As I'm sat writing this it's a slightly dull February day, so I'm going to throw it back to the hottest, sunniest Saturday I can probably remember in my entire lifetime! It was July of 2022, and it was the wedding of Anna & Ian.
Anna & Ian married in a private, legal ceremony and were celebrating with their loved ones the following day at Oakfield Gardens. I'd met the couple at the venue a few weeks prior to their wedding, and could sense they had some really special plans for the day.
The theme was summertime festival vibes. It was all about relaxing with friends, enjoying good food & drink and marvelling at an amazing array of music which the couple had very carefully selected. Now, I'll be honest, at first I was feeling nervous. As we talked through all of their plans it was clear they had a lot of different elements to the day. There would be performers arriving at various intervals, there were stage times and setlists that the organisers of Glasto would be proud of, and there were all kinds of personal touches included merch stands, songbooks, singalongs... the list Ian sent over to me was, no joke, twelve pages long! It sounded absolutely wonderful, but it was one of those things that I thought might be logistically challenging to say the least. To make something like that run so smoothly takes a huge amount of work and planning. But as it turned out, there was nothing at all to worry about...
Ian and his friends arrived early doors to get everything set up - they laid out chairs under the trees in the gardens, they dropped off instruments and prepped the stage, they laid out welcome signs and blew up balloons. After a quick costume change, they were ready to greet the guests, who were enjoying the beautiful summer sunshine! Once everyone was in their seats they awaited the arrival of Anna who made her entrance with her son and two gorgeous granddaughters!
The ceremony was so beautiful; a personalised script written and delivered by a friend, which also included readings and words from family members, an opera singer to accompany Anna down the aisle and the first of many musical performances from friends. Under the shade of the trees on a beautifully sunny Saturday, it was everything they had both dreamed of. And for me as I was watching, I had one of those pinch me moments where you can't believe how lucky you are to get to experience these moments with such lovely people!
Our newlyweds led their guests through the tipis (and the confetti!) to grab a drink, and the afternoon was about to get underway...
In the heat of the sunshine, guests were looking for a little shade and they had set themselves up with camping chairs and haybales where they settled in to enjoy the music. There was such a wonderful atmosphere out in the grounds! Moselele (the ten piece Ukulele band) got the reception underway with amazing versions of some of the couple's favourite songs, underneath the little tipi hat which looked perfect out in the field.
Everyone loved having a couple of hours to mingle and chill out on the grass whilst the music played, but it was soon time to head into the main tipis for afternoon tea and speeches. And, yes, you've guessed it... another musical interlude!
Now this might be one of my favourite things I have ever seen at a wedding. I was told a busker would be arriving to sing throughout the meal, but this was better than anything I could have imagined. Anna & Ian often see this gentleman busking locally, and had approached him one day to ask if he could come along to play at their wedding. He had a very old-school amp and microphone, a ringbinder full of printed song sheets and lyrics, and was all around just the loveliest man you could ever wish to meet - he'd even been helping Ian fix his bowtie in the morning! His songs went down a treat and were the perfect background sounds to afternoon tea and fizz. I may have also made him a cup of tea or six.
There was ice cream served outside in the sunshine and the music resumed under the tipi hat. Guests were also treated to a spoken work performance by Birmingham-based poet Joe Cooke - every element of the day had been so well thought out; it all gave the guests something new to look forward to and everything felt so poignant, yet amazingly laid back. Just perfect!
Whilst their friends were basking in the sun, Anna & Ian slipped away to have a few portraits taken, before they came back for Ian's big moment...
Now, if you're wondering what I do during this time I often do tag along to grab a few photos for myself and to spend a few moments with the bride and groom. The extra hands often come in useful too for carrying bags or flowers! However, on this occasion I was running through the gardens with Anna's beautiful little grandchildren hunting for fairies and monsters and elves. That's one of those things you never think you'll end up doing when you leave your house in the morning, but it became one of the highlights of my day!
It was time for one final performance in the evening sun, and it was none other than our groom himself who took to the stage with his band. What began as a spectacle turned into a singalong, with guests given lyrics so that they could all join in. It culminated in a chorus of 'Happy Together' which had been the main theme of the day and brought everything together so perfectly before the dancing got underway!
A feast of hotdogs and burgers was served up before everyone made their way inside for our couple's first dance and the evening truly got going! I always love seeing the tipis lit up in cosy colours and seeing everyone take to the dancefloor with pure joy on their faces. These are usually the last moments I get at your wedding - once food is served, the band is playing, and everything else is taken care of I tend to slip away and let you enjoy your final few hours with your loved ones. But it's the most perfect end to my day, seeing my couple in their element surrounded by their favourite people. You honestly can't beat it!
Anna & Ian (and all their families and friends) were honestly such a joy to work with. From that first meeting where they excitedly told me their plans right up to the last moment, it was a really magical wedding to be a part of. The two of them were just overjoyed that they had had their perfect day together, and I couldn't be happier for them.
Oakfield Gardens felt like the perfect venue for the style of wedding they wanted, and their choice of performers was so eclectic it made it truly memorable. A huge shout out to Robin & Sarah Photographers who got the most gorgeous photos of the day too - every image you see here is theirs and they are just magnificent!
Here's a little snippet of the review Anna & Ian left for me, which honestly brought a tear to my eye:
"Lindsay made our plans work. She took our dreams & ideas without trying to influence them but skillfully crafted slight changes where necessary.
Wishing these two and their families a lifetime of happiness and feeling so grateful that I get to be part of days like this!