Kat & Jude’s Arabian Tent Wedding

Written by Caitlin Hoare
Images by The Harphams.
What’s not to love about a garden wedding at your beloved family home? They’re intimate, convenient, and often a brilliant budget friendly option.

Kat & Jude chose to host their wedding celebrations in the comfort of her family home, with the help of Katherine from Arabian Tent Company. Katherine designed them a beautiful, bespoke ‘marquee’ structure which sat in the spacious private gardens of the house, creating a fun, laidback, deeply personal affair.

If you’re thinking of DIY-ing your own wedding day, use this stylish, summery event as your blueprint and you can’t go far wrong!

Notes from the Bride

Kat says…

It was important to us to have a personal and intimate feel to our day, so choosing my family home felt like the right option so that we could tailor the party for us. It has been my family home for 40+ years and growing up was a very social place, so it just felt perfect. My father also passed away in 1999 so it felt like he had part in the day. We were lucky enough to have a garden apt to host our wedding celebrations, we just had to cross everything and hope that we would get the weather too. We wanted everything in one place and a social atmosphere, ensuring the bar was open, the dance floor connected and there were places to relax for all after the wedding breakfast.

We wanted to use local businesses in the area and after some searching we came across Katherine at Arabian Tent Company. Instantly, we fell in love with the whole vibe and the look she presents with her incredible marquees. They offer something extra that you don’t usually get with standard marquees, creating an instant mood, atmosphere and divine decor to welcome guests in. Plus, the fact that the marquee is tailor built to your requirements. Katherine understood what we wanted and with her team, delivered something truly unique for our day. After visiting her incredible showroom, we went with something quite classic the Cornish Cream, not what I originally thought I would have gone with, but we felt it worked for our garden wedding.

The dress was one of the first I tried on from White Leaf Boutique in Brighton. I just felt like it was me from the outset, I continued to try on a few more and at other places, but nothing compared to the fringing wonder of Willoughby. I wanted a dress that I could go from day to night in and dance all night long.

The importance to us on the day was that everyone felt like their best selves. From the wedding dress, to the bridesmaids, I gave them the colour scheme and said find what you feel most fabulous in. Who knew there were so many varying shades of rust! The grooms suits were a classic M&S and the ties and pocket squares from Etsy.

My brother David gave me away and flew from Australia with his partner Steve to join the celebrations. After not seeing each other for three years, it really meant so much to have them there. I was adamant we couldn’t get married without them there. David joined the hen do in Palma and when Steve flew in, he became a wedding coordinator extraordinaire helping put in place all the final touches for the day.

Luke, one of my best and oldest friends, and business partner, stepped up to the role of being our celebrant. Creating the personal touch with someone who knows us both well, we wanted a short, intimate ceremony, something to set the tone of the day and my, did Luke excel. Making everyone roar with laughter, yet still having the emotional touch. It was perfect. He also played a huge part creating all the wedding stationery and photo booth.

I’m lucky enough to have Alice, one of my best friends, who’s a hair and makeup artist, take charge of me for the day. I decided hair up because of the dress and my mother also gave me a brooch that my grandfather gave her on her wedding day, that I wanted to wear in my hair. I think we all laughed, cried and enjoyed the champers getting ready, but personally it was such a special few hours having everyone there together.

I sourced whisky barrels for drinks, deck chairs and garden games, with small seating areas and half whiskey barrels to use as ice buckets for the beers. There’s a huge tree that I used to hang all our table plans from, with honeycomb spheres and fairy lights, so guests had a little search within the tree to find their table. Our table names were favourite pubs we have fond memories of as a couple and our MC highlighted we wanted people to socialise by visiting each “pub”.

We saw the band at a friend’s wedding a few years ago and they were insane! Guests were up dancing from the moment they started and that continued throughout the evening. We love live music and that was important to feature in our evening. Especially the unique talent of the Iron Boot Scrapers, they create a real show, involve and engage the party.

After a recommendation, we used The Flower Workshop in Heathfield for the bouquets and buttonholes. I really wanted dried flowers – something that could be kept from the day and after bouncing a few mood boards back and forth, I couldn’t have been happier with the result. Unusual for a summer wedding, but they looked beautiful. Featuring rusts, neutrals and succulents to highlight the day.

I sourced terracotta pots for the succulent centrepieces. I came across John at Hugo & Green in Horsham, where I sought his expertise. We decided on having three different heights and textures for each of the pots, he potted and delivered them to us for the day. His store is also something quite marvellous if you fancy a visit!

The cake was made by Luke’s mum, Lesley, who is an absolutely incredible baker. For years we have enjoyed her treats and I couldn’t think of anyone else I’d rather make our cake. It was delicious and managed to survive the heatwave we had that week. When it came to catering we went with Fresh Catering & Events in Plumpton. I cannot speak highly enough about Imogen from the first moment we met her for a tasting. The food was plentiful and the tastes varied and divine. So many guests complimented the food – not just the portion sizes, but the taste. How they created such exquisite tastes from a frame tent kitchen is beyond me! We decided to provide a huge medley of cheese for the evening, which Fresh were happy to plate and then they provided chip cones for the latter part.

From the first phone call with Harriet from The Harphams, I knew our photography for the day was in safe hands. She really took the time to get to know us and what we wanted. Chris & Harriet were beautifully present and caught so many natural shots, yet you would never have known they were snapping away all day. They went above and beyond to capture our day, even by taking a little walk to our local pub, where I spent most of my childhood running around. My dad has a bench there in memory of him, so it was quite important to me to involve The Royal Oak somehow.

Best part of the day

There are so many moments; walking into the ceremony, Jude being in the garden with everyone and myself looking out the windows whilst finishing getting ready were just a few. Everyone looked so happy! Walking into the wedding breakfast, having all our friends and family in one place singing!

From one couple to another…

Do what works for you and don’t try to please everyone. It was absolutely more of a challenge coordinating everything, rather than a venue taking the lead. Things all come together eventually, but most definitely keep a spreadsheet!


Marquee Arabian Tents Company

Photography The Harphams

Dress White Leaf Boutique

Caterers Fresh Catering & Events

Bouquets The Flower Workshop

Plant Centrepieces Hugo & Green

Band Iron Boot Scrapers

Generator Grizzly Bear Events

More from the blog

Discover our Venues

Refine your wedding venue search by location, capacity, type, and style.

Visit Venue Finder

Be Inspired

Planning advice, real wedding edits, and venue showcases to inspire you.

View Blog

Suppliers We Love

From photographers to bridal fashion and styling, find the best wedding suppliers right here.

View Suppliers