Photo by wedding photographer Oli Green
Tipi weddings in Cornwall, woodland weddings in Devon, clifftops in Dorset - the South West has become one of the most popular places in Britain for couples wanting to tie the knot. There's a distinctive trend for less formal, more festival and many new companies have sprung up to cater to the new breed of bride and groom.
Mark Sorrill founder of the Pop up Hotel, a fleet of luxury tents that turns up at events like Glastonbury, Hay or the Ryder Cup, decided to move into the wedding market this summer. It was a natural progression for The Pop up Wedding service can organise a candlelit honeymoon suite, provide tented accommodation for your guests or deliver the full blown wedding with tented ballroom and restaurant, guest bedrooms, even a beauty parlour. Tbere are traditional bell tents, yurts, luxury safari style tents with ensuite bedrooms, Airstream trailers and vintage Kitty caravans. It is a brilliant concept, enabling couples to marry, quite literally, wherever they want.
It's only two years since Prezola sprang to life as the ultimate wedding list provider and yet it's hard to imagine a time without it. No more trawling dispiritedly through Peter Jones trying to find something you like, Prezola has more than a million products to choose from - its USP is that you can choose any item from any retailer. All the stalwarts are there Emma Bridgewater crockery and Dartington Crystal but also bowls from Anthropologie, cups and saucers from Diane Von Furstenburg, throws from Day Birger et Mikkelson. Set up by Ali and Dom Beavan from a warehouse in Trowbridge Prezola was a great idea waiting to happen. For alongside the plethora of stylish gifts for house and garden couples can also opt for cash presents to go towards a honeymoon fund, charity donations or contributions to a cash fund (to help pay for the wedding, first home etc). There are online personal shoppers to help you choose and all gifts are sent out in one delivery from Trowbridge. These guys have thought of everything.
Ali Beavan, an interior decorator says: "Traditional wedding lists seemed very restrictive to me. I love the look of a house that combines notonthehightstreet with Debenhams, Christian Lacroix with Cox & Cox and I thought you should be able to do that on a list."
Potent Productions Somerset
Ultimate party planners who love to think outside the box, these guys can deliver literally anything you want. Their tag line from rave to Royal wedding perfectly sums them up. With experience of running backstage events at many of the UK's best known festivals there's no one better to orchestrate your festie wedding. They can organise it all from venue, to sound systems, catering, lighting, visuals and chill out bar. If it's a party in a field you're after, look no further.
Minna was at the forefront of the trend for pared down, laid-back weddings with her exquisite vintage-inspired lace dresses which can be as casual or dressed up as you like. Her brides might wear them with cowboy boots or wedges or barefoot on a beach and they'll always look effortlessly cool. Now she's opened a shop in Shaftesbury which sells stunning lace tops and dresses, accessories and her own hand picked vintage. She'll also organise for you to try her range of dresses by appointment.
Oli Green, Dorset
Oli is one of the top wedding photographers in the UK who is regularly flown around the world for his natural yet intimate reportage style pictures. His skill is in making his subject so relaxed they barely notice he's there and classic, unique shots follow. A true artist his pictures are powerful and mesmerising.
BellaandFifi Flowers, Bristol
Flower artistry is what we're talking from these girls who love to create spectacular, highly original bouquets and displays. In fact you can even opt for a dress entirely made from flowers or perhaps an Indian-style headdress or a stunning rosebud hairpiece for the more flamboyant bride. Blooms come from local, artisan flower growers and are seasonal and organic. Anything is possible with Bella and Fifi.
Sparkford Hall, Somerset
The charisma and charm of a Jane Austen tinted manor which, when you scratch the surface, is just a little bit rock n roll. Doesn't that sound like the perfect wedding venue? Sparkford Hall in Somerset is a beautiful Georgian house run by a team who specialise in the outre and avant-garde. Classic white wedding or debauched bacchanalian feast, you choose. Cellars which turn into a nightclub, a barn which holds 300 and can be reinvented into your wildest dreamscape. The only limit is your imagination, as they say. Sparkford has a wedding licence for civil ceremonies. You can hire the house with 12 bedrooms plus fully furnished teepees, yurts and bell tents for guests.
The Utterly Sexy Cafe, Wiltshire
Forget three tiers and a plastic bride and groom on top, these days your wedding cake is the chance to get really fantastical. No one better than Amanda Baird of the Utterly Sexy Cafe whose cakes are anything but traditional though she can do that too. Think coffee sponge with chocolate mocha butter cream or cardamom and earl grey soaked raisin sponge with orange flower water butter cream. And then there's the design, truly wow factor works of art.
Eaton & Woods, Somerset
Portrait pbotographers Nikki Eaton and Melanie Woods hit on a genius idea when they decided to take pictures together. With the two of them whirring away from different angles, the subject soon relaxes and forgets they are having their picture taken. They have a knack of capturing intimate, unguarded moments like this beautiful shot of the bride with her page boy and bridesmaid.
Modern Marquees, Gloucestershire
Wow factor marquees whether you're after the traditional ballroom style or something a little edgier. Marquees are all framed structures so none of those annoying poles to trip over, beautiful Georgian style windows and every kind of accessory to choose from. Studded with mirror balls, a black and white dance floor, neon bars, sofas, Chinese lanterns, they have it all. An efficiently run family business.
Cornish Tipi Weddings, Cornwall
Think water, think woodland, think fairy glade - this is the place for a magical Midsummer Night's Dream kind of wedding. An idyllic spot with wooden bridges over streams that are lit by Chinese lanterns, where bride and groom can float on a pontoon and the marriage takes place in a wooden wedding pavilion in the heart of the valley. This place comes with 16 acres ferns and bluebells, ancient oaks and meadowsweet. Idyllic doesn't really do it justice.