a stunning tipi wedding in The Cotswolds | uk wedding blog

facebook-profile-picture By Phoebe
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Merry Tuesday lovely reader. Was your weekend wonderful? We are starting off the week with a beauttttiful real wedding located in the heart of The Cotswolds. Rosie and Nicks day looked like such a country garden dream, so relaxed and happy. With lots of personal and DIYed details, I think this wedding will provide a lot of inspiration for you garden loving brides. This is the perfect antidote to the cold, grey weather we have been having lately right? Also, Rosie, total hairspiration! Love.

photography | Derbyshire Wedding Photographer Miki Photography 

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My dress was Amanda Wyatt, Skylark. I bought some beaded tulle and had some pretty cap sleeves made to create the final look I wanted. My shoes were (gosh, I shouldn’t admit this) £5 from New Look in the sale! They were strappy, sparkly gold & with a chunky heel so I didn’t sink into the grass. I knew I’d be barefoot within a couple of hours so I didn’t want to buy a really expensive pair, but I’ve worn them several times since as I actually really love them! My necklace was my mum’s – a gold diamond heart she got for her 18th birthday (my something borrowed) – as was my veil.

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Rosie’s grandparent’s garden – Old Red Lion House, Cherington, Warwickshire (The Cotswolds). We knew we wanted a relaxed, country wedding. We didn’t want a venue as such, we wanted somewhere beautiful and homely that we could turn into a ‘wonderland’… My grandparents have lived at Red Lion House for 30 years and I’ve secretly (OK, maybe not so secretly) always dreamed of getting married in the garden where I spent so much of my time growing up. So when they took Nick and I for lunch and actually suggested that we might like to use their garden, we were over the moon! We couldn’t have imagined a more special, beautiful, relaxed and happy place to get married.

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My amazing friend, Laura (the same friend who recommended our photographer) made our cake! She isn’t a professional cake maker, but she definitely should be! We had 3 tiers – blueberry & sour cream, raspberry & rose, and carrot cake on top. All iced roughly and decorated with rosemary and lavender. It was hands down the BEST cake I’ve ever eaten. All of our guests were raving about it!

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We didn’t have a theme as such, but we definitely had quite a clear view of the kind of ‘feel’ we wanted to achieve. We wanted a country feel, quite casual and relaxed (just like us), with lots of individual details that were personal to us. I wasn’t too worried about everything matching, but I love soft, neutral colours. Greys, greens and a hint of pink. We wanted everything to look natural and compliment the beautiful garden. Instead of flowers for decorations, we mainly used herbs – herbs everywhere! Lavender, mint, basil & rosemary for the tables, and all around the garden. We bought most of these from garden centres in the days leading up to the wedding and wrapped the pots in burlap & ribbon. My granny put together a stunning arrangement in a big churn jug that took pride of place outside the tipis. All of the other decorations were made from flowers and apples/blossom from the trees in the garden.

We could have got away with two tipis, but we decided to have three to save us cramming everything in and also to give us a contingency for the ceremony in case the weather turned nasty. The sun shone in the end so we needn’t have worried – but they really were the ‘wow factor’ and just knowing we had a ‘plan b’ took away any stress, so it made the extra expense worthwhile.

Luckily the garden is so beautiful it didn’t need us to spend much decorating! But we saved by doing a lot ourselves & with the help of friends & family –we decorated with herbs rather than flowers. We used an old canoe of my brother’s as the “beer canoe” and an old door from the house as our ceremony backdrop.

We did loads ourselves – I made the stationery and bunting, We used lots of random items we had lying around & upcycled them – the beer canoe & the ceremony door to name just a couple. We were unbelievably lucky as a friend of ours (who we also met on the Indonesian adventure rally) somehow found our very two tuk tuks and he shipped them over from Bali for us – they were pretty much as we left them (in a state of disrepair) but it brought back so many memories, so we used them as a bar! We also turned the apple tree in the centre of the garden into our “family tree” and pegged up lots of photos of our families and Nick & I growing up. We placed an old rug & bench underneath so guests could sit and take everything in

Light up letters – http://www.vowedandamazed.co.uk/

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My hairdresser was a friend & guest, as was my make-up artist!

Hairdresser – Martin Crean at MODE – he’s just won British hairdresser of the year for the second year running! http://www.modehair.co.uk/  email: mail@modehair.co.uk

Makeup – Claire Johnston (nee Harmer) – http://www.claireharmerbeauty.co.uk/  email: info@claireharmerbeauty.co.uk

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Nick had never actually worn a proper suit! He’s a typical Kiwi – more of a shorts and t-shirt kind of guy. We went to a local tailors in Auckland and picked a navy 3 piece suit that was then tailored to fit. He looked so handsome! We asked the groomsmen to wear ‘blue suits’ and I wasn’t worried about them matching. However, it was typical that my brother took this as an excuse to get his suit tailor made at Saville Row – and when I said blue, he chose electric blue!

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My bridesmaids all wore twist-wrap dresses from Dessy. Two of my girls had just had babies, and each had a different body shape, so we wanted to find dresses that everyone felt comfortable in. The twist wrap dresses were flattering and can be worn in so many different ways, so each of my bridesmaids could choose how to wear it to suit them.

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Walking up the aisle with my Grandad & then seeing Nick looking so handsome yet nervous was something I’ll always remember! Our ceremony really stood out for me; before the ceremony our guests were asked to think of a word that best represented Nick & my relationship. Then half way through they were asked to pick up the pen and paper under their seats and draw that word. We were crying with laughter – some hilarious & fun pictures that we’ll keep forever!

The speeches were hilarious & a rather tipsy friend starting a booming rendition of Happy Birthday to my dad (it would have been his 60th birthday on our wedding day) during my speech, was brilliant. But finally, I remember towards the end of the night Nick and I took ourselves off to sit on the bench under the apple tree and we just cuddled and watched everyone partying the night away. We were so happy in that moment & we both felt incredibly blessed to have all of the people we love, all together and celebrating – I wish I could bottle that feeling!

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We used caterers, Kemp & Kemp as we loved their home-cooked, family style food. They were incredible! We decided on a big feast menu, with big sharing boards of slow cooked porchetta pork and whole flattened chicken, alternated down the tables, with big bowls of delicious salads and vegetables.

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My bouquet was pretty rustic. A mix of ruscus, eucalyptus, lisianthus and roses. A friend, Kate Maxwell, provided our flowers. She is super talented and owns a little florist called ‘In Bloom’ in Birmingham. She also made the garland for our ceremony backdrop and cute herb buttonholes for the boys.

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We both love live music, and so it was a no brainer to book a live band. It was surprisingly difficult to find a good live band though, and it’s hard to gauge how good a band will be from watching a 2 minute clip on YouTube!

I had all but given up and resigned myself to having a play-list. So I ended up just looking for a singer to sing during the reception. I came across Nick Keen and loved his voice and repertoire, so I booked him. It turned out he’s in a band and they happened to have a cancellation for our wedding date – it was meant to be! I booked them without even hearing them, and we weren’t disappointed. I don’t think the dance floor ever emptied – testament to how good they were!

We also had garden games – giant Jenga, table football & table tennis. All things we happened to own already.

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Ashley Davenport was our photographer. I’d spent a bit of time researching photographers but the few who’s style I liked were either unavailable, miles away, or crazily expensive, so I started asking around. Ash is a friend of a friend and we couldn’t have been happier that she recommended him! WOW! As soon as we spoke on Skype, it was clear that his style really suited us and our more informal approach. We didn’t want stuffy, over-posed photos, rather natural ‘in the moment’ photos – something he captured beautifully.

I loved Ash’s photography style – he captures all of the moments that you might not have otherwise seen. He truly documented the fun and love on the day. We totally forgot he was there (in the nicest way possible) – the sign of a great photographer! He also ran a photobooth for us, with loads of great props (people got very carried away in there!) A great little extra that added to the day.

All in all, he is incredibly talented with a great eye for detail and he certainly knows how to capture stunning images. He’s also a lovely guy & the most dapper photographer I’ve met – one of few men who can pull off a bow tie and braces!

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My top tip would be don’t sweat the small stuff! By that, I mean don’t over-think the details. Pinterest is both a blessing and a curse for brides to be! A few personal details are great, but you don’t need to go overboard – if I’d have done every idea I had, I’d never have finished setting up (and we’d be broke)! Don’t try and organise someone else’s wedding. Ultimately, it should be about you as a couple and what you want that matters!

  • Lovely, simple, observational photography. The best kind 🙂