A Vibrant Garden Party Wedding in Dorset: Kristi Collard and Ben Ford

11 Feb 2016

After a romantic proposal on the Greek island of Kefalonia, Kristi and Ben began planning their beautiful Dorset garden wedding, dotted with sunflowers and splashes of summer colours, at The Old Vicarage, near the New Forest

Photography by Mia Hooper Photography

How did you meet?
We met on the very first day of university. We were total opposites, coming from very different backgrounds, but we saw something in each other and became the very best of friends. It was a slow burner, as we didn’t actually get together until after we graduated four years later. We have known each other 10 years now, and the strength of our relationship is based on the fact that we were inseparable for many years before.  



Tell us about the proposal.
We were on holiday in Kefalonia, one of the most beautiful Greek islands. We were at Myrtos beach, which is like a little piece of paradise. We’d just been swimming in the gorgeous blue sea, and were drying off when Ben popped the question. I was absolutely delighted and jumped on him. I couldn’t stop laughing with so much excitement. I always thought I would cry in that moment, but I was overwhelmed with happiness I couldn’t do anything but laugh. It was one of the happiest moments of my life.



What was the theme for the day, and did you have a colour scheme?
We had a July wedding, and we wanted a really relaxed, summer feel to the day. We didn’t want anything too formal or too traditional, and I was certain that I didn’t want anything to match. Lots of vibrant summer colours and a garden party atmosphere.



What was your most memorable moment?
So many. I think walking back down the aisle, hand in hand with my husband, with everyone you love cheering and clapping – that was one of the most incredible feelings in the world that I will never forget. We got married outside, and the sun was shining down, it was absolutely magical.




Where did you find inspiration for your decorations, and what did you decide on?

I made most of it up. I knew I wanted a shabby chic, mismatched style so nothing was uniform. Lots of it was homemade which I had never attempted before and I can honestly say it turned me into quite the craftswoman. My bouquet was made up of big, beautiful sunflowers with splashes of summer colours, and we put lots of detail into little things. The flower pots on each table were different including teapots, glass jars, wooden boxes and so many elements were handmade – from the favours, to the table plan to lots of decorations.




What was the most important investment for you – food, drink, the dress, the honeymoon?
I wouldn’t put one above the other to be honest. It all came together to make the most perfect day. It’s a really surreal feeling, because you spend months planning all the tiny details, but you never really know how it is all going to come together until the actual day. I would say that is one of the most exciting things… the morning of your wedding, and the anticipation. I remember feeling totally elated and overcome with happiness; it is hard to describe what it actually feels like when it all comes together.



If you could go back and change anything, what would it be?

I couldn’t have asked for a better day, it ran so smoothly. I was so grateful to the staff; they were so brilliant that I hardly even noticed them. If there was one thing I could add, it would be a videographer. I’ve been to a few of my friends’ weddings since and I think it would have been great to catch the day on film. Mia, my photographer, was absolutely fantastic, but it would be nice to catch those special moments on video too.



Where did you go on honeymoon?
We are going island hopping around Indonesia on our first anniversary, so we have all the excitement still to come. We decided to take a mini-moon after the wedding, and save up for a full honeymoon later in the year.



Do you have any advice for brides and grooms-to-be
Enjoy it. The build-up, the preparation, the anticipation… it’s all part of it. Everybody says your wedding day will be the best day of your life, and it’s true. Make sure you take a step back to enjoy it and live the moment.




Where were the groom’s suit and bridesmaids’ dresses from?

My bridesmaids’ dresses came from Two Birds and they were absolutely amazing. My sister lived abroad and my best friend was pregnant, so co-ordinating fittings wasn’t exactly easy, but they were so accommodating and helpful. Ben had his suit tailored by Gresham Blake, and shoes made for him by Alex Reed Shoes.



Tell us about your bridal accessories.

My shoes were from LK Bennett – gorgeous little gold peep-toe shoes which complemented my ’20- inspired dress perfectly – and I bought an art deco hair piece from a vintage shop. I boughtmy handmade jewellery from some beautiful boutiques.



Steal their style:

Photographer: Mia Hooper Photography, www.mia-photography.com
Venue: The Old Vicarage, Dorset, vicaragecountryhouse.co.uk
Bridesmaids’ dresses: Two Birds, twobirdsbridesmaid.co.uk
Groom’s outfit: Suit by Gresham Blake, www.greshamblake.com; shoes by Alex Reed Shoes, www.alexreedshoes.com/your-shoes/
Florist: Sue Hooper
Entertainment: A-List wedding band, www.ultimateweddingband.co.uk; Mr DJ, www.mr-dj.co.uk

To see more beautiful Dorset weddings order your copy of Dorset, Wiltshire and Hampshire Bride on Buyamag here. 

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