Sarah and Matthew’s Secret Meadow festival wedding in Essex, with Lee Allison Photography
Nothing quite beats the warmth of a tipi wedding – and Sarah and Matthew used theirs as the focal point for a festival-style celebration on the family farm. The little touches and flowers are gorgeous; but the loveliest thing about today’s wedding is Sarah – she’s so beautiful in a blush pink gown which just suits the day perfectly (and is amazing for dancing in!)
We opted to have fairy lights within our tipi and we didn’t want to distract too much from how beautiful the tipi and more importantly, the view from the field was. We used lots of items from the farm including milk churns, troughs, tractor tyres and hay bales to add to the rustic farm feel. We were lucky to be able to find a tipi company for our bank holiday weekend in County Marquees East Anglia. They were great and also helped us with outdoor furniture sets, a bar front, outdoor fire bowls and were on hand with generators and mobile toilets should we have needed them
A huge amount of the wedding was handcrafted by myself and my friends in the year leading up to the wedding. I enjoyed making batches of rhubarb and raspberry vodka as table favours and managed to source lots of great deals on bottles, labels and our fabric wristbands on Ebay. The table names, settings, centrepieces and table plan were all hand crafted. We used a lot of hessian and lace and glued many fingers together during the process!
Wedding photographer’s website:
We met with Lee after receiving a personal recommendation from a member of our bridal party. The first meeting was relaxed, informal and the images he showed us of previous weddings captured exactly how we wanted to remember our wedding. We felt comfortable with him and identified with his style and relaxed approach.
Lee captured all the personal handmade details of our wedding which are often forgotten. He wasn’t dictatorial and we had as many posed group shots as we wanted. He got some truly amazing shots of some very special moments including the smiles, the tears and some of the best dancefloor pics in history!
Lee delivered the images to us a few days before we were expecting them. They came through late on a Friday afternoon which was perfect as I could swoon over them that evening and all weekend! He then hand-delivered the images to us over the weekend in a personalised wooden USB box, it was absolutely beautiful!
Contact & Bookings: Lee Allison Photography
The Secret Meadow at Rettendon Common in Essex. My father in law’s farm with the most amazing views and sunsets
Can you describe your wedding in fewer than 10 words?
Rustic, Casual, Romantic, Vintage, Laid-back, Intimate, Homemade, Fun, Memorable and Unique
Your wedding style or theme:
I would describe it as a rustic farm festival!
Where did you find your suppliers? (Blogs, magazines, recommendations?)
We tried to source as many local suppliers as possible but many came from personal recommendation or reviewing websites and liking previous work. I also used Pinterest to create boards and then sourced or made replicas from the ideas I had pinned.
What’s your top tip for saving money?
Allow enough time and make as much as you can but don’t scrimp on the venue, your dress or your photographer. Create a Pinterest board and share it with your bridal party. We had some great craft session catch ups and it was lovely to introduce our personalities into everything we made. I got so many craft materials in bulk from Ebay with free shipping as it was much cheaper than buying locally from hobby shops.
… and which elements of your wedding are you glad you spent more on?
We are so glad that we have a great selection of pictures to look back on so i am so glad we invested in a great photographer. We were lucky as we didn’t have to pay a venue hire fee so we could justify hiring the tipi’s and spending a bit more on catering. The bbq option offered by Essex hog roasts was great and offered exactly the special informal wedding breakfast that we wanted. The locally sourced meat and homemade marinades and salads they prepared were delicious.
Where did you buy or source your wedding stationery – or was making it a labour of love?
With the wedding being based on the farm I wanted wedding stationery that was fun and intriguing I found a supplier online called the Invite Shack (http://www.theinviteshack.co.uk) who produced beautiful rustic style invites. I fell in love with them all in the festival section but particularly a style called ‘on the farm’ with the simple narrative, teepes, dancing and bbq.
Did you fall in love with your wedding dress?
Yes absolutely. I wanted something a little different and fell in love with a blush wedding dress almost immediately. I added some vintage diamante straps to personalise it and offer further sparkle. I felt like Grace Kelly when i tried it on and couldn’t stop swishing around!
Wedding dress designer and bridal boutique:
I opted for an Allure dress from their Romance collection, style 2904. A blush pink fairytale gown
Tell us about your accessories: jewellery, shoes and anything else!
My lovely bridesmaid Abi gave me a vintage pearl hair comb to borrow and I also wore some pearl jewellery belonging to my mum and a sparkly pink bracelet my daughter chose for me. My blue was a pair of Dune Breanna navy brooch shoes. My money saving copy of the navy Manolo Blahniks from Sex in the City!
And what did the groom wear?
The groom wore navy slim fit tails, grey pinstripe trousers and a grey waistcoat from Anthonys Formal wear in Billericay and a pair of brogues from Barker shoes.The groomsmen were also in similar outerwear with a contrasting navy waistcoat
Beautiful bridesmaids: what did your best girls wear?
My bridesmaids and flower girls all wore navy gowns from Monsoon’s occasion range. The bridesmaids had a maxi dress called Bluebell and the girls had a shorter dress called Estella. Both had intricate lace tops and the flower girls loved spinning around in their tulle skirts
Hair and make-up – did you DIY or hire a professional?
I hired an amazing Essex based hair and make up called Lucy Jackson. She is mobile so came out to me in Cambridge for my trial and made sure myself and my wonderful maids looked absolutely fab on the day!
Describe your wedding flowers. Who arranged them for you? (florist details would be lovely please)
I asked a local lady called Kat from Passionate Flowers to help me with my flowers. It was the best decision, I was overwhelmed by how beautiful they were and how well she captured exactly what I wanted. She literally lives and breathes flowers and puts so much time and love into it. She also offered me some lovely wild mint which was fantastic and smelt beautiful in our table displays.
The wedding cake: what kind of cake did you choose and why?
My great friend Gemma offered to make our wedding cake for us and it was absolutely delicious, three layer chocolate sponge with different fillings including chocolate orange, baileys and a white chocolate ganache. We finished the cake with some lace and hessian ribbon and had a fantastic engraved oak cake stand made with our name and wedding date as a memento.
Entertainment: any musical recommendations, surprises or treats?
We had a great electric string player from LSP strings who we found on Last minute musicians. We had so many complements on all of the recognisable songs that were covered as guests enjoyed drinks and canapes on arrival. We were also very lucky to secure a local band called Frog on a rocket who got everyone up and dancing until late in the evening!
Words of wisdom: share your best piece of advice for other couples:
Eat breakfast, pack flat shoes, have a moment with your parents, relax and make time to dance!
What’s the best thing about being married?
I think the best thing is having someone to hold in the worst times and having someone there beside you to share the best times with. Starting a family with someone you love is an amazing feeling, having children, getting pets, starting family traditions and sharing the crazy adventure with them all!
Favourite supplier web links for other brides and grooms: