It was a day of festival wedding fun for Sophie and Paul and their happy-camping guests, with a bouncy castle, inflatable slide and fire dancers!
How they met
Despite living in the same town, five minutes away from each other, Sophie and Paul first met miles from home, on holiday in Egypt. “We met on the first day of our trip, and from that moment on, we couldn’t leave each other alone,” smiles Sophie. “When we got home, Paul messaged me to ask me out on a date. I couldn’t wait to see him again.”
Paul whisked his sweetheart to the top of the Eiffel Tower for his romantic Parisian proposal. “He made me walk all the way to the top. Luckily, there’s a bar on each level,” laughs Sophie. “I was so surprised, as Paul always said we had to work hard, save up and get our house sorted before we got married – he threw me right off the scent.”
The bride’s outfit
Sophie wasted no time in choosing her beautiful boho-inspired dress from Phase Eight. “Paul’s mum sent the link to me, and I loved it instantly – it was the only dress I tried on,” Sophie explains. “I wanted something a bit different that was comfortable enough to dance in, and as soon as I put it on, I couldn’t wait to get married.”
The figure-hugging ivory gown featured lavish pearl beading, an hourglass silhouette and a puddle train. To complement her dress, Sophie chose a bespoke jewelled headpiece. “I felt I needed to stand out as the bride, and it really finished off my look,” she says.
The groom’s outfit
Paul looked smart and sophisticated in his navy grey tails, teamed with an ivory cravat. “He chose it himself – it was his special day, too, after all!” says Sophie. As a quirky touch, he changed from dress shoes into Converse later in the day. “His feet were hurting too much!” Sophie laughs.
Sophie chose mismatched nude gowns for her nine bridesmaids and two flowergirls, from Next and House of Fraser to independent boutiques. “Because all the girls have different personalities, I wanted their dresses to be different but co-ordinating,” Sophie explains. The girls’ pretty flower garlands gave their outfits a spring feel.
Sophie and Paul’s civil ceremony took place at Michelham Priory, a beautiful converted barn in East Sussex. “My dad has passed away, but he used to go fishing at the Priory, so it felt right to get married there,” says Sophie. “My stepdad walked me down the aisle, and my mum did a lovely personal reading that she wrote just for us.”
A family friend put together the rustic, natural flower arrangements, with unstructured posies of white roses for the bride, wheat for the bridesmaids and colourful displays of bright country blooms to decorate the reception venue.
Sophie and Paul chose the Yew tree Inn, a traditional country pub in seven acres of countryside, as the venue for their festival-themed reception. “We had 500 guests in total, and I wanted it to be laidback and chilled,” Sophie explains. “We had so much fun, with inflatables, a bouncy castle, a mega slide, garden games, a photo booth and fire dancers, and many guests camped out, too!”
The boho decorations were a labour of love for Sophie’s family friend Gail, who camped out for five days to transform the venue with pom poms, bunting, flower-filled jam jars and lanterns. Music was also an important part of the day, with a saxophonist playing during the ceremony, a harpist during dinner, a live band in the evening and a DJ set at the campsite.
Sophie’s friend Sissi, a keen amateur baker, made a tower of mouth-watering cupcakes, decorated with rugby balls and daisies. “They were inspired by me picking flowers while watching Paul play rugby,” Sophie explains.
Sophie lovingly collected pebbles from the beach and painted them with guests’ names and their wedding date – place cards that doubled as personal favours!
The newlyweds spent a month exploring Thailand.
Are you loving the bohemian and festival vibes from Sophie and Paul’s wedding as much as we are? You can get more inspiration from some of our other festival real life weddings, or get the look with the help of our Wedding Ideas Shop!