Intimate, personal and beautiful. A garden wedding planned in 8 weeks.
When I first spoke to Cate on the phone about her wedding, I knew I was going to be creating some very special images. My initial contact with couples ranges from about 6 months to a year before the date of their wedding, but Cate and Garry’s intimate garden wedding was in just a few weeks time. The details of their need for a quick turnaround are below, and I felt a lot of readers and engaged couples would find their experience really encouraging, especially if they are wanting to plan a wedding quickly. I write this during a time where weddings are currently in lockdown, and the majority of my summer weddings are postponed until 2021. There may be a situation where smaller intimate weddings might work in the interim and be perfect for couples who want to seize the day as soon as it is safe to do so! I hope you find their story inspiring. It is still one of the best tipi parties I have ever witnessed! Thank you so much Cate + Garry and happy belated anniversary! xx
Location of ceremony and reception:
St. Aidan’s Church, Gillamoor followed by a reception in my parents’ garden (my parents live at Church View so not far at all!) and a Papakata Tipi
How many guests?
68. Our circumstances and time pressures meant that a venue wedding wouldn’t have worked – we wanted my Dad to be able to dip in and out depending on his health (and my Mum to be able to pop and check on him), so we had to work with whatever we could fit in parents garden. Papakata were incredible, they came out to measure the garden and worked out they could just fit 2 adjoined tipis in our garden with not an inch to spare at either side), still leaving room for drinks outside. This in itself limited the amount of guests we could invite which really was a blessing in disguise – we only have small families, and meant we really only had the core people there. The other benefit of having fewer people there than we might have had otherwise was that we genuinely did get to spend time with every single person
How long did you take you take to plan the wedding?
Unfortunately, only a couple of months after we go engaged, my dear Dad was diagnosed with a Grade 4, aggressive brain tumour towards the end of 2018. Initially wedding planning went to the back of our minds, but in early 2019 my Dad was given a revised and rather pessimistic prognosis. I knew if we didn’t act quickly there was no way for my Dad to be at my wedding, and I also knew that I really couldn’t picture a wedding without him in it. So in February 2019 we made the call to get married as soon as possible, and chose the earliest date possible that would guarantee my heavily pregnant sister could also be there (bearing in mind my parents live in Yorkshire and my sister and I in London) – my beautiful niece was only 3 weeks old at our wedding (and made the most beautiful flower girl!). The date we chose was 8 weeks away – Saturday the 13th of April. Within 24 hours of having chosen the date we had booked the church, the tipi, the photographer and the caterer, and the rest all just fell into place. I have always said that I work better under pressure and think this demonstrated that pretty well!
How would you describe your wedding day in 2 sentences?
A relaxed and intimate day full of family and friends, with lots of laughter and questionable dance moves! I honestly though that given the circumstances and time pressures that we would end up compromising in some way, but I can hand on heart say that other than having my Dad be able to walk me down the aisle and stay for the whole evening and have a father-daughter dance, I honestly wouldn’t have changed a single thing. What could have been a slightly sad day wasn’t at all, it was a celebration of us having pulled it all off, of having been able to have Dad accompany me down the aisle, and it really was just a brilliant party!
How did you meet? And how long have you been together?
We met at work, and had been together 6 years when we go engaged
Tell me about the proposal
We booked a trip to San Sebastian, my favourite place in the world (where I spent 6 months studying at University), at the top of Monte Urgull at sunset
How did you spend / allocate your budget?
The benefit of a marquee/tipi wedding is that you get complete control over every detail of your day, which you often don’t get at a venue. The downside is that you have to organise all of those details yourself (right down to hiring the portable loos!), and all of those details do not come cheap, and is where a significant part of our budget went. We had a very detailed spreadsheet and tried to pay as much up front as possible so that we didn’t have any payments still outstanding on or after our day.
Where did you splurge and where/how did you save?
We definitely splurged on alcohol (and were still drinking our wedding champagne and wine for months afterwards), and saved on décor by making as much as we could ourselves.
How/Why did you choose your photographer?
This was one of the groom’s jobs – he used Instagram to find you, and then we just loved the relaxed and natural style of your photos (we aren’t very natural behind the camera and hate posing!). Our mutual love of ‘golden hour’ photos was what sealed the deal!
Who was your dress by?
It was by Stella York, and was the very first dress I tried on at Little Pearl Bridal Boutique in Pickering (15 mins from my parents house, I only really booked the appointment so that my Mum would be able to come and see me in some dresses as once my Dad got ill all plans of her weekend down in London for looking at dresses went out of the window) – and I loved it straight away (and managed to get a fast-tracked delivery). I paired it with an ex-display lace top from the bridal boutique, and wore my Sister In Laws decorative belt as my ‘something borrowed’
And the suit?
ASOS! Garry splurged on the shoes (he had always wanted an excuse to buy some Gucci shoes!) and saved on the suit.
Did you have a theme or colour scheme you were working towards?
Sage Green, Gold and White. The Sage green flowed through from the initial save the dates (sent via whatsapp due to time pressures!) and invites, through to the bridesmaid dresses, table plan, and on-the-day stationery such as menu cards and Order of Service
What sort of flowers did you have?
White roses, and lots of greenery. We used a local florist who knows the church well and knew all the little places to sneak flowers – there really were flowers everywhere there could possibly be flowers both at the ceremony and in the tipi – they were stunning yet simple.
What sort of decoration did you have
Lots of hand lettered bits and pieces (I have a lettering side business). We combined place cards and favours into one by personalising champagne glasses for everyone to take home. In the tipi we had fairy lights on every available pole, and paper lanterns. We also had a fire pit, which was mulit-purpose in itself; it looked gorgeous, provided extra heat on a cold day (we did also have heating though), and was great for toasting marshmallows on!
What did you eat?
We both massive foodies so were super lucky that our preferred caterer was free on our date (the bonus of having an April wedding… I think the threat of April showers makes it a less popular month, which meant we got almost all of our first choice suppliers at only 8 weeks’ notice). Delicious relaxed sharing platters for starter, followed by braised beef cheek then chocolate & salted caramel tart – delicious! Dom’s kitchen were super flexible and use all local Yorkshire produce which is one of the reasons we chose them.
And the wedding cake?
A friend of my Mum’s who lives in her village makes the most delicious cakes, and made my sister’s wedding cake 4 years ago, so we asked her to make ours too – it was red velvet with a cream cheese frosting.
What did you have as entertainment
The Monotones who kept the dance floor full at all times!
Who supplied the stationery
Me! I designed all my own stationery and used printed.com for my printing
Did you have any personal touches?
Lots! Some which were a surprise to me (like the little locket containing a photo of my parents and grandparents on their wedding days which my bridesmaids attached to my bouquet), and some which we planned, such as our 2nd favours which were Macmillan pin badges which every single guest wore (unprompted) for the night. Our tables were named after our favourite places (our top table was San Sebastian following our engagement there), and we had a Bagpiper we had for outside the church, and the thistles in Garry’s button hole were a nod to my Dad’s Scottish roots. We also had 2 polaroid cameras floating around with a big frame for every to peg their photos on which we now have displayed in our sitting room
What were your special moments or highlights of the day?
My Mum wheeling my Dad down the aisle with me. My Mum’s incredible speech (my Dad was not well enough to attend the reception), and our first dance when all the bridesmaids set off a confetti canon each (which helped Danni capture our perfect first dance shot!)
What advice would you give any other couples about planning your big day, or any tips for the day itself?
Don’t spend too long on photos! Danni was fab and recommended we stick to max 10 sets of ‘family’ photos which I am so pleased we stuck to.
Arrange some form of ‘next-day’ celebration too! Ours consisted of a very casual lunch back in the tipi, just with family and bridal party. This was a great way to reflect on the day before with everyone and wind down gradually rather than it all suddenly being over!
What was your biggest surprise of the day?
How relaxed I was!! On the morning of the wedding I really had so much fun with my bridesmaids, drinking champagne out of my hand-personalised champagne flutes, in personalised shirts (I didn’t go for dressing gowns as knew we might be out and about sorting last minute decorations in the tipi!), and eating platters of sandwiches which I had delivered from Tesco that morning.
Tipi – https://www.papakata.co.uk
Caterer – https://www.doms-kitchen.co.uk
Music – https://monotones.co.uk
Flowers – https://www.lushandlang.com
Make up – Vikki Adams https://www.facebook.com/vikkiadamsmakeupartist/
Stationary – www.instagram.com/catecreates_
Hair – Emma Dunne Hair https://www.facebook.com/Little-Roos-CUTcakes-645833262232090/
Photographer – https://www.maytreephotography.co.uk
Wedding dress – https://www.thelittlepearlbridalboutique.co.uk
Wedding dress alterations – http://www.thebridalstudiomalton.co.uk