It’s time to escape to the forest with today’s wedding! Elliana and Joe wed in the middle of a beautiful forest, is there anything more magical than that? You are just going to swoon when you see the portraits that the ever so talented Livvy Hukins Photography captured of them in the woods with the sunlight streaming in. Wow! You also just have to see the amazing film of their day at the end of the feature by Devoted Films.
All taking place on the 1st September 2018, they were blessed with brilliant weather for their outdoor plans. The fun didn’t end following the ceremony at Moors Valley Country Park in Dorset, as everyone headed to their tipi reception. This was the boho party of dreams, with dream catcher décor, relaxed dining and some incredible smoke bomb portraits!
Our pair did a lot of DIY and I have a feeling you’re really going to enjoy their handiwork. From the pallet painted with the order of the day and the peacock details, to the abundance of fairy lights, I invite you to get lost in the woods with Elliana and Joe!
We had been together for four years after training together at university to become a midwife and a paramedic. We had just celebrated our four year anniversary whereby I (Ellie) got my ‘knickers in a twist’ as Joe did not get me a card to celebrate – always something we have done. Little did I know he was planning to propose later that week!
The week of our ‘anniversary’ we barely saw each other due to opposite shift work, so decided that we would head back down south to see my Mum for the weekend. Joe said he had organised a day out to celebrate our four years together and ended up taking me to Larmer Tree Gardens in Salisbury, which is somewhere which is very special to me, it truly is magical ! The gardens are usually closed on Fridays but Joe had said he had organised for us to have a walk around. I still had no clue! I just thought it was a nice gesture. As we approached the Roman Temple, a small beautiful structure in the gardens, there was champagne waiting for us, again, still no idea, I thought he was making it up for a lack of card!!
He had a lovely speech prepared which included a nod to my late grandfather who meant the world to me, a very special touch. As I went to open the champagne he got down on bended knee and as I turned around he asked me to marry him, a complete shock but the best shock ever! I cried for at least an hour with pure excitement and joy.
We are a very laid back couple so wanted something with a relaxed atmosphere which would make our guests feel at ease. We’ve always loved the outdoors and forest walks, so really wanted to find an outdoor ceremony, ideally in the forest which didn’t require a lot of decoration; as nature really does speak for itself! It was important to have a peacock theme running through the wedding as it reminded us of Larmer Tree Gardens, where we got engaged.
The Details & Décor
Most of the tipi’s decor was provided by the tipi company, the rest of the decoration was handmade, after months of crafting! We had a fire pit, where we could roast marshmallows, complete with blankets which we managed to get in bulk from IKEA. We also had a DIY nacho station with melted nacho cheese and toppings for when our guests arrived from the ceremony, washed down with a cold cup of Pimms!
The Planning Process
We had two years between the proposal and the wedding to give us enough time to properly plan and save up for our big day! It also allowed us to pay things off gradually which really helped. The catering was important as both of our families are big eaters and we didn’t want anyone going away hungry! We ended up getting two options; Dough and Deer wood-fired pizza and a hog roast, both of which went down a treat…and we even had extra left over for midnight snacks!
The flowers we purchased from New Seasons Florist, Milford on Sea. We wanted to keep the cost low so arranged the flowers ourselves in glass bottles, which we got from IKEA. Nichola, from the florist, also did the bouquets – which were beautiful.
We didn’t want to spend too much on the wedding as we were also saving up for a house at the same time, we managed to move in to or dream home, just this month! We didn’t want to stress about money so managed to stay to budget with some very generous add-ons from our parents and Nan. We budgeted about £11K but probably ended up spending around £13k after we kept buying little bits, here and there! The tipi was probably the biggest investment.
The idea of a tipi was a favourite right from beginning. During the initial planning process we found it difficult to find a venue, which wasn’t too dear, that would accept a tipi. In the end we found a family friend who offered their field for the weekend which was a godsend! It even meant we could all camp after the wedding night, which was really fun!
The Tipi came from Oakleaf Marquees, who supplied all the tables, chairs, luxury loos, dance floor, lighting and extra catering tent, which we used for the sweet and cake tables! They were fantastic. Outdoor ceremonies within our area are sparse, and it took a while to find our venue. Our forest wedding was held at Moors Valley Country Park and we were able to get married in the middle of nowhere surround by pure nature and all the people we love. The venue was above and beyond our expectations and manager Karl, and the team, were outstanding. The ceremony was always the most important part for us and the romantic setting made it completely perfect from start to finish.
Your Outfits & Accessories
The wedding dress was from Wed2B; I wanted something lightweight and something I could move in! We wanted a relaxed feel so Joe’s outfit consisted of dark brown chinos from Next, a white linen shirt from M&S and a brown waistcoat from That British Tweed Company. We had a peacock theme so we had some beautiful buttonholes made by MG FloralDesign (Etsy), which Joe and all the groomsmen wore. The purple within the buttonholes was a nod to Joe’s late Uncle Tony, who unfortunately passed before the wedding.
I added some sparkly straps to my dress, which I made myself. Because I had my hair down, I only wore earrings which I purchased from the M&S jewellery collection. Joe’s shoes were from Diechmann and I opted for some sparkly sandals from Accessorize. I didn’t have any hair pieces, just some fresh gypsophila.
I wanted my hair style quite relaxed – and definitely down! My hair and makeup was done by Becca at Bex Elizabeth, she also did my Mums! She was absolutely lovely and we had a trial-run which really helped.
I shared the day with my seven beautiful bridesmaids who were wearing long, sparkly silver dresses from ASOS. They all had their hair styled by Awoken Beauty (a wedding hair and make-up duo in Bournemouth), and their make-up was done by my talented cousin Amy who also runs her own wedding make-up business (So Beautiful, Amy Louise Make Up).
I hand-made some hair pieces with some peacock feathers bought from Amazon and paired them with some sparkly pearl hair slides from Claire’s Accessories.
The Groomsmen had a similar relaxed vibe; their chinos were also from Next, linen shirts were from H&M and waistcoats were from That British Tweed Company. All their shoes were from Diechmann.
We were very picky and it took us a long time to pick our photographer!! In the end we choose Livvy Hukins, who didn’t live in our local area, but we saw her photos and fell in love, we needed to have her capture our special day, and boy, aren’t we glad we did! She really was fantastic.
Our fantastic videographers were Devoted Films UK, we couldn’t recommend them enough! They made us feel so at ease and created the most magical videos we can treasure for a lifetime. You can watch the video here.
The Readings & Music
We had two readings in the ceremony; one was read by Joe’s grandmother Joy and one by my sister Abbey. We choose A Bridge Across Forever by Richard Bach, and I Carry Your Heart With Me by E.E.Cummings. We had a portable speaker playing some chosen songs at the wedding venue, and during the reception we had live music by Hannah Robinson, a local acoustic act. Her voice is truly beautiful. Our evening music was just a speaker with a playlist mixed by lovely our Cousin-In-Law.
We are not very traditional so decided on Colin and Connie the caterpillar cakes from M&S – Who doesn’t love a Colin!? We then bought lots of cakes from Costco and made a sweet/cake table for the evening.
We were very very lucky as my Dad paid for me and Joe to go away to Greece for our Honeymoon; it was all inclusive, so we didn’t have to worry about a thing. We just spent the whole week relaxing…and drinking! Great memories that will last a lifetime.
My cousin and her husband sang ‘Come Away With Me’ by Norah Jones as I walked down the aisle – which was very special. They are professional singers so everyone loved it. My stepsister also recorded a version of ‘A thousand years’ by Christina Perri which was playing as we signed the register – again, another highlight.
My sister also organised a surprise dance and rap to the tune of Can’t Touch This by MC Hammer – the rap was personalised and a few of my cousins got involved too! So funny and a great part of the evening.
The land buggies that transported us to and from the main venue in the forest was a personal highlight! And seeing our guests being helped onto the back of the trucks and driven down the woodland paths, singing and chanting was funny and super memorable.
Advice For Other Couples
Take some time for yourself as a couple, even if it is just 10 minutes. We spent a few minutes just us, ‘people-watching’ at our guests and taking the moment in with a glass of bubbly!
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Livvy Hukins Photography
Bridal Make-up & Hair
Bridesmaids’ Make Up
So Beautiful Amy Louise Make Up
Oak Leaf Marquees
Just magical Elliana and Joe! Thank you ever so much for inviting us to the forest with you. We so love featuring woodland wedding days. Rachel x