Today we have a guest blog from one of our brides. Louisa & Thomas married at Spirit Lake earlier this year. Louisa enjoyed planning their wedding so much that she has spent the last couple of months working on other events with the Fiesta Fields team in preparation for her new career in weddings and events. Over to you Lou…



For years I had thought I had my wedding all planned out, all I needed was a groom! But once the question had finally been asked (and accepted!) I suddenly realised that planning a wedding would be a huge undertaking and I had no idea what I wanted! The thought of looking for suppliers and locations became very daunting but I was lucky that I had a starting point with the church (where I grew up) and a dream of an outdoor marquee reception. So one evening, I sat down with my laptop and gin and tonic and googled “land for hire, Surrey”. One of the top results was Fiesta Fields and from taking just 5 minutes on their website I was hooked! One of their venues (Spirit Lake) just looked idyllic and was a short drive from the church – perfection! My (now) husband and I met Kim a week later at the site and it was everything we had hoped for! Beautiful surroundings with lakes and woodland, and far enough from the main road there was no traffic noise. Before we even left the site we had made the decision…we had found our wedding reception venue! Fiesta Fields offered us the Essentials Package which included the land hire, use of a generator, posh toilets, onsite security as well as the full event day coordination.

I always envisioned a white marquee reception in a glorious outdoor setting, I had found the setting and now onto the marquee. The main reason I wanted a marquee was to have a blank canvas where I could get creative inside. I was able to organise every detail as I wanted!

One Six Events quoted me for a traditional vintage pole tent with full ivory linings. I loved it. One of my favourite part of the wedding planning process was sorting out the decorations for inside the marquee, but more on that later…



So with the venue and marquee booked I turned my attention to my dress. I had many ideas in my head of what I wanted to wear. My first thought was lace! I wanted all the lace! It looked so romantic and elegant in the pictures and an A-Line style was my vision. My first dress search experience was at WED2B in Camberley. This is an off-the-rack place where you don’t need an appointment. I went on my own to scope some styles out and I confirmed my belief that a sheath dress was not my style. It was on the 2nd visit with some bridesmaids where I found a full head-to-toe lace sheath dress that was stunning and didn’t make me look frumpy! I ended up buying this gorgeous Mediterranean looking dress and taking it home with me. A few weeks later I realised it wasn’t for me and it didn’t give me the full wow factor! I was able to return it and my dress search continued. After more dress shopping experiences, including a lovely experience at May and Grace Bridal in Haslemere, I realised my dream dress was just that…a dream! There wasn’t a dress that would live up to my expectations, so it was then I decided to get one made!

That was when I found Caroline Arthur. I went to visit her at her home studio in Surrey and together we put my dream dress onto paper. I wanted classic, elegant and sophisticated with a slight modern twist. Simple front with bateau neckline with a full lace deep back with underarm slits. 8 months later I was able to try her on for the first time and I can’t explain the feeling! Every bride will know when she sees herself in her wedding dress for the first time it is an incredible feeling. I was ecstatic!

I already had my wedding shoes; plain white satin kitten heels from Pink by Paradox London (via Debenhams) which I dyed navy blue to match the groom & ushers and added lace applique to match my dress. I then just needed my veil and headpiece. The veil was ordered via Lace & Favour and was a Joyce Jackson chapel length veil with lace appliques on the end. I ordered a hair comb with dried flowers from Sophie & Luna (found via Not On The High Street) and my look was complete!



Luckily for me, I had a family friend who has an aunt who is a florist (Farrington Florist). I’ve seen her work before at other weddings and events and I knew she had an incredible talent. I was very happy that I was able to just give her some colour ideas and a theme and she would do the rest. We met up at the church a few months before the wedding to run through what my ideal vision would be. She ran through the various flowers she had in mind (as well as a handy book to show me images) and gave me her input if I suggested something that might not have worked. We came up with a “whimsical” theme, and she suggested lots of greenery and baby’s breath to hang from chandeliers and bannisters. For the reception it was a lot of the same. Green and white with hints of pink throughout. The end result was better than I could have ever hoped for! You can certainly tell this woman has a gift as all the colours and textures and details all just blended perfectly together. I couldn’t have asked for anything more.



The search for a photographer and videographer for your wedding is quite a big task! You are searching for someone who will capture moments from your wedding which you will look back on for the rest of your life! I don’t envy the people who do this as a job, as that’s a lot of pressure to live up to! By the time I had started looking for photo/video I was already signed up with Fiesta Fields. They have a page on their website with suppliers who they have worked with before, so I had a look on there first. That is where I came across Abigail White Photography.

I loved her approach and she just came across really friendly. She was local to us so we went over to her house one evening and she went through some of her previous work, and we just clicked! She was very relaxed and was more focused on getting natural pictures rather than the serious “posed” pictures that I’ve seen on other websites, which is what we wanted. A few hours later at home, we decided we didn’t want to meet with anyone else, and she was booked! We also signed up for an engagement shoot at the reception venue (suggested by her) so she could get to know us and the venue, as well as us getting used to being in front of a camera.

On the day itself, she was very calm and relaxed which made the rest of us feel calm and just flitted in and out of guests without interrupting them (which I and the guests were very grateful for). The end result speaks for itself! Perfect photography which captured the magic of the day.

For the videographer, I spent a lot of time looking at various people as I had a set idea in mind of the style I was after. I knew I wanted a highlights video which captured the main parts of the day. I didn’t want the church service filmed, as I wanted to keep that part private between us and the people we had invited. The rest was to show those who couldn’t be there a glimpse of the day, and to give those who were there something to look back on for years to come. Fleeting moments in time caught on film shows everyone smiling from ear to ear from the start all the way to the finish. In the end I chose Leslie Chouchard Videography. The videographer (Dan) was great and again worked around everyone and kept enough distance that guests were not disturbed, again we were all grateful. Both Thomas and I are extremely happy with both photography and videography, and so far I’ve had nothing but good feedback which is just what I wanted.


I was lucky that a co-worker had a friend who was in the cake business! Over the past few years I’ve even sampled her work with leftover cake brought in from birthdays. Rima Hassan (Yummy Bakes) is a lovely woman and she was able to help give me ideas on what I could have. I knew I wanted a naked cake to fit in the relaxed and rustic theme, and there was a cake she had done previously that looked perfect!

She sent me a list of flavour choices for both the sponge and fillings, and we selected 4 (1 flavour for each tier). A few months before the wedding she brought a whole lot of samples for us to taste, along with the tins to show us the size of each tier. After filling up on cake and toppings, we came up with red velvet, lemon drizzle, Oreo cookie and then a gluten and dairy free vanilla sponge with passion fruit curd for the top tier (so I could actually eat the cake on the day!). The end result was just perfect!

As we arrived to the reception venue I quickly checked in on the marquee and she was still there putting the final masterpiece together (with the help of the florist). I was so glad I got to see her again and say a massive thank you. The cake was delicious, and again I’ve had nothing but compliments. I took my tier home and froze it so I can keep eating it when I wish.



To make the wedding perfect, I wanted to make sure the day got off to a good start. I had always fantasied getting ready in bespoke silk robes with my bridal party, so I got some robes from The Little Lovebird which had our names on the front and our roles on the back. I got mine in an ivory colour and the bridesmaids in an ice blue. The result was just as I had imagined. I had also got all my bridesmaids a little goody bag with some personalised hangers from The Laser Engraving Company along with some cosmetics from L’Occitane and some bespoke earrings designed and made by another family friend of mine called Harriet Broadfoot.


I got ready at a family friends house, about 20 minutes from the church. This family has been my second family all my life, so it was incredibly special to get ready there. Situated in the middle of a deer park, it also gave the photographer/videographer the perfect setting for detailed shots of natural woodland. Hair and makeup arrived bright and early. Luckily, I had a friend from school who is a professional hair and makeup artist (Olivia Fowler Make-Up) so it was lovely to have someone I knew getting us dolled up. It was a lovely and relaxed morning of pampering and champagne surrounded by my best girls and family.


Olivia had the help of Rose Redrup who luckily for me was a master in loose curls and plaits, and she gave me a lovely boho inspired hairstyle. I loved the final look, and along with a very natural makeup I just had to put my dress on! I followed the traditional Something Old (my mother’s sapphire earrings), New (dress), Borrowed (garter) and Blue (shoes) and with my dress on and veil in place, I was ready to go. My dad came in first, and Abigail got some lovely shots of his “first look”. It was a very moving moment as my mum died when I was young, so it was just us two, and Abigail captured the moment perfectly.


The boys were staying at the local pub just minutes from the church, so their morning was slightly more relaxed (they just had to get dressed before 2pm!). Both Abigail and Dan managed to get over to their location and got some shots of the boys getting ready, as well as some guests who had arrived early and getting in a quick pint before the proceedings.

I’m a massive Harry Potter fan and one of Thomas’ ushers thought it would be a lovely touch to wear socks of the houses and Thomas to wear the Hogwarts ones (which I was so touched by!!)


The car was supplied by a friend of a friend and was a beautiful burgundy Austin 18; which was to me the ideal wedding transport. I actually ended up getting to the church 20 minutes early!! We had to sit in the car a few minutes away from the church to avoid being seen by the arriving guests. I truly believe that that was the only moment of the whole day where I actually felt nervous. Sitting still was a killer! I suddenly thought I was too young to get married (I was 28). It gave me and my dad a nice chance to talk, but there wasn’t much to say. We’d said it all before, so it was nice just to sit and reflect.



We decided on a traditional church ceremony in a tiny little village in the middle of the Surrey hills. It wasn’t too focused on the religious aspects as neither of us are very religious and most of our guests weren’t either. We chose some fun hymns to sing as well as some modern readings. The service was quick and over in 45 minutes which I personally think was the perfect length for us. We decided on a 3pm service so the length between service and dinner wasn’t too long and also gave the guests time to have lunch at a decent time before hand.



The venue had this idyllic walled garden area which was perfect for a drinks reception and a place for all the guests to mingle and play some croquet whilst photographs were being taken. It was hidden away from the rest of the site so when the guests were called to dinner, they emerged through a gap in a hedge and were greeted by the lakes, marquee and tons of greenery! It was everything we had hoped for and more!



I had 5 bridesmaids with all different looks and styles, so I knew from the offset that I was going to have them in different style dresses. A friend of mine mentioned a bridal shop in Ashtead which supplied Dessy dresses which are made and shipped from America. They had 100’s of dresses in various colours, so I knew this was going to be the right place for me! I managed to get each of the girls to try on various styles and narrowed it down to two colours (blush & dusty rose) which blended in with the flowers and colour scheme I had in mind perfectly. Each girl picked a dress and colour and we were in business! The dresses took 10 weeks to be made and shipped, but we were all happy with the results (after a few alterations).

 There’s only one place really for the boys to get their suits; Moss Bros. We always knew we were going to hire the suits as we wanted all the ushers to be in tails. We tried on black, grey and navy blue and decided the blue was the best colour to suit Thomas. Various waistcoats, ties and pocket squares were then tried to find the perfect match, and we ended up with navy blue suits, navy blue waistcoats for the ushers and an ivory waistcoat for Thomas along with baby pink tie and pocket square to match bridesmaids. Nice and simple! All the boys got measured in their local Moss Bros. store which were then sent to the Guildford branch for us to pick up a few days before the wedding.


I knew I wanted small centrepieces, and I came across a display in M&S where there was a gin bottle inside a big glass dome with flowers and micro lights inside. It was like a light-bulb moment for me. This was perfect! So, Thomas and I sat down and decided our table names would be our favourite Gin, Whisky & Rums. We then had to source the bottles and make sure they were empty (an added bonus was drinking lots of variations of gin and whisky throughout the process).

I purchased the glass domes and lights from Lights4Fun, so all that was left was the flowers. I searched high and low for mini orchids that would fit but couldn’t find any that were not synthetic, so in the end that’s what I went for. It was 3 days before the wedding that I went to the Royal Chelsea Flower Show with a friend and we came across a stand selling miniature orchids and it was like fate! I walked away with 16 orchids for the table and they were simply stunning as part of the table displays. My centrepieces were coming together, and when matched with a floral wreath supplied by the florist and some wooden discs to raise them off the table slightly the centrepieces were complete!


I gave myself a little more to do because planning a wedding almost completely myself wasn’t a big enough task, and so I made 200m of bunting as well to put around the walls of the marquee. I also decided to design and create individual menus for the guests. Working with a friend who designed the rest of the on-the-day stationery completed the set. A few days before the wedding I went into town and got a few more decoration ideas (signs, guestbook, advice cards etc) and I was done!


I knew I always wanted quite a traditional evening, so after the drinks reception we sat down for speeches and then a 3-course meal (catered by Moodies). Our menu consisted of;
Kilner Jars of Smoked Salmon served with a beetroot remoulade and sweet olive toasts
Roast confit of bacon served with vine tomatoes in a porcini mushroom dressing
Warm root vegetable and chilli tart tatin

Duo of honey-roast duck braised and slow cooked confit duck let served with a port glaze and sweet potato & thyme puree
Roasted fillet of salmon served with a rocket and basil grana padano pesto, lemon oil & crushed potatoes
Mediterranean risotto with chopped tomatoes and spinach with parmesan, basil & nutmeg

Bitter chocolate and orange tart served with candied kumquats and a pistachio wafer
Sticky toffee pudding served with hot caramel sauce and poached fruit
Lemon posset served with raspberries, dark chocolate curls and shortbread thins.


After the meal, Thomas and I snuck outside with Abigail for some alone time and couple shots and a few of me alone. We love these images so much.


For evening entertainment we had hired a photo booth (King of the Booth) which was set up in the marquee and was a great addition to the evening once the wine and beer had been flowing. We also had a live band (Good Company) who played for 2 hours. They were brilliant, and were found via Freak Music.

For our first dance we chose ‘You make it real’ by James Morrison. Thomas and I bonded over James’ music and this is such a beautiful song that has so much meaning for both of us.


As the light faded, we were treated to such a gorgeous sunset and Abigail got us back out for these romantic photos. The day had gone off without a hitch and we knew we had made wonderful memories that would last forever.



Working with Fiesta Fields to make our wedding day the best it could be was such a joy! As the day drew closer, multiple site visits and emails back and forth, and then a lunchtime meeting to run through the final timings of the day. I was working with Kim. She was incredibly knowledgeable about weddings and receptions and had some incredible guidance for both myself and Thomas.

We met at the site the day before once the marquee had gone up and went through the design elements and all the decorations we had provided. Me and a few friends put as much as we can up, but it was clear that a lot of the work was needed to be done on the Saturday morning. My dad ended up going to the site the next morning just to be an extra pair of hands. I was very comfortable leaving Kim to deal with things and she was constantly putting my mind at ease. The tables and decorations were perfect and just as I had requested. Kim was there from 9am to 9pm making sure everything ran smoothly. If there were any issues, I was not aware of them. She made sure we were running to time, and if I had any concerns or questions, she was there at my side to answer them.

My experience with Fiesta Fields was so great that I asked if I could work with them over the summer to get some work experience in the wedding event industry. They were happy to have me on board, and I’ve now worked on a few weddings and parties at a few of their locations and it has been amazing. I’ve loved the work, and they are such a lovely bunch of people I would recommend them to everyone if I could! They not only have some stunning locations throughout Surrey and Sussex, but they also have an abundance of knowledge about weddings and are willing to go above and beyond to make sure you have the best day possible.


I think my main advice to all future brides is to just ignore what the current trends or colours are! At the end of the day, it’s your wedding so you can have whatever you want. You won’t have someone writing a review of the day saying “her theme choice was so last year” or “rose gold isn’t on trend anymore”. You know what you want so just roll with it!

If you have a long engagement (mine was 15 months) then give yourself more to do throughout the year with handmade items like bunting. It gave me time to just sit and work on something for my wedding which a) kept the excitement going and b) gave me something to focus on if things got a little hectic or stressful.

Another piece of advice is Pinterest and Instagram are your friends, but just bear in mind that a lot of the photos will have been taken from weddings with a major budget or even a styled photoshoot. If you see something you like the idea of, have a look online to see if there are cheaper alternatives or something similar that won’t break the bank.

Finally, just remember that on the big day to smile and enjoy yourself! Everyone there are there to share the joy in your happy occasion, but don’t let yourself get swamped by relatives or friends for too long. Take some time just the two of you (a good excuse is to ask the photographer for some couple shots) and remember that if you don’t get a chance to speak to every person there then its ok! Eat, drink lots of water and not too much alcohol (you don’t want to wake up the morning after with a severe hangover or black outs from the day before) and remember that you’ll be looking back on this day for the rest of your lives! Good luck to you all, and I’m sure you’ll have a truly magical day like I did.

All the images in this blog are supplied courtesy of Abigail White Photo + Film.


Venue and on the day coordination / Fiesta Fields
Marquee / One Six Events
Videographer / Leslie Chouchard
Catering / Moodies
Dress / Caroline Arthur
Bride’s shoes / Pink by Paradox London
Veil / Joyce Jackson from Lace & Favour
Hairpiece / Sophie and Luna
Flowers / Farrington Florist
Cake / Yummy Bakes
Silk Robes / The Little Lovebird
Hangers / The Laser Engraving Company
Hair and Make up / Olivia Fowler and Rose Redrup
Bridesmaid dresses / Dessy c/o Brides Visited and Pearls and Lace
Suits / Moss Bros
Photobooth / King of the Booth
Band / Good Company


A few weeks back we hosted our first joint Fiesta Fields / Canvas & Light Open weekend at our gorgeous Hidden Valley in Godalming. It’s been a crazy two months and only just getting a chance to share these pics with you now.

We wanted to provide a really relaxed event where couples could view one of our beautiful venues set up for a festival style wedding, with stunning white tipis and a host of other awesome suppliers.

Empty tipis ready and waiting to be styled

Empty tipis ready and waiting to be styled


Over the months and weeks in the run up we were busy firming up the suppliers that would help us deliver the full festival wedding vibe.

Clare from Turmeric House – resident stylist at Canvas & Light – was involved throughout as she was leading the styling of the giant hat tipis to perfection.

The antique pendant installation started here

The antique pendant installation started here

Puppy love

Puppy love

On our way back from shooting the ceremony area

On our way back from shooting the ceremony area

We had Katrina from Beautiful Bells showcasing their chill out 7m bell, 5m and 4m sleeping bells as well as their exquisite draped couple bell.

Daddy bell, Baby bell, Mummy bell

Daddy bell, Baby bell, Mummy bell

Draped bridal bell

Draped bridal bell

Kayleigh, a local florist who owns The Flower Hub provided beautiful fresh floral inspiration and styled two tables in her festival inspired theme with crockery, cutlery and glassware from Couvert.

Just a sneak peak as these will be appearing on another blog very soon

Just a sneak peak as these will be appearing on another blog very soon

Emily from Faux Bloom added some awesome floral installations, both in the tipi and for our naked ceremony tipi. She also styled up the other set of tables.

Another sneak peak, will share full pics in another blog

Another sneak peak, will share full pics in another blog

Here’s Emily busily creating

Here’s Emily busily creating

The lovely Emmelina Stork, a photographer who is now offering her funky VW Photobus, with its awesome props.


Allison and Peter (a brother sister team) from Bubbles e Birra were there with their super pretty new Piaggio prosecco van.




Gastro were on site Saturday, providing the bar and canape nibbles. Light and airy in the day in our chill-out Cirrus and warm and cosy later with the fire going.

Moroccan vibes chill out space

Moroccan vibes chill out space


Nyree from Paint and Ink Studio, who can take your wedding stationery, table plans and place cards to a beautiful place.

Here’s Kayleigh having a bit of private tuition

Here’s Kayleigh having a bit of private tuition

Grazing style dining is very on trend and on Sunday we had Dani from The Curated Kitchen, who created the most beautiful grazing table set up on Emily’s styled tables.


Super creative Loretta a former Fiesta Fields bride, who has recently set up her cake making company Sweet Treats.


Karenza from Arty Party Face Painting was there to ensure we all had the festival vibes with glitter and festival floral designs. For kids, big and small.

Abigail keeping it in the family with her daughter

Abigail keeping it in the family with her daughter

Our naked ceremony tipi

Our naked ceremony tipi

Oh, there I am

Oh, there I am

Love the quality of light in the white canvas tipis

Love the quality of light in the white canvas tipis

Mini tipi chill out space

Mini tipi chill out space

Our new white festival flags

Our new white festival flags

Can’t beat a magic hour shot

Can’t beat a magic hour shot

Last, but by no means least - the talented lady who was here there and everywhere, capturing all these gorgeous shots - Abigail. Abigail has a passion for photo as well as film and also produced a fab little film for us too, which you can see below. Abigail White Photo + Film

It was a great team, a great weekend and we hope everyone who paid us a visit enjoyed themselves and felt a little bit (or a big bit) inspired.


You’ll see a few sneak peaks of our styled shoot in the video. We’ve been keeping it all under wraps as we were waiting for the awesome feature to come out on Festival Brides and now it is. You can have a read on the link below.



Tipis, ceremony arch, mini tipi / Canvas & Light
Concept, coordination and venue / Fiesta Fields
Photography and film / Abigail White Photo + Film
Styling / Turmeric House
Bell Tents / Beautiful Bells
Prosecco Bar / Bubbles e Birra
Photobooth / VW Photobus
Faux flowers / Faux Bloom
Fresh flowers / The Flower Hub
Cakes / Sweet Treats
Saturday Catering / Gastro Catering
Sunday Catering / The Curated Kitchen
Stationery and calligraphy / Paint & Ink Studio
Face painting / Arty Party Face Paint
Table and glassware / Couvert


Last year we hosted our first stag do, for 50 guys. Yes, 50. I met Tom towards the end of 2017. He’d taken on the task of planning a mini festival for his twin brother, Sam. Good man! He had loads of ideas, but a really busy guy with work, so it was helpful for him to be able to offload lots of the planning to me.


I loved working with Tom and over the coming months, we chatted through the options and plans came together for Waldfest. We met again at the venue in April, five weeks before the event, on a beautiful snowy day to plan final set up logistics. Was gorgeous but really how long was the winter going to last? Jump to end of May and the weather was warm and sunny, phew!


I got things started on the Thursday, meeting the marquee company to erect the 28 x 38’ capri marquee. Friday was full set up mode. I set up the fire pit with hay bales around and plenty of firewood to keep them going. Loos arrived and the boys decorated the marquee with their home made signs and got their sound system they had hired set up.

They had a few pop up pagodas, one for the bar tent and one with for the table football.  I also dropped off the silent disco kit I had hired in for them.

Tom and a few of the guys stayed over Friday night to finish setting everything up, including festival flags which are always a nice finishing touch to an event like this I think.


Saturday morning and the stag and rest of the group started to arrive in the morning, setting up their tents and getting into the festival vibes. Darren from Catch-a-Fire arrived and soon had the wood fired pizzas rolling out to soak up the beers.


Tom had arranged a mixture of entertainment and had bands and the lads taking it in turn to play sets on the decks through the day and into the evening. At midnight the silent disco headphones came out, with dancing until the last man fell.


Sunday morning I drove down the breakfast buggy to deliver a breakfast hamper which included pastries, Dorset cereals, yoghurts, smoothies and fruit.

 After brekkie, the guys got involved in some games, tug of war, giant beer pong, football and a bit of swimming in the River Wey.


Nyama served up a lunch of tasty pulled pork served in brioche baps and served with sides of grilled corn, potato salad and cabbage slaw. Mr Softee came for an afternoon drive by to serve up the 99 Flakes. More bands, music, and obligatory embarrassing outfit for the stag.


Sunday morning, I dropped down the fried breakfast hamper, although by then a few of the lads had departed. I guess you can have too much of a good thing ;) Tom fired up his BBQ to cook up the sausages and bacon but mostly people were after the OJ. The sign of a good time ;) The remaining guys packed up the site and made their way home and I supervised the final clearance of the site.  


If this sounds like the kind of thing you would like to do with family or friends then please get in touch nikki@fiestafields.co.uk. With a decent number of you it needn’t work out too expensive and if the thought of organising something like this is too daunting, that’s what we’re here for. We can also organise bell tents for you, so it’s more glamping than camping.

I will leave you with Tom’s google review. 

“I couldn't have asked to find a better company to help organise my event. From the word go Nikki has been perfect - professional, attentive, thorough and friendly, she was able to help organise my event and make it run a seamlessly as possible. I was looking to hire a field for a weekend, but Nikki went above and beyond to suggest and help find suppliers to cover everything I needed. Also, the location she suggested was absolutely incredible. Many many thanks to Fiesta Fields for taking my event to the next level.”






We were super excited to introduce Spirit Lake as a new venue in 2018. A beautiful 30 acre spot near Dorking, featuring two pristine lakes, woodland, manicured open spaces and a novel walled garden.


Lauren and Ashley were the first to celebrate there with a festival style wedding - an absolutely brilliant day during which they used all of the unique space at this gorgeous venue and gave their guests a day to remember.

Lauren had fallen in love with this stunning venue on first viewing and knew it would be the perfect spot for herself and Ashley to celebrate with their family and friends, giving them the lake-side festival wedding they were dreaming of. Placing full trust in his future wife to choose the perfect place, Ashley didn’t actually see the venue until much closer to the date, but was in total agreement that this was the one.

Set up started on the Thursday morning with Surrey and Sussex Tipi Hire. The majestic peaks of the tipis could soon be seen rising into the air and the three giant hats looked wonderful down by the lower lake. Rustic tables and bench seating finished off the look, as well as the all important dance floor and stage area which would later become the platform for the band to take over the party.


The day before the wedding saw all the months of hard work by this lovely couple come together as the bride and groom to be, along with friends and family, arrived on site to help add those all important finishing touches and styling items to make their wedding truly personal and unique. Fairy lights, foliage, flower posies, paper lanterns, bunting and pom-poms were strung around the inside and hung from the wooden tipi beams.


Tables were laid with beautiful flower arrangements in individual glass bottles and jars, which Lauren had been saving up. Festoon lights, more bunting and lanterns were strung in the trees and along the edge of the lake to the camping village, where bell tents were set up for overnight guests by BayLily Bell Tents, including a luxurious bridal bell tent, which included a beautiful wrought iron double bed and comfy furniture.


The morning of the wedding dawned bright and sunny, and we were busy with final preparations; setting up the lawn games and children’s area in the walled garden; laying out hay bales by the upper lake for the ceremony; arranging flowers potted in assorted welly boots for the ceremony area; dressing the tractor trailer ready for the bride and bridesmaid to arrive in; and putting the finishing touches to the tables and the tipi dressing. Meanwhile, the Bride and Groom were free to enjoy their morning, getting themselves and their children ready for the big day.


The fab team from Free Range Cooks were busy on site from early in the morning, preparing a fantastic wedding feast, but more on that later.

Lauren and Ashley had chosen to have their wedding ceremony on the upper lawn, by one of our two lakes. As their guests arrived, they followed the pretty bunting marked path through the woodland, emerging onto the upper lawn, where they took their places on the hay bales laid out in front of a gorgeous willow and flower archway.


Ashley and his groomsmen were the first to arrive having stayed on site the night before, looking relaxed and smart in their ceremony attire. Ashley wore a Hugo boss shirt, chinos from Tommy Hilfiger and blazer from Reiss, with a liberty print tie and Panama hat. He later changed into a Hawaiian shirt from Next and shorts to match the groomsmen and page boys, all with matching Panamas.

Lauren arrived just before the ceremony was due to begin at midday, looking stunning in her Kate Halfpenny gown, sourced second hand from Gillian Millon in Teddington. She was accompanied by her bridesmaids, flower girls and more page boys, as well as her baby daughter to complete the family celebration. The children, the bride and bridesmaids all excitedly took their seats in the tractor trailer, fitted out for the occasion and had a fun little ride through the woodland to the ceremony lawn. Lauren and Ashley’s two sons, in their matching suits with Ashley, arrived with Lauren in the trailer and proudly accompanied her down the aisle.


Nadine from Nadine van Biljon Photography was on hand to capture the happy couple and their families during and after the ceremony, and as the blessing finished, guests took some time to explore the beautiful grounds, before being invited into the tipi for the wedding breakfast. 


Each guest was treated to a personalised drinks tumbler, which they could keep for the day. A nice little environmentally friendly touch. They could refill as they wished from the taps of the fantastic converted VW KombiKeg van. Prosecco, beers and soft drinks were also set up in the walled garden for guests to quench their thirst in the July heat.


All the hard work that had gone into dressing the tipis and the tables was worth it, as the guests gasped in delight at the lovely interior. Lauren and Ashley made their entrance to deafening cheers and applause. Guests enjoyed their feast of mixed meat and seafood paella or summer vegetable risotto, with salads and bread, all cooked al fresco in the sunshine in big pans.


Mains were followed by individual desserts of banoffee pie, Eton mess with summer berries, and rhubarb and custard syllabubs, which guests collected after the speeches to take to the walled garden. Here they found lawn games, Katie’s Face Painting and The Wandering Hands set up and ready to play. A good old sing along followed as they completed three fantastic set of acoustic covers with two guitars, a saxophone and perfect three-part harmonies.

Additional guests started to arrive mid-afternoon to join in the celebrations, as the drinks continued to flow and the laughter continued non-stop. More food was provided late afternoon by The Indian’s Next Door who served up delicious corn on the cobs, samosas, Indian wraps and bhajis, before the next round of entertainment began.


A first for us, Uke-Jam had arrived to entertain the guests with Ukulele Karaoke! Yes, you heard right! The band set up on the lawn area between the two lakes and gave out Ukuleles to the willing guests. And so another brilliant sing-along began, with Lauren and Ashley leading the way in full voice, much to the guests’ delight and applause. Once the Uke Jam was finished, Ashley and his band took centre stage to serenade his new wife and their family and friends.


And the fun didn’t stop there, as the light began to fade, the outside lighting began to glow and the bamboo torches around the lake were lit. Some of the bridesmaids set up a glitter station at the edge of the tipis to get the guests glammed up and ready for the night-time party.


Après Ski, a brilliant 5-piece band including vocalists, were quick to get guests up and joining in and so followed an unforgettable evening for Lauren & Ashley of dancing and singing along with their family and friends. At midnight the music switched to a silent disco to keep the party going until the early hours, when tired but happy guests made their way to their bell tents for a good nights’ rest.


Lauren and Ashley’s wedding was a beautifully personal and magical day and a resounding success. Our first wedding at Spirit Lake, it was an absolute pleasure to work with them and we wish them every happiness for the future.

We asked Lauren what were her highlights of the day? And if she had any advice for couples.

I loved the service. We had done it officially the week before, so the ceremony in the field was conducted by our two best friends, Ben and Eve. I loved the relaxed feel of the day, all the different bands and the street food made it feel like a real festival. 

The planning of an outside festival wedding was probably harder work than I imagined. You have to source everything from bins, ash trays, showers to fridge trailer as well as all the fun pretty stuff to get the right look, but the end result was incredible. We had the best day ever. We had so much fun and it will be a day we and our family and friends will never forget.


 A few final words from Lauren and Ashley…

When we decided we wanted a wedding festival in a field in Surrey, the first problem was, where do you find a field to hire? We came across Festa Fields online, we met Nikki and Kim who showed me a few fields.. They were mostly booked up for the date we wanted in July when suddenly Nikki called and told me they had just got access to a new space, just outside Dorking, called Spirit Lake. Calling it a field doesn’t really do it justice, it is a beautiful garden with a woodland area to walk through, a walled garden and two beautiful lakes. It has ample space for people to glamp in bell tents or to pitch up normal tents. We had over 110 people camping over. 

The owner of the field is a lovely, really laid back guy, we were his first event and he went above and beyond to help us make everything just as we wanted it. He even drove guests and the bridal party in on his tractor, which he had a trailer made specifically for us!

Kim was very helpful in the run up to the event, she arranged the toilets and generator and security for the day but also suggested some great suppliers from the tipi to the bell tents. She came to help us set up on the Friday and ran the wedding day for us. Even took our baby for a walk to get her to sleep. 

The day could not have been better! I highly recommend Fiesta Fields and Spirit Lake for anyone wanting a fun, laid back festival wedding!

Finally, we wanted to share a video put together by Danny Ovens (videographer and photographer) capturing the vibe beautifully.


Written by Kim Thackery, Fiesta Fields Event Coordinator
Thanks to Nadine van Biljon Photography for giving us access to these gorgeous pics
Venue available exclusively via Fiesta Fields, we also supplied our Essentials package including posh loos, power, security and on the day coordination
Tipis: Surrey and Sussex Tipi Hire
Bell Tents: BayLily Bell Tents
Daytime caterer: Free Range Cooks
Evening caterer: The Indian Next Door
Bar: Kombi Keg
Dress: Gillian Million
Florist: Diamante Flowers
Musical entertainment: The Wandering Hands, UkeJam, Apres Ski and Silent Noize
Face painting: Katie’s Festival Faces





Collette & Harry actually married with us in 2017, so we are a bit behind in sharing this with you, but better late than never hey?

7th July 2017 was a scorcher. Luckily, our lovely couple had flown in from Australia so they were used to the heat. Collette and Harry are originally from England but had relocated to Australia 6 years earlier. When they started to plan their wedding celebration, they knew that they wanted a Tipi wedding in the English countryside and we were only too happy to help.


Harry’s parents originally viewed the venue, Phoenice Fields for them and we shared images over email. Luckily for us, Collette and Harry took a leap of faith and booked their English wedding without having actually seen their venue. Initially, it was a little over their budget, but we made some supplier suggestions and were able to bring the big ticket items in on budget. During a family visit, they finally saw their wedding reception venue on a cold January morning but instantly loved it, so huge relief all round.

The logistics of planning from abroad meant it was really helpful for Collette & Harry to have us manage some of their key suppliers. The time difference didn’t get in the way of a smooth planning process and in building a lovely rapport with this great couple and so as the day finally arrived, we were nearly as excited as they were.

It was an early start the day before the wedding as we met Tentario at 6.30am at the field to start putting up their giant hat and kungsornen arrangement. Rustic tables and chairs were set out ready to be dressed for the guests with personalised candles in scents of Jasmine, Honeysuckle and Coconut. The dance floor was laid ready to party, and strings of festoon lighting were hung from the tipi peaks down to the ground to give a gorgeous evening glow after the sun had set.  With family and friends on hand to help put the finishing touches to the venue in the afternoon, the couple could get away for a family meal on the eve of their wedding and prepare for the day ahead.

The morning of the wedding dawned bright and sunny and I was busy on site putting the finishing touches to the tables, the tents and making sure that everything was just right. The tipi was soon a hive of activity being dressed with stunning floral arrangements from Jennifer Pinder Flowers, including a gorgeous floral hoop hung from the tipi crossbars and crates of flowers bursting with scent and colour.


Darren and his team from Catch A Fire were busy preparing a delicious feast of charcuterie sharing boards, vegetarian and seafood paella, with a selection of sharing desserts to finish. The team from Coxtails arrived on site to set up the bar from their funky converted van. The menu included two fantastic personalised cocktails based on the bride and groom, ‘Mister’ and ‘Missus’. The Missus was a delicious peach bellini, and the Mister was elderflower, gin and soda water.

At 1pm, Collette and Harry became husband and wife in front of family and close friends at the Catholic Church of St Edward the Confessor in Guildford.  After a heartfelt service, the wedding party and all their guests made their way to Phoenice Fields. The guests started to arrive at the field around 2.30pm and were delighted by the sight of the tipis standing proudly in their traditional countryside surrounding, beautifully decorated and bathed in sunshine.

After stopping for some photos en route, Harry and Collette arrived together looking every inch the perfect newlywed couple. Harry looked extremely smart in his bespoke 3 piece suit in a mid-grey Prince of Wales check fabric and a classic white shirt from Oscar Hunt Tailors on George Street in Sydney, and Collette was effortlessly stunning in her bridal gown from Irish designer Catherine Deane and wore the Ashton gown. The dress was purchased from an Australian stockist called Babushka Ballerina at their studio in Paddington. Collette tried on a few dresses at various different places but loved the simple silhouette of this gown paired with the intricately detailed beading and embroidery, particularly the floral embroidery that was very fitting for an outdoor wedding in the English countryside.


The Coxtails bar was open and in full flow. Personalised bags of popcorn and treats were available to nibble on until the wedding breakfast was ready. Kate Forster was busy capturing the happy couple, their families and guests as the mingling, congratulating and celebrating got under way.


Mid-afternoon came around and at 3.30pm, Best Man and Master of Ceremonies Liam invited the guests to be seated, ready for the wedding breakfast to begin. With the weather being so glorious, all the sides of the tipi were raised and so the wonderful Surrey countryside could be viewed from every guest’s seat. Such a beautiful backdrop. Collette and Harry took their seats to a round of loving cheers and applause as the Catch A Fire team sprung into action to serve up the delicious menu.


After the meal, it was time for speeches. Harry’s two Best Men kicked off proceedings with lots of laughter and fond memories across many years of friendship. Collette’s extremely proud Father gave a very moving speech which reduced most of the wedding party to a tear or two, and then both Harry and Collette finished off the speeches each with their own words for each other and for their families.


Meanwhile, the evening entertainment had arrived, and DJ Owen set up inside the dedicated party kungsornen tipi ready to kick off the dancing come the evening. The cake was cut and Harry and Collette stepped onto the dance floor for their first dance as husband and wife. As the couple danced to Country Girl by Primal Scream, the sun was starting to set, the festoon lights were glowing, the firepits were lit, and the atmosphere was just beautiful.

To keep the guests going into the evening, the team from Catch a Fire served up a selection of hand made wood fired pizzas.  At 11pm, the amplified music switched to chill out tunes as the party started to wind down before guests made their way home, across the field to their waiting taxis.Collette and Harry’s wedding was a truly unique and personal day full of love from friends and family who had travelled across the globe to celebrate with this special couple. We wish Collette and Harry every happiness for a long future together and are so pleased to be able to share in your story.


FF - Do you have any tips for other couples?
C&H - We wouldn’t change anything!! It really was the perfect day! I guess my only tip would be to consider that in case it does rain, make sure that the tipi would be big enough to hold everybody if you had to have the sides down. We were worried that if it rained it would be very small, but luckily we had perfect weather!!!

FF - What were the highlights for you?
C&H - To be really honest the highlight was just getting married after 11 years of being together!! The day was actually more than we had hoped it would be and a huge part of that was you ensuring that everything ran perfectly!!!

By Kim Thackery, Wedding and Event Coordinator with Fiesta Fields


Photos supplied courtesy of Kate Forster Borrill
Venue (Phoenice Fields) tipi, caterer, toilets and generator coordination by Fiesta Fields
Tipis by Tentario
Catering by Catch-a-Fire Pizza
Bar by Coxtails
Flowers by Jennifer Pinder Floral Styling
Groom by Oscar Hunt Tailors
Bride by Catherine Deane from Babushka Ballerina

I will leave you with our lovely testimonial from Collette & Harry :)

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Faux flowers needn’t be a compromise and when Mother Nature shines on us, as she did this summer, they actually come into their own versus fresh flowers, which are prone to wilting in the heat.


I’m always looking for ways to tread more lightly on our beautiful planet, so was really excited when Emily of Faux Bloom got in touch to tell me about their offering. The images speak for themselves as to what can now be achieved with faux flowers.

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Using faux flowers and hiring large or multiple arrangements such as centre pieces and garlands creates a huge reduction in transportation and waste compared to using fresh. Emily and her team use biodegradable oasis and cardboard for transport, with absolutely no cellophane or single use plastics in sight. All good news here :)

If it's floral related, Faux Bloom can create it. From bouquets to buttonholes, stunning moongate arches to flower walls, the possibilities are endless. They also have an Aladdin's cave of accessories to hire including candelabras, vases, signs and table plans. 

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You can choose whether you hire or buy, so the flowers of your dreams, that may not have been affordable with fresh flowers, can be yours. That moongate arch, that floral wall or those stunning white blossom trees shall be yours. Faux Bloom will advise you and help you make the most of your budget.

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Fresh flowers will surely continue to be the choice for many, but I think it’s great to see more sustainable options available, with zero compromise on style. I feel we are sure to see an increase over time of couples opting for faux.  

Emily says “Most of our clients had not even contemplated faux flowers until seeing our designs at shows or weddings”. I have to say I totally agree and hope that in sharing this, it will help spread the word. Don’t be afraid to go for the faux!

Find out more here and follow Faux Bloom here.

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The day of Ben and Juliette’s outdoor wedding dawned gloriously hot last July at Phoenice Fields, set within the beautiful Surrey Hills. Ben and Juliette had fallen in love with this stunning area and venue sometime before as it was a space known to them through Ben’s work with the Surrey Wildlife Trust. When they became engaged in July 2015 they knew it would be the perfect spot for them to celebrate with their family and closest friends and so the date was set.

For our first wedding at Phoenice Fields of 2017, set up started on the Thursday morning before the wedding when Funky Monkey Tents arrived to build the most wonderful Yurt, The Grand Pavilion. The ornate wooden structure covered with pristine white canvas let the summer sun warm and light up the inside of the Yurt, whilst comfortably providing plenty of room for Ben and Juliette’s 120 day guests. Rustic tables and bench seating finished off the look, with a lovely round table set centre stage in the middle of the tent on a wooden base, which would later become the dance floor.


The day before the wedding saw all the months of hard work by this lovely couple come together as the bride and groom to be, along with an army of friends and family to help, arrived at the site to add those all important finishing touches and dressing items to make their wedding truly personal and unique. Fairy lights and handmade bunting were strung around the inside and hung from the wooden Yurt beams, while tables were laid with personalised favours – each guest received a tree sapling to take home and grow - gorgeous tree trunk table numbers and beautiful flower arrangements by the groom’s father and The Sussex Flower Farm.


The morning of the wedding dawned bright and sunny, and I was busy with final preparations; setting up the hay bales and flowers for the ceremony area and putting the finishing touches to the tables and the Yurt dressing.


Sausage and Pear were busy on site from early in the morning preparing canapes for the guests and a fantastic wedding feast of pie and mash, followed by apple pie and cheese cake. Mike and his team from The Ale Van were set up to serve a selection of fine ales and other drinks for guests to quench their thirst in the July heat; Juliette’s brother-in-law Charlie made a quick visit to the site before the ceremony to make the final checks to the epic sound system he had provided and installed; and Katie, a close friend of Juliette, arrived to set up the beautiful naked wedding cake she had made which she dressed with fruit and edible flowers for guests to enjoy.


Just after midday, Ben and Juliette legally became husband and wife in front of family and close friends at Leatherhead Registry Office, as their other day guests arrived at the field to take their seats and await the bridal party’s arrival. Some made a quick detour to their bell tents, provided by Funky Monkey Tents for their overnight stay, and then we were ready to begin.

The newlyweds made their way to Phoenice Fields to complete their union with an emotional and heartfelt humanist ceremony, overseen by celebrant Vivienne Donnithorne. Ben and his groomsmen arrived first, looking extremely smart in their navy suits from Vintage Suit Hire and took their places. Juliette arrived at 2.30pm looking stunning in her Sophia Tolli ‘Aricia in Blush’ dress from Brides Visited in Ashtead, accompanied by her six bridesmaids and her extremely proud Father.  A quick chat with Vivienne inside the Yurt, and then the bride and her father and bridesmaids made their way across the field to the ceremony area under blue skies with wisps of fluffy clouds. Personalised vows were spoken which they had written themselves, under a beautiful wooden ceremony archway made by one of the couple’s friends, dressed with an abundance of stunning flowers, again by the groom’s father.


Kelly from Memory Cake Photography was on hand to capture the happy couple and their families during and after the ceremony and popped off for some couple shots with Ben and Juliette while guests were treated to canapes and fizz in the sunshine.


Mid-afternoon came around, and the guests were invited inside the Yurt by Mark, the Master of Ceremonies and close friend of the couple. All the hard work that had gone into dressing the tent and the tables was worth it as the guests gasped in delight at the lovely interior before them. Ben and Juliette made their entrance to deafening cheers and applause, and then it was time to take jackets off as the sun was making the inside of the Yurt rather toasty, and the wedding breakfast began.

With tummies full and wine in full flow, it was time for speeches. Cue lots of laughter and a few tears as the friends and family of Ben and Juliette celebrated and toasted this wonderful couple and their future life together.


Meanwhile, the evening entertainment had arrived and decided to set up outside and make the most of the glorious July evening. Once the speeches were over, evening guests started to arrive in time to see the cake be cut and then Juliette tossed her bouquet which was caught by bridesmaid Nicki Petitt.


Charlie had set up the music system and was ready for the first dance and the couple swayed to ‘Love’ by Lennon and Maisy in the middle of the stunning Yurt on the oak dancefloor. And then, it was time for the ceilidh to begin! Licence To Ceilidh were quick to get guests up and joining in and so followed a few hours of fantastically fun traditional ceilidh dancing. The couple were able to truly let their hair down, with Juliette tying her dress up so she could really join in with all the moves. A great photo opportunity!


After the ceilidh, the evening disco kicked in with a bespoke playlist made by the couple and evening food of hotdogs were served around 8pm. The firepits were lit, and as the sun set the guests settled into a blissful evening in a unique setting with friends and laughter to make some lasting memories.  At 11pm, the amplified music switched to chill out tunes as the party started to wind down before guests who weren’t staying overnight made their way home, across the field to their waiting taxi’s.


Ben and Juliette’s wedding was a beautifully personal and magical day and a resounding success. It really set the tone for a beautiful wedding season at this special Surrey venue. We wish Ben and Juliette every happiness for a long future together – it was an absolute pleasure to work with you and be a part of your day.

We asked Ben and Juliette to share any advice for other couples planning an outdoor wedding and their highlights of their day.

“We went with the basic package and organised everything separately ourselves to save money but it really was an added stress in the week leading up to the wedding as inevitably things go wrong. If we were to do anything differently it would have been to hand over that responsibility to someone else, that or taken the whole week off work.   

We were also very lucky that it was a sunny day but should have had more shelter in case it rained. Think we were trying to keep costs down but still very risky.

The highlight of the day was the ceremony. The sun shone and the skylarks were singing when we were reading our vows. It was such a perfect moment. Having the ceilidh outside was also amazing. Our day was all we hoped it would be and more.”

By Kim Thackery, Wedding and Event Coordinator with Fiesta Fields

Photography by Memory Cake
Yurts from Funky Monkey Tents
Caterer - Sausage and Pear
Bar - The Ale Van
Flowers by Sussex Flower Farm
Celebrant - Vivienne Dornithorne
Bride - Brides Visited
Suit hire - Vintage Suit HIre
Ceilidh - Licence to Ceilidh
Venue, posh toilets, generator, security and on the day coordination by Fiesta Fields









Last week we put on our first networking evening. I’d organised a styled shoot in the day to promote wedding weekenders at one of our new outdoor wedding venues in West Sussex, the Polo Field. A lot of people had gone to a lot of effort to set everything up beautifully so I thought we should make the most of it. 

90 guests from the wedding world accepted and we were treated to a glorious sunny evening, if a little breezy. As guests arrived, they collected their welcome drink, either a G&T or Madras (my new favourite cocktail, 1 part vodka, 1 part cranberry juice and 3 parts fresh OJ). Kerry and her beautiful Vintage Bar Box was on hand to serve further drinks and Aaron and the boys from Gastro Catering were busy circulating with their pulled pork sliders.

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We were still shooting, as the light was stunning. As people were introducing themselves and chatting we asked them to have their chats sat down in our ceremony set up. Claire Bradford did a little mock ceremony for our bride and groom Catriona of Kalm Kitchen and her real-life fiancé Angus. (Sorry, but I have to keep those pics under wraps for now).

Ceremony finished and Gastro got the wood-fired ovens going, offering a choice of; 'The Goat' - home dried tomatoes, creamy goats cheese and homemade pesto and pine nuts; 'Proscuitto' - fresh figs, rocket, and parmesan and 'Home Cured Chorizo' - fiery chorizo, punchy red onion, and chilli on a tomato and mozzarella base.

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Meanwhile, Vicki from Redline Dj’s was busy providing a sunny, chilled background vibe and Karenza was adding the festival vibe with her amazing face painting.

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We were spoilt for choice with two sweet treats, funky doughnuts from Gastro and oh so pretty mini cake delights from MonAnnie Cakes

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It had been a busy day for Mike and Ash of Tents n Events and Andy of Tentario so they hopped in the hot tub to kick back with their favourite read, Margot's Wedding. The Wood fired Hot Tub was fresh out of it's packaging and was a fab addition to the evening, so thanks to Katrina and Steve from Wild Sky Bathing for bringing it along. Still gutted I didn't get in myself. 


As the light started to fade we were treated to a stunning sunset, the festoons came into their own and looked gorgeous on the already super pretty vintage pole tent provided by Tents n Events. A few guests ducked out of the breeze in the beautifully furnished 7m chill out tent from Beautiful Bells


I mustn't finish without saying thanks to Will of OEEH for providing the posh loos and Mike from Toddy Power, for supplying the generator. I had a fab evening and thank you to all those who came along.

A last, but by no means least, massive thank you to Lesley Burdett, ably assisted by Liz Seacombe for capturing the evening so beautifully.  Not wanting to tarnish their reputations, I should explain that the face painting and hot tub shots were taken by guests on the night and not Lesley or Liz. There was a larger team behind the shoot, but I will share more info on that in another post, once I can reveal the images. 

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I received lots of lovely comments over email and social media the next day, so I'm really glad everyone enjoyed themselves, Let's do it all again next year :)

By Nikki




For Jon and Kirsty, who had been to Glastonbury 23 times between them there could be only one theme. Their Glasto theme ran through the invitations, stationery, the epic cake and flowers. There was only one touch missing really and for that I think everyone was grateful, the mud!


Kirsty and Jon are super busy with their jobs so they asked us to build a package for them to include tipis, caterer and bar, along with our standard package of loos, generator, security and on the day coordination.

They were certain they wanted tipis so we looked at the details of three different suppliers for them. Stunning Tents were the choice with one giant hat and one kungsornen to accommodate their 65 day guests.


On caterers we investigated various informal street food options; big pan, Mexican and British before arriving at Pie and Mash. Chris from My Pie would provide canapés, mains, dessert and evening food from his food van. (More on the menu later).

To complete the package, Tipsy Goose would be providing the bar from their funky converted horsebox. With tailor-made cocktails for welcome drinks, providing the wine and fizz for the meal and a pay bar in the evening.

Although couples are often keen to supply their own alcohol it can require some extra thought about how drinks will be kept cool, what will they be served in and from, who will collect the empties etc. It almost definitely will end with overbuying as you of course don’t want to run out. Sometime the cost of a mobile bar can be well worth the money to take the stress and logistics out of your hands.

There are bars that are available dry hire to stock and serve your alcohol. For pay bars some will charge minimal hire fee in return for the bar takings and often the deposit amount will be returned if a minimum fee is reached. When it comes to the converted vehicles/horse boxes these are often charged a little more for, but what you are gaining is a bit of theatre and something that will add to the theme or vibe of your day.

So fast forward to 6th July and it’s tipi set up day. Demonstrating their love of gigs Kirsty and Jon left tipi set up to us while they had their legal ceremony, lunch with family and went to see Kings of Leon. We face-timed from the field to show the set up and agree how many sides to leave. Early July if you remember was a scorcher, so we lifted maximum sides on the dining side of the tent to allow as much breeze as possible. Stunning Tents also helped set up the hops on the horizontal poles which looked really effective. Meanwhile, Beautiful Bells were busy setting up a run of 8 bell tents down one side of the field.


Friday was a day for family and friends to help dress the tipis and transport everything to site. Kirsty and Jon had gone to quite a bit of effort to provide outdoor games for their guests, young and old. The giant kerplunk was particularly impressive!

For the tables, Kirsty and Jon were going rustic and leaving the solid wood tables naked. Jon’s Mum had created super cute wellie boot flower displays as centrepieces and table names, table plan and name cards were all in Jon and Kirsty’s Glasto theme, to compliment the lanyard invitations that guests had received.


Wedding day arrived and we were on site at 9am along with Jon. Hay bales for the ceremony were delivered so we set those up, placing the bale covers on them. A few finishing touches in the tipi and Jon left to get ready. We met My Pie and Tipsy Goose to get them set up and we were pretty much ready to go.

We also got to enjoy Jon’s Mum setting up the most epic of all wedding cakes. So amazing!


We went up to the gate when guests started to arrive to make sure all cars were parked out of camera view. Family children were in position at the front of the ceremony area to hand out Kirsty and Jon’s festival wristband which was a lovely touch. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect, as guests waited on the haybales, taking in the views.


Kirsty arrived and walked down the aisle with her dad looking so beautiful in her blue ombre dress from Lucy Can’t Dance. Jon also looked very dapper in his trousers and waistcoat from Henry Herbert Tailors.

Kirsty told us about her search for her dress...…
For my dress, I knew I wanted something ‘different’ and so I started with a google search of unusual / unique wedding dresses, which led me to look at vintage / boho styles as well.  This is how i discovered “Rock the Frock” a boutique specialising in alternative wedding dresses from a variety of up and coming designers. With my mum, sister and 1 year old nephew watching on, Rock the Frock helped me try on at least 12 potential dresses.  But as soon as I tried on Lola, I knew it as the one. In subsequent visits to the shop, Lucy (who designs and makes all Lucy Can’t Dance dresses) was great at measuring and tweaking the dress until it fitted perfectly.  Lucy even sent me samples of different blue dyes so we could get the dip dye perfect:.


It looked like a beautiful and informal ceremony and I love this pic of a little game the guests were asked to play, answering questions with a pink heart for Kirsty or a blue one for Jon. With a humanist ceremony like this you really can make it your own.  

After the ceremony, guests followed Kirsty and Jon down into the valley and Tipsy Goose got busy providing guests with their welcome drinks.  A choice of Negroni or Margarita cocktails or some of the local ale’s Kirsty and Jon had sourced from Langham’s Brewery.

Chris was meanwhile busy plating up wooden boards of tasty canapés which included; corn fritters; sausage roll slices smoked cheddar mousse; quail scotch eggs and macacini, which we helped to distribute among the mingling guests.

It was a glorious sunny day and some guests soaked up the sun sitting on hay bales or mingling round the horsebox. Others made their way into the tipi for a bit of shade. We had judged it right on lifting all the sides in the dining end and the breeze was perfect but did play havoc with the place cards. This is a common little problem so we would recommend your name tags being attached to or place underneath something a bit weighty to keep them in place.


After an hour or so of drinks and canapés we ushered guests in and asked them to make their way up to the van table by table to collect their pie and mash. Kirsty and Jon had chosen a selection of; chicken and smoked ham with tarragon; venison, chilli and beer and sweet potato, cumin and smoked mozzarella. Yum!

Dessert was chocolate brownie and ice cream which we gave Chris a helping hand to deliver to the tables to help ensure the ice cream made it to people before it was completely melted!

Once tables were cleared, Tipsy Goose delivered bottles of fizz to the tables and it was speech time. Followed by cutting of the - no don’t do it - cake. The band arrived and started to get set up, while Kirsty and Jon went away for some stunning magic hour shots on their own.


By the time Kirsty & Jon got back, the band were ready. They kicked off with their 1960s set and worked their way through the years from there. Before we left we lit the fire pit, cut up the cake for evening nibbles and Chris laid out platters of cheesy chips and bacon sandwiches. We left the tipi jumping and went home with a lovely satisfied feeling that everything had gone so well for such a lovely couple. We wish them a lifetime of love, laughter and happiness. 


I'll leave you with some kind words from Kirsty & Jon. 

"Nikki was great from start to finish.  From showing us Hidden Valley and giving us the vision for what things could look like on the day, to coming up with some great suggestions for food and drink options, to seamlessly communicating with all our suppliers, to working effortlessly on the day (and the day before before the day) to ensure everything ran perfectly.  Nikki was always available to chat or email through any questions, and overall made what undoubtedly was a feat in project management run smoothly and professionally.  We couldn't recommend Nikki or Hidden Valley highly enough".

All photos courtesy of Stuart Howat

Tipis - Stunning Tents
Catering - My Pie London
Bar - Tipsy Goose
Bell Tents - Beautiful Bells
Wedding dress -  Lucy Can't Dance
Groom's attire - Henry Herbert
Hops - The Hop Shop
Hay bales - Party Bales
Land hire and tipi, caterer, bar and on the day coordination - Fiesta Fields




Here's our first post of 2018, to tell you all about our first Tipi wedding of 2017. It took place on a glorious Saturday in June at Hidden Valley, Surrey. Kat & David, a totally chilled out couple, had spent the last eight months putting together the plans for their Tipi festival wedding. David was on a mission and researched and planned pretty much everything, which was a refreshing change :)

Set up started with 4 giant hats from Country Tipis. The tipis would comfortably hold Kat & David’s 180 guests, with room for a dance floor and indoor bar and chill out area. Not that Kat and David really wanted to use this space. It was an impressive backup plan in case the weather didn’t allow their ideal scenario, which was to host as much of their wedding outside as possible. It was a huge relief for us all when the weather played ball.

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On the morning of the wedding, everyone was busy with final preparations; emptying all the ice and alcohol into the little booze paddling pool; pinning bags of retro crisps to a little Christmas tree for ‘Crispmas’. The inflatable pub, yes you read that right, was quickly fully inflated in front of the wooden benches in the ‘beer garden’.  Paddy and Manny from Disco Wed were in construction mode, setting up their DJ shed in front of the awesome outdoor dance floor.

At pretty much the last minute, David and the lads disappeared to their hotel for a quick change and came back looking very dapper in their grey trousers and waistcoats.

Up on the hill, the seating was being set out for the ceremony, looking out over the beautiful blue skies and green fields. Cocktails and beers were prepped for guests’ arrival and guitarist James Maclean was ready to play. The pretty archway and heart sticks were set up with the help of the couple’s adorable little boy Davey.

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A final check that everything was to his approval and David was ready. A bit of traffic on the M25 delayed proceedings a little, but I don’t imagine there were any complaints as guests mingled in the sunshine with their drinks. All the guests were finally in place and Kat and her girls were on their way.

They arrived in a beautiful retro baby blue VW Camper, Kat looking stunning in her dress chosen by Davey. “When I went looking for dresses, we walked into a boutique and Davey ran up to a dress and pulled on it. I took it out for a look. It was the first and only one I tried on and it was beautiful”

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After the ceremony, Kat and David led the way into Hidden Valley (played in by three tunes chosen by David for Kat (“She’s so lovely by Scouting for Girls, She is Love by Oasis and The Kooks, Naïve!!) Guests, waved in by the two Air Dancers, were met at the bottom of the path by a couple of the ushers to hand out their ‘Til Death do us Part Festival’ lanyards.  Some made a quick detour to the bell tent village – 23 tents from South Coast Glamping, to drop off their things, others headed straight to the paddling pool to grab a drink, or a cocktail or slushy from the bar.

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Soon the smell of fish and chips was wafting around and a queue quickly formed at KK Catering’s van. The whole afternoon was totally chilled with people eating, drinking and enjoying the music and the sunshine.

At 4.30 guests were asked to make their way into the tipis for the speeches. After which Kat and David popped off to have some stunning photos with Sassy from Asassynation. Meanwhile KK were serving up evening kebabs to guests.

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While they had bee gone, Sammii the face painter had been busy. David had made a wheel of fortune to decide on which design guests would have done. Luckily the wheel was kind to Kat, but not so to David…

Around 8.30 David and Kat had their first dance to a special remix of John Legend 'All of me', that David had produced. It started off acoustic and switched into Dubstep after two minutes. Paddy and Manny kept the dance floor packed and David even played a little set himself. At 11pm the music switched to a silent disco and The Goonies was screened above the shed, with our dead tree as an eerie backdrop.

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We later asked David a few questions...
FF - You clearly had a vision, did it develop along the way as you came across different suppliers or did you always had a clear picture of what you wanted?
D&K We had a very 'loose' vision. We have both been to many weddings and have come to realise that as long as guests are fed, watered and have somewhere to party, you need to make sure the rest of the day reflects what YOU want as a couple. I think couples can lose sight of this and can easily be bought in to the 'pre-packaged' idea which often doesn’t offer much flexibility. Our 'Vision' was a relaxed, casual affair where people would buy into the festival vibe first, and the formalities of the wedding second.

FF - Any top tips for other couples planning this kind of wedding?
D&K Become fluent in excel.....But seriously, spreadsheets are no fun, but they are necessary. With a DMOIY (Do most of it yourself) wedding, you need to plan for everything from toilets to tampons, candles to condoms! Don't be afraid to delegate to someone like Nikki - that local knowledge and extra set of eyes on everything was invaluable.

Make sure that your suppliers are flexible - what we first started out with was totally different than our needs 4 weeks out. Ask your suppliers to provide examples of previous work, and ask their opinions before committing.

Mistakes/mishaps will happen - due to the flexible nature of the day, nobody noticed when timings were out so don’t stress and pick up another drink.

Budget permitting, make it an all day and night affair and try not to have day/night guests - we wanted everybody to experience the whole festival from midday through to midday the following day.

FF - Always the trickiest question but what are the highlights of the day for you both?
D&K For us, seeing people's faces and reactions when they walked down the path to the 'Hidden Valley' was priceless. Most people had assumed they would need to drive from the ceremony to the reception, so their faces when they walked around that corner is something we'll never forget.
The outdoor dancefloor when the sun was going down was also pretty special - 180 guests all throwing it down!!

FF - Was your day all you hoped it would be?
D&K And more......When we look back at all of the planning and hard work that went into it, we ask ourselves what would we change? Genuinely nothing - apart from making it a whole weekend event so we could make use of the leftover alcohol (which we are still drinking 9 months on).



Photos courtesy of Asassynation
Tipis - Country Tipis
Bell Tents - South Coast Glamping
Catering - KK Catering
Inflatable Pub - West Midlands Inflatables
Cake - Mother and me
DJ - Disco wed
James Maclean - Alive Network
Face Painter - Sammii @ Bunnies Face Painting
Air Dancers - Party Bounce 
Celebrant - Sarah Noble

To start planning for your outdoor wedding please email nikki@fiestafields.co.uk



Tut tut, we have really fallen behind with our blogs, but this one is worth waiting for. Casting our minds back to August last year, it was time for our newest venue Phoenice Fields to play host. This was to be a beautiful blend of rustic sophistication for the lovely Amelia and Lee.

Amelia and Lee had actually had an alternative venue booked in London, but with a recent move to Surrey with their baby daughter and issues with their pre-booked venue, Amelia contacted us in March with a new vision for her wedding and luckily for us that included Phoenice Fields.

Amelia proved a wedding like this can be achieved in a small space of time, although as an event manager for Red Bull Racing, she did have a slight advantage.

Availability for your main party tent can be hard to find six months out, but Amelia was lucky to find Vintage Marquees, who had their 40ft x 50ft Cambridge vintage pole tent available. The dance floor was set in the back of the tent, and tables were set in a U formation around the edges so all 112 guests could benefit from the open sides and wraparound countryside views.


Amelia’s styling was simple yet effective. The rustic trestle tables were left natural with runs of beautiful foliage down the centre. Nestled in the foliage were mini disco balls which gave off lovely glints of light and racing cars as a nod to how the couple met, while working for Red Bull Racing. Each guest received a pot of Amelia’s Dad Bruce’s honey from his own bees as their favour.  


The day of the wedding was a glorious sunny day, Amelia and Lee were married in the local church and their guests were brought to the field in funky vintage buses from Ages Past. Guests made their way up the mown path bordered by potted hydrangeas to be welcomed by brass trio, Dixie Saints and fizz and cocktails from the stunning outdoor bar, beautifully dressed by Amelia’s florist, One-Flew Over. The bubbles from the bubble machine floating around were a sweet touch.

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As guests enjoyed the music, the views and the beautiful canapés from Sabel (Dorset crab doughnuts, dill pickles; Hansen & Lyderson smoked salmon, soda bread lemon & black pepper; Tomato and goats cheese tarts and Ham hock scotch eggs, piccalilli and mustard cress), Lee and Amelia ducked off for some photography with their daughter Stella and some couple photos in the surrounding woodland and long grasses.

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After an hour or so, guests made their way in to the marquee. The menu was awesome and proof that you can serve top notch cuisine from a simple catering tent in a field. We sampled it and can confirm it was as delicious as it sounds.

Sourdough, brown butter, pink peppercorns
Heirloom tomatoes, lovage, ticklemore & seeds
Native breads, cured pork collar, gooseberry chutney

Herb crusted saddle of lamb, salsa verde
Risotto of smoked wheat and peas
Salad of summer leaves, garden vegetables & herb cream

Lightly poached summer berries, elderflower jelly, almond shortcake and vanilla cream

The meal was finished with speeches and guests moved back outside to mingle and enjoy the late afternoon sunshine. Shortly after London Cab Photo Booth from Coco Photo Booths arrived and guests were soon climbing in and out to have their pictures taken. Any evening munchies were satisfied by tiered cheesecake, with grapes and crackers.

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DJ’s the Wedding Smashers cued up Amelia and Lee’s first dance, Stevie Wonder 'Signed, Sealed, Delivered'  and got the party started. They kept the floor jumping all night and at 11pm switched to a silent disco for the last hour.

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Buses and taxis arrived at the end of the night and guests were whisked away to their homes and various hotels in the area. Such a beautiful day and a stunning first wedding for Phoenice Fields.

We will leave you with some advice from Amelia.

 "Have something visual behind the DJ booth or band, I didn’t release how many photos would be of the dance floor and DJ's and I wish I had hung something visually exciting behind it.

Also it will be really dark and cold at night (even in the summer) so double up on lighting outside and get blankets for guests.

The best feeling is on the eve of the wedding when you leave the marquee all set up and realise there is nothing else you can do, Everything is now out of your hands!"

You can read more and see more gorgeous shots from Amelia and Lee's wedding over on the Festival Brides blog.



Marquee – Vintage Marquees
Photographer – Peach and Jo
DJ – Wedding Smashers
Caterer – Sabel
Cake: Nicola Roberts
Styling – Amelia Stevenson
Brass trio – Dixie Saints
Transport – Ages Past
Brides dress –  Jesus Peiro
Hair & Make Up: Gigi Hammond
Florist – One- Flew-Over
Groom’s suit – Tailored by Reiss
Photo Booth – Coco Photo Booths
enue and on the day coordination - Fiesta Fields





At the end of April we kicked off the season with a double hen weekender. We had Ellie at our Effingham location and Emma at Top Field near Petworth. Both groups had gone with the festival vibe, resulting coincidentally in an Emfest and an Elfest.

For Ellie and her 17 hens, Bay Lily had already put up 3 pretty pastel tents and a Chinese Pagoda on the Friday. Saturday was a busy couple of hours for us all setting everything up. We provided the girls with firepit, haybales and blankets, camping lights on shepherd’s crooks, dispensers for the girls’ cocktails along with ice buckets and plenty of ice of course. 

The girls busied themselves setting up their treasure hunt, dressing up their pagoda tent with decorations and our hanging lanterns and setting up a funky selfie booth under a nearby tree in the bluebells.  All as Ellie was making her way from Essex, slightly freaking as to what awaiting her. This was a complete surprise for her and she was greeted by the sun, fizz, a beautiful little glamping site and her fab friends. Apparently she was bowled over by the effort.

“I had such a special time - Joanne and the girls really did the most incredible job, I couldn't believe my eyes when I arrived! It was an amazing surprise.

The location itself was stunning - such a beautiful setting with the bluebells and woods, I absolutely loved it and would definitely recommend it to others as well. I’ve been told you were a dream to work with so big thank you for all your efforts.  The beds in the bell tents were super comfy too!”

I popped back at 7pm to drop off our BBQ hamper including burgers and sausages - for the girls to cook on our BBQ - salads and ice creams. The party was in full swing and the girls looked totally glam with their festival face paints and beautiful head dresses from Fumbalinas.

From the pics and the comments from the hens below. I think it’s clear what an awesome time they had.

“Well done Betty and Jo that was incred, dream team”

                  “Hen party of the century well done ladies smashed it”

                                           “Coachella eat your heart out”

And to finish a lovely review from Joanne...
"Thanks so much for your help, it was fantastic working with you – you answered all my weird and wonderful requests quickly and were really accommodating! Everything was taken care of and the location was absolutely gorgeous! I felt very assured throughout the whole process and would and already have recommended you to anyone that will listen! Just wish we could do it all again!"

Next to Top Field where we had Emma and her bride tribe. Again it was a Saturday morning set up, putting finishing touches to the site. We had 24 glampers here so Bay Lily had put up 4 of their gorgeous tents and the girls had decided to provide their own pagodas. We were there early to set up all our gear, same set up as for Ellie but with a shower and posh loo trailer and generator as the girls were staying two nights.

The girls arrived at 3 and got straight down to pimping their prosecco, putting on the festival face paints and hippy chick headbands and playing hen games. Dinner was served up by Darren of Catch a Fire, with tasty pizzas served from his wood fired pizza oven and tray bakes for pud.  As the temperatures dropped, out came the onesies, the firepit was lit and the girls partied away.

Sunday started with the girls carrying out some repair work on their pagodas, which were struggling a bit. We delivered a breakfast of yoghurts, cereals, fruit, pastries, and smoothies. While the hens were getting busy with breakfast and tidying up the empties from the night before, Inflata Challenge were preparing the mornings’ activity. 

As rain threatened the girls donned their coloured capes and masks for some superhero team fun. After two hours of scrabbling round in the dark disco dome, looking for coloured balls crystal dome stylee, bungee running and obstacle course it was victory for the Bride's red team.

Time for a quick shower (of the non-rain variety), crack open the prosecco and it was time for lunch. A delectable afternoon tea served up by Dani from Icing on the Cake. Unfortunately the pagodas were no more and the rain that had been threatening arrived. The girls weren’t about to let rain get between them and cake and scones, so up went the brollies and the afternoon tea felt even more British.

Sadly for the girls there was no sign of the rain easing up, so landowner Peter came up with a great solution for cover for the evening caterer and band, his open sided truck. The girls rigged up a great little makeshift tent and they were sorted, cosy, but sorted. 

As I sat at home in the warm I was really concerned that the girls would be miserable out in the elements so Jess was kind enough to send me a little clip of the girls singing and cheering happily in their self-constructed pagoda, I needn’t have worried.

Darren arrived and set up in Peter’s truck, this evening on the menu was Italian antipasti platters to start followed by big pan jerk chicken. The Lone Pepper guitar duo arrived at 9pm and were very excited with their stage in the back of the truck. They had the girls up dancing all night and were still playing at 1am. I guess the ratio of 2 guys to 24 girls is pretty appealing. The rain had been on and off all the day but the girls didn’t let it dampen their spirits and they spent the evening dancing out in the rain.

Monday's breakfast delivery was sausages, bacon, rolls and juice so after fuelling up, the girls were soon packed up and on their way, probably exhausted but I’m sure having made some fantastic memories.

Here’s some of the lovely feedback we received from Jess, chief hen organiser.  

"Everyone had such a fab weekend and the weather really didn't get the better of us, to be honest Peter coming to rescue with his van for Darren to cook in and the duo to play was amazing. It was almost like a little mini stage. 

Peter and Annabel (the landowner) were so friendly and helpful, the same goes for every supplier. My sister sent me such a long, grateful lovely message saying how much she loved every minute of it. She added lots of comments about all the suppliers 'the tea lady had the most beautiful crockery and stunning cakes, the lemon cake couldn't have been beaten. ... the tents were so pretty and the colours really brightened up the field....the landowner was so friendly and helpful saving the day with his lorry... all the food was so good, the jerk chicken and antipasta was our favourite from Catch a Fire, so yummy...breakfasts were so good too, so much choice, the band were just amazing, more then happy to pop on a flower headband and matching ponchos to ours, they read the group so well and involved everyone, we all loved them and they were such great fun..' her favourite line so far to me has just been 'you smashed it'. 

So, thank you for helping me bring it all together, your choice of suppliers, help and information leading up to the event and also for everything you brought along for the weekend, camping gear, blankets, kitchen kit, endless supplies of water ice etc. 

It was an amazing weekend from start to finish".

 40 happy hens, that's music to our ears. 


Our third wedding this year was one we were very excited about. It was the first time we would see Hidden Valley in all its splendour.

"Tom and I always knew we wanted a relaxed outdoor wedding, and loved the idea of having a tipi and camping. We didn't want to be tied to the restrictions of a venue. So when we found Fiesta Fields and St Nicholas Church in Peper Harow, and realised they were around the corner from where my mum lives, we knew we had found the perfect location for our wedding"

I arrived on the Thursday excited to see the three Giant Hats from Buffalo Tipis already standing proud, front sides lifted to take in the beautiful views. With 95 guests Tom and Carly had given the front two tipis to seating and the back tipi for the dance floor and DJ. This still left plenty of room for their Bedouin style chill out area, an open fire and bar.

Although we work closely with couples in the run up to their wedding - so we fully understand how the day should run - we aren’t involved in all the set up, (unless you want us to be). So I arrived on the Saturday morning - not a cloud in the sky - like a child in a toy shop as I took in all the finishing touches that had happened over the last 24 hours.

For this globetrotting couple I think there could only have been one theme that sprung to mind. Travel. They met in Vancouver 9 years ago and having visited around 23 countries together, this was not only a celebration of their marriage but of all the experiences they had shared so far and of those to come in the future.

There were so many personal touches, here are a few of my favourites; a large pallet sign welcoming guests to Tom and Carly’s next adventure; a table plan based on all the countries they have visited together, along with table names made from photos they had taken in each destination; bunting made from maps; coffee sacks from a car boot sale as hay bale covers; map decoupage T & C letters; the beautiful hand made gold sprayed stars on twigs dotted in clusters around the field; four awesome ‘globe’ helium balloons and an inviting walkway and doormat saying ‘hello you lovely lot’ and finally the guest book filled with inspiring travel quotes.

Everything looked beautiful and Carly’s Mum had done a fantastic job on the flowers. Table decorations were a rustic mix of potted herbs - mint, rosemary, sage and lemon balm in tins. Large watering cans were filled with oxeye daisies, grasses and white hydrangeas were dotted along the welcome matting.

Bride and bridesmaids carried bouquets of green and cream zinnias, peach roses, dahlias, white cosmos and scabious, ammi majus, jasmine foliage, mint, alchemical mollis, frosted explosion grass and myrtle, the herb of love.

A beautiful line of bell tents ran along one tree lined side of the field, leading to the bridal mini tipi on the end. Sorry T&C but I had a sneaky peak inside, wow! You lucky things, and good work to Lulu Bells for the whole set up which looked great.

The morning flew by as I had a few jobs to do (and lots of things to photograph!) and within a blink of an eye it was ‘showtime’. I went up to meet Tom and Carly’s guests to point them in the right direction of the church. T&C were keen for their guests to park near Hidden Valley and walk to the church and back, all the while probably wondering where they were off to next, which was exactly what Tom and Carly wanted them to wonder.

After the ceremony, there were three surprises in store for their guests. First, Tom picked Carly up in a CanAm and drove her cross country to Hidden Valley, definitely not your standard bridal transport; second just inside the field gate had now appeared a wheelbarrow of ice lollies that T&C had left for me to set up, a lovely, thoughtful and very welcome touch, considering it was now about 30 degrees; and third was of course the amazing wedding reception that awaited them, that only became visible and guests walked down the hill into the valley.


As Carly climbed out of the buggy I got my first glance of Carly’s beautiful dress. Very on trend with vintage style ivory lace and capped sleeves.

“When I found my dress (Kenneth Winston) I knew it was the one for me! I really wanted lace, and little capped sleeves (not strapless), and I also wanted a dress with some interesting pretty detail on the back, so this one was perfect. I only went to a few bridal shops (most lovely, and one absolutely awful which mum and I still laugh about!), and really enjoyed the experience, and all the tea and cake we devoured on our journey to the perfect dress”

Down in the valley, guests soaked in the setting, while enjoying canapés, a glass or two of bubbles and lots of iced water. Tom sent up his drone for a group shot to top all group shots and the final preparations were made in the tipis.  Guests were invited in to sharing platters of cold meats, cheeses, breads, homemade hummus, artichokes, olives and sun dried tomatoes provided by aptly name caterers, Pan Global Catering.

Meanwhile, Kevin of Global was busy cooking up the mains in two big pans - Chicken and Chorizo Paella and Chicken Provençal. Carly’s dad kicked off the speeches followed by Carly’s Mum, then guests were invited to collect their main. Next up it was Tom’s sweet and loving speech, Carly read an endearing and funny poem she had written, followed by Paul’s funny best man speech.

Dessert was a choice from a huge selection at the dessert table (which Tom and Carly had given over to friends and family – a great way to involve people, save a bit of money and offer a wide range of puds to please everyone). The wedding cake they cut later was based on the place where it all began.

Next up, the first dance, which was Dog Days are Over by Florence and the Machine. A nice quirky mix of happy dancing and a little moshing!

“Neither of us include dancing in our list of talents. So we wanted to make it fun and definitely not choreographed. We only chose our song three days before the wedding and opted for the Florence track because we’ve seen her at two festivals and just find it a really happy cheerful song”.

The guitarist Guy James then took over and played to guests outside, now enjoying the cooler evening temperatures.  After Guy’s first set Carly and Tom went up the hill for some magic hour shots with their photographer Sarah Folega. 

They also made full use of the WW2 bunker for family photos and the bouquet throw, which Carly did five times!

“I threw the bouquet five times for a few reasons, firstly the wrong person kept catching it! (one being my cousins son!), so I knew I needed to please a few of the other ladies, and secondly it was great fun chucking it and listening to a crowd of screaming friends below me! Plus, when else can you continuously throw a bouquet?!”

I love this photo of Carly with her bridesmaids on the bunker.  Such an amazing splash of colour.

“I totally loved the bridesmaid dresses! The colour was so vibrant and really stood out in a very green field. I love the colour coral, so thought as it was a summer wedding it was the perfect choice and a bit different from the norm. I didn't want anything too fancy, and it was really important to me that it was a dress that could be worn again and not just on one day as a bridesmaid dress. It was lucky that they were knee length too considering how hot it turned out to be!”

The day had raced by and all too soon I was lighting the bamboo torches and paper lanterns to light the way up the hill. A quick hand to help Tom’s Mum set up the evening cheese table, open up Tom and Carly’s VW photo booth Vinnie for business and hand out sparklers to everyone for a great pic opportunity and I was on my way. Leaving the party in full swing, I headed up the hill thinking there was no better couple to give Hidden Valley it’s first wedding than the adventurous Tom and Carly and I couldn’t have been happier for them that their day had been perfection on every level. Congratulations to the two of you and I can’t wait to see where your next journey takes you.

I will leave you with a little summary of Tom and Carly’s highlights of their day…

“Obviously we loved the whole day and the ceremony was really special to us. We absolutely loved seeing guests faces when Tom turned up outside the church to pick me up in the surprise CanAm, and also watching people’s faces as they arrived into Hidden Valley for the first time, as they walked down to join us for some bubbles. I think for us it was being outside all day soaking up the beautiful views, sunshine and atmosphere. Everyone was laughing and smiling all day and seeing a day unfold so smoothly that we had planned for so long was epic. Guest watching and listening to the roar of laughter during the speeches was also lovely. Tom and I often talk about the music, so this was definitely a highlight for us – first of all dancing outside in a field to the brilliant Guy James, followed by my brother’s amazing DJ skills who kept the dance floor rocking all night! Then ending the night in our beautiful, cosy and romantic mini tipi….”

Tipis – Buffalo Tipis
Bell Tents – Lulu Bell Tents 
Caterer – Global Catering
Photographer – Sarah Folega
Flowers – Bride’s Mum
Wedding dress - Wedding Frox in Cranleigh
Bridesmaid dresses - Hobbs
Groom’s suit - Ted Baker
Guitarist - Guy Valarino
DJ – Bride’s brother
CanAm Buggy - Winner Events