David and Lauren had a Scandi theme for their outdoor wedding during the 2018 heatwave. A simple colour palate of greys and whites, lots of eucalyptus, gold terrariums and copper. The food took centre stage at this chic event… and their beloved dog Gatsby!
We married during the height of the 2018 heatwave and Hidden Valley looked like the Serengeti!
Q. What was most important to you when it came to tying the knot/celebrating your marriage?
A. Having a relaxed wedding day with everything organised so we had nothing to worry about on the day itself. We also really wanted to make the day as easy as possible for our friends and family so we chose a church and venue within walking distance of each other, so we wouldn’t lose time travelling between venues. We had bell tents in the field for guests to stay overnight, which meant the party didn’t ever really have to end!
Q. How did you chose your venue and suppliers?
A. We knew we wanted an outdoor reception venue so started searching for fields online. We came across Fiesta Fields and before we knew it we’d booked their stunning field; Hidden Valley. The package gave us land hire, overnight camping, security, posh toilets and generator hire. Hidden Valley couldn’t have been a more perfect venue for our wedding reception. It’s an absolutely stunning location and gave us the blank canvas we were looking for. It’s also just a stones throw from St Nicholas Church Peper Harow. A beautiful church, looked after by the most lovely team.
We fell in love with the light, open and sunny space of Papakata’s Sperry Tents. Again we discovered them online and their Instagram, where they feature so many of their beautiful couples weddings, was great for inspiration.
Fiesta Fields invited us along to a free menu tasting with a caterer they knew well (Four Gables) with some of their other couples, which was lovely.
We loved that Four Gables had catered in our venue before and that they could create a menu based on all of the foods we love, rather than us having to pick from a set list of dishes.
I found a lot of suppliers on Instagram. Our amazing videographers, Laura and Alex, create the most incredible videos, capturing the fun of your day in the most epic style. Our photographer’s dreamy, candid, relaxed Australian style, and her love of dogs was perfect for our day. Our florist Rosie completely got our flower vision – lots of eucalyptus garlands on the tables with peach Juliet roses, eucalyptus flower crowns for the bridesmaids and I, and a garland for Gatsby our dog.
We had beautiful silver birch trees running up the poles of our tent, which are now in our garden at home!
Our band were absolutely off-the-scale incredible. They have a drum kit which lights up different colours to the beat, and the dance floor wasn’t empty once!
Q. Where did you get your ideas and inspiration?
A. Pinterest and Instagram. One of my favourite pieces we made ourselves was our copper table plan. David used copper pipe to create a stand and then we hung our table plan cards from it with ribbon and tucked some eucalyptus around the edge. It cost very little to make and, as we didn’t have many walls to stand a frame against, it worked perfectly.
We were very particular about our table settings. I wanted floor length grey table cloths and gold cutlery. There were numerous emails back and forth with our caterers about the length of the table cloths!
Q. Tell us about your dress
A. My dress was a two piece set from Houghton NYC. I tried it on in a bridal shop and then came across an online bridal shop who had the dress in my size. I was nervous about buying the dress online, when I hadn’t seen it in person or tried it on, but the owners were amazing and sent me photos of every inch of the dress! It was at a much reduced cost to the one I tried in the bridal store, which was a big bonus. The dress arrived in perfect condition and after some alterations it was perfect. I’d really recommend doing your research before you go ahead and buy in-store as you never know what’s out there!
I paired my dress with a veil from the super lovely team at Miss Bush Bridal in Ripley. Their gorgeous bridal shop is in a charming old chapel and the ladies even added a tie to my train so I could pin it up for the dance floor – talk about good service! Lastly, my shoes… I had these bespoke made by the wonderful Faber Novella and they were the dream. I handpicked everything from the colour (my something blue) to the contrasting gold block heel, the toe shape and heel height. They can send you sample colours to choose from and they even post you a pair of shoes so you can check the sizing. As they don’t look like traditional bridal shoes I’ve worn them loads since the wedding.
Q. What was on the menu?
A. Where to start! We love our food and we knew it would be a big part of our day.
Our arrival drinks were Hendrinks and tonic, elderflower and Beer Moretti. We had a salmon station for guests to help themselves to and various other light canapés.
Goats cheese mousse, baby beets, marinated artichokes and smoked aubergine purée on an edible garden.
Chateaubriand with a BBQ and red vino jus.
Caramelised onion, Gorgonzola and field mushroom pathivier (V)
All served with crisp sweet potato fries, truffle mac ‘n’ cheese and a seasonal garden salad
Rhubarb and custard creme brûlée
Lemon meringue pie Cornetto
Super Sticky toffee lollies
Coconut sorbet with lime caviar
Everything was served in boxes which we both took turns to pour dry ice over at each table! This was all washed down with espresso martinis and fudge.
Evening food was beef or veggie burritos with a shot of tequila on the side and a cheese board.
Four Gables have a super cool, navy VW camper van bar where we served some of our favourite cocktails.
Our cake was Limoncello and coconut on one tier and elderflower and lemon on the other.
Q. What was the quirkiest element of the day?
A. Probably our dog Gatsby being our ring bearer in the church. He trotted down the aisle with our rings attached around his eucalyptus collar!
We played music to introduce the wedding party and flared rose gold confetti canons into the tent as they all walked in!
Q. What advice would you give other brides looking for a similar style of event?
A. Don’t panic about the weather but do remember that if it’s going to hot there’s as much to think about as wet weather. In the days before our wedding, when we realised the heatwave was sticking around, we had to order paper hand fans, hire industrial fans and make sure we didn’t leave anything reflective outside in the sun. We also had a strict no candle rule and set up a smoking bench to contain any smokers as the fire risk was so high. We left some pens by the bench so people could leave us messages and it’s now taken pride of place at our dining table at home. It’s a nice alternative to the traditional wedding message book and we get to read it everyday!
Also, Remember to factor in clearing the field the next day and getting friends and family to help you. We stayed over in beautiful bell tents with our guests and some of them helped us clear down the next morning before the suppliers arrived to remove everything. I had the wedding blues seeing everything come down. There were a few sore heads, and the heatwave to contend with. It was pretty exhausting but you’re on such a high you don’t mind!
Lastly, book your band and videographer as early as you can, as when they are as incredible as ours were, they get booked up super quickly.
Q. What was your favourite memory from the day?
A. Everything! I know that’s a cop out. One of my favourite memories was when the wedding car broke down outside the church after the ceremony (!) so we hopped into our air conditioned Land Rover (it was 29C the day we got married so it was heaven) and got to the field before our other guests arrived. David, Gatsby and I got to see all our hard work come together and have a little moment together before our guests walked down into the valley. Seeing their reactions as they spotted the tent, in what looked like the Serengeti, with the beating sun and long yellow grass was amazing. Everyone was blown away by the venue and it was a really special moment.
Our first dance was to Coldplay’s Sky Full of Stars.
Photography – www.maryparkerweddings.com
Sperry Tent – www.papakata.co.uk
Land Hire (Hidden Valley) – www.fiestafields.co.uk
Essentials package from Fiesta Fields includes land hire, posh loos, generator, security and on the day coordination.
Bell Tents – www.baylilybelltents.co.uk
Catering & Bar – www.fourgablesgroup.com
Band – www.adamchandler.co.uk/We_Light_It_Up_Band.html
Flowers – www.rosieorr.co.uk
Cake – www.forever-cakes.co.uk
Hair and makeup – www.laurenelisewright.com
Dress – The Lovers Bride www.houghtonnyc.com
Veil – www.missbush.co.uk
Bride’s Shoes – www.fabernovella.com
Equipment/lighting – www.farnhamsoundandlight.co.uk
Stationery – www.plewsy.com
Bridesmaid Dresses – www.asos.com
Groomsmen’s Suits – www.reiss.com