Today we are back with our regular feature ‘Advice from the Married Side,‘ real life wedding planning...
Today’s wedding is the last real wedding of the week, as we get ready for the Easter break, so I made sure it was a good one for you. It was actually sent into me by their Wedding Planner ByChenai and it’s clear from their feedback that Chenai did a wonderful job helping Laura and Mike put this wedding together. Laura and Mike both now live in London but Mike is originally from Wales so it was important to him to retrurn to his roots for his wedding. They chose a gorgeous farm venue which meant they could make their celebrations last the whole weekend, with friends and family right on site with them. The results are a super chilled out, rustic wedding day, with a humanist ceremony in a tipi followed by a gorgeous reception filled with loose, wild flowers and gorgeous decoration. Big thanks to Tom Weller for the images.
Laura and Mike were married on 15th July 2017 at FForest Farm in Wales. ‘My first response was to look for a low key venue close to our home in London, But Mike wanted to be out of town. He’s Welsh and I had seen the venue as a campsite and tried to stay a couple of times but it was always booked up. When I realised it was also a wedding venue it explained it’s popularity and it was booked out for about 18 months. I contacted them and there was a cancellation in July which we leapt on – and then the fun began. We had 135 guests and it took just 6 months to plan.’
How they met
We met partly through mutual friends – Michelle who I’ve known since I was 3 said I must meet her Husbands friend. Months passed and it was a drawing which prompted me to get in touch, (we’re both Illustrators) followed by a flourish of messages over three months or so before our first date which was … 4 years ago.
It was a Wednesday night in early December Mike offered to cook, I was so unsuspecting so continued with e-mails and tucked into a glass of wine. When he shouted dinner was ready I walked into the living room filled with house plants and candles and was like ‘holy shit! this is more than just dinner’ He hung the ring from a little branch on the Bonzai tree and got down on one knee – we got through the first glass of champagne very quickly as it felt totally surreal!
How did you allocate your budget?
We were fairly fixed for options like catering etc with the venue so once we acclimatised to the price of that there were the extras like flowers, Chenai my planner was instrumental and through her keeping costs down we were able to add things like videographer at the last minute with spare budget.
Where did you splurge and where did you save?
Venue was the biggie and making sure that we weren’t frugal with the champagne. We saved on not having a wedding cake & any costs associated with the traditional bridal troup.
How did you choose your photographer?
A friend recommended someone, who recommended a fellow photographer.
Dress – Several options but a last minute steal by BCBG MaxAzria from a pop up sale in Notting Hill was what I wore on the day. Shoes were a last minute from Office – rose gold block heel sandals. Flower Crown by Jill at Green & Wild
Mike wore a Welsh tartan kilt and waistcoat.
Theme or colour scheme
The venue was rustic and rural so that leant to a natural green foliage.
Small jars of in season flowers along the banquet tables , foliage hanging from the ceiling in the banquet room.
The banquet tables were lined with flowers & foliage, brass candlesticks and tall candlesticks. Small jars of flowers lined the aisle in the tipi where we had our humanist ceremony with big bouquets forming an arch on the inside. FForest is so rich in natural beauty, so Chenai only planned decor when we were indoors and where the space called for it.
We had BBQ chickens, tons of salads, freshly prepared vegetables all shared on big banquet tables. Chocolate pots with biscotti and Chocalate avocado mousse for my Vegan/non dairy guests who loved it!
No cake – lots of cheese that I didn’t get round to tasting and I’m still feeling like I missed out as everyone said it was amazing.
A Band, Velvet Soul for the evening who Dj’d between sets, the local Rugby Club Choir sang Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Everywhere’ as I walked down the aisle. A couple of friends brought along guitars & ukuleles and they played as people moved from the ceremony through to the banqueting space for dinner.
Who supplied the stationery?
We designed it ourselves
Or things that you did yourself? We made a sign, the table plan, place name settings as well as the stationary.
I was waiting to walk down for the ceremony and one of my friends saw the time in my car and screamed I was late, but the clock was wrong and so my Dad and I had about 10 minutes standing in a tree lined track waiting to be waived down which was really peaceful and lovely. Nothing beats looking across a huge room full of people you love, drinking, eating and laughing.
Advice for other couples
A thousand times a wedding planner, even on the day if you don’t have budget. No one came to me with issues (and there naturally were a few) I had fun with the breaks off knowing everything was under control and if anything went wrong that we would find an alternative.
I have to be honest here – I left a lot of the details to Chenai so there were tons of little delights rather than a major surprise. Treats the night before from the Marshmallowist, the florals, the banquet room all laid out and Sophie Hulme gold whistle charms on my place setting and those of my best girls.