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I thee Wed – Claire & Andrew


Issue 47: When Time Stood Still

Real Weddings

I thee Wed – Claire & Andrew

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Are you in need of a dose of beautiful wedding day inspiration? Then it’s time to indulge in this magical tipi wedding where Claire & Andrew literally went above and beyond to create a unique, rustic and unforgettable wedding day under the skies. We bring you rustic romance at Hodsock Priory.

Here we hand you over to Claire;


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“We were married on 8th June 2013 at St Mary’s Church, Tickhill, South Yorkshire with the reception held at Forest Plantation, Hodsock Priory, Nr Blyth.

We fell in love with tepee tents as a venue at a friend’s wedding; it was the first time in 12 years of being together that we felt we had found something that was us! They were so unique and there’s something special about being under canvas, so we quickly got in touch with Papakata.

After securing our tents we searched and searched for a plot of land that we both felt gave us that rustic, outdoor backdrop to site the tents in. After several attempts at viewing some local farmer’s fields we thought we would try Hodsock Priory, a local historic country house. We knew the estate had some magical woodland so we organised to meet up with George Buchannan (Owner) who showed us his beautiful woods that are locally famous for snowdrops and woodland walks. We fell in love with the area but the bombshell was our keenness to have a live band. George explained there would be an issue with noise affecting a wedding which was already booked in at the main house for the same day. He went on to describe a more ‘secluded’ wood that he had up past the estate farm, only used for dog walkers. We drove up together to have a look but with slight disappointment and not much hope for this other wood. It was very wild and I had to pop on my design goggles to visualise what could be, but we both looked at each other with big grins & shook George’s hand & said ‘this is the spot’!


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The theme was rustic chic – natural fabrics and recycled materials, coupled with crisp white linen and large white flowers.  I chose a palette of neutrals with small accents of champagne/rosewater and pale blue.

My dress was a classic dress that Emily Bridal in Sheffield have had stocked for a few years. The designer was Paloma Blanca, made from a pale champagne Dupion silk with ivory lace & beaded detail to the bodice and train edge. It had a mild sweetheart neckline which was balanced with a delicate, thin silk band and bow under the bust line. Silk buttons ran down the entire length of the dress at the back.

I carried a hand- tied bouquet of white lilac, pale peach blousy roses, white peonies, rosemary, buplerum & lambs ear. It was tied with rustic burlap and satin ivory ribbon.  We used Connells ‘The Florist’ at Marshall’s Yard, Gainsborough. My dress was champagne and my bridesmaid’s Twobirds dresses were in rosewater which brought out the colour in my dress. Andrew and the groomsmen wore grey/brown suits with a pale blue shirt and tie to match the suit colour from Racing Green.


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The groomsmen had a single vintage white rose with lambs ear and a twine bow and the bridesmaids each carried a single large white hydrangea with foliage attached.

I had a love note hand embroidered onto silk and stitched into the inside of Andrew’s suit jacket.  It was a really special touch.

It was amazing arriving at the wood and seeing how we had managed to transform the venue into something magical, it was more than we imagined and to see all of our family and friends having such a relaxed and enjoyable time made all the hard work worthwhile.

Catering was by  Feast Yorkshire and our bar by Louisianna’s Mobile Bar Hire.

We were lucky that my Uncle renovated my great granddads Morris Minor (the first car I ever drove) and we used this as our wedding car. It took pride and place at the reception venue and our little son Ollie & his cousin Logan enjoyed hours of fun pretending to take each other for a spin around the woods!


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We had a live acoustic singer on arrival to the reception and through the wedding breakfast – James Taplin, and a live five piece band from Manchester – Soul Dedication (LMM Live Music Management).

We wanted a handmade rustic wedding with lots of input from family and friends. If you want a similar wedding with individual touches, our advice would be to go for it! Our friends helped with our favours, making chutneys to go with our cheese buffet and two friends even made us a twig chandelier for over our bar from twigs we had gathered from the wood earlier in the year.

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A handmade wedding makes your day that extra bit special and your guests will really appreciate it as it will be different and memorable… we had been to a few weddings that you knew exactly what was coming next, a bit predictable. A handmade wedding isn’t the easy route, you have to be super organised and you will have to let some original ideas go by the way side as the pressure mounts… I didn’t believe I would have to do this as I am a self-diagnosed control freak, but even I had to let go! Andrew, myself and a small army of family & friends spent all of Thursday and Friday before the wedding setting up the reception. This may sound horrendous to some, but even though it was extremely tiring and hard work, it was just the best experience and just added to the whole wedding experience. It was fantastic to be responsible for organising and pulling together all of our long thought out ideas together in one place and creating our vision in a rustic woodland.

So the best advice is to put a list together of ‘must haves’ and ‘nice to haves’ so that when that time comes hopefully you will have completed the critical items and will only have to consider losing not so important details.

Start as early as you can and get as many friends and family involved, they will love to help you and it makes your day that extra bit special.”

What a wedding! Serious hats off to Claire for her creative foresight and flair. This wedding really does have it all.

{Photography by Andy Hook}

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