Be prepared folks! Today’s real wedding is set to blow you away with creativity, multicolour ideas and a lot of love.
Charlie and Matt were hitched at Alderford Lake in Shropshire on the 3rd August 2019, with a super special outdoor ceremony followed by a magical tipi reception. Their day was just so whimsical, I love it, from the cool door entrance to the tipis to the fun bar sheds and tuk tuk bikes! There is so so much to take in, but all in all their day really packed in their personality with true festival vibes.
Charlie rocked a beautiful fairytale gown complete with glitter, a dreamy cape and starry veil, while Matt had his suit custom made complete with ‘just married’ embroidery… amazing! Didn’t they both look stunning? There are some very special moments including a glimpse of a hot air balloon, an epic confetti throw and an incredible show put on as a surprise by Charlie and Matt’s nearest and dearest.
Huge thanks goes to Amy B Photography for sharing with us these utterly awesome images. Did you ever see such a fun wedding celebration?!
After months of filling our weekends with plans seeing friends and family we were finally enjoying a lovely, relaxed Saturday morning at home. I thought this would be a great opportunity to spend the day decorating or doing some gardening, if the rain held off.
Being the best boyfriend ever, Matt offered to go the shop to buy me pastries for breakfast. On returning from the shop he seemed suddenly desperate for us to take a trip to our favourite place, Altrincham Market to share a steak sandwich. I on the other hand was refusing to move and was enjoying watching Frasier and eating my warm pastries. All in all, a prefect Saturday morning for me.
After saying no to more suggestions that would mean I had to shower and leave the house Matt came and sat next to me on the sofa. He explained that we had been living together for a year, been on amazing holidays and that he loved me very much*
At this point he got down on one knee and sh*t got real! He produced a vintage ring box from his pocket, opened the box and asked me to marry him.
Stunned into rare silence I sat open mouthed for what apparently felt like ages, as Matt started saying ‘you have to say something!’ repeatedly. In blurry tears of happiness I accepted and spent most of the next hour crying.
Matt had designed the ring with a local jeweller, with a hexagon shaped head holding the diamond as I loved Manchester, bees and we met on the dating app Bumble.
A few calmer hours later I asked if we were still decorating the house, to which Matt laughed in reply as he had booked the incredible Pale Hall in North Wales for the night with a six course taster menu.
Despite ruining Matt’s master plan (and several other plans apparently) to propose at Altrincham Market, for me being at home with pastries, Frasier and in my pj’s was just perfect.
*side note at this point I’m not paying too much attention as he’s in the way of the tv and disrupting my pastry consumption
We both knew straight away that we wanted the wedding to be personal and less formal than the usual affair. I had very clear ideas of what I wanted regarding the colour schemes and decorations, even buying stuff days after the proposal… call me crazy ha ha. I loved the country weddings of Darling Buds of May and childhood books Brambly Hedge.
We loved the idea having tipi’s or yurts in a field, with our friends and family being able to camp, lots of food and drinks throughout the day.
I wanted to include everything that we loved, bees were obviously going to make an appearance, cakes and puddings made by people we loved, beautiful drink bottles, wildflowers. Matt lived in South America during university and desperately wanted to have an Argentinian BBQ for the wedding breakfast, and he amazingly found a great guy in Cornwall.
My family are very creative and we wanted them to be involved as much as possible, drawing on all their inspiration, love and experience. We also loved the idea of planning and creating the wedding ourselves, start to finish, details large and small.
The Planning Process
In order to ‘save money’ and of course we know best we decided plan and organise the wedding ourselves. As we weren’t booking a traditional venue we thought it was best. This meant a lot of work for ourselves, waaaay more than if we had paid an organiser.
Most of the planning was really exciting, made it more personal and fun but we underestimated the amount of time and effort it would take.
The big things came first for setting the date like the tipi’s, photographer and field. We did a lot of research of what was available to us in the North West.
I knew immediately that I wanted Amy Barton to my photographer so she was first to contact to check availability. Matt found various tipi and yurt suppliers and we both loved Viva La Tipi, especially after meeting them. Fields were harder to find with us eventually getting in touch with a campsite in Tattenhall outside Chester that had fields available as well as camping.
We are beyond lucky that my uncle, Stephan Chapman, is an event organiser so it made complete sense to rope him in and use all his expertise, knowledge and resources. He was integral to the planning process, telling us what to plan and when. He made and assembled the two bars, lots and lots of incredible decorations including the tuk tuk bikes, and many incredibly magical ideas.
He really came into his own when a week before the wedding our field became unusable due to rain and he calmly found a new venue in Alderford Lake, Whitchurch. Dream wedding planner and we couldn’t be more thankful.
During the hottest Easter weekend we drove down to Calais in a car with no air conditioning to pick up hundreds of bottles of wine from Majestic’s. We did this as it would save us money (Majestic also offer free wine glass hire) supplying our own wine for the meal, however with petrol, hotel and a supermarket sweep of all things French we calculated we saved approximately £50. Well worth it though.
I loved the idea of having mis matched vintage style, floral plates and old silver cutlery for the wedding breakfast. The hunt started out as fun with me searching charity shops, Facebook market place and raiding my nana’s house. It all looked so beautiful when completed, it was exactly as I imagined. My amazing best friend and bridesmaid Becci hand painted beautiful cakes and puddings for the table names. It really bought my vision to life.
God only knows ha ha
Alderford Lake, Whitchurch ended up being our final venue which was perfect. We hired the whole field which allowed family and friends to camp and Whitchurch was close enough for people to book BnB’s and hotels. The owners were so helpful, especially with it being such a last minute change. The onsite café was a dream as well to fuel our helpers as we set up a few days before.
Josh and his team at Viva La Tipi started to set up at the venue on the Wednesday before and were complete by Friday morning. We started decorating and setting up on the Thursday and Josh was so helpful with ideas and previous experience. They provided tables and chairs, two giants bean bags, fire pits and a disco ball.
Sizzle Grillz came all the way from Cornwall to provide Matt with an incredible Argentinian BBQ. It was a spectacle in itself, the BBQ guys provided entertainment, got involved in the wedding and served up amazing food. We would very much recommend these guys as well as the Viva La Tipi.
We provided wine for the wedding breakfast and asked our guests to bring their own booze, but just in case of hot weather or knowing our guest well we also had on offer a bar. We asked our local and favourite bar in Chester, Goat and Munch to provide a bar. It was amazing as we were able to pick our favourite beers, spirits and we have a relationship with the owners and they were able to celebrate with us. We supplemented the bar so the cost to our guests was kept low.
I was lucky enough to be able to draw on the talents of my best friends for hair and make up who were amazing. It made the morning getting ready even more special as I was just me and my closet friends in the hotel room.
The Readings & Music
Down the aisle- Goddess of the woods, High Grove Suite
Back down the aisle- It Must be Love, Madness
Reading- Love Monkey, Edward Monkton
My sister also wrote a poem especially for the wedding.
As I had 7 bridesmaids and a brides boy I had always imagined them in different dresses that matched their own personal style. However that went out of the window when I saw the most perfect dresses on the ASOS Needle and Thread sale.
Five bridesmaids were dressed in complimenting Needle and Thread dresses and two were in ASOS own dresses. Mike the brides boy wore his own suit with a Liberty of London tie, I knew he would love.
Your Outfits & Accessories
I purchased my star covered headdress from the Instagram shop Crown and Glory in the Black Friday sales before I had found my dress. I had spied it before I went dress shopping (probably before we got engaged to be honest).
I found my dress in Hot Frox in Southport, with my mum. We went shopping just before Christmas and knew that I wanted something fairy tale to compliment the feel of the wedding. My mum kept telling me to remember that I was shopping for ‘the wedding, not the dress!’ I didn’t understand what she meant until I feel in love with two very different dresses. One was simple satin, very beautiful but wouldn’t of fitted in with the style of our wedding and other was the glitzy, tulle, fairy dress that I eventually chose. I had found lots of ideas on Pinterest of dresses with capes and loved the idea of making one to come off the shoulders of the dress. Hot Frox were so helpful and contacted the dress company directly to order more of the tulle. The dress was also a ‘prom dress’ so was A LOT cheaper than the ‘wedding dresses’ I had been trying on. Including the dress, underskirt/hoop and extra material it cost less than £500.
As the wedding was outside in a field I knew I didn’t want to spend lots of money on my shoes, and found perfect sparkly ones in New Look for £19.
One of the loveliest things about my outfit was my ‘borrowed’ garter, which was 5 years old and had been passed down through my group of girlfriends from university.
Matt faffed (he would say deliberated) over his suit for months and eventually found an amazing online, bespoke suit maker Get The Drop weeks before the wedding. He spoke them via email about ideas and styles, they sent over material samples so we could see the quality, colours in real life and pick compliment materials for the waist coat and jacket. He loved picking a snazzy silk lining, extra pointy lapels and even had ‘just married’ stitched into the lining of the collar of the jacket. They were great company, very fast and Matt was over the moon with the finish.
I had bought Matt a little gold bee to go on the lapel of his jacket to match bee earrings I had bought myself. Unbeknownst to me, he had also bought me silver and diamond earrings to match my engagement ring.
Own outfits with matching Liberty material ties and pocket squares from online.
The Details & Décor
I bought a lot of the decorations from local and cheap shops including Poundland, B&M and Home Bargains. A LOT of the plates were sourced from charity shops, which became a running joke at my expense and even made it into all three of the speeches!
As previously mentioned we both love Altrincham Market and I was lucky enough to get 12 beautiful tomato cans to use as cutlery holders. It was lovely to favourites parts of world there.
My dad and father in law made old school fair games including a coconut shy, ‘whack a rat’, hook a duck and a giant Jenga for our guests to play with. These went down so well and the Jenga was also used a guest book!
Flowers were home grown by myself, family and friends as we aiming to save money and also had a wild and less formal style to the decoration.
I spent months planting and growing dahlia’s, but only a few bloomed in time. My Sweet Peas bloomed late, they looked and smelt great until two days before the wedding…
Luckily my friend picked loads of her beautiful hydrangeas, my mum picked everything living from her garden and there were lots of wildflowers around the venue.
Amy Barton Photography, was incredible at capturing the magic of our day. I know Amy from university so always knew I would ask her. She is super friendly, professional and guests commented on how well she integrated into the wedding.
M&S wedding with a wire cake topper made by my cousin Ffion Chapman.
All puddings were made by guests which was lovely.
Thailand- three nights in Bangkok exploring the city and 11 nights in Phuket chilling, relaxing and eating all the goodies.
Immediately after our first dance my uncle sat us down on chairs at the top of the dance floor, Mary Poppins music came blasting out and of the crowd came my cousin’s boyfriends flying kites and my mum dressed as Mary Poppins. Then followed all my favourites childhood films and characters including nuns from the Sound of Music, Grandpa and the dad (dressed as the puppet) from Chitty Bang Bang and finally came a fantastic Chitty Bang Bang car that my incredible Dad had made. It was followed by my fantastic cousins dancing to Abba and filling the dance floor with confetti. It really made the evening celebrations start with a bang and gave the evening guests something special too.
Matt had joked several times to my uncle during the planning stages that he wanted to come down the aisle on a horse…. At 11 o’clock at night everyone was called from the dancefloor outside to the watch the fireworks. Suddenly it all went red, The Gypsy Kings blasted from the speakers as the grooms men appeared with flares and in came Matt on the back of a pantomime horse with a rose between his lips!!! This was absolutely incredible and Matt loved every second of having his dream come true.
Advice For Other Couples
The run up to the wedding and the big day is all about you! Make sure it is all how you imagined and don’t let family and friends rail road you into doing things their way. However be strong enough able to hand over the final moments to a few, key people like siblings or friends to ensure all jobs are sorted. I left the venue on the afternoon the previous day and not everything was finished but I knew it was in safe hands with my younger sister. You need time to chill before the main event!
Invite everyone you want, because you’ll be sure your mum and mother in law will make space for their friends who ‘must be invited all day’.
Utilise your assets to save money! Best friends who are crafty, family who can bake amazing cakes, a family friend who is an aspiring DJ. Without our friends and family we wouldn’t of been able to pull off our dreams and visions and they also added so much magic.
Enjoy every moment of the planning, little things like listening to Spotify whilst picking out songs, mini adventures to look at venues, shopping for dresses and decorations, practising first dances in the living room. The lead up and the big day all comes so fast and then it’s over.
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Amy B Photography
Viva La Tipi
Crown and Glory
Oh so brilliant.
Charlie and Matt thank you both so very much for sharing your creative and fun wedding with us xo Lou