Katie and Oli’s Autumn Wedding in West Sussex all Planned in 6 Weeks by Matt Ryle Photography 

Happy Days, it’s Friday! It’s been a long old week here at Boho HQ, It’s been super busy and I have a million things to do before I go on holiday in a weeks time. When we are away it’s Nik’s birthday and when we get back it’s Dexter’s birthday, so I feel like my list is never ending However it is the weekend, so all in the word is good! We are off to a surprise 50th birthday party tomorrow and then on Sunday we are off to my sister in laws for hopefully some alfresco dining if he weather is kind to us! What about you? any weddings to go to? On with today’s wedding and it’s the turn of Katie and Oli. When Katie’s dad was diagnosed with Cancer half way though their years travelling they quickly cut their trip short so they could come home and get married. They did an amazing job and managed to plan the day in just 6 weeks! They called in lots of favours and got help from friends and family, creating an autumnal day that they will remember forever. Big thanks to Matt Ryle Photography  for the photos.

Our Wedding was happy and full of love, joy, family and best friends. It was better than we had ever imagined – even mother nature was on our side with flowers still in bloom, a rare late November day of blue skies and a moon halo once the sun set. 

Katie and Oli were married on 25th November 2023 at Bignor Park, West Sussex. ‘We couldn’t have found a better suited place for us as a couple! Our main desire was to get married outside with our family present. We had been travelling in Asia for the past 6 months but had a sad call about my (Katie’s) Dad who had been diagnosed with cancer. Initially we had planned to get married in the summer of 2024, but with the change in circumstances, we immediately flew home from South East Asia to get married as soon as possible with our loved ones present. We called around the venues in West Sussex that were close by to where my Dad and our family live. We wanted somewhere that did both the reception and legal wedding ceremony in one place to save any travel and time. I cant be more thankful and grateful to the Bignor Park team – Louise, Ned and his family, housekeeper Sonia, groundskeepers and gardeners. We had 50 guests for the ceremony and 47 stayed for the reception and food, it took just 6 weeks to plan.’

How they met 
We met in Year 8 at secondary school when we were 12yrs old in 2003. We were in the same House. We have been friends ever since: I went to University to study then worked in London, and Oli stayed to work near home. We met up with our other two friends for weekends away and hikes. I (Katie) invited Oli to go for a beach swim in October 2021 after Lockdown, in my VW T25 campervan. Of course, she broke down and we spent 4 hours together on the roadside reading and chatting, waiting to be rescued. Something changed and after a trip to Sri Lanka together in March 2022, we leapt over the friend zone and it just worked. We have known each other for 11 years, got together 2 years ago in March 2022, got engaged in April 2023 after 1yr,1month, and got married in November 2023 after 1yr 8 months together.  

The proposal.
It was very magical. We were hiking the Manaslu circuit in Nepal- which is a 2 week trek at high altitude. We got to day 7 on 17/4/23, 3500m altitude in a little village called Shyala. It was our guides favourite place on the trek because it was the first place you hike high enough to see the snow capped mountain peaks – including Mount Manalsu – so we were very excited to get there! Our guide woke us up at dawn to watch the sunrise over the mountains. We went out puffy faced in our pyjamas, socks and sandals. The sun was an awesome coral pink orange on the snowy peaks with a 360 degree view of mountains. It was mesmerising and so quiet you could hear the glaciers creaking as they warmed. Our Australian friend Luke that we met hiking, was also out there. Oli said he needed to fetch his gloves  – which looking back was a little odd. Then Luke and his guide went to find a coffee, so I was sitting alone on a rock just admiring the view.

I could hear Oli scurrying back behind me, then stop to set up the camera (which I thought was for a photo of the view). Then he walked over to me, looking extremely nervous, and took my hand and led me to a position. My heart started to thump as he got down on one knee and held a tiny wooden box out. He said some lovely things and I just kept saying yes. It was so magical, just us and a passing Yak in the Himalayas of Nepal with Mount Manaslu watching over us. After 10 mins or so of crying and hugging, our friend Luke came back and we told him the news and he took some lovely photos.

I was so overwhelmed I had forgotten to look at the ring which was so beautiful. Oli had had it made and somehow it fit my finger perfectly. He had made a journey the October before to my favourite beach in Cornwall where I love to look for sea glass and shells. He knew I love the blue sea glass and that it was always a bit rare to find. One day whilst I was visiting a friend, he went there in the pouring rain and searched for 5 hours for the perfect piece of blue sea glass which he eventually found, and had it made into the most beautiful ring. I think he was also quite relieved he didn’t have to hide it from me anymore in our backpacks for the rest of our travels!

How did you allocate your budget?
We had both quit our jobs in the March 2023 to go travelling for a year and work abroad, but with the change in circumstances we came home with the rest of our travel savings. We are lucky to have had a few monetary presents from our parents which helped with costs. Our aim was to keep it below £10,000.

Where did you splurge and where did you save?
We decided the venue was the most important, and to have beautiful views and be outdoors, even in November. It grew quickly from a plan of a 4 hour ceremony with 20 guests à to 50 guests with a reception and music for a 10.5hr venue hire. We are SO thankful we did change our mind – we wanted another 10 hours on the day, it went so quickly!
We also spent more money on having enough food and lots of options. This was very important to Oli.
We then allocated money to flowers (which was important to Katie)  and we hired a florist through a friend who also kept costs low which was very kind.
Having live music was also another cost we wanted to splurge on.
Because it was the end of November, we wanted our guests to be comfortable so we ended up spending more of our budget on a marquee with heating so we could fulfil our dream to get married outside.

We bought pre loved wedding rings from Brighton.
I got my Wedding Dress from a charity shop.
Most of the decoration was borrowed or from charity shops as a rule.
Bouquets/Button holes were dried flowers which kept costs low.
help from friends and family: Friends generously let us borrow sound systems and a microphone so we could use a music playlist after the band went home, rather than pay for a DJ. One of my friends is very creative and she designed beautiful invites which we sent on WhatsApp to avoid printing costs. Family making the wedding cake
Utilising contacts also benefited our savings. For example I arrived in a pristene Mark VIIII Jaguar which was a present gifted by Oli;s step Dad’ who is a mechanic and borrowed a clients car.
We also saved by making our own bar and bought the alcohol and non alcoholic drinks from supermarkets instead of hiring a bar + bar staff.
We used the chairs and canape tables that Bignor Park owned as we had a small number of guests, which saved on hiring them.
We borrowed milk urns from a local dairy farmer to use for flower arrangements and gave them back after the weekend – this saved a few hundred pounds rather than buying them! 

How did you choose your photographer
We spoke to a few, but when Oli spoke to Matt it was the easiest decision of the whole planning! Matt offered to do our wedding photos and we cannot thank him enough. We went round for a chat a few weeks before, which was very chilled and we felt no pressure or worries at all about being in front of the camera. We are speechless with the photos and wedding video. He stayed for the whole day and understood our vision. He made you feel so at ease. He captured the day perfectly, and our guests naturally, whilst still making sure we got all the group shots in a very short amount of time.

The dress  
Because I didn’t have much money and the dress was not as important as other parts, I went to Oxfam in Southampton with my Mum. I didn’t realise you had to book an appointment, but luckily when I arrived the person who’s time slot it was didn’t actually turn up. The lady called Glenda in there was incredible – she listened to my vision and against the odds found the most incredible dress. It cost £150 and was a brand new Watters dress. It was slightly too big so she also gave me pointers for a local talented seamstress called Jessica. She did it so quickly and professionally as we only had a few weeks before the big day. She also made a veil and attached an oak leaf pattern trimming.  It was so beautiful.

The suit and bridesmaids
Oli got his suit from Moss Bross. He is tall and they fitted him the best. His shoes were from Marks and Spencer’s. He got matching ties/ bow ties with his groomsman- which we found through Amazon DB Dickie bow store.
I had 5 Bridesmaids and gave them a few colours as a theme with the aim that they could use a dress they already had as it was quite short notice to find one. Some bought a new one, some used previous ones and they all ended up in greens, so it worked well. I also asked them to wear lovely bright shoes to match if they could.

Theme or colour scheme
Outdoor theme, and we went for autumnal colours – dark rusty orange, greens.

I initially wanted colourful local wild flowers but as it wasn’t a summer wedding, that was a little difficult in November. We went for a similar look and used dried flower bouquets from an online shop calledArtisan Dried flowers.
Then a friend put us in contact with a local florist called Denise who helped me with my reception decoration vision with little vases and jam jars with flowers, as well as arrangements for the ceremony aisle and ceremony table: Pampas grass, foliage, ivy, eryngium and lots of bright coloured pinks and orange colour flowers in vases, old chimney pots and milk churns. 

Decoration did you have?
Shells, flowers, foliage, photos and lighting.

We had amazing caterers and chefs for the food. Bignor Park doesn’t have a kitchen, so we needed to hire a chef who could bring cooking equipment. We used two companies who were used to working together at Bignor park, because it was quite short notice, and meant we had no worries on the day.
It was a big menu as we wanted to cater for everyone but feed everyone up – nothing worse than being hungry at a wedding! So we had lots of different options and there was enough to feed the musicians too. Every single part was delicious. 

Wedding cake 
My Dad’s wife is an exceptional baker – and she kindly baked the wedding cake. She found eryngium flowers to fit the theme and bouquets and did a three tier cake with our favourite flavours: chocolate, coffee and carrot. 

We had local live musicians that we found through a friend called Acoustic Duo. They played 2 sets: one after the ceremony in the marquee, and then one later after dinner. Then after the set was over, we had a sound system with a spotify playlist and self organised sea shanties. 

Who supplied the stationery?
My friend designed the wedding invites, and I sent photos by phone to guests. I decorated a Wedding book for people to sign, and had my polaroid camera out for people to use. 

Where did you go on your honeymoon?
For our Wedding night, we stayed in a Yurt close by for 2 nights which was beautiful, calm and peaceful. My Godparents kindly gifted us a stay in a Chapel in Norfolk for a week which was bliss. We have some wedding present money for a trip abroad in the future. 

Personal touches
We both wore silver brooches that Oli had made whilst travelling India: He wore a stag, and I wore a Little Owl on our wedding attire as a personal touch.
We did most of the decoration ourselves, putting up lighting, photos and flowers, as well as friends lending us things like candle holders and vases for the tables. We used the dried flowers and bought recycled napkins to create pretty table settings with the help of my family instead of hiring napkins at an extra cost. Oli created a bar with old barrels and a door from a salvage yard. Family and friends came to help set up for 2 days before which we could not have done without! I found old vintage table cloths from charity shops/Etsy to dress up the tables Bignor Park supplied us with.

  • Special moments 
    When we ‘Walked the tree’ with our guests lining up and throwing confetti afterwards
  • The speeches – they were so heart felt and full of love
  • Singing the sea shanties

Advice for other couples

    • Think of 3 main things you want to spend money on, and the rest you can try to really reduce costs.
    • Whilst being frugal, be prepared to go over budget for things that are important.
    • Think about off season weddings to save money – November is a much more affordable month to get married, and suppliers are generally more free
    • Go local – ask around for local suppliers/florists/musicians/photographers
    • Ask family and friends for help – either with setting up or borrowing items (many may have still have things left over from previous Weddings)
    • Allow time to plan for more than 6 weeks if possible !! Haha 

Biggest Surprise 
Oli’s brother and Groomsmen made up a sea shanty that they performed and everyone joined in. They didn’t even know we had sea shanties as part of our celebrations. It was genius, and very funny.
The sunny weather and blue skies, and that the flowers in Bignor Park gardens were still in bloom at the end of November.




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    What a stunningly beautiful autumn wedding! The rich, warm color tones and cozy rustic details are absolutely perfect for an intimate celebration amidst the gorgeous West Sussex countryside.

    As a wedding photographer based in Coimbatore, I’m always in awe of couples who infuse so much personality and meaningful touches into their big day. From the bride’s striking red dress and flower crown to the whimsical macrame backdrops and wood-slab decor, every element radiates bohemian romance.

    The portraits you’ve captured of the newlyweds aretruly frame-worthy. The love and joy beaming from their faces against the striking autumnal backdrops like the lake and forest is just magical. Those golden hour shots are an absolute dream!

    I especially love how you’ve highlighted all the thoughtful DIY details like the geometric terrariums and jam jar drinks dispenser. It’s clear this wedding was a labor of love for the couple and their loved ones.

    Autumn weddings hold such a special place in my heart with their inherent coziness and natural beauty. This feature is the perfect inspiration for couples looking to embrace that rustic, free-spirited vibe. Wishing the newlyweds a lifetime of happiness! Thanks for sharing this incredible day with us.


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