If you wanted to understand the true meaning of ‘natural photography’, its definetly worth checking out this unbelievable awesome back-garden wedding and then head over to our natural wedding galleries to take a look at some more. Eclectic, resourceful styling with a bohemian feel in places, this is a hard-to-believe real wedding.
DIY Festival style wedding, with an eco-conscience and some very good ideas
This type of wedding is not for everyone. A DIY wedding full stop is not for everyone. If you are the kind of couple who enjoy your free time and don’t have too many budget restrictions, then you really have to consider whether DIY is the right thing for you. If you have a particular passion or talent, you can incorporate this easily into a more traditional style wedding and add as many DIY elements as you want to. If, you are very arty, creative, on a bit of budget or just have passionate ideas that google doesn’t help with, then DIY can offer some brilliant options and T&A took full advantage of the freedom offered. Kind of rock/bohemian vibe to the styling, with different eclectic elements coming together to create something rather unique.
It all started (and finished) in an enormous, semi wild back garden in Somerset
The couple had recently found their dream family home and it came with the bonus of a huge garden, the clever couple utilised their own space instead of hiring an alternative, immediately saving them large amounts of money. The time and effort that went into turning a semi-wild back garden into the creative wonderland that it was on their wedding day was no easy undertaking. It took plenty of help from friends and family (what better motivator than a wedding?!) as well as monumental physical effort to get it ready.
The couple cleverly borrowed and bought many of the items that they would need second hand. Collecting everything from seating and sofas, tents for guests, trestle tables being thrown out and a huge stretch marquee! The resourcefulness and tenacity required is impressive and all of the effort paid dividends on the day. If you are planning your own DIY wedding, try not to underestimate how much time it can take to source and collect these items ahead of the event. Finding somewhere to store the items and the patience to get them looking great can also cause challenges.
The morning of the wedding
A and her friends were busy in the kitchen prepping a few last minute things, T & his groomsmen (as well as any guest who dared to arrive early) dashed around the garden arranging all of the finishing touches. I remember driving into it and seeing the good-natured and enjoyable chaos, I knew it was going to be a great day from the start! As both the bride and groom were on site (I love it when that happens), I was able to work between all the areas of activity, capturing candid moments and telling the hidden parts from their story whilst also doing a good recce on the venue and the best spots to use for photos later in the day.
A veritable hive of activity going out outside the windows whilst the bride readied herself in her stunning vintage gown, slightly rock styling, with a little bohemian thrown in. The couples amazing hats were made my a friend and given as a surprise gift on the morning itself.
If you have read my blog on different types of weddings you will know that I am a fan of an unconventional wedding on the whole! I especially love it when couples choose the traditions and the parts of the day that mean the most to them to focus on (and even do away with the ones that neither of you have any interest in!). This wedding was void of formalities, with the focus instead being on fun, games, dancing and quite frankly, general merriment! If any guests made it to the end of the garden (where the fairies live apparently) without knowing what vibe was in store for the rest of the day, they didn’t have to wait long to have it confirmed.
The groom, wearing his bespoke top hat waiting in the sunlit garden, his bride wearing her bespoke top hat makes her way down accompanied by her father and their children. She looks stunning, but the guests begin to laugh as they realise she is blindfolded. She walks between the apple trees finding clues on the branches as she goes, leading her down the imaginary aisle and towards the lovely T.
They get their first look. It is worth waiting for.
Her waiting groom dutifully helps her into a waiting wheelbarrow (obviously) and dons the blindfold himself. They finish the treasure hunt together to the hysterics of the watching guests and take their place at the alter (a large natural rock) and get I-doing. For me, and for these two, they decided that it was not the legal ceremony that mattered to them and they would not have been allowed to legally wed in their garden under current UK law. Instead they employed two very special friends to create something bespoke and personal just for them, these guys were amazing and clearly applied some thought! They used John Cooper Clarks famous poem “I Wanna Be Yours” to act as the vows, everybody laughed and everybody cried, and they cried and I cried (just a teeny bit). Our Bride A then hopped back into the wheelbarrow (sans blindfold) for an excellent exit.
We got through the group shots in about 15 minutes and then I was free to capture relaxed and natural, reportage style images of the guests and the couple having an absolute blast. Everywhere I turned my camera, I saw things worth capturing; personal gifts and additions from friends, games and activities, the homemade bar and all the delectable offerings which were dotted about. The music played and the laughter rang and I remember breathing it all in, just for a moment. The speeches were relaxed and they added a speech from the ‘maid of honour’ so that the bride had some personal words said about her as well as the best mans speech.
As can work well with a DIY wedding, the guests were free to wander, with no set seating plan or meal time, some guests sat on the grass, some at the tables, others lounged on the sofas. As the guests bellies were filled, groups broke off to enjoy exploring the garden, games, treasure hunts, skittles and a swing, the atmosphere was wonderful.
This lovely couple were sure what they wanted from the get go, they knew they wanted a few groups, they knew they wanted a great family portrait and after that, they only wanted natural images. I LOVE doing natural images, I really do… getting your self in the right place, ‘hunting’ for moments about to happen, and then the actual capture. Honestly, believe it or not, huge dopamine hit from nailing that perfect image! We went out to a local common that I had spotted on the drive down, full of buttercups and just the perfect backdrop for some special family photos, again, no formality, it was like one of my location portrait shoots, so relaxed and far to much fun to feel like work.
I do always, however suggest some time with just the wedding couple where possible, even if they don’t want staged images, just going for a wander together for five minutes can give me an opportunity to create something special. We did a couple of gently directed ones in the end, and we all had a great time whilst we did them! Delighted to say that they T&A did love them, so it was definetly worth it.
DIY weddings and being eco-conscience
More and more couples are considering the environment when planning their wedding and I think I will need to get a blog post up on that soon. T&A bought used/second where possible, used local, independent food producers and made most of the decorative items themselves by re-purposing items they already had. They encouraged their guests to stay on site and provided recycling bins to sort the rubbish and food waste for appropriate disposal.
The guests were well fed with an amazing BBQ as well as a desserts table. If you have read my blog on FOOD AT WEDDINGS, you may know about dessert tables already? In my mind pure genius, here is how it works. You will get offers of help from lovely people and whilst it is lovely, you may simply not have a role for them, ask them to make/bring a dessert, any they like and do this with a few people. If you are lucky you will end up with a table laden with delicious, varied, homemade (and free!) desserts to keep all of your guests truly happy (a great idea to label them to help your guests out in selecting).
The evening certainly continued in a similar vein, with friends offering their musical talents and the homemade bar proving a hit. The sparklers provided us with some interesting (cough) moments and the bride and groom can absolutely dance. These guys could all dance! I had a great time capturing the shots until it was time to down the camera (responsibly) and join the party! As I had to travel to Somerset for this wedding, I was being provided with a tent in the garden (I love a camping opportunity me!) and I certainly want going to be able to get any sleep, so knowing I couldn’t stop the party, I joined it! Wonderful day, amazing wedding!