Welcome to Frytheway Fest. A festival themed wedding with pastel tones, tipis and a ska band for these two musical lovers.
Rob and I had been together for 6 years when he proposed. Although we have our own house and a son together, marriage wasn’t that of a big deal to Rob. It was to me though as I wanted the same surname as them both!
He proposed on my 30th birthday in Central Park in NYC on December 17th, 2014. It was not at all expected as we were going to NYC to celebrate my 30th. Little did I know he had been scheming with my best friend since the August. Between them, they had designed a beautiful black Diamond platinum engagement ring with a halo of diamonds around the main stone. I was absolutely blown away.
We started to plan in January 2015 and eventually set a date on 21st May 2016.
We both had different ideas for our wedding, Rob wanted to get married abroad and I wanted to get married in this country, so we could be surrounded by family and friends.
We knew that our son, Finn, needed to be involved in it as much as possible. We wanted it to be about the 3 of us and not just us.
We both wanted something a bit different and not the typical wedding. As we all love music, we wanted this to be our main theme and wanted it to feature a lot in the day. We decided to have a festival theme. As my maiden name is Fryett and my new name would be Bytheway, we combined the two and came up with “Frytheway Fest”
THE VENUE & CEREMONY
We got married in Cardigan Bay Town Hall, which was a beautiful old building in the heart of Cardigan Bay. We had our reception about 500m down the road at a beautiful riverside location. called Fforest Quayside. It was a small courtyard set on the river, with two large tipis and a small tavern. It was the perfect location for us, as we could decorate it exactly how we wanted.
Looking for my dress had to be the most stressful part of the wedding. In my head I knew exactly what I wanted; I wanted a floaty Boho feel. I knew I didn’t want a big princess dress! I tried on a lot of these ‘boho chic’ styles. Unfortunately, none of these suited me, but I just kept going back to the same thing. I must have been to about 4 shops and tried on about 15-20 dresses in total. I felt like giving up!
My friend had suggested I try a shop in Warwickshire called Rachel Ash. I went there with my bridesmaids and my Mam. I wasn’t looking forward to it because I’d had such awful luck previously. When I got there I was introduced to a lady called Ash, who was so friendly and put me at ease straight away. She sat me down and asked what styles I liked, and more importantly what I didn’t. She then asked me to have a look through the rails and pick out anything I liked.
Again, I was drawn to the same style and yet again was disappointed when I didn’t get the ‘wow’ factor. She asked me if she could go and choose some for me. I had nothing to lose, so I let her. She came back with a variety of dresses, different styles, different lengths and different shades. I can’t say I was drawn to any of them but thought I’d give them a go.
I tried the first one that Ash had claimed to be a favourite. As she was buttoning up the back, I could feel my cheeks aching from my smile. I just knew she’d found “The One” and I hadn’t even seen it in the mirror. It just felt so different to everything I’d tried on before. As I walked out of the changing room, I could hear the gasps from my bridesmaids and my Mam. I’d not had that before. I looked into the mirror and I started to well up, I was in love with it. I stood and I was twirling around like a 5-year-old ballerina. My bridesmaids were crying and so was Ash! I didn’t want to take it off!! I decided to try on the other styles that she had brought in for me just in case, but nothing even came close to how I felt in that dress.
It was a designer called Stephanie Allin and the dress was called Anya. Each dress that she makes is tailored to every girl, so it can’t be bought off the rack! It was a twinkling sequin bodice that sat just off my collarbone with a floaty silk skirt. It had buttons on the back which complemented the low back style it had. Although it was a full-length skirt, I decided that I wanted it shortened to ballerina length, so it sat just above my ankles. I wanted to be comfortable all day and not worry about tripping up in it.
I had a beautiful flower crown made up of gypsophila and cream roses. I didn’t want a veil, as I didn’t want to hide any part of the dress.
Because I knew that my shoes would be on show, I opted for a beautiful blue pair as part of my ‘something blue’. They were by a designer called Harriet Wilde and were powder blue peep toes, which were laser cut and had a blue ribbon to tie them. They were only 4 inches, as I wanted to last all day in them.
I also wore a beautiful pair of Swarovski blue droplet earrings, which my Dad bought me as a gift.
I wore my late Nan’s big Blue sapphire ring too, so a part of her was with me all day.
GROOM AND HIS MEN
I left Rob to chose his own suit. I was allowed to choose my own dress, so it’s only fair. All of the Groomsmen had navy suits with pale lemon ties, which complemented the bridesmaid pastel dresses perfectly.
Rob had a 3 piece suit with a navy tie to stand out from the others. Each of the Groomsmen had different suits, but they were all navy. It was their ties that tied them all together. They scrubbed up well!!
I had two bridesmaids, Jade and Connie; both of which were different shapes and sizes. I wanted them to both feel special and comfortable, so I allowed them to choose their own dresses. I didn’t want to be a bridezilla and demand they wore something they weren’t happy with or feel comfortable in. They each chose different styles to try on and the one they ended up with was a last minute choice! They were ballerina-style dresses, which were strapless with a big tulle skirt. I wanted them to be slightly different, so one Connie had mint green and Jade had powder blue. The colours looked so beautiful together. It had a fresh, girly feel to it. I bought them some killer nude heels with pastel coloured diamantés on them. They then had flat sandals for the evening, so they could dance the night away.
HAIR & MAKEUP
I decided to do my own makeup, as I had a trial a few months previously and wasn’t happy with the outcome. Instead, I went to MAC and spent a lot of money on beautiful eyeshadows, lipstick, and blushers. I wanted the natural look, so stuck with soft pink and peach tones.
For my hair, I had a side fishtail plait with soft curls falling out. I thought this look complemented my dress and my flower crown. I’ve never been one for structured hair styles and knew that I wanted to look like me on my big day and not someone playing dress up.
We decided to have gypsophila and roses. I absolutely love gypsophila, as it’s so fresh looking and pretty. Roses were chosen as it was my Nan’s favourite flower, so it felt like she was part of our day.
I had a pale pink rose and gypsophila flower crown and a gorgeous bouquet of these flowers too.
My bridesmaids had little gypsophila posies. All the men had gypsophila button holes with a twine bow. The mother of the bride and groom each had a flower corsage to match their outfits.
We wanted to stay away from typical wedding food and drink, so opted for a bbq and beers.
Upon arrival, guests had a glass of Pimms, to work up an appetite for the main meal.
We had bbq chicken with minted potatoes, a couscous salad served with locally made fresh bread. It was placed in a large pot and put in the centre of each table and everyone dug in and helped themselves. This was all washed down with a lot of Corona, which was just dotted around the tables in large beer buckets, for guests to help themselves. We wanted to steer clear of the traditional wine and champagne, as it didn’t seem fitting with the festival theme.
For the dessert, we had chocolate and salted caramel tart. These were served with tea or coffee later on the afternoon.
For the evening, we decided to have pork baps with apple sauce and stuffing. Perfect to refuel on after all the dancing.
Neither Rob or I, are mad on wedding cake, I always find it quite dry and boring. So we opted for a cheesecake. It had 8kg of different varieties of cheese.
Our 4 tier cake made up of cheese from a place called The Cheese Shed in Devon. It had 2 different flavours of cheddar, stilton and a brie on top. We decorated this with grapes and some sprigs of gypsophila. We served it with crackers and about 25 jars of home made pickles. These included red tomato chutney, carrot and ginger jam, spicy beetroot marmalade. I’ve never seen anyone queue up for wedding cake before. Nor have I known wedding cake to be gone within 30 minutes. I didn’t even get to taste any, as it went so fast. I had so many people say it was the best idea they’d seen.
For the people with a sweeter tooth, we had a doughnut stack too. There were jam doughnuts, chocolate doughnuts and sugar ringed doughnuts.
Because our theme was a festival, we had festival style tickets as our invites. The stub of the ticket was the rsvp and our names were featured as the headline act.
For our table names, they were all band names. The top table was Oasis, as it’s our fave. The name places were VIP lanyards with everyone’s name on them and on the reverse, an itinerary of the day. Very much like you would get at a festival.
The stationery was designed and made by a good friend who runs her own stationery business called Only By Knight. She designed the layout for us and did an amazing job in putting pen to paper and coming up with exactly what we had in mind.
We had a guitar soloist during the day who sang anything from The Beatles through to Black Street. He had the guests singing along to “I love you baby” just after our meal. He was amazing!
On the evening we had a Ska band called 2Rude, they were a 9 piece band, who got everyone up and dancing. I’ve never seen such a packed Dancefloor.
As our venue was an outdoor venue, we had to be careful about the noise after 10.30pm. So as to not stop the party atmosphere, we opted for a Silent Disco. It was a perfect end to the evening and it went down a storm. No-one was expecting it and all the guests loved it!! There were 3 channels playing different songs, so there was something for everyone!!
We also wanted a photo booth, but to try and save some expensive, we decided to make our own. I bought an “Instaframe” off the Internet….it was a large frame, based on the Instagram idea- enough to fit about 4 people in it and then we had a box of props, hats, masks, blow up accessories etc and people posed with them in the frame. I also made a backdrop using different coloured ribbons and lace. It was great fun that didn’t cost the earth.
We used Chloe Field as our photographer. I had seen her work before and knew that she’d be perfect for what I had in mind. I knew I could tell her what I wanted and leave her to it. She has the perfect, quirky vision I was going for. I’m not a fan of posed pictures, so I told Chloe who and what I wanted photos of and she captured them perfectly!! As she is a friend of a friend, I had met her previously and felt very comfortable around her.
We didn’t have a professional videographer, but my Dad’s best friend captured the whole day for us.
We didn’t have table favours for the guests, instead, we made a large donation to Cancer Research who are really close to my heart.
The biggest part of my day was having Finn being such a part of it. I know it’s quite traditional to get married, then have kids, but we are so lucky that he could share our day with us. I can’t pick one particular thing that I loved the most because every single thing was amazing. From spending the morning with the most incredible bridesmaids to saying “I do”, to dancing the night away under the stars with our closest family and friends to a Silent Disco. It was an incredible day and I wouldn’t change a thing about it.
BRIDE TO BRIDE
My biggest advice would be to do exactly what you want and try not to be swayed by others. It is your special day and should be done exactly how you want. I also think Pinterest is a great way to help get ideas. Take ideas and try recreate them.
I also say, spend your money wisely. Would you rather have fancy invitations that cost the earth and are only seen for 2 months or spend it on a band that will be remembered for a lifetime?
Ceremony: Cardigan Bay Town Hall ♥ Reception: Fforest Quayside
Wedding Dress Designer: Stephanie Allin ♥ Wedding Dress Shop: Rachel Ash
Shoes: Harriet Wilde ♥ Bridesmaid Dresses: Kelsey Rose
Cake: The Cheese Shed ♥ Stationery: Only By Knight
Photography: Chloe Field Photography