Rebecca and Daniel met at a mutual friend’s festival hen do. “I remember thinking, ‘What kind of guy comes to an all-girl hen party?’, but it seemed to work out pretty well for both of us as the first night ended with a secret kiss and me hoping the hen hadn’t spotted us,” says Rebecca. “We turned around to find the whole group cheering for us. Oops!” As they got together at festival The Secret Garden Party, it made sense that after they got engaged, they decided to give their wedding a distinctly garden-party feel. “We wanted to tie our today with our beginning,” says Rebecca.
The couple knew that the venue would play a key role in creating the right mood. Luckily, it was love at first sight when they viewed country pub The Beacon in Tunbridge Wells, thanks to its generous garden and idyllic countryside setting. Venue found, it was time for Rebecca and Daniel to put together the nature-inspired day of their dreams – along with some rather special personal touches.
The marquee at the couple’s reception venue, The Beacon
In decor terms, this translated to flowers and foliage carefully chosen to evoke the feel of an English country garden. “Our florist, Blue Hen Flowers, did all the bouquets, pew ends, button holes, confetti, table flowers and corsages,” says Rebecca. “The way Sheila works is so open and inspiring. She invited us along to walk through her flower field, so we could get an idea of what we liked and what was right for our vision.” There was a very important element to their flower choice.
Subtle and elegant table flowers
“All our flowers were cut from the Blue Hen flowers field, nothing was market-bought or imported,” says Rebecca. Choosing locally grown, seasonal blooms is such an important eco consideration – check out all our easy tips for having a sustainable wedding.
The reception tables were decorated with pretty single-stem arrangements in vases resting on log slices, all in the couple’s colour palette of sage green, white and hints of blush.
Local and seasonal flowers
The naked wedding cake was also decorated with blooms by florist Blue Hen. “We chose raspberry and white chocolate, chocolate and lemon and elderflower for the flavours.”
Three tiers of delicious sponge
We love a cool and unusual guest book, and Rebecca and Daniel’s fitted perfectly with their theme: a small eucalyptus tree, with guests writing their good wishes on labels and hanging them from the branches.
Guests left marriage wishes for the couple
The flower-patterned walls of the marquee added to the nature-inspired effect, and helped bring the outdoors in. Having a patterned marquee means you don’t have to do as much with decor to make the space feel inviting. However, if you have chosen a plain canvas, check out our marquee styling gallery.
The prettily patterned marquee
For favours, each person received a packet of wildflower seeds – and as a nod to Daniel’s German heritage, a miniature bottle of schnapps. “A couple of our German friends home-brew pear schnapps, and they made us a special wedding batch that each guest got to have as a toast at the end of the meal,” says Rebecca. “German tradition states this is to aid with digestion, or to get the party started, however you wish to view it! The kids had the same small bottles filled with apple juice.” And this wasn’t the only distinctive personal touch.
The couple put schnapps favours at each place setting
“To bring in another German tradition, it is typical to play games or challenge the newlywed couple at German weddings, so a few of our friends set up a game for us to play,” says Rebecca. “This involved guests standing up if a statement referred to them, and we had to guess what common thing grouped the standing guests.”
As both Rebecca and Daniel are designers, they created, printed and assembled their entire stationery suite, from invitations to place names. “We used sage, blush and chalk coloured papers, and black-print calligraphy.” All signs were in both English and German. If you want the same chic effect but aren’t keen on going DIY, take a look at the stylish stationery ideas you can buy.
Bilingual wedding signs
When it came to her wedding dress, Rebecca chose a glamorous satin gown – with a secret feature she particularly loved.
“I wore a Pronovias Elenco dress in Mikado ivory satin. It had a boat neckline and a huge train, full skirt, lace side panels and back with buttons running the full length,” she says. “Oh, and it had pockets!” To finish the look, she wore rose gold earrings and a bangle from Monica Vinader, and a handmade garter by Megan Therese.
Rebecca’s Pronovias gown had a lace back
The groom and the ushers all wore suits from Jack Bunneys. Daniel paired his with a tweed waistcoat and a rose gold pocket watch. If you love this look, check out our edit of rustic wedding suits for the groom.
“I wanted a natural and abundant bouquet that looked handpicked,” says Rebecca. “I had Café au lait Dahlias, blush and white Roses, Stocks that smelt incredible and my ultimate favourite: eucalyptus, lots of it. My bouquet was tied with my late grandad’s handkerchief.”
The stunning bouquet
“My bridesmaids wore sage to fit with our natural garden theme,” says Rebecca. “It’s also a colour that works with most skin tones and hair colours so I thought would be super-flattering for all my bridesmaids.” We’ve found even more green bridesmaids’ dresses your girls will adore.
Photographer Frances Sales captured all the elements of the day. “We knew we wanted a relaxed, documentary-style photographer as we are both pretty self-conscious in front of a camera,” says Rebecca. “Frances not only works in this way but her photography is stunning. We love the moments she captured through the day, and despite it pouring with rain she caught the most beautiful colours and light.”
Having pulled off a wedding full of magical memories, Rebecca has advice for other brides: “Get the big bits sorted first and then everything will fall into place. Don’t let it be stressful. We honestly loved the prep and planning; it is so exciting putting plans in place for this one truly special day. Research. Make lists. Tick things off, add the next thing. And you don’t need loads of time – we were engaged and then married in six months. Be honest with yourself and each other about what you want the wedding to be and work together to make it as perfect as it will inevitably be. Lastly, enjoy every second!”