This afternoon we are back with our regular feature ‘Advice from the Married Side,‘ real life wedding planning...
Happy Wednesday everyone! Today I’m taking you to Suffolk for this gorgeous summer tipi wedding. Carla and Toby chose a tipi as Toby’s sister owns a beautiful piece of land that she turned into a huge daisy field especially for them. This was the starting point of their planning and from there the rest of their relaxed country wedding fell into place. Pulling in favours from all their friends, family and work colleagues, they managed to keep the costs down and concentrate their budget on other areas, like the band and a free bar. With street food, wild flowers and gorgeous DIY decor, this wedding really does have the laid back summer vibe that they were looking for, all captured perfectly by by Philip Quinnell.
Carla and Toby were married on 3rd June, 2017 in a ceremony in Polstead Church followed by a reception in their sister’s garden, The Old Rectory, Polstead in Suffolk. ‘It’s such a beautiful spot and we’re incredibly lucky that because it belongs to Toby’s sister (who was the best venue host ever, even growing a meadow of daisies for the tipi to sit in). We were able to have access whenever we needed it – we always knew we wanted a tipi wedding so it seemed crazy to do it anywhere else. We had a tipi from Magical Tipis who were so helpful with all things DIY wedding! It took 12 months to plan and we had 140 guests.’
How they met
We met in halls in freshers week of university and got together about 6 months later…so about 12 years ago!
Toby proposed in Sunnyhurst Woods near my mum’s house on a walk. We didn’t get far with the walk as in his panic Toby had decided to take on the wet Lancashire woodland in new suede shoes, and I was trying to convince him to just head home and get changed when he decided to seize the moment and get down on one knee
How did you allocate your budget?
We prioritised. We were very lucky not to have to spend on the land so we thought about the things we love – dancing, drinking, friends and decided to spend on what was key to us and cut corners elsewhere – having said that we completely blew the budget!
Where did you splurge and how did you save?
We splurged on a great band, a free bar, a large wedding party and on a choir for the church. We saved by calling in lots of favours – from friends in the beer and wine industry, graphic designers, basically anyone who offered us help, or who’s arm we could twist. That included a friend at work making our save the dates and one of our work suppliers printing the table plan. We had lots of heavily discounted and free booze and many hands decking out the tipi rather than having a wedding planner. We also saved on food – we’re not huge foodies and prefer gourmet street food to a tasting menu so we found a great pizza guy to make us posh pizza, amazing antipasti boards and all served to the tables too.
Why did you choose your photographer?
Phil is a friend of Toby’s from their days working together at Coca-Cola when he spent lots of time taking photos for the music industry – as soon as he mentioned he wanted to focus on wedding photography we knew we’d ask him when we got round to getting married. He knows us, which helps when you’re camera shy, he’s incredibly talented and he works really hard – he cares about your wedding photos more than you do! All of our wedding party and guests said they forgot he was even there, so they were very surprised to see all the photos of themselves throwing shapes on the dancefloor! Couldn’t recommend him highly enough.
Stephanie Allin from Windsor Bride. I also had a Tiffany necklace and a delicate sash made by the talented team at Windsor Bride.
The Suit and Bridesmaids
The bridesmaids were all in ASOS dresses which I’d really recommend. You can choose lots and send them back, they come quickly and they have a huge range which is really reasonably priced. We were having a really informal relaxed wedding so didn’t want anything too ‘bridesmaid’. We went for the same dress in different colours. Suits were from a wide variety as we just went for navy.
Theme or Colour Scheme
With the tipis in the daisy meadow and the street food we wanted the focus to be on a relaxed celebration – even the flowers were wild so no theme or colour scheme, but it all came together beautifully.
We had peonies, wild flowers, lots of foliage, roses, and a whole host of flowers I’d never heard of. Alice at Dove Cote Flowers is amazing – I gave her an appalling brief (I’m not a flower person at all) and she really took time to create exactly what we wanted, from a large loose beautiful bouquet for me, to 15 button holes, bridesmaids flowers and lessons for everyone in the church to create displays – she was great. My mother-in-law and sisters-in-law are also incredibly green fingered and created an amazing flower ball to hang over the top table and jars of wildflowers with trailing foliage for the tables.
We kept it quite low key – the tipi was covered in fairy lights and lighting out the front, with a fire pit, vintage couch seating area and tiki tipi bar. We hung 30 different coloured paper lanterns (suspended at different heights from a hula hoop with led lights) over the dancefloor, had the flowers, created signs of all of our favourite places for the tables and that was really it!
Antipasti board starters, pizza, amazing salads and ice cream
This was done by Abi Sarton who did an incredible job for an incredible price – again we’d definitely recommend her. It was a four tier naked cake decorated with flowers from our florist. Everyone said it tasted amazing.
We had a really great band – Vinyl Cut – we’d had a last minute disaster with the band we’d booked and these guys had also been cancelled so on the Thursday before the wedding we were really lucky to find them. Everyone commented on how much they enjoyed them and the dance floor was full to burst!
Who supplied the stationery?
Our save the dates were polaroid pictures done by a very kind graphic designer who I worked with. The invites were by Bridezilla Design Company and they were mini tipis that guests constructed when they arrived, which went down really well! Order of service were done by Creationary on Etsy – I was thrilled with them, the table plan was done by The French Papeterie, also Etsy and also great!
We had so many! We made the flower ball, hanging paper lanterns, place names, laying tables and so much more ourselves. Personal touch wise we had garden games – a coconut shy from Lou Lou Loves Vintage, a ring toss beautifully handmade by Unforgotten Chic and a super cute three in a row by Wild Earth Crafts Shop on Etsy.
Too many too mention – we both loved our first dance (Fleetwood Mac Everywhere) and the speeches were absolutely hilarious (including the Groom – not sure if that’s a good thing!!!)
Advice for other couples
It really is one day that should be fun! Things won’t all go to plan, but you will definitely be surrounded by everyone who loves you so they will either solve the challenge, or laugh about it with you, so don’t take it all too seriously.
I’m pretty organised so there were no surprises on the day in terms of what we’d planned, but I was a bit surprised by how overwhelming it was, and how hard it was to get round everyone – my advice would be don’t try! We had parties the night before and the day after so that really helped!
I am a creative wedding photographer living in Andover in Hampshire. My goal is a simple one, to take beautiful photos of the most wonderful story of the couples day. My work consists of creative reportage, documenting moments as they happen in a creative way.