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Raph & Rhi's Wedding

We got married at Hampsley Hollow on the 5th of August 2017. We had visited a few venues which helped up to build a picture of what we wanted our wedding to be like. We wanted a beautiful outdoor setting, nothing too formal and we loved the idea of our friends and family being able to stay on site with us. Being total foodies we wanted to do the food ourselves too. A lot of the venues before we visited Hampsley were very restrictive and not hugely warm towards us. However, as soon as we met Krystal and saw the site, it felt right. The tents, the bandstand, the campfire, the beautiful loos and showers, everything was brilliant. It was a great blank canvas!

We did our legal bit a month before with just our immediate family so the Hampsley wedding was a real celebration. That gave us real flexibility to write a meaningful ceremony. We asked on of our close mutual friends to be the 'vicar' and she added her own little stories which was lovely. Then friends contributed too in the form of little speeches, poems and one of my bridesmaids wrote a four part harmony for my favourite Micheal Jackson song and she performed it with a choir made of friends and family.

My dad sings in a Welsh male voice choir called Oxford Welsh Choir. They sang for us before we went into the marquee for dinner which punctuated the day perfectly. They did some powerful balads and some sing alongs.

Food wise we had a very relaxed 'bring your own' barbeque on the Friday night. Then on the Saturday we bought in baked goods from Harts bakery in Bristol. They were hearty tartlets and vegetarian sausage rolls. We had one our family friends who lives in France bring over loads of Crement over (similar to Champaign but hugely cheaper!). Dinner was a lamb roast with two beautiful salads and bread from the bakery. Raph's mum made beautiful chocolate cakes for pudding and we ordered a load of veggie samosas as the late night 'stodge".

Our bridesmaids were all different shapes and sizes rather than finding a dress to fit them all we just gave them a colour palette. They all wore tones of minty, tealy greens. Our groomsmen wore their own suits and we bought lovely ties from MR Bow Tie (watch out for offers!)

I wore a two piece trouser and top made by the Spanish designer Otaduy. Raph wore a Beggers Run navy wool suit.

Decorations wise we decided not to have set colours which made it all easier. Instead we chose bright bold colours. We decorated the marquee with crepe paper streamers, tissue and wool pom poms and paper lanterns. The tables were filled with flowers that we'd grown ourselves. In the evening the marquee was lit by strings of festoon lights. It looked great!

Our wedding was unique to us because we took a big risks. We did a lot of the work ourselves and with the help of our family and friends but by doing so all the guests had a role in making it a success. It made the party! We wrote our ceremony and offered it to friends to contribute. We grew the flowers and did the all the floristry ourselves. My bridesmaids did my hair. We held a crafting party to make all the decorations. We sourced all the booze with help from bartender friends and set up the bar ourselves.

Music wise, we made an epic playlist for the daytime and dinner. Then in the evening we had the brilliant band Soul Side Live play. We're big disco and soul fans so they were perfect! After our first dance 'Thinking of You' by Sister Sledge. They had the dance floor full ALL NIGHT!

- Steve at Rapid Sound was amazing. His friendly support in the lead up to the wedding and tireless perfectionism during set up really made the event!

- Weddings by Chloe was our photographer. She was brilliant, she captured so much!

- Our band SoulSideLive were unbelievable, I'd go to see them on a night out!

- SouthWest Marquees were very helpful and efficient

Contingency plan if weather changed? After a shakey start to the day (we woke up to thunder and lightning) we were blessed by beautiful weather! I think this could have been the only snagging point to the day. Our plan was to move the ceremony and the choir into the marquee but in practice, I think that would've been very difficult. Krystal had kindly offered us some smaller marquees if it was really bad but it could have been a very different day had the weather had not been so kind.

We had a family barbeque with a food truck that our guests could buy from. Then as people said their goodbyes we cleared up.

We went on minimoon to the Straw Bale Lodge in Bath Easton. It was stunning! Then we went to Greece for a week.

Would you recommend Hampsley Hollow? if so why?

YES!!!! The family are so helpful and the setting is stunning. Those hills are beautiful!

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