My name is Harry, I am the Creative Director at Original Marquees. I started working for OM in 2019 and have never looked back. My wife Charlotte is a Film Location Manager and together we live in West Oxfordshire with our one year old boy Rhodie.
Today I am going to look back at our story and detail how our event came together with the help of our incredible suppliers.
If you have any questions please feel free to email me directly at Harry@originalmarquees.co.uk
Charlotte and I met in north Cornwall in our early teens. Our families are competitive sailors, so holidays by the sea or on the water have always been a key element.
We spent many summers together as friends, but after fifteen years apart, fate brought us back together. I had just come back from three years living in Germany, and Charlotte asked me for some travel advice. We met for a coffee, and our story continued.
Four years on, we have just climbed Brea Hill, our favourite place to go for a quick walk with the best views over the Camel Estuary. I saw my opportunity and while Charlotte was admiring the view, I pulled out the ring, dropped to one knee and waited for her to turn. She said YES!
The engagement ring was a hexagonal-shaped sapphire and diamond ring,
Designed and made by Gee Woods.
LOCATION – PART 1
e always dreamed of getting married in Cornwall, as this is where our story began all those years ago. With Charlotte working as a Movie Locations Manager, naturally, a huge focus of our wedding planning was on location. Finding a unique place for our wedding was her top priority.
Charlotte had a very clear vision of a marquee wedding in the garden and a ceremony with views over the Camel Estuary. Before we were engaged, I knew Charlotte’s dream was for a Cornish wedding.
However, when planning our wedding ceremony and reception, we had a location predicament. With Original Marquees being based in Oxfordshire, we weren’t sure how we could make a wedding in Cornwall work logistically. After lots of discussion, we made the decision to do a bit of both. We would marry in Cornwall with an intimate ceremony then invite all our friends to a larger more relaxed party back in Oxfordshire.
Photography: Isabella White Studio
We really wanted our first of wedding day to be a simple, low-stress day with a focus on family. And so we opted for an intimate wedding ceremony with family and close friends at St. Michael’s Church in Rock, Cornwall. After the ceremony, we took a trip out to the dunes, where we got engaged. It was the perfect place for some of our wedding photos to be taken. Our wedding reception then took place at the beautiful Trevera Cottage, overlooking the Camel Estuary, where we stayed all week.
LOCATION – PART 2
One month later we are back at home for our Cornwall-inspired wedding party at Cornbury Park in the Cotswolds. Cornbury Park had created a brand new space, ‘Rangers Lawn’, a beautiful meadow that had not yet been properly used for weddings. With weddings in mind the estate had levelled out a pitch, perfect for our 12x27m sailcloth marquees.
Close to home and importantly our marquee base, Cornbury was our opportunity to throw a larger event where we could utilise some of our beautiful sailcloth marquees and involve our ‘Little Black Book’ of local suppliers.
Photography: Kat Gillespie
Charlotte and Harry’s beautiful celebration was the essence of early summer joy. From the group song sung during the ceremony, the music filled walk down to the marquee, confetti canons, whimsical table settings and brightly colored cocktails, joy was the center of their day. As their photographer my job was to capture this joy: their joy as well as that of their guests (including little ones collecting flowers and running freely in a field as the sun set spectacularly – I think their day makes the case for why children are such a delight to include on a wedding day). At every wedding I photograph I’m looking for unfolding moments and beautiful light, and Charlotte and Harry’s day was filled with these. I would advise couples who are looking for their photographer to look thoroughly through the photographers website to make sure your styles are aligned; and equally importantly, schedule a call to make sure your personalities mesh well. Picking a photographer you feel aligned with is important because the way they capture the day will impact how you remember it decades later.
Trying to come up with a theme for your wedding can be very challenging. We were lucky that our Cornwall celebration kind of rolled over into the main party. Our aim was to create a relaxed ‘beach party’ atmosphere with a focus of delicious food and great music throughout.
The wedding took take place in a wild flower meadow packed with yellow buttercups as far as the eye could see. We decided to take inspiration from our surroundings and bring yellow into our colour palette in a big way. (see Decor)
With the help of our favourite florist, Millie Richardson, we developed the wider colour palette around yellow with bright greens, yellow, and peach tones.
Working at Original Marquees, naturally my main focus was on the marquee, ceremony and reception layout, and the design of the interior. Having seen hundreds of marquee weddings in the past, I knew I wanted to mix things up and try to create something new and exciting for our own special day.
With our new levelled pitch at Rangers Lawn measuring 28x28m, we knew we could fit our 12x27m marquee suitable for 100-150 guests with additional space for service structures. In our case the parameters of the site would dictate our guest numbers and we would use this as our starting point.
Typically, in one of our three pole marquees you would have dining around the first pole, bar around the second pole and dancing around the third pole. We opted to change this up as you can see below.
Looking at this from left to right. We designed our interior to have a small Virginia’s Vintage Lounge set within the rounded end. With guest numbers 120+ your dining tables would likely use up this area.
Dining area – We chose to keep it simple with four banquet style rows consisting of twenty 3x6ft Trestle Tables and Panama Dining Chairs from Virginias Vintage. *If you plan to have sharing plates, bud vases, candles etc on the table then go with a 3ft wide Trestle Table.
Dance Floor – We opted for a stage and dance floor in the middle between the two King Poles as this had good symmetry and would be the first things guests see when they enter. The stage backdrop was custom made to resemble a sunset, with custom lighting that would come alive when the band played. You can see how this turned out below.
The main piece of advice that we give our clients when it comes to layout is to keep your bar close to your dance floor. This should keep everyone together and the dance floor busy.
Bar & Back-Bar – We positioned the bar in the right hand round end which worked well with plenty of free space before the dance floor. We used OM’s 6m Long Bar which has a white washed front and dark zinc top. For the Back-Bar design we built a 3m wide backdrop decorated with cornicing, Pooky wall lights and floral wall art made by Lenka. (Press Art) Below this as a work station we used our newly made Bull Bar with reclaimed bar front from The Bull in Charlbury.
The great thing about sailcloth marquees is that the structure looks beautiful before you add anything else to it. You have a ‘blank canvas’ literally to style any way you like.
For our sailcloth marquee wedding, our vision was to have the marquee walls off or rolled up, creating a ‘floating canopy’ look. We were very lucky, as our wedding was at the end of May, and the weather on our special day was perfect—not a cloud in the sky but not sweltering. Such perfect conditions allowed us to open up the front of the marquee to the beautiful views down the valley.
Our wedding reception marquee was hidden from the ceremony. As proceedings finished, our wedding guests followed us and the band down the hill eventually revealing our reception marquee. It was the perfect surprise.
To elevate the floating look of the marquee interior, we brought in one of our favourite new suppliers, Mia Sylvia, who specialises in fine art drapery. Mia’s beautiful linen dressed the front of the marquee, gathering around each wall pole and swooping up into the canopy. The drapery not only broke up the expansive space above but simply looked elegant with floral arrangements by Millie Richardson. We completed the space with white festoon lighting to maintain a clean look with a focus on the florals.
Our favourite décor element was an installation collaboratively created by Millie (florals) and me (frame). Together we created two giant kiss-shaped frames bursting with limonium, these were suspended between the king poles and weaved between Mia’s drapery. We especially loved the subtle mauve colouring and the light, fluffy effect of the Limonium.
Building a venue in a field we knew we would need to create some comfy areas to sit throughout the day. To add a bit of style we collaborated with Virginias Vintage who have a incredible range of furniture to hire.
We paired their Amalfi sofa sets with fringed parasols and large pots of Daisys.
The floral design for both of our wedding parties was light and delicate to mimic coastal flowers and the sand dunes where we were originally engaged.
The flowers in the church of our intimate wedding in Cornwall were arranged by a lovely group of local ladies organised by Jaye Guest.
Our Oxfordshire wedding florals were done by Millie Richardson, the queen of beautifully delicate meadow flowers. Millie encouraged us to be a bit more daring with the colours. I am so glad she did, as we loved the pops of colour in the wedding table flowers.
Even though we originally opted for tall table flowers, we worked with Millie to ensure you could still see through them to chat with your opposite guests. The table flowers were stunning. A mix of ceramic and glass Bud Vases from RVH Hire lined the tables and were perfectly filled with Millie’s signature meadow-style florals.
Our wedding catering was handled by our friends Ian and Hayley from CRU Events. Having worked with Ian for many years at Camp Kerala in Glastonbury, I knew what he loved to cook and that his food was packed with flavour and character.
On the menu:
Rare Fillet Of Beef With Bufala & Green Tomato Salsa
Burrata With Asparagus, Pea Shoots, & Wild Garlic Oil (V)
Selection Of Lebanese Flatbreads, Rosemary Focaccia, & Artisanal Sourdough, Green Goddess Hummus, Beetroot, Dill, & Zhoug Labneh; Burnt Aubergine & Saffron Dip
Whipped, barrel-aged feta
Charred 18-Hour Green Harissa Lamb, Fermented Chilli Sauce, Spiced Greengage Relish, & Tahini Yoghurt
Berbere Spiced Whole Roast Wild Salmon, Mint & Mulberry Molasses Relish
Pit Roasted Red Kuri Squash, And Hispi Cabbage With Urfa Chilli & Fennel Spiked Oil (V/Ve)
An array of sweet and savoury treats
Wedding Cake – My wonderful mother lovingly made us a meringue tower which she practiced a few times before perfecting it. It was such a fun alternative and the photos are hilarious.
COCKTAILS, WINE & OTHER DRINKS
On arrival for our Ceremony we offered guests a non-alcoholic drink. (Cucumber water or a Rhubard Cordial) Following the ceremony and down at the reception we offered our guests Champagne by Rene Prevot. We also offered a Aperol Spritz, beers and other soft drinks.
Our wedding toast was a vintage port from 1987. A gift from my parents.
Later in the evening we offered a trio of cocktails – Dark & Stormy, Gin & Tonic,
Music is a huge part of your wedding day, and we spent a large proportion of our budget on music because that was important to us. We felt that good music managed by professionals would leave us feeling relaxed knowing that element was taken care of.
We employed the help of Eight Ray Music, who had a number of bands to choose from. After our initial band fell through we settled on CASA, a latin styled show band who fitted the vibe and sounded great.
Music ran throughout our day with two members of the band playing Charlotte down the isle. Following on they played and lead us to the reception, where they were joined by other members for a roaming set.
After dinner the band played their main set which towards the end of the night would blend into a DJ set with Larry Powell.
The band was incredible and we would highly recommend them to anyone.
Our first dance was to “Silly Love Songs” by Wings.
Weddings involve a huge amount of planning and teamwork. If you have the budget I would highly recommend hiring the assistance of a wedding planner. Their wealth of experience and know-how will ensure that everything goes smoothly and that you and your partner can sit back, relax and enjoy the experience.
Working in the industry I took on the role of planner and together with my partner we worked through all of the stages. It took time and a lot of patience but we did it and we are now married.
We could not have done it however without the help of our On-The-Day Coordinator, Faye Hughes. Faye who is also a celebrant, helped us to pull everything together on the day and also helped us to create a well structured and fun ceremony.
Thank you Faye.
I think wedding stationary is often overlooked but done right it can be used to tell your story and can bring your theme together. With a background in design I was able to work closely with an illustrator to bring our stationary elements to life.
Illustrations by Jo Faulkner.
Charlotte wore a J.Andreatta wedding dress and shoes from L.K.Bennett.
For our first intimate wedding ceremony, we were very kindly given a ride in a classic Jaguar XK150 by a local couple, which Charlotte was driven to and from the church in.
Charlotte arrived at the second wedding ceremony in Jamiroquai’s 1967 Bentley S1. Again, the wedding transport was very kindly offered to us by a very kind local.
STAND OUT MOMENTS
We chose to do a second ceremony because we wanted to do something special in front of our nearest and dearest. Walking down the aisle a second time gave us the opportunity to orchestrate a more relaxed and informal wedding ceremony, which we felt was more of us.
We had an open-air wedding ceremony, which we were so lucky to have considering the weather we have had this summer.
A really special moment was Charlotte arriving in the Bentley and then walking down the open-air aisle in front of all our friends and family members.
Post-ceremony, we were led by the band with all our guests down to the marquee reception, which was hidden from view. A nice surprise for everyone.
Our wedding band, CASA from Eight Ray Music Band, were incredible. They were a Latin-style party band, which none of our guests had experienced before. To finish, they had the whole crowd around us dancing together, the perfect crescendo to end their performance.
We had a secret karaoke booth that we unveiled later in the night. Young and old, we found them all in the karaoke booth at the end of the night.
ADVICE TO FUTURE COUPLES
Our top tip would be to take time during the day to step away for a moment. Reflect on what has happened.
If you can afford a wedding planner, they will elevate your event enormously. If your budget doesn’t quite go that far, then at least hire an On The Day Coordinator. They will make sure you have covered all bases and take away so much of the stress leading up to the big day.
Hire a great photographer. After years together, you can relive the day over and over through your photos.
Have a bad weather plan. In case of rain, we had a 10m x 15m stretch tent available to cover the wedding ceremony.
Celebrant: Faye The Celebrant
Venue: Cornbury Park Estate
Marquee: Original Marquees
Catering: Cru Events
Stationery: Jo Faulkner Illustrations
Wedding Gift List: The Wedding Present Company
Band: CASA via Eight Ray Music
DJ: Larry Powell
Wall Art (Back Bar) : Press Art
Vintage furniture hire: Virginia’s Vintage Hire
Furniture hire: Hospitality Services
Linen Hire: Casa Di Gaia
Wall Linings: Oasis Events
Vase and prop hire: Rob Van Helden Floral Design
Table lamps: Pooky
Crockery and Cutlery: Chipping Norton Event Hire
Champagne: Champagne René Prévot
Sound and lighting production: That Event Company
Staging: EPS Oxford
Fridge trailer hire: Fridgerate
Generator hire: Grean Power Rentals
Luxury Loo hire: Fortis Hire