Outdoor wedding photographer | How Cheryl and Jon planned their tipi wedding at Flanesford Priory, Herefordshire, Wye Valley | A bridal insight on a perfect day

January 9, 2020


How do I start planning a wedding? How do I choose the venue of my dreams? How about all the wedding suppliers? How much in advance shall I start getting in touch? 


Today we are sharing a bit of a special post. For the very first time we have asked a dear bride of ours to tell us a little bit about her day: the planning process, the vision, the wedding inspiration, the supplier search and all the backstage details that led to a perfect wedding day!


Just a little introduction from our side: Cheryl and Jon are two great outdoor and nature lovers. It was only natural for them to have an outdoor ceremony, which we could not have been happier about! Also, it was quintessential for them to have some pictures taken in their beloved forest. We were just over the moon to know that one of the reason why they decided to book us for their wedding photography was our shared love for nature and wild places. It is such a great joy to be understood and appreciated by our couples and to work with people that share our same passions.


Here's Cheryl's wonderful story of her perfect day, I really hope you'll find it as helpful and insightful as we did!


Benni & Carol xx


- First things first, how long did you take to plan the wedding?


We got engaged in July 2018, so we had about 11 months. More than enough!


- How many guests did you have for your day?

We had about 85 guests in the day and 130 in the evening.



- Why did you decide to get married at Flanesford Priory in Herefordshire?


We had moved to Monmouth (20 minutes down the road) a year before, not long after we moved there we went out for a drive to see the local area. We drove past Flanesford Priory, not knowing what it was, and I remember telling Jon that it would be an amazing place to get married. It had stayed in my mind for a while until May 2018 when we attended a wedding celebration there (this was before we were engaged) and I remember thinking how beautiful the venue was. After we got engaged we looked all over the country for a venue, including going to see Flanesford Priory. When we discovered that you could have the ceremony outside I think that's what did it for us, it was something that was really important to us.





- How did you allocate your budget?

We had discussed what the most important aspects of our wedding would be, with photography and good food coming out on top. We invested the most in those areas, which I definitely think was worth it. Our photographs will be with us forever and I remember weddings for the food I've had at them! We probably spent more than Jon would have liked on flowers, but they were really important to me.

We decided to arrange the stationery ourselves, so we downloaded a template from Etsy and customised everything before sending them off to the printers. We also decided against having favours as I don't think I remember what I've had as favours at any of the weddings I've been to in the past. We splurged on our band, which was 100% worth it! 




- How did you choose your photographer?

We found Benni Carol Photography on Rock my Wedding, a website I turned to to find suppliers. We drew up a shortlist of photographers who we liked the style of and then chatted to them all either by phone or by Skype. What I loved about Benni Carol Photography is that there are two of them! It was really important to me that we capture both me as I walked down the aisle and Jon as he saw me coming, it always seems a shame not to see both faces in the photography. Benni and Carol also love the outdoors, we fell in love with their amazing shots of couples in forests and woodland which is something we knew we wanted from our own photographs.

- Where did you find your dress and accessories? And what about Jon's attire and your bridesmaid's?

My dress was by Essence of Australia, purchased from All About Eve in Chepstow. I also got my veil and hair vine from All About Eve.
My shoes were Kurt Geiger.
Jon's suit was from TM Lewin, his shoes were from Ted Baker.
My bridesmaid wore a dress I purchased from a designer on Etsy, her shoes were the shoes she wore to her own wedding which I thought was a nice touch.




- Now, let's talk about your vision and theme. Did you have a colour scheme?

We didn't really have a colour scheme, we just wanted to keep everything as light and bright as possible so the only real hint of colour was blush pink. We wanted to let the amazing scenery surrounding our venue do the talking.





- What sort of flowers did you have?

Our flowers were from the amazing Justine at Farhill Flowers. Justine grows her own flowers in her wonderful gardens, which allowed us to have the freshly picked style we wanted. We had a mixture of old style roses mixed in with other flowers from Justine's garden with lots of green foliage. 


- And the decorations?

We hired a few pieces from Rustic Rentals, such as a wooden ladder for displaying photos of us together and us as children. Other than that we had lots of candles scattered about the marquee and Glebe Room. Outside we kept it simple, we didn't feel the need to have too much out there as the scenery spoke for itself, the only touches we added were dream catchers in memory of Jon's mum.


- What did you eat? And the wedding cake?

Food was a really important part of our wedding! Following the ceremony our guests were treated to prosecco as well as beer from a local brewery in the Forest of Dean, along with canapes. For the wedding breakfast we had antipasti to start, followed by chicken stuffed with leeks or caramelised onion and goats cheese tart, to finish we had raspberry meringue roulade. All of catering was provided by Izzy from Flanesford Priory. In the evening we paid tribute to the Cardiff institution of Dorothys and had chips with chicken curry - it went down a treat!

Our gorgeous wedding cake was made by Cathy at the Stables Pantry who we'd highly recommend. Our first meeting with Cathy was at her gorgeous home in Herefordshire, the eggs in her cakes come from her own chickens and she makes all the jams and preserves herself. We went for chocolate mud cake with chocolate ganache, caramel sponge with salted caramel buttercream and a vanilla sponge with tropical preserve and vanilla buttercream. I was over the moon with the cake when I saw it, it was exactly what we wanted. We had plenty of the chocolate tier left so we were able to take it away on minimoon with us a few days after the wedding.



- What did you have as entertainment?

During the ceremony and drinks reception we had the String Quartet Company playing, in the evening we had a fantastic band called Hipster. They really got our taste in music and were incredibly friendly all through the evening with members of the band checking that we were happy and if there was anything they could do. We were so grateful for them turning up to the venue early as they let us use their big fans in the marquee to cool everyone down!

- Did you do any DIY at all?

In addition to the real petal confetti we ordered, I also dried petals from the roses in our garden to use on the day. Jon also made a brilliant Dorothys sign to go under the chips and curry sauce in the evening.

- What were your special moments or highlights of the day? And the biggest surprise?

I loved the very start of the day, waking up and realising how gorgeous the weather was going to be, sitting outside the bridal cottage with my family to have breakfast. Probably one of the highlights of the day for us was heading off in the car up to the forest to get our photographs taken, the weather had cooled slightly and it was the first time we had managed to be together on our own all day. Being out in the forest was almost a breather for us, a time to collect ourselves and have a chat before heading back to see our guests. Not to mention we got some amazing shots!


While, as far as regards the surprise, I'd say the weather! A week before the wedding I was in discussion with the marquee company about getting heaters in and dealing with having a wet weather wedding, so to wake up on the morning of the wedding to find that it was one of the hottest days of the year was a huge surprise. 




- What advice would you give other couples?

From the outset I'd sit down and agree on what your top priorities are in terms of where you'll spend your money, this helps budgeting early on. I'd also advise trying to take some time away for just the two of you on the day, everyone says it but the day goes by so quickly that having some time alone can help slow things down and let you focus on what is actually happening.


If you want to go through Cheryl & Jon's full story, just keep scrolling down!


We really hope you found this new post format a little bit helpful :)




Venue: Flanesford
Catering: Izzies Catering
Dress: Essence of Australia bought from All About Eve Bridal in Chepstow 

Bridal Shoes: Kurt Geiger

Bridal Veil: All About Eve Bridal
Groom's suit: TMLewin

Grooms shoes: Ted Baker 
Hair and make up: NGJ Makeup and Hair 
Flowers: Far Hill Flowers

Band: Hipster

Quartet: String Quartet Company

Cake: Stables Pantry

Decorations: Rustic Rentals 



































































































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