The Bride Diaries: Charlotte’s Garden Festival Wedding. Part 1.

garden festival outdoor wedding

I am soooo excited today. Our very own real bride Charlotte tied the knot to John last month. Yippee!

It’s time to share their super gorgeous wedding day with you all. This morning i shall be sharing their wedding ceremony and this afternoon their reception.

Charlotte and John wanted a fun, personal and relaxed garden festival feel to their wedding. They had the coolest wedding attire, with Charlotte looking beautiful in House of Fraser and John looking dashing in a navy three piece suit with bow tie. While the bridesmaids had mismatched embellished dresses. Ekkk!

Thanks so much to the fabulous Assassynation for sharing her photographs with us today.


outdoor garden wedding wedding signs

The Proposal… Two years before our big day whilst on a camping trip in Somerset. John arranged a riverside BBQ and, under a canopy of fairy lights, he popped the question. It was perfectly romantic and completely us!


braziers park house of fraser wedding dress bridal prep bridal prep

The Vision for the Day… A fun, personal and relaxed garden festival.

beautiful bride elegant bride wedding rings bridal prep groom waiting wedding aisle decor

The Planning Process… Before we really got into the planning process, John and I wrote down a list of all the traditional elements that make a wedding. We then crossed out the bits that weren’t important to us and highlighted what was. It soon became apparent that we wanted to have a grander version of the parties we’d been throwing in our garden for years. We weren’t that bothered about traditions and we wanted to make sure our wedding represented us as a couple. We also wanted our closest friends and family to have the best day ever!

As we had two years to plan the wedding, a lot of the ‘big hits’ like the venue and caterer were booked well in advance. This left us with lots of time to work through the massive list of DIY’s! We literally made or bought everything for the wedding…including the tables and benches. It seems John has a hidden talent for woodwork!

We had a very detailed wedding spreadsheet, which had tabs for budgets, suppliers, timings and just about anything else you could think of! I love a good spreadsheet.

Probably one of the best decisions we made when it came to the planning process was to book an on the day coordinator for the wedding day. Despite my spreadsheet addiction and the length of time we had to arrange the wedding, we knew that we would need an extra pair of hands on the actual day. Sama from Utterly Wow was a godsend – she worked like a trooper to make sure that our day ran like clockwork. My advice to DIY brides…get a coordinator!

CharlotteJohn-10189 white bouquet daisy CharlotteJohn-10193 CharlotteJohn-10200 bride walking down the aisle wedding ceremony outdoors CharlotteJohn-10372

The Venue… Our wedding was held at the wonderful Braziers Park in Oxfordshire. It’s a beautiful old house, which has been run as a commune for the past 60 years. The community of roughly 20 people living at Braziers shared their home with us for the weekend of our wedding and made us feel like part of the family. We were so lucky to find this hidden gem!


wedding ceremony CharlotteJohn-10274 CharlotteJohn-10264

The Readings + Music… We worked really closely with Christabel from One Life Weddings to handcraft a bespoke ceremony, as we knew that this would be the most important part of the day. Our vows were written by us and even our Dalmatian, Paris, got a mention!

We had the amazing Suzy and Alex from Kin Wah serenading us during our ceremony and drinks reception. I walked down the aisle to ‘I was Made for You’ by She and Him and we walked back up the aisle as Husband and Wife to ‘Home’ by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.

My best friend gave an emotional rendition of ‘Friendship’ and Christabel read ‘Love is a Temporary Madness’ whilst we planted an apple tree together. The tree is now in our garden and we are looking forward to years of tasty wedding apples!

wedding ceremony confetti mismatched bridesmaids

The Dress + Accessories… My dress was from House of Fraser – I had it altered by a local seamstress to resemble the vision I had in my head. I accessorised with a bargain headpiece from eBay and heels from Dune. I quickly changed into some gold flip flops…I don’t really do heels!

The dress was not actually on my priority list…give me pretty table settings and fairy lights over a designer gown any day! I knew that I wouldn’t have a massive budget for the dress so I ruled out typical ‘bridal’ designers.  The problem was that with such a long planning period and so much choice, I struggled to make my mind up!! I ended up going through far too many dresses before I found the right one for me.


Beautiful Bridesmaids… I actually decided not to have formal bridesmaids but I wanted to have my two best girls with me for pictures. In the end we did try to coordinate our dresses slightly and I think it actually worked out really well! I think I may have underestimated how important it is to have your friends around you on the day…at one point I had one bridesmaid filing my nails and the other sorting my eyebrows. I may have been a slightly disorganised bride when it came to beauty!!


Groom’s Attire… Navy three-piece suit with a gold bow tie from Mrs Bow Tie, brown brogues and sunglasses!


waistcoat bow tie groom

Credit Where Credit is Due…

Venue – Braziers Park –

Ceremony – One Life Ceremonies –

Photography – Assassynation –

Coordinator – Utterly Wow –

Flowers – Green and Gorgeous –

Pizza – Fundi Pizza –

Cake – Streatly Village Cakes –

Acoustic Band – Kin Wah –

Evening Band – Plastic Pantomime –

Make Up – Katherine Louise Make Up –

Lighting – Oakwood Events –

Oh my! So dreamy. Don’t forget to pop by this afternoon for the rest of Charlotte and John’s gorgeous wedding XOXO Lou

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  • Charlotte you are totally gorgeous! I love love love your dress and that it wasnt designer but it was all about making it right for you, I also love the not one for matchy matchy stuff so to me this is perfect! And you know I love all things paper…so all your decorations are right up my street! Love it all xx

  • Oh Charlotte, I do LOVE everything about your wedding!
    From all the personal touches & ridiculous DIY projects to your stunning dress. You make a seriously gorgeous bride.

    Looking forward to part 2 :-) xx

    ps. mustn’t forget to mention how awesome the photography is, that Sassy is one clever lady!

  • This is such an incredible wedding! Charlotte you look so gorgeous, I just love the sparkley and shape of that dress on you. You know I love all your DIY details – you made such an amazing effort, I’m totally in awe of the woodwork! xxx

  • Oh Charlotte- what a day! You are beautiful inside and out, and your stunningly beautiful, thoughtful, creative, unique day was a pleasure to coordinate from start to finish! Bring on part 2! Xx

  • Oh so gorgeous!!

    Beautiful day for a beautiful couple. Sassy’s photos are stunning too. I cant wait for this afternoon Charlotte xxxxxxxxxxx

  • Oh so gorgeous!! I just love the photography! Great work Sassy! But I just fall for your personal detains and planting an apple tree…amazing!!

    Cannot wait for the second part! :)

  • Oh wow, absolutely stunning. I love how laid back the whole day looked, and you were such a beautiful bride.

    Can’t wait to see the rest xx

  • What a gorgeous ceremony. I love the idea of planting the apple tree, and your dress is really beautiful. Also, chaise-longue in long grass = genius!

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