I do love a woodland wedding and it’s fair to say I am pretty blown away by this absolute beaut. Our Andy and Naomi tied the knot in a magical woodland clearing at Angrove Park on the 5th August 2017. Think gorgeous floral ceremony structure, paper cranes and miles of bunting all in glorious technicolour!
There’s something so intimate about a ceremony taking place in a woodland setting, with guests all gathered round on hay bale seating. The cosy tipis looked just fabulous adorned in fairy lights and the labour of love décor.
Naomi had her dress made for her after she couldn’t find anything that grabbed her in the bridal shops. I’m in love with the simple silhouette, gorgeous back and fabulous silk, which she sourced in London’s Soho. What a great idea that Andy picked out all the elements of his outfit individually rather than getting a suit off the peg. The brilliant bridesmaids and groomsmen all wore something small in a colour of the rainbow, continuing the colourful theme.
We have Luke Bell to thank for the incredible images today, aren’t they really something special?
THE PROPOSAL | On holiday in May 2015, hiking in Yosemite National Park, California. Andy got down on one knee at Glacier Point, overlooking Half Dome and the landscape in which our 12-hour walk the previous day had taken place. The sun was setting and he asked Naomi to spend the rest of her life with him, hoping for more magical moments like this one.
THE VISION | A relaxed, colourful, outdoors affair taking place over a whole weekend. We wanted people to treat it like a festival – either to stay in a cabin or pitch a tent on site – so they could be there for as much or as little of the festivities as they wished. We had a BBQ the evening before the wedding to bring everyone together and a walk up Roseberry Topping the day after to take in the views and try and alleviate some sore heads… Our main aim was to bring our loved ones together to celebrate and have a good time through company, food, drinking and dancing in a magical location.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | We started looking for venues in Autumn 2015/Spring 2016 and once we saw Angrove Park (and heard they’d had a cancellation on the exact weekend we wanted!) we knew we’d found the perfect setting for our wedding and secured the booking straight away. Other than that, we did the occasional search for suppliers (and Naomi started a Pinterest board) but planning didn’t start in earnest until 10 months before the wedding. Although we loved having the freedom that a blank canvas like Angrove Park gave us, it did mean that we had a lot to source and organise. We encountered slight obstacles in finding the perfect caterers who were willing to do the outdoor catering to the quality we wanted and within the practical parameters that a camping field offers. However our hunting paid off as we found Dusty Miller who ended up playing a huge part in the success of our wedding. Their experience, organisation and sheer high quality of the food was appreciated by everyone and remains one the things guests talk about.
THE VENUE | Angrove Park, North Yorkshire.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | I (Naomi) designed my own dress and was lucky enough to have a willing (and very talented) family friend who was able to make it to my design, right down to the hand-embroidery on the belt and red silk buttons on the back. The chiffon and satin silks were brought from Soho in London. Another close family friend also kindly knit a lacy shawl for me to wear as a cover up and warm layer whilst still showing off the back of the dress. It was wonderful to have something so soft to pull around me at a few cooler points of the day. For jewellery, I wore pearl drop earrings, brought from NotOnTheHighStreet, my grandmother’s silver bracelet, and a Daisy bracelet given to me by Andy on the morning of the wedding. I wore red pumps from Long Tall Sally.
FINDING THE DRESS | I always wanted to design my own wedding dress and enjoyed trying on a couple of bridal and high street dresses to get a sense of what I wanted – I knew I wanted a belt or for it to be pulled in at the waist and I knew I wanted it to be silk and quite simple in design. I struggled to find a dress off the hanger that didn’t make me balk at the price or felt very ‘me’ so when I had a family friend and former seamstress say she was happy to make me a dress I couldn’t resist showing her my drawings! From there we managed to play around with fabrics and a pattern and when she showed me her embroidery it was almost identical to the designs I’d drawn! It was all a very special process and the dress on the day was unbelievably comfy. I could walk, eat(!) and dance with ease.
GROOM’S ATTIRE | Chinos from John Lewis, Shirt from T.M Lewin, Silk Knit Tie from Amazon UK, Tweed waistcoat from ASOS, Customised Tartan Cufflinks from ScotWeb, Fertini Shoes from Scorpio Shoes
THE READINGS & MUSIC | Our two close friends who got married last year each read a poem of our choice. One humourous (I Wanna Be Yours by John Cooper Clarke) and one slightly more meaningful and reflective one (Wild Geese by Mary Oliver). At the end of the ceremony, Naomi’s family and friends from Bristol sang an accapella arranged version of All You Need Is Love by the Beatles. The singers got everyone to sing the chorus as we proceeded out under an arch created by everyone – they even surprised us by dropping natural confetti over us as we walked underneath!
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | Naomi’s sister, Hannah, her close friend from Newcastle, Nancy (who was also our celebrant!), and her friend from Primary School days, Hatty. All wore maxi dresses of their choice and we dished out colours of the rainbow so we could try and have something of each rainbow colour amongst the groomsmen and bridesmaids. They wore cream pashminas from John Lewis and a personalised birthstone/silver bracelet from Naomi.
THE FLOWERS | The buttonholes and Naomi’s bouquet and hairflowers were made by Clarey at Manor Garden Flowers and a small party (Mother of the Bride, Mother of the Groom and Sister of the Bride!) went to pick 3 buckets of flowers from their walled garden the day before the wedding. These were then put into jars for tables and used to decorate the wedding bower for the ceremony.
THE CAKE | The cake was made by a friend’s daughter who is starting out in her own cake-making trade (Lauren Duncan – she’s seriously good!). We had 3 layers made up of a fruit cake, carrot cake and chocolate cake and we still can’t pick a favourite – they were all so scrumptious! Guests were taking chunks of it back home on the day after it served as a great party bag!
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | Luke Bell – the most easy-going, talented and friendly photographer we’ve met! He somehow managed to capture so many magical moments of our wedding without intruding or really making himself be seen by anyone during the day. He gave us some very special times where we could savour the day whilst he took some amazing photos and played all sorts of tricks with the light and objects to give us some arty shots to enjoy after. We are over the moon with the photos he took and cannot recommend him highly enough. Guests still mention now at how clever it was that he was hardly around and he managed to keep the bride nice and calm in the prep stages too!
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | I set aside the two weeks before the wedding to nail the décor items – I knew I wanted colour, origami cranes, maps and a bit of Dr.Seuss’ ‘Oh The Places You’ll Go’ poem. We wanted it to be read at our wedding but it was too long so we edited it down to the important bits and had it on the back of our tables numbers. My mum and sister surprised me on the Thursday night with some incredible 40 metres of bunting which they’d made from an assortment of fabrics and just brought the tipis to life – joyful, vibrant and a labour of love. By the Friday evening the tipis looked amazing – bunting, fairy lights and rainbow-coloured paper cranes hanging from the beams.
The ceremony was held in a beautiful clearing in the woods of the site. My dad made an incredible structure out of bamboo to act as our wedding bower and a team of guests decorated it beautifully with flowers and locally-plucked wheat on the morning of the wedding. The scene took my breath away when I walked down the woodland aisle with my parents and I couldn’t stop grinning.
THE HONEYMOON | Cycle touring in California followed by a week on a beach along the Maya Riviera in Mexico!
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | There are too many to note, many of them spontaneous and unplanned. From the woodland ceremony with our guests all singing ‘All You Need Is Love’ and showering us with confetti under an arch of hands to being in a circle of happy voices singing 4-Non-Blondes’ ‘What’s Up?’ late at night in a tipi of twinkling lights and bottomless prosecco glasses (neither of us know why that song became such a feature that evening!). We will also never forget the amount of food that kept coming to our tables or that was left for peckish pickings at the end. There were many happy campers the next morning tucking into scones, cheese and crackers and taking home tarts!
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Do it your own way and don’t worry about convention dictating (we got a bit tired of people offering their advice!).
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photography | Luke Bell
Venue | Angrove Park
Tipis | Tipi Chic
Flowers | Manor Garden
Catering | Dusty Miller
Cake | Lauren Duncan
Evening Catering | Scream for Pizza
Ceilidh and Covers Band | Ceilidh Knights
Thank you ever so much Naomi and Andy for sharing your very special woodland affair with us, oh so magical! Rachel x