I’ve really fallen for the boho stylings of today’s wedding and I’m sure you will too. Sophie and Simon wed in a church ceremony on 20th July 2018 and followed the nuptials with a reception in tipis on a friend’s land a short walk away. Our pair did plenty of DIY and the personal touches really shine through to make this a super stylish day, as well as being rather sentimental!
Sophie really wanted to think of her guests at every stage of the day and it really shows. Imagine being greeted with a land rover boot of chilled drinks to grab before the walk to the reception! They also created a DIY boho photo booth and simply gorgeous dreamcatchers to add to the boho vibe of the tipi. The table plan is one of my favourites too, make sure you check it out.
Ross Talling Photography was our lovely couple’s photographers and he’s captured their beautiful day just brilliantly. Thank you ever so much for sharing with us Ross.
Simon proposed to me under the Oak of Honor tree which is situated in South East London. This was a particularly special location as it is effectively our back “garden” (we live in a top floor flat). The Oak of Honor sits at the top of the hill of Honor Oak Park- a beautiful vista which you can see the London skyline.
When Simon first took me to this special park I had that “I’ve been here before” feeling- not in this life but I felt it had some significance to my past. So I would always enjoy coming up to look down on the crazy city that is London from a serene and nature filled view point.
Simon did everything right on the lead up to popping the question, asking permission from my mum, both brothers and an uncle! Having had the engagement ring sent over from Belfast and it sitting in the attic for a few weeks, he waited for the final seal of approval and finally got down on one knee on 4th June 2017.
After swearing I would never get married in England, have a church wedding and a reception in a marquee, that’s exactly what we did and we couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day!
We were previously planning on marrying in Tuscany and had looked around many stunning weddings but it soon became clear that we would not be able to invite all our loved ones.
So in the end our vision and our aim was to organise an event that celebrated our love for family and friends, that had a traditional yet relaxed feel. I am lover of the boho chic look so a Cali hippie wedding in a traditional English country setting which is full of happy memories and sentimental moments was the perfect combination.
The Planning Process
After calling my mum as we were boarding a flight to Belfast, feeling very disheartened at the realisation that a Tuscan outdoor wedding was not going to happen, my mum managed to secure a date in the church from my home village and organise a viewing in a friend’s field for a marquee. She made more decisions and plans in 24 hours than Simon and I had managed in two months, and thank goodness.
Once the date was secured, it was time to look at marquees or rather Tipis. I knew I didn’t want a traditional marquee and tipi was the perfect fit for my Cali boho vibe. After many internet searches it soon became apparent that Sami Tipi were the front runner. Jodie, who runs the company, was immediately so personable and willing to give her time to the plethora of questions I sent her way. After the Tipis were locked in the rest all fell into place.
The Details & Décor
The décor so important to me. My aim was to create meaning and symbolism throughout the tipi and outdoor area.
A very generous parent at the school I teach at, helped me to design and source the many dreamcatchers scattered throughout the tipi. The large wood and macramé dreamcatchers were my absolute favourite! Using the Oak of Honor for inspiration, we designed a tree in the centre of the large dream catchers and a leaf effect in the macrame hangings.
For the place settings, I pressed the leaves from the Oak tree and grouped them in 3s spraying one leaf gold and keeping the rest their natural green colour.
I got the idea for the seating plan from Pinterest. I gold leafed some embroidery hoops and then glue gunned lace across the middle. The attached table lists were glued in the centre and I decorated the hoops with leaves from my mum’s garden and faux flowers.
The invites were designed around the dream catcher theme. I wanted them to appear like a floral burst so with great help from a friend we purchased a design package from Etsy and a font from Creative Market. It took hours that get the right placement for each flower but it was so satisfying when we settled on the design. I also included some feathers dangling down as since Simon has known me, I’ve had feather extensions in my hair. I then used the same artwork and designs for the rest of my wedding stationery to help tie everything in.
The “photo booth” consisted of a garden trellis borrowed from a neighbour and wrapped in our colour themed ribbon. I purchased rugs and carpets from TK Maxx to add comfort to the hay bales and create a Moroccan-esque outdoor seating area.
When planning the wedding I was constantly thinking about the guests and what the day would be for them. When they left the church they were ushered down the driveway to the farm where they were met by a Land Rover with a boot full of iced beer and Prosecco. Drinks in hand, the guests walked down the drive to the tipi. We had the amazing Coyote acoustic duo playing as they entered the field where they were met with more booze and canapés. The guests milled around for about an hour before Simon and I arrived in our campervan. We had a few group photos and then the guests were ushered in to sit down.
My brothers were MCs and announced the wedding party who dance in to the tune “Whole Lotta Love” by Led Zeppelin. We were then announced to the tune of “Johnny Be Good” which got everyone out of their seats and clapping along. We had the speeches before the dinner which I think we simultaneously laughed and cried throughout! The incredible Goodies catering cooked up a feast…we had a rocket, walnut and Stilton salad to start, followed by chicken wrapped in Parma ham and stuffed with the pesto for main with sharing bowls of vegetables and then a chocolate brownie and ice cream for the desert (I believe every guest claimed it was the best brownie they had ever eaten).
After dinner we cut our cheese ‘cake’ and then the dancing commenced. The full Coyote band played two sets and my goodness did they raise the roof! It felt like a mini festival. An old pal DJ’d the late partygoers and carriages were at 1am despite the fact we kept dancing until 4am!!
Our wedding turned into a “small” three day event! We had a dinner for close family the night before which was so special because so many had travelled great distances. The day after the wedding, we invited everyone back to the tipi where we had a hog roast, a table quiz hosted by our best man and then I organised a surprise silent disco for Simon. Our first official date was a silent disco up The Shard so I returned the sentiment and organised one for the party in the evening.
We had the ceremony at St Mary the Virgin Church in East Haddon, Northamptonshire. The reception was a short walk to our friend’s neighbouring farm. The tipi was erected on in of her fields which had 180 degree views of rolling countryside-heaven.
Your Outfits & Accessories
My dress was made by Made with Love Bridal. Before I had started looking, I knew I wanted a low back, full lace and long train. I wanted something that was sexy but elegant and would suit my boho vibe. Made with Love is an Australian designer and it just happens that all my favourite fashion brands are from Australia. I only went dress shopping on two occasions and on the second was when I tried the ‘Stevie’ dress on. As soon as I put it on I knew it was everything I was looking for. My biggest decision was the colour of the lining- I went for the nude because I felt it made the ivory lace pop more.
My veil was borrowed from a very generous parent at the school where I teach. It was a beautiful silk and it’s length was perfect with my train.
My jewellery was from the HOT Brandstore @ Hartenstraat in Amsterdam. My brother lives in Amsterdam and my favourite thing to do when I visit him is wander up and down the nine streets, popping into the different boutiques. I knew I wanted jewellery with a relaxed feel and the handmade earrings, necklace and bracelet were a beautiful gold shade which worked with the nude lining of my dress and had just enough twinkle to stand out.
My husband’s charcoal suit and shoes were Paul Smith. Paul Smith is his favourite designer and we wandered into the Albemarle Street store for a nosey one Saturday afternoon. He tried a suit on that he liked and as he left the changing room it turned out that Paul Smith himself was on the shop floor. It felt like fate (not to mention that fact the lining was emerald green, the perfect nod to Simon’s Northern Irish roots), it was bought there and then.
Simon really wanted to wear a bow-tie and I love him in a burgundy red shade. We decided on a deep red bow tie from the Tie Room with matching braces (TM Lewin).
My hair was done by Tracey Shields. I asked for a loose relaxed up do that was full of flowers and complimented my long veil.
I was honoured to have my incredibly talented friend Cherr Webb do my makeup. I asked for the Meghan Markle barely there skin look, with a smokey eye. Cherr gave me exactly that and more.
The equally talented Natalie Hughes did my bridesmaids’ makeup. She listened carefully to what they asked for and ensured it was in keeping with my natural and relaxed look.
Sisters Kiera and Kerris Miller from Belle Boutique, Northampton did my lashes and Shellac nails. These girlies are school friends and were amazing at beautifying me before the big day.
The Readings & Music
Our first reading was ‘Irish Blessing’- the perfect nod to the Northern Irish contingent. The second reading was 1 Corinthians Chapter 13- probably one of the most common wedding readings but we love the wording and sentiments.
Our groomsmen wore suits, belts and shoes form good old Marks and Spencer. It took a long time to try and match Simon’s charcoal suit but we got there in the end!
My stunning bridesmaids wore skirts from the ‘Jet Set Diaries’ purchased from Revolve and their tops were from various high street stores. I wanted the girls in skirts and tops so that they could make the outfit suit their individual figure and style. It was important to me that the girls felt confident and comfortable in what they were wearing so I let them purchase their own tops on the condition that were a white/cream shade.
Little Lucie, my flower girl, wore a Lucie June dress designed and made by my incredibly talented sister Laura. Laura has a children’s fashion brand based in Western Australia www.luciejune.com but also available on www.notonthehighstreet.com. Just like her Christening dresses, Laura does made-to-order special occasion outfits as well as casual dresses, tops and bloomers.
Julie Anna Flowers created the most elegant flower crowns for each of my girls. She tied in the colour scheme of my bridal flowers and their bouquets to create more of a uniformed look.
Getting the right photographer was one of my biggest priorities- after all your photographs are what you will look at forever more! After hours of internet searches and reading wedding blogs I eventually found Ross Talling. I instantly loved the way he captures the raw emotion of the day. Being on ‘bride duties’ means you miss so many important elements to your day but Ross manages to capture it all; from the cheeky flower girl and page boy moments to the teary-eyed onlookers during the speeches.
I spoke to Ross on the phone and we clicked straight away. His vision and method of working was exactly what we were after. Ross travelled up from Cornwall to shoot our day. He made sure he was there for the wedding rehearsal the day before and was there for the whole of our big day without being intrusive in anyway.
Ikki Productions produced our incredible wedding highlight film. I found the company, again, through many internet searches. I met with Pav in central London to discuss my vision for the day. Pav was extremely professional from start to finish and listened carefully to exactly what we wanted. I love the way he interlaces parts of the speeches in with footage from special and varied moments of the wedding day. He is able to tell the story and capture the magic in just two short minutes- incredible.
The short highlight film he has produced has had outstanding feedback from all those who have seen it- it even brought my ‘anti-wedding, anti-marriage’ boss to tears and she didn’t attend the wedding!
We can’t wait to get the full film soon.
Our florist was Julie Anna Flowers. Anna was amazing from start to finish. Together, we decided on a large hand tied bouquet of large blousy flowers. We settled on a mix of deep red, blush, nude and peachy-orange tones. I had large headed roses, with white ohara, Juliet David Austin roses, lisianthus, dahlia, eucalyptus and passion vine. Anna matched Simon’s outfit perfectly with a burgundy red ribbon tie which hung down from my bouquet. Each of the bridesmaids had a smaller versions of the bridal bouquet and matching flower crowns.
The buttonholes and corsages for the other VIP guests also contained the same flower from the main bouquet.
Joan Francis, a local florist to East Haddon, did the church flowers. Because of the churches existing beauty we didn’t want anything too fussy. I shared the colour scheme of my bridal flowers with Joan and she created some beautiful posies for the pew ends and two stunning pedestals to go either side of the altar.
The stone flower planters that decorated the tipi were from my mum’s garden! Haddonstone is a local Fine Cast Stonework company which is a big feature in my mum’s home both due to their beauty and the fact that the owners are old family friends.
The ‘wild flower’ arrangements in the centre of each table were made by my mum. She used flowers from her own and the neighbour’s garden to create a whimsical, colourful sea of flowers presented in a miss-match of vases and jam jars.
Two days after the wedding we travelled to Valencia. This couldn’t have been more perfect. Our hotel (Caro Hotel) was stunning, not to mention the Michelin star restaurant and the city was beautiful. By getting a taxi out, we went to some of the beaches away from the main drag which were quieter and a lot cleaner.
My mother-in-law created our ‘cheese cake’. Because we wanted chocolate brownie for dessert, we felt, cheese, home-made chutney and port was the perfect solution for after dinner eating. The cheese then doubled-up as late night food and complimented the bacon butties perfectly!
It really is true…the day is quite a blur! One moment I hadn’t anticipated was travelling in my VW camper wedding car and seeing my tiny village filled with all our loved ones steadily making their way up to the church. This was a real “goosebump moment”.
After the wedding, the wedding party made their way to the tiny show garden in the centre of the village for our photos. This little haven is the show garden for Haddonstone and is filled with stunning garden furniture, statues and ornaments. When we arrived at the garden it was like it was alive, it seemed full to the brim of bees and butterflies and the most beautiful array of flowers. Again, another jaw dropping moment.
After the photos, Simon and I scheduled some time for the two of us to be alone and catch up on the fact that we had just got married!! Our caterers left us some champagne and canapés in the campervan before we drove down to the tipi to meet everyone. This was a very precious and special 15 minutes! As we drove down I remember Simon saying “Sophs look…” and we looked on to the field (which three days before we were quite literally shovelling cow muck in) and saw it filled with our nearest and dearest, eating, drinking and being merry.
The speeches were all incredible and I loved every moment of hearing our loved ones speak.
For me though the most special moment was mine and Simon’s first dance. We met on the dance floor at our wedding as this is always the place we have our most fun. It felt like we were the only two in the room and I couldn’t have been happier. We had instructed the band to interrupt the last few notes of “Dock of the Bay by Otis Redding” with “Proud Mary by Credence Clear Water” and all our wedding party burst on to the dance floor and properly got the party started.
Advice For Other Couples
Delegate! Make sure you share your ideas and vision with others so that when it comes to the days leading up everyone knows what they are doing. I had some very loyal friends who travelled a long distance to help with the preparation but when there were twenty people asking for direction the day before the wedding it was exhausting to say the least.
Have a designated “go to person”. There were a couple of hiccups during the day that Simon and I were completely unaware of because our “go to” person was alerted and dealt with them straight away.
Plan for some time for just the two of you. All your loved ones want to see you and speak to you which means for most of the day you don’t really see or speak to the person you just married.
Don’t stress about talking to everyone. It’s your day and you have hand-picked every element so enjoy it, your guests will be happy enough at the sight of you mingling and having the best time.
When planning timings always consider your guests and what they are doing especially in times when you are absent- having photos for example.
Have a Plan B, especially if you have outdoor elements to your wedding. We were fortunate to have beautiful mid-20s weather! But we had considered where we would have photos should it start to rain (which it did for approx. 20 mins).
Be prepared to be emotional. I cried through most of the getting ready process! I wish I had put more consideration into my timings of the getting ready process as the hair started very early which had an impact on the relaxed breakfast I had hoped to have with my mum and bridesmaids.
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Ross Talling Photography
Second day catering
Beautiful! Thank you ever so much Simon and Sophie for sharing your stunning wedding with us here at WWW. Rachel x