Mr and Mrs Collingham, illustrated by Krister Selin
When my oldest pal Lydia announced her engagement and subsequent wedding, I struggled to imagine her having a generic do with a meringue dress and posed pictures. Her list of likes include folk and rock music, vintage fashion and living a sustainable day-to-day life. So it was no surprise when she declared that her wedding would take place in the woods.
I apologise in advance if this article may seem a little self-indulgent, and the truth is, it probably is. Well, sod it.
Photograph by Paul Saxby
Lydia and Nathan’s day began at the local town hall, with a low key ceremony. I had been so nervous about my continous blubbing throughout, but as The Beatles’ Love Me Do skipped on an old portable CD player, my tears turned to laughter. Lydia entered in a floor length Grecian-inspired dress with an artificial pose of sunflowers. Blimey, these civil ceremonies don’t last long do they? Before I knew it, they were Mr and Mrs Collingham and we were ushered outside to pose on the lawn. (Is it a civil ceremony when you get married at a registry office? I hope so).
Camping! Illustrated by Natasha Thompson
Anyway, the festivities began. Car-sharing had been arranged prior to the day (unfortunately there isn’t any easier way of getting around our small network of tiny villages) and guests had been discouraged from travelling from overseas. We arrived at the reception, set in our friend Alice’s beautiful garden. Lydia and Nathan are really fortunate to have such lovely friends who already take sustainability and climate change very seriously. The newlyweds had tried to create a festival vibe, whilst keeping carbon emisions to a minimum. We were all camping! A little camping area had been set up at the entrance to the woods, where tents had been pitched, and for a split second I could have been at any of the summer festivals – coloured tapers adorned the trees and homemade signs with directions had been painted.
Next up – food and booze. The food was incredible, and all locally sourced to reduce environmental impact. Organic elderflower champagne was provided as a reception drink, served with delicious vegan canapés. A delicious hog roast, provided by local butchers, was layed on for the meat eaters, but the menu was, by and large, vegan. Lydia’s mum had made a gorgeous mushroom en croute to accompany Ecoworks’ delicious selection of salads and nut roasts, and some of the vegatables had been sourced right here from the gardens!
The food! Illustrated by Kayleigh Bluck
Ecoworks is a community organisation based in Nottinghamshire with ‘the interests of people and the environment at its heart’. They work on conservation and restoration projects and run the FRESH project, which champions regeneration, education in sustainability and health.
They also run courses that encourage people to grow the good stuff and eat sustainably. Their Harvest Café van (a gorgeous converted vintage Citroën H van, no less) caters at festivals and events and specialises in vegetarian and vegan food, They provided spuds in the evening, with chilli or dahl, and a veggie breakfast the following day. I didn’t manage any of the latter because I had the world’s worst hangover, but I’m told it was a delight…
I’m always hot for a Stella McCartney shoe – especially sourced on eBay at a bargain price. You can put the girl in the woods, but she’ll still wear hot shoes. AND Stella would have been proud. Sorry, I couldn’t resist… arrrrr!
Illustration by Michelle Urvall Nyrén
And so, very quickly, the afternoon turned to the evening and it was time to party, after taking a visit to one of the garden’s many eco loos. A total shock for many, this was. Wails of ‘Is that really where I go to the bloody lav?’ could be heard in the camping area, but just about everybody got used to it pretty quickly. One guest, who shall remain nameless, was even caught photographing down one…
Hay bales covered in vintage blankets created space for guests to mingle, while the epicentre was The Dome.
This recycled space appeared like a vision of the future from the 1960s, and Alice’s mum kindly informed me that it used to operate as a swimming pool cover. It was in here that local live bands played, including the wonderful 10 O’clock Horses – a suitable blend of folk, rock, roots and punk. Lydia and Nathan had their first dance to this band’s first song (as I stood aghast) and then we all had a good ol’ jig.
10 O’clock Horses, illustrated by Jaymie O’Callaghan
Candles lit the gardens, which was a bit of a struggle to begin with but we all soon got used to it and danced into the small hours. And so after a few too many organic beers and far too much shameful dancing on my behalf, it was time for bed. What a fabulous, fabulous day.
We retired to our tents, and Lydia and Nathan skipped off to their tepee to consumate their marriage…
Lydia and Nathan in front of their teepee, photographed by Paul Saxby
I have no idea if they did or not.
Autostitch, camping, eco, Eco-loo, Ecoworks, environment, festival, Food, Halina, Hipstamatic, Jaymie O'Callaghan, Krister Selin, Michelle Urvall Nyrén, Naomi Law, Natasha Thompson, Nottinghamshire, Paul Saxby, Polaroid, Stella McCartney, Sunflowers, Teepee, The Harvest Café, vegan, vegetarian, Wedding
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