Who doesn’t love a good old festival? There were great tunes, happy vibes and camping galore at this afternoon’s wedding.
Stephanie and Steve were married on the 25th July 2015 at Hadsham Farm in Oxfordshire. They had an independent ceremony held outside and a fantastic tipi reception followed. The whole affair was a culmination of talents from their loved ones, with the jam jar flowers, cakes and fudge favours all being home made.
Stephanie wore a an Ellis Bridal lace gown with the prettiest flowers in her hair. Meanwhile the gents donned sharp suits with lilac ties which matched the bridesmaids dresses. Oh such a fun day.
Thanks so much to Emma Stoner Weddings for sharing these wonderful photographs.
THE PROPOSAL | Neither of us had ever been in any hurry to get married and had spent years agreeing that we it probably wasn’t for us, but things changed when our daughter Amber came along in 2012 and started to talk about wanting to all share the same name and do things properly at last. Last summer we went island hopping in Greece and Steve popped the question on the beautiful island of Santorini. It was perfect and private and typically Steve complete with flowers and candles that he’d stolen on our way home from a beautiful sunset rooftop dinner. It was quite a brave move considering a few days earlier I’d told him that if he ever got round to asking I’d probably say no just to keep him on his toes, so it was a genuine and amazing surprise and of course I said yes!
THE VISION | From the very start we shared a vision of how we wanted our wedding to be. We knew we wanted it to be a laid-back, fun and unpretentious affair, which reflected us and the things we enjoy doing. We knew we wanted to get married outside and for it to have a mix of natural and rustic décor and a music festival feel and we straight away knew we needed tipis! And of course, we knew we wanted a good party! Our awesome DJ Ryan did not disappoint and the lighting looked brilliant in the tipis at night and the dance floor was overflowing all night!
THE PLANNING PROCESS | We were determined to make the day as personal as possible by making as much as possible ourselves and were so lucky to be surrounded by such a skilful bunch of family and friends who helped us make this a reality, from the beautiful personalised wood slice candle holder place names and home made fudge favours to bunting, table cloths and napkins, to the beautiful wooden cake stand signposts and rustic bar. All the plants decorating the ceremony and the wedding arch were grown by family and the jam jar flowers were arranged ourselves. Even our two year old daughter Amber finger painted the colourful sign for the kids tent!
THE VENUE | We knew we needed to find a laid back venue where we were free to plan exactly what we wanted and use any suppliers we chose and where people could camp over afterwards and of course we wanted somewhere beautiful to hold our ceremony and accommodate the all-important tipis and Hadsham farm ticked all those boxes. It was only the second venue we visited and I think we knew on our way down the alluring driveway that this was the one. We had a number of other viewings booked and we unenthusiastically trudged along to two or three more before just cancelling the rest! The setting at Hadsham farm is so beautiful with the wedding site overlooking the lake and surrounding countryside but somehow it feels enclosed and personal.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | My dress was an Ellis bridal ivory lace gown with sleeves that sat off the shoulder. I LOVE the beautiful detail and the material is just gorgeous. I had fresh flowers in my hair which my lovely hairdresser from Fairytale Days had done beautifully and was somehow still in perfect condition the morning after!
FINDING THE DRESS | I had an idea what I wanted from my dress, but no idea whether it would be right when I tried it on. After four shops and too many sparkly, satin and A-line dresses to count I felt more confident than ever that what was in my mind would be right I just needed to find it. When I saw the Ellis bridal gown it was exactly what I was looking for and I loved it instantly when I tried it on! I had all the under layers removed so it fell straighter which I felt was more flattering for me.
GROOM’S ATTIRE | We were keen for us not to have spent lots of money on the wedding with nothing to show for it afterwards so wherever possible and when we could find a bargain to buy or we could borrow or make something we did, rather than rent. For this reason we opted to buy instead of hire suits. Steve and his two best men had fitted Ted Baker suits in charcoal grey and the ushers and father of the bride had very similar matching suits all bought from a Moss Bros sale. The cost of buying the suits was comparable to the hire prices anyway! We ordered ties and a waistcoat for Steve from Dessy in the same colour as the bridesmaid dresses.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | Our ceremony was conducted by an independent celebrant, Fiona, who was amazing! She was so tolerant of our poor organisation skills and the fact we only have her half the information she needed at 9pm the night before. We had so many lovely comments about how personal and enjoyable the ceremony was and I think we felt relaxed as we’d been able to have a practice a few days before at our legal ceremony – so relaxed that I managed to put Steve’s ring on the wrong finger. We had one reading which was a personalised version of Edward Monkton’s ‘A Lovely Love Story’ by two of our bridesmaids and the second was our friend Ben who had put some thoughts together about love in its different guises. Both readings were so beautiful and heart warming and we had left it as a surprise for us to hear them and both managed to reduce me to tears! Our processional music was Hoppipolla by Sigur Ros, we had Elbow’s ‘One Day Like This’ for the register signing and finally ‘Do your Thing’ by Basement Jaxx to exit. We chose them all as they were bands we had seen together over the years and all hold such good memories for us.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | We had my two sisters and two best friends from school as our bridesmaids and of course our beautiful daughter as a flower girl. They all wore different style dresses that they chose themselves in Radiant Orchid by Dessy. Our lovely friend Lucy did all the alterations and made Amber a matching belt, and even managed to convert one of the bridesmaid dresses into a nursing dress 48 hours before the wedding!
THE FLOWERS | We knew from the beginning we wanted colourful summer meadow flowers in bunches rather than formal bouquets. Castle Flowers in Banbury got them exactly as we had hoped and supplied the flowers for us to arrange ourselves into jam jars for the table decorations.
THE CAKE | Our cakes were AMAZING!!! We had originally asked Hannah, the brides sister to make our wedding cakes as she makes really good cakes. We had given her the briefing that we wanted chocolate one, a coffee one and a lemon one and they were to be displayed on a wooden cake stand that the father of the groom built. The gorgeous fruit cake with my childhood favourite Sylvanian in personalised outfits was a complete surprise on the day. They all looked fantastic and tasted delicious and it was even more incredible considering Hannah had given birth 5 days before and baked and decorated them all whilst looking after a very tiny baby!
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | Emma was great. Her photos are beautiful and completely capture the feel of the day. We spent weeks researching photographers before we came across Emma and are so happy with our decision. Of course it helped knowing she was asked to photograph Glastonbury festival, one of our favourite places, so we knew we had found someone like minded. I think the photos speak for themselves.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | We tried to make the day as fun as possible for everyone attending so we included lots of games, activities and food for the children and adults too, outdoor ball games, bubbles and a kids bouncy castle to marshmallows and sparklers round the fire in the tipi. We had collected glass jars that we filled with snacks such as pretzels, nuts and popcorn and we bought all our own drinks so that everyone felt able to indulge. We had put lots of thought into the décor with lanterns, bunting, home grown herb planters and scattered dried flowers. In the evening we hired the incredible Mayfly Body Art to come and do face painting. She was supposed to be there for 3 hours but ended up staying for 5 and a half as It was so popular with young and old alike, with the designs getting bolder and more random as the evening went on.
THE HONEYMOON | We honeymooned in Croatia which was the perfect relaxing holiday, with excellent food, wine and scenery.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | We loved every part of the day and have been reminiscing ever since. I think just seeing all our favourite people together in one place, all smiling and having fun, tops everything else. The amount of love we felt was so overwhelming on the day and the time, energy and effort from so many of the guests to bring it all together on the day is still so mind-blowing.
Considering it had been raining all week and a months worth of rain had fallen the day before the wedding whilst we were trying to set up, the sun coming out whilst I walked down the aisle, was also just bliss.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Having only ever organised one wedding, which was somehow cobbled together through a mix of good intention, luck and very skilful and generous friends and family, I’m not sure we’re we’re qualified in giving too much advice to others, however, stay true to yourselves and make your day personal to you and of course don’t forget to enjoy the party! Oh and maybe set a budget and stick to it, it’s kind of important!
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photography | Emma Stoner Weddings
DJ | Ryan Dale
Venue | Hadsham Farm
Ceremony | Fiona Braclik
Bridesmaid dresses | Dessy from Daverays Watford
Hair | Fairytale Days
Face painting | May Fly Body Art
Catering | First Choice Caterers
Flowers | Castle Flowers
Tipis | Tipi Events
Such a fantastic day, it looked like fun was had by all.
Thanks so much to Stephanie and Steve for sharing their brilliant story with us xo Lou