Mid 2010 I had the pleasure of shooting a green wedding in Cornwall for Holly & James – who is the son of Dick Strawbridge, the chap off the telly with the big moustache. Must admit to being slightly nervous come the morning of the big day, but the sun was shining on a glorious summers day and I was given a friendly greeting even the offer of the largest fry up you’ve ever seen! Alas that would have put me in a food coma so I politely declined.
The wedding celebrations took place at the wonderful Newhouse farm, a dream location. For anyone interested in sustainable living take a look at their website – lots of useful courses!
Holly was kind enough to list her suppliers which can be found all the way down at the bottom of the page, after the images. Here’s some fav’s…
Inspiration: Our aim was to have as ‘green’ a wedding as possible. We wanted to have our reception at the place that had brought us together, Newhouse Farm. Certain steps towards a green wedding were fairly straight-forward: we wanted to use only local, seasonal produce as well as British grown, seasonal flowers. Our venue, Newhouse Farm, is powered completely by solar power, a couple of wind turbines and a waterwheel, as well as using only water from our own natural spring. We even had a compost loo and a compost urinal for our guests to use! Green transport was also easy to achieve, after all what could be more romantic than using a pair of beautiful Shire horses to transport us to the reception. (Actually this was a bit of an extravagance as the church was only 100 metres from the venue… our guests simply walked!!)
But other aspects were harder. Try as I might I couldn’t find a ‘once worn’ dress, or a dress made from organic material, that I liked, that fit, or that wouldn’t break the bank. My original intention had been to get a dress made that could be altered to create another dress afterwards (ie a dress I could wear more than once). And weddings inevitably involve people travelling from all over the country, and often across the world, to be with you on your special day. So wherever possible we encouraged our guests to travel by train or car share.
We made our own elderflower champagne, made our wedding cake using eggs from our own free range hens, and used our own air-dried ham, home-smoked cheese, and homemade chutney.
But the honeymoon was where we really succeeded. At first we were sorely tempted to forsake all our ‘green’ beliefs and fly half way round the world to holiday in the Maldives. After all, those pure white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters looked so relaxing. But then we realised that we had beautiful sandy beaches and gorgeous oceans on our very doorstep in Cornwall, so we chose to spend a month travelling around Cornwall with gypsy caravan and a 1956 vintage tractor. Not only was this a sustainable holiday, but no jet lag was involved, and the most miniscule carbon footprint (we only had to fill up the tractor with fuel twice during the entire month!). It provided a very memorable, unique and admittedly fairly eccentric honeymoon… just what we’d hoped for! www.gypsycaravanscornwall.co.uk
Venue – Ceremony was held in our village church, St Andrew’s Tywardreath, and the reception was held down the lane from the church at our home Newhouse Farm, a 3 and a half acre working smallholding complete with pigs, geese, ducks, hens, dogs, cats, and lots of vegetables. Newhouse Farm is best known from the TV series ‘It’s Not Easy Being Green’ (3 series on BBC 2). www.newhousefarm.tv
Horses: We opted for ‘green’ transportation to get me to the church, and then to take James and myself on a little spin after the ceremony. We used a pair of Cornish Shire horses called Angel and Brave Lad from www.piknashirehorses.webeden.co.uk When they’re not glammed up for weddings, these shire horses are used to plough fields.
Flowers: www.theflowerpatchcompany.co.uk It was important for us to use British grown, seasonal flowers rather than hot-house grown flowers imported from overseas. We wanted to achieve a ‘just picked from the hedgerow’ kind of look. The Flower Patch Company specialise in producing homegrown seasonal flowers.
Cake: Not a fan of traditional wedding cake, we chose to go for a mountain of fairy cakes. I made the cakes myself, using eggs from our own free range hens, organic flower and butter and UK grown sugar, plus some lemon juice to make the icing a little less sweet. It took a day to make them all but saved money.
Catering: Food was possibly the most important thing for us to get right at our wedding. We’re quite a ‘foodie’ family, and as well as growing lots of our own veg, fruit and meat, we like to spend a lot of time cooking in the kitchen. We chose a local Cornish catering company About Taste http://www.abouttaste.co.uk/ They worked with us to create a completely bespoke menu, using our own recipes. They used only seasonal and local produce, as well as some of our own chutneys and jams, and we were delighted to see that our guests plates were empty by the time they were cleared away.
Wine: We made our own elderflower champagne (the wedding was in June so elderflowers were in full bloom at the time). And we used a mixture of organic wines and local ales to keep our guests merry.
Favours: my dad was Welsh, so it was important to us to add something of Welsh influence to the day. We chose Welsh love spoons (can’t remember supplier) decorated with rosemary, lavender and thyme from our garden.
Bride’s dress: I didn’t want to spend thousands on a dress I was only going to wear once, although obviously I wanted to look good. After a lot of searching, my dress was from Coast, and my shoes were from Pink.
Bride’s accessories: my bouquet was made by the Flower Patch company, decorated with my grandmother’s pearl necklace that was wrapped around the handle.
Bride’s jewellery: I chose pearl earrings and pendant necklace from Yarwood White (the ‘Angel’ range). www.yarwood-white.com
Groom’s outfits: hired from Moss Bros www.mossbros.co.uk
Bridesmaid dresses: the adult bridesmaid’s wore dresses from Traffic People, whilst the flower girl wore a dress from Marks and Spencers.
Hair: I used my local hairdresser Freya Colette. www.freyacolette.co.uk She was excellent and definitely went beyond the call of duty by helping to hem my mum’s trousers on the morning of the wedding!
Makeup: Local makeup artist Suzi Winter. www.makeupartistcornwall.co.uk
Marquee: We wanted to have our reception outside at our farm, but couldn’t rely on the British weather to be nice on the day. We searched high and low to find a marquee that was a little bit different, and hired one from White Canvas www.whitecanvastents.com who are based in Glastonbury, Somerset.
Musicians: We’re big fans of bluegrass and folk music, so we had a local fiddle player (Anna Dowling) playing at the beginning of the wedding reception. www.myspace.com/johndowlingandannakelly Then later on in the evening when it was time for dancing, James’ musician friend Matt Woosey played the rock n’ roll blues for us to kick our heels to. www.mattwoosey.co.uk
Honeymoon: we couldn’t justify spending thousands of pounds by honeymooning in the Maldives, and creating a whopping carbon footprint in the process of getting there and back. So instead we chose to spend our honeymoon travelling around Cornwall the slow way, in a gypsy caravan pulled by a vintage tractor. We spent a month travelling at approximately 10 mph along the tiny winding lanes that criss cross Cornwall, stopping in campsites and discovering parts of our local area that we’d never even heard of before. Now the caravan is situated in a secluded corner of a meadow at Newhouse Farm and is available to rent: www.gypsycaravavnscornwall.co.uk
Other details: James and I met whilst I was still living and working in London. I’d been living in the city for 10 years, and worked as an actress and then in television development. We met whilst filming a trailer for a program I was developing called ‘The Tractor Factor’. Little did we know at the time that 2 years later we’d be honeymooning with our very own vintage tractor and gypsy caravan!