Beautiful Garden Weddings with Personal Touches


Jess and Andy’s wedding was a beautiful garden affair with lots of DIY details.

Reams and reams of her mom’s bunting. The quirkiest cake, with a nod towards the family business. And the coolest hat-stand ever. All set against the stunning backdrop of Nymans National Trust Garden in West Sussex, England.

The talented duo of Lisa and Scott from Lisa Dawn Photography captured their wedding, a celebration full of flowers, fun, and family. Watch out for space hoppers!

The Attire

The lady who sold me my dress described it as “elegant simplicity.”

When I first saw this dress, I fell in love with it. This was my first dress. The simplicity of the dress and the lace detail made me fall in love.

The dress was romantic but also very comfortable. I found it second-hand and had Elizabeth Robinson Couture alter it so that it fit perfectly. I paired it up with Rachel Simpson’s ‘Mimosa” shoes.

The groom wore a slim-fit blue suit by Red Herring. The godmother also made the buttonhole on his case, and it was made with the same flowers that were in my bouquet. They included roses, hydrangeas, cornflowers, lavender, and Eucalyptus.

The bridesmaids were wearing Coast dresses and nude shoes. As a thank-you, I gave each bridesmaid a charm necklace from ‘Lily Charmed.’ And beautiful blue enamel earrings by ‘Janna Hodgson.’ The bride and groom also had cream pashminas, but I didn’t think that they would need them on the wedding day.

Our Wedding

We wanted an outdoor, relaxed country wedding that included homemade touches by us or important people to us.

Giant Jenga, space-hoppers, and other games were included to ensure that the event was fun. )

We chose this type of wedding because Andy was raised on a dairy farm, and we love the outdoors. It reflects our personalities best. We wanted to make sure that we could relax and really enjoy our wedding day.

As I am a lover of art and sculpture, I wanted to include as many “homemade” touches as possible.

We wanted it to be a relaxed, fun atmosphere (and filled with love). We enjoyed our family and friends to have a great time celebrating with us.

The Theme

Both of us wanted it to feel rustic and not ‘groomed.’ We looked at weddings in magazines and blogs, and those that we liked were more relaxed and where the people appeared to be just having fun.

The bridesmaids’ and men’s neckwear was blue because I am a huge fan of the color. The bunting consisted of pastels.

Nymans has such beautiful flowers and plants that we didn’t want to be too rigid with the color scheme. We tried to make it as harmonious as possible to the venue.

Favorite Moment

Oh, that’s a challenge. All of it was great. I would say my dad’s talk or the time Andy and I went off with our photographers to spend some time alone.

It was then that it felt real. We had a chance to be happy and celebrate, just the two of us.

The Venue

Nymans was the only venue we looked at. It blew us away as soon as we saw it. We liked the mix of wild, relaxed gardens with more formal ones and the ruin of a gothic-style ruin set against a woodland backdrop.

The story was a fairy tale! It was romantic!

The Reception

After the ceremony, we had champagne on the lawns near the Loggia. It was great to be able to celebrate our wedding right there.

We wanted to make/do as much ourselves to give the wedding a personal touch.

My mum is a very talented textile artist (and I’m very spoilt!!). We used the vintage bunting and hearts made by friends to decorate our chandeliers. We added color to the white tables by adding blue and white table covers.

Andy and I made the table names on vintage luggage tags stained with tea for a rustic look. The table names were displayed on heart-shaped metal stands. All the characters were places, some of which weren’t even exotic! We chose words that we felt were meaningful for various reasons. We wrote a story on the back of each place’s name so that guests could understand why it was special to us.

We used a variety of jam jars that were wrapped in lace and twine (by Mum again) and placed on the table as tea lights. These tea lights provided a lovely, gentle glow when the darkness came.

The trend of vintage/weathered signage is also very popular at the moment. The venue provided signage to direct guests to the ceremony (it’s about a 5-minute walk through beautiful gardens). Outside the marquee, we had a multidirectional sign pointing to dancing, games, merriment, and the woods.

Andy and I made a lot of moustache-on-a-sticks to add fun later. We put these in jam jars and added ribbons and luggage tags with the words ‘take me to play with me.’ Guests could pick them up and have fun when they go for a drink.

After booking an outdoor ceremony without a backup plan, I was convinced that it would rain all day. Just in case, I bought rainbow umbrellas and polka-dot wellies. Andy and I created an umbrella stand from old wooden champagne bottles and dried lavender, and we used it to decorate the marquee.

We used ribbons and pegs to decorate a section of the marquee so that guests could attach their hats and keep them out of the way. It was a very pretty decoration.

We created our menus and orders of service, which a close friend then printed. In this process, I painted a picture of two birds and then had it turned into a rubber stamp that we used for the menu, order of services, table names, and table plan.

We incorporated on the menu a game that we saw played at the wedding of a friend – this was played throughout the reception. The rules were: If guests tapped their glasses, the bride would stand up and kiss her groom; if guests stamped their feet, they kissed under the table; when the groom left the room, all the males in the room could kiss the bride. When the bride left the room, all the females could kiss the groom.

My mum painted a vintage frame with chalk paint. We made our table plan on it. Then, we hung luggage tags using wooden pegs with my two-bird stamp.

We attached an organza bag with washi tape to our order of service so that everyone could have some confetti if they chose. This allowed us to do the confetti as we walked down the aisle, which was super exciting.

The Flowers

Kate Rodrigues, Andy’s godmother, made the bridal bouquets.

I wanted wildflowers that were informal and had a very natural look. We chose sed lisianthus (my favorite), roses, asters, larkspur sage purple, hydrangea seed heads, alchemy, and little daisies.

The bouquet included a lot of flowers that I picked myself from my parents’ garden the morning before the wedding, including blue cornflowers, pale pink spray Roses, and delphinium (because they are beautiful!). The bouquets were made with mini white spray daisies and lavender, sage pink hydrangea eucalyptus dried allium heads, and pittosporum white double lisianthus.

I hand-tied the bouquets with lace so that they would match my dress.

The Blacksmith’s Daughter, a fantastic florist, decorated both the Loggia (where we were married) and the tables inside the marquee. We decided to use small arrangements of flowers in vintage vases, terracotta pots, and other tiny containers. Each table looked different. We wanted the floral arrangements to have a rustic, natural feel.

The Cake

We were very particular about our cake – we needed to have the same sense of humor. I wanted to go against the trend for white-tier cakes, and we enjoyed our cake to reflect us.

As a vet, I first thought of making a cow cake. I love them. Then, I decided to involve the whole family in the celebrations so that it was a truly personal experience for us. Andy’s Dad and Granddad were pig farmers, so we decided to have a pig-themed cake.

Alice Gee, my brother’s girlfriend, created the wonderful design. She added bunting to match the bunting made by my mother and all of the little pigs, including the bride and groom and the pig in mud.

Isn’t this so beautiful? It’s so nice to hear about a family working together to create an incredibly personal and lovely day.

Thank you to Jess & Andy for sharing your day with us. Also, thank you to Lisa Dawn Photography for taking these beautiful pictures.

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