Welcome to Friday here at Whimsical Wonderland Weddings. What we have in store for you today is the epic rainbow brights and crafty fun wedding day of WWW readers Leo and Léonie. Hooray! They were hitched on the 3rd June 2017 at Ash Barton in Devon, first with an outdoor ceremony inside a pom pom adorned gazebo followed by a bright barn reception.
Our couple really pulled out all the stops for their wedding, it was a colourful DIY extravaganza, with lots of handmade décor and personal touches. There was a rainbow streamer backdrop, painted bottles filled with blooms, a balloon installation surrounding the entrance door and stationery designed by Léonie. Oh my!
There is just so much to inspire from the bridesmaid’s trouser outfits, to the multicolour blousy bouquets and the stylish outfits chosen by Leo and Léonie. It sure was a fun filled celebration with live music and scrumptious food all round. Do keep your eyes peeled for an amazing drip wedding cake and the temporary tattoo station too.
Huge thanks goes to Jordanna Marston for sharing with us these totally spectacular and vibrant captures. Brilliant.
We’d been together for 11 years when Leo proposed, so I did not see it coming!
Completely unknown to me Leo had actually planned to propose while we were travelling in South America – he had bought the cheapest ring from Argos just in case got stolen! But because we ended up meeting so many people out there we didn’t much alone time! Leo didn’t get the chance to do it so he ended up proposing on my birthday at lovely Equadorian restaurant in Islington a few days after we got back.
We ended up buying a beautiful antique engagement ring from an antique shop in Devon a few months later.
Latin America meets the English seaside!
The Planning Process
SO. MUCH. PINTEREST. I had so many boards for each section of the wedding! And many excel spread sheets… I wish I had known about Trello when I was planning it though!
We picked a blank canvas of a venue so we could have the freedom to do everything the way we wanted. But that meant we had to do… EVERYTHING! It was a little bit overwhelming and you always feel like you could have done more but looking back the amount we did was amazing!! We organised a 4 day wedding hundreds of miles away from were we live and (almost) everything went smoothly!
More than we planned!!
We didn’t spend much on the dress or rings, so most of it went on the venue and booze and entertainment! It turns out doing a DIY wedding can cost a lot more than you think… portable loos are pricey!!
The Ash Barton Estate, EX33 2NP
We looked all over the UK to find somewhere suitable and we ended up hiring Ash Barton, which ticked a lot of the boxes (specifically no curfew and no corkage!)
It has a beautiful large house that can sleep up to 30 people, there is also space for camping and enormous barn (which you need a fair amount of imagination to tackle!) and some beautiful gardens.
We also thought we’d make it equally inconvenient for everyone to get there…
Your Outfits & Accessories
The first thing we did was make our own rings at a workshop held by Roderick Vere at Of Cabbages and Kings in Stoke Newington. I made Leo’s and he made mine. It was SO fun and lovely to know that our rings are completely unique. (it was also a LOT cheaper than buying normal wedding rings!)
I knew I didn’t want to spend much on my dress, so I mostly looked at vintage shops and ASOS and I ended up going with a beautiful lace floral dress from ASOS that I customised slightly by altering the neckline (which I did 3 days before the wedding!) The dress was paired with red platforms from Dorothy Perkins, which I customised too by adding red pom poms to the ankle strap! My evening dress was a fabulous slinky red vintage dress by Wayne Clark that I bought from Etsy, which I paired with a Tatty Devine necklace and silver glitter shoes from ASOS.
Leo had a lovely blue suit from J Crew, a colourful ditsy print shirt from Paul Smith and orange knitted tie. Not wanting to go down the usual route of blue suit / brown shoes he bought some really cool grey leather sneakers from Mr Porter.
Both our outfits were very last minute!
The Readings & Music
Walked down the aisle to “Glory of Love” by Big Bill Broonzy
Reading 1: excerpt from “I Like You” by Sandol Stoddard Warburg
Reading 2: “Your laughter” by Pablo Neruda
Signed register to “Home” by Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros
Walked to reception drinks to “Disco Hi-Life” by Orlando Julius
First dance: At Last by Etta James
We had two readings, the first one by my school friend Eliza was “Your Laughter” by Pablo Neruda, a Chilean poet whose house we visited in Valparaíso. It was so emotional and beautiful! The second one was I Like You by Sandol Stoddard Warburg, read with great comic timing by Leo’s sister.
Music is really important to us and we spent a lot of time deciding what to play… I walked down the “aisle” (was more of hill hanging on to my step dad, Ian…) to Glory of Love by Big Bill Broonzy and signed the register to Home by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, which we had sung the night before at karaoke!
We hired an amazing band, Miss Hoodoo and the Delta Boys, for our reception. After dinner they played an acoustic latin set outside in the courtyard whilst we drank margaritas. Later on they played a brilliant bluesy, soul set starting with At Last (by Etta James) for our first dance.
After the band our friend Kris DJed until the early hours.
I didn’t leave myself much time to get ready as I was still trying to decorate the place at noon! I did the make up and hair myself (I didn’t want to look too different to normal) so a bit of lippy and eye shadow and I was done. I did treat myself to a manicure a few days beforehand though.
Neither of my bridesmaids like wearing dresses or heels so I wasn’t going to make them wear them! They both have very different personal styles, Alice is simple and chic and Tara is a bit rock n roll, so I wanted their looks to reflect that.
I also wanted them to look cool, contemporary, and colourful but also comfy and coordinated (ha!!). The dress code ended up being red trousers, pink top and metallic shoes.
Alice’s trousers were from Massimo Dutti and her top from Topshop, Tara wore trousers from Cos and she hand dyed a shirt she found from eBay.
They wore suits they already had and then orange and pink ties from ties online, we didn’t want it to look too matchy matchy though everything ended coordinating beautifully!
Was made by a friend of mine for Cake of Dreams.
The bottom layer was vanilla sponge with a panna cotta & raspberry filling, the next layer was vanilla with lime curd and the top layer was a lime sponge with coconut! It was covered in vanilla buttercream, salted caramel drizzle and flowers from Wilderness Flowers to match the décor.
I found out about Hayley from Wilderness Flowers via a mutual friend and knew immediately that she would be perfect, she knew exactly what I wanted! Bright colours and flowers that looked like pom poms basically… (peonies, ranunculus, craspedia, alliums, protea…) I also had mint in my bouquet which I loved!
The Details & Décor
Decoration was one of the most important aspects of the day to me, I wanted it to be bright and colourful and fun, with a bit of a Latin American vibe… lots of pom poms, streamers, balloons and lanterns. I made a lot of the decorations myself, from the paper tassel garlands, table names to the neon signs (The cactus was my favourite). We had a photobooth with inflatable animals and cut outs of llamas that I had made, it was very silly. Also we had a temporary tattoo table full of temporary tattoos that I had designed.
The barn was HUGE and a bit of an epic undertaking… We had so much help on the day before from family and friends, for which I am eternally grateful! My step dad and his best mate Ken also helped transform the barn with an amazing lighting and sound system!
We love travelling so our tables names and centre pieces were some of our favourite places we have been together (from Sardinia to Seoul to Isla del Sol in Bolivia), we decorated the tables with snow globes, souvenirs and spray painted bottles with flowers in. The table names were little neon signs and everyone got a llama fridge magnet from Peru as their favour. The table plan was made up of hanging hand drawn snowglobes.
I’m an illustrator so I also designed all the wedding stationery… (and got them printed by Moo).
Straight after the wedding we went to Mykonos for a relaxing minimoon, for a few days of sun and sea and food. We stayed in the beautiful Mykonos Thea which has a private beach and we ate fresh grilled fish every day at Kiki’s tavern. Heaven.
A few months later we spent 3 weeks in Mexico for our Maximoon, which was AMAZING. We travelled from Mexico City to Tulum via Oaxaca, Zipolite, San Cristobal de las Casas & Merida!
We stayed in incredible B&Bs (below) ate amazing food, drank lots of margaritas and bought a lot of folk art and textiles!
The Red Tree House (Mexico City)
El Diablo y sandia (Oaxaca)
Casa sol Ziplolite (Zipolite)
Casa del Maya (Merida)
The night before we invited everyone to the venue for fish n chips, ice cream and karaoke. It was a brilliant night… the highlight was my mums rendition of Bat out of Hell by Meatloaf.
Our ceremony was lovely, very relaxed and giggly, we tweaked the vows a little to bit to include the words friendship, and laughter and adventure!
It was in a gazebo under a beautiful big oak tree. We were actually the first ones to get married in that spot, as it only got licensed a week before.
I was very insistent that not just the men did the talking so I gave a speech and so did my bridesmaids.
We only chose our first dance music a few hours before the dance so we hadn’t rehearsed anything! Not even Leo jumping in to the air!
The band were so great we missed out on the amazing pizza truck we hired for late night snacks because we were dancing all night!! We were the last ones up (as per usual) and went to bed just as the sun was starting to come up… (Leo was insistent on having a trance set at the end!)
Advice For Other Couples
Delegate!! I took too much on and in hindsight I think would have hired a wedding planner to take on the boring admin side, leaving me to do the more creative bits. Leo is very organised and a spread sheet king but if you’re doing a DIY wedding there are so many things to take into consideration, like hiring tables, chairs, and even glasses!!!
Most of all try not to get too stressed out about details (easier said than done!) and remember that you are NEVER GOING TO PLEASE EVERYONE so just do want YOU want.
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Jordanna Marston London Wedding Photographer
What a colourful and fun day.
Leo and Léonie I really cannot thank you both enough for sharing your very special wedding story with us xo Lou