Spring here in the UK can be pretty unpredictable. Especially when you’re planning a wedding so far in advance! The last thing you want is for it to be a wash-out. With this wedding, there was no sign of rain, not a single drop. Just beautiful spring sunshine in the landscaped grounds of Painswick Rococo Garden in the Cotswolds.
Today we head to Kat and Ben’s beautiful humanist wedding which took place in May 2016. This wedding is full of DIY decorations which perfectly suit the venue style and the stunning backdrop. Thank you to Rosie Hunt of Ragdoll Photography for submitting this beautiful wedding to us!
Are you planning on having a humanist wedding? Let us know in the comments below!
Your love story…
Kat – “Like many modern couples, we met on a dating website. Our first date was at an Indian restaurant and we went for a pint after. We got on really well and, despite living in different cities at the time, continued dating. Looking back, it’s hard to pinpoint the moment we fell in love, but we had a great time together and particularly bonded over our shared enjoyment of food and the outdoors. About a year later we moved in together, two years after that we were engaged, and a year later we were married.
Ben proposed to me at our house after we came back from an evening out. He hadn’t planned to do it until the next day but decided he couldn’t wait any longer. I came up the stairs after cleaning my teeth to find him on one knee with a ring in a miniature pirate treasure chest. I was so surprised I started crying and couldn’t speak, so it took me a while to answer. I obviously said yes as soon as I’d composed myself!”
How did you arrange your wedding?
“We both went around looking for venues for the Ceremony and Reception. Ben found the band after lots of YouTube searching and the choice for the catering was easy as one of our favourite restaurants (The Thali) do wedding catering.
A Humanist Celebrant conducted the ceremony and he met with us to get an idea of who we are as individuals and as a couple before combining our life stories into a lovely script. We each wrote our own vows which were a secret from everyone until the day. We both decided we would like to do a Hand Fasting followed by a traditional ring exchange which the celebrant was able to incorporate in the ceremony.
We made many of the items we needed with a little help from our families: Ben’s Mum and Dad made a splendid cake (actually, 4 cakes), my Mum made lots of bunting, I planted up tin cans with flowers and Ben chopped logs into discs for centrepieces.”
What did you both wear?
“I knew I didn’t want to spend a huge amount on a tailor made dress, but I still wanted something that looked great. I found an ex-sample dress that I liked in a local wedding shop, however, there was a small issue with it being two sizes too big! A Bristol seamstress, cut the dress to fit and also altered to a more streamlined shape. A friend lent me her beautiful veil and I also had some Irregular Choice blue, flowery shoes and fresh flowers in my hair.
Ben was keen to wear something quite colourful to reflect the celebratory nature of the day. He found a turquoise patterned waistcoat from Woods of Shropshire and rented the rest of his suit.”
What venue did you choose?
“I discovered the Rococo Garden in Painswick several years ago whilst living in Gloucester and always thought it would be the perfect wedding venue. After Ben proposed we went to see it and he was really taken by it too. It’s a Victorian Pleasure Garden with lots of follies scattered throughout. One of these is called The Red House and has stained glass windows and a grassy avenue leading up to it. We decided to get married in front of this which meant there wouldn’t be an inside option. As we love being outside so much we advised everyone to bring umbrellas in case of rain and took a risk.
The Rococo Garden are not able to offer an evening Reception so whilst exploring the village we came across the Painswick Centre (similar to a Village Hall). It gave us the opportunity to decorate exactly how we wanted it and they also had a bar and a skittle alley at the back which we could use. My Mum made loads of bunting leading up to the Big Day and we collected jars and bottles to arrange flowers in on the tables along with tea lights.
The venues were close enough together that we could walk down with our guests following the ceremony which was a really special part of the day.”
Was the day how you imagined?
“We’d prepared ourselves for hiccups but the day couldn’t have gone more perfectly and it was better than we had even imagined! The sun shone despite rain being forecast and everybody really enjoyed themselves. The ceremony was beautiful and Ben’s vows brought a tear to everyone’s eyes. The skittle alley went down a treat and as the evening went on all the guests put on the entire contents of the photo booth fancy-dress box which was hilarious!
The only slight thing was that we didn’t leave enough time for the meal, cake cutting and first dance so as the evening guests arrived as we were finishing our final course. It didn’t matter, though, some of them went to play skittles and some enjoyed seeing the first dance anyway.”
What advice would you give to other couples?
“Keep things personal – the days supposed to be about you so don’t be afraid to eschew convention where it doesn’t fit with your personalities.
You don’t need to spend loads of money to have a fantastic day – even with limited DIY or arts and crafts skills, you can do plenty yourself, and by shopping around you can keep costs reasonable. Also friends and family are often really happy to help with skills and hobbies they already have.
You have much more flexibility if you opt for a wedding that’s not officially recognised. There’s no restriction on the venue and a celebrant can create a far more personal ceremony (you can sort out the legal aspect at a registry office another time).”
Where did you go on your honeymoon?
“We went to Costa Rica for 3 weeks – although we’ve both travelled quite a bit previously, neither of us had been to Central America so it was something we were both experiencing for the first time. We wanted somewhere that we could relax but also go on a few adventures, and Costa Rica fitted this perfectly. We moved around 4 different parts of Costa Rica – sometimes by public bus and sometimes on horseback! We saw lots of wildlife and beautiful scenery.”
Did you do anything extra special?
“Both of our rings were made out of a ring Ben inherited from his great grandfather. I got the diamond set in a new white-gold ring by an amazing jewellery designer in the jewellery quarter of Birmingham (Kate Smith). The gold from the original ring was melted down to make Ben’s wedding band.”
Bridesmaid Dresses: Coast / Catering: Thali Cafe / Ceremony: Painswick Rococo Garden / Dress Shop: Berketex Brides, Bristol / Dress Designer: Julian and Adam / Flowers: Organic Blooms / Groomsmen Attire: Formally Yours / Groom’s Waistcoat: Lloyd, Atree & Smith from Woods of Shropshire / Jewellery: Kate Smith / Music: Victoriana / Photography: Ragdoll Photography / Reception: Painswick Centre