Sam & Rob’s Relaxed Vegan Wedding

Q. What was the theme/style for your big day?

A. Botanical. The theme was emphasised through our reception as this is where we spent most of the celebration.

Q. What was most important to you when it came to tying the knot/celebrating your marriage?

A. When we first decided to get married I said to Rob “I have two things, 1) we get married at the Brighton Bandstand, and 2) We have a dessert table and not just a cake” Rob turned and said “OK, but I want the food to be vegan.” For us, it was about being able to share our life with other people so we managed to incorporate our wish list. My father passed away a few years ago and I wanted to know he could still be there on the day. We had a chair for him at the ceremony and, as he was a keen photographer, I had his camera strap on my bouquet so I feel like he still managed to walk me down the aisle.

Q. How did you chose your venue and suppliers?

A. Hair and make-up was the easiest part of the arrangements. I don’t wear a lot of make-up and have sensitive skin so I knew I wanted to do my own. I’ve been with my hairdresser Dayna for over 10 years and knew I wanted her no matter what. There was a flower shop I had been to many times who did unusual flower arrangements as well as terrariums, cacti and air plants which I love having at home so I went to Miss Mole’s Flower Emporium.

We knew from the offset that we wanted to locally source as much as we could.

Being from Brighton we looked at lots of venues in the area but they didn’t quite meet our requirements. We knew we wanted something relaxed and we talked to Rob’s parents who allowed us to use their home and garden in Hassocks, East Sussex. From there we looked at marquees, caterers and decorations. We spent a long time looking at catering first because we knew it was going to be a vegan diet. We came across The Vegan Food Pimp – Lynn Nicholson, who was just amazing. We then found the marquee from Great Outdoors who were based not far from Hassocks. Lloyd and his father Bill were so helpful, through them we were able to book tables, chairs, serving tables and even portable toilets and festoon lighting to go around the garden. I found a portable bar, Betsy’s Bar in Brighton, and the desserts were created by Glitterbug Bakery in Uckfield. And yes, they were vegan too!

Q. Where did you get your ideas and inspiration?

A. I’ve grown up with keen gardeners and have been to the Chelsea Flower Show with my mum. Prior to buying our house the year before I’d always lived in flats so didn’t have the opportunity to have a garden, so my gardens were always inside in mini-green houses on windowsills. I have always loved the botanical gardens and wanted this to be represented on our day. Once we knew we were going to have it at Rob’s parents’ home we could focus on other aspects. We knew we didn’t want it to be formal and wanted some relaxation and fun, so instead of speeches and the first dance, I came up with the idea of a scavenger hunt in teams alongside sheep racing (not with real sheep) and egg and spoon races! My colleague at work became our games master (I’m a drama teacher so the silliness came naturally). We wanted children around as we knew they’d help add to the atmosphere of fun. We also included a guest book with pens, instax camera, glue and bits and pieces so people could leave photos and messages for us.

Q. Tell us about your dress

A. I love my dress so much. I’m a plus size so I was very worried about not finding something that would fit. I went to Fross in Uckfield who has an array of beautiful dresses and I ended up in the first one I tried. I wore the Carmen by Stella York. It was fun and didn’t have a full skirt which meant I felt comfortable and more importantly, I felt beautiful.

Q. What was on the menu?

A. Lynn (Vegan Food Pimp) helped us create a relaxed buffet with salads and pasties. People could help themselves to a selections of “cheese” quiche, jackfruit “tuna” wraps, seitan steak and ale pie, white bean pate… the list goes on!

When we went through the bar requirements with Serena (Betsy’s Bar) we decided to have Pimms on arrival and then whatever people wanted. We did ask for the bar to provide vegan ale and beer which they bought on cask for us.

Dessert table. I always knew I didn’t want a tiered cake and I wanted lots of sweet treats so we could have a bit of everything. We had: a mint chocolate cake for our main cake to cut, lemon cake, battenburg, brownies, millionaire’s shortbread, pistachio and raspberry macarons, banoffee pie and a Victoria Sponge.

Q. What was the quirkiest element of the day?

A. The games! Never again will you seen grown-ups in their posh frocks/suits with an egg and spoon or racing blow up sheep on string!

Q. Tell us about your photographer – how you found them, how they fitted into the day and what you thought of your finished gallery.

A. I came across Sam at the Ardingly Wedding Fayre. I had come across her work online and didn’t realise she’d be there. I’m really not a girlie-girl and didn’t want all the frills and whistles of a formal wedding. I wanted to know I had a photographer who would be game for anything and could capture the atmosphere and the fun of the day. When I looked through Sam’s photos and spoke with her I just knew she was the right person for us. The more we spoke in the coming weeks and leading up to the ceremony the more I knew I had booked the right person.

Q. What was your favourite memory from the day?

A. I have so many! I know I should say it was saying “I do” with my wonderful husband… but really it’s a photo shoot I did with my best friend. Marian and Richard (Rob’s parent’s) have a little side garden that we sat in and Sam took some amazing photos of the two of us. We were chatting and laughing so much, all that was missing was that we should have had a cup of coffee.

Our dog Kaiser was our Best Dog/Man on the day.

Q. What was your first dance to/what did you walk down to the aisle to?

A. We didn’t have a first dance, so for walking down the aisle it had to be Only Love by Ben Howard.

Q. Is there anything else you’d like to mention about your wedding?

A. We created our wedding on a budget. As well as sourcing local suppliers we did a lot ourselves e.g. table decorations, marquee decorations… I think it’s important that people know you can have a mix of suppliers as well as some creative thinking to stay within budget. For example, the Groom’s outfit was bought separately over a few months and in the Christmas sales.


Ceremony – Brighton Bandstand

Transport from Ceremony to Reception – The Big Lemon

Venue Marquee – Great Outdoors

Food – Vegan Food Pimp

Desserts – Glitterbug Bakery

Drinks – Betsy’s Bar

Dress – Fross

Hair – XYZ Hair Dayna Hughes

Make Up – by the Bride

Flowers – Miss Mole’s Flower Emporium

Photography – Sam Pharoah



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