It’s a pleasure to welcome Fiona and Fred to Whimsical Wonderland Weddings today, with their garden tipi wedding held on the 10th August 2019 at Fiona’s parents’ house in Wirral. They described their day to me as “magical, personal, whimsical and just a little haphazard”, and I can assure you it was every bit as magical and whimsical as they say.
They held their outdoor humanist ceremony in the back garden, against a triangle wooden frame backdrop and underneath umbrellas due to the stormy weather. It was ever so romantic, especially as their wrote their own vows to one another. A party followed in the tipi, which was decorated beautifully with stars, fairy lights, gold and greenery. A brilliant touch was the raised centre to the tables for the sharing meal, which must have created a really cosy and welcoming atmosphere.
There is too much loveliness to mention it all, but I just adore the seriously stylish outfits all round, the meadow style flowers and the super magnificent chocolate death cake to name but a few. I am so grateful to Kit Myers Photography for sharing these superb images with us, just magic.
Over October two years ago we travelled up to Scotland for a wandering holiday. Fred had been doing lots of research trying to find somewhere worthy of a proposal. After much finding Fred settled on a long yomp overlooking Glen Affric. During a brief tea break he went down on when knee and said “while we’re here, will you marry me?”.
So we shared a pack of quavers and had a cup of tea, newly engaged.
I had always imagined getting married in my parents’ garden and having a relaxed outdoor ceremony with a backdrop of the Wales and the Dee estuary. The rambling garden had forever been a work in progress and had a wonderfully overgrown, secret garden feel to it full of quirky features and twisting paths. We knew it would be a lot of effort to get it wedding-ready (borne mainly by my parents) but we loved the idea of getting married somewhere totally unique and personal, that we had helped to establish.
We envisaged a theme based loosely around A midsummer Night’s Dream; laid back, romantic charm filled with flowers and twinkling lights.
The Planning Process
We knew we were asking a lot of my parents to get the garden wedding-ready so we planned the wedding for summer 2019 which gave us 22 months to prepare. A huge amount of building work was carried out in that time and we spent many weekends travelling to and from The Wirral to help out. We even convinced the entire wedding party to come up and help under the thinly veiled guise of a ‘getting to know you’ weekend.
We tried to do as much of the wedding as we could ourselves, and called in as many favours from our friends as we dared, but accepted that some aspects were best left to professionals. Coordinating everything was a bit of a challenge but we are so grateful to all our friends and family who managed to pull everything together for us on the day.
Fiona’s parents’ house. Wirral.
The Readings & Music
I walked in to an instrumental version of Everything I do – Bryan Adams which has been a favourite song since childhood when I was somewhat obsessed with Robin Hood. It had to be done.
We chose to have a humanist ceremony and Maxine Beech, our celebrant, did an incredible job. It was a personal, moving, clever and funny ceremony, despite the wind and rain. We chose to write our own vows, supported by Maxine, and we are so glad we did – everything felt so meaningful and sincere. We finished the ceremony with a symbolic gesture – a glass of G&T. It was a wonderfully relaxed way to start our married life.
We asked our mums to do a reading, but requested that we didn’t know what it was until the day. They chose to read, Oh, The places You’ll Go – Dr Seuss, which was a lovely send off.
Our Friend Daryl did the DJing for us and did a fantastic job of amalgamating the guests’ very eclectic song requests.
We chose Ewer Roberts Flowers based on a recommendation from a friend in London and we were not disappointed. Sarah and Abi did a wonderful job using homegrown meadow flowers for the flower crowns and bouquet and to decorate the cake and tables. The bouquet was designed based on a photo seen on Pinterest and was stunning.
Floral dresses and top and skirt combinations from Needle & Thread. I saw the dress online and absolutely loved it – it was nearly the wedding dress. I had always fancied grey dresses for the bridesmaids but had worried they might be quite drab, so these were a perfect alternative. The complimenting top and skirt combo meant that my bridesmaids could choose which look they felt suited them best. I was so worried that they’d sell out online that I bought five versions of each in a range of sizes and had the dresses before I’d even asked my friends to be bridesmaids.
We decided to forgo flowers for the bridesmaids as the tops were so colourful and went for white gypsophila flower crowns instead. This turned out to be remarkably useful as they all had free hands to hold umbrellas.
Your Outfits & Accessories
Fiona’s Dress – Pronovias Draconia
I had already chosen the bridesmaid dresses and I knew I wanted something that would complement them. I had a vision of a soft flowing skirt and an interesting back design without the dress being too revealing, but hadn’t found anything that quite fitted the criteria. After trying many shops and not loving anything, the super helpful Levi at Teokath in Wimbledon suggested I tried on an ethereal Pronovias design and it was pretty much love at first sight – a real fairy princess dress!
Despite intending to do as much of the wedding ourselves, I was well aware that my make-up skills fell short of bridal party perfection. I found Huze through a google search, liked what I saw on Instagram and got in touch. I knew I wanted a braided updo and flower crown for myself and the bridesmaids with soft, smoky makeup, and Louise and Fana did an amazing job of creating the vision.
Fred and the groomsmen wore Royal blue suits from Charles Tyrwhitt. The bowties are Fred’s ancestral family tartan – Mackay Modern – from the Scotland Kilt company.
Fiona made this with the maid of honour the week before the wedding. It was seven tiers of Chocolate Death Cake – a family recipe that her grandfather would always make. It was so solid that it required a hatchet to cut it.
The Details & Décor
We kept the details simple – stripped back wooden tables with hints of gold and greenery on the tables. We used upturned baskets and planks of timber to create serving platforms for the food so everyone could serve themselves. The daisies along the table were all hand potted by family members in terracotta plant pot. We had some last-minute décor adjustments due to the gale force winds, so the bottles and candlesticks we had collected never made it out to the tables, and the menus and place cards would never have stood a chance. It was a little less decadent than planned but still very lovely.
We filled the tipi with fairy lights and gold stars, all hung by the bridal party the evening before. The garden was filled with lights, candles and lanterns and was every bit as magical as we had hoped come evening time.
The fantastic Kit Myers – he got a photo of Fred stuffing a Mac and Cheese canape into his mouth at a friend’s wedding and after that we knew he was the one for us. We had seen a wonderful confetti shot of his and were very keen to get one of our own – we were not disappointed! He was charming and efficient throughout, as well as being super talented to make the rainy skies and seas of umbrellas work in our favour.
Not quite finished yet, ask Alice. She worked brilliantly with Kit and made sure we were subtly mic’d up for all the important speeches and was perfectly placed that we weren’t distracted by a big camera lens. We’re looking forward to the results.
2.5 weeks travelling around Thailand. Exploring Bangkok, sleeping on floating rafts in the jungle, snorkelling with turtles and enjoying the incredible food.
The ceremony will stay with us forever. We got married in the middle of a storm and it was so moving we barely noticed.
Advice For Other Couples
Plan for wet weather – you can never have too many umbrellas. Don’t worry about the little details on the day – just enjoy being surrounded by all your favourite people. It is a wonderful experience.
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Kit Myers Photography
Alice Underwood Films
Makeup Artist Wirral
Ewer Roberts Flowers
Event In A Tent
Such a great party and proof that rainy wedding weather needn’t dampen any spirits. Pure romance.
Fiona and Fred, thank you both so very much for sharing your very special wedding story with us xo Lou