Friday 25 October 2013

A Secret Garden Wedding with a Woodland & Travel Theme - The Reception

This is one of those amazing weddings where the bride thought of every single detail, and DIY'd a fair few {like most} of them. A regular reader of Before the Big Day, Kelly came up with several fabulous themes, and combined them all with panache! Travel plus secret woodland and a colourful palette equals wedding heaven. And the ideas to steal - there's too many. Just take a look at the amazing handmade hot air balloon table names, the stunning paper cut-style seating plan, and the pinecone place markers. Kelly was up till late the night before her wedding, decorating her tepee venues with six friends - so if you're considering to DIY your decor, remember to arrange a helping hand {or 10}. I love how she placed a sprig of rosemary at each seat, and the hand-stamped balloons on the stationery are the cutest. Instead of a cake, Kelly and Pete chose a massive array of sweetie type of wedding! Enjoy Kelly's hints and tips in her answers to the Before the Big Day Brides' Questionnaire - there's tonnes of advice for budding brides. Huge thanks to Richard Galloway for his stunning wedding photographs.

We got married in the beautiful Secret Garden at Wasing Park in Berkshire. It was a bright and sunny May Day. I liked the idea of a secret garden full of surprise and intrigue, and Wasing Park was the perfect venue. We kept areas hidden so as to surprise our guests with each stage of the wedding.

Our photographer was Richard Galloway. He is an old friend and a professional wedding photographer. We felt we couldn't have made a better decision, as he knew us, and knew that we were planning something fun and curious. 

Richard's style is reportage, and we wanted more natural shots than traditional posed wedding photographs, so he was the perfect fit.

My dear friend Anna is a graphic designer, and she said that for our wedding, she wanted to give us a gift of the design and execution of our wedding invitations. She carefully created the paper cut design and information sheet, in keeping with the woodland theme, with carefully cut deer and birds in a style similar to Rob Ryan. We even bought in the paper from an old Italian stationer! Lots of energy and patience, but the result was truly elegant.

We had a combination of decorations and themes - a travel theme, a secret woodland theme, and a night theme of fire. We also wanted plenty of colour to give the feel of a fiesta, but a country garden version.

In keeping with the secret woodland theme we decorated the tables with giant pinecones, and the tent poles with fir and ivy. We wanted it to feel like a feast for the eyes, with plenty of colourful bunting, and paper decorations to add to the ambience. 

Our wedding florist was a very talented lady called Yolanda Chiaramello  She had plenty of experience in floristry, and wanted to work with us on her first wedding. She was excellent at talking through our dreams and visions, and turning them into reality.  

Every detail, from the Tizer bottles hosting a single bud, to carefully chosen and placed blooms, and our bouquets were perfect. Yolanda's attention to detail made it an absolute pleasure to work with her. She surpassed our expectations and then some.

We are big world travellers, so we chose tepee hats as our marquees, with plenty of travel themed props. Our table names were handmade hot air balloons, which looked like they were floating, thanks to the wonders of fishing wire. 

We also had a table laid out with a globe, a guest book made out of a vintage photograph album, and framed photos of dear family members that are no longer with us. The look I was aiming for was a traveller's writing desk, complete with typewriter and other ephemera. 

I had a few too many DIY projects! I crafted all of the boy's buttonholes, each one bespoke. I also made all of my chicas {most special ladies} a bespoke buttonhole - each one individually designed. I made with six litres of home made vodka {2 lemoncello, 2 mandarin and 2 wild berry}, and the marshmallow and Ferrero Roche sweetie trees. I hand picked all the decorations, made chocolate pots, and the table plan with paper sourced in New York and spray-painted mdf....

I enjoyed most of my wedding planning. We had a two-year engagement so it gave us plenty of time to finely tune every detail. I also work in TV Production so genuinely enjoy organising! Towards the end it was at points stressful, but overall it was great. 

The night before I had six of my closest friends and my sister helping me out decorating the tepees when really I should have been doing my bikini line. We were folding napkins with rosemary and hessian until 10pm, and organising the table settings - this was quite testing, but also made me realise how special my closest friends and sister are to me.

My advice to brides? GO FOR IT {and double your budget!}. If you have a vision, there is nothing wrong with creating your own wedding from scratch. I would really recommend sticking to your plan and try not to be persuaded by packages or the standard. Personal touches go a long way – people really appreciate them and it makes your wedding tailor-made to you. 

Write lists. Create a bridal book and put all your thoughts and ideas in there. Use Pinterest to build up a mental image of the wedding you are trying to create. Think of your friends with good talents, and ask them to get involved. Enjoy - it is the most amazing thing to do - getting married to your partner for life. So make sure you relish every single moment!

Instead of cake, we had a desert table full of a selection of sweets and naughties – some DIY'd by me, but my best friend's mum {the best baker in the world} created a batch of her amazing brownies which we laid out on vintage china. 

My stepsister, Catherine Clark, is a chef and created the most magical confection – with everything from homemade Daim Bars to Scottish Tablet – oooooh naughty! Our wedding breakfast was a Pakistani feast, so we added lots of exotic sweets as well. 

More advice - make sure you plan at some point on the day to sneak of with your new husband. The day goes so quickly and it really is important you savour every moment and take a moment to look into each other’s eyes, cheesy as it sounds it is really very important. 

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