Olivia & Taylor’s scenic Chew Valley wedding, with Martin Dabek Photography

Published by Claire Gould on

We have a lovely wedding with a countryside / farm twist and tons of personal touches for you today. Liv and Taylor were married at Chew Valley and chose Bristol wedding photographer Martin Dabek to capture the story of their day. Friends and family chipped in to help with the styling, and Olivia made the wedding cake, arranged the flowers with help from her mum and grandmother, and the couple collected old photos to make a game to entertain their guests!

Taylor’s dad loves American cars and has owned several during his lifetime and it was important to Taylor that we bring a little bit of everyone into the wedding so him and his groomsmen arrived to the church in the fancy cars. Whereas I had spent my childhood around farmyards and building sites so naturally I wanted to arrive on a tractor. I have wanted to drive a tractor to my wedding for as long as I can remember. However the long dress meant I definitely wasn’t going to be the one driving it- but we got a trailer with hay bales and blankets and Dad drove us down to the church. It’s a journey I will never forget.

Wedding photographer’s website


How did you choose your photographer?

Martin was recommended to us by our venue. He had shot there before and we were able to look at his style of photography.

Were you pleased with your wedding photographer? Do tell… we love a brilliant review!

We loved Martin! He really blended in with the party, and he really understood what we wanted. We didn’t want to be dragged away from our guests for hours of intimate photos. We wanted to party with our guests and he really captured that.

Do check out Chew Valley wedding photographer Martin Dabek! We think he’s amazing.

What’s your fondest memory of your wedding?

Our fondest memory was walking out of the church surrounded by our family- we actually left the church and then ran around to the side entrance and waited for everyone to leave the church before walking back into the church so our photographer could organise everyone into 2 lines either side of the path to throw confetti (which me and my mum had dried in the oven ourselves). Walking through our newly joined families as Mr and Mrs Sweet for the first time is really special.

Tell us about your venue – what made this place special for you?

Chew Valley Weddings was spectacular. The view of the lake was really what sold it to us. The lake has been a big part of our lives, it was even where Taylor proposed. We knew we wanted to marry close to home and the tipis with the lake is such a beautiful background.

Did you love wearing your outfits? How was your shopping experience, was it fun to find your wedding gear?

I found my wedding dress in the first shop I went in to. I knew the type of style that I liked the look of and I did my research. But due to COVID bridal shops were only allowing 1 or 2 guests maximum. So I went to a total of 5 bridal shops with different people and ended up buying ‘the one’ in Lace and Grace in Keynsham during a trunk show with 10% off. Madi Lane- Halani.
Taylor on the other hand had no idea what he wanted and just went into Bath one day and bought his suit from Suave Owl. And then we went out for lunch together.

Did you hire a florist? Tell us about any floral amazingness 🙂

I really wanted to do the flowers myself and make a real occasion out of arranging the flowers with my family and friends. We collected flowers from hedgerows and family members gardens. My mum and my grandmother grew wildflowers especially for me. We made our centre pieces in gravy boats Taylor’s grandmother collected, it was lovely to do something in her memory. However, for my bridal bouquet and the buttonholes we got them done professionally by Banksia in Chew Magna, a local florist. They were beautiful.

As cake lovers here at English Wedding we’d LOVE to know who made your cake, and how delicious it was?

I made our wedding cake! It was 3 tiers of lemon sponge with lemon curd filling and buttercream icing. I had to do lots of trial cakes which my colleagues gratefully tasted and gave me some notes. I made the sponges 3 days before the big day and iced in 2 days before. I then transported it to my grandmothers house (the most nerve wracking journey of my life) and it was taken to the venue with the topper (from Etsy), ready for me to assemble when we arrived from the church.

I did however forget to bring the fruit with me from the fridge on the morning of the wedding so we had to decorate the cake with flowers from the bridesmaids bouquets and from (non poisonous) shrubbery. By the end of the night it was almost all gone! I did also make gluten free cupcakes for my gluten intolerant guests.

Tell us about any special personal touches, or creative projects you made yourselves (we love that stuff!)

We wanted our wedding to be really personal to us. So one project we started was collecting old wedding photos from both sides of our families and putting them in frames (mismatched and from charity shops) to display- it became a really talking point, and people were trying to guess who was who in photos from 50+ years ago.
We also collected decorative wine bottles and put lights in them for table decorations, as well as using corks for name place holders and table numbers.
Another idea I loved was having photos of me and Taylor as children, and it was amazing how many of them were so similar in nature (sat in paddling pools/ holding Christmas presents/wearing our dads work boots). We made a game out of it the day before the wedding- match the photos. I separated them into Taylor and Olivia piles and our wedding party had to try and match them up. Then we put them on the tables back to back so people could see how far we have both come.

Outdoor party games for adults as well as children. Flamingo hoopla, welly wanging, coconut shy. Great fun! Although we did lose a welly- we looked for it forever before giving up.

Did you have any wedding readings? What were they?

We had a traditional church wedding and the reading was given by our reverend.

What was your first dance song? Why did you choose it?

Our first dance song was How long will I love you- sung by Ben Coleman, Jon Boden, and Sam Sweeney (from About Time). We spent a long time trying to decide which song to choose but this one always made us want to dance together in the living room.

Other favourite wedding suppliers

My hair was done by my family friend Rebecca Dix- she helped me find a style I really liked. I didn’t really know what I wanted but when I told her about the rest of the wedding and my dress she had a few suggestions for me and we tried out a few. Even on the morning of the wedding she was making sure I stayed hydrated and stopped so I could eat some breakfast.

My makeup artist was recommended by my hairdresser. I know nothing about makeup- it has never really interested me. I wanted a really natural, light makeup look and Jade helped me achieve that. She was great!

We decided on a DJ for our wedding reception as we have quite an eclectic mix of musical styles- we hired Offbeat Entertainment. Sebastian was great- he asked us for a list of about 20 songs which we love and even asked us if there were songs which were absolutely not allowed to be played. We hired him to play some background music for the start of the reception as well.

Claire Gould

Claire spends her days writing - either in beautiful calligraphy or online. She lives on the edge of the English Lake District only minutes away from the beach, where she loves to escape and unwind. Claire's calligraphy can be found at www.byMoonandTide.com. Claire launched the English Wedding Blog in November 2009 - it's been a top 10 UK wedding blog ever since, with a regional focus we hope you LOVE.


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