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by Emma Hla

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Images by Abigail White Photography.

Louisa & Thomas married at Spirit Lake earlier this year. Louisa enjoyed planning their wedding so much that she has spent the last couple of months working on other events with the Fiesta Fields team in preparation for her new career in weddings and events.

How exciting is that! Love it when a wedding leads to a brand new career. It’s exactly how I started this very platform!

Over to you Lou…

Notes from the Bride

Louisa says…

For years I had thought I had my wedding all planned out, all I needed was a groom! But once the question had finally been asked (and accepted!) I suddenly realised that planning a wedding would be a huge undertaking and I had no idea what I wanted! The thought of looking for suppliers and locations became very daunting but I was lucky that I had a starting point with the church (where I grew up) and a dream of an outdoor marquee reception.

So one evening, I sat down with my laptop and gin and tonic and googled “land for hire, Surrey”. One of the top results was Fiesta Fields and from taking just 5 minutes on their website I was hooked! One of their venues (Spirit Lake) just looked idyllic and was a short drive from the church – perfection! When we visited a week later, it was everything we had hoped for! Beautiful surroundings with lakes and woodland, and far enough from the main road there was no traffic noise. Before we even left the site we had made the decision… we had found our wedding reception venue!

So with the venue booked I turned my attention to my dress. I had many ideas in my head of what I wanted to wear. My first thought was lace! I wanted all the lace! It looked so romantic and elegant in the pictures and an A-Line style was my vision. My first dress search experience was at WED2B in Camberley. This is an off-the-rack place where you don’t need an appointment. I went on my own to scope some styles out and I confirmed my belief that a sheath dress was not my style. It was on the 2nd visit with some bridesmaids where I found a full head-to-toe lace sheath dress that was stunning and didn’t make me look frumpy! I ended up buying this gorgeous Mediterranean looking dress and taking it home with me. A few weeks later I realised it wasn’t for me and it didn’t give me the full wow factor! I was able to return it and my dress search continued. After more dress shopping experiences, including a lovely experience at May & Grace Bridal in Haslemere, I realised my dream dress was just that… a dream! There wasn’t a dress that would live up to my expectations, so it was then I decided to get one made!

That was when I found Caroline Arthur. I went to visit her at her home studio in Surrey and together we put my dream dress onto paper. I wanted classic, elegant and sophisticated with a slight modern twist. Simple front with bateau neckline with a full lace deep back with underarm slits. 8 months later I was able to try her on for the first time and I can’t explain the feeling! Every bride will know when she sees herself in her wedding dress for the first time it is an incredible feeling. I was ecstatic!

Luckily for me, I had a family friend who has an aunt who is a florist (Farrington Florist). I’ve seen her work before at other weddings and events and I knew she had an incredible talent. We came up with a “whimsical” theme, and she suggested lots of greenery and baby’s breath to hang from chandeliers and bannisters. For the reception it was a lot of the same. Green and white with hints of pink throughout. The end result was better than I could have ever hoped for! You can certainly tell this woman has a gift as all the colours and textures and details all just blended perfectly together. I couldn’t have asked for anything more.

The search for a photographer and videographer for your wedding is quite a big task! You are searching for someone who will capture moments from your wedding which you will look back on for the rest of your life! I don’t envy the people who do this as a job, as that’s a lot of pressure to live up to! However our venue recommended Abigail White Photography.

I loved her approach and she just came across really friendly. She was local to us so we went over to her house one evening and she went through some of her previous work, and we just clicked! She was very relaxed and was more focused on getting natural pictures.

I was lucky that a co-worker had a friend who was in the cake business! Over the past few years I’ve even sampled her work with leftover cake brought in from birthdays. Rima Hassan (Yummy Bakes) is a lovely woman and she was able to help give me ideas on what I could have. I knew I wanted a naked cake to fit in the relaxed and rustic theme, and there was a cake she had done previously that looked perfect!

She sent me a list of flavour choices for both the sponge and fillings, and we selected 4 (1 flavour for each tier). A few months before the wedding she brought a whole lot of samples for us to taste, along with the tins to show us the size of each tier. After filling up on cake and toppings, we came up with red velvet, lemon drizzle, Oreo cookie and then a gluten and dairy free vanilla sponge with passion fruit curd for the top tier (so I could actually eat the cake on the day!). The end result was just perfect!

I had 5 bridesmaids with all different looks and styles, so I knew from the offset that I was going to have them in different style dresses. A friend of mine mentioned a bridal shop in Ashtead which supplied Dessy dresses which are made and shipped from America. They had 100’s of dresses in various colours, so I knew this was going to be the right place for me! I managed to get each of the girls to try on various styles and narrowed it down to two colours (blush & dusty rose) which blended in with the flowers and colour scheme I had in mind perfectly. Each girl picked a dress and colour and we were in business! The dresses took 10 weeks to be made and shipped, but we were all happy with the results (after a few alterations).

There’s only one place really for the boys to get their suits; Moss Bros. We always knew we were going to hire the suits as we wanted all the ushers to be in tails. We tried on black, grey and navy blue and decided the blue was the best colour to suit Thomas. Various waistcoats, ties and pocket squares were then tried to find the perfect match, and we ended up with navy blue suits, navy blue waistcoats for the ushers and an ivory waistcoat for Thomas along with baby pink tie and pocket square to match bridesmaids. Nice and simple!

I knew I always wanted quite a traditional evening, so after the drinks reception we sat down for speeches and then a 3-course meal (catered by Moodies).

Our menu consisted of Kilner jars of smoked salmon served with a beetroot remoulade and sweet olive toasts, roast confit of bacon served with vine tomatoes in a porcini mushroom dressing and warm root vegetable and chilli tart tatin to start. For the mains we served duo of honey-roast duck braised and slow cooked confit duck let served with a port glaze and sweet potato & thyme puree, roasted fillet of salmon served with a rocket and basil grana padano pesto, lemon oil & crushed potatoes and a Mediterranean risotto with chopped tomatoes and spinach with parmesan, basil & nutmeg. To finish we had bitter chocolate and orange tart served with candied kumquats and a pistachio wafer, sticky toffee pudding served with hot caramel sauce and poached fruit and a lemon posset served with raspberries, dark chocolate curls and shortbread thins.

After the meal, Thomas and I snuck outside with Abigail for some alone time and couple shots and a few of me alone. We love these images so much.

For evening entertainment we had hired a photo booth (King of the Booth) which was set up in the marquee and was a great addition to the evening once the wine and beer had been flowing. We also had a live band (Good Company) who played for 2 hours.

Working with Fiesta Fields to make our wedding day the best it could be was such a joy! My experience was so great that I asked if I could work with them over the summer to get some work experience in the wedding event industry. They were happy to have me on board, and I’ve now worked on a few weddings and parties at a few of their locations and it has been amazing. I’ve loved the work, and they are such a lovely bunch of people I would recommend them to everyone if I could! They not only have some stunning locations throughout Surrey and Sussex, but they also have an abundance of knowledge about weddings and are willing to go above and beyond to make sure you have the best day possible.

From one bride to another…

  • I think my main advice to all future brides is to just ignore what the current trends or colours are! At the end of the day, it’s your wedding so you can have whatever you want.
  • If you have a long engagement (mine was 15 months) then give yourself more to do throughout the year with handmade items like bunting. It gave me time to just sit and work on something for my wedding which a) kept the excitement going and b) gave me something to focus on if things got a little hectic or stressful.
  • Another piece of advice is Pinterest and Instagram are your friends, but just bear in mind that a lot of the photos will have been taken from weddings with a major budget or even a styled photoshoot. If you see something you like the idea of, have a look online to see if there are cheaper alternatives or something similar that won’t break the bank.
  • Finally, just remember to smile and enjoy yourself! Everyone is there to share the joy in your happy occasion.

Credits

Venue Spirit Lake by Fiesta Fields

Photography Abigail White Photography

Marquee One Six Events

Catering Moodies

Dress Caroline Arthur

Bride’s Shoes Pink by Paradox London

Veil Joyce Jackson from Lace & Favour

Hairpiece Sophie and Luna

Flowers Farrington Florist

Cake Yummy Bakes

Silk Robes The Little Lovebird

Hangers The Laser Engraving Company

Hair & Make Up Olivia Fowler and Rose Redrup

Bridesmaid Dresses Dessy from Brides Visited and Pearls and Lace

Suits Moss Bros.

Photobooth King of the Booth

Band Good Company

Spirit Lake

Surrey, South East

 

Spirit Lake is situated in the Surrey Hills, in a beautiful 30 acre space of natural woodland and parkland. Featuring a novel walled garden and two pristine lakes it's…

The Need to Know

Website: www.fiestafields.co.uk

  • 200
  • 200
  • No
  • Couple's choice
  • Couple's choice
  • Glamping
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • No
  • Yes
  • Yes

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Emma Hla

Meet the author

 

Emma Hla

Emma is the founder & curator of these award-winning pages. Passionate about venues, interiors and a good Whiskey Sour. You'll also find Emma working as a Creative Director consulting for wedding venues around the UK.

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