Whimsical & Fun Garden Party Wedding with a Carousel Ride

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We’re all in for some fun today with Garry and Tara’s brilliant wedding. Their nuptials took place on 24th August 2019 with a chapel service followed by a seriously epic reception in the garden of their family home in Surrey. It’s almost hard to know where to start with a Sperry Tent filled with to die for florals, a beautiful naked tipi and last but certainly not least, a carousel.

Our pair put a lot of effort into the details, being experienced family party planners! I’m absolutely loving the Champagne wall and all the signage, post box and prettiness that came with it. There’s lots to take in so I hope you really enjoy it all!

Thank you so much to Sarah Legge Photography for sharing the beautiful images with us that she captured on the day. Just gorgeous!

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The Proposal

We are a day apart in age and have been together for 17 years. A joke started between all of our friends that he must propose before our 37th birthday or Garry would have to pay for the girls to go to Vegas on a ‘Non Hen Do’ (having been together for 17 years this joke had been ongoing for years). On his birthday in 2017 (one day before my 37th birthday) at a restaurant in Cyprus a birthday cake with the tune Happy Birthday playing makes its way to our table with a message on top ‘will you marry me’ after the shock and embarrassment and my acceptance of marriage, Garry excitedly fist pumps the air and says ‘Yes…. No Vegas baby’! And so another joke begins.. I mean it would have been cheaper to send us all to Vegas!

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The Vision

We have large families and really wanted a chilled but fun day, we started looking around at barns as we wanted a rustic but quirky feel to the day. But struggled to get a Barn with all of the requirements we had. We are fortunate enough to have access to a family home which had the space we needed to get the feel we wanted.

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The Planning Process

I have planned and executed lots of large family parties (three 18ths, two 21sts and wedding anniversary parties) and so decided that with the help of my five brothers we would be able to do the same for the wedding. We have recently set up our own planning service after receiving so many comments and notes to say what another great party we threw – U&I Weddings and Events.

We had a lot of contacts from previous parties and so we had an idea of where to start, but there were a lot of little quirky bits and bobs which took longer to pull together, like the invitations, signage, the table seating plan and the table place settings etc which we had designed and printed by Xcalibre, they were brilliant and so helpful.

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The Venue

The Venue was in a garden at our family home in Virginia Water, this was great but also meant that we needed to get everything together!

We each stayed at different hotels the night before the wedding and had vintage red double decker busses collect us and our bridesmaids / groomsmen and immediate families in the morning and then bring all the guests back from the chapel at St John Beaumont School in Old Windsor to the house.

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The Details & Décor

We had a Champagne wall built which also housed signage and a red letter box for cards, this was set up for guests arrival, we are all about ‘a bit of something different’ and so this was great and certainly got a lot of ‘wows’. Opposite that we had three chairs named with guests that hadn’t replied to their invitations on time, in the invitation guests were asked to reply by the 30th of March otherwise bring a chair and a sandwich, needless to say the laughing carried on from all the laughing at the chapel.

We wanted the rear garden to be a bit of a surprise so the guests had their drinks and canapés at the front of the house while we had the pictures taken and then when they came through to the back they were faced with a Carousel, a naked tipi with hay bales and a firepit for toasting marshmallows at sundown, a Volkswagen campervan photobooth, an outside bar and a Sperry tent filled with flowers.

Papakata provided the Sperry Tent, Witches hat and the naked tipi, both inside bars and the tables and flooring with festoon lighting. The whole team from the office team right through to the set up and take down team could not have been any more helpful and a real pleasure to work with.

The kids had disposable cameras and a list of pictures to take (cant wait to see these when we get them developed!) and the adults had wedding Bingo and ‘Dare’ chatterboxes on the tables.

The Carousel from Matthew’s Fun Fairs – these guys were just so so helpful, where others weren’t interested as the logistics of getting the machine in wasn’t straight forward, Tommy said he would come and take a look, this as not an easy task, the tight space to manoeuvre the machine in and around paired with trying to protect the polished concrete drive was hard work but they got it in and it was the star of the day!

Relish Catering – I mean these guys prepared a three course meal – camembert cheese, followed by beef wellington and veg and a trio of deserts all cooked and supplied from a tent, and the food was out of this world, I have had people tell me that they hate beef wellington but asked for seconds on the day (which they were given!) Relish also provided all of the staff and the bar staff for the day, the day would not have run as smoothly if it wasn’t for them, they are amazing and we would not hesitate for a second to recommend them.

In the evening we had street food vans turn up, one providing Lebanese food and one serving pizzas – and my goodness the amount of comments about what great evening food!

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Your Outfits & Accessories

My Dress was a Justin Alexander dress, my mum loved it from the beginning, I wasn’t to sure as it didn’t go with the full feel we wanted! In the end after trying on 100s of dresses it was narrowed down by two of my brothers picking between five dresses, this dress won outright! The ladies in the shop were so helpful – Supernova Bridal in Datchet and Linda Yong of the fashion workshop in ascot was amazing as she had a lot of alterations to do!

I opted for flat sandals by Rene Caovilla as I didn’t want to miss out on a thing at the wedding, especially the Line Dancing in the evening.

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Beauty

We had the best hair and make up ladies, they arrived to set up with us at Coworth Park in the morning at 6.45am with big happy smiles for a Saturday morning to get us all into gear

Rebecca did our makeup and was just brilliant, we wanted to be as natural as possible but looking at our best, we were all so pleased with the finished us 😊 Also Rebecca came along to the house in the afternoon and topped up all of our makeup and guests makeup if they wanted and provided a Glitter bar which was so much fun.

Emma from Emma’s Hairstyles did our hair, she was amazing, initially my mum and myself had our own hairdressers who were coming to do our hair, mine was ill and so I asked Emma three days before if she could do mine as well and then the night before the wedding my mums hairdresser was ill and so we asked Emma if she would be able to do my mum’s, it was no problem at all and all of our hair was amazing and stayed in all day!

Emma also came to the house to fix guests hair and even did one guest’s hair from scratch as theirs had started to fall out!

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Bridesmaids

The bridesmaids dresses were from Chichi London.

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Groomsmen

We had an image of what suit Garry wanted and we wanted the groomsmen, his brothers, and our sons to match, we couldn’t find the suit so had to have them made.

The guys at Black Tie in Crowthorne were so so helpful and knowledgeable. Garry and the Groomsmen had bespoke three piece suits made and our two boys had matching waistcoats made, they also helped us to match the bridesmaid dresses.

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The Cake

The cake was so different and truly brilliant. We saw this cake as a display at Nina’s house and it was so different to what we had always wanted, but we didn’t even ask about the cake we initially wanted or look at any others, this was the cake for us. Nina is so talented, we had three different flavours, red velvet, cookies & cream and my favourite (though I had never tried it prior to the tasting), lime and white chocolate, Every part of the design was cake except the butterflies and the watering can spout, and every part of it was delicious and eaten in one day!!!

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The Flowers

Now, these were the most amazing flower displays, supplied by Flower site in Ruislip, we only ever use this company for our parties as they have provided the most amazing displays previously and I just knew that I had absolutely nothing to worry about with them and that they would exceed my expectations every time and they did.

My bouquet was amazing, far better than I expected and the table displays were huge, the pictures don’t do them justice but each display was the size of a three seat table on a plinth! We have had so many people ask for their number since the wedding. These ladies are so talented and the look of the day would simply not have been the same without their displays

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The Readings & Music

The music and entertainment – where to begin!

In the chapel we had The Clemenza String Ensemble who played their violins before and during the ceremony – we walked up the aisle to ‘Here comes the bride’ as our gorgeous four year old flower girl had been singing and practicing walking up the aisle for months throwing flowers to this song, so we decided on this just the week before and actually who even walks up the aisle to this anymore!

At the drinks reception we had the amazing Wandering Soul band, now these guys are absolutely brilliant we have used them before for a 21st birthday and they really set the tone of the day wandering around playing their instruments and singing getting people ready to dance.

As a surprise during the meal we had the silver service wedding singers and what an amazing show these guys put on, from here on in the party was in full flow, I mean we didn’t even eat our pudding as we were up dancing!

We really wanted line dancing to encourage people who don’t normally get up and dance to actually get on the dance floor, we were initially warned by somebody that if people didn’t want to dance a line dancing band wouldn’t make them, well that was totally wrong, we had people on the dance floor that have never danced before at any party and who came away so happy and disappointed when line dancing was over.

Southern Rum band and their caller were absolutely brilliant, our only regret is that we don’t have enough videos of this part of the day

Supporting the bands’ breaks and ending the evening on a top note were A1 Discos, our DJ was brilliant and kept the dance floor busy till the end of the evening and had to put up with lots of drunken women requesting spice girls!!!

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Your Photographer

For us picking the photographer was the scariest bit, this is how we are going to remember our wedding, this is all we will have left of the day, pictures…

Well I met Sarah and saw some of her family pictures and loved them, then when Garry proposed and I was at a wedding fair with my sister in law facing the prospect of having to make this horrible decision, I remembered Sarah. Thank goodness, from there on in, we didn’t look, I knew I loved her pictures and that she herself is so lovely to get on with that she would be the best person for us.

We wanted the standard wedding shots but we love the natural, when no body is watching pictures, and we got lots of these, also at a lot of weddings we have been to the kids have been missed out, Sarah made sure to get lots of great pictures of the children at the wedding and we are so so grateful for that.

She had such a hard day with a bossy bride wanting a million pictures and a mass of family to contend with as well as 32 degree heat, but she was just absolutely brilliant and we couldn’t be more happier with the pictures.

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Your Filmmaker

We decided to go for a more natural video for our day and so hired in cameras from ‘Shoot it yourself’ we are yet to see what was recorded! This was the two ten year olds’ jobs for the day.. maybe a mistake, we will see.

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The Honeymoon

We haven’t had time to think about a honeymoon as we had a wedding in Italy a month after ours and one of my brothers gets married in December so we will have to wait to get this year’s fun out the way before we fill 2020 with a trip for us.

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Memorable Moments

Our Priest, Father Chris Spain, he was just brilliant, he stepped in to cover our family priest and did the most amazing job, making it all so personal,

In the church we all burst out laughing as he revealed my middle name when he asked Garry if he wanted to take my hand in marriage, (my middle name has been kept secret for years just to wind my friends up, they are all nosey and think they should know everything! One friend has known me for 30 years and didn’t know my middle name and it seems neither did 4 of my brothers!) as the laughing died down he commented that we had warned him that there may be laughter at my name, and he laughed, such a lovely man.

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Advice For Other Couples

Get somebody to record the speeches, we don’t have a recording of all of them and I wish I could look back now and see them

Try not to get to worried on the morning of the wedding, I was so nervous as was Garry, I started drinking too early and then had a tummy ache early on in the day and Garry was angry in the morning and the minute we saw each other at the church the worry all disappeared and was a waste of a lovely morning preparing.

Finally, say hello to all your guests as you leave the church or the registry office, that was the only time I saw some of them as the day went to fast and I feel guilty but it would be worse to have not have said hello at all!

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Credit Where Credit Is Due

Photographer
Sarah Legge Photography

Wedding Planning
U&I Weddings and Events

Sperry Tent, Witches Hat & Naked Tipi
Papakata

Catering
Relish

Florist
Flowersite

Cake
Cakes by Nina

Wedding Dress
Supernova Bridal

Wedding Dress Alterations
Linda Yong of The Fashion Workshop

Groom & Groomsmen
Black Tie Menswear

Thank you so much Garry and Tara for sharing your imaginative and fun day with us! Rachel x

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