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Joanna and Dan’s elegant eco garden wedding with coral peony bouquets, a riverside marquee, steel pan band and wood-fired pizza

Charlie / 4 April 2017

Bride and groom in field of wildflowers // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

What a lovely treat we have for you today – the elegant eco garden wedding of our colleague Joanna. She’s been busy writing up the beautiful real weddings we get sent to be featured, but today we are taking a look at her own stunning wedding.

Think bouquets of coral peonies and blue delphiniums, a riverside marquee, and a steel pan band for this elegant eco garden wedding. Lots of thought went into taking care of their guests, from an ice cream van to wood-fired pizzas in the evening. Together with their family and friends, Joanna and Dan put lots of love into their wedding, keeping it eco-friendly in the most elegant way.

Over to Joanna to tell us more about their beautiful and elegant eco garden wedding…

An elegant eco garden wedding

Elegant eco garden wedding at Houghton Lodge // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Coral peony and blue delphinium bouquet and wedding cake // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Bride and groom beside the river at Houghton Lodge // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Pale aqua bridesmaid dresses and coral peony bouquets // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Pale blue vintage wedding car // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

A sunny walk on the morning of the wedding

“On the morning of the wedding, my bridesmaids, parents and I got ready at the cottage that Dan and I have tirelessly renovated over the last few years. First thing in the morning, my bridesmaids (my two sisters, Dan’s sister and my lovely friend Jo along with my little niece Gracie as flower girl) and I took a gloriously sunny stroll to the florist in Romsey, the market town where we live, to pick up the flowers for the bridesmaids’ hair before walking to the hairdressers.”

Summer wedding bouquet with delphiniums // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Bride getting ready // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Bridesmaids getting ready // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Flower girl // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Falling in love with a delicate beaded dress

“Choosing my wedding dress was easy once I found it. I had been trying on much bigger, poofier dresses because I had thought that’s what I wanted but I was shopping with one of my bridesmaids, Jo, who convinced me to try this beautiful antique white Maggie Sottero gown.

I instantly felt amazing in it and knew immediately that it was the dress I wanted.  I loved that it had delicate lace in the fabric; I loved the elegant beaded lines on it that, to me, were reminiscent of the glamour of the 1920s and I really, really loved the back. A sheer top layer revealed the low scooped back of the silk dress underneath.

I’ll be honest, I still sometimes try it on.”

Maggie Sottero lace wedding dress // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Bride getting ready // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Maggie Sottero lace wedding dress // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Lace backed Maggie Sottero wedding dress // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Maggie Sottero lace wedding dress // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Bride getting ready // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Bride and her father // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Groomsmen’s breakfast

“By all accounts, Dan and his groomsmen had a very relaxed morning: they checked in on the venue to do some last minute jobs then had breakfast together at the barn where Dan had stayed and where we both stayed on the night of the wedding.

He had two best men, one of whom was his twin brother Matt, and two ushers. We were really mindful of the fact that Dan and his brother would look really similar if they were in matching suits so Dan chose to have a blue suit and coral tie and his groomsmen wore charcoal grey suits and pale aqua ties. Dan wore his favourite windsurf cufflinks too.”

Groom in blue suit with coral tie // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Romsey Abbey // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Groom outside church // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Wedding rings // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Romsey Abbey // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Groom and groomsmen // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

The bells rang

“My beautiful bridesmaids all wore pale aqua dresses – my favourite colour. I loved the pop of bright colour along with the summery colours in the bouquets too. They all wore delphiniums and daisies in their hair; my sisters’ had extremely pretty flower crowns. In fact, one of the crowns was dried for us and still sits on my dressing table.

They all walked the short journey to our Parish church, Romsey Abbey, a magnificently beautiful church that originates from 907AD and is practically at the end of our road. I could have walked too but I’m glad I had the few minutes at home and in the car on my own with my dad. I think he was more nervous than me; I am the eldest of three daughters but was the last to get married and I know it was a huge day for him too.

We can hear the Abbey bells clearly throughout our whole house and when they were ringing on the morning of the wedding it was both surreal and very special. We hear them every day but even now they still remind me of that morning.”

Bride in Maggie Sottero wedding dress // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Bridesmaids walking to ceremony // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Bridesmaids in pale aqua dresses with coral peony bouquets // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Bride getting out of a vintage wedding car // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Bride waiting to go into church // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

A traditional service in the Abbey

“Our ceremony started at midday; we wanted to make the most of the day so we started early. We chose to have a traditional ceremony which was fitting for the setting too. Walking into the huge ethereal Abbey was both intense and magical; I couldn’t stop grinning and when I saw Dan, neither could he.

Bride waiting to go into church // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Bride and her father // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Groom waiting for the bride in church // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Groom watching bride walk down the aisle // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Unity candle ceremony

“The moment I reached Dan I almost forgot that we were in a room full of people and it was like we were in a little bubble of our own. We both kept looking at one another in realisation that we were actually there, at our wedding.

When we were planning our ceremony we decided that we wanted our mums to have a role in the service. Our lovely female vicar was very encouraging of this and suggested a unity candle. Our mums lit a candle each and then later in the service Dan and I took a flame from each candle and we lit a unity candle that was inscribed with our names and wedding date which we were able to keep.”

Bride walking down the aisle // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Bride and groom in church wedding ceremony // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Lighting a unity candle // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Bride and groom smiling at each other // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Church wedding ceremony // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Bride and groom holding hands // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

I might have tied a blade of grass, a green ring for your finger

“While we chose traditional hymns for the service, we wanted to make sure we had personal elements too. One of my closest friends, Edwina, did a wonderful reading of Rings by Carol Ann Duffy. The poem is full of beautiful natural imagery and as we are happiest outside, camping, sailing and walking, it felt like it was written for us (although it was actually written for William and Kate.”

Bride andg room getting married // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Wedding readings // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Church wedding ceremony // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Wedding guests // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Bride and groom walking down the aisle // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Bride and groom walking down the aisle // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Bright peony and delphinium bouquets

“Our flowers were one of my favourite things about the whole wedding but one of the easiest and least stressful things to organise. I simply popped in to the florist in the middle of Romsey, Judy Webb Florist, one Saturday afternoon and met Rebecca who was enthusiastic and friendly and booked the date in immediately. Rebecca was amazing and we spent an afternoon in her workshop looking at flowers and pictures after which I knew I’d made the right choice in her.

The peonies were stunning and as the day went on they changed; they were at the very end of their season so just popped open in the sun and were enormous by the time we got to the marquee! I just loved the summery vibrancy of the colours.”

Bride and guests // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

// Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Bride and guests // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Bride and groom outside Romsey Abbey // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Wedding photograph // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Bride and gorom in vintage blue wedding car // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

A little surprise at Houghton Lodge

“We visited a few potential venues but when we were shown around Houghton Lodge and Gardens by Sophie, our decision was easy. The house itself is a private fishing lodge built around 1800 right next to the River Test and the gardens are so pretty. But most of all, Sophie was so laid back and relaxed – she was happy for us to use caterers and marquee providers of our choice and didn’t charge corkage so we could stock a homemade bar ourselves.

One of my favourite photographs is of me and Dan walking down the drive towards the walled garden at Houghton for the drinks reception and in it he is staring at me with a huge grin. He had always jokingly said he would only marry me if we had a steel pan band at the wedding to which I always laughed (and refused!). The picture shows the moment he realised that I had hired a band for him. He was so happy! They even let him have a go.”

Houghton Lodge // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Wedding guests // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Wedding sign // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Bride and groom // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Stell pan band // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Garden wedding // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Steel pan band // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Groom playing steel pan // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

An abundance of really good food

“When we were planning our wedding we decided that we wanted an abundance of really good food and drink for our guests and one of the most fun parts of the planning was tasting it all. Rob at Fat Hog and Big Pan came to our house one evening and cooked for us, letting us taste lots of options before making our choices. I’m so glad we got to taste it all beforehand because on the day I was so excited and busy that I barely ate anything.

Wedding guests // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Summer wedding food // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Wedding guests // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Smoked salmon canapes // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Wedding guetss // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Wildflowers // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Wedding guests // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Special moments captured perfectly

Stephen Duncan, the wonderful photographer we chose, was a hit with the guests. So many guests commented on how lovely and organised he was and I love the variety of photographs he took – a real mixture of traditional and more modern documentary style pictures. He captured some very special moments and made us feel so comfortable.”

Bride and groom // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Bride with coral pink peony bouquet // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Groom in blue suit with coral pink tie // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Bride and bridesmaids // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Bride and bridesmaids in aqua bridesmaids dresses // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Riverside marquee

“After drinks and canapés in the walled garden, surrounded by wildflowers, billowing lavender and ancient gnarled fruit trees, we made our way down the slightly sun-scorched undulating lawns leading to the river beside which our marquee was pitched.”

Bride and Houghton Lodge // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Group wedding photography // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Marquee wedding // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Houghton Lodge // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Vintage books and homemade sloe gin

“Dan works in the sustainability sector, and as such protecting the environment and limiting our impact upon it is very important to him so we naturally made eco-friendly decisions wherever possible when planning our wedding.

Ultimately, we didn’t feel that sustainable had to equal rustic and we aimed for our wedding to have an elegant summer garden party vibe, with crisp table linen and shining glassware along with lots of seasonal wildflowers on the tables and stacks of vintage books in greens, blues and golds topped with hurricane vases and candles. I collected the books from second-hand shops and antiques markets wherever I went. I even found a few beautiful but unloved books in the $1 bin in a shop in New York while on holiday. They all now sit on a bookshelf in our living room.

We still have the majority of the new things we bought for the wedding, like the hurricane vases, and they have already been used at a number of weddings since ours. We have just decided to hire it all out locally to save other people having to to buy or make new.

Vintage book wedding table centrepieces // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Blackboard wedding sign // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Giant LOVE light up letters // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Foraging the sloes for our sloe gin wedding favours two winters before the wedding on one of our favourite local walks was one of my favourite parts of the preparations. We made litres of it and Dan’s whole family joined us in a production line one Sunday afternoon, decanting it into little cork-topped bottles and adding stickers and tags saying ‘Made in Romsey with love’.”

Sloe gin wedding favours // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Place cards // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Bouquet of coral pink peonies and blue delphiniums // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Wedding bunting // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

A family effort

“Both of our families helped us a lot. My mum and sister and Dan’s mum made metres and metres of bunting for us and both of my sisters turned up unannounced from Birmingham and London a few weekends before the wedding to help with all the last minute jobs.

Our parents also roped all their friends into collecting jam jars for us and we put them to good use as both vases and candle holders that lined the river after dark.”

Wedding speeches // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Wedding speeches // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Wedding speeches // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Wedding speeches // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Wedding speeches // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Entertainingly personal speeches

“At every wedding I attend, the speeches are one of my favourite moments. They are one of the most personal parts of the whole day and the speeches at our wedding were lovely. I even did one because it felt strange and a little outdated to have my dad and Dan speak on my behalf; it was really nice to be able to thank everyone personally.

Dan’s twin brother, Matt, decided to put name labels on them both during his speech but people were still mixing them up all day!”

Wedding speeches // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Wedding guests // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Wedding guests // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Wedding speeches // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

A rescued boat full of beer

“Early on in the planning, Dan decided that he wanted a boat full of beer. He visits lots of sailing clubs and marinas for his job and it wasn’t long until he managed to find a boat that was ready to be sent to landfill. Luckily, it fit into his car and sat in our back garden for a few months, waiting for its new lease of life.

We asked friends and family for any tin buckets and troughs and filled them with beer and ice and the bridesmaids’ put their bouquets it too which looked lovely.

We can never throw anything away if we think it might come in handy in the future, and this was so useful for the wedding. Using blackboard paint, I turned two old wooden wardrobe doors into a bar menu and an order of the day sign.”

Coral pink peony and blue delphinium wedding bouquet // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Garden wedding boat with beer // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Coral pink peony and blue delphinium bouquet // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Riverside wedding // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Houghton Lodge // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

A moment to bask in the golden hour

“After we ate, we all enjoyed a rest in the glorious evening light. We had lawn games, an ice cream van and picnic blankets by the river. I always think its nice to have a little break after dinner and before the evening festivities begin.”

Bride and groom beside the river // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Bride and groom eating ice cream // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Flower girl // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Wedding guests beside the river // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Wedding guests eating ice cream // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Flower girl // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Wedding guests getting ice cream // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

The World’s End was the start of it all

“Dan and I met at a mutual friend’s birthday party at the World’s End in Camden. I was living in London but dying to get out to the seaside, which is my favourite place, so the following weekend Dan took me kayaking at Lulworth Cove in Dorset.

We were together whenever possible after that and only a few months later he asked me to move in with him in Southampton. A few years later we bought our first tiny cottage in Romsey, which we named World’s End Cottage, and a year after that Dan asked me to marry him at the top of the hill looking down on Lulworth Cove.”

Bride and groom outside Houghton Lodge // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Summer bride and groom // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Bride and groom walking in gardens // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Bride in veil // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Elegant bride and groom // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Bride // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Wood fired pizzas

“In order to keep everyone going, in the evening we hired a wood-fired pizza company – they were a street food vendor in Winchester and the pizzas were delicious. Everyone kept going back for more but I was very lucky that they let me jump the queue so I could taste them.

Wood fired pizza // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Wood fired pizza // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

English summer countryside // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Wood fired pizza oven // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Wood fired pizza // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

A simple wedding cake on a vintage table

“Our wedding cake was really simple – three tiers covered in rough buttercream icing. Dan will only eat chocolate cake, so of course one of the tiers was chocolate cake for him. We didn’t get a chance to eat any on the day but my forward thinking mum saved the top tier for us and froze it so we could eat it when we got back from honeymoon.

“The cake table we used is one of my favourite possessions. I found the duck egg blue formica topped table outside a vintage shop on my way home from work one evening. The shop owner was going to restore it and revarnish it but I love it just the way it is. We still use it now but it wasn’t the only table we brought from home – our kitchen table served as our bar too.”

Coral pink peony and blue delphinium wedding details // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Wedding cake with coral pink peony and delphiniums // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Elegant peony wedding cake // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Bride and groom cutting the cake // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Life and soul of the party

“In the evening we had a great band who made sure everyone was dancing all night. Dan knows one of the band members from work and we’d heard them play at a few parties before and knew how good they were. CJ Edwards, the lead singer, is an incredible soul singer and they were all such great fun. Everyone loved them and the dance floor was full to bursting until the very end.

First dance // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Wedding band // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

First dance // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Wedding band // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Wedding band // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Wedding guests dancing // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Wedding guests dancing // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Take a moment away from it all

“Whenever any of my friends are getting married, I always give them the same piece of advice – take a moment away from it all with your new husband, or wife, and just sit together and watch. We did this and it was our favourite moment of the day. We got an ice cream, walked to the top of the hill overlooking the river and marquee and watched everyone playing games and lying on picnic rugs on the riverbank before rejoining them and dancing until midnight.”

Bride and groom in wildflower field // Stephen Duncan Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

What a beautiful day and inspiring to see an eco wedding that is elegant and refined. A big thank you to Joanna and Dan for sharing their day with us, and to their photography Stephen Duncan Photography.

Don’t forget, if you’d like to submit your wedding to be featured on our blog, do contact us.

{ Details }

Photographer: Stephen Duncan Photography
Church Ceremony: Romsey Abbey
Wedding Venue: Houghton Lodge and Gardens
Bride’s Dress: ‘Savannah Marie’ Maggie Sottero
Flowers: Rebecca at Judy Webb Florist, Romsey
Wedding Stationery: Designed by bride, floral artwork bought on Etsy
Steel Pan Band: Panatical
Marquee: Marquee Vision
Wedding Food: Fat Hog and Big Pan
Wood-Fired Pizza: Risen Pizza Co
Ice Cream Van: Bluebelle the Vintage Ice Cream Van
Entertainment: The CJ Edwards Band
Decorations: Collected, rescued, reused or made by bride, groom, family and friends. Lots can be hired from us at Dotty Mouse.

Comments

Wedding Boutique on 6. April, 2017

What a beautiful wedding!

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