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


 

 

 







COLLETTE & HARRY'S RELAXED TIPI WEDDING

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Kim Thackery, Wedding and Event Coordinator with Fiesta Fields

CREDITS

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

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

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