Anne and Sarah-Jane’s Relaxed, Fun and Elegant Outdoor Dorset Wedding by Stuart Dudleston Photography

Happy Monday everyone and welcome to another wonderful wedding filled week on the blog. How was your weekend? I do hope you had a good one? Today I am off for the day with my boy, we are heading to Matlock to make the most of this glorious weather, meet up with some friends and have a lovely day out together! I am really enjoying the summer holidays so far! Today on the blog we are welcoming Anne and Sarah-Jane who got married in Dorset this June. They had an intimate day with just 35 guests, with a stunning outdoor ceremony in the most beautiful of settings, followed by a big old party with 100 guests. The whole day is relaxed, fun-filled and full of beautiful details, all captured perfectly by Stuart Dudleston Photography.

We kept reminding ourselves that the most important aspect of the day was actually getting married, surrounded by our very closest friends and family. The style of the day was relaxed, fun, elegant, natural, making the most of the outdoor space. 

Anne and Sarah-Jane were married on 23rd June 2018 at Springhead, Dorset. ‘We love the outdoors and beautiful Dorset Countryside. We stumbled across Springhead by chance when driving through the village some years ago, which must have been fate. It was everything we could have wanted in a venue. Close to our home, remote, licence for outdoor weddings under the stunning Italian Rotunda, set on the lakeside in beautiful gardens. The venue is hired out for the entire weekend as a blank canvas, which allowed us to custom build our dream wedding in the most beautiful setting. We had an
Intimate wedding ceremony with 35 guests and an evening reception of 100. It took a year to plan, we married exactly one year to the day from Anne’s proposal.

How they met 
We were friends for a number of years before love blossomed four years ago.

The proposal
As a couple we have somewhere that we consider is “our spot”. This is a huge oak tree in the middle of a remote field in Shapwick – Dorset. Anne took me for a surprise picnic. When we arrived there was a picnic laid out with champagne and roses. The tree had been beautifully decorated with hanging hearts, bunting and a wrapped around the tree was a banner saying “will you marry me”.

How did you allocate your budget?
We prioritised what was most important to us on the day and in creating memories. The venue was a real find. The cost for the weekend is incredibly reasonable, which left plenty in the budget to cherry pick the suppliers and items we really wanted. Venue, photographer, dresses, caterer were top of our hit list and where we spent most of our budget. We kept the cost of the day down by only inviting our closest friends and family to the day, and then have a party in the evening with a paid bar. We ensured that there was still plenty of things laid on for the evening guests so they still felt valued and important to us as a couple.

Where did you splurge and where did you save?
We knew that our dresses and the photos were the things we would treasure over the years. It was important for us that we found the right dresses and photographer without compromise. Splurged on a White Bouncy Castle (worth it though!).
By securing our suppliers as early as possible, and offering to make final payments early, we often found that we were offered a discount. We manged to save some money on dresses by going to Bridal Reloved in Dorchester, picking up two designer dresses at a greatly reduced price. Gumtree and Facebook were great for picking up items that had been used by other couples at a fraction of the cost. This allowed us to have money spare to really add some personal items and touches ourselves. We decided to be strategic with florals. We loved the idea of bringing the outdoors indoors, so much of our floral budget went of running greenery and flowers down the centre of feasting tables. We decided to
forgo bridal and bridesmaids bouquets, as it’s a big spend and items we would hold for only minutes of the day.

How did you choose your photographer?
We came across Stuart on facebook. He put a post out asking if anyone fancied a free engagement shoot. We jumped at the chance. We communicated a little online, and immediately hit it off. We set up
the engagement shoot in Wareham Forest. I had assumed that we might take a dozen or so shots and that would be that. We spent three hours in the forest with Stuart and Han working their magic. It was incredibly relaxed with nothing directed or posed. After about an hour Stuart showed us a couple of shots he had taken using a prism, and that was it, we were sold. We were blown away with the photos from the shoot, and knew he was man to capture our day. Photos were hugely important to us, and knew we’d struck gold with Stuart. It’s the images your photographer will capture that will stay with you the rest of your lives together.

The dresses 
Our dresses came from Bridal Reloved in Dorchester. We dress shopped and had all our fittings together, which for the shop was something a little different to be dressing both parties in the couple. Our jewellery were personal pieces we had purchased for each other over the years.  Anne likes shoes, but loves a bargain even more. She picked up a pair a Jimmy Choo’s off Ebay and then added made some additions to the shoes to turn them into a one off pair. My shoes came from Bella Belle Shoes.

And bridesmaids
Anne’s daughter Lucy was our bridemaid. It was very special sharing all of the wedding planning and day with her.

Theme or colour scheme 
Soft, Natural, Elegant, Silver, Foliage.

Lots of greenery, eucalyptus and white roses. Sweetpea Florist did and incredible job.

The decorating was split between pieces ourselves and styling by Perfectly Pretty Weddings and Events. For us it was as important to dress the outdoor space as indoors. Lots of wicker hearts, draping, lanterns, jars with tea lights. We wanted the venue to be as beautiful when the sun went down, so really thought about different ways of lighting the outdoor space.

The catering was provided by Flaming Peaches. We have eaten with them at social suppers and loved the fun family style. Our menu was sharing boards for starters and mains, with dessert being served outside by Chilly Whites Ice cream, with guests able to pimp their own ice cream. Evening food was served from their Vinatge 1950’s Citroen HVan.

Wedding cake
Provided as a wedding gift from our sister in-Law, and made by Creative Cakes By Nicki. The cake was again something out of the norm, with a three tiers resembling tree logs with our initials and wedding date engraved. This was a again a nod to the outdoors and proposal.

Harry Stephens provided live music for the ceremony and drinks reception. Bouncy castle, garden games, sweet table, photo booth and disco kept the guests entertained.

Who supplied the stationery?
We made most of the items ourselves as Anne is very creative. We decided to create a wedding website with all the information for our guests rather than having to send a lot of stationery and answer questions multiple times.

  • Personal touches
    Directional signposts by Dorset Apple Crates
  • Personalised folded book designs
  • Personalised Aisle Runner
  • Decorated hundreds of jars to help light the outdoors
  • Sweet Table and bags
  • Favours of sunglasses, personalised flower seed packets, sixpence tags on napkins
  • Name place settings
  • Personalised ring box
  • Live wedding painter capturing the ceremony

Special moments
The moment holding hands, standing under the beautiful Italian stone rotunda about to take our vows, with our friends and family sat in front of and the sun shining. It really was a fairytale moment.
Fun times of the bouncy castle and seeing the change in photo booth photo’s throughout the night as the alcohol flowed!
Chasing a sunset photo with our photographer, we knocked on a nearby farmhouse in our wedding dresses to ask if we could use their field!

Advice for other couples 
Prioritise what aspects are most important to you as a couple. Unless money is no object there will have to be some compromises, so make sure it’s not on the areas that matter most to you. Book vendors as early as you can as dates go quickly. There are lots of couple out there who will sell expensive items on after their big day. You can get a real bargain keeping an eye on online selling sites. You don’t want to be stressed or bothered on your wedding day. Don’t forget to delegate and give contact details of your maid of honour/best man to suppliers.

Biggest surprise 
How quickly the day goes. Take times in the day to breath and take in what is happening. It goes by in a flash. I didn’t expect to get as emotional and nervous as I did during the ceremony, so make sure you have some good waterproof make-up.


Supplier Shout Outs

Venue – Springhead
Catering – Flaming Peaches
Flowers – Sweetpea Florist
Decorating – Perfectly Pretty Weddings & Events
Dresses – Bridal Reloved
Marquee and furniture – oakleaf marquees 
Bouncy Castle – white Bouncy castle company
Live Painting – Ben Hughes
Photo Booth – The photo lounge
Ice cream – chilly whites 
Cake – creative cakes by Nicki


For more information on Stuart Dudleston Photography go to

 www.stuartdudleston.com /  www.stuartdudleston.com/blog [email protected] / 07703 65 9235 / FACEBOOK / INSTAGRAM & INSTAGRAM

Documentary, filmic and a little bit edgy. I pride myself on keeping things natural, low-key and informal – capturing all of the natural intimacy whilst introducing edginess by the bucketload. Raw emotions, candid moments, epic backdrops and a banging dance floor is my jam.



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