A Pretty + Charming Festival Inspired Wedding

festival inspired wedding

Chris and Jo were married in July at St Mary’s Church in Warwick followed by a reception at Alveston Manor in Stratford Upon Avon. They incorporated their love of festivals into their wedding, with festival ticket place names, a Lattitude style table plan and thier favourite indi music.

Jo looks utterly amazing in her Jenny Packham dress, while Chris went for a tailored mod style suit, which looked amazing. I adore the pretty blue flowers, the rustic cake and the pretty coral bridesmaid dresses.

Thanks so much to the wonderful Jay Rowden for sharing his photography with us today.


wild natural wedding flowersfestival wedding

Names…. Chris and Jo (but to our friends we are Mr and Mrs Tent and Mr and Mrs Turnip!)

Wedding Date…. 21st July 2012

The Proposal…. I had spotted and completely fallen in love with a coral and diamond platinum and gold ring which is 130 years old, in January 2011. At that time, Chris being Chris wouldn’t even entertain the idea of getting married, and wanted to do it his own time, which for me was fine (?)– I wanted it to be a surprise after all! After getting my hopes up on holidays, anniversaries, romantic trips to the Cotwolds, I had decided to give up all hope of marriage. Surely when we went to Vietnam he would pop the question, but no. I was destined to be a ‘girlfriend’ for the rest of my life. One day, Chris suggested to me to take my mum to look at the ring I had my heart set on, so one Friday afternoon mum and I tootled into town, I was so excited to show her this beauty of a ring but to my absolute dismay, the ring had gone….. I was devastated! The ladies in the shop spun me an elaborate tale about a lady who had bought it, but wasn’t sure if she liked it or not. If she didn’t, she was going to send it back to the shop that day. The ladies, then said, I’m sorry Jo, but the post has been and I’m afraid it hasn’t been returned. It had gone….. That evening, Chris announced, ‘Let’s do something romantic this weekend’, so off we went to the Cotswolds, driving around the beautiful countryside, stopping off in old quaint country pubs, wandering around the shops and generally having a thoroughly lovely time. The next day, after Chris had been to the ‘tip’ we went for a drive again in the countryside, ending up at one of our favourite places for walking. By this time it was chucking it down with rain, windy and bitterly cold. ‘Do you want to get out of the car?’ Chris asked me….I declined – it was freezing!! Just at that moment I noticed an engagement ring shaped box in Chris’s pocket, that’s not what I think it is, is it? I actually convinced myself that it was his phone! I absolutely and completely refused to get excited.

When we got home, Chris announced, we were going out that night for some dinner. He was after all, going off to Detroit the very next day for a business trip for the week. ‘Get dressed in your favourite dress and be ready for half past seven’. The taxi came, and drove us to a Michelin Star country hotel- wow. We were greeted with champagne and shown into our own little private conservatory filled with flowers and amazing homemade treats. Apparently there were beautiful gardens outside but as it was so dark outside I could barely see a thing through the windows. When I turned around, to my utter amazement, Chris was there, down on one knee. Oh my good God! That was it, I burst into tears immediately! Neither of us can remember what words came out of Chris’s mouth but it was something along the lines of ‘Joanne Lowery, you make me so happy, will you marry me?’ ‘Are you being serious!’ That’s all I could say!!! Along with some kind of crying / giggling mess of a noise which I just couldn’t contain! ‘Yes, I will marry you!’. ‘Close your eyes and put your hands out’ Chris then said. When I opened my eyes, I literally could not speak, he gave me the most beautiful engagement ring – made of coral and diamonds…….. he’d bought all along!

The Vision for the day…. We didn’t really have one vision as such, only snippets of things which are part of our lives. We wanted some kind of festival theme, so made out name cards for the wedding breakfast as festival tickets and the table plan was akin to the Latitude festival style. We chose a playlist of our totally favourite indie tunes to be played out throughout the day, and added a bit of bunting to add to the festivities. Our tables names were Festival Festival stage names, plus a couple of made up stages too!

The Planning process…. Is one I never want to repeat! We started planning about a year in advance. Being a teacher, I used the holidays wisely to get lots of planning done, but having three jobs and planning a wedding was really a struggle.

Budget…. EEEEk, we don’t actually have a total figure, but it was over £22,000

The Venue… The church was St Mary’s Church in Warwick and the venue for the reception was Alveston Manor in Stratford Upon Avon. Apparently, there is a tree in the gardens which Shakespeare sat under to write Midsummer Night’s Dream….

The Dress + Accessories….. Ah my dress!!! I absolutely loved my dress from the minute I first laid my eyes on it! It was called Eden by Jenny Packham and my head piece was by Fable Dreams, both of which I bought from Quello in Kenilworth.

Finding the dress…. In short, I didn’t really love the search for my perfect dress. I knew I wanted something which was different and couldn’t really see myself in a meringue and I certainly didn’t want to look like one of those toilet roll doll covers either! The first dress I tried on was what I thought was my ideal wedding dress. It was a pretty fitted vintage fishtale number. When I tried it on, I felt like a man in a dress, I thought it looked awful. The ladies in the shop must have seen the disappointment on my face and took it upon themselves to make me try everything in the shop on, big ones, small ones, Big Fat Gypsy Wedding ones!!! Surely I would find something, but no….. Weeks passed, months even, trying on more and more dresses. I went back to the first shop and tried on the first dress – the man dress!!! I liked it a bit more, and didn’t want to take it off. OK this was the one…….

One day, driving home from work, I didn’t consciously decide to go into another wedding dress shop but found myself there explaining to the ladies in the shop that I thought I had found the dress, but was just checking that there was nothing else out there before I paid my deposit. There, hanging in the rail I saw it. A beautiful BEAUTIFUL 1920s style beaded vintage dress. My hopes being dashed when I saw it was a bit out of my budget. After much thought, well about 5 minutes, I decided that I just had to try it on. As soon as I put it on, I knew it was just perfect!

My accessories were pearl earrings and a 1920s style long necklace from Monsoon, teamed with pearl bracelets.

Groom’s attire… Chris looked amazing. As an engagement present, I bought Chris a rose gold pocket watch which he wore on the day. To not be outdone by the bride, Chris decided that he wanted to have his whole outfit tailored, even down to his tie and handkerchief. As I knew what my dress was like, we chose the colour of his suit together, the rest was up to him. He designed a drainpipe trouser mod-esq suit by Callaghan’s in Birmingham. The shirt, tie and handkerchief were tailored by Benjamin Vaughan in Birmingham. The shoes were by Ask the Misses.

The Readings + Music…. I walked into the church to Fiction by Belle and Sebastian, my favourite band, and we walked out the church to All You Need Is Love by the Beatles, Chris’s favourite. The readings were done by two of the bridesmaids who read Song of Solomon 10-13 and one of Chris’s friends who read The Most Wonderful Of All Things in Life by Hugh Walpole.

We decided to sing Jerusalem and Lord of all Hopefulness for our hymns.

Beautiful bridesmaids….. There were 4 bridesmaids in total, who wore coral dresses which were bought from eBay. My chief bridesmaid doubled up as my hairdresser even though she had never done an up do in her life! Amazing! They were all fabulous on the day, especially as I had a few ‘moments’ on the morning of the wedding!

The Flowers… I got my flowers from The Flower Shop, Regent Street, Leamington Spa. I was so impressed with the time and effort they put into creating my beautiful bouquet, the bridesmaid flowers, buttonholes and the table decorations too. I am not very knowledgeable about flowers and didn’t really know what I wanted as my wedding flowers at all. On visiting The Flower Shop one day, I was sat down and shown so many different flowers, flowers with flowers, flowers with foliage, the lot! They even ordered in a range of flowers for me to play with and put together myself. It was actually my mum who put my final flowers together after my third or fourth visit to the shop (they were so patient with me!) My bouquet had thalaspi, astrancia, white veronica, white lisianthus with heads of blue Delphinium. Chris’s buttonhole was made up from Blue delphinium, veronica, alchemilia and lisianthus with leaf foliage. The bridesmaid wrist corsages and family buttonholes were made up from All white, veronica, alchemilia, lisianthus, astrancia with leaf foliage. The flowers on the tables were also made up of the same flowers, set in old vintage bottles and miniature vases.

The Cake… My friend Sarah. She is a fantastic cake maker! As we didn’t have favours as such, we chose cupcakes so guests could take them home. We designed them ourselves and chose pink, blue and yellow frosting, topped off with pin wheels, moustaches and flags – all homemade by me! We also had a three tier Victoria sponge cake which had a bunting topper.

Your Photographer…. Jay Rowden. He was such an excellent photographer. We wanted someone who could capture the whole essence of the day without being obtrusive. We didn’t want many staged photographs, choosing natural shots and Jay really listened to our requirements and produced pictures which we are just so happy with. I don’t know how he did it but he managed to take pictures which portray each of our friend’s personalities and characters – brilliant!

The Details + Decor…. The colours we went for were predominately coral and periwinkle blue, although vintage pastel colours featured throughout the wedding, taken from our festival style table plan colour theme. We decorated the reception room with vintage bunting and vases.

The Honeymoon…. We spent 3 weeks in Malaysia and it was just amazing! We had a few days in Kuala Lumpur, and few days in Seremban in the most fantastic jungle lodge, then 11 days on Tioman island. Gorgeous!

Memorable moments… There were so many, and definitely too many for me to choose just one. For me, the bride, here are some of the most memorable parts of the day: Having sunshine.  Seeing my Dad for the first time. My chief bridesmaid doing my hair – perfectly! My ladies doing their reading in the service word perfect. Smiling ALL the way down the aisle, throughout the whole service and even whilst saying my vows! Secretly arranging for our wedding band to play ‘I am the walrus’ by The Beatles as a surprise for Chris. He loved it! At the end of the day, my Dad and I bumping into each other and my beautiful Jenny Packham dress getting covered in red wine! As for Chris: (he wrote this bit!) Looking round and seeing how beautiful Jo looked. Having all of our friends and family here together for us. The amazing party with a brilliant band (The Kicks) and ‘I am the walrus’!

Advice for other couples… Don’t stress! Plan ahead. Don’t leave things until the last minute (as we did). Make sure the hotel will take all the stress out of the day by putting up decorations and putting together the room design on the morning.

Credit where credit is due…











Such a pretty wedding, i love your report Jo :-) Thanks so much to Chris and Jo for sharing their gorgeous wedding with us today XOXO Lou


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