This month we are handing the blog over to Aimee (& Jonny), who had their wedding reception inside two of our Giant Tipis back in April at the fascinating Chiltern Open Air Museum in Buckinghamshire. Check out their story, and some snaps from the wedding by the hugely talented fine art photographer (and Aimee’s sister!) Lori of Terri & Lori.
How did you meet?
We met through mutual friends when I (Aimee) was 17 and Jonny was 18. We both attending a DJ set in Hitchin where I was attending sixth form. I had to wear a wristband to state I was under 18, so Jonny bought me a diet Coke! We hit it off and met again the following week, becoming great friends and eventually a couple about a year later.
How long have you been together?
8 years! In that time, we’ve studied for our degrees, lived in three different cities, I’ve set up as a freelancer, and Jonny has embarked on his career as a primary school teacher.
Tell me your proposal story.
It was a couple of weeks before Valentine’s day in 2017 when Jonny announced one Saturday morning that he was taking me on a treasure hunt of sorts around London. I assumed it was an early Valentine’s day activity, so happily went along with it none the wiser.
Little hand-written notes led me to St Pancras train station, brunch in Soho, up St Paul’s Cathedral, and behind the scenes at the British Film Institute. Finally, we ended up in St Dunstan’s in the East, a church that was damaged in the Great Fire of London and then again in the Blitz. It’s now a Grade I listed building and has been turned into a beautiful open-air churchyard and gardens. Here, Jonny gave a lovely, heartfelt speech, got down on one knee, and produced a ring that he had created for me with the help of the brilliant designers at Harriet Kelsall Bespoke Jewellery. I of course said yes!
Why did you choose Chiltern Open Air Museum for your wedding day venue?
We visited the Chiltern Open Air Museum on a Summer day in 2014 with my sister and brother-in-law. We were so intrigued by the idea behind the museum, and especially loved the grounds in which the buildings are situated. It was like travelling back in time! During our visit, we noticed that Skippings Barn (where our civil ceremony took place) was dressed for a wedding reception, with a marquee pitched up in the adjoining field. We thought it was such a unique venue for a wedding!
When we got engaged in 2017, our minds turned to venues and the Chiltern Open Air Museum cropped up in conversation. We only viewed one other venue before booking the museum but, after meeting with the events manager Caroline and talking through the venue, it was just a no-brainer for us! We knew we already loved it, and booked our wedding date about a month later.
What made you want to use tipis for your reception?
We knew we wanted to make a statement with our choice of structure to accompany our barn ceremony. We really wanted to go with something to compliment the barn’s rustic charm, but also something that would completely wow our guests. The tipis were a perfect fit. We also loved the option of having a wood-burning stove and fire pit to create cosy indoor and outdoor atmospheres.
Tell me about the vision you had for your wedding including your theme/colour scheme/styling/flowers.
The barn and the tipi were so full of character in their own right, that we didn’t want to add too many other details to our day.
We kept the decor simple and paired back, and added features such as wildflowers in jam jars, old books, paper lanterns, and rustic wooden items such as the school desk we used for cards and presents, and the amazing stepladder cake table, both hired from The White Emporium. For the flowers, we chose light peaches, subtle taupes, hints of pink and lots of foliage. They were all designed and arranged by Jonny’s very talented mum!
What were your favourite parts of the day?
For Aimee, the speeches, the cocktails, the dancing, and catching up with friends from afar. For Jonny, chilling out by the fire pit, and enjoying the relaxed, informal atmosphere.
Who was your wedding photographer?
We’re incredibly lucky that my sister happens to be a professional wedding photographer at Terri and Lori, a Photography & Film studio she co-owns with her business partner. We were thrilled that my sister was willing to capture our day and be my bridesmaid as well – no small feat! We love their effortless, fresh and relaxed style, with not a single moment missed. And, not only do we have amazing pictures from our day, we can also relive it all over again through the beautiful footage.
What would be your best bit of advice to other couples planning their wedding?
Decide what is really important to you both as a couple, and don’t be afraid to stray away from the norm!