English Secret Garden Wedding (With a Tipi!)
Our favourite kinds of weddings are the ones that don’t stick too strictly to a theme and combine all the different aspects of a couple’s life together into one beautiful day.
And that’s exactly true of Kate and Tom’s wedding at The Secret Walled Garden in Wasing Park.
Photographed candidly by Warren of Howell Jones Photography, their day fused the traditional with the whimsical and the pretty with the fun.
A stylish couple, Kate and Tom looked the part on their day with the groom in a three piece navy suit, and Kate, looking stunning with glamorous waves and a gorgeous Pronovias wedding dress.
Their chic look was paired beautifully with the bridesmaids in grey Virgos Lounge (a nod to their Gatsby party vibe).
And while their attire, DIY stationery and traditional ceremony had a classic feel, their cool tipi garden party was all about the fun, with floral-laced whimsical decor and crooning and dancing ’til the wee hours.
This sounds like our kind of bash!
Wedding Day Snapshot
Tom and I met at a gig 6 years ago, he was on stage as the lead singer in his band and I was watching on in the crowd.
Chatting afterwards led to five years of dating until he popped the question in a treehouse in Bath. Just 7 months later we were married!
(We actually set out our love story in an infographic on the front of our wedding invitations – we spent hours creating them in Photoshop and everyone loved them!)
Our wedding in three words? Intimate / whimsical / fun!
We couldn’t decide between ‘Gatsby glamour’ and ‘whimsical fairy party’ so we ended up with a mish mash of both.
We opted for tipis strung with fairy lights and we covered the tent poles with ivy and flowers.
Our colour palette was gold, peach and blue, and we made sure that there were plenty of crafty, homemade touches too.
Our main priority was to ensure that everyone had a great party and that the whole day was filled with personal touches that made the day our own and truly reflected our personalities.
I knew I wanted lots of flowers so we sprayed some plant pots gold, and my mum started growing lots of plants in them in her garden months before the wedding – they looked stunning in the entrance to the tipis.
Blue hydrangeas were the basis for the bouquets and centrepieces, along with larkspur, white and peach roses, eucalyptus and ivy and white liatris, sweet peas and freesias. T
The men had white roses for their buttonholes.
My wedding dress was Yanida by Pronovias, and my bejewelled hair slide was by Jules Bridal.
My maid of honour also happens to by an incredible make-up artist so she created my vintage hair-do and make-up for the day. The veil was also by Pronovias, and for my something borrowed and blue I borrowed my mum’s diamond and blue sapphire ring to wear for the day.
Tom wore a navy three-piece suit from Reiss with burgundy brogues. The ushers also wore navy suits, and all had matching grey ties from Reiss. They also sported some garish Happy Socks!
Each of the bridesmaids wore heavily embellished grey dresses from Virgos Lounge that I picked up at a bargain price in the January sale a week after Tom proposed!
Well, we only had 7 months to plan…
I’ll never forget walking down the aisle and the look on Tom’s face when he first saw me, but the moment that stays with us both was at the end of the night when our friends put us up on their shoulders and everyone sang along to John Farnham’s ‘You’re the Voice’.
It was a great way to end the wedding!
The ceremony was held at St Mary’s church in Shinfield, Reading. We chose traditional vows and hymns, and a lovely poem called ‘A Vow’ by Wendy Cope.
Tom’s cousin is the lead singer in the band Zoot Woman, and he sang an acoustic version of ‘How Long Will I Love You’ by The Waterboys/Ellie Goulding which kept the guests entertained (and a number crying) whilst we signed the register.
Tom found our wedding photographer Warren online, we both loved his reportage approach to wedding photography and knew he would capture the atmosphere of our day, he didn’t disappoint!
Our videographer Rebecca was recommended by a friend, she creates romantic wedding films and we’ve spent so many hours watching ours and reliving the memories, she’s already had plenty of repeat business from friends seeing our video!
We held our reception at ‘The Secret Walled Garden’ in Wasing Park which provided the perfect backdrop for our amazing tipis!
The garden was beautiful and filled with roses giving a great setting for the canapés and cocktails and of course the photos.
The tipis were strung with pontoon and fairy lights, and we’d been foraging the day before to make ivy garlands to decorate the tent poles. We couldn’t have been happier with how beautiful it looked.
The Decor & Details
The tipis themselves were stunning, but we wanted to inject our personality into the decor so we photo-shopped our faces on to an image of John and Yoko to cover the front of the band’s kick drum, and bought a glitzy gold backdrop for the stage.
For the place name holders we bought bags of toy plastic animals on eBay and sprayed them gold – people loved them so much, they took them home!
The photobooth had a great retro look to it and went down a storm in the evening. I spent months sourcing vintage glass tea light holders and these were used to decorate the tables.
I could go on forever about all the details but hopefully the photos cover the rest.
We served prosecco on arrival and had a vintage bathtub filled with beers and ice for guests to help themselves. We also had some of our favourite canapés circulating.
This was followed by a delicious three-course meal before the speeches.
There were bowls of sweets on the tables and later on, we had fish and chip cones to soak up some of the booze.
For the service, I walked in to Canon in D by Pachelbel, and we exited to The Wedding March by Mendelssohn, our first dance was ‘Ho Hey’ by The Lumineers.
We roped in a DJ friend to take care of the party (he wasn’t too happy with the gold sequin jacket and bow tie we imposed on him).
The live band consisted of guests at the wedding including the groom and best man, but the best part of the night was the surprise performances by members of our families including a duet of ‘Don’t Go Breaking My Heart’ by our mums.
Kate’s brother put his own hilarous lyrics to the rap on ‘Nothin on You’ by B.O.B. and Bruno Mars, and Kate’s sister-in-law sang Disney’s Frozen which got all the girls singing/wailing along.
Advice for Other Couples
We hired a red vintage bus stocked with prosecco to take our guests to the reception, whilst we travelled separately in our own car. We thought we might be missing out on the fun, but it was actually the one chance we had to take a moment to be together.
I’d recommend finding some time in your day when you can be on your own to let the fact you’ve just got married sink in!
Above all, just enjoy every moment because it’s over so quickly.
Isn’t it gorgeous? The late night dancing sounds like so much fun! And seriously, how stunning is Kate’s wedding dress?
Thanks so much to Warren of Howell Jones Photography, and our cool newlyweds Kate & Tom for sharing their secret garden wedding with us.
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Be inspired by Kate and Tom’s beautiful English garden wedding that blends the traditional with the whimsical, with beautiful pics by Howell Jones Photography.