Karen and Geoff were married on 6th June 2015 at Pextenement Farm, Todmorden.
The wedding plans began following a shock proposal from Geoff in January 2014 at Stoodley Pike in Todmorden. The ring had been made by The Workshop in Hebden Bridge using Geoff’s late mother’s rings and diamonds. He designed and sized the ring secretly. How romantic is that? Using The Workshop to design and make our wedding rings was an easy decision, and we are very pleased with both our rings.
We knew what we DIDN'T want for our wedding day and started to make plans from there. A lot of Internet searching, a few bridal magazines later and lots of research and we finally had the plans of what we wanted. We really wanted the wedding at home on our own small farm, but after a while we accepted it wasn't legally or physically possible. Geoff’s best friend Alan also lives on a farm that had better access and a reasonably flat area to use for a venue. So over a few glasses of wine our ideas were shared and drafted into a wedding plan. We sincerely thank Alan and Justine Sutcliffe for allowing us to use Pextenement Farm as our venue, it was an outstanding place to hold a wedding reception and their hard work and help with the preparations was invaluable.
There was still the issue of an actual marriage as we wanted it to be low key, very personal and intimate to us. We set a date and set about booking some tipis for our evening reception. We loved the tipi wedding ideas we had seen in the wedding magazines and it fit our country rustic theme perfectly. We not only faced the problem of possible availability of a tipi supplier but access to the farm was to prove rather difficult too, with a steep single track road complete with a hair pin bend. Following a quick email to Sami Tipi based in Derby and a few calls later with Jodie, they were soon on site to review the access and provide confirmation that it was possible.
We booked the actual wedding ceremony at St Peter's Church, Sowerby, quite some distance from home and kept all our plans secret. This way no one we knew would be there unless invited and this allowed us to have a very intimate and informal church wedding. At the church we had a grand total of 7 people, bride, groom, two bridesmaids, a best man, the vicar and Andy Wade our photographer. The idea that it was our day and planned just how we wanted without anyone knowing made it all the more exciting. Rev Jeanette was very supportive and did an amazing job of keeping it all very quiet.
Having a farm wedding and arranging all our own suppliers gave us some challenges, but we wouldn't have changed a thing, apart from the weather!! We didn't want a formal sit down meal with speeches, cake cutting and a first dance, so we didn't.
We sourced wedding transport in the form of a VW camper from Bronte Wedding Hire. A friend brought his butty van up to the field, "PK food to go" and provided fabulous food of bacon butties, burgers or pasta. A local bar provided a trailer bar service, complete with fruit punch to welcome our guests. A most fabulous camper van ice cream van was sourced to provide desserts for everyone, "Ice Cream Dub". Our amazing cake was made and decorated by a fab friend Carol, and it was delicious, with compliments from all our guests.
Toilets were in the form of a trailer, everyone commented how posh they were, complete with DVD player and TV inside. Music would be provided by a live band, again hours and hours of trawling the Internet and a few recommendations from Lee @hireaband helped us to select the right band for our wedding. More online research located a very local photographer Andrew Wade who Geoff had once carried out some electrical work for, and he looked like he would capture our wedding day in the informal style we wanted, and what a great choice, the most amazing wedding photos we could ever have wished for, everyone knew Andy by the end of the day and commented on how brilliant and relaxed he had been.
The wedding dress was chosen from the first and only shop I visited, Lulu Browns in Whalley. I had a picture in my head of how my dress would be… and then I bought one nothing like it! I wanted a plain 50's style tea length dress. I came away with Sincerity wedding dress, a sparkly number with a 5ft train, however I did stick to my original idea and had it cut down to a tea length practical style for a farm wedding.
Bridesmaids, oh my days - where do I start!? We only had two to sort so how difficult could it be? All I will say is many dresses later, many colours later and many sleepless nights later the bridesmaids wore Monsoon, nude and sparkly dresses, the highest sparkling heels you ever did see, with matching bags. Needless to say we all changed into converse sparkly pumps once at the farm. The groom and best man wore handmade tweed waistcoats with casual grandad style shirts, cords and boots.
The flowers were supplied by Flowers by Siobhan on recommendation by one of my bridesmaids. They were beautiful, just how we had imagined them. Hand tied bouquets, using the excess material from the brides dress, held together the pretty daisies. Our own teacups were filled and decorated for the tables in the tipis, they were perfect. All the decorations in the tipis were made by ourselves, decorated jam jars for welcome drinks and tea light holders, rustic sign posts were hand painted, complete with our own hand made bunting decorated with knitted triangles by a friend.
The night before the wedding we had a small gathering of friends and family to help decorate and finalise the tipis before the big day. We had a pizza and Prosecco evening and once the decorations were in place we all sat around the fire inside the tipis enjoying the amazing venue and ambiance. Beth Sutcliffe took on the role as our wedding planner and after many lists and demands she completed her role like a pro! Hannah Sutcliffe set up a fantastic games area using hay bales for the big day, including a homemade giant Jenga and space hoppers too.
The wedding day was perfect, but for the strongest winds that decided to descend upon us, so strong were the winds that Jodie and Craig from Sami Tipi had travelled up with their family for the weekend to ensure the tipis were safe and secure. They were certainly put to the test, and once inside the tipis the air was still and the unique ambiance was amazing. Craig was onsite checking the tipis for most of the day, above and beyond all expectations of service was provided and only once the winds had subsided late in the evening did he leave site. A huge thank you must go to Sami Tipi for that support and reassurance in the conditions we were blessed with.
Wedding hair and makeup underway by the lovely Laura Escritt, photographer on site, the wedding day was go go go..... The bride was fashionably late, but there was no one flustered it was all very calm. The journey to the church was unusual shall we say; the camper van refused to go into reverse on the said hairpin bend. Photographer Andy had been squashed into the front seat whilst the bride and bridesmaids slid across the camper van leather seats less elegantly than perhaps expected. A quick snack of crisps and Sasparilla sweets kept us quiet for the journey.
The church ceremonies were completed with only a few trips, slips and fits of giggles. Andy managed to always catch each of these happening without ever noticing him move, still not sure how he managed that but he did and the amazing photographs prove just that. After the church we travelled back to our own home in Todmorden for a short blessing service where our families were waiting for us. Rev Jeanette made the journey to officiate the next part of our special day. We had hoped the blessing would take place in our front garden, but the rain had now started so we congregated in our kitchen. More emotions as we confirmed our wedding vows. Following a beautiful reading from our smallest child age 7 we raised a glass of bubbly and enjoyed our celebrations in our own home.
Back in the camper van, now with children on board we made our way back to Pextenement farm for our fabulous tipi party. Everything was in order and going to plan. The children enjoyed fruit punch, whilst the grown ups had an alcoholic version. Many photographs were taken including ones at our own photo opportunity spot, complete with fireplace, armchair and flower arrangements, with a spectacular view of Stoodley Pike behind. We had the most amazing evening with fabulous friends and family. We had space hopper races, a ride up to the sky in a tractor cherry picker cage, followed by sending our very brave photographer up in it too to capture some stunning group shots from above. We had wind, rain, sunshine and rainbows. We didn't do the traditional first dance, however we did do a dance during the evening which the band "Hard to Handle" had mixed for us prior to the day. They were a great bunch, great music all night. Dance lessons had been undertaken by Alex Townend but we had just not practised enough running up to the big day, we managed a few moves and felt that all our guests really enjoyed the moment. We danced to TREX’s “We Love to Boogie” - no one expected that! I think this was possibly a highlight for most of our guests as they were not expecting a dance from us.
Favourite things about our wedding:
1. We are now officially Mr & Mrs Shepherd
2. Loved planning it all ourselves and pulled it off too
3. We honeymooned in the Maldives (with no kids, thanks to Uncle Neil & Aunty Helen)
Tipi hire http://samitipi.co.uk
Toilet hire http://www.classicchambers.co.uk
Wedding dress http://lulu-browns.com
Wedding cars http://bronteweddinghire.co.uk