LAUREN & ASHLEY'S FESTIVAL TIPI WEDDING

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.

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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.

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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 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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 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.


CREDITS

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


 

 

 







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

 

 

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