WWW readers Alistair and Leanne tied the knot in a church ceremony and followed with a reception in tipis on Saturday 2nd of September 2017; and what a day it was. Their day was brilliantly captured by Ryan at Shutter Go Click, thank you so much for sharing these fantastic images with us today Ryan.
Firstly, let’s talk about the wonderful blooms. Can you believe that Leanne and her lovely mum did all the flowers for the wedding? What superstars! I think you’re going to just love the rustic meadowy look of the bouquets and the festival perfect décor. As the couple and their friends are avid festival goers, lots of their guests stayed over in tents, what a fantastic party that must have been!
From the musical entertainment to the coconut shy, there was plenty to keep guests amused! There was no formal sit down meal but plenty of delicious food to feast on. I do love it when a relaxed vibe and smart special occasion come together, Isn’t Leanne’s back and shoulder jewellery divine? Such an alternative look. Enjoy everything about this gorgeous day!
THE PROPOSAL | We went to India in the summer of 2015 and visited a place called Varanasi which is the holiest city. We took a sunset boat trip down the river Ganges which finished at the most overwhelming ceremony made up of Hindu priests performing the “Agni Pooja” (Worship to Fire) and dedication to Lord Shiva. There are literally thousands of Indians and tourist there floating on the river or sitting on the bank of the Ghat all chanting and singing and watching the beautiful displays of dances of fire. I noticed two small Indian boys, barely 5 years old hopping along the boats towards ours, they offered us a lotus flower each and in the middle held a candle. The boys explained that you light the candle, make a wish and send it down the river. We both lit our candles and placed them in the water, as I watched our flowers floating down the river, I asked Alistair if he’d made a wish, he replied “ Yes, I wished that you’d marry me!” and as I turned round, there he was, on one knee with the most beautiful ring!
THE VISION | We always wanted a wedding that was a little bit different to the traditional weddings that most of our friends and families had attended, so after a lot of trawling the internet and traipsing round wedding Fayres, we fell hopelessly in love with the teepees. Living between 2 cities Wakefield and Leeds, it was difficult to find a place where we could erect the teepees, we knew we didn’t want it too far away from where we all lived as travelling can make it hard for people to attend, so after some more research, we came across the beautiful venue Thwaite Mills, which is a water mill on the outskirts of Leeds City Centre. One great thing about this venue was the fact that if they wanted to, our guests could camp over. We have a lot of friends/family (like us) who like to attend festivals, so it was ideal for them and us to stay, ergo the theme of our wedding was set!
THE PLANNING PROCESS | Planning was pretty easy actually, I’m quite meticulous when it comes to planning and scheduling, so I was in my element. I took a lot of my ideas from Pintrest and then my own ideas just bred from there really. I started by setting up a spreadsheet of things that we definitely needed for the wedding and costings, e.g. Venue, dress, cake, photographer, etc…Then I compiled a list of things that we wanted but if we couldn’t afford then it wasn’t the end of the world. By 9 months before the wedding, the budget went completely out of the window, I know it’s clichéd to say you are only going to get married once but I genuinely believe that we will, we have been together nearly 10 years, so we deserved everything we wanted and budget wasn’t going to stand in our way.
THE VENUE | Thwaite Mills does have a wedding license for one of their buildings but it wouldn’t have fit the 130+ guests we were inviting, so we decided to legally marry at Wakefield Town Hall in the morning at 10:30am with only our parents, brothers and their girlfriends as witnesses. It was a very casual and quick affair, we made this point to the registrar as we were basically classing our teepee ceremony as the more important part of the day, so I wasn’t walked down the aisle, we didn’t exchange rings and we didn’t have our first kiss as Husband and Wife, we didn’t even wear our wedding attire. We split off from here and I rushed home for hair and make-up, whilst Al went to his Mums, after all, we still wanted to keep a bit of tradition going.
We separately arrived to Thwaite Mills where the teepees were set up in a gorgeous VW Camper Van, the van pulled up at the end of the 25m walkway to the teepees, my brother walked my Mum Chris down the aisle to take her seat, my three beautiful bridesmaids followed and stood to the side to mirror image the groomsmen and then finally my Dad Pete walked me to greet my new husband. The setting couldn’t have been more perfect, we had three teepees built, two for seating (each with a fire pit), one for the dancefloor with a giant disco ball, bubble machine and light up “LOVE” letters and the smaller teepee with comfy seats, blankets and also had a fire pit and small Polaroid photos of us hanging on mini pegs on every wall.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | When I went to choose my dress, me and my Mum went to six shops in York and made a weekend of it. One of the shops we went to was called Bridal Rogue Gallery, I remember passing it the day before, not seeing the sign outside and telling my Mum, there’s no prices or a name, I betted that it was one of those really expensive shops where if you had to ask the price then you couldn’t afford it. So to my surprise as we followed Google Maps to that very shop the next day, my stomach flipped. The assistant was lovely and helpful, she explained the layout of the shop and where to find certain designers, I told her my budget and she explicitly advised me not to go near the Ian Stuart dresses. So off I toddled picking up a range of the most beautiful dresses and found that in the dressing room to my dismay, I had picked ONLY Ian Stuart dresses! The first one I tried on was called La Paix (Which means Peace in French), it was as described by Ian Stuart himself: “Delicately pretty and very romantic, this gown holds that special magic of a traditional fairy tale wedding dress. with subtle champagne shade, intricate lace and scattered petals will make any bride feel like a princess” and I truly did feel like a princess. The moment I walked out of the dressing room and stood in front of the mirror, my Mum and I let out a simultaneous and involuntary audible gasp, which we had not experienced with any other dress. From that moment, I could not think of anything else, and so a credit card was born! Jewellery-wise I don’t know where the idea came from, but I decided I wanted some back/shoulder jewellery to bling up my upper body as my dress was strapless. I knew exactly what I wanted, but couldn’t for the life of me find anything that resembled what I had in my mind, until I found a little Turkish shop on Etsy selling a gorgeous delicate pearl droplet body harness and fell in love straight away, although I was gutted when I had to pay extra courier charges once it entered the UK, this was the same for my beautiful burnt orange hand-made flower head garland that was imported from America, but actually, on looking back, it was so worth it! My shoes were simply from Next, I grabbed them in the sales about a year before the wedding, I’m a little bit taller than Al so it was difficult trying to find beautiful flat wedding shoes, so when I saw them, I snatched them up!
GROOM’S ATTIRE | Al was dead set on not being too formal with top and tails and decided that him and his groomsmen should go for practicality with their suits. He chose a navy blue slim fitted three piece suit with a burnt orange skinny tie and matching micro-pattern pocket square. I’d politely advised him to try on the suits in store before purchasing, imagine my delight when he tried on the suit a few weeks before the wedding and it was way too big for him!
THE READINGS & MUSIC | As previously explained, we didn’t want the town hall ceremony to be our main event of the day, so we decided to write personal vows to each other that would be read in front of all of our guests. My brother did the unofficial officiating of the wedding, as he is the one person that knows us as a couple the longest and the best and he did an amazing job, speaking about how we first met (which was through him) and instructing us throughout the ceremony on where to say our own vows, when to exchange rings and when to have our first kiss. This was perfect for us as we had no limits on what we could say to each other, so our vows were very personal and only tailored to us, one of the points was to promise to make at least one reference to the sitcom Friends every single day! I walked down the aisle to Bright Eyes – First Day of my Life, a song lovingly chosen by Al and we left to Morrissey’s – There is a Light that never goes out, a song by Al’s second love. Our first dance was my choice, Foo Fighter’s – Everlong, had to sneak a bit of my rock chick in there! Fun Fact: Chandler and Monica had this song played at their wedding! (That’s your first Friends reference right there!)
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | My beautiful bridesmaids came in the form of three people very close to my heart. I didn’t have a maid of honour as they all meant so much to me it would have been hard to favour one over the others. Paige – My cousin, we’d grown up together and had always said we’d be each other’s bridesmaids when we grew up and here we are! Stevie is my oldest school friend, we met each other in a Health & Social Care class, I used to turn up a little worse for wear from the night before and copy her work, and she used to let me, ergo a long lasting friendship was born! My final bridesmaid was my closest friend since turning into an adult, Tina, a series of happy events involving an ex-boyfriend brought us together and we’ve been thick as thieves ever since! All the girls were very happy with whatever I chose for them, or at least that’s what they told me! They are all very different shapes and sizes so I wanted something that would flatter them all. I chose a burnt orange short multiway dress, one size fits all so it really took a lot of the pressure off, the dresses literally did fit all and they could choose to wear them any way they felt comfortable. They opted for the Marilyn Monroe halter neck style and they all looked absolutely gorgeous!
THE FLOWERS | My very patient Mum and I did all the flowers for the wedding which consisted of table flowers, aisle flowers, bouquets and button holes. The table flowers were simply a thousand sprigs of lavender cut from my Mum’s garden. We’d been watching the growth and death of these the previous year to see if they’d last until the wedding and even tried drying some out to see if they’d keep. Turns out, the plant actually lasted way into December and the lavender made the teepees smell amazing! The rest of the flowers we purchased from Country Baskets and arranged ourselves. The aisle flowers were a mixture of dark leafy shades, some leaves that we again stole from bushes from my Mums garden and then offset with some burnt orange to match our wedding colour. The bouquets and button holes were also a mixture of real and faux, I used artificial meadow flowers and filled out with gypsophila, colours were mainly white and green, but my bouquet and the button holes had a little nod to the colour orange also.
THE CAKE | The cake was actually made for us as a gift from Al’s Mum by her friend. It was a jam and cream semi naked sponge cake decorated with lots of fruit and topped with cute little “Just Married” bunting bought from Etsy. I think we were a bit dizzy from the events of the day because we completely forgot to do the cutting the cake moment. We did eventually at about 2am once I had changed out of my wedding dress, into some shiny black leggings and black T.Shirt saying “BRIDE” on the front in some sort of hard core metal font! Rock and Roll!
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | Our photographer Ryan was amazing! But I knew he was anyway. Ryan and I had actually met over 10 years ago sharing halls together at University. We’d always remained friends on Facebook and I’d watched his career boom into something awesome! I knew I wanted Ryan and nobody else to shoot my wedding! I already felt comfortable around Ryan but even if you didn’t know him, it wouldn’t be a problem, his warm nature and cheerful personality is enough to make anyone feel relaxed and this was echoed from my wedding guests as he spent the day capturing the most fantastic photographs! Ryan is unconventional and goes the extra mile to get that perfect shot and at one point, he scaled the hot furnace of the pizza oven Land Rover for a group photo!
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | We wanted our wedding to be a very relaxed affair, so we decided not to have a seating plan, this played well into our hands as our catering consisted of a barbecue at lunch time followed by Italian style ice creams and wood fire pizza at night. It meant we didn’t have that awkward task of trying to seat friends next to friends and foe far away from foe. Everybody commented on how relaxed the whole day was and this was really important to us. We provided our own open bar and set aside about £1000 for alcohol for approximately 130 people, this consisted of a generic lager, bitter, cider, prosecco, and full on shots and liquor station! We also made a couple of cocktails named after ourselves – “Whiskey Al” and “Marshall’s Mojito”. It was hard to decipher how much alcohol we would needed as both of our friends and family LOVE to party, we actually ended up with loads spare and are still powering through the remains now! We chose the band from a generic website of wedding entertainment after trawling through You Tube video after You Tube video, they’re tag line was “Guaranteed to pack your dancefloor” and boy did they! I’ve never been to a wedding where it was difficult to fit on the dancefloor for so many people throwing shapes! They played an array of music that suited everybody’s tastes and got everybody dancing from young to old! Fun fact: Manchester Utd hired them to play at Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement celebrations!
Hiring a tepee is like hiring a blank page and you can do whatever you want to it. I wanted to make our wedding personal to us so it was the little things that really made it ours, on the fire pits in the teepees, I put sticks and jars of marshmallows for melting, some of these marshmallows may have had our faces printed onto them. Outside we had two fire pits surrounded by hay bales and adorned with musical instruments for our guests to play, we have very musical friends and family! We didn’t have guests book to sign as one was included in our photo booth which was a converted VW Campervan, at one point, the booth was so popular; there was an actual queue outside! The results of those photos though were brilliant!! We also bought a guitar and had guests sign it, it’s actually made a really nice feature in our living room. We set up a little “garden” of a sweet stall, a very simple idea made by Al of wooden crates with terracotta plant pots filled with sweets. I’d bought a small vintage suitcase from Ebay and filled it with cones of confetti, the cones were made out of The Beatles – “All You Need is Love” sheet music, Ryan organised a confetti walkway shot with all our guests either side of the aisle towards the teepees and me and Al walking through, this turned out to be one of my favourite photos!
THE HONEYMOON | Our honeymoon was a simple getaway of four nights in Venice, we would have liked more but having attended five other weddings and hen/stag parties that year, our annual leave was limited! To be honest, any more days in Venice and my waistline would not have forgiven me, it was basically an excuse to stuff ourselves with pizza and prosecco for a few days! We obviously did the old obligatory gondola ride too! It was fun.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | When our guests joined us during the first dance and we sang Everlong to the top of our lungs together, I’d kept strong all day, but this moment had me wailing like a small child! I think I hid it well though by burying my face into Al’s shoulder! Not! Another great moment for me was at about 10pm when the wedding turned into some weird 90s rave! I’d bought glow stick bracelets/necklaces, glitter for faces and sparklers, at one point I looked around at all those shiny happy people and knew we’d done a great job!
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | One advice I was given from newly-weds was to get a videographer, couples who had said it was the best thing that they had done, and couples who hadn’t actually said it was their main regret. I was always sitting on the fence with a videographer but actually I’m so glad we decided to invest! We chose a company called Peas in a Pod Production and Sean was great from start to finish! He worked with Ryan to get the best shots of us and filmed the whole day from me getting ready, guests arriving, our ceremony, speeches, first dance and he even went around a few of the guests getting personal guest message, which are hilarious by the way! I would definitely recommend getting a videographer, it just makes those awesome photos come to life!
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photographer | Shutter Go Click
Hair | Harriet Steele
Dress | Bridal Rogue Gallery, York (Designer – Ian Stuart)
Jewellery | WedWorld
Head Piece | The Honeycomb
Shoes | Next
Flowers | Country Baskets
Bridesmaid Dresses | The Dainty Yard
Videographer | Peas in a Pod Production
VW Campervan | Wedding Belles, VW Wedding Car Hire
Teepees | Boutipi
Venue | Thwaite Mills Watermill Museum
BBQ | Big D’s BBQ Catering
Ice Cream | A Taste of Italy
Pizza | The Pizza Guy
Photo Booth | Picabo Photography
Thank you so much Alistair and Leanne for sharing your wonderful tipi wedding with us today. Rachel x