WWW readers Allie and Josh pulled out all the stops for their modern, tropical and cool wedding weekend held at Deer Park Country House Hotel in Devon on the 17th August 2017. What’s also impressive is that they kept to a budget of around £10 000, which for a weekend of celebrations is just amazing. It helped that they were willing to tackle the details and décor themselves, which they totally nailed by the way. They DIY’d the tropic theme stationery, ceremony backdrop and lush centrepieces just perfectly.
For the rest of the florals their florist was on hand to create de-constructed tropical bouquets, which included succulents, ferns, palm leaves and bamboo. But what’s also brilliant is that some of them are now planted up and growing away post wedding, super eco friendly and a really special memento from their day to boot. The girls looked so gorgeous with their large bouquets and white mismatched frocks. Allie’s dress was a real statement; covered in sequins, with a spilt in the skirt, it was both on trend and looked really incredible on her too. I have to say that Josh and the gents looked very timeless and smart in their navy suits and white ties.
A fun filled, happy and loved up day, all shot so beautifully by the brilliant Richard Skins. Thanks so much to Richard for sharing these images with us today.
Josh proposed in a tropical greenhouse tucked away in a garden in Overbeck’s, a hidden paradise of subtropical gardens and quirky inventions in Devon. Very low-key and private, surrounded by nature, absolutely perfect for me.
We wanted to stay true to our personalities and vision for the wedding; only including or doing things because we wanted to, not because we had to. This resulted in a stripped back, chilled out, modern-tropical themed wedding.
THE PLANNING PROCESS
We started quite soon after the engagement with booking the necessitates. I booked our photographer before we even had a date or venue! The venue we chose included accommodation for the bride and groom, accommodation for the bridesmaids the night before food, drinks, venue hire, DJ, cake and flowers in our package. This meant we had a good 6 or 7 months to just plan and make all the little details for our day.
Josh’s suit was bought from Skopes and the groomsmen’s suits were hired from Mos Bros.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES
Dress make: not known. Accessories: ASOS.
After trying on multiple dresses in UK shops, I just couldn’t find anything that suited my personality and was “different” enough. I didn’t want to look like a carbon copy of every bride and I wanted to feel comfortable and myself. I’d let go of the unrealistic, Pinterest expectations of an over-the-top couture gown and started hunting online.
I took the risky option and ended up getting my dress second hand online from Still White. It was imported from Australia and cost me just £300. It was a fitted spaghetti strap dress with a slit up the front, with a deep V neckline, completely covered in sequins in a geometric, art deco pattern, and a short white underskirt so the bottom of the dress was slightly see-through. It fit me perfectly (thank god) and I instantly knew this was the dress I was looking for! Bags of personality and actually really comfortable! It was bought without a train and therefore was more of an evening gown. I found the exact sequinned material it was made from and my mum customised the back of the dress to add a train and make it more bridal.
Deer Park Country House Hotel – a beautiful and quaint Devonshire gem. Boasting acres of rolling countryside, hidden nooks, walled gardens, a tree house, deer, riverside walks, and a tropical orangery, it was hard to not book this venue!
THE READINGS & MUSIC
The reading for our wedding ceremony was from Ecclesiates and read by my brother, Sam. The entrance music was performed by my God brother David, and he played an acoustic version of Can’t Stop the Feeling by JT. Our ceremony music was played by our friends Dom and Beth.
My beautiful bridesmaids were my best friend Amy, my dear friends Beth, Kate and Abi, my new sister-in-law Charis, and my parent’s black Labrador Poppy. They all, excluding the dog, wore different white dresses from ASOS. I wanted all of their dresses to reflect their personalities and compliment their bodies, while all having different necklines and skirts. It took months to get it right, but it paid off as they all looked amazing together as my bride tribe!
The flowers! I still do this day am amazed by my florist. Gem from Poppy’s of Exeter did such a good job at interpreting my vague brief of wanting de-constructed tropical bouquets. They were wild, full of character and encapsulated the modern-tropic vibe of the day. The bouquets contained succulents, ferns, palm leaves and bamboo, some of which we have since individually planted and are growing.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR
Me and Josh are both creative, so we made a lot of the details ourselves. Our centrepieces were pieced together using IKEA flowers and leaves, our menus, table names, invites and order of services were made by myself and Josh made our backdrop. That’s the perk of having such a stunning venue, we barely needed any decoration, and what we did need we had the joy of making ourselves.
Our cake was made by Claire Makes Cakes and was a yummy as it looks! It was a four tier chocolate and salted caramel cake (Josh’s favourite) decorated with truffles, macarons and popcorn. You’d think a cake like that could risk being sickly-sweet, but Claire nailed it and made it deliciously moreish. Safe to say the cake didn’t last very long, so quick that Josh didn’t even get a slice! Thankfully we saved the top tier for ourselves so he enjoyed that in the car on the way home from the wedding.
Such love for this guy. Our photographer was Richard Skins, who I found from browsing on Facebook. I dabble in a little photography myself, and knew I wanted a specific style for our wedding; creative yet unstaged, fun and lively yet with a documentary style. He was our man! I booked him as fast as I could, and man I don’t regret choosing Richard. The service from booking right to receiving our photos was above expectation. He’s captured the details of the day in a way that when you look through the photos you feel as if you’re there all over again. Bravo!
For our honeymoon we did a road trip to Lake Garda, Italy, stopping off in France on the way there and back. Lake Garda is absolutely stunning, and we stayed in a little Air BnB apartment on the west of the lake. A simple honeymoon, but nonetheless intimate and so very special!
Charis did such an amazing job with my hen do. Keeping with the tropical theme, she decorated my apartment with tropical leaves, accessories and flowers, and we all dressed in Tropicana gear for some cocktails, as well as going stand up paddle boarding on the harbour near where I live.
One thing so precious to me was being able to stay with my bridesmaids and family on site the morning before the wedding. Deer Park has this gorgeous converted house overlooking rolling fields. It felt like such a treat and really helped me unwind before the big day. The morning after the wedding, as the majority of the guests stayed on site, a big group of us went for a walk down to the river near by with Poppy and enjoyed the sun. We had a total of three days on site altogether and it was so special to spend all that time with some amazing people.
One of the most content parts of the wedding day for me was our wood-fired pizzas in the evening. Deer Park has a gorgeous lowered garden and outdoor pizza oven, so we all headed down there for a few hours on the evening of the wedding and enjoyed handmade pizza under festoon lights.
My final favourite moment, is waking up in the tree house the morning after the wedding. Josh had lit the woodburner in the tree house and was making tea while we had views over the fields surrounding the site from our little balcony. That morning it was like time stood still and we were so content. Perfect first morning as Mr and Mrs Wood.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES
Be authentic and be you!
If you don’t want to wear a traditional dress, then don’t!
If you want to have your wedding in a unique location, do it!
If you don’t want a big disco at your wedding, then don’t have one!
If you want to have a non-traditional theme, do it!
If you have a small budget, make stuff yourself and don’t obsess about it looking rough around the edges!
Don’t feel the need to invite every Tom, Dick and Harry to your wedding. We kept our day to only very close friends and family and it was perfect for what we wanted.
And at the end of the day, having all the extra “stuff” – the extra flowers, the extra entertainment, the extra favours, the extra table decorations etc won’t make your marriage a happier one. Your wedding is about having your love for the rest of your life, not pleasing or impressing other people. So be yourselves and have fun!
Credit Where Credit Is Due
I did all my wedding research online and used these amazing suppliers.
Goodness me, what a gorgeous day indeed.
Allie and Josh, thanks so much to you both for sharing your beautiful wedding story with us xo Lou