst we were giving my horse his evening feed at his field – clearly he knew who’s blessing was the most important! Four years and another baby boy later we decided it was time to finally get our acts together and tie the knot!

THE VISION | As a family we spend a lot of time outside in the countryside so we knew that we wanted a big outdoor element to our day. I have always liked to do things a bit differently, whereas Cameron is a bit more conservative so it was important to strike a balance. We both agreed that we wanted our kids to be very much involved in everything, and that we wanted the overall feel to be really fun and informal. We drink a lot of tea so it seemed natural that we hold a tea-party, and an Alice in Wonderland theme allowed me to express my quirky side! Overall we wanted our day to be memorable, to reflect our family, and be enjoyed by all of our guests whatever their age. I am very creative (and probably a bit of a control freak!), so there was never any question that the whole thing would be very DIY – we were also conscious about keeping to our budget.

THE PLANNING PROCESS |  The hardest part of the planning process was finding a venue that met all of our requirements. We looked at several glamping-style venues but found that the cost was simply too high as accommodation is included in the price, and most often you have to hire the entire site for a minimum 2-3 nights – we didn’t like the idea of ‘charging’ our guests or potentially running out of money. We very almost booked a country-park venue but at the last minute we pulled out as it became apparent that we were being rail-roaded into a package-style marquee wedding, which was what I had actively set out to avoid in the first place. Once we finally had our venue we had about 10 months to plan the wedding. I spent a LOT of time on pinterest, and basically over time all of my scattered (sometimes crazy) ideas started to come together as a plan. It was slightly difficult in that everything made sense in my head but trying to explain my ideas to other people was not so easy! Cameron especially, was forced (against his better judgement!) to put a lot of faith in my planning and creative skills.

BUDGET | All in, the wedding ended up costing us around £9,000 (after the cost of the honeymoon). We had hoped to spend less but our plans on that sort of budget were ambitious to say the least!

THE VENUE | I eventually found our venue after an enormous amount of online research. Marthrown of Mabie is a sort of quirky cross between a glamping/wild camping site and a hostel for mountain-bikers, located deep in the middle of Mabie Forest in Dumfries. It is a large site comprising of 3 bunk houses sleeping up to 22 people, an iron-age roundhouse which can be used as accommodation or as a venue space, a luxury Yurt, and a wild camping site complete with composting toilets and outdoor showers. There is also large marquee and bbq area on site. Pam who runs the site was absolutely fantastic, and really accommodating with a very laid back, flexible approach. So long as we cleared up afterwards, we were basically allowed to do our own thing! It’s not a posh, fancy venue but it is really unusual, with bags of character and natural beauty. We hired the whole site for exclusive use for two nights.

Initially I had wanted to hold our ceremony outside, however a couple of days before the weather forecast wasn’t looking fantastic so we opted to get married in the Roundhouse instead – I’m so glad we did! It was incredibly intimate, and the acoustics meant that everyone could hear our vows. We made use of the marquee for our reception although guests were encouraged to make use of the outdoor space available and explore the whole site.

THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | My dress is called ‘Flowerbomb’ by Ian Stuart. I chose Vivianne Westwood Melissa heels in ivory with a gold heart to go with it as they were quirky and beautiful enough set the dress off, but also really practical for our outdoor (potentially muddy) venue as they are made of plastic and just wipe clean! I went minimal and informal with my jewellery. I found a plastic and lace cuff bracelet on Etsy which was really different, with a big flower on to match my dress, and stirling silver leaf shaped drop earrings to capture the forest element. I wore real flowers in my hair which coordinated perfectly with my bouquet.

FINDING THE DRESS | I had looked at a wide variety of dresses and styles in magazines/online but I really had no idea what I wanted or what would suit me. I just knew I wanted something that would make a statement. I set aside a day and booked a couple of appointments at dress shops in Edinburgh and came across a place called Bliss Bridal Boutique which is a shop specialising in second-hand/ex sample dresses and accessories. You can browse their current stock on their website which is a really good feature, and I found a dress that I quite liked the look of so they were my first appointment of the day. Typically for me(!) I was half an hour late to the appointment, but because I knew what dress I wanted to try there was still just enough time. I absolutely fell in love with the dress the moment I saw it, and despite it being a tiny bit too big around the waist and the bust the length was literally perfect. The dress is called ‘Flowerbomb’ and is by designer Ian Stuart and (typically!) was the most expensive dress they had in stock. It has flowers and leaves all over the skirt and is really dramatic – perfect for a forest-based mad hatters tea party! I tried on a couple of new dresses but I couldn’t find anything else with anywhere near as much ‘wow-factor’. I put my deposit down that evening and had it altered for a perfect fit.

GROOM’S ATTIRE | Cameron is a born and bred Scot so there was never any question that he would be wearing a kilt. He doesn’t really have a family tartan, and he wanted something a bit different that went with the outdoor theme so chose a black/grey tartan with a touch of purple, the matching waistcoat and jacket were a grey tweed. This was accessorised with a touch of purple to match the ribbons on my bouquet.

THE READINGS & MUSIC | I walked down the aisle to Bruno Mars ‘Just the way you are’. Cameron and I both wrote our own vows which were incredibly personal. Neither of us had heard each other’s until the ceremony and there was not a dry eye in the roundhouse! We had intended to have a reading which was the children’s book ‘Guess how much I love you’ but somehow on the day it got forgotten although that didn’t matter at all. Our first dance was Ellie Goulding ‘Love me like you do’ which was actually chosen because it was our eldest son’s favourite song at the time.

BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | I had 4 beautiful bridesmaids – my sister, and 3 of my best friends. I chose princessy, lacy tea-length dresses from Chi Chi London in pink and gold to complement the pink touches on my dress and bouquet, and to tie in with the Alice in Wonderland element. They wore matching gold shoes for the ceremony but quickly changed into whatever they felt comfortable in immediately after that.

THE FLOWERS | I knew I wanted a big ‘messy’ statement bouquet but I had no idea what type of flowers I wanted in it, other than it was important that it contained roses similar to those on the skirt of my dress. Caroline McCulloch from Country Flower Wedding Co. was amazing! She was really enthusiastic about my ideas and worked with me to design my dream bouquet right down to the colour-themed ribbons incorporated into the binding. The bridesmaids all carried a scaled down version of my own bouquet which were equally as beautiful. Caroline also individually wired all of the flowers that I wore in my hair, and made us traditional Scottish thistle button holes which some of the groomsmen wore (although another minor mishap meant that a couple went missing on the day and Cameron and the best man substituted theirs for individual roses).

THE CAKE | Cameron is a coeliac so our wedding cake had to be gluten-free. There is an incredible bakery in central Edinburgh called Sugar-Daddies who only bake gluten free. Their cakes are sensational so we knew that they would be the ones to make our cake. The couple who run it are lovely and they will literally accommodate anything you could possibly ask for! We chose a 3 tier naked cake – the top tier was a Victoria sponge, the middle tier was lemon, and the bottom tier was a carrot cake. It had to be transported all the way to Dumfries so the plan was to assemble it the day before, but we somehow underestimated the sheer scale of the task of setting up a whole wedding from scratch in one day and never got round to assembling the cake! I actually ended up assembling the cake in situ, in our marquee during the course of the reception – it was great fun and characterised the informality of the day. It turned out pretty wonky, but with our mad-hatters theme this was actually really endearing and it tasted DELICIOUS!

YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | Claire Fleck was recommended by a friend who was actually the subject of Claire’s first ever wedding shoot. We wanted someone fun and relaxed with an arty, informal style and Claire was literally PERFECT! She’s a real ‘Pinterest’ wedding photographer, and she is so lovely. It felt more like having another friend at my wedding taking photos than having a formal photographer. She worked with another photographer in order to capture all of the different elements of the day, and she too was fantastic (even after being stung on the leg by a wasp!) The photos really speak for themselves. I would recommend Claire to anyone!

THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | All of the details/décor were hand chosen and mostly crafted by myself. In the roundhouse, we decorated a standard wooden garden arch with crepe-paper ribbons as a back-drop. I decoupaged a wooden stag’s head which was nailed to the front of the arch, and we wrapped pink and white rose-shaped fairy lights around the sides. We then arranged electric tealight candles around the base of the arch. The roundhouse ceiling was strung with paper pom-poms in coordinating colours.

At the reception, I wanted to bring the forest into the marquee and turn the whole place into woodland tea party. We used coloured organza as DIY drapes for the marquee roof to bring some colour in to the marquee. My table centrepieces comprised of a runner of artificial moss, a large twig (collected from the woods near our house where we walk our dog every day) wrapped and strung with ribbons and playing cards, at the base of which was a white teapot ‘pouring’ a stream of ribbon into a pool of ribbons, glitter and engraved wooden hearts. I used flower-pots throughout – upturning a row of miniature ones along the top table using them as a base or hand-decorated wooden letters spelling out ‘Happily Ever After’. I made a special centre-piece for the top table covering cardboard models of our initials in real moss and tying them to an ‘&’ sign I had covered in twine, on the top of another upturned pot. We had a sweetie buffet where all the sweets were contained in tissue-lined flower pots and a quirky selection of teapots my bridesmaids bought me on my hen do. We also commissioned a couple of pieces of art-work from a friend who is an incredible artist so we had a large centre piece hanging at the front of the marquee portraying us as Alice in Wonderland, and some similar-themed bespoke signs for our sweet buffet and ‘Tea station’.

I created table-top games for each table including drinking games such as ‘Tiddly-drinks’, Long-Island Iced-tea pong’ and ‘Drink-up sticks’ together with wedding speech bingo and an ‘Eye spy game’. We used to BBQ area outside for a giant Jenga, croquet set and had a giant inflatable ball which was a huge hit with the kids!

Pam, the owner of the venue put on a fantastic buffet style lunch which was followed by an afternoon tea. We bought all of the cakes in bulk from Costco the day before, and tea was served in teapots with quirky tea-cosies knitted by family members.

My Dad did a fantastic job of lighting the site, which was no mean feat considering how dark a forest becomes after dark!! The marquee and BBQ area was draped with festival-style festoon lighting, and the outside walkways were lined with pink and white fairylight-wrapped poles which formed a trail directing campers back to their tents.

THE HONEYMOON | We chose to take a large chunk out of our wedding budget at the outset of the planning process and book a ‘familymoon’ – we don’t have a lot of spare cash and a holiday abroad had previously seemed like an impossibility so we were hugely grateful to be gifted this opportunity to take our kids on their first ever proper holiday. We flew to Majorca and spent 10 nights in a 4star all-inclusive family resort. Certainly not everyone’s idea of a perfect honeymoon, but we had an incredible time and made some really special memories. Our marriage is just as much about the kids as it is about us so we would never have felt right leaving them behind!

MEMORABLE MOMENTS | Too many to mention but one of my favourites was our 3 year old eventually getting fed up and pulling his kilt off to run about the place in his shirt, boxers and wellies.

In fact, the whole experience was memorable from start to finish and really brought family and friends together. My bridesmaids and our families worked literally non-stop the day before the wedding to help us set everything up from scratch (and the day after to take it all down again!). It really was a monumental task and we really couldn’t have done it without them!

Some of our guests stayed on site the night of the wedding, and in the morning we all sat around a huge table in the bunkhouse ‘communal dining room’ sharing stories about the day/evening before, and had an epic breakfast of bacon and egg butties!

ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Don’t be afraid to do something a bit different from the norm. Some of your guests might not ‘get’ it but at the end of the day it’s a celebration of YOUR marriage, make sure your day reflects that.

Don’t be too strict on yourself and set standards too high, allow room for things to not turn out quite as you had planned and embrace that because those are the little quirks you will remember the most.

DIY weddings are hugely rewarding, but also a HUGE amount of work. I was absolutely knackered on the actual day of the wedding and unfortunately I can see that reflected in the photos of me. Make sure you have the people-power available to help you pull it off, I would have appreciated a little more ‘down-time’ in the run up.

CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |

Photography | Claire Fleck Photography

Flowers | Country Wedding Flower Company

Venue | Marthrown of Mabie

Hair | Diane Boa

Make-up | Beauty by Adele

Cake | Sugar Daddys Edinburgh

Dress Shop | Bliss Studio

Bridesmaids dresses | Chi Chi

Kilt hire | The Kilt Store

 

Simply stunning.

Huge thanks to Cameron and Katy for sharing their wonderful nuptials here at WWW xo Lou

 

3 thoughts on “Creative Woodland Mad Hatters Tea Party Wedding

Everything about this wonderful couple’s wedding is so magnificent. From the lighting to the indoor set-up, the dress, the eating table outlook and of-course placards. The idea of DIY of literally everything seems to be a bit time consuming as it involves a lot of hard-work but this couple executed it beautifully as seen in the pictures. All in all an ideal choice of venue that to with accommodations for the guest makes one realise how dream weddings come true.

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