Rachel and Ryan’s ‘Sunflowers and Beat Boxers’ Fun Filled Tipi Wedding in Hertfordshire by Nicki Shea Photography
Today I am taking you to Hertfordshire for a gorgeous wedding that happened last summer. Rachel...
Today I have another gorgeous wedding for you courtesy of Cat from Wild Connections Photography. Alice and Dom, originally from the UK found themselves living in Austria at the time of their wedding (they have since moved back to the UK) so decided that it was the perfect place to get married. They made the day as personal and as cost-effective as possible by creating a lot of the decoration themselves and by enlisting the help of lots of their friends and family. The whole day is a true reflection of them as a couple, full of personality and the most gorgeous little details. Surrounded by the ones they love in a country that holds a dear place in their heart.
Alice and Dom were married on 1st September 2018 at Grander Schupf, St Johann in Tirol, Austria. ‘We were living in St Johann at the time and had been for a while, our son Alfred had been born there in 2016 and it was home. The Grander Schupf was the first mountain hut Dom took me to when I visited him in Austria many moons ago as I remember it he took me there to get me good and drunk, romance. The Grander Schupf is an epic venue outside and inside, it’s a lovely private venue and it has sentimental value to both of us. The setting for many good apres ski days and a great hiking stop in Summer. We had 80 guests altogether including children, we invited children to the whole day and it was brilliant to have them there. We organised a lot of details the summer we got engaged in 2017 and finished off the details in Summer 2018. A year roughly, a relaxed year!’
How they met
Dom and I met when we were teenagers working behind the bar in our local pub, The Red Lion, in Alvechurch. We were friends for years and despite spending the next decade in different countries we kept in touch and started dating seriously in 2013 (just before I left to travel around Brazil for 3 months!) In Autumn 2014 I moved to St Johann in Austria to live with Dom. A beautiful town where we spent 4 happy years skiing, hiking and living the good life in the mountains. In 2016 our little boy, Alfred was born and life got even better, and louder.
Dom proposed to me on my 32nd Birthday. He popped the question thoughtfully, privately and so sweetly just after we woke up and I said yes. I was absolutely delighted after giving up all hope of a proposal several years previously.
How did you allocate your budget?
Getting married in Austria is certainly cheaper than in the UK, our budget was €10,000 and we didn’t hit this.
Where did you splurge and where did you save?
Splurge: The biggest chunk of money was food and drink, our venue was (incredibly) free if we hit a certain minimum spend on food and drink, to do this we said free drinks all day through to dinner where we provided wine. This was a big chunk but so good to spend the money on family and friends relaxing and enjoying good drinks and food.
We spent a bit of money on a brilliant Band called The Boots who we knew from Zell am See.
We also spent a little more than we had budgeted for on a photographer, this was the best money we spent and worth every penny.
Save: We saved on a lot of details by just taking a more relaxed approach, my dress was under £200, my shoes were 2nd hand on ebay for £10, I did my own makeup and my bridesmaids were amazing and did their own hair and makeup on the day too. Our best man wore the suit he loves from his own wedding, and we matched the shirts, waistcoats and button holes rather than the suits themselves, this also added to the more relaxed vibe of the day.
Our friend Cara offered to make the cake for us as our wedding gift, we handmade and wrote all the blackboards, seating plans, etc. I made lavender candles as wedding favours for my guests using old baby food jars, homemade wax and glass pens to decorate.
Instead of spending on fresh flowers we chose to order dried flowers, we bought 5 bouquets and 5 hair pieces for myself and the girls then 2 button holes for Dom and our best man, Joel. They made a third, smaller button hole for my little boy Alf, for free. This was a total spend of £300.
We chose to decorate the rest of the venue ourselves with bunting and large helium balloons rather than flowers, this worked beautifully and was fairly understated. Our venue was beautiful anyway, we were lucky that we didn’t need to do much. My Mum also put a lot of photos of Dom and I up in the venue as a surprise on the day.
How did you choose your photographer?
I had a lot of opinions on this one and Dom will admit he eventually told me to go for what I thought was best. I googled wedding photographers in Tirol and came across Cat’s website Wild Connections Photography. A quick scroll through her work later and I knew I’d found our photographer. The ethos of documentary photography on your wedding day rather than a lot of formal and posed shots really appealed to me and once we had a chat with Cat we booked her straight away.
My friend Emily helped me by sending me links to some designs she felt were more ‘me online, she was brilliant. My dress was actually marketed as a bridesmaids dress, its from a British brand called Needle & Thread. I ordered the dress online and tried it on in my living room, I then took it to a tailor in the village where I grew up in Alvechurch, her name was Danielle and her company is Foster & Bloom, she took the dress up (about a foot!), upgraded the ribbon, padding and straps as well as adding some thoughtful details to make it my wedding dress. She was wonderful.
The suit and bridesmaids
Dom’s suit was one of the hundreds we tried on in Salzburg one day, no idea what brand! The little trumpet pin he wore with it was a wedding gift from me and was hand made by a man in Wales.
Bridesmaids dresses were ASOS, Maya.
Dried flowers: Hydrangeas, Eucalyptus, Enchinops (Globe Thistles), Purple Sea Lavender, Lavender, Nigella Seed Pods, Dumosa and Ivory Larkspur.
Reception: Aperol Spritz and Hugo cocktails with mini cordon bleu, mini wurstel and mini jause selection aperitivos.
Dinner: Three dumpling soup, Tiroler Grostl & Kasespatzl for main in big sharing platters and Apple Strudl for dessert.
Our friend Cara made the three tier wedding cake, it was Lemon, Salted Caramel and Madeira and decorated with naked icing and dried lavender.
An amazing band called ‘The Boots’ from Zell am See
Who supplied the stationery
We created a wedding website and save the dates and invites were all sent online via email with a link to the website which included loads of info on places to stay, visit, flights, etc. This saved us a bit of money but took a long time to make. It was better for the planet though and easier for people to refer back to, especially the large number of people travelling from the UK.
We run our own little business called Walks with Alf where we make personalised woodwork gifts like flower presses and picture frames, we were able to make a lot of the decoration ourself including the framed blackboards and seating plans.
Dom caved and requested we have a 1st dance at the last minute, I got 1 minute of Norweigan Wood before our band broke into ‘King of the Swingers’ and everyone joined in. Disney joy. Thanks Dom.
Trying to get some serious photos in the couple shoot after the ceremony, “sniff her ear”! Having that time together just the two of us for an hour was really nice though because the day really does go too fast.
I arrived a bit early to make sure everything would start on time (Dom is incredible sensitive to people being on time for things), this meant most people had been to the bar and had a pint or a prosecco with them during our ceremony which I loved and kept it really nice and informal, the kids were able to run and play during the ceremony too.
Advice for other couples
Listen to each other and be happy to compromise where you can. You both need to be happy and feel yourselves to have the best day, its about who you are and that you love each other. Tell your story not anyone elses, pick your details to celebrate and try not to waste time or money on the other stuff. The flowers wilt and the balloons burst but your memories will last forever.
Oh, and also, it REALLY doesn’t matter if it rains. Dance in the drizzle.
We had planned to have the ceremony behind the venue in the woods, on the day the weather was very overcast and drizzly so the team at the Grander Schupf suggested we have the ceremony outside on their terrace under a little partial roof. This worked better than I could have imagined and the weather also meant that everyone naturally migrated inside during the reception before dinner which was more intimate and cosy than the huge terrace would have been. It was the best day of our lives, not least because everywhere we looked all day we saw smiles and laughter and the people we loved enjoying themselves.
We have since left Austria and moved back to the UK, our wedding day was the perfect way to say goodbye to a county we both love so much, and where a little piece of our hearts will always remain.
Cat is British adventure wedding & elopement photographer living in the heart of the Austrian Alps. She loves accompanying adventure loving couples to beautiful and wild locations across Europe, capturing their story in an honest and authentic way.