Wedding of the Week: Rebecca Labuda-Tew and Paul Richmond

29 Jan 2018

Rebecca Labuda-Tew and Paul Richmond opted for a relaxed and intimate rustic garden tipi celebration for their wedding day, held in the comfort of their newly revamped garden

How did you meet?

On a night out with friends.

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Tell us about the proposal.

Paul recreated our first date to the letter. He took me for lunch at a pub called The Bear at Alderwasely and then drove back closer to home for a walk at Newstead Abbey, exactly as we did on the first date. Newstead Abbey has lots of special memories for us. He then took out a hamper basket from the boot of the car and said he had prepared dessert and suggested we have it under the tree (which I thought was a bit weird as this wasn't something we ever did). He produced strawberries and a bottle of cloudy lemonade, as I was pregnant, and he got on one knee. It was spitting with rain and a bit windy so it didn't go completely as he expected but it was lovely all the same and I was in shock as I wasn't expecting it. 

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

A relaxed and intimate rustic garden tipi wedding which was about us becoming a family with our daughter, surrounded by close friends and family. We didn't have a colour scheme as such, although the men wore blue and with floral shirts and we added wild flowers with no uniformity in colour, just an assortment. 

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What venue did you choose and why did you choose it?

We had our ceremony at Newstead Abbey which is where we had our first date and where Paul's proposal took place. Our first home together was also within the grounds of Newstead Abbey where Paul also ran a photography studio from our home which was in a rustic converted barn. It was also our very first outing with our daughter when she was just 10 days old. We often visit this place on a regular basis; Paul also runs there most days.

The reception was held in our garden. We wanted to keep costs down and do something that was in a unique place where we could often reflect upon our special day. We wanted to do it our way and not be restricted by venue packages and pay premium prices that were not justified. With regards to the garden this was a major project as we purchased some extra land that adjoined our house, in addition to our original garden space, so it made sense to have the wedding in it and it became a huge driving force in getting the garden ready in just a few months. We designed and landscaped everything ourselves from start to finish and did all the work ourselves. Paul was still applying the finishing touches to the garden just a few days prior to the wedding by laying a large patio with his dad just five days before the wedding in the pouring rain. A huge hole in the wall had also been made in the side of the house to bring the new garden into play and we were waiting on some bi-fold doors to be fitted only 10 days before the big day, so it was touch and go and they were worried that they might not fit.

However all was good and all that was left was for Paul to lay a floor in the lounge with his friend - although this was just two days before the wedding and he hadn't even prepared his speech at that point. It was like Challenge Anneka or a scene from Ground Force, but it paid off and we nailed it even though there was so much to do in the house, garden and with all the wedding preparations.

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

I actually had the dress on my Pinterest board; it was the second dress I tried on just two months prior to the wedding on my first dress hunt. I loved the colour, detail and the tea-length style. My daughter, Evelyn (three-years-old) said: "Wow" and that I "looked amazing in the dress". It was by House of Mooshki and I bought it from Carla’s Brides, West Bridgford, Nottingham.

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What did the bridesmaids wear?

My daughter, Evelyn, was my flower girl and wore a dress from Monsoon. My bridesmaid wore Little Mistress. 

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Where did you find your suits?

River Island and the shirt was from Turner and Sanderson.

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Tell us about your floral arrangements.

I wanted garden flowers to go with our garden theme, so bought these from Morrisons and Tesco, as well as picking some from my mum's garden. I wanted lots of colours with no structure: informal. flowers in Jam jars and around the garden done by my mum. 

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Often the aspect that makes a wedding original to the couple is the detail – tell us about the details of the day.

  • Our photo booth was created by Paul on the eve of the wedding (very last minute).
  • Polaroid photos were pinned to the fence to tell the story of our relationship of how we got here.

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  • The picnic basket from the proposal was used for collecting gifts and cards.
  • We had retro sweets available for guests.
  • In-keeping with our garden and bird house theme, we had homemade bunting with the same bird house design as our homemade invites. Mini painted bird houses hung from the trees with lanterns and festoon lighting, and the luxury toilets we had installed featured a woodland theme.

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  • Favours were grass heal protectors for the women, glow stick necklaces, wild flower seeds for guests to plant when they got home, and kids were supplied with activity bags.
  • I had my gran's locket attached to my bouquet with my photo of my late grandparents.
  • Blankets were available in a basket to keep people warm at night and marshmallows were provided to melt on the fire pit.

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  • We sourced tipi coloured umbrellas from eBay (green and brown) incase of rain which were needed.
  • Homemade signage was placed around the garden, made out of left over pallets from garden work, and also Paul made a bespoke rustic wooden bar from leftover scaffold boards that he had used to make the garden fences. He also used these for a decking area for the secret smokers' area that would also be used for years to come as a decking area.

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  • Vintage cameras were dotted around the tipi and garden as Paul works as a professional photographer which actually belonged to my late grandfather and which Paul now has in his studio.
  • As a nod to Rebecca's Polish heritage, we had a Polish vodka drink that was homemade by us as the toast. 

How did you feel as you walked down the aisle?

I was so excited, I couldn't stop smiling; we were finally all becoming The Richmonds after so many years. The registrars made us both feel very relaxed and it enhanced the ceremony, making it feel more intimate. 

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How did you make the ceremony personal to you?

Paul's sister read a passage from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. There was no seating plan - ‘pick a seat not a side’ - to celebrate both families coming together. We also wrote our own promises.

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What was your most memorable moment?

Seeing each other at the ceremony and saying our promises. 

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What was the most challenging aspect of planning this wedding?

Getting the garden ready and pulling it all together the day/evening before which was made harder by all the torrential rain we had in the run up to the wedding which was every day that week. 

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What was the most important investment for you?

Having the wedding in our garden, we needed to make sure everyone would be well looked after and had a good time and that was our main focus; ensuring everybody would be dry and warm. A large proportion of budget was spent on the amazing giant hat tipi supplied by the amazing team at Tipi Uniqe. We also opted for a smaller tipi hat for extra shelter incase the weather took a turn for the worse. We also hired luxury toilet facilities and we provided a bathroom basket with everything you could possibly need. We decided to buy all the alcohol ourselves as we wanted our guests to have a free bar, which we got delivered from Tesco the day before the wedding in a ‘very big truck’.

We also felt it necessary to employ waitresses from Hospitality House who ensured the day went smoothly; all our guests and suppliers were looked after and supplied with refreshments and this gave us a stress-free day which we could enjoy. This was one of the best things we could have possibly done and the team were fantastic. Because we wanted a relaxed feel for our day we opted for a barbecue and hog roast supplied and taken care of by our local family butcher which went down a storm.

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

Michael Buble, Nobody But Me. We felt it was upbeat. 

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Did you have any evening entertainment?

No, all music was played via Spotify and some wireless speakers we bought for the event that we now have dotted around the house. We also hired a female acoustic singer who played a guitar for the afternoon when guests were arriving, playing some Oasis tracks and more. Paul also created something called ‘Tin Can Alley’ (basically a few leftover pallets where some old soup tins (labels removed) were placed and knocked over with wooden balls sourced from eBay). The kids loved it.

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Tell us about your wedding cake.

Emmi Cakes made it. Emma is a friend of the family and she followed my brief to make a rustic tree bark effect cake. It tasted amazing and was decorated with flowers. 

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

There were a few finishing touches that we simply just ran out of time to do even though we had prepared for them, not that anyone would of noticed but we knew. For example, we had a retro computer game to keep the kids entertained on a big TV with Pacman, Space Invaders etc but didn't have time to set it up, not that the kids were bothered or even knew about it. We also would have got married earlier in the day as it went too quick which we knew it would, but as we planned our wedding from start to finish including doing the garden in six months, we couldn't be selective on times as we left it quite late to book the ceremony venue. 

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Did anything go wrong on the day?

The music didn't work for the ceremony when walking down the aisle but we luckily had a CD in the car that we could play instead which was Ed Sheeran who we love, so it wasn't a major issue.  

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Where did you go on honeymoon?

Dormy House Hotel and Spa in the Cotswolds for a few days after the wedding, this was child-free. We also then went camping with our daughter for our second honeymoon. We aim to go abroad as a family this year and rent a villa as a third. 

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

Go with what you want to do, don't get dictated to by anyone - it's your day. Have a good time, look after your guests and don't worry about the weather, sometimes the rain can make it. Even though our day was 80% dry it did rain towards the end of the evening and this is when we got one of our favourite shots which was taken in the rain at night. Don't scrimp and save on the wedding photographer, do your research. Paul was quite picky as he is a photographer.

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Steal their style:

Tipi: Tipi Unique, www.tipiunique.com
Food and barbecue: Barlow's Butchers, www.barlowsbutchers.co.uk
Waitresses: Hospitality House, www.thehospitalityhouse.co.uk
Photography: Sarita White Photography, http://saritawhitephotography.com
Bridalwear: Carla's Brides, www.carlasbrides.com
Ceremony: Newstead Abbey, www.newsteadabbey.org.uk
Toilets: Knifton's Mobile Toilets, www.kniftonsmobiletoilets.co.uk
Make-up: Crystal Lewis

For more real wedding inspiration, pick up the latest issue of Bride magazine

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