A Caribbean-themed rustic wedding in Surrey

18 Oct 2019

St. Lucian born Lauren Foster married John Paul Cooper in front of 200 guests who celebrated until 4am

How did you meet? 

We met at the Barn on the Farm festival where JP was playing. We got talking after JP had finished his set.

Tell us about the proposal. 

It was in St. Lucia, where I am from. We stayed at the beautiful Jade Mountain Resort in the south of the island. JP pretended that we got a PR deal to stay at the venue so that I didn't get suspicious. JP asked me to listen to a new song he had written and asked me my thoughts. The lyrics were, “Take my name put yours in front of it, darling you can even take my wallet, I’m the only cheerleader that you’ll ever need” - he got down on one knee and the rest is history. The song is called Cheerleader and can be found on Spotify. 


What was the theme for the day, and did you have a colour scheme? 

It was rustic chic. We wanted it to be very earthy but also light and magical. We also made sure to include Caribbean elements in the décor - rum bar included. 

What venue did you choose and why? 

We married at Sacred Heart of Jesus Roman Catholic Church in Caterham and held our reception at Westmead Events in Redhill. We chose Westmead as site owner Lisa allowed us to put our own spin on the day. It meant that we could hire all the suppliers that we loved and bring them all together in one place so that it really was our day completely and we could add our own special touches.


When did you know when you’d found ‘the’ dress?

As soon as I put it on I just knew. It was super comfortable and it felt like me, it was by Pronovias.

Does the dress match the one you originally thought you would choose?

No, far from. Very different to anything I pinned on Pinterest. 

What did the bridesmaids wear? 

I had 10 bridesmaids who wore festival perfect gowns by the amazing Rewritten. They all looked stunning and all wore different styles in the same rustic pink colour. 

What did the mother of the bride wear? 

A beautiful green dress from Cos.

Where did you find your suits? 

From Zara with chinos and braces. 


Did you hire a wedding planner? 

Yes, we hired Sammy Goodal. She was like a little angel, she was always smiling and no task was too big. No words can describe how grateful I am for her.

Tell us about your floral arrangements. 

We wanted to do something different, so we went to Covent Garden Flower Market and ordered all our foliage and flowers wholesale. My bridesmaids made their own bouquets as I didn't want them to be too manicured. We were going for the wild flower rustic look. We did all the flower arrangements ourselves using little jars and vintage milk churns, it looked amazing.


Tell us about the details of the day…

The Arabian Tent Company and Deco Noir worked together to ensure our wedding was dressed with the most incredible props and furniture. We had a prosecco on tap airstream which doubled as our incredible photobooth. There was rustic pallet furniture scattered around which made for the perfect seating areas. Everyone commented on just how much detail went into our wedding and I can’t thank Deco Noir and The Arabian Tent Company enough.


Our tent was truly magical. It was like our ultimate statement piece. There were fairy lights everywhere and foliage hoops hanging from the ceiling. It was the perfect mix of rustic chic. Jeremy, who helped bring our vision alive, was an absolute dream. He ensured that everything we wanted happened. Our biggest request was for lighting and he ensured that this beautiful tent was lit with festoon lighting and fairy lights. I felt like I was in a real life fairytale. 


How did you feel as you walked down the aisle? 

It was very surreal but walking down with my dad and seeing my husband to be filled me with excitement and pure joy, it was such a beautiful moment.

How did you make the ceremony personal to you? 

We had a gospel choir who literally raised the roof. They were breathtakingly talented. 

What was your most memorable moment? 

We couldn't possibly say as every part was amazing. But we have both agreed that having everyone we love in one place having an absolute blast was heartwarming for us.

What was the most challenging aspect of planning this wedding?

I had so many ideas and really clung on to every single detail and wasn't willing to let any of my ideas drop. As a result it meant working around the clock to deliver all these personal touches. Thankfully, our incredible maids of honour and bridesmaids helped organise everything. We renamed our house the wedding headquarters and everyone was given a creative task from favours, cocktail menus, kids favours to St. Lucian touches. 


What was the most important investment for you? 

All of it in equal measure, we wanted every aspect to be perfect. The food, the tent, the decoration, the props - all of it came together to make the day the most special it could be.

What song did you choose for your first dance, and why?

Ray Charles 'Come Rain or Come Shine'. We heard it while having dinner, listened to it over and over again and agreed that this was our first dance song.  

Did you have any evening entertainment?

Yes, we had a roaming band, a steel band and a band called the Phat Cats who kept everyone on their feet until midnight. The music needed to be cut off by 12am so we hired a silent disco which meant people were partying until 4am. The silent disco was an incredible touch and was hilarious.


Tell us about your wedding cake. 

It was a naked carrot cake and was so yummy. It was quite simple in design, with a Mr and Mrs Cooper cake topper. It tasted divine and everyone had it as a hangover cure with tea in the morning.

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

I don’t think anything. It was everything we wanted.

Did you have a custom hashtag for social media?

Yes it was #oweeandboosayido. Our little niece, Amelia Rose, calls us Owee (Lauren) and Boo (JP).

Where did you go on honeymoon?

We still have to plan this, although we did a minimoon at Soho Farmhouse which was really lovely.

Do you have any advice for couples in the planning stages? 

Try to enjoy it as it can be stressful at times and don't be afraid to ask for help.


Steal Their Style

Tent: Arabian Tent Company
Photography: Katariina Jarvien
Venue: Westmead Events
Band: Phat Cats
Decorations: Deco Noir 

Click here for more wedding inspiration inside our Surrey and Sussex Bride Magazine.

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