Goodness me, how much FUN does this wedding look? Over to bride Tricia to tell you all about it…
The theme of our celebration was LOVE. Gavin and I actually married in USA three years ago but we make a decision at the time not to invite UK friends but to have a second ‘wedding’ to celebrate not only our marriage but also our friendships. We are ex-pats and have been living outside of the UK for six years, living in Trinidad, Korea, and the USA. We currently live in The Hague in Holland. This was our opportunity to have a big party for our UK and European friends… although we were blessed to have others come over form America, Australia South Africa and Holland. Being an ex-pat has advantages of being able to meet lots of new wonderful friends who we consider part of our extended family. So we decided to call the weekend LOVEFEST – a celebration of LOVE and friendships. We wanted the vibe to be very chilled so asked people to wear whatever they wanted and felt comfortable in. As we had the venue over a few days we decided to make a bit of a festival weekend of it and had lots of guests glamping, camping, and staying on site.
The most important thing for us was to generate a feeling of love and happiness. Having been out of the country, our visits home don’t really allow us to see everyone we want to for as long as we would like. So having the party over a weekend allowed us to really re-connect with all our favourite people in a relaxed, happy atmosphere. We also really wanted our friends to have fun and having spoken to a lot of my girlfriends who have children we decided we would make the main day mostly child-free. We did have our two children (Jonas 3 and Anjali 5) with us and their cousin Georgina plus my friend Kay’s two children but they left the site in the evening. I think that helped everyone really relax and not have to worry about what their kids were up to or bedtime for them. So the party could go on and on!!
When we started thinking about our event I started looked at different venues but didn’t like the idea of a set menu and sit down meal, or rigid plan of a more traditional wedding, so I started looking at more bohemian style events. The Arabian Tent Company came up and had some stunning marquees which we thought would be lovely. We visited Katherine at Arabian Tents when we were on a short trip back to the UK. Katherine not only sets up amazing marquees but she also hires out her stunning secluded location for events a few times a year. For other suppliers I had to do a lot of research online and by word of mouth. Organising the event from Holland meant I couldn’t visit places so had to be comfortable that they were going to be good… so lots of research was needed. Also trying to generate a personal relationship with vendors over the phone without being face to face was important.
Ideas really came together when we decided to have the LOVE festival theme. We really wanted to make it as fun and happy as possible. There is so much craziness in the world that we wanted to focus on loving life and being grateful for everything. I ended all my e mails to friends with LOVE ❤️ LIFE trying to really generate the feeling of all things love! We wanted to keep to colours which aren’t usually associated with weddings, and I actually was married in navy blue (first time around) and all the guests wore white. I liked the coupling of navy and teal and then adding gold. When googling ideas it led to Peacocks so the Peacock feathers then came into play. It was amazing as the venue actually had lots of peacocks roaming around and I hadn’t see any on our first visit so it made the choice even more perfect. We had the hay bale seating spell out LOVE. LOVE literally seemed to be everywhere all weekend!!
The dress was Blake by Rue de Seine. A friend of mine Tash told me about a great boutique wedding dress shop in Hove knowing i would love the collections. As I had married in navy the first time I was keen to wear a wedding dress this time and also have a heirloom piece for my daughter Anjali. However I had a dilemma as I wanted a festival-feel and my husband was opting for shorts and shirt. Before I visited the shop I thought I had a clear view of the style and even the specific dress I would chose but then I tried on ‘my’ dress and fell in love with it. I did get changed a couple of times during the day which was fun too.
The menu was amazing; keeping it simple we opted for a buffet menu but didn’t want our guests to lose out on taste so we worked with a great company called Epic Catering to pull together a great selection of food. We had a hog roast , lamb roast and chicken with a huge selection of sides and vegan and vegetarian options. For our evening meal we had a selection of Paella’s which were served on banana leaf plates. It was all visually stunning as well as delicious. The company also came back the next day to serve our guests (who camped or stayed) a well needed bacon and egg butty, with tea and coffee. For the cake I worked with a lovely lady to design a stylish peacock cake with different flavoured layers. For our drinks we had a selection of cocktails all following the love theme and wine and beer which was provided by a great guy called Justin at Bug Bar. They were so much fun they felt like friends and they served custom cocktails like Little Passion, Bursting Heart and Love Potion. We also hired a vintage ice cream van but they had issues coming to the site so didn’t turn up which was disappointing.
One of the quirkiest elements of the day was moving from the marquee into the ‘Party Barn’. We had a fantastic band playing in the marquee called The White Keys and they really got everyone up and dancing but at at 10.30pm we all moved to the ‘Party Barn’ and had the coolest beat boxing band ever. They are called the Bloxed Beats, my husband found them and they were amazing. I was blown away by their talent and kept grinning at my husband for choosing them. He also hired a great local comedian to do a slot and that was just so funny. He worked the crowd so well. We also had lawn games which were great during the day, plus a super talented face painter and a gent called Sean who did caricatures of our guests.
Advice to other brides would be research online. There is a huge move towards more relaxed festival style venues but it takes a lot of the pain away if you work with suppliers and venues you have complete faith in and trust they know what they’re doing. Make the wedding a celebration of love and don’t get too bogged down with rituals. Some you may want to integrate into your day but think of new ones which are special for you and your future husband. Don’t try and please everyone, do what you want…it’s your day after all! Make the invitation fun, we worked with Marty at WEDFEST and he was great, he produced great invites, posters with a couple of my favourite quotes on: “Why the fuck can’t I have fun all the time?“ and “Awesome things happen when you chose to stop being a miserable cow”. We put these up in the toilets and other areas to make people smile. Try and involve family and friends so they feel part of it. I had great help from my sister who put together our wedding favours which were hangover cure bags. Plus another friend wrapped all the gifts for people who camped (which was the Hangover book). My brother gave a wonderful reading he had written and a good friend of ours Dean was compere for the day. Gavin’s mother also arranged all our wedding flowers. Invest in a good photographer as you will probably forget parts of the day and having great photographs gives you the memories for life.
I have so many favourite memories… my girlfriend Roxy came over from New Zealand to do my make up. She is a close friend who lived in Houston whilst I was there and she did my make up for my first wedding. So with her coming I had the same three friends who all got ready together first time together again. Rox flew from SA, Angela from America and Sam from Scotland. So we drank champagne and got our hair and make-up done together. My brother also gave a very special reading during our blessing. It was a hot August day and I was wearing my sunglasses which was a good job as it was very emotional and I was reduced to tears. The first song the beat boxers did was very special too. The main thing was having all our family and friends together and having a total blast.
Gavin and I both walked into the marquee together holding hands to At last by Ella Fitzgerald and danced to Jason Mraz I wont give up. We had three outstanding DJ’s during the event who really managed to Play some great LOVE themed tunes too.
Plus some additional favourite photos (taken by guests rather than the official photographer)…
Face Painting: www.tickboomfacepainting.com
Festival Flags: www.eventflaghire.co.uk
Lawn games & hay bales: www.hireyourday.com
Comedian Stephen: www.stephengrant.com