When you think of a festival wedding, you may automatically fast forward to summer, outdoor...
Today I have an absolute delight of a wedding, as we head over to Essex for this Havana Nights themed woodland wedding. Debbie and Benjamin planned a wedding full of colour, bright patterns and lots and lots of paper lanterns. From their beautiful outdoor woodland ceremony, to their bright and beautiful colour filled barn reception, the whole day is bursting with personality and amazing decoration. Their guests followed in the Havana Nights theme and all dressed in bright coloured shirts and dresses, reflecting the cheerful, laughter filled mood of the day. I just love everything about this wedding, it is so full of energy and amazing photography from Bart at Miracle Moments.
Debbie and Benjamin were married on 21st July 2018 at Captains Wood Barn, Great Totham in Essex. ‘It was the only venue we looked at, we wanted to be outside as much as possible & it was close to Deb’s hometown. We had 150 guests, we really got down to business about 9 months out.’
How they met
We met through CrossFit, Ben competed alongside Deb’s brother in the UK and Europe – and he introduced us.
A total surprise on a bright afternoon on the balcony of the Soho House hotel in London. (2 days before Ben moved away from home for 8 months to train for the CrossFit Games!)
How did you allocate your budget?
Where did you splurge and where did you save?
We didn’t hold back on the food & entertainment. Deb did all of the styling and design including things like invitations, all stationary & the seating plan board – which allowed us to save a bit.
How did you choose your photographer?
We found Bart online, he offered us a trial shoot & we got along straight away. We still can’t thank him enough for capturing the day so beautifully.
The dress was Sabina Mottasem (from Heart a Flutter Bridal Boutique, Hackney). I made the flower crown with the help of my mum and the bridesmaids. My necklace is one I wear everyday (a birthday present from Ben) and the earrings were really special (sapphires surrounded by diamonds) – a gift from my Mother-in-Law, Katie, just before the wedding – they belonged to her grandmother.
The suit and bridesmaids
The suit was a Seersucker from Richard James of Saville Row, with a floral shirt by Gitman Bros Vintage, shoes by Trickers. The bridesmaids dresses were from SilkFred (!) we had to accommodate 2 bumps (now 2 gorgeous babies!) So the wrap style was perfect.
Theme or colour scheme
Havana Nights was our theme. The colour scheme was as much colour as possible!
You’d have to ask the florist, I gave her free reign as she’s fantastic…. They were beautiful and bright and the bouquets included succulents.
LOTS of colourful lanterns which we recruited the wedding party to set up on the Friday (team building at it’s best…) and the florist took care of making the tables and the inside of the barn look like a tropical paradise! The owner of the venue also kindly donated 3 massive hearts made from a willow tree in their garden which we adorned with more brightly coloured flowers.
BBQ for the ‘wedding breakfast’ – and then we had a Taco Truck for the evening meal – it was superb.
2 tiers of lemon with buttercream and 1 of chocolate. It didn’t last past the brunch we hosted the following day.
We had a Ceilidh. All of our friends and family are enthusiastic dancers (no wallflowers to be found…) so it fitted perfectly. And everyone got involved. We had to remove several tables from the barn to make room for all the shapes being thrown.
Who supplied the stationery?
Deb designed all of the stationary.
We wrote our own ceremony which our friend Cam conducted, and edited our own vows which was really special.
Debs mum provided many of the plants to decorate the ceremony area – it was stunning.
The wedding party helped put up a crazy amount of paper lanterns the day before the wedding which really completed the whole look!
Ben – watching all the guests arrive into the forest clearing for the ceremony. Turning around to see Deb. The tractor rides that venue owner Bob took our guests on throughout the evening.
Deb – We did a sing-a-long (Elvis – I can’t help falling in love) to get everyone warmed up for the ceremony, it was lovely hearing everyone sing together in the wood. Also, giving my speech, it was the thing I was most nervous about but I was so glad to be able to say a few words to everyone. And the mojitos!
Advice for other couples
Do it how you want, it’s your day. There are hundreds of lists/recommendations/templates for a wedding day – but they’re just for inspo – make your own day.
Build good relationships with your suppliers – don’t be a diva.
Prepare as best you can but when the day comes, just roll with it.
How fast it went.. and that no one could stop crying!
As you might figure it out I am wedding photographer based in London but I do work world wide. Been shooting in Italy, Spain, Sweden, Poland and can’t wait for more. I am addicted to spicy food and crazy couples. I am in love with people who want to celebrate their big day in their own way. I believe that great connection between couple and photographer is a prefect recipe for an amazing wedding photos. That’s why I ALWAYS speak/meet with my couples and discuss all the details regarding their needs and the day. Describing my style is quite difficult because I fit to my couples but if you ask me what I look at the weddings, are the emotions, real, natural, expressive! They describe everything. I can’t be more happy doing what I doing now