Q. What was the theme/style for your big day?
A. Good question! We didn’t have a theme really, but looking back I think we combined our passion for nature and the outdoors with our love of festivals, music, good food and having fun. We wanted to celebrate spring with wild and vibrant floral displays and found that origami paper decorations were a great way to decorate on a budget. We made a decision to keep things simple and natural as the venue and the surroundings were beautiful as they were.
Q. What was most important to you when it came to tying the knot/celebrating your marriage?
A. The most important thing for us was having all of our favourite people there to share and celebrate our marriage. We decided to write our ceremony rather than follow a script and our good friend Kat did an amazing job as celebrant. The ceremony focused a lot on the importance of family, friendship and community and set a lovely tone for the rest of the day. We kept things deliberately informal so people could spend time catching up with old friends and getting to know new ones.
Q. How did you chose your venue and suppliers?
A. We only saw two venues and knew as soon as we arrived at Hawthbush Farm that it ticked all the boxes. Beautiful countryside and a stretch tent which meant we could have a blessing outside, long communal tables, homely cottages for guests to stay in and relaxed owners. I met our photographer, Jo Thorne, whilst dress hunting in a vintage shop in Brighton and we have been blown away by how well she captured all the emotion and detail of the day. Our caterer was recommended by the owner of our favourite vegetarian market stall Smorls in Brighton, and the lady who did our flowers is a floristry teacher at Plumpton College.
Q. Where did you get your ideas and inspiration?
A. Nature. Festivals. Pinterest. I think we had quite a clear idea of how we wanted the day to look and feel so it didn’t take long to bring it all together.
Q. Tell us about your dress
A. I got my dress in a sample sale from Leonie Claire in Hove. My friend and I spotted an incredible mesh skirt embroidered with hundreds of stars by Kate Halfpenny at a bargain price and having looked at lots of traditional dresses I loved how unique it was. I layered the skirt over a simple silk dress with thin straps by Charlie Brear and then a lovely seamstress adapted a top I had found in the sale so that it worked over the dress.
Q. What was on the menu?
A. We both love cooking and food was a big part of our day. We spent a lot of time planning the wedding meal with our talented caterer, Tina, who runs CanTina in Brighton. We decided on a Middle Eastern style sharing menu with vegetarian mezze to start, slow cooked lamb with white wine and fennel for main, alongside summer salads, tzatziki and homemade pitta bread. Our families were really kind and made all the desserts – things like raspberry and pistachio tart, tiramisu, champagne jelly, chocolate roulade and orange and polenta cake. Our best friend Sam brewed all the beer at his local brewery called The Three Legs Brewing Company and he also supplied delicious natural wines to go with the meal. Guests were asked to bring a bottle of gin between friends and we made sure there was plenty of tonic and garnishes to keep the gin bar well stocked through the night!
Q. What was the quirkiest element of the day?
A. Stan is a drummer in a Brighton reggae band called Samsara. Nine of them took to the stage after the meal and got everyone up and dancing. A lot of people hadn’t seen them play before so that was pretty special.
Q. What advice would you give other brides looking for a similar style of event?
A. If you go for a dry hire venue like we did, then it takes a lot more organising than a venue which has a wedding planner as part of the package. For us, it was perfect as it gave us the freedom to pick all our own suppliers and really make the day a reflection of us. The set up on the Friday took quite a while, but we were lucky to have a wonderful group of friends and family to help us which made it fun rather than stressful.
Q. What was your favourite memory from the day?
A. There was an amazing energy throughout the day which made for a lot of really special memories. It was lovely to sit together around the fire pit as a couple at the end the evening and take it all in. We walked back to the cottage we were staying in and finished the night off drinking red wine in the wood fired hot tub. We didn’t want the day to end!
Q. What was your first dance to/what did you walk down to the aisle to?
A. Our first dance was to Love and Happiness by Al Green and I walked down the aisle to Here Comes the Sun by The Beatles, played by two friends on guitar. We choose The Beetles as a nod to Stan’s mum who sadly passed away in recent years but loved their music.
Photography: Jo Thorne Photography www.jothornephotography.com
Venue: Hawthbush Farm www.hawthbushfarm.co.uk
Catering: CanTina Brighton www. cantinabrighton.wordpress.com
Bar: Three Legs Brewery www.thethreelegs.co.uk
Band: Samsara Collective www.samsara-collective.com
Hire items: Rent Event www.rent-event.co.uk
Flowers: Areta Richards