• Viva la Festival

Have you ever fallen in love at a summer festival? It's like magic - deep and heady and all over in a moment, but something about it lingers on in your heart forever. Some of us are even lucky enough to fall in love again and again, every year with the same person. As festival season tails off for 2013, why not look to recreate that magic for your own wedding? It's about the perfect time to start, and your friends and family will thank you for giving them a festival experience they'll never forget.

Festivals can be many things. They can be an unforgettable party, a dance-until-you-drop all night extravaganza, complete with neon paint and enough glitter to satisfy Ke$ha's stylist. Incapsulating this part of the festival spirit in your theme seems like a fantastic idea to me, and even choosing to incorporate elements into the reception can give an edge to your laid-back country affair.

In this post however, I'll be focusing on that exact thing - laid-back, welcoming, anything goes... festivals are a place to be free. Think of gentle folk music in the hot summer sun, the sweet scent of incense in Glastonbury Festival's famous 'healing fields', late night parties under a yurt and wildflower garlands.

I've chosen a colour scheme of butter yellow and sunshine, accented with violet and cornflower. Rustic, handpicked flowers make a beautiful bouquet, and even better, why not make an effort to source them locally? If you can, a selection of local blooms would be a cost-effective way to celebrate the countryside.

The flower head garland - a festival staple. These days, you'll see them atop the shining head of every girl of any age! Incorporating your bouquet blooms into that headdress will transform a dress into a veritable bohemian rhapsody, without losing any of its elegance. If you feel self-conscious with such a luscious garden up there, don't underestimate a relaxed, but polished updo. Try braids, twists and other romantic styles.

For me, the ideal festival wedding dress would sweep along the floor as you walk; without structure, beautiful details like ribbons and lace give the dress its flowing movements. You should be able to dance the night away!

Festival style tends to sacrifice the aesthetics for comfort, and that may well be the last thing you want to do on your big day! If your figure allows for one, a backless style can lend your style that ease and wearability, that is so necessary after a hot day in a field. Endlessly chic, the simplicity of the back allows for some exaggerations elsewhere, such as the lacework, without the dress becoming too fussy.

Where else for your guests to retire to than a fabulous little yurt? Popular decor for tented stages and cafés at festivals would include coloured lanterns, fairy lighting and of course, bunting or flags, so load up on these items to give your escape pods a magical touch! After a long day of dancing and the outdoors, a soft couch with some pretty pillows would be a delight. Perhaps leave an acoustic guitar in one, so that guests can channel their very own creative flow? Or invite loved ones to decorate a painting for the bride and groom? The possibilities are endless, and all invoke the artsy charm of a folk festival.

N.B. Floating lanterns are still seen at many festivals, and while they can be beautiful, most farm owners will politely ask you not to use them. Even those that are biodegradable can end up being harmful to cattle, so be compassionate and skip them at your celebration.

Give your festival wedding a few cheeky touches, such as wristbands in exchange for invitations on arrival (or a 'lineup' for the day, written on a chalk or paint board), or wedding photos with the party in their wellies! The important thing is to have fun. There is no pretense at a festival, and even though it's your big day, there should be an emphasis on the connection between your guests. Show your love for everyone who's helped you get this far, and they'll pay you back with spectacular memories.


Hannah Elizabeth

(No photos are mine unless otherwise stated.)

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