Beautifully Rustic Back Garden Yurt Wedding
Welcome to the dreamy, rustic yurt wedding of WWW readers Anna and Matt, who were hitched back on the 5th September 2020. First up, I love that they had Supplier Love directory members, the fantastic Funky Monkey Tents provide the magical yurt for their back garden reception. It looked amazing decked in rustic, thoughtful touches, pretty flowers and a cool gin bar!
Anna and Matt really looked gorgeous in their attire. Anna wore a chic gown with a long veil and Matt was suited and booted in a smart suit. Wow. I love how they focused on simplicity and not buying excess details for their day, it really turned out so beautifully.
Milk Bottle Photography thank you so much for sharing your sensational images of a very special day indeed.
Rustic Yurt Wedding
I had originally thought Matt was going to propose on a romantic trip away to London but thankfully he was in charge and he decided to do it on top of a mountain – a much better idea! A last minute ski holiday to Morzine, first day jitters and the best weather of the week, led us to get engaged at the top of Le Ranfoilly in Les Gets. We had just skied down Tulipé and had enjoyed it so much I wanted to do it again. I suggested it and Matt readily agreed; apparently already decided that he would propose at the top, with Mont Blanc as our background. At first I was perplexed as to why he drew me away to the ‘observation area’ again instead of racing off down our favourite run, but quickly understood as he dropped to one knee (still with one foot in his board), although I did ask if he was joking. Matt couldn’t have chosen a better place and nailed the ‘engagement with a view’ dream; snow really does make a diamond sparkle!
When anyone asked us what we wanted for the wedding the answer was always the same: a relaxed, back-garden, intimate wedding. I had visions of a beautiful day with a beautiful marquee, simple decorations of meadow posies and wood – natural or recycled with little trinkets we had around the family home. Happy guests, sipping champagne, comfortable that their shoes wouldn’t sink into the ground, wrapped in blankets around a fire late at night. Having a relaxed day full of laughter – not much to it really! Whilst Covid-19 scuppered our original plans and caused some stress, we believe that the wedding we achieved was exactly what we wanted.
The Planning Process
We got engaged in 2018 and found out later that year that both of us would be moving to New Zealand for 2019. So the main things were booked and planned by November 2018 – Photographers, Marquee, Food, Church. We then gave ourselves 2019 to organise toilets, a bar and continued to add to our ‘do in 2020’ list. Once 2020 hit and I came back from New Zealand we had a lot to do. Whilst I love little details, we are also huge fans of simplicity and so we didn’t want to overdo decoration or little things that we would then need to pass on or sell. We had originally planned to do our own flowers but in February I decided we needed a florist for our bouquets (and then added on a few extras), luckily there was an incredible florist close to us. We had two months of organising little details and then Covid hit. Our original date was 30.05.2020 and by March we realised this was a no-go. After ringing Funk Monkey Tents, Milk Bottle Photography and Nyama Catering we managed to secure another date and luckily ALL of our vendors were available (all 7 which was amazing!).
In the end one of my closest friends, who is an event planner, helped us organise our day. Due to Covid restrictions we were only allowed 30 guests for the ceremony and reception. We had a group of 30 for the day, a group of 30 for the evening and a group of 30 for the Sunday afternoon. We had 3 sit down meals, 3 cuttings of the cake and 3 lots of fun. It was lovely and intimate where we were able to talk to all of the guests and really enjoy the days. Whilst we had the main day, Sunday was a time for relaxation without losing any of the celebration. We had provided all the drinks and this lasted the whole weekend. We also provided all the food and on Sunday we had extras from our wonderful caterers and lots of other dishes from our incredible friends. It was a delicious spread.
We made full use of the Yurt, I got to wear my beautiful dress for a second day and Matt was able to wear a new shirt I had bought him as a wedding gift. We had such fun and our guests have assured us they did to. Whilst it was so sad having some people unable to come we came to realise one thing – doing this really made our vision come to life, it was exactly what we wanted. A relaxed gathering with some traditions as the backbone; but it allowed for extras we otherwise wouldn’t have been able to have – more food, more catch ups, more sanitiser, more wear, more celebrations, more chilled time, more photos, more speeches (girls get to speak too!) and more love.
Originally our budget was £20,000. Luckily we managed to come under that, with lots of cutting out of non-essential items like favours, extra alcohol, and excess stationery etc. We decided that we would rather spend a little more on simplicity and beauty rather than spend loads on tiny extras that would have been wasted. We used local, small businesses who we had met and clicked with and it was incredibly important to us that they were on this journey with us. Our vendors were incredible in every way.
In 2015 my parents built their dream house on the most gorgeous plot of land. It had hosted my brothers wedding with the addition of tipis and we knew we wanted our ‘back garden’ wedding here too. We just needed a marquee to make the space more rounded for so many guests. I happened upon Funky Monkey Tents when browsing for ‘yurts’. They were everything that I imagined – a light space with beautiful wooden features, simply beautiful. We went to the only open day in 2019 and we fell in love. Mark and Hannah are a lovely couple and were amazing throughout the process, especially during the stress of postponement and re-imagining. We were able to have the Grand Pavillion Yurt and we couldn’t have been happier!
Your Outfits & Accessories
In the morning I wore some Pyjamas from Shein. I hoped that I could get some Pyjamas for the bridal party to get ready in; they were something that I knew they would wear again and would be comfortable in whilst getting ready. I bought them a few weeks before the wedding and they were a hit all round.
I bought my beautiful dress at Ellie Sanderson in Beaconsfield in 2019. It is from the British Designer Charlie Brear’s Iconics collection called ‘Lawton’. She won Best British Bridalwear designer of the year in 2019 for her contemporary style and beautifully made dresses. Lawton was one of the first dresses I tried on and I just fell in love with how it flowed when I walked. I’m quite a relaxed and practical person and I felt that this gorgeous dress was the perfect representation of me. My husband agreed. I bought my shoes from Rainbow Club as I had tried a pair on with my dress when I first tried it on and loved the simplicity of the satin with the gown. I decided to go with a smaller heel so I was comfy for the day and allowed myself a little sparkle round the rim. My Grandma bought the belt from Ellie Sanderson as although Charlie Brear does lovely little pieces that you could add to any gown to change the look; we decided to opt for a different designer, as the style just added a little ‘something’ that fitted with my personal style.
I bought my headband whilst in New Zealand, it matched perfectly with the belt and wasn’t too overpowering to my overall look. It was also important to me to have something from New Zealand with me on the day, especially as my friends could not come due to the Pandemic and being unable to travel.
My veil was my ‘something borrowed’ from my sister-in-law who got married in 2016. I asked her when she bought it if I could borrow it for when I got married and she surprised me at a bridesmaid get together just before lockdown. I am so happy I had a long veil as it added drama without taking too much away from the dress. I was thrilled with the small train on my dress as it allowed more movement and the veil added that little extra in photos and the church.
We did our own makeup, with my gorgeous bridesmaid and best friend perfecting our eye makeup. It really pays to have a friend who can complete a makeup look. She added a little more drama for the evening but otherwise we kept everyone’s makeup natural.
My incredible hairdresser @hairbyhannah and her sister-in-law @emmamiddletonhair did my bridesmaids half up/half down and my up-do. They did a wonderful job and nailed the relaxed nature of the wedding with nothing being too primped.
Sadly we were not allowed to sing at our ceremony, but our organist played ‘Jeruselum’ and ‘I vow to thee my Country’ during the signing of the register, which we appreciated.
The bible reading was 1 Corinthians 13 and we had a reading at the wedding breakfast of a poem that Matt found called ‘Silence is Golden’ by Hanna Heath.
The groom, groomsmen and Dads hired their suits from Slaters. Matt and I went in February and settled on the navy blue slim fit morning suit with a grey waistcoat. At first I thought Matt would have the same waistcoat but he insisted on the blue. After all – if I get to have a beautiful dress he should be allowed to choose what he wants to wear! In the end he was my ‘something blue’ matching with my bouquet.
The bridesmaids’ dresses were from TFNC on ASOS. At first we had problems finding a dress as I was out in New Zealand for the previous season. In the end one of my bridesmaids found it in February and it was perfect – everything that I had wanted. My sister-in-law was even able to find a maternity dress once she found out she was pregnant – it was meant to be! The wrap detail contrasted with my high neckline, the flutter sleeves and high back gave coverage to those who wanted it and the flattering skirt finished off the look, they looked beautiful!
We had originally wanted to buy buckets of flowers from a nearby meadow farm but realised that this was adding unnecessary stress and came upon a florist who lived close to us. Catherine did the most beautiful flowers and understood my ramblings completely. I decided on green and white for the bridesmaids and the same for me with a little blue. Catherine determined that I liked long flowers, seemingly without any structure. I provided pictures of many bouquets I had liked on Pinterest and she nailed it! The bouquets were better than any picture I had shown her and were the perfect realisation of my imaginings. The buttonholes matched and were simple and dainty. The milk churn was a dream of mine and I am so happy I allowed myself the extra splurge. It was such a gorgeous piece! Catherine also arranged the flowers in the gin bottles for the tables; they were artfully arranged and matched the theme of ‘ferns and meadow flowers’ completely. I was thrilled to have found her!
We love brownies. My last name was changing to ‘Brown’ and we got engaged in front of Mont Blanc. Naturally we needed a ‘Mont Brownie’. It was originally going to be a huge mountain of the slices, but due to the nature of our wedding with 3 different parties, we had 3 mountains and 3 cake cuttings. It was perfect. My Grandma and I made the brownies in the weeks before – brownies really are better when they have been in the freezer! The Groomsmen arranged the cake on both days.
Nyama Catering did the most amazing job of the two dinners on Saturday. We had a Mixed grill BBQ and a South African Braai. It was such a hit with all of our guests – they were amazing! Luckily we had enough brownie to hit the spot for dessert.
The Details & Décor
Luckily my sister-in-law is an artist and amazing at creating spaces; so we provided the little things and let her loose! The tables were to be kept simple with two gin bottle arrangements, wine, signs that we had made, painted jam jars for tea lights, crayons and a plain piece of paper for paper airplanes. For the outside we made pallet tables for the drinks reception, a fire pit for roasting marshmallows, sanitising stations and over two days before the wedding Sam and a small team of helpers were able to create a gorgeous setting. Many things were decided during that time; for example the extra greenery on the top table, the eucalyptus and lavender from our garden in watering cans and the balcony decoration. We ‘upcycled’ our garden bench for the Yurt by adding a balloon arch we made on Friday. We re-used as many things as possible from many different places – such as wheelbarrows for wine and beer storage, a pallet from my parents building project for the gin bar, photos and pink hearts from my hen party, jam jars and lanterns, logs from the garden and potted plants. My Grandma and her friend created beautiful arrangements in the house in the days before using flowers from their gardens. We had bought Tiki lamps, candles and bunting. But most of it we had found/made or borrowed from friends. I wouldn’t have been able to do it myself (I had to work in the days leading up to the wedding) and I am so thankful I had my sister-in-law, friends and family to do it.
We met Ben and Tim at the Funky Monkey Tents open day, loved their pictures and could just imagine them fitting in with our friends and family. We had hired them a few days later. We didn’t feel we needed to shop around for anyone else and it was definitely meant-to-be. We loved their photos, their personalities and their style. By having two we realised we could gain different aspects of the day – like what the groomsmen get up to whilst the bridal party are getting ready. They were absolutely wonderful to have around and were so open in communication with us. The guests loved talking to them and have gushed about the photos and what they have achieved.
Covid has meant we cannot have one so we have decided to do one night stays for the foreseeable future around the UK and then think of something big in many years to come and just call it a honeymoon. Hopefully Matt will have his Commercial Pilots license by then and we can go further afield.
- We had some time out in-between guests leaving and arriving, whilst our friends sanitised and re-set. This was a lovely time away from the wedding to have a bit of fun as husband and wife. A little excursion to the top of a nearby field, with the most beautiful view across the Chilterns.
- Being driven to the church by my brother – it was so nice to just have family and not need to worry about another person. Cars didn’t matter to me so much, although seeing the little surprise on Matt’s Mum’s car for our drive back to the house was lovely.
- Driving back to the house, just us two. It was a lovely moment for us to check-in and revel in the fact we had just got married. Intimate, refreshing and plain wonderful.
- Sitting for dinner with all 3 sets of guests and thinking – these people really are something special, we are incredibly lucky to have them in our lives and so thankful we were able to do this.
Advice For Other Couples
Make sure you have a place to stay away from the main event (or at least somewhere no one can get to you and you can have some peace and quiet!)
Relax, everything will work out and it’s better to be running early than late so make sure you get up, have food and relax with your friends before the ceremony. Also never underestimate getting ready in the same venue. There was so much fun hiding me from Matt as he went around in the morning getting the last few things done with the groomsmen.
Sometimes it’s better to splurge on a beautiful venue and save time and money, instead of spending the extra cash on little trinkets that have no worth after the day. Whilst details matter, think about what you’re going to do with them afterwards, if the answer is “throw in the bin”, maybe think again.
Don’t try and take on too much thinking that you can set up a wedding in the morning before – sometimes the last-minute decisions are the best! There is no way we could have blown up 50 balloons for a balloon arch on the Saturday morning, Friday however we could do.
Vendors are the backbone to your wedding; make sure you get to know them and their business, remember that this is their living, they know best and can help you if you allow them to. They are going to need all the support in the world to get through this pandemic and they deserve it. Make sure you pick those that call to you, fit in with your vision and are your kind of people. You can relax somewhat on the day if you know you can just talk to them candidly. Look at the small business around you, you could find a real gem waiting to be part of your day.
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Milk Bottle Photography
Love wins! Yes!
Anna and Matt thank you so much for sharing your stunning rustic yurt wedding celebration. I hope you get to have your dream honeymoon soon.