Outdoor weddings are very special, because no two weddings are ever really the same! You have the freedom to start from a blank canvas and build your dream day from the ground up. This could not be more true for todays gorgeous couple Kate and Tom, who firmly printed their own unique stamp all over their tipi woodland wedding at Wasing Park Estate, with inspiring DIY handy work and support from loyal friends, family and some brilliant suppliers. Captured by the talented duet Benni Carol photography.
Kate Says ” We wanted to achieve an enchanted forest with a touch of vintage and festival theme thrown in the mix which I think we achieved. For the day we didn’t want anything too traditional and we wanted the day to reflect ourselves in as much as we are both quite laid back (maybe a bit crazy) people, well especially Tom! We both enjoy a good party and all we wanted were for all of our guests to just have the best time ever! We had so many amazing messages saying it really was the best wedding they had ever been to so I was so overwhelmed as the hard work really had paid off. We wanted the day to be more of fun and laughter for everyone creating a big party feeling rather the following the usual wedding traditions!”
Tell us a little bit about your dress and its details?
My dress was very simple, I am not a fancy girlie girl, however, I thought my dress was very elegant but still simple. It had long sleeves and an open back effect and then just sheer material for the bottom. It suited me and I think the style suited the venue too. I was so glad I hadn’t spent thousands as it was literally black in the morning! I don’t think doing the caterpillar in your wedding dress in the woods outside, meant it was ever going to stay white!
Who was your dress designer and boutique?
I just bought my dress from Wed2b, with it being an outside wedding I refused to pay a lot for a dress which was ultimately going to get ruined and boy did it get ruined! Of course, I wanted to look nice on my wedding day but I could not justify spending thousands the dress.
Could you give us a little detail about any of your accessories?
I wore some diamond earrings my mother in law had leant me for the day, but apart from that I was accessory free. No veil as I didn’t think it suited my dress, I did have some baby breath flowers in my hair which I must say looked really lovely.
Tell us a little bit about your bridesmaids/ groomsmen/ flower girls/ page boys.
Toms Brother and Best friend Jack were the Best Men. My brother Luke and Toms two other close friends, Cameron, Daniel were ushers.
I had my best friend Nicky as Maid of Honour with my other close friend Laura and Toms two sisters Sam and Jennie as my bridesmaids. All the girls had variations of the colour pastel pink dresses but they all had different dresses. I did not want to have them all in the same colour as they are all very different, and as long as they were happy with what they were wearing I was happy. I think having the different again worked well with our laid-back approach to our wedding. We had our Children as flower girl and page boy, Florrie and Taylor carried the rings down the aisle.
Who did your make-up and hair?
Makeup was done by Christiane Dowling. Hair was done by Shelly Fowler – Guys and Dolls hairdressers Swindon.
We did our own wedding invitations through a website and app – it was a great way to save money and super different to anything else we had seen! We had fun putting it together, it was really easy and so personable to us.
Flowers and Florist details
Ruby and Grace Florist.
Did you work within a Budget? If so how did you allocate it?
We did have a budget which, like many people we did exceed! We know what the costs of the venue were and compared to other venues it was very cheap, but our venue was a blank canvas which meant it did not have anything including electric. So we did underestimate the cost of everything when it was all finalised. You think of doing everything yourself will save you thousands when in reality it really doesn’t, well it didn’t for us anyway but it was worth every penny.
Could you describe your ceremony and details?
Our ceremony was an outside ceremony, We had white chiavari chairs with silver galvanised pots filled with baby breath flowers running down the middle to make the aisle. A vintage bike with a homemade sign rested against it and the back basket filled with confetti cones for people to help themselves. We also had a guitarist before the ceremony playing some music whilst people came to be seated. He then played the song “no ones gonna love you quite like I do” by Band of Horses for when I walked up the aisle. My dad and stepdad walked me down the aisle. The alter was filled with flowers both sides, it looked simply stunning. The sun was shining making it a beautiful setting in the open fields beyond.
The ceremony itself was short and sweet. My maid of honour did a reading and we chose Toms uncle and my Auntie to be our witnesses. After the ceremony we walked back down the aisle to the Bruno Mars Song, “I think I wanna Marry you” as that had a lot of meaning to us from the proposal.
Did you have any specific readings?
Nicky read a poem called – A passage from the Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. Nicky has known us both for a long time and understands the journey Tom went on to finally track me down. She picked this one as Nicky felt it represented our love and journey perfectly.
What did you do for food?
We used Nyama Catering.
These guys are amazing! Took all the stress out of everything! We wanted a BBQ style menu for our main and then we did a hog roast for the evening food! The food was a huge hit with plenty to go around.
We then hired an ice cream van for the dessert, this was a bit of fun for everyone which also went down really well, especially with the children.
What was your cake like?
Our cake was three tiers, all iced cream with real natural flowers attached by hessian string going around, it looked incredible! The cake was created by Rachel, owner of Lily loves Cakes.
Where did you save money and how did you splurge?
We saved money by doing all of our own decorations as mentioned above. Another money saver was on our invitiations. We did a website and app which only cost around 30 pounds and it was very personalised. I am so glad I went down this route as people really loved it.
Can you tell us about your reception venue?
Our reception was down in the woods, as soon as we saw this venue we knew it was for us! It really is a blank canvas where you are able to make it exactly as you would like it! The space is huge filled with enormous glorious trees beaming down! We hired a tipi through Stunning Tents which was a huge feature for our outside wedding as it gave us that festival feeling, and decorated it in a way to achieve the vintage feel.
I had made all of the decorations and signs for the wedding which were darted all around the venue. We hung vintage bunting inside and had decorated copious amounts of glass pots filled with wildflowers (locally picked from the field) with candles on all of the tables. We made an outside pop up bar for after the ceremony in two parts. Our first one was immediately after the ceremony where I had bought a Victorian flower cart where all of the prosecco was placed on for people after the ceremony so they could have a drink and mingle. We hired golf buggies to take them down to the woods, we wanted everyone to be able to have a couple of drinks for before they got to the woods, when they got there the second pop up bar awaited. We had kilner jars filled of Pimms and the bag in the box Cider on top of stacked up pallets with Ivy running all around the edges alongside a metal wheelbarrow full of beers and soft drinks. There was a wooden vintage ladder on top of two hay bales, filled with cups and straws already full of fruit for the Pimms and 1/2 pint ones for the cider. We had festoon lighting all around the venue and bamboo flares running up the hessian walkway to the Tipi.
The trees had uplighters in also, the lighting really made it look incredible as dusk started to set in. We had used bunting around the venue, between trees and around the main wooden bar. I had an area which I didn’t really know what to do with as it was near the band area and night bar so I decided to make photo booth area, we made a whole wooden backboard with a hole cut out covered by a photo frame for people to stand behind and placed a vintage sofa in front of the board. We had a vintage light one side and a coathook to the other side with various fancy dress items on it, we also had vintage suitcases filled with props, wigs etc. Then in front of the sofa a vintage rug and steamer on with a vintage phone as another prop. we then bought a camera and tripod and set it up with a 10 second delay for people to take their own photos! We have some great photos from this, it really went down well. We also had a type writer in this area for guests to write their best wishes to the new mr and mrs. We used our friend Shaun to run our main bar for us once the free drinks had gone, He runs a nightclub where we live and Tom has known him for years so we felt we were in good hands having him run our bar! I think our guests near enough ran the bar dry!
Other details and decor, were there any personal touches?
All the decoration was done by myself, I spent many hours travelling around the country picking up vintage bikes, buckets, wheel barrows, ladders etc! I also made all the signs myself out of pallets and varnished skirting boards. I individually sprayed each letter to make the words using letter templates, it was very time consuming but they looked great and saved us a lot of money.
What did you do for entertainment?
We had the most fantastic band called The Tritts and numbers! These guys were so suited for our wedding. We had the band outside, it really felt like a mini festival, the party really got started with all the boys taking their shirts off and lifting the girls onto their shoulders! Tom and I were up on the stage singing and dancing with the band, they were worth every penny as they really made for a truly memorable end to the day.
Tell us briefly how you both met as a couple?
Well, Tom and I had actually known each other for about 16 years! Tom is one of my brothers best friends. We had been on holidays together, family functions and Tom had always told me I was the love of his life and one day he would make an honest woman out of me, but back then I only saw him as my brother’s annoying friend! As we got older we did stay in contact, I had moved away but whenever I came back to our hometown he would always try to take me out for dinner or casually pop over to my mums to see my “brother” – of course with no hidden agenda!
I had finally moved back to Swindon when a previous relationship had ended. Tom got wind of this and told his friend he was going to ask me out for dinner for one last time, he said 8 years of rejection was enough, well, I agreed to dinner and let’s just say the rest is history! It was quite a fairy tale ending really and one of my signs I had made did say “Once in a while, right in the middle of ordinary life, love gives us a fairytale” and as soppy as it is, these words really sum up our journey.
Please share a little bit about the proposal?
The proposal was a very big surprise indeed. Tom had organised a surprise birthday party for me with all of my family and closest friends. As the party went on and the cake was done, one of my friends said to me, “Kate, you need to come over here” Tom was sat there with a guitar, considering he doesn’t play the guitar I thought it was slightly odd! He had, in fact, had 4 guitar lessons and had learnt “Bruno Mars, I think I want to marry you” He sat there, sung his heart out and said at the end “Kate Zammit, I think I want to Marry you!” Here is the link if you wish to watch! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MyUPeyDQ-Uc
What are your top tips for other couples getting married outdoors?
Organisation is absolutely key, especially in the likes of ours where it was a blank canvas. If you are putting on drinks yourself in different areas you need to make sure you have fridge / freezes to store everything in the night before as these sort of things can only be set up in the morning. You need to organise your ushers for certain jobs. I did a spreadsheet of a to do list for each person and their assigned jobs. People thought I was mad but there was so much for them to do in the morning, things that didnt sound a lot but when its all together it really needs proper planning.
Also for the weather, you must plan for the worst case scenario, the night before our wedding it was due to rain so everything had to be covered with tarpaulins, as otherwise all the hay bale seating would of been soaked, the photobooth area would of been ruined! The wines needed to be put on the tables of the tipi but that needed to be done as late as possible as the white wine needed to be cold and if you have a hot day it doesnt take long for it to lose its chill. Ice buckets needed filling, processco bottles needd popping etc, all before the ceremony! Give yourselves plenty of time, plan for what you think it will take and add at least an hour on as it always takes longer than you think as there is always something that doesnt go to plan!
The bride does not want to be worrying about this on the morning when she is getting ready so thats why the spreadsheet worked for me as they had to tick it all off. I then got my sister in law to do one final check of what the boys had done! As long as you are organised it is all doable. Also for the weather, you must have a back up plan for bringing the outside in should it turn out to be a rainy day, we were very lucky as it happened to be a lovely day and in all honesty, had we of had to bring everything outside in to the tipi it really would not have been the same wedding. So you really must ask yourself if it would still be your dream wedding should the weather be awful and you can’t get married outside or have your reception / evening outside as you may want to think of an alternative that you would equally love as much as your first idea. I would not of changed a thing but then we were one of the lucky ones with the weather!
What were your three most memorable moments from the day?
The speeches will stay with me forever, the best men did the most incredible job, they did a couple of songs from beauty and the beast. they had everyone up dancing and also got Tom and I up to dance, as we hadn’t planned on doing a first dance. So in fact they made it happen, but in a way where everyone was also involved! It was such a different way of doing the speeches, they of course said all the funny, lovely words but they made it so much more special but thinking so far out the box!
Everyone up dancing at the end of the night was another great memory, me doing the worm across the dance floor, well bark, as it was all outside!
And, actually the ceremony, it wasnt part of the day I was really looking forward to but I loved walking down the aisle hearing the song we had picked and saying our vows.
Kate and Tom were also lucky enough to have a Jake Webb Photography with them for the day who created this gorgeous video.
Thanks for reading
Looking for help planning your outdoor wedding? Have a quick browse of our brand new online planning sessions for brides looking for guidance on their special day.