Magical Festival Wedding with axe throwing at Owlpen Manor Estate
“Thank you so so so much for our INCREDIBLE wedding photographs!!!! Looking through them was such a special experience and it really helped us to relive the day. We’ll be looking at these memories for the rest of our lives. We can’t wait to share them and we honestly can’t thank you enough. You absolutely captured everything we could ask for and more, the whole story is there. Thank you!”
When Max and Sonnie first got in touch with me about their fun filled wedding in Gloucestershire at Owlpen Manor, I was so excited! They were planning the craziest quirky filled festival wedding with a magician, a fireworks display, home-made lawn games and even an axe throwing competition! Max and Sonnie are the sweetest people, really easy-going and have great easy conversation; the closer their date dawned, the more I couldn’t wait to shoot their wedding! I talk so much in my pre-booking literature about how important it is to get along with your photographer and these guys just made that a breeze. I rocked up at Owlpen Manor, where the boys were relaxing before the big event in one of the many cottages. I love the fact that you can all stay on site at Owlpen Manor, it’s always one of my favourite things about a venue. It takes away a lot of stress and hassle! Plus if you get your timings right I can do a bit of groom preparation before I see the girls. Max and his mates, were pretty chilled playing music, drinking champagne and Woody (their dog) was loving life!
The wedding took place in the church on the grounds of Owlpen Manor and it looked beautiful with candles lining the aisle, really glamorous. They have an amazing bunch of talented friends (most of them being actors) and one of Max’s usher played and sang on his guitar at the ceremony. What a voice!! I think nearly everyone was brought to tears. Especially as their dog was sat on Max’s best man’s lap throughout just looking right at me, I’m pretty sure he was the one that got me going!! Woody is adorable and was loving all the attention he got on the day, plus a few snacks too! Keep scrolling to see and read more about their day…
It was a bright and sunny day, which meant that all their outdoor planning for lawn games and chilling on the grass came into play and they pretty much spent the whole day outside. Whilst the guests ate canapés and were entertained by the awesome magician, we wandered around Owlpen Manor’s grounds for our couple session. The grounds are extensive and leave you with so many spaces to take photos. It’s definitely ones of my fave venues, you could spend ages getting lost in all the beautiful little nooks! All the home-made games were great to keep everyone entertained and chilled, plus it makes for great candid photo’s, a bit of healthy competition is also good! The axe throwing got everyone involved, it’s actually more difficult than it looks. I definitely don’t have the wrists for it, blame being a photographer, I don’t think I hit the board once, ha! For dinner they had a fancy kebab van, and it was absolutely delicious, it had all the trimmings and was finished with ice cream for sweet…which was had as an interval for the speeches, as they were slightly epic and long but hilarious! I always have a slightly delayed reaction to realising I’m laughing behind the camera as loud as the guests too!
I LOVED this day, the venue, the couple, everything was just spot on. Max and Sonnie are super awesome people to hang out with, they love to have a good laugh and I totally felt like part of their day and that I was there as a guest not the hired help! So I’m handing over to Max for the last part, to tell you about their day in their own words! Brilliant!!!
How did you meet?
Both of us come from Somerset, but weirdly we didn’t meet there. We actually met at Italia Conti Drama School, where we both trained as actors. We got engaged on a trip to Loch Awe, in Scotland. Sonnie had booked the holiday, so I had the perfect cover. It was pouring with rain during a trek up to Avich waterfall and I almost delayed, because it was so stormy, but the waterfall is stunning and I went for it. As I went down on one knee the rain stopped and the sun came out. Magic!
Was there an overall theme to your day?
We played with ideas around Shakespeare’s plays and locations. All the tables were locations and all the guests had their own character. Our favourite was casting our 1yr old Nephew as Falstaff, a belching drunkard. Everything else was set around A Midsummer Night’s Dream. We tried as much as possible to use the venue and all it’s unique aspects. Having the church right there meant we could use every single second of the day. We’d totally describe our day as a Magical Festival.
How long were you planning it for, and what was the best bit?
It was in the planning for about a year, but the main planning took 8 months. We decided to do it all ourselves, and the venue were really helpful in that respect. Emma was also really helpful when it came to arranging the timings of the day and keeping us calm and not letting it all become too muddled with the planning. The best bit of the planning was actually discovering the venue. We knew as soon as we got there that it was perfect for us. Having the church on site was a big plus, and then the cottages for guests to stay in. We couldn’t believe it existed.
Organising it all ourselves meant we could really put our stamp onto the wedding. We were able to take on the traditions we wanted and turn others on their heads. We are very lucky have amazing friends who provided some fun extras, like Axe throwing, Music and Magic.
If you could relive one part of the day all over again, which part would it be?
For both of us the bit we’d love to relive is definitely the ceremony. It was amazing to have everyone under the same roof, family and friends, making the vows. It was emotional, to say the least. Fortunately, we got a videographer at the last minute, which means we can watch it back in HD, whenever we want to relieve it.
What are your favourite details of the day?
Fireworks! Having a secret late night fireworks display was so fun and blew our guests away. It also wasn’t as expensive as we first dreaded. Lots of our close family helped by providing decorations for the marquee and church, which was really special. Our place mats were slices of spruce from a friends farm. He cut over a hundred and the marquee smelled incredible.
How did you find your suppliers, and why did you decide on them?
Finding the suppliers was really fun and pretty straight forward. We used a mixture of methods, from speaking to friends, using websites like Add To Event and Entertainment Nation. For the main wedding breakfast we had Murray May’s from Bristol, and we found them by visiting the market at the Tobacco Factory. Late night food was supplied by Trailer Trash, and we found them on a Google search. The best advice we have for food is do it your own way if you can. We had an ice-cream cart for desert and that was a massive success and amazing value for money.
The dress was designed by Lillian West, chosen for its incredible lace back and unique champagne and ivory colour combination. And the train was just out of this world. Brides Maid’s dresses were from Chi Chi London and were a bit of a gamble, but they really worked. All the suits were real Harris Tweed by Heart and Dagger, from…wait for it…ASOS. They look amazing and unique, and fit like a dream. Another great thing about the suits was the price, free returns and we kept trying suits until they fit everyone.
What was your budget?
Our budget was originally £20,000, and we managed to come in slightly under budget in the end, by getting some generous discounts and by finding our own suppliers.
Do you have any advice for couples currently planning their wedding, for either the planning or the lead-up?
Our biggest advice is to enjoy the whole process of planning and to both get involved. It’s not just ‘her’ day. It’s for both of you. Go with your gut feeling when it comes to booking suppliers and venue’s. If it feels right, go for it.
Make sure you get a good photographer, one that you feel comfortable with and understands what you want. Emma really took time to get to know us and made us feel calm, important and really went the extra mile. If you can, get a videographer too. We nearly didn’t and were lucky to get a discount price because of a cancellation. We used Fond Media and can’t recommend them enough. You can get what you want by shopping around and doing research. It doesn’t have to cost 30 grand and you can still have the day you dreamed of.
OH MY GOODNESS!!! Thank you SO much Max and Sonnie. Keep scrolling to see more of their amazing day. Their suppliers are at the end and also how you can get in touch with me if you’re planning an awesome day at Owlpen Manor or a great festival inspired Wedding day!
I’d love to hear from you, so send me an excitable email on all the details you are planning for your own unique day!
Band: The Lightning Bolts https://www.entertainment-nation.co.uk/the-lightning-bolts
Flowers: Caroline Clements https://www.carolineclementsflowers.com/ https://www.instagram.com/caroline_clements_flowers/
Fireworks: Chase Lane http://www.chaselanefireworks.co.uk/