Botanical Larmer Tree Gardens Wedding | Olivia and Edward
Given that I’ve had heaps of fun at End Of The Road Festival a handful of times, I was super excited to head back to Dorset for this botanical Larmer Tree Gardens Wedding. And I was in no way disappointed. From the gorgeous church ceremony to the incredible Great Taste Awarded food… every detail was carefully considered to make sure Olivia & Edward’s family and friends had the best time possible creating a day full of emotion and fun.
We first heard about the fabulous Hannah and Jen, as they had photographed a friends wedding. They came highly recommended! One of the things we loved most was their relaxed and personal style. They mingled and joined in with the guests to take photos of people at ease.
We definitely wanted a few group photos, but nothing too formal. It was great that they were so friendly and made everyone laugh and relax. Lots of people have commented on how great they were on the day. That’s before we even received the photos!
Olivia grew up in a local village, close to both St Marys Church and Larmer Tree. We knew we wanted to have a traditional church ceremony followed by something more relaxed and fun. It was wonderful that we could get married in the Church that Olivia had grown up attending. Lots of local friends had got married there too. We are even listed next to one of her close childhood friends in the Marriage Register!
Larmer Tree was the first venue that we thought about and were thrilled with everything there. We got engaged in Kew Gardens, London and wanted to continue that vibe. Larmer Tree Gardens is stunning, with purpose-built event space and dance floor. The owner created Larmer Tree as pleasure grounds in the 1800s, for “public enlightenment and entertainment”. He imported statues and quirky foreign buildings so that the staff who worked there had a chance to get an education. The different spaces that we used were amazing and slightly quirky. Staff were really helpful in the lead up to wedding and on the day. They also had a fabulous ‘in house’ catering team who were really flexible and had a huge amount of skill. It really was a one-stop shop!
Olivia wore a stunning ‘Mimosa’ dress from Louise Selby who is based in London. Olivia and Edward live close by and wanted to have something from somewhere local to them! Louise has a great little studio at home and creates beautiful wedding dresses. Olivia had an idea of the style of dress she wanted but this was beyond amazing expectations.
Shoes were simple cream and perfect for dancing the night away. A simple veil was worn for the Church ceremony and changed to silk flower clips for the dance floor! Olivia wore a silver bracelet that Edward had given her for their first Christmas together and stunning diamond and sapphire drop earrings that were a gift from her Mother in Law.
Edward wore a traditional peak lapel morning suit from Charles Tyrwhitt with Hackett’s pale blue double-breasted waistcoat and grey spotty tie, which his Best man James also wore. Edwards shirt was from Thomas Pink and he had black Church’s shoes.
James, Edwards best man looked very smart and wore his own morning suit, with a matching pale blue waistcoat and tie to Edward. Sophie, Olivias maid of honor wore a navy floor-length dress from Hobbs which she looked amazing in!
The two page boys wore blue shorts, spotty braces and white shirts. Their wedding thank you gift was cufflinks of their initials to show individuality and some fun.
Olivia and Sophie had a fun morning on the big day, having their make-up done by the wonderful Carol and hair by Sally – both at Over the Top in Shaftesbury, the town near the Church. They made us feel so calm and excited about the day and we felt a million dollars.
Flowers were all created by the lovely Debbie, a local friend of Olivia’s parents. Olivia and Edward had a clear idea of style and colour and Debbie really made it shine. The flowers in the church were a mixture of white, bluey purple and lots of hydrangeas with foliage. Olivia’s bouquet was a similar style but rustic rather than too perfect. The arch over the church door was something Olivia felt very strongly about and was thrilled how it turned out!
On viewing Larmer Tree, we wanted the garden feel to be also felt inside for the Wedding Breakfast. We asked our florist to create ceiling hangings with blue hydrangeas to match the theme. It blew us away.
Buttonholes were worn by key males in the family, not just the Best man and Groom, and they were a white rose, eucalyptus and hydrangea.
The cake was made by Forking Out (the caterers at Larmer Tree) and was a three-tier naked cake. The bottom tier was Carrot, the middle was vanilla and top was chocolate. It was decorated with fruits and a little silver egg cup with flowers in was on top; Olivia’s grandmother, aunts and mother had each had this on their own wedding cakes.
We had been to a tasting evening in February at Larmer Tree and tried some of the dishes there, which we tweaked slightly for our wedding. We had canapes for the reception drinks – too many choices to remember but including potted shrimp, mini Yorkshire puddings and beef and bruschettas. For the main meal, we had bread with Great Taste Awards oils for the starter, followed by beautiful Lamb with dauphinoise, or Sea bass with garlic mash and samphire. Wild mushroom, spinach and butternut squash risotto cake was our vegetarian option. We wanted to offer guests a choice of main course, which made things complicated but was definitely worth it.
We couldn’t decide what to have from the extensive pudding list so had a trio of choices – Eton mess, apple tart and chocolate delice.
For those who were still hungry later on, we had a huge cheese table (served on a cart!) with pork pies, and also wedding cake for those with a sweet tooth.
By our own choice, we also had a sweets table (not sure if adults or children ate this more!) and marshmallows to roast over the fire pit ( with special extending roasting forks) and sparklers for all after dinner.
The order of service was designed by Olivia and Edward with help from James their best man and printed by a family friend. Hymns were chosen based on family favourites and the size was unusual and specific so that guests could fit in their inside jacket pocket or handbag.
We were lucky enough to borrow a beautiful 1958 silver Porsche Speedster 356 convertible from Edwards uncle to drive away from the Church in, It was lovely just after the Service driving up over the stunning downs!
The Steel drum being played on arrival was special to Edwards side of the family as his parents had worked in Barbados and they had a lot of happy memories from those times. One love, by Bob Marley was our entrance song which Alex played brilliantly.
On the tables for dinner, there were oils to have with the bread. They were all Great Taste award-winning oils, as Olivia a passion for this company that she used to work for. We also thought the fun “Olive” oil link with “Olivia” was a nice link.
The silver egg cup on the top of the wedding cake was from Olivia’s family and been used for weddings of previous generations. The bracelet and earrings that Olivia wore were very sentimental. The reading in the church was one that we had found as a family and loved. The hymns in the church were each a favourite of Edwards mother, Olivia’s mother and Olivia’s grandmother.
The band in the evening, The Party Starters, were found online via Alive Network. The vocals and video that we watched before deciding were incredible so we really were pleased to have them. They were able to play some Motown which was important to us but were also fab at reading the crowd and playing tunes that suited our style. We really enjoyed their music. My Girl, by The Temptations, was our first dance song. We were really thrilled that we chose it and people knew it.
Our top tips for other couples would be to chat things through and look up lots of ideas first, then when you make a decision, stick with it and don’t second guess yourself. We got the big stuff (photographer, venue and bands) organised pretty quickly and then knew we had time to think about other things.
Make the whole thing personal – choose two or three things that mean a lot to you and work with them. We knew we wanted it to be quite clean-cut but rustic and fun. We knew we wanted good food and lots of family and friends with us, and we knew that we wanted blue hydrangeas. Get experts on board (Photographer, Band, Caterers etc) and trust their judgement, share what you like and are less keen on and trust them to deliver what they do well – everything fell into place and was amazing.
As for our favourite bits, the flowers were stunning, the food was delicious, venue and Church beautiful and we were so thrilled to have so many friends and family with us. Of course, the photographers were pretty epic too and captured all the memories for us!
I loved capturing this botanical Larmer Tree Gardens Wedding. f you’d like to work with me as your wedding photographer, get in touch!