Today we are bringing you the natural and rustic nuptials of WWW readers Alex and Dilys and their lovely son Magnus. After taking care of the legal ceremony a few days before, this gorgeous family held their wedding day in rather magical woodland on 17th September 2017 and incorporated Magnus’ naming ceremony too, how wonderful is that?
The venue was Scraptoft Hill Farm and the ceremony took place in the ‘woodland chapel’, a breathtaking clearing in the woods, whilst the festivities afterwards took place in a marquee. Presented with a completely blank canvas with which to start planning their day, Dilys put her event planning experience to good use bringing in everything from the marquee to the toilets! You’re just going to love all the floral and woodland touches inside and outside of the marquee, I can just imagine that the guests were blown away by the personalised decoration and lantern adorned trees, I bet the younger guests were delighted by the sweetie table too!
I love a bride with plaited hair and Dilys’ halo braid is just gorgeous. She opted to wear flowers in her hair instead of a veil and it’s such a great look. With her Anna Sorrano gown and Alex in a smart blue suit, not forgetting little Magnus in his flat cap, this wedding has style in spades.
Photography by Clare captured all the magic of their woodland nuptials and we’re really grateful that you’ve shared them with us today, thank you!
THE PROPOSAL | Alex proposed at home on a sunny Saturday morning in June. There was no big fanfare – Alex knew that I’d cringe at a big public display. We then went out with a few friends to a local charity music festival and then on to see Elton John at the County Cricket Ground. It was a surreal and wonderful day.
THE VISION | We wanted our day to reflect our love for each other as a couple, and as a family – a marriage of both. It therefore seemed appropriate to hold our son Magnus’ naming ceremony as a part of the proceedings, as all our friends and family were there and we wanted him to be as much a part of the day as us. This also gave a lovely, family feel to the day, with lots of children and fun to be had – and importantly, we wanted everyone to feel relaxed and able to let their hair down.
We love the great outdoors so holding our ceremony in woodland was perfect, and we’re both dreamers so the day was influenced by all things magical, it was Midsummers Night’s Dream come Lord of the Rings come Game of Thrones – which the children loved, both young and old.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | Our little boy Magnus was born in December 2016, so we decided to see how things went with the sleepless nights before setting a date. We had wanted to arrange the wedding whilst I was on maternity leave because we knew our lives would get super busy once I returned to work, and we also wanted to incorporate Magnus’ Naming Day into proceedings so we didn’t want to wait too long.
By the February I felt able to plan the wedding for that September. I used to be an event manager so I loved the idea of getting my creative teeth into our own special day. It also gave me a huge incentive to lose the baby weight. Thankfully, I’d organised all the major stuff early on, because it didn’t take long before Magnus’s sleep pattern changed to just one short nap a day!! But suffice to say my Dad helped me a lot in the weeks running up to the day by keeping Magnus entertained.
THE VENUE | We wanted to get married in a wood. We also wanted the ceremony and the reception to take place at the same venue, so our guests didn’t have to travel. After quite some googling, we came across a little known venue in Leicestershire, not far from where we live, called Scraptoft Hill Farm. It was the perfect location and the only venue we considered.
Scraptoft Hill Farm has a beautiful woodland chapel (it’s a clearing in the woodland), where the ceremonies take place, and an adjacent meadow where a marquee can be erected. There’s also a gorgeous little yurt, which we rented over the wedding weekend. The only added consideration with this venue is that it really is just a woodland and a meadow. There are no facilities at all. We had to organise everything from electrics to the toilets, catering, marquee, lighting, sound equipment, the lot!
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | My dress was the romantically named ‘1215’ designed by Anna Sorrano. For the ceremony, I also wore a feather bolero (I thought it might be cold in the wood, but it wasn’t) and for the reception I wore a gorgeous handmade beaded lace necklace, designed by Hingis Yim. I came across Hingis on Etsy – her designs are stunning.
I didn’t have a veil, and instead opted for a halo braid with flowers and butterflies in my hair. I wore my Mum’s diamond and sapphire earrings and matching bracelet, and my wedding ring is also one of my Mum’s favourites. My Mum sadly died 11 years ago, from cancer, so it was very important to me that I wore some of her jewellery. I also wore a butterfly broach on my feather bolero, loaned to me by my friend Sarah.
FINDING THE DRESS | Having not long had a baby, I wanted to wait until the last minute before choosing my dress, to give me as much time as possible to lose the baby weight. I knew this was a risky strategy, but I also knew that if I had lots of choice I’d struggle to decide on a dress anyway. I booked a date in the calendar 3 weeks before the wedding to visit Wed2b in Nottingham, and with the help of two of my closest friends and my to-be sister-in-law, chose the dress! I had an idea of what I was looking for, but didn’t have my heart set on a particular style. I just wanted to be comfortable, as I’d be carrying our nine month old boy around, and to show off the figure I’d worked hard to regain.
GROOM’S ATTIRE | Alex wanted a blue tweed suit, but nothing too stuffy. After googling, he saw lots of images of suits he liked but they were either ridiculously expensive, or there was no reference as to where they were from. Luckily, Alex walked into the Highcross Shopping Centre and saw a shop that sold quirky, modern suits, including designer Marc Darcy. He decided on a grey/blue Marc Darcy suit, with a pair of blue suede shoes. It also took him many weeks to find a matching cravat.
Magnus wore an outfit from Monsoon, and was given the flat cap by our friend’s son Charlie, who is 2 years old.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | Our aim for the readings and music was to create a magical atmosphere that blended the woodland setting with the occasion of celebrating our love for each other and our baby son.
Bridesmaid Charlotte’s son, Jude, is a music student, who sings and plays the guitar, so we asked him and his singer friend, Chloe, to perform for the ceremony. They performed the first half of the Israel Kamakawiwo’ole version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow mixed with What a Wonderful World” (which features in the film 50 First Dates), to accompany the bridal party as they entered the woodland chapel. The Wizard of Oz has been one of my favourite films since childhood. Following my entrance, we all sang “Morning Has Broken”, after which our friend and wannabe drama queen Peter read “I Will Be Here” by Steven Curtis Chapman.
After the wedding vows, bridesmaid Vicky and her husband Paul performed “The Song of the Ents” (a love song of the trees) from the Lord of the Rings. This led into Magnus’ naming ceremony, at which point Jude and Chloe performed “Forever Young” by Bob Dylan. We then had Parents and Grandparents promises, followed by my friend Sarah reading “Oh, The Places You’ll Go” by Dr Seuss, to Magnus, whilst he sat on Alex’s shoulders, pulling his hair! The ceremony was finished off with everyone singing The Beatles’ song “All You Need is Love” and as we left the chapel, Jude and Chloe performed the second half of “Over the Rainbow” (the Wonderful World bit) whilst everyone threw dried lavender over us as we made our way to the meadow.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | The bridesmaids were the very gorgeous Vicky Dexter (Vicky is one of my best friends – we met at the Woodland Trust over 10 year ago, which is rather appropriate), Charlotte Barker (Charlotte is an amazing potter and taught me all I know about pottery, and Prosecco), and my nieces Sophie & Branwen, the flower fairies, who stole the show!
I wanted my bridesmaids to feel comfortable, so I asked them all to choose their own dresses on a theme – with a little direction from me.
The little flower fairies wore outfits from Monsoon – Sophie wore the grey Darcie dress with Evie cape and Branwen wore the grey Baby Estella dress with a Firenze Cardigan, and they both wore the most amazing wings from WickedFairyWings on Etsy. Vicky wore a grey/silver, knee length prom dress from Jolie Moi and Charlotte wore a grey/violet maxi dress from Needle and Thread. I also bought them both a cream pashmina in case the weather turned cold.
THE FLOWERS | Michelle Goldie from Knighton Flowers did all our flowers for us. We went for a natural, rustic, country feel, with lavender, corn, poppy heads, roses and other season flowers, as was fitting for the setting. We had two watering can arrangements and a special lavender heart in the ceremony space (these were later moved to the marquee). In the marquee we had a beautiful long arrangement with candles for the top table, and arrangements for each of the round guest tables using slightly different vintage glass vases.
THE CAKE | We went for a three tier naked cake, bottom tier lemon drizzle, middle red velvet and top tier carrot cake – the rustic look went with the theme, and a naked cake was practical in the setting as marquees can become quite warm and not conducive to buttercream. We wanted a variety of cakes for different tastes, and chose our three favourite flavours. We decorated the cake ourselves with a few flowers, butterflies, toadstools, and topped it with the Sylvanian families’ rabbit family (mummy, daddy and Magnus) – I made the wedding dress for the mummy rabbit to match my own (ish).
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | For us, choosing the right photographer was one of the most important decisions – and we could not have chosen better. Clare, and her side-kick Lara, were recommended to us by a friend, another Charlotte, who’s wedding Clare had photographed a few years before. Clare’s style was exactly what we were looking for – candid, intimate and relaxed, and the photographs far exceeded our expectations. Our family will enjoy these photographs forever. We cannot recommend Clare and Lara highly enough!
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | The décor was one of my favourite bits! Alex and I are very lucky to have an amazing group of creative friends and family who helped us realise the picture in our heads.
Again, to suit the theme, we chose lots of bunting for inside and out, suspended lanterns from trees in the woodland (magic lanterns), and had lots of vintage and natural touches throughout – the tables were decorated with pinecones, log slices covered with lace doilies, butterflies and birds, and each table was named after a flower fairy. We also had a vintage sweetie buffet, heather pot plant table plan, DIY deckchair photo both, a real life fairy making candyfloss and balloon hats (yes, we went a bit crazy) and lots of other goodies and activities for guests to enjoy. We even had bottles of fairy dust!
After the wedding breakfast and speeches, we had a five piece Ceilidh band. They spent about 30 minutes warming us up with traditional Celtic music, before playing our first dance (You’re just too good to be true) and getting us all organised into ceilidh dancing. It was energetic and lots of fun and it ensured that all the guests, of all ages, had a chance to join in on the dance floor. We then had a DIY disco – Alex created playlists for the day, which he played through his phone using the sound equipment we’d hired.
THE HONEYMOON | With a nine month old boy in tow, a tropical beach destination was never going to be our first choice. Instead, we decided to head north to the Isle of Skye, where neither of us had ventured before. On the way there we stopped to visit the Blacksmith’s museum in Gretna Green and then stayed in Fort William for two nights in a fantastic little B&B with a gourmet restaurant. Several hours’ drive later, we got to what seemed like the end of the world. Everywhere you go on Skye, you are faced with the most amazing, dramatic views, where highland mountains meet the North Atlantic. We stayed in a truly cosy cottage called “Hygge”, which had views of the sea, in a small settlement called Ose. Dunvegan Castle, the Old Man of Storr, the Quiraning and the Black Cuillin are just a few of the fantastic sites to experience on Skye – however, our favourite trip was to see the Fairy Pools and the Fairy Glen. Skye also has a magical and whimsical side, abundant in fairy folklore!
After a week on Skye, we made our way back, but not before staying in a glorious boutique hotel in the centre of Glasgow, which served us a delicious evening meal in their restaurant, followed by our last dose of breakfast haggis and black pudding before heading back down south.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | When holding a wedding in a wood, in the UK, the weather is always going to be an obsession. I was checking the weather forecast on an almost hourly basis in the week leading up to the wedding, and it wasn’t looking great. Rain had been forecast for the morning and we woke up to grey skies. It didn’t matter, but in my heart I’d hoped we’d be lucky to be married in woodland dappled in sunshine. On our way to the ceremony the sun began to break through the clouds, but I still didn’t hold out much hope, until one magical moment. Whilst we waited to walk down the aisle, the grey clouds cleared and the sun beamed through the leaves. It was glorious – and the sunshine continued for the rest of the day, albeit it with a little rain in the afternoon which gave us a beautiful rainbow. Now that was real magic at work!
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Be realistic with your budget! We went over budget a number of times, and thankfully have very kind parents who helped us out. Setting up a full-on wedding ceremony and party, with all the trimmings at a location that does not have running water or electricity takes a lot of planning and dealings with multiple suppliers. So along with a decent budget, you need to be very well organised – and factor in more time than you think!
Everyone tells you to savour the moment, and it’s so true. It felt like being a celebrity for the day, and it was difficult to speak to everyone, be everywhere we were needed and have time to soak up the atmosphere. So, take moments throughout the day to stand back and really appreciate and enjoy your special day. I’m so glad we did!
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photographer | Photography by Clare
Wedding venue | Scraptoft Hill Farm
Marquee | Kingsmead Marquees
Furniture | Bradgate Event Furniture Hire
Sound & Light | Leicester Sound & Lighting
Toilet | I B Dewes Toilet Hire
Catering | Saffron Catering
Wedding dress and bolero | Wed2b in Nottingham
Bride and bridesmaid make up | Make up by Jenni
Bride’s accessories | Beaded necklace by Hingis Yim
Hair | Hair by Charlotte
Bride’s shoes | Gabor
Groom’s attire | Marc Darcy
Flowers | Michelle Goldie at Knighton Flowers
Stationery | Julia Eastwood, Not On The Highstreet
Cake | The Tiny Bakery
The Band | Govannen
Décor | Mostly homemade or sourced in charity shops and on eBay
Celebrant | Jo Clarke, from My Perfect Ceremony
Alex, Dilys and Magnus, what a treat to share your magical day today. Thank you so much. Rachel x