This is the most festival-like wedding I’ve ever seen… and it’s perfect. I wonder sometimes if weddings are a little too formal for everyone: even when a wedding is styled to look like a festival, I think often it still feels more like a wedding – but today, the focus is well and truly on fun, and music, and really the decor and styling is only a tiny part of things. Phil and Elizabeth fell in love, married, and had the celebration of a lifetime. And it’s AMAZING.
The gorgeous couple describe their day as a “Fun, relaxed, unique, non-traditional, outdoor wedding. We didn’t have a theme but it was outdoor & relaxed, almost like a festival. We used yellow and grey where we could but weren’t too worried about that.We had done the legal ceremony in a registry office 2 days earlier, but we had a Celebrant and did the whole ceremony and to us this one was the ‘real’ ceremony.”
Images are by lovely Aaron Tommasi Photography, who is based in Kent and covers the whole of the UK. Find out more about him here:
The English Wedding Blog Interview: Phil & Elizabeth
Wedding photographer’s website:
How did you choose your photographer?
I searched for months online and went to a couple of Wedding Fairs, and kept finding the same stuff again and again. Aaron really stood out as a photographer who captures truly unique and modern shots (which is genuinely hard to do we believe), without losing any of the romance or importance of the day.
Were you pleased with your wedding photographer? Do tell… we love a brilliant review!
We can’t even put into words how happy we are with the photos, and also with the way that Aaron conducted himself on the day. Very few guests even knew we had a photographer because he blended in so well, but all our guests are blown away by the photos. He captured so many fabulous shots of the two of us, but he also spent a lot of time photographing our guests (mainly non-posed, which we had requested) and so there are loads of great shots of everyone, not just us. We think that’s really important because guests want to remember their experience of the day as well as just the Bride & Groom.
Tell us about the moment you saw your wedding photos for the first time?
Aaron wanted to be with us when we saw the photos, which says a lot to us. He’s clearly proud of his work and cares a lot about the finished product. We were so happy when we first viewed the photos as it brought back the day so vividly, and of course we saw so many moments that we had missed on the day as we were elsewhere.
We were given permission to use a piece of land on an old airbase in Upper Heyford, Oxfordshire. It’s never been used for a wedding before but has been used as a set for films and TV programmes (e.g. World War Z, Fast & Furious 6, Woman in Black 2). We hired a big marquee and also a smaller child’s marquee, bouncy castles, outdoor food vendors, and the ceremony and seating was all outside (we were VERY lucky with the weather!) We had done the legal ceremony in a registry office 2 days earlier, but we had a Celebrant and did the whole ceremony and to us this one was the ‘real’ ceremony.
Can you describe your wedding in fewer than 10 words?
Fun, relaxed, unique, non-traditional, outdoor wedding
Your wedding style or theme:
We didn’t have a theme but it was outdoor & relaxed, almost like a festival. We used yellow and grey where we could but weren’t too worried about that.
Where did you find your suppliers? (Blogs, magazines, recommendations?)
We hired a wedding planner, Rebecca (http://iadoreweddings.co.uk) who was AWESOME and she found a lot of suppliers for us. I chose the food vendors and did a lot of internet research for suppliers as we wanted outdoor vendors (like at a festival) so guests would have a choice. If anyone is doing the same I encourage them to join the NCASS website as you can put out a request for food vendors to contact you if they fit the criteria. It means they contact you if they’re available and can provide what you need instead of you having to contact each one individually, which is a great help.
What’s your top tip for saving money?
We weren’t very good at saving money! But don’t be afraid to negotiate with suppliers. We didn’t with a lot of them (like photographer and videographer) but we/our planner did negotiate with food vendors, celebrant, bar etc.
… and which elements of your wedding are you glad you spent more on?
We provided a free bar (beer, wine & cider) as well as a paid bar so we spent a lot on alcohol. But that was fine by us and we wanted everyone to relax and have a great time.
Where did you buy or source your wedding stationery – or was making it a labour of love?
Our Save The Date was a DIY job and I absolutely love it! It’s definitely unique! For the invites etc, a friend of a friend designed the stationery but we did all the wording.
Did you fall in love with your wedding dress?
Now here’s a story for you! I wanted a simple, long dress. I bought one second hand from Preloved and it was beautiful: a silk underslip with a lace cover and it was perfect. Simple and elegant. And then 10 days before the wedding, I tried it on and really didn’t like the way I looked. I didn’t panic – for some reason I knew it would be ok. I went to a local boutique that I hadn’t previously tried, explained my situation and the lady showed me all the dresses in stock in my size. I tried a few on and she encouraged me to try and what I consider to be quite a ‘princess’ dress which is exactly what I didn’t want. I have never wanted a ‘big’ dress. But I tried it on and had that moment that you hear about – ‘This Is The One’. It was absolutely not what I expected to wear but I loved it then and I still love it now!
Wedding dress designer and bridal boutique:
Bicester Bridal (www.bicesterbridal.co.uk). Maddy was a total star and didn’t push me at all – she was just very genuine. And she got a couple of minor amendments done within 3 days. Amazing! It is a Stella York Tulle Gown.
Tell us about your accessories: jewellery, shoes and anything else!
I bought 3 pairs of shoes! One heels, one wedge and one flats. All just from high street shops. I wore the heels to the registry office on Thursday and the wedges on the ‘proper’ day. I meant to change into the sandals but completely forgot and I couldn’t feel my feet properly for about 2 weeks afterwards! I love stars so I had a star necklace and earrings. I bought my bridesmaids, flower girls and my mum star jewellery as well which they all wore on the day.
And what did the groom wear? Any recommendations for tailors?
Phil hates wearing a formal suit and so chose to wear a light grey waistcoat, tie & trouser combo. He and the groomsmen looked amazing and their outfits really fit in with the relaxed feeling of the day.
Beautiful bridesmaids: what did your best girls wear?
The 3 adult ones wore Dessy twist wrap dresses that you can style in many different ways. The Maid of Honour had a long version and the two others had shorter ones, and they all tied them differently. It was important as they’re all totally different shapes and sizes so they matched but were individual as well. The two younger bridesmaids wore Ebony Rose Destin dresses and we were lucky enough to get them a very similar shade to the adults. The two flower girls wore the most gorgeous ivory Dessy dresses (code FL4020). They were adorable!
Hair and make-up – did you DIY or hire a professional?
I tried a couple of girls and then my Wedding Planner recommended people and they turned out to be perfect. They did all the ladies in the party.
Describe your wedding flowers. Who arranged them for you? (florist details would be lovely please)
Again, the Wedding Planner used a supplier she knows and I was stunned at what a good price I got. I wanted yellow and white and I had freesias in the bouquet because they’re my mum’s and my favourite flower.
General styling – did your venue need much decoration?
Once the marquee company had done all the construction, Phil and his friends erected the gazebo that we used for the ceremony, fashioned an ‘aisle’ using poles and fabric, and put up all the furniture. Some of it was hired but we have a furniture business so used lots of bits that we had in stock (outdoor furniture/ tables etc). A local farmer lent us loads of straw bales and we covered them with blankets and cushions. None of it was really planned but it all came together beautifully! The boys did so well, and Rebecca the Wedding Planner was amazing with the finishing touches.
Crafts and makes – tell us about any homemade elements of your wedding… did you enjoy them?
We didn’t have anything homemade, except the cake (see below) but there was definitely a lot of DIY work from the boys and Rebecca putting the venue together.
The wedding cake: what kind of cake did you choose and why?
We chose not to have a wedding cake, instead my super talented friend Tracey made several cakes (chocolate, carrot, vanilla & lemon) and they were put on a table with jugs of cream for guests to help themselves.
Entertainment: any musical recommendations, surprises or treats?
The whole day was full of musical surprises – I don’t want to brag but I think we definitely nailed the entertainment! As soon as we were pronounced Man & Wife, we had a Bavarian Brass Band appear from behind the marquee playing ‘All You Need Is Love’. They walked amongst the guests and played for an hour or so. Then immediately after the speeches we had The Three Waiters perform (they sing opera like The Three Tenors) and they brought the house down. My mum cried! Later we had a band called The Dukes of Havoc who play all sorts from 50’s to present day and they were brilliant. And then after the fireworks my husband surprised me with the best gift I could think of. He’d secretly booked a beatboxer called Reeps One that we’d seen at a couple of festivals and absolutely loved. I couldn’t believe it when he introduced him – and you might not think a beatboxer would work well at a wedding but absolutely EVERYBODY, young and old, were blown away by him.
On the day tips and advice:
This is a common piece of advice but definitely make sure you get a little time with your husband alone. Once we got to the end of the aisle after the ceremony, we were pulled apart for most of the day! We grabbed several moments together but had 10 minutes sitting alone on a bale of straw eating a pork roll at around 9pm. I don’t remember what we talked about but I know it was lovely to have that time.
What’s the best thing about being married?
For me, being married means that we’re a real team now. Phil is now my family and that means something.
Favourite supplier list for other brides and grooms:
I highly recommend our Wedding Planner, Photographer (links above) and Videographer (www.ahintofmint.co.uk).