What a gorgeously relaxed and cosy wedding we have for you today. I do love a secluded wedding where the couple and their guests could be the only people on earth. Rhian amd Pete wed in a tipi in the woods at Umberslade Adventure Park on the 1st April 2017. Hoping for a fuss-free day, the pair did away with seating plans and too much formality, instead opting for a beautiful ceremony in the tipi followed by relaxed dining, a fire pit and dancing.
The space is just perfect for all the amazing couples shots Rhian and Pete had and the atmosphere around the tipi is simply magical. The rustic hay bale seating, lanterns on shepherds’ crooks and theatrical lighting all make for a really special atmosphere. I love that the finishing touches were a team effort with family and friends pitching in to make the cake and help with the décor.
Rhian looks just stunning in her Maggie Sottero ‘Marnie’ gown and Pete’s mismatched outfit with Jack Wills jacket and Zara chinos looks very dapper. The beautiful bridesmaids wore matching blush pink dresses and put their own stamp on the outfit by choosing their shoes.
Thanks so much to Kate Waters for sharing these fabulous pictures.
THE PROPOSAL | This happened in Richmond park in London by a beautiful lake with perfectly timed swans! It was a lovely, sunny Saturday in June and we’d gone for a walk together, then we found a log by the lake to sit on and there Pete proposed.
THE VISION | We wanted a wedding where all our friends could come as people are really important to us. This then meant finding a venue that was big enough and also within our budget, which naturally was a challenge. Pete, however stumbled across tipi tent weddings and this fitted perfectly with our personalities and style. We’re very laid back people wanted a wedding where people could relax and be themselves and mostly have fun. I often find weddings can be a challenge if there’s lots of waiting around and many people you don’t know so I wanted people to feel comfortable sitting where they wanted and joining in with an activity if they wanted. We therefore decided against a seating plan, except for the top table and a few tables for close family so our guests could get to know each other and make friends. I didn’t want a formal wedding with the hotel like look but something more vintage and cosy, this was reflected in everything, from the tipis being decorated in fairy lights, to the fire pits where we toasted marshmallows and lit sparklers to my sister as bridesmaid wearing bright orange Dr. Martin’s.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | This was tough as we had a fairly unusual wedding, but we knew what we wanted and managed to organise ourselves within the time. We bought a wedding book which helped break down all the necessary details, set our non-negotiables and the things we were willing to compromise on. There were many details we needed to plan as we had to find a suitable venue for the tents and then order the furniture and caterers separately. However, once we’d found a venue, our host was incredible helping us plan what we’d need for the day and family members volunteered to make decorations for us. 9 months was actually fine to plan, naturally the weeks leading up to the wedding were stressful however the day was amazing and we both had so much fun.
THE VENUE | Finding a venue was the biggest challenge as we knew we wanted the tipi tents but needed somewhere to put them that also provided toilets and electricity. We did our research and after visiting a few places we came across the Umberslade Adventure Park in Birmingham. This is a forest with an adventure park attached which was perfect for us as it suited the rustic look but also provided fun for the families we intended to invite. We met our host, Emma who was so kind, offering any help she could and any suppliers she knew of. The forest had a huge open space for the tipis but also for a small football pitch for our guests and room for a campfire where we lit sparklers and toasted marshmallows. By night time we had fairy lights lighting up the tipi along with an inside and outside fire to keep everyone warm. There were many different areas where guests could go, such as playing football outside, listening to the band inside or sitting on some hay-bail sofas around the campfire. I remember just looking around in the evening and seeing so many people smiling and enjoying themselves, which made me really happy.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | My dress was by Maggie Sottero and called the “Marnie” style which was a sheer champagne gold dress with ivory lace overlay. I bought some champagne gold glittery heels from Debenhams as I wanted something elegant but I also love glitter. I borrowed my mum’s pearl tear-drop earrings and wore a pearl bracelet to match and then had my hair tied back in a bun. I changed my footwear in the evening to Ugg boots and threw on a long wooly cardigan to keep warm as I just wanted to enjoy the forest and relax with my friends.
FINDING THE DRESS | I actually found the dress on the first day shopping with my mum. We’d booked an appointment with a small boutique in Wales, which happened to have a 50% sale! I was unsure of the style I wanted so set about trying the different ones and eventually narrowed it down to 2 options, the ball gown style and the sheer. I fell in love with the sheer style, it fit beautifully and really went with the forest theme we had planned. It was a champagne gold colour with ivory lace on top which I felt was really unique and the train was long and floaty allowing me to be more free to move.
GROOM’S ATTIRE | As Pete wears suits for work, he wanted something more rustic and unique for his wedding. We found various images of grooms wearing mis-matched tops and bottoms and settled on a navy blue blazer from Jack Wills and grey chinos from Zara. He then wore tan shoes to complement.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | Our friends contributed so much to our wedding, which is what we wanted as they are really important to us. The band in the evening was “Midsummer”, a folky type band with a great sound that fitted so well with the venue. We really enjoyed the music they played as they gave the evening a festival feel which complimented the venue and theme and they sang our first dance song “She Burns” by Foy Vance. Afterwards we’d organised a playlist with various tracks so we could have a disco. We had a couple of readings during the ceremony, firstly from Psalm 103 before the service started and then a small quote by C S Lewis on love. This was a chance to focus on the meaning of marriage and we felt added substance to the ceremony.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | I had 3 bridesmaids, my sister, my sister-in-law and my best friend. They each wore a long blush pink dress which I’d found online and I wanted them to wear their own shoes so they could add their own personality, this literally ranged from cream heels to orange Dr. Martin’s! They styled their own hair, which was long and partially tied back with some curls and did their own makeup.
THE FLOWERS | Our Pastor’s wife made the flowers. I had cream roses in a bunch, a large one for myself and smaller ones for the bridesmaids. These complimented our dresses really well and added a vintage look.
THE CAKE | This was made by my wonderful housemate who is an incredible cake maker. She made 3 different ones, each in a different style which I loved as it added to our vintage style. We had a 2 tiered vanilla sponge with cream frosting which she decorated with pink roses on top, then a square chocolate cake decorated with ferrero roche and lastly a round coffee cake. Doing it this way meant there was plenty for everyone and a variety of flavours to suit different tastes.
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | Finding a good photographer took us a long time, but she was worth the wait! We wanted photos where people were captured just being themselves, and nothing was too overstayed or posed, again just adding to the relaxed feel. Pete had found Kate Waters online after she had photographed a friend’s wedding and he fell in love with her style. Kate is simply amazing, as a person but also as a skilled photographer. We met her in a small town in the countryside for our engagement shoot and we all clicked straight away. She completely understood the style we wanted and was so kind and helpful. We adored the engagement shoot photos as they captured us as we really are, just being ourselves but in the most beautiful light and made us so excited for the actual wedding photos. When these came through, Pete and I were so emotional. Kate had taken the most beautiful shots where we could relive the day. The venue looked stunning, both in colour and black and white, our photos together were incredible and shot against the forest backdrop and our guests looked like real people having fun on a sunny day. I would strongly recommend her, she is s easy to work with and has incredible skills as a photographer.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | The tipis were lit inside using stage lights attached to beams and fairy lights. This made such a cosy atmosphere come evening and complimented the small interior fire where people kept warm. We had decided on the colour scheme navy blue, blush pink and grey which we kept from the invitations right through to the actual day. The decorations were handmade so we had raided hobby craft and bought standard wooden hearts and stars which some were painted navy blue. These were then hung on small branches, which had been painted white and hung around the tipis in a circle. We’d hired furniture from the tipi company, which consisted of tables and benches with deerskin hides for people to sit on. The tables were decorated with hessian and lace overlay and had jam jars with tea light candles inside placed on a wooden place mat. Each table also had jars of sweets for guests to eat whilst lunch was being served.
THE HONEYMOON | We decided on a huge honeymoon as we wanted to celebrate our marriage. We booked 9 days in the Maldives, all inclusive and stayed in a water villa, which was absolutely incredible. Waking up to the open Indian ocean each morning was stunning. The food and drink was incredible, they had a range of restaurants that provided everything from Italian to local fish and Thai. The island itself was beautiful, surrounded by coral reef so the snorkelling was phenomenal. We went each day and swam with sharks and on our last day, a sea turtle. The coral fish were stunning and comfortably swam close to you so you felt accepted in their environment.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | I enjoyed the evening of the wedding the most. I felt the pressure and nerves had worn off by this point and I’d seen so many people relaxed and enjoying themselves, which was exactly what I’d wanted. I remember sitting on a hay bale sofa with my bridesmaid by the campfire, looking into the tipis which were lit up by the fairy lights and listening to the band play and it was such a wonderful experience. Having a wedding this relaxed was really special to me.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Have a vision for what you want but remember it’s not the end of the world if anything goes wrong. The the only thing that matters on the day is you both get married, so relax and enjoy yourself. You’ll have a great time!
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photographer | Kate Waters
Venue | Umberslade Adventure Park
Venue Coordinator | Emma Muntz
Hair & Make Up | Sophie Miller
Lunch Catering | Let’s Go Mexicana
Evening Catering | The Woodfire Pizza Company
Thank you so much Rhian and Pete for welcoming us into your magical woodland wedding. So romantic. Rachel x