The marquee, oh the marquee. A red double decker bus held up the marquee at today’s wedding and took centre stage. I don’t think I have ever seen anything like it and it is pure awesome.
Chris and Zoe were married on the 8th August 2015 in an outdoor humanist ceremony, which was tailor made for them and their relationship. With a vision of an informal feel to their day they just went and picked the things they found and loved. No scheme or theme in sight and it worked out just perfectly. With a music festival feel they chose three live music acts followed by a silent disco for partying into the small hours. The things I loved best? The sweet shop complete with golden tickets, fun fete games and those lego buttonholes.
Huge thanks goes to Marianne Chua for sharing her wonderful photographs with us today.
THE PROPOSAL | I (Chris) knew that Venice was always a place that Zoe had wanted to visit so I spent months searching the internet for the perfect hotel. I came across Ca Maria Adele Hotel, it had the perfect room, just next to the canal, so that you could open the window and literally sit over the edge dangling your feet above the water. I wanted somewhere romantic but quirky and this place was perfect (you have to see the sitting room). Zoe is a big fan of superhero comic books, so I created a comic of all of our special moments up until the point that I proposed, with funny captions in speech bubbles throughout. I brought this along to give to Zoe as a special gift in the hopes it would throw her off the proposal (which she may have guessed as it was Venice after all!) I made the last page a picture of our hotel with the caption. “SO…” in order that I could drop to one knee when she got to that page and pop the question (Which I did with a few tears thrown in!).
THE VISION | We wanted to be true to what we love, which is music and festivals with all the fun that brings. We didn’t want to get too formal, but we knew we wanted some traditional aspects such as time for speeches, cake cutting etc… but above all we wanted everyone to enjoy it, with the hopes that if we picked things we loved it would allow all of us to have a great time.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | We came across a beautiful house, which was located up in the Cotswolds. This was our first point of call so that we could fix a venue and a date. When we travelled up to view the house and decide to take it, we stopped in a motorway service station and googled marquees, which is when we came across Deckerdence Bus Bar (just so happened to be about 5 mins from the venue), it later moved closer to Worcester. Once we saw the house we knew it was where we going to get married, and the bus bar just begun the massive creative process which we loved. We had over a year to plan, so it all came in stages.
Next on our list was who was going to marry us in a venue like this! We were recommended Zena Birch, who is a humanist celebrant, as we wanted the ceremony to be very personal and fun, which a religious ceremony can sometimes take away from what the day is really about. Zena met us and we knew it was going to be the best choice and through the planning she would meet up with us to get to know how Zoe and I met, in order that she could build the ceremony around our history and love for each other.
We then googled everything else starting with food. We wanted festival type food so we came across the brilliant Pie Minister, this allowed us to serve a great meal in festival fun boxes with bamboo cutlery allowing a fun informal wedding meal. They also catered our canapés and served our reception drinks which we wanted in the gardens of the house, before moving over to the marquee.
The rest was entertainment, which we had the most fun discovering! We used Alive Network to find some musical entertainment. We chose ‘The Baker String Quartet’ for our ceremony and canapés reception music and the brilliant ‘Beat Banditos’ for entertaining our guests as they ate their main meal. For the evening music we came across ‘The Fabulous Hurricanes’ for some live music and as we both love silent discos, we hired silent disco equipment from ‘Silent Disco Direct’ in order that could create a bride and grooms playlist to enjoy late into the evening. Fun extras we found for our day was a vintage sweet shop ran by ‘Emily’s Best’ and fun games provided by ‘Aisle Hire It’.
In order to capture the day we wanted to find a photographer who wouldn’t be taking posed photos, as we would have hated to waste time posing! We wanted someone who could capture what the day was really like, the nerves at the start and the fun throughout the day as the pressure wore off! We googled quirky photographer and found the amazing Marianne Chua, who is a fun alternative documentary wedding photographer. She really was almost like a wedding Project Manager on the day for us, and even gave us the brilliant idea to have our speeches off the corner of the bus bar. We had a lot of time to plan and really did enjoy the process of building our perfect day.
BUDGET | The budget was not fixed as we had a long planning stage of over a year so our budget kept increasing as we found new and wonderful things that we had to have. It meant more long hours of work but was completely worth it!
THE VENUE | A Grade-II listed self-catering manor house. It was a very luxurious and elegant house and we chose it not just because of how beautiful it was with its views of the Malvern Hills and surrounding countryside for miles around, but because it gave us the opportunity to stay here with our friends over the whole weekend. This meant we could enjoy the preparation before the day and relaxing afterwards, with picnics out in the gardens the following day. We had the ceremony at the back of the house which had an astonishing view over the Malvern Hills, we then held a Prosecco (as we prefer this to champagne) and Canapés reception immediately after the ceremony in the gardens directly by the house. We could then move everyone over to the field opposite where we had the bus bar marquee set up along with the Pie Minster food stall, sweet shop and Summer Fete Games. All of our reception took place in the marquee and surrounding area, but once we got to around 11pm we moved our slient disco back in to the house for a fun after party until the early hours of the morning.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | Strapless vintage lace dress from Adore Brides in Chelmsford, Essex.
FINDING THE DRESS | Took all the bridesmaids, shopping for their dresses and came across my own!
GROOM’S ATTIRE | I had a 3 piece brown tweed suit with a paisley silk detail inside created by Anthony’s Suit Hire. All of the Groomsmen and myself had button holes with Lego super hero attached to each, to show some fun along with the formal suits we were wearing!
THE READINGS & MUSIC | The readings were all created by our nieces, nephews and cousins. We wanted them to be a surprise and they had the option to do whatever they wanted and we didn’t know until the day what they were going to read! This made it a more memorable experience for us and they had created some funny stories about each of us, which was hilarious and sweet. Throughout the ceremony Zena (our celebrant) added some lovely excerpts from poems and told our entire story of how me and Zoe met and got to this stage in some of our own words from both our perspectives. This was very funny and a lovely way to tell our story to our guests. The music in the ceremony was played by the Baker Street String Quartet, they played ‘Pachelbel Cannon’ on Zoe’s entrance to the ceremony, ‘Kissing You’ (Romeo and Juliet balcony scene) during the moment of reflection. We exited to ‘All You Need is Love’. We then asked the string quartet to play a medley of movie themes such as Indiana Jones, Star Wars and Super Mario! During the reception.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | One shoulder, floor length dress in deep purple from Precious Moments Bridal Wear.
THE FLOWERS | Artificial ivory rose bouquet with natural and green hessian. The aisle and marque was decorated with cut purple and white wild flowers.
THE CAKE | A 3 tiered Victoria sponge, dressed with fresh fruit and flowers created by Angela Veronica from the ‘Little Pink Cake Shop’.
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | We chose the brilliant and quirky photographer the amazing Marianne Chua, who is a fun alternative documentary wedding photographer.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | Tables were laid with white kettles holding white and purple cut flowers. Photos of our favourite moments with friends and family were let throughout the marquee and along the bus bar.
We created our own arrow signs to various parts of our festival wedding such as the ceremony and dancing! This we created in our own artistic way! Or at least we tried our best!
THE HONEYMOON | A wildlife tour of Sri Lanka followed by a week in the Maldives island of Arthuruga booked through Kuoni.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | Beautiful scenery during our vows.
The wonderful readings from our young nieces, nephews and cousins.
Our guests seeing the bus bar marquee for the first time.
Golden tickets to use in the sweet shop.
Introducing everyone to the world of silent disco.
Mariachi bands hilarious set using our guests names in songs.
The upstairs deck cocktail bar on the bus.
Silent Disco after party back in the house.
The smiles on everyone’s faces!
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Try and create something you will enjoy and allow yourself the time to enjoy it on the day, be true to what you love and remember what it’s all about, which is each other and having fun!
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Proposal Hotel in Venice | Ca Maria Adele
Bands | Alive Network
Silent Disco | Silent Disco Direct
Photography | Marianne Chua
Sweet Shop | Emily’s Best
Garden Games | Aisle Hire It
Cake | The Little Pink Cake Shop
Main Band | The Fabulous Hurricanes
Food | Pie Minister
Marquee and bar | Decker Dence
Groom and Groomsmen suits | Anthony Formal Wear
Brides Dress | Adore Brides
Bridesmaid dresses | Precious Moments Bridal Wear
Humanist Celebrant | Zena Birch
Now that’s a wedding I wish I were a guest at.
Chris and Zoe, thanks so much to you both for sharing your fantastic wedding story with us xo Lou