BEN AND JULIETTE'S STUNNING YURT WEDDING

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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

CREDITS
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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NETWORKING AT OUR NEW OUTDOOR VENUE IN WEST SUSSEX

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. 

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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

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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

 

 

KIRSTY & JON'S GLASTO THEMED WEDDING

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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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:.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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
 

 

 

KAT AND DAVID'S EPIC FESTIVAL WEDDING

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).

 

SUPPLIERS

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

 

AMELIA AND LEE'S VINTAGE MARQUEE WEDDING

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.

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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.  

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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.

 

SUPPLIER LIST

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
V
enue and on the day coordination - Fiesta Fields


 

 

 

FIESTA FIELDS HEN FEST

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. 

TOM & CARLY'S WANDERLUST WEDDING

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.

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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….”

SUPPLIERS
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

PAULA & JON'S FAMILY FESTIVAL WEDDING

Our first wedding of the summer was the delightful Paula and Jon. Parents to two sweet girls - Lara and Hetty - and our calmest couple to date, I guess parenthood really does prepare you for anything.

“When first looking around at venues we struggled to find anything that felt right for us and fitted our requirements logistically, but when we stumbled across Fiesta Fields we knew that this was everything we had been looking for. Robert’s Field was stunning, safe for the kids and the perfect location for us, we had no doubts about it”

Paula and Jon embraced the fact that most of their friends had children and a great deal of effort went into ensuring that they were taken care of in every way. Jon's grandparents were also there, making this a true wedding for all ages and thoughtfully Paula and Jon had catered to everyone.

Paula and Jon experienced first hand the benefit of the modular vintage pole tent from Tents n Events. Initially booking a 30’ x 45’ tent, guest numbers started to increase, so they upped their tent size to a 30’ x 60’. The beginning of July was a bit touch and go with the weather, so a call earlier in the week soon secured an additional section, which was left as grass to bring the outside in. A back up plan for rain, this added a lovely quirky touch to their marquee. 

Paula and Jon put a huge amount of effort into decorating their pole tent. Paula scoured car boot sales for old sheets and sewed metres and metres of bunting.  Paula's sister made their two impactful hessian and ivy chandeliers to go around the two central king poles.  And an eclectic mix of vintage pieces, borrowed from friends and family helped to set the scene of a relaxed rustic/vintage family festival.

The pièce de résistance was the handmade photo booth, made to look like a section of wall in a house, with two cut out framed spaces. This meant Paula and Jon’s guests could add themselves to the family photo wall, joining photos of Paula and Jon’s sets of parents plus Jon's grandparents. Such a special touch. A frame nearby already contained a pic of Paula and Jon as they had left the church no more than an hour earlier. We were impressed!

Flowers were a rustic mix of wildflowers and roses displayed in baby food jars (great idea and a key contribution from Hetty) and milk bottle vases, which had been wrapped in lace and hessian by Paula. Pea green napkins added a further splash of colour and hessian runners, doilies and ornate candlesticks completed the look.

As guests arrived they were welcomed with Silent Pool gin fizz and an impressive selection of canapés; mini pork pies; smoked salmon blinis with lemon and cracked black pepper; goats cheese with caramelised red onion; quiches with “proper” cheddar, bacon and leek; quail scotch eggs and chargrilled asparagus with lemon mayonnaise.

The bar was provided by Four Gables and Jon’s own brew was also on offer, made during a Firebird brewery day he received as a birthday gift. As guests mingled outside, sitting on the hay bales and taking in the views they were entertained by Brixton Barndance, a talented folk rock trio.

As the band took their first break a traditional ice cream bike arrived to serve guests, that went down a storm with kids and grown ups alike. 

After a showery morning - where we had removed and replaced the bale covers at least three times before guests arrived - we were so pleased that the important part of the day was rain free and everyone could enjoy the sunshine and the outdoors.

Instead of canapés for the children, there were child’s plates served consisting of mini rolls, crudités and other child friend bites, so we brought out the blankets and created a little picnic for them. 

To keep the kids entertained there was a fab dressing up tent from Beautiful Bells, along with space hoppers and bubbles and when it was time to sit down we handed out the gift bags including salt dough “Build a monster” kits thoughtfully put together by P&J.

Next up, one of my favourite parts of any wedding, the speeches. So touching. Jon made a funny comment in his speech about the lengths he had to go to get jean loving Paula into a dress, so I had to ask Paula to tell us more about ‘the’ dress.

“As pretty much everything we did was second hand/upcycled I really wanted to stick with the same theme for my dress.  I tried some beautiful new ones on to get an idea of what I would like then set to trawling all the second hand websites.  It's difficult to buy a second hand dress as you obviously can't leave it too late or you'll miss your window to buy a new one.  I was starting to get a bit concerned when I still hadn't found anything by the end of March, Lucy (Maid of honour) had popped down for the weekend and we started to look on ebay. We stumbled across my perfect dress. With one day left and no bids we drove to Wokingham the next day, I fell in love with it there and then and the previous owner finished the auction for me at £300 for the beautiful Maggie Sottero dress that I wore on our big day, it was another thing that just fell into place”.

After the speeches, David of Four Gables came in to talk about the food and guests were invited table by table to collect their meal. On the menu was:

Four Gables’ own sausages – Cumberland, smoked garlic and chorizo
A choice of burger - sweet onion, chilli or blue cheese
Chargrilled chicken with honey and thyme
Slow cooked Moroccan lamb with tzatiki and pitta
Halloumi sliders with red onion relish
Veggie sausages
New season potato salad with grain mustard
Red cabbage and carrot slaw
Pea, lemon and parmesan salad  
Tomato and mozzarella salad with aged balsamic
All served with an array of condiments, relishes and sauces

Dessert was chocolate and salted caramel roulade, lemon posset and summer berries with vanilla creme fraiche.

After that feast, luckily it was the kids dancing first. Before the wedding the children had been asked for their music requests, so the first hour of music was a compilation of their favourite tunes. As the kids boogied, and Jon’s grandparents got comfy on the leather sofa brought in for them, we helped ‘reset’ the bell tent and prepare it for movie night. Another little treat from Paula and Jon, the children settled into the cushions and beanbags for movie time, with cookies and milk served up by Four Gables.

As magic hour arrived the photo booth was brought outside to give it a countryside backdrop and guests were treated to a beautiful rainbow. We like to think it was a sign that someone very special, who had been unable to be there, was watching over.

As the light faded I lit the firepit and the festoons criss-crossing the outside of vintage pole tent came into their own. Such an honour to be part of such a lovely family’s day and I think they’ve already found the pot of gold at the end of their rainbow.

A few final words from Paula & Jon

“We were talking about favourite parts of the day (ceremony aside) and we both said there were just so many lovely moments, most of which involved looking across the field at everyone smiling and enjoying themselves in the sunshine.  We always wanted to create not only a day that we would remember but a day that others would remember fondly too. Having taken kids to more formal weddings, we appreciate that it can sometimes be stressful and not at all relaxing, we really wanted everyone to be able to relax and enjoy themselves and it was lovely to see that happening”.

“We loved putting our outdoor wedding together, you have so much more flexibility to be creative and do whatever you want. So many venues tie you into certain suppliers whereas you can go with whoever works for you this way.  Having seen pictures of some of the other weddings that Fiesta Fields have hosted they all look so different because you pretty much have a blank canvas to work with.  I love a project so enjoyed doing most of it myself, it's quite a big job so it definitely has to be something that appeals but the beauty of it is that Nikki had the same kind of wedding day herself, so understands the appeal of an outdoor wedding and has lots of great contacts for those who perhaps don't want to be as hands on.  I would highly recommend doing it, it was so much fun”.

Ps A big thanks to Chris Telford for sharing some beautiful pics with us.

SUPPLIERS
Caterer and Bar - Four Gables
Ice Cream - Fancy a Treat
Vintage Pole Tent - Tents n Events
Dressing up bell tent - Beautiful Bells
Entertainment - Brixton Barndance
Photographer - Chris Telford

PRIM AND SAM'S RELAXED TIPI WEDDING

On the 2nd April we were delighted to welcome Sam and Primrose to Robert’s Field. They kicked off the season for us in style with their beautiful, informal tipi wedding.

We first met Sam and Prim back in May last year, a very chilled couple they were looking for a relaxed wedding, which would cater for their guests and all the children they had invited, with space for them to roam free and safely. "I did not want the day to feel too structured and manufactured like hotel weddings. Originally I wanted a seaside wedding, as my dad was a great sailor, however it wasn't practical with working around school holidays. From then I quickly came across tipis and fell in love with the relaxed country feel. The big appeal was that I could be very creative and add my own personal touches. In a way it is a blank canvas.”

Sam and Prim were keen to handover some of the organisation over to us, so we worked with them to build the perfect package. For their guest numbers we opted for a two giant hat and one Kungsornen set up from Tentario. With guests seated at 10 round tables in the two giant hats, this left the Kungsornen for the bar area, some relaxed lounge seating and one of the two open fires (with obligatory marshmallows on hand for toasting). To make the most of the space 4 tables were set on the dancefloor, but these were speedily packed away by caterers and ourselves in time for the first dance.

For catering Sam and Prim found Sausage & Pear, based down in Dorset. We are only too happy to work with new suppliers and build packages around them, and Sausage & Pear were a fab find by Sam and Prim. They served up beautifully presented rustic boards of afternoon tea canapés and as guests took their seats they were welcomed with Smoked Venison, Air Dried Pork Loin & Saucison Sec Charcuterie boards, served with homemade bread, olives & creamy roasted garlic hummus). Main course was a choice of delicious home made pies (Steak & Ale, Chicken and Ham Hock, Sweet Potato and Feta) served with creamy mash and seasonal veg and dessert was a mixed board of delicious mouthfuls of meringue, chocolate brownies, lemon posset, pavlova and wedding cake. Evening food - for those who had room - was wood fired pizzas from Catch a Fire and our absolute favourite was nutella, raspberry and marshmallow, We know, it sounds odd, but wow does it work!

Our package also included the posh toilet trailer, security services, generator, a couple of heaters for the tipis and on the day coordination. Nothing particularly sexy or interesting, but all very necessary and a few less things for Sam and Prim to worry about.

So, on to the finer details of their wedding. Their special Saturday arrived and after a slightly dodgy week weather wise, S&P got their wish for a crisp, bright day. They married in the local St Nicholas’ church and Prim was the perfect romantic boho bride, with her blonde hair loosely pinned up and filled with loose wild flowers. Her dress with lace bodice and tulle skirt was simply stunning. “From the very beginning I had a very particular style in mine. I wanted long sleeves and unstructured as I don't like wearing clothes that feel heavy. I found my dress very quickly about a month after engagement. I found it originally on American website bhldn. I then searched for it in the UK and found one stockist in Beaconsfield. The dress is by designer Love Marley. 

Prim was accompanied down the aisle by her brother and her 9, yes 9, nieces and nephews as flower girls and pageboys. We loved their simple but classic outfits with a vintage twist.

The vintage theme continued as guests were shuttled from the church to the field in a vintage bus from Ages Past and Sam and Prim made their way in Prim’s brother’s cool little Fiat with personalised windscreen bumper.

The tipis definitely had the wow factor for guests as they walked into the welcomed warmth. Wild flower mixes in mismatched bottles and tins by Cherfold Flowers looked stunning. The cake by Prim’s sister-in-law was a three tiered lemon sponge with nearly nude icing, dressed with loose flowers and topped with a china Mr and Mrs Rabbit. If she doesn’t make cakes professionally then she should!

Prim is a huge dog lover, so the table plan was a little doggy quiz . A wooden pallet was marked out with black silhouettes, with each one corresponding to a particular breed of dog, represented by a china version on each of the tables. The tiny little bulldog was definitely our favourite.

The walkway provided by Tentario was dotted with beautiful little mason jars filled with fairy lights and the short distance from the church and field entrance were marked with home made wooden signs. Place settings were handwritten rustic tags, wrapped around the napkins with a sprig of rosemary and favours were little boxes of gourmet marshmallows, also made by Prim’s sister-in-law.

The bar was a relaxed help yourself affair with a funky bar unit provided by Tentario and copious amounts of beer, cider, prosecco and wine provided by Sam and Prim in tin ice buckets. They had hired our Kilner dispensers and little bottles with paper straws for their home made cocktail ‘Kate Sessions’. A mix of gin, St Germain, lemon juice, strawberry puree and fresh raspberries. It was totally delicious. We only had a little sip for research purposes of course.

The dancing was kicked off with Sam and Prim’s first dance to “I’m still in love with you boy by Sean Paul. “It was a unusual choice but it is a song Sam and I have always liked singing and dancing too. Also I often sing it to my dog Mabel :) The dance floor was bouncing all night until the singalong to Take That ‘Never Forget’ marked the end of a most special day. Fab job guys, it was an absolute pleasure. Can't wait for our next one, which is err, tomorrow, best be heading to bed.

Ps Big thanks to the lovely Anna B for allowing us to use some of her gorgeous pics.

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SUPPLIER LIST
Tipi - Tentario
Catering - Sausage & Pear and Catch a Fire Pizza
Flowers - Cherfold Cottage Flowers
Photography - Anna B
Generator - OEEH
Entertainment - Ollie Wade and A1 Discos
Transport - Ages Past
 

'LOU-FEST' WEEKENDER

Somewhere in Reading and London there are 16 girls probably just about recovered from their awesome ‘Lou-fest’ last weekend. And Lou is probably feeling particularly blessed to have such a top bunch of friends and loved ones, who went to so much effort for her hen do.

Friday was a sunny afternoon arrival to their Fiesta Fields glampsite at Top Field, with beautiful fully-furnished pastel tents provided by Emily at Baylily Bell Tents. The girls supplied their own marquee but everything else was included as part of the package we put together for them.

It was a total surprise to Lou and she arrived with her weekend bag, passport and giraffe onesie, as requested.  As she was driven through our first field to the big colourful ‘Lou-fest’ sign on the gate, she probably realised a passport wasn’t needed, but from chatting to her on Saturday night, she was far from disappointed with the girls’ choice for her and said she couldn’t think of anything more perfect for her. She has since said "It really was the most amazing weekend ever! The concept of LouFest was inspired and you made the magic happen".

The girls had come prepared and a bright pink bum bag waited on each girl’s bed containing personalized festival lanyards, face wipes, paracetamol, fluro face paint and festival flower hair garlands and of course there was the obligatory giant blow-up willy for the hen’s tent.

A couple of hours after Lou’s arrival and the downing of a decent number of bottles of Prosecco, Darren from Catch-a-Fire pizza arrived to serve them wood fired pizzas and a selection of cheesecakes, brownies and tarts for dessert.  Lou wasn’t the only one sporting a fluffy animal onesie, there were monkeys, zebras, dalmatians and a unicorn. Perfect for a sunny, but slightly chilly May evening.

Saturday started with our healthy breakfast package; Dorset cereals, pastries, a selection of fruit, smoothies and yoghurts, and apparently went down a storm. Then it was a day at Upperton Vineyard (just 10 minutes away), for a tour and a tasting.  While the girls were away we snuck in for a quick tidy up of camp and to get the drinks on ice.

Again the weather was on best behaviour and when the girls arrived back at camp, it was time for more prosecco, hen games and a barbecue. The theme was Full Moon party and all the girls looked awesome in the golden glow of the sun, with their gold tattoos and neon festival face paints. DJ Markus was there to get the party going and we left as the Thai buckets came out...

Sunday was bacon rolls and OJ and then it was time for some happy but slightly jaded goodbyes. We got such a good vibe from these girls and had a lot of fun looking after them. I was so pleased to receive so many lovely comments and it's a really satisfying feeling to know we contributed towards some lovely memories for all the girls.

We would like to take the opportunity to wish Lou a wonderful wedding and a lifetime of happiness.

To find out more on our bespoke glamping party packages please click here.

Here’s what the bride's sister had to say about the experience of organising the weekend with us.

"As Lou’s sister I was given the task of organising her Hen Do. Pretty much as soon as I heard the much anticipated word that her and her now fiancé were engaged I wanted get started straight away . There was huge pressure as she organised an amazing Hen Do for me but Lou had also been on many a Hen Do over the years which started me thinking outside the box.

I happened to stumble on Nikki’s website (Fiesta Fields) which drew me in straight away to the idea of a Glamping hen do. The task of organising seemed daunting until that was I contacted Nikki, whose calm and organised approach automatically made me realise that with her leading the way we could throw something truly spectacular!

A few months and many emails passed and the Hen Do was taking shape, Nikki was full of information and ideas and had a wealth of knowledge about the area and many, many suggestions for activities and so forth, Nikki came up with two excellent venues to choose from along with a complete package that catered for all our needs including an amazing menu.

The actual weekend approached and Nikki’s thoughtfulness and attentiveness continued with updates on the weather, list of what to pack and a compete breakdown of the weekend. This continued over the entire weekend with Nikki on hand for any problem, even taking our speaker home to charge it so we could continue to play music throughout the weekend!

The weekend itself was absolutely everything myself and the other Hens could imagine. Lou had no idea what we planned and was completely bowled over by the idyllic setting and attention to detail that Nikki had provided. The sun was shining, the prosecco was flowing and all the Hen’s had an absolutely brilliant time.

I can’t thank Nikki and Fiesta Fields enough for all their hard work leading up to and on the actual weekend. They made it so perfect and I would recommend anyone looking for something different for a Hen do or any special occasion - they really do provide that “wow” factor and can cater to all budgets and all requirements."

BEAUTIFUL WORLD TENTS

We paid a quick visit to Sumner Ponds this weekend to see Beautiful World Tents all set up and looking, well, beautiful. 

The wow factor of a tipi in all it’s glory never fails to impress me. This was a three giant hat plus one kungsornen configuration. Two of the giant hats were given to seating approx. 112 guests on a mix of round tables and chiavari chairs and banquet style rustic wooden trestles with benches and faux animal skins. The kungsornen held the dancefloor, DJ/Band stage area and low level chill out seating for about 15. The curved head table was also set on the dancefloor, a common thing to do to make the most of your space (It’s easily packed away after your meal and before you kick off the evening with your first dance) In the third giant hat was the bar area, with the open fire as the centerpiece, more chill out seating and a couple of sofas for a special touch of luxury.

Mixing round tables and chairs with banquet style and benches can be a good compromise. Benches and trestles are be a better use of space, since you can seat 8 to a table with benches and this style of tables lay out takes up less space, but chairs are more comfortable for older guests.

The tipis were set up with different styled finishing touches.  The massive and very impressive chandelier, along with benches, banquet style and animal skins and made me think mediaeval banquet. But then rustic hearts, bunting, copper bottles and jam jars gave a very different feel. It just goes to show what a great blank canvas tipis can be. 

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Continuing the theme, outside was a little hat with benches around and you could easily put a fire pit in the middle to add some warmth.

It was a bit brisk on Saturday, but it certainly wasn’t cold in the tipis. We entered through a solid wood door, and with the heaters and 2 open fires it was toasty warm throughout. So if you do have a Spring or Autumn month in mind for your wedding, don’t let this put you off the idea of an outdoor wedding.

If Spring is your thing, click here to take a look at our new venue – Staffhurst Wood - a Surrey Wildlife Trust reserve, available exclusively through Fiesta Fields. The perfect mix of scenic woodland and a beautiful and secluded field space, surrounded by this ancient wood. Lovely at any time of the year but particularly stunning in April/May when the bluebells put on their show.  On the eastern border of Surrey and with its proximity to the M25 and M23 it is easily accessible from Surrey, London, Kent, East and West Sussex.

 

 

WEDDINGS UNDER CANVAS - PART 1

Once you’ve found your perfect outdoor space, your next big decision is your main tent. Gone are the days when your choice was this marquee, that marquee or the other marquee.

You can now be overwhelmed by the choice - tipis, yurts, vintage pole tents, big tops, exotic tents, stretch tents, sperrys and clearspan marquees, as well as a host of variations on these themes and some unusual versions of your traditional marquee too. Phew! I think blogs are meant to be short and snappy, so I will just cover off tipis, yurts and vintage pole tents for now.

A tipi (tepee or teepee – they are all correct) is a conical tent traditionally made with wooden poles and animal skins, set up with the entrance facing the rising sun, because of the prevailing western winds in North America.

Modern Tipis are often called Giant Hats or Katas are made from beige canvas material stitched together and have lifting sides. These sides allow your guests to enjoy the views and allow multiple tipis to be joined together to create unique, atmospheric spaces capable of hosting events for up to 180 people. There is also a smaller tipi called a Kungsornen and this can work well as a chill out area.

Most tipi companies offer a large open fireplace as a stunning centrepiece. Put the sides down, add a couple of heaters and a tipi is equally good for a wedding/party in cooler months.

The photos speak for themselves on the stunning interiors you can achieve with a tipi set up.

For more information visit Tentario or Beautiful World Tents.

The Yurt originated in Central Asia and is basically a circular wooden frame wrapped with felt. The majority of yurts for hire in the UK use white canvas and look particularly stunning inside with the soft light coming through the canvas, the domed ceiling and the latticework frame, that can be weaved in with flowers, vines or fairy lights. If the weather is nice the canvas sides can be removed to let the outdoors inside. Of course the lattice frame needs to remain as this is what holds up the structure, A yurt is equally practical in colder weather, with a real wooden door - add a furnace fire and you have the perfect cosy space. The smaller sizes make lovely intimate spaces for special dinner parties or birthdays. 

Yurts come in different shapes and sizes to accommodate different guest numbers and they can also be linked together to create different spaces ie, dining yurt, dancing yurt, chill-out yurt. 

For more info check out Cheltenham Yurt Hire and LPM Bohemia or if you want something a bit more colourful and authentic try Simply Yurts.

Lastly, the vintage pole tent, originating right here in good old Blighty. A canvas tent, generally in white that is held up by two, three or 4 large central wooden poles called King poles. The canvas roof is then stretched out to smaller side poles and held tight with traditional ropes and pegs. The sides can be on or off or a mixture of the two. The long sides often feature clear windows, in case you need to batten down the hatches.

They look totally charming inside and out, you can decorate the inner and outer poles with bunting, ribbons, garlands or fairylights to create a really stunning party space. Some companies offer ceiling or ‘wall linings as an added touch, which can give the tent a completely different feel.

The tents come in a variety of sizes to offer the optimum space for your guest numbers. A variation on the theme is a big top, which has rounded ends, add some stripes and you have yourself a circus big top.

For more information visit Tents N Events or LPM Bohemia.

For all of the mentioned options, flooring, dance floor, staging, lighting and tables and chairs are generally quoted as standard and different suppliers offer a host of extra touches too, such as bar units, chill out seating and mirror balls. As with any outdoor party tent, they are all fantastic blank canvasses., the fun part is styling it to suit you. Happy planning!

 

YOUR AL FRESCO WEDDING STARTS HERE

More and more couples are opting for an outdoor wedding. People are drawn to the casualness of the day an outdoor wedding generally brings, and the fact you can style everything exactly as you’d like. It’s just a bit different and youre more likely to end up with a day that has you' (in the plural sense of course) written all over it.  An outdoor space is your ultimate blank canvas. The fun comes from dressing it. Festival, boho, vintage or country fair. Rustic, garden party or Moroccan. Absolutely anything you want.

This was a big attraction for us, plus the fact we could have all our friends camping over with us. As parents to two small children we dont get to party much (thats an understatement) and didnt want the one occasion when we have all loved ones in one place to finish at midnight. Bell tents and sleeping yurts have brought that missing touch of luxury to camping. Not that weve splashed out on the full bridal bell tent, I dont plan on being in there that long :)

We started the planning last summer and are now just over 4 months from the big day. Over the next few months I will bring you up to date with our planning journey so far and then count you down with me to Mister & Missus. Hopefully there will be plenty of tips and some ideas you might like along the way as well as little memory jogs of things you need to remember too.

You don’t have to be engaged to read my blog. Apart from a quick bit on ceremonies it should be just as useful to people planning a special party or private festival. And you can be sure I wont be banging on about my dress too much, cant give away that secret!

That’s it for now, but I will be back soon with my rundown on your main reception/party tent options.