A Family Focused Festival Fete Wedding

Festival Family Wedding http://www.babbphoto.com/

With 80 children in attendance along with their own 3 sweet children, Yvette and Andrew’s wedding was always going to be a special family friendly affair.  They chose to have a festival fete feel day, holding their tipi reception at North Hill Farm, Hertfordshire.

Yvette and Andrew are one super stylish couple, with Yvette donning a Candy Anthony dress, Rachel Simpson shoes and Chez Bec jewellery. While Andrew wore a Ted Baker suit without tie for a casual look. The flower girls looked so cute in tutus while the pageboys wore Monsoon outfits.

There were pretty flowers, rustic décor, buffet food, morris dancers and a camp fire. Amazing.

Thanks so much to Babb Photo for sharing her beautiful images with us today.

 

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The Proposal… We didn’t meet until I was already 35 and Andy 40 so once we knew we were going  to be together  we decided children needed to come first –  before it was too late! Andy proposed  whilst our two oldest children were asleep upstairs one valentines evening.  11 years after meeting,  eight months after the arrival of our  third (and final!) child we finally did it! It was very special having all of our children there to celebrate with us.

The Vision for the Day… We wanted  the quintessential summer’s day. A happy relaxed summer fete feel – celebrating us but also celebrating family. Having our three children be a central part of the day was really important to us and given our focus on family we included all our family and friends’ children – which meant we had around 80 children on the day. We wanted to make certain children were well catered for so they were happy and parents could then relax. So many of our friends said it was the best wedding they’d ever been to.

The Planning Process… The ideas came very easily  – vintage summer fete, bunting,  tepees, family sports day, cake competition, high quality food, morris dancing, pop-up cinema, fire performers, camping, bonfire, really good live jazz music and the wonderful Sara Spade on ukulele in the chapel. What was harder was putting all the ideas together with a newborn baby and two lively boys in tow. In the end although  we had the ideas and most of the suppliers already secured  we approached Lisa Baker of Just Bespoke to help with pulling things together and logistics on the day. They helped with researching and finding remaining suppliers, they managed our RSVPs, conducted trouble-shooting where necessary. Their on the day coordination was essential given our split venues.

The Venue… We only looked at one venue and knew North Hill Farm was it as soon as we saw it. Close enough to London where we wanted to actually get married, two enormous beautiful  fields where we could erect the amazing tepees we wanted, magical views, a tree-house for us to sleep in, space for camping and close to where Andy had grown up. It really was a perfect fit for us. Finding Rosslyn chapel was also a stroke of luck. Given it’s a Unitarian chapel we could make up whatever ceremony we wanted – it could be religious AND secular unlike any other church or marriage venue we considered. It was also walking distance from our home, large enough to accommodate 200 guests and extremely beautiful.

The Dress + Accessories… A truly gorgeous Candy Anthony dress in oyster satin with a hand-made lace overlay and an enormous pink petticoat. Rachel Simpson satin shoes (with pink toe-clips courtesy of my wonderful mother-in-law). Vintage pearl earrings and bracelet from Chez Bec.

Finding the Dress… All I knew at first was that I didn’t want formal but instead wanted something pretty, unusual, fun and fifties/vintagey. I tried hard not to be stressed about the search but given my limited free time I knew I was going to struggle. I’d asked Just Bespoke for some help on this and they were helpful in giving me a list of possible suppliers but I had no idea that most needed at least a three month (if not more) lead-in. I missed most of the deadlines.  I panicked a bit, explored getting something made, tried on some conventional dresses which I loathed, dabbled briefly with buying a Temperley dress and finally tumbled wearily into Candy Anthony on London’s south bank with my parents – and a 5 month old Nell. It was immediately clear to us all that we were in the right place. The shop is a wonder of the most glorious dresses imaginable. I had worryingly missed their deadline for getting a dress made so  I was truly truly fortunate that one of their sale dresses fitted me pretty perfectly. Given the shortness of time at first it seemed I wouldn’t be able to get the lace overlay I had fallen for made but the lovely Rachel at Candy Anthony had a quiet word with the owner and suddenly it was possible. I totally loved wearing my dress on the day. it was exactly what I’d wanted and so very beautiful. I had so very many compliments about it.

Groom’s Attire… Once I had my dress and knew the style I was able to help Andy find a similarly relaxed vintagey feel suit from Ted Baker. The shoes were fun finding and really worked well.   Our boys – Lucas and Dougal were both page boys/little best men on the day and they walked down the aisle with the bridesmaids and handed Andy and I our rings at the appropriate moment. They were brilliant. We clothed the boys in sweet vintagey shirts and waistcoats with shorts from Monsoon and they wore converse trainers. They really wanted to wear grown-up “cufflings’ so we had some silver cuff links handmade (by a very talented jeweller friend  called Corrine Hamak) and engraved for them to match Andy’s (with a similar necklace for Nell).

The Readings + Music… The ceremony and the music meant a great deal to us. Although we hadn’t planned to we ended up writing every word ourselves – even the celebrants – in order to be sure we created something that had meaning for us. It was a very special ceremony – inclusive of all the children present, our own most of all. Lucas and Dougal were the little leaves in the very poignant poem – ‘A little yellow leaf’ by Carin Berger. and made everyone smile, we also used a reading by Ogden Nash and a truly beautiful excerpt from a novel called The Last Good Time by Richard Bausch – which for me says all there is to say about what love is really all about – the extraordinary in the ordinary. We have extremely talented friends and our lovely neighbour the well known pianist Dorian Ford. played for us, together with the superbly talented Jonny Gee of the Jazzberries (who masterminded all the music on the day) and Sara Spade (The ukulele lady). We had known we wanted Sara to play at our wedding for a very long time having seen her play just once before. She is extraordinarily good. We picked all the music ourselves and Sara, Jonny, Dorian and their musicians played everything beautifully and movingly. We walked in to Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s Somewhere over the rainbow, had Malvina Reynolds’ Magic Penny, then Evelyn Knight’s A little Bird told me and one of Sara Spade’s own songs ‘long long time’ during the signing of the register. Everyone then sang ‘if you’re happy and you know it’ after all the vows and we finally walked out to a jazzed up version of ‘Bring me sunshine’ by Morecambe and wise. This was the perfect end to a wonderful ceremony and made everyone smile.

Beautiful Bridesmaids… Our little Nell who was 8 months old by the time of the wedding and my lovely niece 5 year old Abbie were my beautiful flowergirls – dressed in matching dusky pink tutu skirts and tops from Angel’s Face to tie in with my own pink petticoat and ludicrously expensive ballet shoes (they were the only ones I found that were the right colour and did both child and  baby sizes!) from I love gorgeous. They looked edible. My lovely sister Kerrie was my Matron of Honour – and carried Nell down the aisle with Lucas, Dougal and Abbie. . Although not conventional bridesmaids (it somehow felt undignified at the grand age of 46 to have bridesmaids in the proper sense) I  did have six ‘ best women’ including my sister.  I found an amazing little company in Brighton called – DigForVictory – who made bespoke fifties style dresses for all of them and also for Andy’s ‘groomswomen’. They all looked beautiful.

The Flowers… I had the best florist ever – Jo Sherren. A friend at our boys’ school she offered to do the flowers having completed a floristry course. Having talked through what we wanted I just knew she had it exactly but I was still blown away by how gorgeous all the flowers were. I have  never seen a more beautiful bouquet than my own!

The Cake… We didn’t want a formal cake but we did orchestrate a wedding cake bake-off and our guests contributed the most amazingly delicious cakes. It  was extremely difficult to judge. We cut the winning cake!

Your Photographer… The amazing Laura Babb. Laura was without a doubt one of the best favours Just Bespoke did for us as they introduced us. Her pictures speak for themselves but we loved her quirky, inspired creative style as much as her talented beautiful photography. She was lovely and our guests thought she was brilliant.

She also very generously donated part of her fee to our wedding fund raising! Instead of wedding gifts we opted to ask our guests to donate to an inspirational primary school in a very poor area of Burma – that we support called Sandarama School. We raised just short of £6000 which blew us away. Every penny has already been sent into Burma and delivered to the school who were immensely grateful – enabling them to build an extra classroom and provide resources for the education of almost 400 of Burma’s poorest children.

The Details + Decor… Our wedding invites set the scene for the whole event as we chose a designer who made the most beautiful invitations which were themselves formed of bunting. They looked one guest commented ‘like something out of a fairy tale’.

I have to say something about the food because it was – unlike so many wedding meals – truly something special. Our caterer Claire Carpentier of Dallings &co pulled put all the stops to produce a veritable feast for our guests. We’re not able to speak highly enough of Claire and her team. They dressed the tables beautifully sourcing lots of vintage china for us and nothing was too much trouble for them. They were supremely professional but personal too, enthusiastic and just extremely lovely talented people. As well as lots of champagne we served jugs of rum and ginger beer with lots of ice and mint (it was a searingly hot day). This proved an enormous hit.

The two Jo’s from The Perfect Marriage (Introduced by Just Bespoke)  did my hair and make-up on the day. I thought they were both fantastic. I loved how they  made me look and feel on the day. I had very natural looking make-up -but great false eye-lashes and my hair was a masterpiece! I felt gorgeous.

Our boys loved departing from the chapel in our wedding rickshaw.

We didn’t want fire-works given the number of small sleeping children staying over but we were really keen to incorporate a fire-perfomance for when it got dark. The performers we found were amazing and added a really magical element to the day.

Peter and Lee – our boys football coaches at school – masterminded a truly superb traditional sports day – much enjoyed by all the children. The bouncy castle, giant garden games, children’s entertainer, roving magician, the pop-up cinema and the child-carers all helped ensure all the many children had a ball and were kept safe.

Decor-wise the tepees set the scene – we dressed these with beautiful summery bunting and fairy lights and dressed haybales formed much of the seating. We also hired beautiful vintage furniture (a Just Bespoke idea) which ended up being the centrepiece of many of my favourite photos of the day.

Memorable Moments… So many! Our boys performing the little leaf and their interview which had been recorded by Warrick our best man and which brought tears to everyone’s eyes,  Sara singing ‘ a little bird told me’ (it will forever make me smile), making our vows to each other and then to our children,  dancing back down the aisle with our children to ‘Bring me sunshine’, leaving the chapel in our rickshaw, the amazing food, our guests Morris-dancing, everyone sitting on blankets listening to the Jazzberries in the glorious sunshine, the speeches, the magical fire-performers, our tree-house!

Advice for Other Couples… I’m not sure I feel able to advise as its so dependent on what kind of wedding you want to create. Generally I’d say leave yourself plenty of time to plan and book key suppliers. I’d also say try and find enjoyment in the planning process – stressful as it definitely is – I loved thinking up ideas to surprise and entertain our guests. And on the day – relax and let whatever happened happen! Its one irreplaceable day in your life and so rare to be surrounded by all those you love best so savour it all!

Credit Where Credit is Due…

Caterer – Dallimgs & Co

Dress – Candy Anthony

Shoes – Rachel Simpson

Flower Girls – Angel’s Face and I love Gorgeous

Page Boys – Monsoon and Converse

Groom’s suit – Ted Baker

Best women’s dresses – Dig For Victory

Photographer – Laura Babb

Wedding planner – Just Bespoke

Tipis – tipis4hire

Venues – Rosslyn Hill Chapel, Hampstead, North Hill Farm, Chorleywood

Magician – Gavin Davey

Fire Perfomers – Flambe Circus Theatre

Hair and make-up – The  Perfect Marriage

Videography – Gordon Burns

Florist – Jo Sherren – [email protected]

Music –  The Jazzberries

Sara Spade (the ukulele lady)

Dorian Ford (pianist)

Bespoke campiing – Cariad Canvas

Child- carers – Safe and Sound mobile creches

Sports Day coordinators – Peter and Lee – [email protected]

Wedding Rings and cuff links – Corinne Hamak

Wedding stationery – Postman’s Knock

Children’s entertainer – Mr Marvel

Sandarama School – see www.justgiving.com/yvetteandandy

 

What a brilliant day. I just love the whole atmosphere and ethos that Yvette and Andrew created. Thanks so much to Yvette and Andrew for sharing their beautiful wedding with us today XOXO Lou

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