Josie and Joe’s atmospheric summer party wedding with Benjamin Wetherall Photography
It feels like summer when I look at today’s wedding – I’m beaming back at my screen and totally head over heels in love with the images of Josie and Joe’s day. It was a super hot day; their tipis provided beautiful shade and the styling and florals create the perfect summer vibe. Josie is resplendent in a delicately patterned lace dress by Agnes; Joe’s tweed suit says English country gent to a T! I LOVE the sunflower signage, the DIY elements and the glorious summer vibe of their wedding – and of course the joyful images by Benjamin Wetherall Photography. I just know you’ll adore this one too!
Wedding photographer’s website:
How did you choose your photographer?
We already knew Ben as he’s a very good friend, but if anything this nearly stopped us from asking him to be our photographer, as we wanted him to be a guest and enjoy the day too. However, we’d been lucky enough to have been guests at a few events he has worked at and we love his style. His photos are always incredible so we knew we’d regret it if we didn’t ask him to photograph our wedding. It was so good to not have to worry about this element of the day, as we had total trust in Ben and his organisation, professionalism and of course photos.
Were you pleased with your wedding photographer? Do tell… we love a brilliant review!
Ben did an outstanding job! He knew exactly how to use the environment and light around, which I would otherwise have failed to notice, to create beautiful scenes and capture the most perfect moments. Joe and I aren’t the most comfortable in front of the camera but he made us feel at ease and we had a few jokes, which translated to the photos as we look amazingly relaxed. He organised our rowdy bunch of guests very well to make sure he completed all the photos we wanted from the day, and this took any pressure off us. I’m sure this was made extra tricky due to the wedding being on the hottest day of the year but he managed it so smoothly. He also took plenty of spontaneous and creative shots so we had lots of lovely surprises when we came to look through all the photos. Ben works so hard and it didn’t just end on the day. He made sure every photo was perfect before revealing the final product, and of course he did a superb job in ensuring no one looked red and sweaty on such a sweltering day!
Tell us about the moment you saw your wedding photos for the first time?
We were so excited to sit down with my parents to watch the slideshow and relive the day from start to finish. This played alongside all of our prominent wedding songs, from the ceremony and first dance; a lovely sentimental touch. I was so chuffed with the quality of the photos and how he made me feel beautiful. I loved seeing all the bits I hadn’t been present for, such as the groomsmen getting ready, guests arriving, and all the shenanigans at the reception and party into the evening. Joe also enjoyed seeing the brides side and where we all got ready in the morning, as he hadn’t seen the deluxe house we rented.
Riverhill Himalayan Gardens in Sevenoaks – a beautiful and diverse mix of gardens, with a lot of history to it, and we had exclusive access to two of these for the wedding. A must visit for anyone, wedding or no wedding.
Can you describe your wedding in fewer than 10 words?
A sweaty but beautiful, atmospheric, summer party-filled affair.
Your wedding style or theme:
Difficult to define as it was a bit of a mix. It was a totally outdoor wedding, as even the tipi had to be half open due to the weather being almost too good on a very hot day. It was a very floral, perhaps slightly boho theme and reasonably informal.
However, as lovers of skiing, we also turned an outdoor hut into an alpine lodge.
Where did you find your suppliers? (Blogs, magazines, recommendations?)
We found the most lovely celebrant on the Humanist UK website.
The venue recommended some suppliers and that’s how we found the most incredible caterers (Bubble and Squeak Food) and a great tipi hire company (My Tipi Event). We also found the best florist (Kelly and Hicks), make up artist (Emma Lily) and hair stylist (Hero hairstylist) through a small local wedding fair.
We couldn’t get enough of the band ‘The Aviators’ either so we were thankful to a friend for steering us in the direction of Function Central, where we found them.
The ukulele player we wanted to play during the ceremony was harder work to find as there don’t appear to be many around. Finally I found the perfect performer on Encore Bookings.
We couldn’t have a wedding day without macarons, so we also ordered macaron favours to be made by a lady (The Crow Kitchen) who regularly comes to the local farmers market.
What’s your top tip for saving money?
Make wedding invitations and as many decorations as possible yourself when you can, or find them in charity shops/Facebook market place. And borrow off recently married generous friends too!
… and which elements of your wedding are you glad you spent more on?
The band and catering for sure. Guests haven’t stopped raving about both.
Where did you buy or source your wedding stationery – or was making it a labour of love?
It was all DIY – I learnt a new skill too, as I did a lot of origami…
Did you fall in love with your wedding dress?
Yes. I found it in the first dress shop I went to and couldn’t stop thinking about it even after trying another 8 shops so I knew I had to go back.
Wedding dress designer and bridal boutique:
White Lace and Butterflies in Great Missenden.
The dress was Agnes, not a designer I had heard of or seen anywhere other than this shop.
Tell us about your accessories: jewellery, shoes and anything else!
My shoes were Rainbow Club as they were the most comfortable heels when I tried them on in a few shops. They can also be your ‘something blue’ due to the little blue jewel underneath.
My sister surprised me with a beautiful necklace on the morning of the wedding.
We designed my engagement ring and the wedding rings – twisted yellow gold bands, and my engagement ring has an emerald surrounded by 2 engraved leaves.
My veil was my something old/borrowed, and a lovely sentimental touch, as it was my mum’s from her wedding day, still in perfect condition.
And what did the groom wear?
A Cavani tweed jacket with a white shirt, grey wool waistcoat, dark green trousers and a purple bow tie with a hummingbird design. He also had personalised wooden sunglasses, which were also gifted to all the groomsmen and fathers of the bride and groom. We can’t forget the socks either, which were all covered in different type of fruit wearing sunglasses.
Beautiful bridesmaids: what did your best girls wear?
Amazingly I found a dress from Coast which all six bridesmaids liked and suited so well. They were soft purple ‘mist’ silky mid-length dresses with a floral textured upper half and floaty skirt.
Hair and make-up – did you DIY or hire a professional?
I found the sweetest make up artist (Emma Lily) at a small local wedding fair. I had been struggling to find someone who didn’t have a portfolio of brides with a face full of make up. Luckily I stumbled across the wedding fair as I was walking past, and Emma had a portfolio of beautiful natural looking brides. She then recommended the hair stylist who she had worked with lots before (Hero hairstylist). Kate also did a fantastic job (I only needed 2 hair styles trialled), and achieved exactly what I wanted. I and all the bridesmaid plus flower girl had little flowers (from the florist) in our hair too.
Describe your wedding flowers. Who arranged them for you? (florist details would be lovely please)
Our florist, Clare Kelly (Kelly and Hicks) was amazing. We told her we wanted a purple and green theme – essentially a wild boho kind of mix of purple flowers and green foliage. I left it up to her expertise to organise the flowers and arrangements. She did the most beautiful job and even added in some extra touches I hadn’t expected, as she said she couldn’t resist, which shows how passionate she is. My bouquet was astounding, meeting my brief of wild/boho with a diverse array of flowers, fruit and herbs, as were the bridesmaid posies and buttonholes. She also did the flowers for my hair, the bridesmaid and flower girl too.
General styling – did your venue need much decoration?
It didn’t need too much decorating as it was an outdoor wedding in beautiful gardens and surroundings, with an amazing view. However, I couldn’t resist adding personal touches. We had our ceremony in the ‘walled garden’, which was full of summer flowers, a vegetable patch and has rolling hills, where guests could chill out on the grass. The florist added little jars of flowers along the chairs up the aisle, as well as the most incredible display to go over the arch of the roofed hut under which we had our ceremony. We put out stacks of crates to create tables and covered these with picnic rugs, and a giant teacup centre pieces, which the florist also filled with further stunning arrangements.
The tipi required more decorating, so we filled one hat with hanging homemade origami birds. Another hat was decorated with a hanging willow hoop, which the florist adorned with foliage. We also put out vintage bird cages and a bird cage table plan, photos, homemade signs, games (including a home decorated beer pong table which we painted with friends). We had a lounge area with vintage furniture for guests who wanted to chill out when not on the dance floor.
We also utilised another area of one of the gardens, and turned a hut into an alpine ski lodge, full of blankets, skiis, alpine decorations, personal party-relatred photos, and of course jager. Our homemade shot skis went down a storm!
Crafts and makes – tell us about any homemade elements of your wedding… did you enjoy them?
I made hundreds of origami birds, which was a lot of effort but I started well ahead of time and did find it quite therapeutic. The stringing up was the most difficult part but luckily I had many more hands to help at that point.
A very good friend (one of the groomsmen) and talented artist (jacobreynoldsart.com) created our wedding guest book for us as well as a few extra touches for our alpine lodge. He painted skis and a pair of ski boots with our favourite things. Guests could then sign the skis. We can’t get over these and love that they are totally unique and we will have them forever.
We also made some sjotskis to go in the alpine lodge.
The wedding cake: what kind of cake did you choose and why?
We set our caterers a big task. They hadn’t done it before but we asked if they could try making our wedding cake – a sweet cheesecake (not a cheese tower). We aren’t particularly cake lovers but I am a dessert fiend, and my favourite is cheesecake. This worked perfectly as both our tiered cake to cut but also the dessert, which did save us some money. They did an amazing job and sorted out the logistics of getting it over by hiring a fridge van, and despite the temperature (it was the hottest day of the year) it survived so I had plenty to take home after too. They achieved my favourite flavour combinations – a tier of cherry chocolate, another of speculoos and blueberry, and my favourite had to be the rhubarb and ginger.
The food they did for the wedding ‘feast’ was outstanding. We went with a middle eastern style and a table sharing vibe, again keeping things less formal but super tasty.
Entertainment: any musical recommendations, surprises or treats?
Our ukuleliest, Taryn Ryan, was absolutely fantastic. We found her more last minute after another idea fell through, but I think it must have been fate. She had a fab playlist anyway but she also learnt a few extra songs especially for our ceremony. She had a beautiful voice which suited the style of the day so well. She played as guests arrived, as I walked up the aisle, through the ceremony and for the start of the reception. My only regret is not being able to experience it all, as the guests did.
The band was also absolutely brilliant, playing a gypsy jazz set during the reception, as well as the evening music. The singer had the most amazing voice and they really brought the party. Everyone was so impressed.
Words of wisdom: share your best piece of advice for other couples:
On the day, you can’t do any more so relax and enjoy it. Leave it up to other people (suppliers/guests/etc) to organise things and sort any issues. I found it didn’t matter if anything did go wrong (e.g. the car to take me to the wedding being cancelled), as I was just so happy and excited the day had finally arrived and I trusted everything we had worked hard for was going to pay off. And it did! It really was the most insane day!
What’s the best thing about being married?
Looking forward to the rest of our lives together
Favourite supplier web links for other brides and grooms:
Photographer – https://bpwphotography.com/
Venue – http://www.riverhillgardens.co.uk/
Florist – https://www.kellyandhicks.co.uk/
Band – https://www.functioncentral.co.uk/band/the-aviators
Caterers – http://www.bubbleandsqueakfood.com/
Macarons – http://thecrowkitchen.co.uk/contact-us/
Ukulele player and singer – https://encoremusicians.com/Taryn-Ryan
Make up – https://www.emmalilycurran.co.uk/
Hair – https://www.herohairstylist.com/
Humanist celebrant – https://humanist.org.uk/ginnycollins/
Tipi hire – https://www.mytipievent.co.uk/
Dress – https://www.whitelaceandbutterflies.co.uk/
Rings – http://gabriellajewellery.co.uk/