The first wedding of 2019 is approaching and, before I get sucked well and truly into this season, I am reflecting on last year's weddings. Today I'm looking back at this one, Sophie and Tom's Dorset wedding weekend. Now this wedding was epic in so many ways, I'm not entirely sure how to do it justice but I'll give it my best shot.
I'll start with the couple, Sophie and Tom. Laid back, warm hearted, kind souls with a huge zest for life, fun and celebration. Like many of my couples, they live in the States. Sophie's Mum is American, her Dad Belgium (but lives now between London and Dorset). Tom is a Brit and they both now live and work in California. They wanted to get married and celebrate at Sophie's Dad's home in Dorset. Before I had even visited the venue, Sophie had described her ideal day to me, via a 5am phone call and using various pictures she'd taken earlier that year of the different areas around the property. Above all else there was one really important part of the day that Sophie and Tom had their mind's set on - that was an outdoor ceremony in the woodland that surrounded the house.
A couple of weeks after this call, I travelled solo to Dorset to meet with Sophie's family and to view the site that was the family home. After a warm welcome and a cup of tea, I was shown to the woodland ceremony area. To paint a brief picture, it was cold, wet and muddy. I had to wear my wellies, I had to walk through the horses field and, when I got there, it was pretty overgrown and difficult to access. To say that Sophie's family were sceptical about the prospect of the ceremony being held here (the guest list was 200) was a pretty massive understatement. On the face of it, I took their point. But... this was the kind of space - that if you just half squinted your eyes and let them go a little blurry, if you let go of the annoying obvious details (like the stinging nettles, the overgrown wooded areas, the uneven ground, the difficultly of access) - held a little bit of magic about it. We'll make it work, I remember cheerfully announcing (although we will need a wet weather plan... I'll never drift too far away from being a planner).
Then on to the reception and dining space. This was earmarked to take place in the barn. From the outside the barn was beautiful, old stone, huge and in-keeping. Inside held huge potential, but we couldn't really see much of it. The barn was, at that time, storage for all kinds of items from ladders and old tables through to lanterns, lights and sports equipment. It was piled high. But there were grand plans in the making for a transformation - a declutter, a rewire, a new floor. All of this seemed inconceivable in just a few months but, if pulled off, the space, I had no doubt would be epic (which, off course, it was).
BELL TENT VILLAGE
The final discussion of that first trip was guest accommodation. Sophie and Tom wanted a 3 day celebration (why wouldn't you?) across the Friday, Saturday and Sunday. They also had guests travelling from all over. Guest accommodation was going to be tricky to find for the 200 guest lists. So, for the younger contingent, it was decided that there should be a bell tent village set up.
I walked away from that meeting with a fairly large mental to do list and a feeling of excitement in my stomach. I will not lie, this wedding took more planning than the average, it took a bigger supplier team than most but, it was so worth it. This will forever go down in my wedding memory bank, Sophie and Tom, thank you for having me.
Huge Supplier Thank You and Credit to:
Joe Short Photographer
Moon and Back Films
Rabbit and Rose Catering
Mel Kinsman Make Up
Louise Leave Hair
Atlantic Soul Orchestra
The Wild Fox Florist
Outdoor Power Sound
Cartol String Quarter
Degree Duo Band