Paula & Jon’s Family Festival Wedding

Our first wedding of the summer was the delightful Paula and Jon. Parents to two sweet girls – Lara and Hetty – and our calmest couple to date, I guess parenthood really does prepare you for anything.

“When first looking around at venues we struggled to find anything that felt right for us and fitted our requirements logistically, but when we stumbled across Fiesta Fields we knew that this was everything we had been looking for. Robert’s Field was stunning, safe for the kids and the perfect location for us, we had no doubts about it”

Paula and Jon embraced the fact that most of their friends had children and a great deal of effort went into ensuring that they were taken care of in every way. Jon’s grandparents were also there, making this a true wedding for all ages and thoughtfully Paula and Jon had catered to everyone.

Paula and Jon experienced first hand the benefit of the modular vintage pole tent from Tents n Events. Initially booking a 30’ x 45’ tent, guest numbers started to increase, so they upped their tent size to a 30’ x 60’. The beginning of July was a bit touch and go with the weather, so a call earlier in the week soon secured an additional section, which was left as grass to bring the outside in. A back up plan for rain, this added a lovely quirky touch to their marquee. 

Paula and Jon put a huge amount of effort into decorating their pole tent. Paula scoured car boot sales for old sheets and sewed metres and metres of bunting.  Paula’s sister made their two impactful hessian and ivy chandeliers to go around the two central king poles.  And an eclectic mix of vintage pieces, borrowed from friends and family helped to set the scene of a relaxed rustic/vintage family festival.

The pièce de résistance was the handmade photo booth, made to look like a section of wall in a house, with two cut out framed spaces. This meant Paula and Jon’s guests could add themselves to the family photo wall, joining photos of Paula and Jon’s sets of parents plus Jon’s grandparents. Such a special touch. A frame nearby already contained a pic of Paula and Jon as they had left the church no more than an hour earlier. We were impressed!

Flowers were a rustic mix of wildflowers and roses displayed in baby food jars (great idea and a key contribution from Hetty) and milk bottle vases, which had been wrapped in lace and hessian by Paula. Pea green napkins added a further splash of colour and hessian runners, doilies and ornate candlesticks completed the look.

As guests arrived they were welcomed with Silent Pool gin fizz and an impressive selection of canapés; mini pork pies; smoked salmon blinis with lemon and cracked black pepper; goats cheese with caramelised red onion; quiches with “proper” cheddar, bacon and leek; quail scotch eggs and chargrilled asparagus with lemon mayonnaise.

The bar was provided by Four Gables and Jon’s own brew was also on offer, made during a Firebird brewery day he received as a birthday gift. As guests mingled outside, sitting on the hay bales and taking in the views they were entertained by Brixton Barndance, a talented folk rock trio.

As the band took their first break a traditional ice cream bike arrived to serve guests, that went down a storm with kids and grown ups alike.

After a showery morning – where we had removed and replaced the bale covers at least three times before guests arrived – we were so pleased that the important part of the day was rain free and everyone could enjoy the sunshine and the outdoors.

Instead of canapés for the children, there were child’s plates served consisting of mini rolls, crudités and other child friend bites, so we brought out the blankets and created a little picnic for them. 

To keep the kids entertained there was a fab dressing up tent from Beautiful Bells, along with space hoppers and bubbles and when it was time to sit down we handed out the gift bags including salt dough “Build a monster” kits thoughtfully put together by P&J.

Next up, one of my favourite parts of any wedding, the speeches. So touching. Jon made a funny comment in his speech about the lengths he had to go to get jean loving Paula into a dress, so I had to ask Paula to tell us more about ‘the’ dress.

“As pretty much everything we did was second hand/upcycled I really wanted to stick with the same theme for my dress.  I tried some beautiful new ones on to get an idea of what I would like then set to trawling all the second hand websites.  It’s difficult to buy a second hand dress as you obviously can’t leave it too late or you’ll miss your window to buy a new one.  I was starting to get a bit concerned when I still hadn’t found anything by the end of March, Lucy (Maid of honour) had popped down for the weekend and we started to look on ebay. We stumbled across my perfect dress. With one day left and no bids we drove to Wokingham the next day, I fell in love with it there and then and the previous owner finished the auction for me at £300 for the beautiful Maggie Sottero dress that I wore on our big day, it was another thing that just fell into place”.

After the speeches, David of Four Gables came in to talk about the food and guests were invited table by table to collect their meal. On the menu was:

Four Gables’ own sausages – Cumberland, smoked garlic and chorizo
A choice of burger – sweet onion, chilli or blue cheese
Chargrilled chicken with honey and thyme
Slow cooked Moroccan lamb with tzatiki and pitta
Halloumi sliders with red onion relish
Veggie sausages
New season potato salad with grain mustard
Red cabbage and carrot slaw
Pea, lemon and parmesan salad  
Tomato and mozzarella salad with aged balsamic
All served with an array of condiments, relishes and sauces

Dessert was chocolate and salted caramel roulade, lemon posset and summer berries with vanilla creme fraiche.

After that feast, luckily it was the kids dancing first. Before the wedding the children had been asked for their music requests, so the first hour of music was a compilation of their favourite tunes. As the kids boogied, and Jon’s grandparents got comfy on the leather sofa brought in for them, we helped ‘reset’ the bell tent and prepare it for movie night. Another little treat from Paula and Jon, the children settled into the cushions and beanbags for movie time, with cookies and milk served up by Four Gables.

As magic hour arrived the photo booth was brought outside to give it a countryside backdrop and guests were treated to a beautiful rainbow. We like to think it was a sign that someone very special, who had been unable to be there, was watching over.

As the light faded I lit the firepit and the festoons criss-crossing the outside of vintage pole tent came into their own. Such an honour to be part of such a lovely family’s day and I think they’ve already found the pot of gold at the end of their rainbow.

A few final words from Paula & Jon

“We were talking about favourite parts of the day (ceremony aside) and we both said there were just so many lovely moments, most of which involved looking across the field at everyone smiling and enjoying themselves in the sunshine.  We always wanted to create not only a day that we would remember but a day that others would remember fondly too. Having taken kids to more formal weddings, we appreciate that it can sometimes be stressful and not at all relaxing, we really wanted everyone to be able to relax and enjoy themselves and it was lovely to see that happening”.

“We loved putting our outdoor wedding together, you have so much more flexibility to be creative and do whatever you want. So many venues tie you into certain suppliers whereas you can go with whoever works for you this way.  Having seen pictures of some of the other weddings that Fiesta Fields have hosted they all look so different because you pretty much have a blank canvas to work with.  I love a project so enjoyed doing most of it myself, it’s quite a big job so it definitely has to be something that appeals but the beauty of it is that Nikki had the same kind of wedding day herself, so understands the appeal of an outdoor wedding and has lots of great contacts for those who perhaps don’t want to be as hands on.  I would highly recommend doing it, it was so much fun”.

Ps A big thanks to Chris Telford for sharing some beautiful pics with us.

Caterer and Bar – Four Gables
Ice Cream – Fancy a Treat
Vintage Pole Tent – Tents n Events
Dressing up bell tent – Beautiful Bells
Entertainment – Brixton Barndance
Photographer – Chris Telford

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