Gregor and I have been together for more than eight years, and we have always attempted to live simply and sustainably. For our wedding, we abandoned all preconceived ideas of “what” and “how” a wedding should be and chose to focus on what truly matters: good food and drink, friends and family, and good music.
Recycled and homemade was to be the theme for the wedding. We planned and prepared the whole thing ourselves, which became part of the meaningful journey to marriage for us.
After Gregor’s proposal, the first thing we did was make our own wedding rings using recycled silver with our friend Julia Thompson, a silversmith. In the 10 months between our engagement and marriage, I was lucky enough to be on maternity leave, so my new daughter and I got creative. I designed a linocut for the invitations and used recycled luggage labels for everything from labeling seats to cake tins. I began collecting teapots and picnic baskets. I also made bunting.
We live on a farm on the Somerset levels with woodland that Gregor manages, and this provided the perfect location for our wedding. Aside from a strip of bunting and the odd chair or log, the woodland ceremony needed no decoration as the site was magical in itself. However a Dutch barn, used for logging and hay storage, needed a lot more work. It took two weeks of tough but enjoyable preparation with friends and family to transform the barn.
I wore an original 1950s wedding dress and veil, accompanied by pearl drop earrings given to me by my late mother, and a single cornflower in my hair. Gregor wore a 1930s tails jacket, with custom-made trousers inspired by an original Edwardian linen suit. All our bridesmaids and best men wore vintage, and I made our daughter’s dress using an old 1950s pattern.
My maid of honor’s mum, Janet, supplied beautiful flowers from her garden, and together with my very talented friend Dorcas, they made all the button holes, corsages and my bouquet in the kitchen while I was getting ready. All I asked was that there be rosemary (in remembrance of my mum), along with cornflowers and lavender.
The ceremony was conducted in a woodland glade above our home by an independent celebrant and old family friend, Nick. To reach the woods, I was driven through the wheat fields by our uncle in his Austin 10 and was escorted down a natural aisle of woodland flora by my dad whilst our friend Chris played Bach’s Cello Suite No 1 in G, a tune I love that was also played at my mum’s funeral. Friends read an extract from John Seymour’s book on self-sufficiency, and my gorgeous friend Esther sang two songs accompanied by another friend on guitar.
There’s nothing I like more than a tea party, so immediately after the ceremony we had a champagne picnic in the woods. It was the perfect time for our guests to relax and enjoy the scenery with tea, homemade cake, and bubbly. The walk down from the woods and through the fields to the barn was a refreshing and invigorating break in the day.
We held the reception at the barn, where guests were welcomed with the sounds of “Wind Up Pete” on the gramophone. When they arrived, they could either make their way to the £1 bar where my dad served local cider and real ale, admire the array of photos and “Gregor and Lucy” memorabilia that my sisters erected on an old oak door, or simply wander around and soak up the atmosphere. My old typewriter and a suitcase filled with brown paper luggage labels and pens were available for those who wished to leave a message.
To decorate the barn, we arranged old wooden trestle tables and chairs in rows beneath homemade bunting. We filled jam jars with all sorts of locally-grown organic flowers and tied antique lace around the biodegradable leaf plates and sustainable cutlery. On each child’s seat we left a little party bag filled with ethical gifts and healthy snacks to keep them entertained during the speeches.
For dinner, our good friends Holly and Paco cooked a feast – we had a beautiful Boston bean stew, vegetable curry, and Paco’s famous paella. When it was time for dessert we had ice cream that was made in the village and served from an Edwardian bicycle. Gregor and I adore cocktails, so our friend Ross kindly built us a wooden bar. Our cocktail-making buddies took turns shaking and stirring throughout the evening, serving our three favorite drinks.
A highlight of the night was our first dance. We chose “At Last” because it simply says it all.
All photographs by Mark Tattersall Photography.