Oh how I just love today’s real wedding feature. It is so full of personality, fun times and colour. Yay! WWW readers Ross and Olivia were married on the 1st September 2018 at Prior Park College followed by a tipi reception at Church Farm in Wiltshire. At the heart of their plans was their vision for an eco friendly and vegan celebration, which was in line with their principles. I always think it is so important to stay true to who you are when planning your wedding and this wonderful day is a real example of that.
They had a fantastic festival vibe to their day with the party in the tipis, which were decked in hand made pom poms, pretty lighting and fabulous florals. I love the use of the colour orange in the ties and the bridesmaids’ trousers, so vibrant and stylish too. Also look out for the epic smoke bombs which made for really brilliant photo opportunities. I really think you are going to love this stylish and meaningful wedding.
We have Andrew Brannan Photography to thank for sharing these superb captures of one amazing wedding day.
On a rooftop in Bangkok as the sun was setting, followed by a celebratory leap into the swimming pool whilst on a round the world trip of a lifetime.
Our main goal was for everyone to have the best time and celebrate with us in a relaxed, informal setting. In line with our principles we wanted to limit our carbon footprint, keep waste to a minimum and show people how beautiful and delicious a plant-based wedding can be. We wanted to blur the line between classic and alternative with a church ceremony that was traditional in Olivia’s family and a outdoors event that captured our personalities.
The Planning Process
We had a looooooong engagement (nearly 3 years), this was partly due to being abroad for the first 5 months of our engagement and the fact that we came back flat broke! However, this was a massive blessing in disguise; firstly, we were able to properly discuss exactly what we wanted without feeling that a decision had to be made NOW. Secondly, we always felt ahead of schedule, so never stressed or got cross with the process (or each other). It also allowed us time to save, so we didn’t have to compromise on what we wanted to fit the budget.
We booked the date with the church first then our reception venue, we found both these locations quite quickly through good recommendations. Then we booked the photographer, florist and enlisted our friend to do our food. We took a long time to find the band, as our taste is quite particular, but when we did, they rocked our socks off. With all these big decisions made, a year before the big day, we were able to focus on the fun stuff like choosing booze and making decorations.
What we wanted to pay: £17,000
What we estimated we would pay: £26,000
What we actually paid: £21,000
Up front we did a very realistic budget based on our dream wedding by gathering quotes from suppliers and treating every cost as a ‘worst-case scenario’ guess. It was scary when we saw the final figure but thankfully meant that we brought the wedding in under budget and didn’t get any nasty surprises.
Church – Prior Park College Chapel, Bath
Reception – Church Farm, Kington Langley, Chippenham
The Readings & Music
In the church:
Olivia walked down the aisle to Songbird by Eva Cassidy
We left the church to You’ve Got The Love by Florence and the Machine
We had an organist to play our hymns: Here I am Lord, Shine Jesus Shine and Lord of the Dance.
Reading from the Song of Songs and Psalm 127
Gospel according to John 2:1-11
Band: Soultown – Bristol-based soul and funk cover band – so awesome, our dancefloor never emptied, we highly recommend them.
Your Outfits & Accessories
The dress was by the Canadian designer Mikealla and I bought it from Flossy and Willow in Bradford-on-Avon. I chose the dress for its simplicity and elegance and wanted it to fit in to both the church ceremony and the festival style party. After trying on a range of dresses with beading, textures, lace etc, I found that what complimented my figure most was just a simple crepe material that hugged me like silk. I wanted a dramatic back but realised that everyone was going to be speaking to my face, so I opted for an open back and a high neck to compliment it. Adding the satin sash tied with a bow at the back and the tiny pearl beading around my waist and straps, it brought the whole dress together, yet still felt classy and special. The veil was a steal from JJ’s House – only £19!! I went for a cathedral length to add a dramatic effect as I walked down the aisle, something no-one was expecting. Shoes were again £19 from New Look, a high block heel to walk on the grass with. Later on, I changed into some fresh white Vans for the dancefloor.
Ross’ suit was a blue tweed 3-piece suit that was hired from Vintage Suit Hire. This is the only decision that I felt I had to compromise on (and that’s not to say I wasn’t happy with the final look), I was hoping to avoid any animal fibres but found it impossible to find a manmade fibre suit that I was happy with. It seemed you either had to buy a cheap, shiny polyester suit off the rack or pay hundreds (to thousands) of pounds for a custom-made suit, something that I didn’t have the budget for. My father-in-law suggested hiring a suit and whilst I was initially hesitant this soon seemed like the best idea, as I would get to wear a high quality, beautiful suit that would be used again and again throughout its life, so comfortably fit in with my environmental concerns. Luckily, I found Vintage Suit Hire, they are a wonderful company that have beautifully crafted suits. Their customer service is excellent; they treated me and my best man like celebrities in the initial trying on stage, the suits were delivered 3 days before the wedding and they quickly and quibble free sent out replacement sizes for anyone that needed them. I bought my shoes from Will’s Vegan Shoes and were so comfortable I might as well have been wearing slippers.
Hair – Jessica Graham of BA1 Hair, Bath
Make Up – Urban Decay products but we did our own! Sometimes when I have someone else do my make up, I feel overly made up and the layers are too thick, so I did some research into long-lasting, striking, lightweight and natural products, that were all vegan and cruelty free. We all felt really comfortable, looking like ourselves and feeling gorgeous.
Vegan lemon and blueberry cake by our very talented friend Kelly of Bake It Til You Make It. She also used the same flowers as our florist to decorate it. We wanted something simple and rustic but that showed off how delicious vegan cake is.
Jasper and Quinn
We gave Jordan a broad brief that she took into her own hands, she delivered a stunning presentation of trees and wildflowers. It was Jordan’s design that brought together our informal outdoor reception and our traditional church venue, something that we would have struggled to do without her ingenious design. The flowers were bursting with colour, heavy in foliage and brought the sunshine into every space. Jordan’s team carried the flowers from the Church over to the venue so that they were reused. They also were such high quality that they lasted all day and for weeks afterwards.
The Details & Décor
We hired giant Nordic tipis from Buffalo Tipi, these tents are so stunning that we didn’t need to do much to them to make them look incredible.
We were advised by our reception venue to not go overboard on decorations; a few large, signature pieces do enough and flowers can do a lot too. They were right, we recycled the flowers and trees from the church into table decorations, we also had a rustic flower arch that you walked through to enter the venue. For other signature pieces we hired some festoon lights and poles and coloured uplighters to throw light into the trees to fill the large outside space. We hired these from Light Fantastic in Melksham; they were the most laid-back supplier we have ever encountered and threw in loads of extras to help us achieve our vision when our plans changed last minute.
Our biggest endeavour was a pompom sunburst with a disco ball at the centre, it sounds crazy and it was. We individually made 405 pompoms then sewed them onto clear fishing wire to create our ‘sun ray’ strips of pompoms. It took us months but looked blooming awesome.
We also made (and stocked) the bar ourselves – we only did this so that we could have total control over the size and shape of it as space in the tipis was limited.
Our seating plan and schedule for the day were written on 2 pallets – we wanted something simple that fit with the location and didn’t cost a lot. We painted them with chalk paint; they were simple, easy to make and effective.
We created a glitter station for the guests and had a box of games outside including giant jenga, boules and frisbee.
We bought smoke bombs online to make quite the entrance when we arrived at the wedding venue and as we walked into the reception to ‘open the festival’. We then had some spares for our photos, which Andrew did a great job of capturing.
Trousers – Zara
Bodysuits – I Saw It First
Shoes – their own!
Little bridesmaid – Monsoon dress and I made her headdress.
I was fixated on having orange bridesmaids and tried to find outfits that weren’t the traditional ‘bridemaid dress’. This proved really hard and I thought I was going to have to give up on the idea. When I pitched the idea of a two piece or jumpsuit, the girls loved it. The trousers only cost me £40 and the bodysuit £15. I added the small sash around their waist to soften the waistline and it worked really well. A little unusual, but it fitted in so well with the whole day. They looked fabulous in the church and fit right in in the field!
The Vintage Suit Hire Company – The Southwold collection
Andrew Brannan. An exceedingly talented local guy from Bath who really got to grips with our ideas and hopes for the day. Andrew’s photos are beautiful and he truly captured our day perfectly. We are so chuffed with the outcome of all the photos and are now finding it hard to decide which ones we love the most and want to print!!
On booking, Andrew was quick to respond and was keen to get to know us so that we felt at ease with him and the camera. Any ideas were always welcome and accepted, and he turned our ideas into artistic masterworks! He was also very sensitive to our time on the day, yet still took every photo we wanted.
Andrew was extremely personable and tactful when organising friends and family into photos (and in general) which was great and just what you need on your busy wedding day.
Finally, even though there are hundreds of photos, we feel like we barely saw him! Being a discreet but talented photographer is a rare skill and made us feel totally at ease on the day!
We will recommend Andrew to EVERYONE who asks.
Olivia’s cousin – Niall Conroy.
We took a 3 week trip spending half of it in Malaysian Borneo and the other half in Bali. As with the rest of the wedding, we didn’t want to take the traditional all-inclusive romantic honeymoon, but instead, decided to take the time out to see things we have always dreamt of. We booked a trip through STA Travel, who helped us book a tour with G-Adventures. The tour took us 7 days around the northern tip of Borneo, showing us the beautiful landscape, culture and wildlife. We had river safaris where we saw wild orangutans, tropical birds and crocodiles, visited turtle island where we released 10 baby turtles into the ocean and visited a local village and cooked local (and delicious) food. The adventure then continued in our own direction as we decided to climb the highest mountain in S.E. Asia – Mount Kinabalu. In Bali, we went for the shopping and food. Having travelled there before we took a more luxurious approach, but still spread our time across three areas – Ubud, Canggu and Ulluwatu. This is where we had more downtime and wanted to eat at various cafes and drink cocktails while watching perfect sunsets.
Opening the ‘festival’ by setting off a load of smoke bombs while walking through the long grass with our friends and family following.
The bride’s team winning the first round of flip cup!
A spontaneous live rendition of Tribute by Tenacious D with the Groom, Best Man and Bride’s Brother on acoustic guitar.
Ending on the dancefloor with You Got The Love (New Voyager Radio Edit) by The Source & Candi Staton – throwing back to walking down the aisle to Florence’s version earlier in the day.
Advice For Other Couples
Don’t let anybody else tell you what you should or shouldn’t have, have what you want.
Don’t sweat the small stuff. All that people care about is food, booze and music. If you have those things done well then nothing else matters. So if your budget is tight spend your money on this stuff first.
The next most important thing to spend your money on is a photographer. The photos are the thing that last well beyond the last dance, so make sure you book someone really good and give them a clear brief of what you want. If you don’t want a videographer then get someone to at least film the speeches (you will forget what you and everyone else said).
Do a detailed budget up front, be honest and stick to it.
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Andrew Brannan Photography
Jasper & Quinn
Mines Leisure Hire
Great Western Wine
So beautiful. And didn’t Ross and Olivia both look amazing in their chosen attire too. Thanks ever so much to them both for sharing their wedding story here at WWW xo Lou