Ella and Rory tied the knot in a weekend of festivities between 18th August – 20th August 2017. Their whole day was an outdoor affair, think outdoor humanist ceremony against a against a wooden floral draped backdrop, a marquee reception decked with the most incredible décor and portraits in a field at sunset by the amazing The Shannons Photography. Not to mention the bell tent camping village, live music and super thoughtful festival inspired touches to boot.
Then there were the stylish outfits. Ella chose a lace gown by Charlie Brear, complete with a plaited hair style, quirky shoes and divine jewellery. She looked the perfect, effortlessly beautiful bohemian bride. Rory and the gents were suited and booted in Marks and Spencer suits and Liberty print floral ties, which matched the bridesmaids dresses. They all looked marvellous.
Enjoy these sun drenched emotional images and the accompanying story at the end of the feature folks.
THE PROPOSAL | At Glastonbury festival June 2016, Rory proposed on the Friday before the music started in our bell tent. We were lucky enough to be glamping with some of our closest friends as well as most of our families! (the only people missing were my dad Chris who was cycling around France, and Rory’s sister Lou, her husband James and son Patrick). My sisters, parents and Rory’s parents knew the proposal was imminent but once it had happened and we had had champagne in our campsite with our friends, we then went down to the festival where we all got together and just continued celebrating. We were really lucky to have hospitality tickets so were in this large tipi behind the pyramid stage with access to a bar so the cold champagne was flowing! It was such a great day.
THE VISION | Festivally, boho-y?! Whimsical, chilled out basically we wanted to bring all our favourite elements of Glastonbury to Reigate. We wanted a 2 day event so we could really enjoy it and spend quality time with all our friends and family who had travelled far to be with us. We really wanted an outdoor, personal ceremony and we encouraged all our guests that wanted to stay over on site with us. We employed a tent hire company to come and set up bell tents for us, which included real beds and bedding for our guests, these were booked when our guests RSVP’d, people were also welcome to bring their own tents. We provided showers and posh loos too so people could freshen up the next day! We also had our caterers return the next day to do a big breakfast for everyone who wanted.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | Rory designs, builds and runs a scenery firm for a living and also has a lot of experience running events such as a music festival he and his family put on for their charity once a year, so we were in good hands! Once we had sorted our venue, Rory began doing technical drawing working out where all the the tents, marquees, toilets were going to go. He’s a bit of a perfectionist and was very much in charge of the planning where as I focused on the flowers, dresses, suits, music etc! We started planning almost a year before so it was not a particularly stressful process, we were organised on the day too with a schedule so everyone knew what was happening when.
THE VENUE | Our venue was not an ‘official’ wedding venue, we were lucky to be introduced to the owners who were friends of a friend and kindly agreed for us to use their back garden (an enormous, immaculate and flat field) to turn it into our mini festival. We started with a completely blank canvas and Rory and his employees/friends/ushers transformed it into what it became.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | My dress was the Beaumont slip, with the Voulaire lace overdress and silk sash all by Charlie Brear. My hair and make up was done by Lauren Irwin (make up artist) I wanted a relaxed plaited up do with flowers. In terms of jewellery I wear a selection of silver bracelets all the time anyway so I wore these as well as a bracelet with moonstones borrowed from my mum. Two of my best friends also both bought me bracelets, which I wore on the day too. I had bought some opal and diamond earrings, an opal necklace and my wedding ring all from Laura Lee, which I wore on the day.
FINDING THE DRESS | I had an idea of what I wanted but wasn’t sure where I would find it or even if I would ever find it. I went to a big designer shop in London but had no luck and then tried a slightly smaller one in Wimbledon. Neither had any that I was wild about but that I would have settled with. A friend then suggested I tried the Secret Dress House in Reigate which was local and always looked so lovely. They had an amazing selection of Charlie Brear dresses which was the designer I ended up going for and the staff in the shop were brilliant and so friendly. The dress was perfect.
GROOM’S ATTIRE | The men’s suits were bought from Marks and Spencer, we went for a navy linen blend. Rory had 10 ushers, plus his best man (Hugo, his brother) and both our dads. They all wore the same suit and ties, which we had made from the same fabric as the bridesmaids’ dresses. Rory also wore a red linen waistcoat to make him stand out a bit more as well as a pocket square made by my mum. All the men had button holes, which were all random and matched elements of my bouquet.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | We went for a humanist ceremony because we felt it represented us both perfectly as a couple. Humanist weddings are not yet recognised by law so we went to Leatherhead registry office on 18th August with our immediate families to take care of the legal formalities. Our humanist wedding was conducted by Zena Birch who we had met at a friends’ wedding 2 years before. Zena is amazing and so passionate and we met throughout the year to plan the ceremony. We were lucky enough with the weather to have an outdoor ceremony, which was around an hour long. We had 5 readings all picked and kept a surprise by our readers.
Our readings included poems, song extracts and we were so lucky that 2 of our readers actually wrote their own work, which was really special. Our family friend sang with her guitar for my entrance, she sang in the middle of the ceremony when we had a ‘moment of reflection’ to remember those unable to be with us and then we all sang Stand by Me at the end. Rory and I exited to this.
Later in the evening we had local 70s disco band ‘Discolicious’ play a 2 hour set under a huge last minute disco ball we bought, which was amazing. They ended around midnight and then myself and Hugo had pre made a playlist, which played on until around 3.30am.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | I had my twin sisters Dora & Elsie and Louise my sister in law as my bridesmaids. They wore handmade Liberty print dresses and fushcia sandals from Topshop as well as their own jewellery. Because I had my whole hair plaited and up I wanted them to have their hair half up/down with some plaits in too.
THE FLOWERS | Sam at Greensleeves shop in Reigate did all our flowers. I wanted wild flowers with lots of colour and greenery and completely random.
THE CAKE | Handmade by Rory’s mum Catherine, her chocolate fudge cake is a family favourite and she kindly agreed to making 3 for us decorated with white chocolate butter cream and chocolate buttons. The cakes were ribboned with the same liberty print fabric that featured throughout.
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | The Shannons Photography were our photographers, we also had Leo Lightfoot (videographer) make a video of the day.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | As mentioned we were keen to go for a festivally theme, we sent out ticket invitations and asked our guests to RSVP via our website we made. We made the site into a mini festival, with festoon lighting and flags (all pre owned by Rory’s company Illusion Design & Construct). Rory had the wedding signage all made in the workshop that we had around (toilets, ceremony, beauty tents etc). We hired the largest clear span marquee a local firm had and we were really fortunate to be allowed to use the fire pit barn from Winter Wonderland, which served as our dancing area as well as hosting the stage for the band. Rory owned the tent we used for the catering and that along with the bar and marquee all joined to the barn so in case it rained we would have the shelter. Luckily we had great weather so the barn was used loads in the evening during the party but during the day people were floating around outside it as we also had a load of picnic benches and outdoor games.
Rory and his team built all the staging, signage and décor for the wedding. We had a really cool wooden backdrop behind the head table, which the guys made in the workshop and he even CNC machined out our names in the style of our logo which we hung from the wooden backdrop, our talented friend Katie replicated the floral liberty print used throughout the wedding onto the huge Ella and Rory sign too. It looked amazing. The year of the proposal at Glastonbury they introduced the steel cups to help eliminate plastic cups and support the UK steel industry. Rory and I loved the steel cups so got in touch with the company after who made them and worked with them to design our own cups with our logo on them, we then used these as a favours. We wanted to do the Glastonbury stage posters as table plans so along with James (Rory’s brother in law who is a graphic designer) we were able to replicate the Glastonbury posters to represent each table, which was named after a stage (All 23 tables!) We pre bought all the alcohol from France, supermarket and then the cash and carry and had it all in large chests scattered around site so people were always able to help themselves. We had our flowers all around in various shaped boxes and hollowed out logs. Rory also made a few wooden posters, which were hung up around site with various quotes on, (Dr Seuss, Winnie the Pooh, John Lennon etc). All our guests received personalised wristbands as they came in to the field. Those whose camped over in the bell tents had personalised signs to show whose tent was who (as per Rory’s sleeping arrangement!) as well as personal USB chargers so that phones could be charged.
THE HONEYMOON | We were unable to go off on honeymoon straight after. Rory’s family run a charity and their main event always is held on the August bank holiday so no sooner had we taken down our wedding, we were back in another field setting up for the fundraiser. Shortly after this we flew to Puglia in Italy for another wedding and we took 5 days after to have a mini moon. But the real honeymoon was in Mauritius, which we went on in December.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | Hiring a confetti canon which went off and took everyone by surprise! Singing our hearts out to Stand by Me at the end of the ceremony. Having our couples photos as the sun set in a corn field. Being lifted up on our friends’ shoulders during the party in the evening. Having everyone thumbprint a picture of a tree we made instead of a guest book which we now have hanging up in our house.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Go on honeymoon soon after!
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photographers | The Shannons Photography
Dress | Secret Dress House
Flowers | Greensleeves
Bell tent hire company | Red Sky Tent Co
Caterers | JMK Catering
Band | Discolicious Band
Humanist Celebrant | Zena Birch
Videographer | Lightfoot
Hair and make up | Amanda White
Marquee hire including posh loos | Marieveles Marquees
Shower Hire | Borderloos
The steel cups seem to be out of production now but they were originally done by Glogg
Wow! What a stunning day and a real labour of love too.
Many thanks to Ella and Rory and their photographers for sharing their amazing celebration with us xo Lou