A Winter Garden Festival Wedding in Norfolk: Christopher Kemm and Rebecca Rivett
06 Jan 2016
Creating your own wedfest wedding isn’t an easy task despite Chris and Becs making it look like a breeze. Pearl-studded Converse trainers, street food and a field of wildflowers created a dream wedding for this pair of relaxed foodies
Photography by Mr & Mrs Wedding Photography
How did you meet?
On Twitter. In May 2009, Chris was doing his final-year project for his course at Huddersfield University using coloured lights that were affected by the general mood of Twitter. He was doing searches one day, saw my profile and (unbeknownst to me) started following me.
Later that month on the bank holiday weekend I was tweeting about having my first Pimm’s on Southsea Common where I lived, and he tweeted me back saying he wished he could be drinking Pimm’s but he had to work on his project instead. I was like, ‘hey, this guy’s cute!’
In August that year we finally met up in London and despite the distance, we made it work. Six months later, I moved to Leeds and the rest is history.
What was the theme for the day, and did you have a colour scheme?
The theme was wedfest – a wedding festival with a relaxed vibe that meant we could enjoy it with our friends without having everything completely planned out. The tipi, street food, no table plan, a band in the afternoon and friends DJ’ing at night all helped us to achieve that.
I guess it was based on the idea that everyone always has a great time at festivals and we wanted to make sure everyone had fun. We always knew we wanted this style of wedding because of it being on the farm. My dad went to a huge effort to get the field of wildflowers in the best condition.
The colour scheme was peach. I found the bridesmaid dresses first and matched everything to them. The colour for their dresses was important because they all had different skin tones.
When did you know when you’d found your dress?
I only really tried a couple anyway but the dress I chose was the first one I tried on. The others I tried were just to make sure the first one was the right one. It’s a White Rose Bridal dress and I just loved the thought that it was made in Britain. I even got to customise it by having it made with long sleeves.
Where did you find the suits?
Tell us about your floral arrangements.
We didn’t need any for the winter garden at Sennowe Park, as there were already beautiful, natural, flowering plants. My mum and her friend did some arrangements at the tipi (in a bicycle basket and outside). The bridal party headbands and bouquets were all done by my mum’s friend Jeannette. She did a truly incredible job. She found the perfect roses (Evelyn) to match the colour of the bridesmaids’ dresses and mixed in lavender, wheat from the farm, wax flowers and ferns. My headdress was made from wax flowers and the girls’ were made with gypsophila. I was so, so happy with it all – I hadn’t seen any preview apart from the roses but it turned out perfectly.
Tell us about the details of the day.
Instead of traditional favours we had #wedfest2015 woven wristbands and in the evening we had glowsticks, which went down a storm. Since my parents live in the middle of nowhere, we let people camp over in the next field. Anyone who camped got to ride in the tractor and trailer to the ceremony. We hired some huge colourful festival flags and put matching silk bunting inside the tipi.
As we’re both foodies (I write a food blog) food and drink were of high importance on the list. We loved the informality of street food and drafted in Manjit’s Kitchen and Fish&, friends of ours from Leeds who kindly drove all the way to Norfolk for us to serve us Gujarati vegetarian food and fish and chips with a twist. We also had the delectable Crumpet & Trumpet from Norfolk serving us canapés and traditional British desserts.
Our wines and gin came from Adnam’s Cellar and Kitchen because we always visit their shops when we’re in Norfolk. Beer came from Saltaire Brewery in Leeds to keep the Leeds/Norfolk mix.
It sounds like there were a lot of DIY elements to your wedding?
We did lots of DIY stuff – we made all the invitations, website and emails (I’m an email marketer, so we tied that in). We had trailer banners printed with our names and Wedfest printed on them to tie in our ‘branding’. We also managed to make all the wooden signs ourselves, which had a really handmade festival feel to them. My dad cut wood for the table decorations and menu holders on the tables. We collected jam jars for 18 months and put them outside with clusters of battery-operated tealights.
The bride and bridesmaids all wore customised Converse trainers – I had white ones and they had peach ones. I’m terrible in heels and it seemed very impractical in a field.
We called in a lot of favours for the wedding. Our friends DJ’ed, Craig the photographer is our friend (we wouldn’t have wanted anyone else to do it because we felt comfortable with him and he takes great photos). But one of the coolest things is that my mum is a registrar and so performed our ceremony for us. Not many people get that privilege – I always knew I’d wanted to her do it ever since I was a little girl (she’s done it for 29 years).
For my wedding gift to Chris, I gave him a Narrative Clip (a wearable camera that takes photos every 30 seconds). He wore it on the day and we got some fantastic photos of people unguarded and natural.
We also made people laugh with our vows:
“Chris, I promise to be your sidekick, best friend, sous-chef and your wife. I promise to love you always and share with you all that I have, throughout the happy times and the sad.”
“Becs, I promise to be your sidekick, best friend, interior designer and your husband. I promise to love you always and share with you all that I have, throughout the happy times and the sad.”
How did you feel as you walked down the aisle?
Happy and excited, and very hot. It was the hottest day of the year and we were in a greenhouse.
Tell us about your wedding cake.
I baked it myself and my mum decorated it. She spent hours making sugarcraft flowers, which were mixed with real lavender. She used cake lace too. We kept it simple white with the flower decorations. The cake flavours were German chocolate cake, carrot cake and a Miette hot milk cake which I made gluten-free for my dad.
Unfortunately we had a bit of a disaster with the cake when it got put together and sort of collapsed in the heat! It still tasted good though.
What was your most memorable moment?
My mum unexpectedly reading a poem she’d written called From a mother to her daughter on her wedding day. Our nephew Jenson, who’s three, saying “where’s auntie Becs?” when I’d got to the winter garden. He didn’t recognise me in my outfit! The best man’s speech was pretty funny – he found all of our early tweets. Our best bit was definitely my friend’s brother, who’s nine, having a dance-off with all the adults. No-one could keep up with him.
What song did you choose for your first dance, and why?
A Real Hero by College, from the film Drive. We just like the line, “and you have proved to be, a real human being, and a real hero.”
The real “our song” is a drum and bass tune called Because Of You, by Blame. It came out just as met but it’s not something a band could play. Our friend for a wedding gift gave us the vinyl of it signed with a message from Blame.
If you could go back and change anything, what would it be?
Just to spend more time with everyone. It was pretty perfect in my eyes.
Where did you go on honeymoon?
Japan and Korea – we travelled around.
What was the most important investment for you? Food, drink, honeymoon?
Food and drink. It was expected of us that we’d put on a good spread, so we didn’t want to disappoint. Although the Champagne was only £8 from Tesco; we bought it at Christmas when there were offers on…
Do you have any advice for couples in the planning stages?
Even though we had 18 months to plan, it went by very quickly. Don’t be afraid to get your friends to help you.