By Louise Baltruschat Hollis
There is a lot to learn and be inspired by today thanks to the beautiful back garden marquee wedding of Ben and Katie. They tied the knot on the 5th September 2020 in a gorgeous church ceremony followed by a laid back and rustic at-home reception.
COVID-19 disrupted their original plans and so they plumped for a day for 30 guests. It was just perfection. I really love that one of their most memorable moments was when a guest decided to do an impromptu performance, something that ordinarily wouldn’t happen at a larger wedding. The atmosphere must have been electric.
So what else do I love about their day? Of course the blousy gorgeous blooms and the stunning outfits. But also the wonderfully simple yet rustic decor in the marquee. Not to mention the super beautiful images by Only Lovers, which I am so grateful to be sharing. Oh my.
The proposal took place in these beautiful countryside woods, where Ben and I often hung out when we were dating. There are some hammocks there which Ben brought back from Thailand a few years back so we used to go swing on them and casually hang out back when we were just friends.
I was told by Ben’s friends that they were planning a surprise party for him at ‘hammock spot’ so I was led to believe that we were all involved in this huge event and all I had to do was take Ben there and keep his surprise party a secret. When I got there, there was loads of bunting, fairy lights, and after a short while Ben got down on one knee and proposed! Turns out that there was never a surprise party; it was all a big set up. Then a jazz band who were hiding in the woods started playing, and our families showed up with pizza and sushi.
No specific vision, though we wanted it to be laid back and rustic.
We had 14 months of planning. Originally we were supposed to get married in a converted barn with 150+ people, but Covid changed all of that. We considered moving it to next year but we really just wanted to be together as soon as possible! So there were quite a few months of uncertainty and non-wedding planning because we didn’t know what was going to happen.
Around 2 months before, we decided to take a risk and plan for a wedding of around 30 people with a small marquee in the back garden. This massively eased the pressure and meant we could be more creative and spend a bit more of our budget on flowers and lighting. It ended up working out perfectly as we were able to have around 30 people, which made it a very unique and intimate wedding that was totally different from what we had originally envisaged.
St James The Less, Pangbourne
Marquee in the garden – White Bison Tipi Hire
Wedding dress – San Patrick Codamine, from Sophie Grace Bridal
I wanted a dress that was simple and flowy, with lace instead of beads. I felt that this one was the perfect fit!
Haridresser – Adam & Eve
Hair – flower crown with it half up and down with curls.
One groomsman, suit from Moss Bros.
One bridesmaid, my cousin, and we got her dress from Next.
No readings due to Covid.
Music was played by Benedict Cork. Walking down the aisle we had Cannon in D and walking out we had ‘You Make my Dreams Come true’. We didn’t really have a first dance planned, but after the speeches, everyone got up and started dancing to Chuck Berry’s You Never Can Tell.
Queen Bee Bridal
I had a mixture of wild grasses, roses, and loose greenery.
My Cousin made the cake, which was a naked Victoria sponge cake.
Joanna Cunningham – Only Lovers Photography
Flowers by Queen Bee Bridal.
Most of the décor was done by myself – I bought a ton of fairy lights and did the calligraphy for the signage, table names and seating plan. We had runners along the wooden tables and wooden boxes that I had bought which had candles, photographs, and flowers in them. I wanted to make a cosy rustic type look throughout the marquee.
A great memory was when my neighbour decided to go and get their guitar after the speeches and started playing The Beetles with his wife for us all. It was like an impromptu open mic night and the kind of thing that could only happen at a small, intimate wedding.
My other favourite memory was when I was driving down to the Church and my cousins who couldn’t come to the service due to Covid restrictions were at the bottom of our drive to see me off, cheering me on before I walked down the aisle.
Enjoy the day and don’t overthink things. But be sure to do whatever you want to do 🙂
Such a glorious garden marquee wedding!
Ben and Katie thank you so much for sharing your very special real wedding story with us.
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