We have a feast for the eyes today, courtesy of WWW readers Emma and Shaun who are joining us with their Brook Farm wedding held in Hertfordshire on a beautiful summer’s day. What’s more I am so happy to see that WWW faves and Supplier Love members Tipis4Hire provided the super beautiful tipi structures for their reception. There was a real bohemian meets festival atmosphere to their celebrations, complete with macramé wedding décor, outdoor seating, naked tipis, greenery, peacock chairs and even a home baked wedding cake. Whoa!
I also adore the bright and bold flowers, especially Emma’s vibrant yellow and pink bouquet, so unusual and pretty. Didn’t Emma look stunning too in her boho fringe gown by Willowby, teamed with a pretty flower crown? Shaun meanwhile opted for a navy suit and knitted mustard tie, which matched perfectly with his groomsmen. Then there were the bridesmaids in gorgeous burnt orange frocks which contrasted just perfectly. Also keep your eyes peeled for a fire pit, horsebox bar, VW camper transport and bubble confetti.
Kirsty Mackenzie Photography thank you ever so much for sharing with us these utterly gorgeous shots of a very special wedding indeed.
We were spending the weekend in Dorset, where we often go for weekends away. Shaun had come up with the idea to plan a day each for the weekend and keep it as a surprise for the other. On the Friday, I had taken Shaun for a boat trip through Christchurch and to spend the day at Mudeford beach. On the Saturday, Shaun began the day by taking me to various picturesque places, then to stop for a picnic lunch at our favourite outdoor spot in the New Forest. I knew something was up while driving to this spot, because Shaun started heavy breathing, sweating, and nearly crashed the car! However, when we arrived, Shaun unloaded loads of food and started eating away, so I thought he must have been fine!
After we finished eating, Shaun went to the car to grab something, and came back with a handmade book that he had made me, with photos all throughout our 9-year relationship – from meeting at University, graduating, going travelling, buying a house and all the adventures in between. The final page was a picture of us in the spot we were sitting, in the New Forest, and it said, “and that brings us to today”. The following page said that he had a question to ask, and on the final page was an envelope with a slip of paper inside that said, “look up.” I was, of course, blubbing uncontrollably at this point, and looked up to see Shaun on one knee!
For our wedding, we knew quickly that we wanted an outdoorsy, summer vibe and have always liked the look of teepees. We really wanted the day to feel laid back and happy, with lots of pretty views for guests to enjoy. We also wanted it to be personal to us, without stressing about tiny details that could go unnoticed on the day.
The Planning Process
Emma took the lead on most of the planning. With a background in Events Management, she knew how to run a good event. Shaun was generally pretty laid back with most decisions but had certain things that were really important to him that he wanted to lead on – mainly food (including a homemade doughnut wall), a candy bar and a pizza van for the evening meal.
Your Outfits & Accessories
Emma – my dress was a Willowby by Watters dress called ‘Woodrose’. I bought the dress from Heritage Brides – a stunning boutique dress shop based in Hatfield House where appointments are free, the owner is just wonderful, and the collection of dresses is so varied. They had really unique, stand-out options from short 50s dresses, to 1920s vintage dresses to laid back bohemian dresses.
I chose my dress because I absolutely adored the crochet style lace and the fringing (particularly on the back). It felt like it perfectly suited the vibes of the day and was great fun for dancing in!
Shaun – I got my suit from Hawes and Curtis. I wanted to go for something classic – so a three-piece navy suit with a bit of an edge, so the material I chose was almost a thin tweed style. I chose mustard knitted ties for myself, our dads and our ushers because they were bright, summery and would give a nice pop of colour against the suits.
The Readings & Music
Our readings and music during the ceremony was very traditional.
At the reception, our music was:
First dance – Oasis ‘Songbird’
Dance with my dad – Bruno Mars ‘Count on Me’
Wedding breakfast entrance song – Bob Marley ‘Could you be loved’
Our DJ played a brilliant mix, which was just what we wanted – Motown, R’n’B, hip hop, pop – something for everyone! He was brilliant and getting the crowd up for a party too!
Brook Farm in Cuffley. We never knew that this incredible venue existed until Emma’s dad found it online. It was only 15 minutes from our house and had easy access to and from London.
It was the second venue we saw, and as soon as we arrived, we knew we loved it. Emma’s parents had been dubious about a teepee wedding to begin with, being quite traditional themselves, but when they saw the venue they fell in love with it too.
A beautiful, green space on a lake, which has a little island and an aisle of trees complete with festoon lighting, it was stunning and gave you a blank canvas for any structure you wanted to have. The team were incredible, and we couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful place to host our reception.
The Details & Décor
We were lucky that our venue had their own festoon lighting, which always looks stunning. Outside of the tepee, we made our own wedding signpost and macramé dream catcher table plan to add to the festival-style boho vibes. For outdoor seating, we hired low coffee tables and giant Moroccan cushions and rugs which we dotted around and put lanterns on. We love this style of furniture so thought it reflected us well.
Inside the teepee, we kept things relatively simple. The teepees themselves are stunning, with fairy lights covering all the wooden beams, so you don’t need too much décor.
At the top table, we had peacock chairs for the two of us to sit on, because when else will you ever be able to sit on a throne if not on your wedding day? Throughout the teepee, we had lots of macramé touches (hangings, banners and a couple of table runners), lots of touches of eucalyptus and polaroid photos of us dotted around.
Our tables were named after our favourite countries that we have visited together, and each table had photos of us in those places on them instead of table numbers.
All the groomsmen’s suits were from Next. We found that renting a suit from somewhere like Moss Bros. was almost the same cost as buying a suit from Next. Shaun and his ushers went to try on different suits, and we then bought them each their favourite that they agreed on as a thank-you gift. They then all went to the pub for the rest of the day, taking Shaun’s wedding suit with them which left his soon-to-be-wife very anxious for its safe return!
The bridesmaid dresses were all from Reiss in the sale. I’ve always loved burnt orange and thought it would be a little different for a wedding. We also felt that the burnt orange would go nicely with the mustard ties. Floaty, non-traditional long bridesmaid dresses also really fit with the laid-back style we wanted to create for our wedding.
We had originally tried out everyone picking any dress in a sunset colour, but we all thought it looked like we had tried to pick matching dresses but missed the mark. In the end, the bridesmaids said it was nice to all be matching as it felt special that way!
Emma – Emma Victoria did hair and make up for me, my sister, my mum and my four bridesmaids. She was amazing – she made everyone look natural but gave us bold enough make up to look nice in photos. Emma was amazing, she was so laid back and relaxed on the morning – which is just the presence you want!
To go with my flower crown and dress, I wanted to have my hair down – loose and wavy. It (somehow!) stayed as it should all day!
Shaun – did a charcoal face mask with his dad on the morning of the wedding while they chilled at the hotel, then had a shower about half an hour before he left for the Church!
We met our florist, Maria from Maria’s Flowers Intu, at a local wedding fair. She was so lovely and the displays she had on show were full of eucalyptus and wild flowers which was exactly what I was looking for. Maria was incredible – she made us stunning flower crowns, beautiful bouquets and buttonholes, and created eucalyptus table runners for the venue. She also hung bouquets of eucalyptus on the ends of the Church pews where we got married, which were beautiful.
We had asked Maria for colourful flowers, with yellows and pinks and she nailed it! Everyone commented on the flowers on the day and I never wanted to take my flower crown off!
The day after our wedding, we flew to Marrakech for a minimoon and had five days of eating tagines and ALL the carbs, shopping in the Souk markets and sleeping – a lot. It was really nice to go straight from the wedding to spending time just the two of you for a few days and look back on what was our favourite ever day.
Two months after our wedding, we had our proper honeymoon in Indonesia. We spent just over two weeks backpacking around Bukit Lawang, where we trekked and camped in the jungle to spot orangutans, Yogyakarta, Bali and the Gili islands. We wanted to enjoy wildlife, city life and beach life and Indonesia felt like the perfect place to do so.
Kirsty Mackenzie was our photographer. Many of the couples she has worked with before have called her ‘photo ninja’ and we couldn’t agree with the nickname more! She was clearly everywhere judging by our photos yet blended in so well with our guests (with loads of them telling us how great she was!). She was so lovely and made us feel so relaxed. She was also amazing at getting photos done quickly so you can get back to mingling with your guests (and keeping the ushers inline with excellent banter when they were messing around! – I think one of them fell a bit in love with her).
Her photos were so colourful without looking over-edited which was exactly what we wanted. Our photos really captured every tear, every laugh, every hug, every ‘oh no’ moment during the speeches and we just couldn’t have been happier.
See tip 2 on advice for other couples for more on our views on photography!
We made our cake ourselves! After looking at the costs of wedding cakes, we decided to make a four-tier chocolate Guinness cake (Nigella’s recipe!) as it’s so easy and definitely a crowd pleaser. We made the cakes on a lovely sunny day, so would put one tier in the oven at a time, sunbathe until it was done and then do the next! We also made 150 of our favourite cookies – white chocolate and cranberry, and chocolate and peanut butter. For all the ingredients, we spent £42, and we had great fun making it. We just froze the cakes and then defrosted and iced them the night before the wedding. We’d never made a multi-tier cake before but there are so many tutorials on how to assemble one that it was actually way easier than we thought it would be!
- Shaun putting the ring on the wrong finger during the ceremony in a hilarious moment (after making the same mistake in our rehearsal)
- The church being insanely hot and Shaun’s sister kindly slipping him a pretty floral fan during the ceremony to cool down
- Walking into the tepee for our wedding breakfast, bopping along to Bob Marley in the background with everyone clapping us in
- Looking out at our guests from the top table and feeling so incredibly lucky
- Our first dance. Even though we had two dance lessons in the lead up to the wedding, we were still so rigid and forgot everything we learned, but we loved every second – we even managed a dip!
- Emma’s dance with her dad. They danced to Bruno Mars ‘Count on Me.’ This was a really special moment.
- Everyone storming the stage at the end of the night and dancing the night away.
- All our university friends taking over the music to begin a university chant that we used to sing at our student union
Advice For Other Couples
Don’t worry too much about the small details as guests don’t notice things too much. Decide what’s really important to you and put the most effort into those elements – whether its finding your ideal band, making the venue look amazing, giving your guests great food or getting in as many personal elements as possible.
Choosing the right photographer is so important! Of all the areas which you could DIY or do on the cheap, you shouldn’t with your wedding photography. When the wedding is over, what you are left with, ultimately, are the photographs and the memories they trigger. Our photos still bring us so much happiness, and seven months on we still look through them all the time.
Set time aside for wedding planning and discussing the wedding, so that both of you are ready and prepared to get to it, and so that it doesn’t take over your day to day life.
DIY what you can but don’t push yourself too far. If you do plan to do lots of DIY, do it as far in advance as possible. We made our own wedding cake (our favourite – chocolate Guinness) – and just popped it in the freezer and defrosted and iced it the day before the wedding. Even if you’re not great at baking, we found that barely anyone ate the cake. If you have a signature bake, go for it – we made a four-tier cake and 150 of our favourite flavour cookies for £42, rather than paying £250 for just a cake! Alternatively, I thought I would make macramé table runners for each of our tables and after trying to make one and getting 9 inches finished in about 8 hours, I scrapped the idea! Don’t push yourself to do anything that you won’t look at with joy and pride on the day.
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Kirsty Mackenzie Photography
Brook Farm Cuffley
Café con Amore
Thanks so very much to Emma and Shaun for sharing with us their epic wedding celebrations, oh so cool! xo Lou