On 25th July 2015 I married my partner Mark having been together since we were teenagers. When we got engaged the previous year we already knew that we did not want a big hotel or country house wedding, the idea of all the formality made us feel quite nervous. We were keen to have something much more relaxed and to try to keep it as local to our new home in Letchworth as possible. This was going to be the biggest party of our lives.
I have spend my career working in the charity sector and wanted to make this part of our special day. After a quick google search I came across Church Farm Ardeley, a Social Enterprise farm based in Herfordshire. After a visit it couldn’t have been more perfect. The farm is at the heart of the community, runs a project called Rural Care for people with disabilities and has wonderful staff with a relaxed attitude that really fitted our requirements. We hired a field and then started to work on what we needed to make it into the dream wedding location.
Ardeley is a beautiful village and has a gorgeous Church which we were lucky enough to get married in. It provided the perfect venue for us to exchange our vows.
Creating the perfect wedding in a field
Having looked at marquees and yurts we finally settled on Tipis to house our wedding party. Tipis4Hire was an obvious choice as they are a Hertfordshire based company and were hosting an open day at Hitchin Lavender where we got to see the Tipis in all their glory and make decisions about the furniture and layout we required.
Having chosen the Tipis to host our party we needed to sort some practical issues. The field had running water but only had compost toilets and I couldn’t quite see my Grandma using one and didn’t fancy hoisting up my wedding dress in such an environment. Luxury toilets were sourced from LSK Luxury Toilet Hire and power was made available through a generator provided by Generated Power Services.
Food for the day
We opted for a relaxed dining experience. A BBQ of sausages and lamb was served with salad thanks to The Lobster Pot Catering service. The meat was all sourced from the farm. Our Rainbow wedding cake made by two friends was served as dessert with strawberries and cream. Cheese and biscuits were served in the evening and the bar provided by the Jolly Waggoner Pub in the village.
Finding the perfect dress is tough but when I went to The Stamford Bridal rooms the decision was easy. My Jenny Packham 1930s inspired number was just what I was looking for. It was far more embellished than I imagined I would go for but I felt wonderful in it.
The Flowers – Baldock Flowers
Local florist Baldock Flowers created wonderful flowers based on designs I had found on Pinterest.
The Theme – DIY
Having spent the past 5 years renovating houses with my partner we decided on a DIY theme. Not in the sense of doing everything ourselves (we did do this) but as in tools, paints, etc. We used my Grandad’s old tools to hold flower arrangements on the tables, Mark created candle holders from copper pipe, paint cans helped people find their tables and paint brushes were used as favours and name cards. An old ladder held the table plan. This was perfect for us.
My Nan made crochet blankets to keep our guests warm in the evening, if people wanted to keep them we asked for donations to the Macmillan Cancer unit in Huntingdon. My Dad was supported fantastically by the unit as he battled cancer of the oesophagus.We raised almost £2000 for it by replacing gifts with donations and blankets being taken home by friends.
A Hertfordshire photographer Rob from Purpix Photography was found at Hatfield House Wedding Fair and he provided a great service including a pre-wedding shoot. Guidance on what images would work well and enabled us to get the relaxed wedding images we wanted to remember our day by.
No party would be complete without some music. We went for London based Zydeco Ramblers. They provided a fitting country wedding soundtrack.