Our Wedding

Danny and I got married on the 14th August 2021 and although it was a long and sometimes stressful wait due to the pandemic, it was an absolute dream of a day and couldn’t have been more perfect. We put so much thought into our wedding, especially when it was postponed a year because of covid and we had extra time to plan! We wanted our wedding to be as vegan and eco friendly as possible, this was one of our aims from the get go and I thought it may be helpful to anyone planning a similar wedding if I made a blog about our special day. So, if you’re here for some tips on eco-friendly/vegan wedding planning, you might find something here to help you plan your big day!

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I wouldn’t describe our wedding as a run-of-the-mill or formulaic. We wanted something that really represented us and we didn’t want to compromise on what we could imagine our day to be, so we put together a lot of the elements ourselves to make it the unique and unforgettable day it was. We were lucky enough to get the help of many skilled friends and family members too. I highly recommend getting trusted people involved, it can take some of the pressure off for the two of you – but I’ll talk more about that later…

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www.jackparkerphotography.co.uk

Venue 

We got married at Plush Tents Yurt Village in Chichester, a gorgeous, unique woodland venue, perfect for the nature loving folk we are. The venue was amazing, totally unique –  it had luxury yurts for lots of guests to stay, room for extra guests to camp, big spaces for dancing and eating, options for a ceremony area and best of all you could hire it for the whole weekend! That clinched it for us, we wanted to milk it for all it’s worth and spend as much time with family and friends as possible either side of the wedding.

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www.jackparkerphotography.co.uk

The one thing every married person would say to me prior to the wedding was “it will go really quickly – so soak it all in!”, so early doors we decided we’d like to find somewhere that we could hire for the whole weekend, where there was the option of a real comfortable bed or room for those who love to camp. We looked into the idea of hiring an empty field and making it a completely DIY wedding, but after some viewings, we realised we wanted somewhere with a little bit of magic already there which we could then add our personalities too even further – ideally with tree covered areas for shade and, well,  because it has always been my dream to get married under the trees!

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We also looked at venues where everything was sorted for you, which is great if you don’t have the time to plan all the elements, but if you want somewhere with some flexibility and a place you can bring to life with your own personal choices, a place like Plush Tents came out on top for us and might be a good choice for you.

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www.jackparkerphotography.co.uk

Food

From the get-go we agreed that the food served on our wedding day was important to us and we wanted to share with our guests just how amazing vegan food can be. So we made sure to set aside a decent budget for food without breaking the bank. We did a lot of research to find exactly what we wanted – we were looking for amazing vegan food (of course) to impress all our guests, vegans and non vegans alike. We wanted the food to have a relaxed feel about it, rather than the traditional sit down table plan vibe and we wanted the companies we used to be as eco friendly and ethical as possible. The companies we chose were absolutely fantastic and we would recommend them both all day long!

For the day time food we had VFP or ‘Vegan Food Pimp’.

Lynn, who is the founder of VFP, was fantastic from the get go. She sat down with us to discuss exactly what we had in mind and how we envisaged the food being served and was always helpful, lovely and a great energy to have on board. She gave us full confidence and the whole team absolutely delivered on the day. Our guests were blown away by her food, we had so many compliments about our choices and how delicious everything was. Lynn is particularly amazing for working with whatever your budget is so can always come up with an option to suit.

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For our day, we started with canapés which were cute, quirky and really tasty, keeping everyones tummies from rumbling whilst also wetting their appetite for more!

When it came to our main meal we gave our guests the option of three of our favourites…

1. Paella
2. Curry
3. Chilli

These were served in three big dishes along with sides, including rice, salads and even vegan calamari (which went with the paella). It is safe to say the food was demolished and adored by all of our guests!

We highly recommend VFP.

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For our evening food we hired the amazing GreenBox Catering.

We wanted to share the slightly more indulgent side of vegan cuisine, without veering into greasy junk food! Something to soak up the alcohol and keep everyone smiling. GreenBox were amazing and everyone continued to mention how incredible their food was. They served up:

  1. Vegan “steak” sub
  2. No. 6 Burger
  3. Truffle topped fries

They were so friendly, professional and no fuss (I barely noticed them setting up!) Everything on the menu was utterly scrumptious and felt it was money very well spent.

We highly recommend GreenBox too.

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The Cake

We initially didn’t think we’d bother with a cake… we were unsure if they ever get eaten at weddings anyway? But I am so glad we did. It was eaten in minutes! We were lucky enough to have my extremely talented mum and step-dad make and decorate our cake and they did a stunning job. It was actually breathtaking, both in how it looked and tasted! It was a vegan (of course) lemon and lime drizzle and it looked like this:

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So my advice is, if you have a talented baking friend or family member, pull in some favours! If it is a tastes as good as ours, it will get eaten!

My dress

I found my dress in a place called Bridal Reloved, a place I just stumbled across that sells dresses that have been worn once before or are on sale because they were the sample dress etc. I loved this idea as I didn’t feel it necessary to spend a fortune on a dress (each to their own) but it went along with our eco theme and seemed right for me. I Also just happened to find the PERFECT dress. It was like no other I’d seen and felt it was totally meant for me – being the only one and all! It was a sample dress, so even better – no one else had really worn it and it was half the original price!

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www.jackparkerphotography.co.uk

I had my veil made for me by the amazing Kirsty Oriel which was absolutely stunning. Kirsty also altered my dress and did an incredible job. You should definitely check her out.

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Photographer

We had the super talented Jack Parker photograph our wedding.

Our wedding photos (I hope you’ll agree!) are absolutely beautiful. We wanted a photographer who would blend in and capture all the natural moments and who could really tell the story of our day, rather than a series of set up shots (we did a few of the family but kept it brief) –  the best photos are without a doubt the ones where no one was aware they were being photographed (aren’t they always?).  Jack captured so many incredible moments from the ceremony without us even noticing he was there, I honestly don’t know how he did it!

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www.jackparkerphotography.co.uk
www.jackparkerphotography.co.uk
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www.jackparkerphotography.co.uk
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www.jackparkerphotography.co.uk
www.jackparkerphotography.co.uk
www.jackparkerphotography.co.uk
www.jackparkerphotography.co.uk

My Hair and Make up 

My wedding hair was beautifully done by the lovely Sarah Jaye. Sarah was amazing. I asked her to use only vegan/cruelty free products which she came prepared with and it was absolutely no trouble. She blended in with the calm (but excited) vibes of the yurt in which I was getting ready with my Tribe and she absolutely nailed the job of doing not only my hair, but nine bridesmaids and my Mums in just four hours! There was no stress and we were all ready on time and looking beautiful.

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My make up was gifted to me by my very talented cousin Toni for which I was super grateful. I was a bit apprehensive about wedding make up and nervous about not feeling like myself. I didn’t want too much make up applied but also wanted to look the best version of me! So there was a balance to strike and I thought best to make sure I could be absolutely honest and comfortable with my MUA and Toni did and exceptional job. She used all vegan and cruelty free products most of which we purchased from Charlotte Tilbury. I was so happy with my make up, it was subtle, natural yet had a sparkle to it.

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Toni also did my nails – Lucky me! I’m not much of a nails person, but I thought as it was my wedding day, I probably should! I’m so glad I did, I absolutely loved them and I enjoyed the experience of being pampered before the day.

Toni is a mobile beauty therapist and manicurist working in East Sussex you can check her out on Instagram – @beautybytoni_x

The Flowers

Here is another area I pulled in a MASSIVE favour. I asked my mum (well in advance) if she thought it would be at all possible to grow some flowers for our wedding. My mum is a green-fingered goddess and although has never taken on this challenge before, she has an amazing allotment full of fruit and veg and a garden that is constantly blooming with a plethora of life. I knew she could do it, even if she wasn’t so sure. I wanted to keep flowers fairly minimal, well, when I say minimal I did have eleven bridesmaids so minimalism wasn’t easy… A small bunch for them, a bouquet for me and a set of boutonnières for Danny and his groomsmen.

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www.jackparkerphotography.co.uk

We also used some of the flowers in my hair which looked so colourful and vibrant. In the months leading up to the wedding my Mum planted and nurtured the seeds hoping it would all come together and when it came to presenting them to us on the wedding day she absolutely blew us away with what she had grown. They were stunning, everything I dreamed of and more. Unfortunately she’s not available for hire! But maybe you know someone who could do the same for you? It’s a great way to save money as flowers can get very expensive.

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The bridal party

I certainly didn’t go minimal on the bridesmaid side of things… I had eleven in my Bride Tribe! I come from a big family so it was always inevitable I’d have a big bridal party – I had my four sisters, Danny’s sister, plus my best pals. Even though I’m not one for big groups I do not regret having eleven bridesmaids whatsoever, they all bought something unique to the team and I utilised each of their talents and got them all involved in some sort of wedding prep along the way. Honestly, my advise is to dish out the jobs to your trusted circle, they will be more than happy to help. Also, my advice would be choose whoever you want for your Tribe. Choose your friends/family who make you feel the best version of you, who make you feel at ease and who are helpful at helping! As I had eleven bridesmaids, buying each of them a dress was out of the question for me. So, I asked my Tribe to provide their own and they were more than happy to. I asked them to choose something they could wear again or have worn before to minimise waste and the dreadful culture of ‘one time outfits’.

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www.jackparkerphotography.co.uk

I went for a mismatch colour scheme as I’m not one for matchy-matchy and wanted to encourage some personality shining through. So, I assigned them all some colour options and we collectively pieced it together over a few months. I was absolutely delighted when they all came together, everyone looked beautiful.

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I had three very cute ‘Fairies’ and a little ‘Pixie’ in my Tribe too (made up of my super cute nephews and nieces). I ordered some fairy wings online and then added extra detail and flowers onto them to match the colours of the Tribe. My mum and I made their skirts out of strips of tulle fabric which was actually easier than I thought it would be. I figured all these things would end up in their dressing up box and could be worn and worn again, which I loved the idea of.

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www.jackparkerphotography.co.uk

And if I hadn’t given myself enough crafty projects I also invited my Tribe round to make their own flower crowns. After researching and collecting the items we needed it was a lovely project to get everyone in the wedding spirit. I opted for faux flowers so they could re-use their crowns for future festivals/parties/dress ups.

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Drinks 

When it came to drinks we provided as much as we could but also asked guests to bring a bottle with them, as this was something our venue allowed and then we were sure we wouldn’t run out! We used Majestic , who have an eclectic variety of beautiful wine (with many vegan options) and they delivered it all to the venue for us. My husband was very excited to see all these crates unloaded.

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We also ordered a large amount of Estrella. We used Drink Warehouse for a great price and they also delivered it to the venue for us. Easy Peasy.

Invites

We sent out a small one piece invitation which was printed on recycled paper to keep paper waste to a minimum and to reduce any further waste we set up a wedding website with all the information for guests on gettingmarried.co.uk. Of course you have the option to not send an invitation at all and just use this excellent website but I wanted a little keepsake so we found an eco-friendly company to print ours with. Our quirky invitation was designed for us by our artist friend Joe Gamble, making it personal to us and very unique. You can check Joe’s work out here: joegamble.co.uk or find him on Instagram – @joeegamble

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The Rings 

We bought our set of beautiful rings from Eden Garden Jewellery . They used recycled gold and were also great at quickly responding to any queries or concerns that come with ordering online. They also offer a ring engraving service which we took advantage of and made our rings extra personal.

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The Ceremony & Decorations

We designed our ceremony to be unique to us, not feeling any pressure to conform to ‘the norm’ we got rid of any bits we didn’t like from a usual ceremony whilst having some of the recognisable moments that worked for us. I guess this was one of the main reasons we chose to run our own ceremony and that it worked in our favour that the venue didn’t hold a marriage licence. This meant that we ‘did the legal bit’ a few days before so that on the day we could create a ceremony that was exactly as we imagined. We had our talented and generous friend Max hold our ceremony and he did the most amazing job.

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www.jackparkerphotography.co.uk
www.jackparkerphotography.co.uk
www.jackparkerphotography.co.uk

I’d really recommend considering asking someone you know to hold the ceremony if it doesn’t need to be legally binding, that way you can tailor your ceremony to your preferences. The fact that the legal bit was done before didn’t take anything away from our gorgeous ceremony in the woods, it still absolutely felt like the moment we became husband and wife! We were married under a canopy of trees surrounded by our family and friends in truly the most joyous celebration full of live music, singing, poetry and readings. We incorporated a hand-fasting into our ceremony which made it extra special and also ‘jumped the broomstick’!

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My imaginative dad and step-mum were a big part of the creative team and helped us make the majority of decorations that covered the ceremony area in our desired bohemian, ‘ad-hoc’ style. They did such an amazing job and with the help of the bridal party and groomsmen they all created the perfect intimate, magical place for us to get married. It was like something out of  ‘A Midsummer Nights Dream’. I really did feel like I was dreaming.

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www.jackparkerphotography.co.uk
www.jackparkerphotography.co.uk

We tried to use as many raw materials as possible, so absolutely no plastic and a focus on natural products such as wood, pine cones and lots of reusable or recycled items like jam jars, which we painted and filled with tea lights. We hung fabrics we’d saved from every tree branch and draped wall hangings (which we bought from home) all over the place which gave the ceremony real vibrancy and most importantly a real sense of mine and Danny’s personalities.

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The entertainment & evening

The day flowed seamlessly from one thing to the next. Throughout the afternoon we had live performances from more of our talented pals (honestly I don’t know how we got so lucky with our friends) which were interwoven with some exceptional speeches from mine and Danny’s Dad’s, my Maid of Honour, Danny’s Best Man and also Danny and I. We made an conscious decision to litter the speeches throughout the afternoon so they didn’t all happen at once and instead were placed before, during and after the food and music to further create the relaxed, festival vibe of the day.

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www.jackparkerphotography.co.uk
www.jackparkerphotography.co.uk

Then we had the amazing evening live band made up of more of our wonderful and talented friends who got everyone up on their feet immediately with some funky tunes no one could resist dancing to (in fact I don’t think anyone sat down after that!). We had special guest appearances from friends and family who sang with the band and even Danny and I got up to sing at the end too – why not on your wedding day, eh?

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www.jackparkerphotography.co.uk
www.jackparkerphotography.co.uk

After the band had finished their rip-roaring set we all went into the largest yurt (The Home Yurt) to have even more of a boogie, disco style! We’d curated (what we thought was) a perfect wedding playlist on Spotify over the many months leading up to the wedding and as the venue had surround sound speakers in there, it was an easy plug-in and play situation. After we danced ourselves into exhaustion we gathered by the huge communal fire pit where the guitars came out and were passed around in what will go down in history as the most amazing jam session of my life. We saw the evening burn under the stars and watched the morning slowly roll in…

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It was the most incredible weekend of our lives.

I felt so lucky, grounded and grateful and so excited for the next chapter together as Husband and Wife.

x

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PS
We were so Lucky with the weather! I think it was the only beautiful day we had in August! We always knew that the kind of wedding we wanted was a little risky weather wise in England but the gamble paid off and it was beyond a dream. We did however have a back up plan for different weather scenarios for all parts of the day, so if you are planning a similar wedding just make sure you have clear back up options that you are happy with if anything could be affected by bad weather and then there’s no stress. Whoever was shining down on us that day, we thank you. x

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