Yes, it’s the middle of the week already! That’s the marvelous thing about a bank...
Happy Monday everyone, I hope you all had a great weekend? Did you manage to enjoy any of the glorious sunshine we have been having? Doesn’t a good dose of sunshine make you feel SO much better! Such a welcome return, and it came in perfect timing for half term! This weekend has been very exciting in our household as yesterday we went to meet our new kitten. She isn’t ready for us to take home just yet, we will be doing that in a couple of weeks time, so yesterday we went and met her for the first time and I have to say we are all completely smitten! So excited to bring her home properly.
Moving on with today’s wedding and I have a real treat for you. An abundance of colour and rustic fun with this gorgeous tipi wedding from Florence Fox . Emily and Johan wanted a wedding they could really put their own stamp on, so they chose a tipi reception and filled it with a huge array of beautiful bright flowers all grown by their beloved granddad. It’s so good to see a wedding with so much colour. The picnic wedding breakfast looks delicious and the whole day looks like a huge amount of fun.
Emily and Johan were married on 25th August 2018. The ceremony was held at Old Downton Lodge near Ludlow in Shropshire and we had a tipi reception in Emily’s Uncle’s field in Brimfield, also near Ludlow. ‘Old Downton Lodge is somewhere Johan knew, as it was just over the hill from where he grew up in Leintwardine. We knew we didn’t want a church wedding, nor a wedding too far away from family which are primarily based in Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Shropshire. For the reception, we looked at quite a few venues until we eventually settled on wanting a tipi reception – Johan’s idea! The issue with other ‘ready-made’ venues was their need to have certain things done their way, which made it seem very impersonal. With the tipis, we could have them exactly how we wanted. We considered many tipi companies, and Tipi Unique came out on top in terms of what they provided. We had around 150 guests. 60 at the ceremony, then everyone else at the tipis ready for the arrival of the bride and groom for the wedding breakfast. We spent probably around a year seriously planning. We got engaged in February 2017, and started looking at venues at the start of the summer that year.’
How they met
We met at Hereford Sixth Form College, when we were 16. We spent the first year of college in the same friend group and eventually got to know each other in the second year! We’ve been together since 29th April 2010, so nearly 9 years now. Our first kiss was on a bouncy castle!
The proposal: (Johan’s view)
So I had been thinking about proposing for quite some time, but it was my friend Dom in the lab that I worked in (Johan was doing a PhD at Oxford in Structural Biology), that actually made me buy a ring.
It was February, so generally the worst possible weather that you could think of. I had planned to propose at the top of Cadair Idris, a mountain in Snowdonia. We are both keen walkers and love the mountains. The weather forecast showed that it was actually going to be fairly warm and clear up until 10-11am, so we were up and at the base of the mountain at 6am. We got up the mountain in good time, except about three quarters of the way up, the clouds descended, the wind picked up and the temperature dropped to about freezing. At the very very top, we could barely see a few metres infront of us. Eventually the clouds cleared, the sun came out to reveal a beautifully sunny day and we could see the whole ridge we walked across. I made us stop so that I could take off my coat and stick it in my backpack, sneakily already down on one knee. I then said that I had something in my bag for you (Em edit: he said he had something in his bag for me, and all I could think of was “I hope its chocolate!”), pulled out the ring box and popped the question!
We spent like an hour or two at the bottom by a little lake, Em admiring her ring and still in shock! The weather ended up amazingly warm. The drive back from the mountain was great, calling all of our mums and dads! Both our families gathered at Em’s grandparents for a celebration that evening.
How did you allocate your budget?
It was mostly just trying to figure out how much things were going to cost and if we could afford it. Emily’s parents paid for the tipis and we paid for the rest. We didn’t really have a set budget, we knew what we wanted the day to be and with parents paying for tipis we split the rest between us.
Where did you splurge and where did you save?
I think our biggest splurge was on the tipis as they provided a great reception venue. We probably saved the most on catering, as we had a picnic basket-wedding breakfast, full of the our favourite picnic foods and trying to source as many items as locally as possible. It meant we could have everything we wanted, how we wanted it. Friends and family helped us to decorate and having lots of hands with different skill sets was incredible.
Spending a tiny bit extra with Florence to get an extra photographer was great, and meant that we got such a huge range of photos from both of the getting ready parties in the morning. They were both pretty much invisible the whole time, I don’t actually know how they managed to get all the shots they did because we barely noticed them! We also had a ‘snap and chat’ session with her on Long Mynd, and those photos are some of our favourites.
How did you choose your photographer?
We chose our photographer whilst sat in an isolated little cabin called Crooks barn in the middle of the Lake District, halfway up Helvelyn which is Em’s favourite to climb. We had a look at a load of different photographers from our area until we figured out who’s style we liked the best, and eventually settled on Florence. It was her candid, unposed for photos we loved. Lots of colour, and really capturing the emotion in every frame. We knew we had to have her!
Wedding dress – Stella York. Evening dress – ASOS. Shoes were Dune ‘Head over Heels’ for the wedding, gold Toms for the evening
Suit and bridesmaids
Bridesmaids were Monsoon. The suit (and the groomsmen’s suits) were actually all 3 piece suits bought from Burton, and it worked out cheaper than renting a lot of suits. We wanted yellow tie for Johan and and Dads (M&S) and bow ties from Mrs Bow Tie. The kids bow ties were Amazon.
We had a live band (quite folky) called Redmadog, featuring the best man Alex’s Dad and a few friends. They learnt and performed a version of Ed Sheeran’s “Hearts don’t break around here” for our first dance and then everyone joined us on the dance floor for the rest of their set. We knew the band as they perform at the best man’s house every summer.
We then had a DJ set to play late into the night!
We also had a firepit with marshmallows and giant Jenga outside which my little brother Max loved. There was also a wishing tree which people could write a message for us on and hang it on the tree.
Theme or colour scheme
I think the original plan was to have a light grey and light blue theme, but it ended up getting lost. We ended up with every colour! Emily’s Grandad Pip grew most of the flowers, along with many flowers collected from Emily’s old neighbours Jocelyn and Alan, so these flowers provided most of the colour.
We had a huge range of flowers provided by Em’s Grandad’s garden, some family friends and from our florist. Gypsophila featured everywhere because we both really liked it. Grandad was in hospital in June for many weeks and it was very touch and go. But all Grandad cared about were the flowers! Ensuring they were being watered through the very hot summer and making sure the dahlias were dead headed. We had to report back to him on the flowers on every visit.
I think the main thing was fairy lights and flowers absolutely everywhere! At Old Downton Lodge, the venue was great enough as it, so all we did was add ribbons to chairs, hung wooden hearts from the rafters and added lots of fairy lights and candles to all of the flowers provided. The tipis at the reception were also decorated with fairy lights everywhere. We had “walls” of hundreds of photographs with us, tons of hanging decorations, and more flowers. Johan also made hundreds of paper origami cranes which hung over the bar, which was an absolute highlight and labour of love.
Canapés at the ceremony were incredible, but the real feast was at the tipis.
We wanted to do a picnic basket per table to keep with our rustic theme. Each table was named after a mountain we had climbed. The baskets meant we also didn’t have to do a 3 course traditional meal, and we could put anything we wanted inside the baskets! We had local breads, cheeses including Hereford hop, Shropshire blue, Applewood smoked and a scrumpy apple cheddar. We also had my favourite chutneys, pork pies, AMAZING scotch eggs. We also had grapes, crudites, Tyrells etc. Johan’s dad also made wine for the wedding, which our friends christened ‘danger wine’ because of how strong it was! There was gooseberry, rhubarb, apple and blackberry wine etc.
In the evening, we had a hog roast with a pig from Tudges butchers. Joe did our amazing hog roast as well as incredible salads.
Our wedding cake and cake table was done by the amazing Martha at Send Cake. Everyone raved about her cakes and in the morning took goodie bags of cake home with them! We had rocky road, brownies, scones with cream and jam, peanut butter cookie bars and mint chocolate shortbread.
It was difficult with talking to everyone to try the evening rood, but in the next morning (lots of people camped over) where we were able to just eat and eat (tons of cake) for breakfast. We also had a breakfast BBQ the next day with Tudge’s sausages and bacon baps cooked by my step dad and our family friend Shaun.
A three-tiered naked wedding cake made by Martha (Send Cake). We had a large chocolate layer on the bottom, a layer of Victoria sandwich and lemon on top. Flowers and berries decorated the cake with a ‘Mr and Mrs Hill’ cut out on top
Who supplied the stationery?
Emily designed the save the dates and invitations herself, printed at her mums work.
Johan spent quite a few train commutes folding hundreds of origami cranes which were eventually threaded together and hung from the beams of the tipi over the bar. It looked incredible and a few guests took some down to hang at their homes.
The majority of the flowers were grown by Em’s grandad and one of her Mum’s best friends in their gardens, so that was a great personal touch!
The picnic baskets were chosen by us over a fair few weekends trying out tons of the best local produce.
The bar (well the gin bar especially) was Em’s crowning glory – a huge selection of gins served really fancily that she put together for ‘Emily’s Gin Parlour’
We had blankets for when it got cold in the evening and flip flops for when feet got tired or a couple pairs of high heels broke!
We had rows of photos put up between the beams in the tipis of photos of us growing up.
We made some signposts for outside, pointing to the places that mattered to us e.g. Shrewsbury, Hereford, Oxford, Warwick. We also made our own order of the day using a pallet which our friend Sarah painted, as well as our table plan with the different mountains as table names all done in gold card, covered in ivy and fairy lights.
I think the list could go on, we both put a lot of effort into the day and had a lot of input into quite a lot of different bits.
Johan: One of the special moments for me was: waiting at the end of the aisle with the groomsmen. We were all joking and chatting and everything, but as soon as the music came on, I just started tearing up straight away, and couldn’t do anything about it!
Other favourite moment was arriving at the tipis and getting out of the car together with the huge crowd waiting just for us! They threw confetti from Shropshire petals all over us.
Emily: My favourite moment was walking down the aisle and seeing Johan for the first time – him crying made me cry! Another highlight was sitting around the firepit at 3am with all my closest friends, laughing and drinking together. Since finishing uni, everyone are in different parts of the country so it’s a rare and special moment for us all to be together.
Advice for other couples
Plan things earlier than you expect. Wedding venue, reception, dress, food might all get sorted fairly early on. So many things come up as needing to be done in the last few weeks, so if you’ve got some of that organised beforehand, that helps you so much. Also, the more hands the better the day before with decorating etc, so rope as many people you can into helping! People love to feel as though they’ve been involved in making your special day even more special.
Kind of not answering the question, but the biggest surprise was actually the next morning. We camped over in a “luxury tipi” and lots of people camped with us. Then at 7:45am the next morning, we were woken up by the blaring of bagpipes – he went on for around 15 minutes and so much louder than I thought it would be! It turns out it was a “wedding present” from the best friend of Em’s step dad.
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