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Well hello Friday and how is everyone today? Are you excited for the weekend? I certainly am! My mum is coming up this weekend, all the way from Cornwall to see Dexter. It’s been a few months since she saw him last so it will be lovely for her to catch up with us all and spend some time with us as a family. I hope you have a fab weekend what ever you have planned. Before we sign off for the weekend I have this rather wonderful forest festival wedding, courtesy of Andy Li Photography. It’s an amazing wedding which makes wonderful use of the forest surroundings by holding a hand fasting ceremony in the clearing. This is followed by a tipi reception and what an amazing day it is. Filled with Moss, burlap, and so many amazing DIY projects, most of them carried out by the groom! It really is a wedding where the couple made the day their own and went against tradition. Happy Friday everyone, enjoy!
Ruth and Ian were married on 30th of August 2014 at Cannock Chase Forest, hand fasting and tipi reception. The official documents were signed at Cannock registry office. I originally came from Cannock and grew up playing in the woods, family picnics in the woods and when dating, we spent many sunny days on Cannock chase and decided that this would be the perfect backdrop to our love story. 120 family and friends attended in total. It took just under a year to plan with the help of Bob and his amazing team at woodland weddings.
How they met
Although we grew up only 7 miles apart, we met in Ireland whilst on tour with a theatre company. We have been together for 13 years
Verona, home of Romeo and Juliet, yes they existed, there is little evidence of their love affair and even less of their families rivalry. But picture this….
At Juliet’s house there is a balcony as you would expect, in her court yard thousands of visitors over the years have left declarations of love scrawled on the walls, letters stick to the walls with chewing gum asking for her help in love. A gate which is laden with padlocks with more declarations of love.
I moved Ruths’ attention to a padlock locked to the gate which actually had “Ian and Ruth” engraved on it, the key still inside. I asked her to read the other side, She read the words “Will you marry me?”.
“take the key and make your choice” I said, holding 2 other padlocks, one engraved with “Yes” and one engraved with “No”, the “yes” padlock had the ring locked to it.
She took the key and unlocked the “Yes” padlock and I slipped the ring onto her finger.
If that wasn’t beautiful enough, a tourist named Julia (or maybe even Juliet!) approached us and said that she had managed to catch the moment on camera and had taken a few shots as I had proposed! “would you like me to email them to you” she said!
How did you allocate your budget
We figured if we spent the lion share of the budget on location then it would be already decorated and someone like Bob to help our dream day come true.
We wanted the day to be about everyone sharing a magical moment in the forest so ensuring great food, fabulous setting and amazing atmosphere was more important than an expensive designer dress and we made by hand, everything we possibly could to give the day a personal and individual touch.
How did you choose your photographer
We viewed many photographers websites, and were surprised by the emotion they hadn’t managed to capture. Then we came across Andy Li and we saw something of ourselves in the images on his website and once we spoke, we knew we’d found the one. On the day it was like having a friend rather than a photographer.
No idea! Never been a girl to care about designer labels. Shoe nightmare, because of the forest, heels just wouldn’t work. New look wedges and Primark white wellies! You can’t conga through the forest in an expensive pair of jimmy choos. A gypsophila crown fashioned and created by Mr Walker himself, A bouquet of paper roses made from the pages of Romeo and Juliet, once again made by Mr Walker.
The Suit and Bridesmaids
Ian “ I’ve only wore a suit once in my life and that was for a funeral. A moleskin waistcoat, a linen shirt, Chinos and a pair of Clarkes boots, high street all the way. I bought the best men the same minus the waistcoat”
Bridesmaids were an issue due to 2 bridesmaids becoming pregnant. They were allowed to choose their own. The only specification was pastel colours. If they were happy then so was I. Bridesmaids’ bouquets and best mens’ (6 of them) buttonholes made from dried wheat and flowers by Mr Walker himself (I think you’re getting the idea)
Theme or Colour Scheme
A Magical Forest Festival / nature. Moss, burlap, lavender, wheat
A mixture of what Aldi had available, (“a rose by any other name would still smell as sweet” :o)) and a neighbours hydrangea bush. One of the bridesmaids had floristry skills so we put them to good use. Moss gathered from the forest 3 weeks before, painstakingly washed and dried!
Anything we could make at home, we made…
-Signs with quotes
-Hanging candle bottles (boy we had to drink so much wine!)
-Frosted jam jars with candles
-Log table decorations
-Blackboard place decorations (with the word love in different languages)
-Restored typewriter (found in dads attic)
-Books folded so the pages spelled the date and “Mr & Mrs” (never again)
-120 paper roses as name places and favours (seriously, never again!)
-Burlap, twig, and paper table plan
-Burlap table runners
I think the only things we didn’t make were a Moroccan lantern donated by a friend, a silver candelabra, the archway for the hand fasting and a chandelier suspended from the aisle of trees.
Cake (not the wedding cake, just CAKE) is very important to us and our major priority was everyone having enough food. Lovely vintage tea ladies serving cake and tea, cake bake off, hot buffet and the finale hogroast. Oh and of course, bacon sandwiches in the morning as many camped overnight.
Getting Ian’s twin brother drunk on red wine and persuading him to make a wedding cake with a difference as we don’t actually like wedding cake. His instructions were “Think forest” Also my sister had a surprise wedding cake made because she didn’t think we’d have one!
2 wedding cakes, 10 bake off cakes, cupcakes and the tea and cake ladies, the theme should have been cake!
Playlist in the day selected by me (because Ian was too busy making things) and a live band “the copicats” in the evening with a D.J for the party crowd.
Buy or DIY your Stationery
Handmade invitations and Ian designed a website for all the updates.
Personal or Handmade Touches
We saw a sort of aisle in the trees that led to a clearing and Bob from “Woodland Weddings” agreed to clear the swamp so we could have the hand fasting there.
For DIY see above
Walking down the aisle of trees with my dad, and him looking so proud. He always wanted me to have a traditional wedding in a church but suddenly saw the beauty of what we had been discussing for 12 months. My dads’ speech, sitting round the campfire toasting marshmallows with family and friends, in what seemed like our own forest, doing the conga through the trees, our first dance to “Grew on me” by Tim Minchin, the family lighting candles around the special remembrance tree for Ians’ mom and having Dusty our campervan there to share the day (we hired him a girlfriend to bring the bride and bridesmaids) there were so many special moments but most importantly, sharing our love with our nearest and dearest.
Advice to other couples
Be true to who you are, do what you both want, even if it means breaking rules. I was constantly told “well brides should be doing this and that” or “why haven’t you done this?” , “you can’t have 6 best men” “bridesmaids choosing their own dresses??” but when guests turn around and say they have never felt so much love at such a beautiful wedding, then we must have done something right. Oh and get yourself a creative fiancée as he did most of the work!