A travel-inspired woodland wedding

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Victoria and Steve's travel-inspired woodland wedding

(Warning: If you read this blog for travel tips then this mega post with all our wedding details probably isn’t for you. But it’s got lots of pretty photos so you may like it anyway)

Love, love, love. Our wedding was a day filled with joy. The rains came but so did the sun – and it shone at all the right moments. I’m not someone who has dreamed of the perfect wedding all their life – I wasn’t even sure about marriage until recently –but it went down as one of the best days I’ve ever had. I married my best friend and was surrounded by all my favourite people in the world – and that alone was a recipe for wonder.

We spent a lot of time planning the wedding in the year leading up to it and took pleasure in all the little details. I spent hours on wedding blogs and found them really useful, so this post is my contribution to the field. I hope it’ll be useful for all you brides and grooms to be. Happy wedding!

Watch the video highlights

The venue

We got married at Cornish Tipi Weddings near Port Isaac in Cornwall. Neither of us are from Cornwall, we just saw the venue and fell in love with it! The whole place is gorgeous with lush woodland, a beautiful lake and little glades for camping/tipis. There are about 28 tipis of varying sizes, as well as plenty of room for camping so all our guests had the option of staying on site, and we also stayed in a tipi in the same field as all our wedding party. We wanted it to feel like a little festival. About 70 of our friends and family stayed on site while the others stayed in local B&Bs, hotels or holiday homes.

Cornish Tipi Weddings

Cornish Tipi Wedding-107

Cornish Tipi Wedding-14
Cornish Tipi Wedding-142

Cornish Tipi Wedding

There is a also a great little yurt cafe on site where we all ate the night before and had breakfast on the wedding morning. 

Yurt cafe at Cornish Tipi Weddings

Eating in the yurt cafe at Cornish Tipi Weddings

Cornish Tipi Wedding-80

Getting ready

We both got ready at the site along with everyone else who was staying there. I spent the morning with my bridesmaids, and Steve with his groomsmen. One of my good friends did my make-up and I hired a local hairdresser called Emma Kate to do mine and some of my bridesmaids’ hair. I went for a trial a few months before so I knew she’d do it well. We had power running to one of the tipis so she did most of the bridesmaids’ hair in there, but when it came to me, the power cut out so I had mine done in the marquee!

Getting ready for a festival wedding in Cornwall

Steve getting ready for festival wedding in Cornwall

Emma Kate Bridal hair Cornwall

Getting ready for a festival wedding in England

Getting ready for a festival wedding in England

Getting ready for a festival wedding in the UK

Getting ready for a festival wedding in Cornwall

The ceremony

There’s a little pavillion in one of the glades at Cornish Tipi Weddings that has a license so you can get married there legally rather than go to a registry office.It’s a magical area and it’s one of the things that made us fall for the venue. A stream runs behind the pavillion so you can hear the water running as you say your vows. And afterwards, there’s a tipi opposite the pavillion where drinks and canapés can be served from.

Our ceremony was non-religious and we wrote our own vows. I walked down the aisle to one of our favourite songs, Om Nashi Me by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes. While we were signing the register, a few of our friends played an acoustic version of Joanna Newsom’s Bridges and Balloons and The Lava Song from Pixar’s Inside Out. We had three readings: one by Steve’s Mum, one by a mutual university friend, and one by one of my cousins/bridesmaids.

Cornish Tipi Weddings ceremony

Cornish Tipi Weddings ceremony

Cornish Tipi Weddings ceremony

Cornish Tipi Weddings ceremony

Cornish Tipi Weddings ceremony

One of the readings was a quote from a blogger, which I thought very apt 🙂

“Marry your best friend. I do not say that lightly. Really, truly find the strongest, happiest friendship in the person you fall in love with. Someone who speaks highly of you. Someone you can laugh with. The kind of laughs that make your belly ache, and your nose snort. The embarrassing, earnest, healing kind of laughs. Wit is important.  Life is too short not to love someone who lets you be a fool with them. Make sure they are somebody who lets you cry, too. Despair will come. Find someone that you want to be there with you through those times. 

“Most importantly, marry the one that makes passion, love, and madness combine and course through you. A love that will never dilute – even when the waters get deep, and dark.”  by N’tima Preusser

And another was a quote from the novel Stoner. We heard it quoted on one of our favourite podcasts (Sugar Radio by Cheryl Strayed) one day and loved it instantly:

“In his extreme youth Stoner had thought of love as an absolute state of being to which, if one were lucky, one might find access; in his maturity he had decided it was the heaven of a false religion, toward which one ought to gaze with an amused disbelief, a gently familiar contempt, and an embarrassed nostalgia. Now in his middle age he began to know that it was neither a state of grace nor an illusion; he saw it as a human act of becoming, a condition that was invented and modified moment by moment and day by day, by the will and the intelligence and the heart.” by John Williams, Stoner

Cornish Tipi Weddings ceremony

Cornish Tipi Wedding-17

Cornish Tipi Weddings ceremony

Singing bridges and Balloons at our wedding

Cornish Tipi Weddings ceremony

 

The reception

The venue has its own marquee, but it wasn’t big enough for all our guests (around 175), so we hired in a bigger one from Coast2Coast Marquees. It took a while to choose one as initially we had our hearts set on a kata tent, but quickly found out they’re super expensive. Traditional marquees are also more expensive than the shorter steel frame ones (clearspan), but we really wanted the height, so in the end we opted for something in the middle and got a steel-framed traditional marquee. The steel poles aren’t as pretty as the wooden ones, but it had the height we wanted and it saved us over £1,000. The marquee came with lights, flooring, and a dance floor, and the team who set it up were brilliant. They also hung all our bunting. We hired all the furniture from a separate company called Trevarno. The venue also left their marquee up so we used that as a space for games.

Cornish Tipi Wedding-108

Travel theme wedding tables

Cornish Tipi Wedding-10

Marquee by Coast2Coast Marquees

The decorations

The whole wedding was travel-inspired, and we spent a lot of time on all the little details. In homage to our time in Mexico, we used papel picado to decorate the ceremony pavillion and the marquee. Every table was named after a different place we’ve visited and Steve made beautiful laser cut signs with maps behind the lettering. We also put a few photos from each place on the tables and stuck them in little plant pots. Some of my favourite things were the terrariums that Steve made for every table; he bought lots of little props and made scenes for each one, such as tiny people riding dinosaurs or worshipping around a giant crystal (that one went on the Ubud table, of course!).

Papel picado wedding decorations

Papel Picado wedding UK

Travel theme wedding tables

Travel theme wedding tables

Travel theme wedding tables

Travel theme wedding tablesTravel theme wedding tables

Wedding terrarium centre piece

Travel theme wedding tables

Wedding terrarium centre piece

Bespoke Wedding terrarium centre piece

Travel theme wedding tables

We collected photos of all the wedding guests (preferably on their own wedding day) before the wedding and had intended to hang them all on a tree in the ceremony area. the wet weather meant we couldn’t so we hung them up around the marquee instead.

Photo frame with Steve's parents' wedding day

In the ceremony area, we hung a wall hanging that we bought in Peru.

We also had a little table in the corner of the marquee with a variety of things on it, including a suitcase for cards, the cake, and lots of jars of sweets. That table was also home to a special memorial for my parents. In the wedding invitation, we gave everyone a piece of paper and some instructions on how to make an origami crane. Everyone who remembered to bring theirs hung it on the little tree in memory of my Mum and Dad.

Table for cards and wedding favours

Festival travel theme wedding decorations

Festival travel theme wedding decorations

Festival travel theme wedding decorations

Cornish Tipi Wedding-84

Cornish Tipi Wedding-82

Our wedding favours were also really special. When I was growing up, my Mum had a money plant, which I inherited when she died. While we’re travelling, it lives in Steve’s parents’ house, and for our favours, Steve’s Mum made over 100 cuttings from the plant and put them in little pots. Now all the guests at our wedding have one of those plants in their homes.

Succulent wedding favours

Succulent wedding favours

The dress

I had a lot of fun trying on wedding dresses and kept changing my mind about the style I wanted. It came down to a choice of three: a 20’s style dress by Jenny Peckham; a vintage dress from Jane Bourvis in Portobello; or the one I eventually chose from Charlie Brear. I felt so comfortable in the dress from the very first time I tried it on, and I was really happy with my choice. I love Charlie Brear’s style and one of the great things about the dress I chose (the Voulaire) is that it could be adjusted in various ways – for example, I added the sleeves and the belt. I had intended to wear a pair of glittery sandals on the day, but because of the rain and the mud, I ended up wearing a pair of bright pink wellies – I actually think they made the outfit 🙂

Charlie Brear Voulaire wedding dress

Charlie Brear Voulaire wedding dress

Charlie Brear Voulaire wedding dress

Charlie Brear Voulaire wedding dress

The suit

Steve got his suit from a fantastic taylor in London called Nathan at Tweed Addict. We visited Nathan a few times at his workshop in Hackney and were dazzled by his array of more than a thousand different tweeds. Steve chose a navy one, flecked with other colours including shades of purple and red. And he chose a brightly patterned tweed for the waistcoast. He looked very dapper 🙂

Tweed addict wedding suit UK

Tweed addict wedding suit

Tweed addict wedding suit

Tweed Addict wedding suit

The flowers

The flowers were incredible and it was all thanks to two of my bridesmaids, Frances and Louise. In the months before the wedding, Frances, Steve and I went to New Covent Garden Flower Market in London and realised we could buy lots of flowers for a bargain price in comparison to what you pay a florist. Frances and I have similar taste so I knew I could trust her to choose the right ones. So on the Thursday before the wedding, she and Lou bought loads of flowers and drove them down to Cornwall in their van with Tom, one of my bridesmen. Lou and Frances spent the whole of Friday arranging the flowers for the tables, the bridesmaids’ bouquets.

DIY flowers for festival wedding

DIY flowers for festival wedding

DIY flowers for festival wedding

DIY flowers for festival wedding

DIY flowers for festival wedding

They also made the groomsmen’s button holes and what they came up with was incredible.

Succulent button holes for festival wedding

Succulent button holes for festival wedding

Succulent button holes for festival wedding

Succulent button holes for festival wedding

Succulent button holes for festival wedding

The only thing they didn’t do was my bouquet and flower crown, which I ordered from a lovely local florist called George Mackay. Two of my bridesmaids had the same beautiful idea and gave me a locket with a picture of my parents inside so I hung that from the bouquet.

Bouquet by George Mackay

We ordered lots of natural confetti from Shropshire Petals.

Natural confetti at Cornish Tipi Weddings

Natural confetti at Cornish Tipi Weddings

Natural confetti at Cornish Tipi Weddings

Natural confetti at Cornish Tipi Weddings

Natural confetti at Cornish Tipi Weddings

Natural confetti at Cornish Tipi Weddings

Natural confetti at Cornish Tipi Weddings

The food

The food was one of the the most important parts of our day. We spent ages trying to decide what to choose and went through many different plans. Our first plan was to hire a few food trucks, but it was more expensive than we’d imagined and we also realised we quite liked the idea of one person managing the whole thing. That’s what led us to Fee Turner who turned out to be the best choice we made for the whole wedding. Besides cooking incredible food, Fee was also an incredible resource of knowledge and support. From knowing what size marquee to get to helping us plan the order of the day, she was invaluable and I’m not sure what I’d have done without her. Many people said it was the best food they had ever had at a wedding.

Fee Turner wedding food Cornwall

Fee Turner wedding food Cornwall

Fee Turner wedding food Cornwall

Fee Turner wedding food Cornwall

Fee Turner wedding food Cornwall

Fee Turner wedding food Cornwall

Fee Turner wedding food Cornwall

Steve and I are both vegetarian so we were tempted to have an entirely vegetarian menu, but in the end we decided we didn’t want that to be the talking point of the wedding – we have a lot of meat-loving friends and family and didn’t want everyone focussing on the lack of meat. Our compromise was to offer an almost entirely vegetarian menu with a side of meat for the main course. That way the focus was vegetarian, but people could choose to add meat if they wanted.

Cocktail reception at woodland festival wedding in Cornwall

Cocktail reception at woodland festival wedding in Cornwall

Cocktail reception at woodland festival wedding in Cornwall

Cocktail reception at woodland festival wedding in Cornwall

Cocktail reception at woodland festival wedding in Cornwall

We split the food into a few different stages: a first round of canapes and cocktails after the ceremony; a second round of hot canapes and cocktails at the marquee field; and a sit-down main course and dessert/cheeses in the marquee.

This was the menu:

Post ceremony cocktail reception

Vietnamese spring rolls with crunchy veg, coriander and dipping sauce

Bagel toasts with sunblush tomato and basil puree and tomato

Quails eggs with celery salt, crushed pepper & sea salt

Drink: Prosecco cocktail with elderflower, cucumber, mint, lime and soda.

Marquee field drinks reception and games

Risotto balls rolled in parmesan

Tiny vegetable pasties with green chilli and mango chutney

Carrot and courgette fritters

Drink: Paloma cocktail (tequila, grapefruit and lime)

Sit-down meal in the marquee

Vegetarian chilli with butternut squash and kidney beans 

Marinated pork skewers 

Red rice saffron pilaff

Guacamole, sour cream, limes

Charred flat bread, rosemary & sea salt foccacia, carrot & thyme etc

Summer leaf salad of raddichio, chicory, curly endive etc with Dijon mustard and olive oil dressing

Drinks: Wine, beer, cider

Dessert

A sharing platter of:

Orange and almond polenta wedding cake

Dark chocolate brownies

Elderflower sorbet

Eton mess with passion fruit and raspberries

Scattered with strawberries and flowers

Drinks: Prosecco

Vegetarian chilli by Fee Turner Catering

Wedding dessert by Fee Turner Cornwal

Wedding dessert by Fee Turner Cornwal

Guests at Cornish Tipi Weddings

Guests at Cornish Tipi Weddings

The cake

Fee also made our wedding cake, which, as any readers of this blog will know, was one of my top priorities! I love the ‘naked wedding cake’ style and fell in love with a particular photo of of one on Pinterest. It was pure coincidence that it turned out that Fee was the person who had made that exact cake – it was meant to be! The cake was orange and polenta flavour with buttercream icing, and Fee decorated it with sunflowers. We served it as part of the medley of puddings, and it was definitely one of the best cakes I’ve ever tasted. The cake topper came from Lula Flora on Etsy.

Fee Turner naked wedding cake polenta

Fee Turner naked wedding cake polenta

Fee Turner naked wedding cake polenta

Papel picado cake topper from Etsy

The speeches

We didn’t go for the traditional set of speeches. Instead Steve and I both gave a speech before dinner; Steve’s dad gave a speech between the main course and dessert; and then two of my bridesmaids (one friend and one cousin) and one of the best men spoke after dessert.

Wedding speeches at Cornwall festival wedding

Wedding speeches at Cornwall festival wedding

Steve's dad giving speech

Wedding speeches at Cornwall festival wedding

Best man speech

Wedding speeches at Cornwall festival wedding

Wedding speeches at Cornwall festival wedding

Wedding speeches at Cornwall festival wedding

Steve listening to speech

Wedding speeches at Cornwall festival wedding

The entertainment

Luckily for us, we have lots of talented friends and three of them DJ’ed for the night. We had asked all our guests to request three songs so the DJs played from that list and more. They did a brilliant job.

Wedding dancing at Cornish Tipi Weddings

Wedding dancing at Cornish Tipi Weddings

Wedding dancing at Cornish Tipi Weddings

Wedding dancing at Cornish Tipi Weddings

Wedding dancing at Cornish Tipi Weddings

Wedding dancing at Cornish Tipi Weddings

We also had lots of games in the second marquee, such as giant Jenga, swing ball, and Pucket. In the evening, we hired a photo booth for a few hours, which went down really well and resulted in some hilarious photos!

Cornish Tipi Wedding-153

One of our very talented friends runs an awesome business called Fancy Features where she creates giant colouring-ins for events. She made one especially for our wedding, which the guests coloured throughout the day. We now have it hanging in our lounge and it’s a beautiful reminder of the day. Everyone loved painting it too!

Fancy Features giant colouring in wedding

Fancy Features giant colouring in wedding

Fancy Features giant colouring in wedding

The wedding party

The size of our wedding party was somewhat ridiculous. I had 11 bridesmaids, plus six little bridesmaids, and two bridesmen. And Steve had two best men and seven groomsmen. Trying to co-ordinate what all the bridesmaids should wear was a bit of nightmare, but we got there in the end. For the little ones, I chose some colourful tutus and t-shirts, and I gave the older ones a palette of colours from which they could choose a dress. I love how colourful they all looked. And the groomsmen all wore tweed to match Steve’s suit.

The biggest wedding party ever

Victoria and her bridal party

Colourful bridesmaids dresses

Multicoloured bridesmaid dresses

Colourful bridesmaids

Colourful bridesmaids

Victoria and her bridesmen

Steve and his groomsmen

Steve and his groomsmen

Steve and his best men

Festival wedding flower girls

Festival wedding flower girls

Festival wedding flower girls

Festival wedding flower girls

Festival wedding flower girls

Other little extras

We sat all the children at one table and gave all of them a disposable camera and a list of things to capture, which worked well for entertaining them all.

Camera i-spy game for wedding

Camera i-spy game for wedding

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Camera i-spy game for wedding

And we had a selection of colourful umbrellas for the rain, which we definitely needed. As soon as the speeches finished, it poured!

Cornish Tipi Wedding-6

Wet wedding cornwall

On the night after the wedding, we lit lots of little lanterns and floated them on the lake as a little memorial for my parents and all the other people who couldn’t be at the wedding. We had intended to do it the night before the wedding, but the wet weather meant we couldn’t.

The photographer and videographer

Another really important choice for Steve and I was the photographer and videographer for the day. We’re both quite picky and wanted beautiful photos and footage to capture the day. We looked through hundreds of photographers and eventually chose Sarah London as we both loved her style. We definitely made the right choice as you can see from all the photos here. She’s amazing! Sarah also did our engagement photos.

Sarah London Wedding photographer

Sarah London Wedding photographer

Sarah London Wedding photographer

Sarah London Wedding photographer

Sarah London Wedding photographer

Sarah London Wedding photographer

For the video, we chose Ben at Foster Filming. We had seen some of his videos and knew he’d do a great job. We especially loved the cinematic feel to his footage. We’ve seen the first cut, which we love, and we’ll post the final version on the blog once it’s done.

Our wedding at Cornish Tipi Weddings

Let me know if you have any questions. I know how mind-boggling planning a wedding can be!

And if you’re looking for honeymoon inspiration, read how we chose ours and see our full South Africa and Mauritius honeymoon itinerary.

Thanks to Sarah London for all the photos on this page 🙂

26 thoughts on “A travel-inspired woodland wedding”

  1. This brings back happy memories! We’re so honoured that we could join on such a magical day. It really was the most creative and special wedding we’ve been to—you guys did an amazing job!

  2. A perfect wedding for the perfect couple. It is rare that I meet two people so obviously utterly in love – and it was both an honour and pleasure to witness it in you both. I’m so sad I wasn’t able to be there on the day to celebrate in such style, but look forward to seeing you both again soon. All my love xxx

  3. These photos, decorations and your dress are so stunning. I also love the concept of giving the cities’ names to the tables 🙂
    Good luck to both of you and greetings from Rome!

  4. Congratulations to both of you! That looks like a fabulous wedding…every little bit of it! I love the foot wear and the colors that your bridesmaid wore, the decorations, oh just about everything! 🙂

  5. Oh I just loved going back through and remembering. Every aspect of the wedding showed your careful thought and meaning, throughout the weekend I could see all the care that went into it. It was truly the most beautiful I been to, such a wonderful day. Your guys’ love and joy shine out in all the photos and I am I so happy I was there to see you two wed. Much love. 🙂

  6. Thanks for sharing these! They are so beautiful and also brought back so many memories of my wedding that I got all teary looking through them. I also pored over wedding blogs when planning and it gave me a love of looking at beautiful details and your wedding was so full of them! Maybe I should quit the travel thing and become a full-time wedding crafter instead…

  7. I am definitely not the one reading wedding stories but this one is beautiful. Love the set-up, in every single way. In a way something in it reminds me of a festival I went to last summer here in Finland, the Natural High Healing festival. You might like the festival, by the way. But yes, what a beautiful wedding you had. Inspiring, maybe I will become a wedding person after all, haha ;).

    • Thanks Laura. We were kind of going for a festival-vibe so that’s a great compliment. I’ll look into the Natural High Healing Festival – sounds great! And I wasn’t a wedding person til I got married! 🙂

  8. Ah, as one who is a bit long in the tooth, I sit in awe and total admiration at the content of the numerous pictures. May the days of sheer bliss continue into history. With the world problems of today, we need to see material such as this. May God Bless.
    John

    Shannon: Did I miss your picture?

  9. I’m a long term lurker of your blog and this post made me cry!!!
    How very apparent it is just how loved you and your husband are! Definitely something to aspire to. 🙂
    The plant was a beautiful idea — really, just everything. Truly PERFECT. May you have a long, healthy, happy, and aventure filled life together!

    • Thank you Sam. It’s always lovely to hear from longterm lurkers! 🙂 And it’s lovely to know you were touched by the post. Thank you so much 🙂

  10. WOW, I absolutely love all that you did for this wedding. It looks like such an awesome time. Thank you for sharing this unique and inspired wedding.

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