A Fashion Stylist’s Festival Wedding at Wonderland in West Sussex | Love My Dress®

Amber, fashion editor at ITV’s ‘This Morning’ and Luke, a 4D Animator chose Wonderland on Rye Farm in West Sussex for their chilled, boho, festival wedding on 7 August 2021.

The venue’s lake-side location was a wonderful location for the couple to realise their vision and create a relaxed, party atmosphere with lots of DIY elements. The bride wore a gorgeous Anna Kara gown which she discovered at Love My Dress recommended bridal boutique, Miss Bush of Ripley, Surrey. We think you’re going to love this wedding.

The Dress

“Emma at Miss Bush is nothing short of amazing! Being a stylist, I felt so much pressure on getting the right dress. I knew I wanted an ethereal, boho-style dress, ideally with a floral design or embroidery. I very quickly came across Anna Kara; a Polish designer. I reached out to Miss Bush and she went out of her way to help me.”

We were in lockdown and wedding shops were shut. She was worried that if I waited for the shops to reopen, the turn-around time would be very tight. I selected the six Anna Kara dresses I loved and she arranged to send them to the studio I work at. She was incredibly trusting and I will be forever thankful for her for that, otherwise I don’t think it would have been possible to get my dream dress.”

“I tried them on in my office and made a shortlist of three favourites. I then did a Facetime fitting with Emma; she is so knowledgeable and she lead me to my decision. I then sent them all back to her and we did another Facetime. This time, she had the dress and showed me the alterations that were possible. Me being me, I’d picked a past season dress but, thanks to Emma’s close relationship with her designers, it was no problem to get it.”

I felt like a million dollars and it really was the dress of my dreams, which wouldn’t have been possible without Emma and her amazing team. I couldn’t recommend Miss Bush enough, not to mention the shop is an old chapel, so definitely worth a visit. The Bride

Shoes & Accessories

Amber added metallic, platform sandals from Loeffler Randall via Net-A-Porter and in her hair, layered a couple of sets of floral hair clips from The Bobby Pin. She wore her rich auburn hair down and her make-up was fresh and flawless, accentuating her eyes.

“I worked with Alice Boxall-Knowles Makeup & Hair Artist on fashion shoots at ‘This Morning’ and I love her style. She did mine and my bridesmaids’ hair and make-up.”

The bride’s perfume was her usual scent, Sì by Giorgio Armani and had some very special accessories, as well as a bag from Shrimps.

“Luke and I went to Harrods before the wedding and bought new sunglasses. I opted for a gorgeous pair of Dior sunglasses with a light lens so people could see my eyes. I wore a necklace from Carrie Elizabeth Jewellery. They kindly sent me an opal necklace, my birth stone, to wear on the day. It was stunning and complimented my engagement ring perfectly.”

“My favourite accessory was a silk ribbon from Maria Manuscript. I had it hand-scripted with important phrases and a note I had from my dad before he died. I tied it around my bouquet and it was so special.”

The Proposal

Luke and Amber met on Tinder and were together for six years before Luke proposed in February 2020.

“We were about to leave to go to New York and he asked me to put something in my bag. I walked into the lounge and he was down on one knee, asking if I wanted to be his wife. I was mid-way through putting on my make-up so didn’t have my glasses on, so I had to run out and find them, leaving him on his own. He filmed the whole thing and it makes for a very funny video. We headed to the airport where he had arranged, through his sister-in-law who worked at Virgin, an upgrade. It was the best flight of my life… the free-flowing Champagne certainly helped!”

The Venue

“We chose Wonderland because we were looking for a large, open air, festival vibe. We both wanted to get married outside and thought August was a safe bet… until it poured with rain all morning! Luckily, the clouds parted just in time for the ceremony and we got our dream outdoor wedding. Wonderland offered so much; a huge lake, a tree house, a fire pit, a hot tub, a marquee and, best of all, a party barn. What more could we ask for?”

“Our venue was the first and only one we went to see. It was love at first sight. We went to see it on a Saturday and went into lockdown a week later. We were so lucky to find somewhere before the country closed. That was in March and we got married the following August. It was touch and go for the six months leading up to the big day, not knowing if it was actually going to happen. The Covid gods were on our side and we managed to get married on our original date with all 120 guests, and no masks.”

 

The Ceremony

The morning’s rain cleared into a beautifully sunny day, meaning the couple could realise their dream of marrying outside. As their legal ceremony was held two days earlier in Arundel Town Hall, Luke’s sister Emma could lead the lake-side blessing.

“My dad died twelve years ago so my brother Matt walked me down the aisle. It was a very special moment. I walked down the aisle to Florence & The Machine’s ‘Dog Days are Over’.”

“My favourite part was walking down the aisle and seeing so many faces I hadn’t seen for such a long time, then seeing Luke at the end of the aisle. It was the happiest moment of my life.”

The bride and groom exchanged vows that they had written themselves.

“Luke ended his with the lyrics to ‘I Love You Always Forever’ by Donna Lewis, which got us all laughing. The line ‘The swipe right that changed my life’ also got a giggle – nodding to the fact we met on Tinder.”

“Our friend Jo did a reading. She picked ‘I Will Be Here’ by Stephen Curtis Chapman and it was so beautiful, very fitting for us.”

“Luke picked my engagement ring from Moon Magic. He knew I wanted a rose gold ring with a moonstone – I’m not very traditional! The cut of the stone meant a store-bought ring would be difficult so, after searching online to no end, I got my wedding ring made by Belloring on Etsy. I sent them my ring and engagement ring measurements and it was risky but the ring arrived and it fits perfectly.”

“After stating he ‘wasn’t a ring kind of person’ I was expecting Luke to get a tattoo rather than a ring. Nevertheless, we went ring shopping in Brighton and he found a copper band in the first shop we went to. I’m so glad he decided to get a ring and the copper will age really well.”

The newly-weds walked back down the aisle to ‘Don’t Look Back Into The Sun’ by The Libertines before the party got started.

Photography & Videography

Love My Dress recommended wedding photographer, Rebecca at A Thing Like That Photography, captured these gorgeous images.

“Rebecca totally understood our style and vibe; it was the perfect match. We didn’t want endless posed shots, opting for lots of natural shots instead. I couldn’t recommend her enough. Her relaxed nature was great on the wedding day – there was no pressure to get certain shots and she totally understood our brief.”

A Thing Like That Photography

“Getting a videographer was a very last-minute decision. So many of our friends suggested we should go for it as it’s ‘all you have left’ afterwards, but we weren’t sure if the cost would be worth it. We started looking and came across Alan and Laura at This Modern Revelry – their work convinced us we had to have them. It was the best wedding decision made. We got a thirty second teaser, an eight minute video and all the speeches. We watch them all the time; it allows us to relive the memories as much as we want. Photos are great but nothing beats a video! They even provided us with sparklers for an epic sparkler shot that we hadn’t even thought of.”

Bridesmaids, Flowers & Groom

The bridesmaids wore a selection of pretty, floral-embellished gowns from Ghost via The Outnet.

“I gifted all the girls a necklace with their birthstones from Edge of Ember, which they all wore on the day. In the morning, they wore monogrammed PJs from Made Wright London. They wore navy with white text and I wore white with navy text. I still wear mine all the time.”

The bride and her bridesmaids carried wild and whimsical bouquets of colourful flowers, created by Katherine Bly Floral Design.

“Katherine totally understood our vision and due to the size of our venue, we came up with a way we could move the flowers instead of having flowers in places that would only be seen for a short time. Sticking with our boho, festival theme, I didn’t want my flowers to look too ‘done’, opting for wild flowers. My dream was to have a peony but knowing I was getting married in August, didn’t think it would be possible. But, Katherine included one and it made my day.”

Luke wore a light grey suit from Next, with Russell & Bromley shoes and a floral bow-tie. His groomsmen wore Moss Bros suits and shoes from ASOS.

“My nephew Axel was our ring bearer. He wore a shirt, trousers, braces and a bow tie from John Lewis with Converse trainers.”

Decor & Detail

“We both wanted a very chilled, bohemian, festival vibe. We are one of the last to get married in our group of friends so we’ve been to a lot of weddings and knew what we liked and didn’t like. We wanted a big old party with our friends and family, most of whom we hadn’t seen for over a year. Wonderland is such a beautiful venue, it didn’t need too much decorating to give us what we wanted, and we wanted to do a lot of it ourselves.”

“We did everything ourselves with the help of our amazing family and friends. We made most of the decorations, table clothes, napkins and centre pieces. Luke and I have lost quite a few family members and it was important to us to have a family tree. We printed out pictures and tied them to copper wire which we hung in a tree. It really gave us the feeling they were all there.”

“Our wedding favours were wooden fans with the date and our initials on. It being August, we were hoping it would be hot and they’d be useful. Due to the weather, they weren’t necessary but a lovely keepsake nonetheless. We also gave personalised candle sticks with our date and initials on the family and friends who had helped us. They were hand-painted by Orna. We worked with as many small business and independents as we could.”

“Katherine, who lives on site at Wonderland, owns House of Hud. They provide props and furniture for weddings and have a marquee company, the Arabian Tent Company. The magical party barn is the showroom for all the marquees and props they offer so we were so lucky it was all included. We loved our marquee as it had a beautiful, decorated lining, meaning we didn’t have to go OTT with the decoration inside.”

Catering & Cake

The wedding dinner was held in the marquee and was provided by The Herb Kitchen.

“Annie and Will were amazing. Food was so important to us and we wanted our guests to feast. We have lots of vegan and veggie friends and we didn’t want them to think they were a second thought. We worked really closely with them and created our dream menu.”

“My brother George did my father of the bride speech in the absence of my dad and it was incredible. He had the whole marquee laughing and crying – I’ll never forget it.”

The gorgeous, flower-adorned cake was made by the bride’s oldest friend Georgie.

“I sent her some pictures from Pinterest and she made our dreams come true. We had three layers of different flavours and vegan cupcakes too, all adorned with edible dried flowers.”

The Party

For the evening party, three-piece band Mercury were in flow (discovered via our recommended entertainment supplier,Alive Network Entertainment Agency). The first dance was to ‘I Will Wait’ by Mumford & Sons and Amber changed into a sequinned mini-dress from ASOS to dance the night away.

“I knew I would want to change in the evening so I could dance without ruining my wedding dress. I’m a huge fan of sequins and knew they would be involved somehow. I had three different options with me; it was going to depend on the heat and weather as to which one I went for.”

“I really wanted to wear the short ASOS sequin dress but was worried I was going to be too hot in August but by the evening, the temperature had dropped and I could dance away in it without being too warm. My platform heels were comfortable enough to wear all night and the hair clips stayed in too. I’d like to think I was a low maintenance bride.”

Words of Wedded Wisdom

“We were planning through a pandemic, the industry had closed and it was so hard to even know where to start. Love My Dress was the bright light that led us through.”

“Although we ended up spending more than our original budget, I’m happy to say we didn’t spend money that we didn’t have. One of the advantages of planning a wedding during lockdown was that we weren’t spending much money and saved more towards our big day. We did a four-day wedding for under £40k due to doing so much ourselves and not spending money on silly things.”

“There are so many small things that went wrong and in hindsight, I wish we had delegated more. No-one tells you how to plan a wedding and it’s a very overwhelming process, especially during a pandemic. If I could do it all over again, a planner or co-ordinator wouldn’t have been a bad thing as it’s so hard to be across everything on the day.”

“We should have bought more non-alcoholic drinks. Our poor guests who weren’t drinking didn’t have much to choose from….

“The weather is out of your control so do not waste your time worrying about it. If it looks like it’s turning a few days before, come up with a plan B. All you can do is be prepared.”

“Delegate! We took on everything and I wish we had delegated jobs the week before so the wedding party could oversee certain aspects such as bar set-up, pizza van arrival time etc. You can’t be across everything, especially on your big day.”

“Organise check-ins and, most importantly, check in with your new husband. We had a good half an hour of photos together in and around the venue which was really special. It was early evening and it gave us a chance to talk about the amazing day we were having. Check in with your parents and make sure you get pictures with important family. I left my phone in my mum’s handbag for the whole day so don’t have any photos from my perspective which is a small regret. Make sure your bridesmaids check in with you… their job hasn’t finished after they walk you down the aisle. Make-up, toilet and water checks are all very important.”

“Don’t stress the small stuff and remember what the day is all about. Don’t let the details distract you from what’s really important; you marrying the person you love.”

Eleanor Crossland

Eleanor Crossland View all Eleanor’s articles

Ele lives in the Lincolnshire countryside, close to the beautiful coast. A qualified Pilates teacher, she loves fitness, yoga, Pilates and has a healthy addiction to baking, writing and travel.

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