Helen & Michael Part 2: A Magical Sussex Garden Party Wedding Reception with a Festival Vibe

Having tied the knot in Brighton and Hove’s beautifully restored Regency ‘Birdcage’ Bandstand (read all about this in Part 1), Helen, Michael and their guests hopped on a Big Lemon Bus (booked from Brighton’s very own eco-friendly bus and coach service, The Big Lemon).

Brighton bandstand wedding

Photos by Tristan Glinski & Klick Chick

Once aboard, they all zoomed off to Heathfield in East Sussex where their magical garden party wedding reception awaited.

Garden party wedding Sussex

Photos by Tristan Glinski & Klick Chick

Love Sussex Weddings asked Helen all about their wedding reception. As one might expect from a creative couple like this (and a vintage loving Brightonian like Helen who co-owns Metrodeco, a Parisian 1930’s style tea-salon and vintage furniture shop in Kemp Town), there was a LOT of creative wedding inspiration to be had! And luckily for us (and for Helen and Michael of course) Helen’s good friend Tristan of Apix Photography was there to capture the day beautifully.

Wedding favours Sussex wedding

Photos by Tristan Glinski & Klick Chick

Love Sussex Weddings are especially loving Michael and Helen’s holiday rental venue idea, the festival-vibe, the cheese/champagne/tea tent (now that’s our kind of tent), the covered hay-stack seating idea, Helen’s beautiful vintage dress and the fact that Michael got up and sang Helen a Michael Buble number in his very dapper Gresham Blake suit!

Here’s what Helen had to say about their big day….

Love Sussex Weddings: Hi Helen, can you tell us about your reception venue?

Helen: We held our reception at Spring Farm, Heathfield. This was a holiday rental that slept 15 people and had a big kitchen and garden. This meant we could prepare food and have our wedding reception in the garden. We could also put up tents for a relaxed informal garden party.

Wedding reception venue Sussex

Photos by Tristan Glinski & Klick Chick

Emma from Lush Creations organised tent hire and used her own tents for the smaller ones i.e. the Champagne tent and photo tent. All were amazing and just turned the garden into a gorgeous, pretty playground.

LSW: What a great idea to hire a holiday rental for your reception! How would you describe your wedding theme?

Helen: A magical garden party. We had a big round circus type tent and inside the tent we had haystacks covered in fabric and cushions for guests to sit on. We also had lanterns and tea lights made by friends which lit up the whole garden and tent when darkness fell.

Circus wedding marquee / tent at Sussex wedding

Photos by Tristan Glinski & Klick Chick

LSW: And your wedding colours?

Helen: Our colours were purple and red in terms of the flowers and colours in the tent. Sounds garish but Emma from Lush Creations made it beautiful.

LSW: It sounds amazing! Did you stick to wedding traditions?

Helen: We didn’t have a first dance and no top table as people ate outside. Speeches were on the patio alongside the jazz band.

Wedding speech

Photos by Tristan Glinski & Klick Chick

Michael sang to me. It was ‘You must have been kissing a fool’ by George Michael/Michael Buble and he had practised with the jazz band a few days earlier who accompanied him. I had no idea he was going to do this but got up to dance alongside him so everyone thought I did. It seemed the right thing to do.

Wedding jazz band at a Sussex wedding

Photos by Tristan Glinski & Klick Chick

Wedding song

Photos by Tristan Glinski & Klick Chick

LSW: How romantic — love it! Tell us more about this delicious-looking cake of cheeses and your reception food?

Helen: We had a cake of cheeses from La Cave a Fromage which we served for the evening buffet. We thought that traditional cake was expensive and no one eats it! Our friend Ana made some amazing cakes for dessert and nothing could compete with those so we went for the savoury option.

Cutting the cake of cheese from La Cave a Fromage Hove

Photos by Tristan Glinski & Klick Chick

Food wise we had a hog roast and the rest of the catering was done by David, my wrench chef and Charlie who just loves cooking. Both are friends who did the catering as a wedding gift. Truly amazing.

LSW: Entertainment?

Helen: My gorgeous, generous friend Paul Lillie, gave up his evening to DJ into the early hours and provided all the sound system. William who works for me played with his band The Peppermint Beat Band and rocked. We also hired a jazz band, Bags Groove who entertained our guests on arrival to the house.

Wedding band at a Sussex wedding

Photos by Tristan Glinski & Klick Chick

Photos by Tristan Glinski & Klick Chick

Wedding reception party Sussex

Photos by Tristan Glinski & Klick Chick

LSW: And the most stressful part of planning your wedding?

Helen: Agonising over where guests would stay and sorting out suitable accommodation. It helped that the house where we held our reception had a paddock at the end of the garden and many friends camped which gave the wedding a mini festival feel.

Photos by Tristan Glinski & Klick Chick

LSW: What about personal touches?

Helen: We had a photo tent with a polaroid camera and props and a Champagne tent with our wedding cake (a cake of cheeses) and our wedding favours, (tins of Tilkinson tea which was especially blended for us for our wedding). We also hired a Big Lemon Bus to transport people from the bandstand to the house. My mum and sister made the bunting.

Wedding favours

Photos by Tristan Glinski & Klick Chick

LSW: So come on, what about your honeymoon?

Helen: Our honeymoon was a bit of a strange one because we went on separate holidays. Michael went to Portugal on a stag weekend (not his own) and so I went to Ibiza with three male friends to Pike’s Hotel of Club Tropicana fame. We did manage to go away together four months later to Vietnam & Cambodia for a two-week break.

LSW: You couple of jetsetters! And finally, any more tips for Sussex brides and grooms-to-be?

Helen: Do it your way, but remember your guests want to have a good time too. The build up to the wedding should be fun too because the day really does fly by.

Helen & Michael’s Wedding Credits:

Photography: Tristan Glinski, Apix Photography
Ceremony venue: Brighton Bandstand
Reception venue: Spring Farm, Heathfield
Bride’s dress: Hope and Harlequin, Brighton
Bride’s shoes: Primark
Bride’s hair: Pearl at Cuttlefish, Brighton
Bride’s makeup: Friend of Helen
Groom’s suit: Gresham Blake
Groom’s shoes: Moda Italia
Flowers: Planted
Wedding rings: Baroque Jewellery, Brighton
Earings: Charity shop
Accessories: Kempton Antiques Fair
Stationery: Auntie Lesley
Transport: The Big Lemon
Wedding Favours: Tilkinson Tea
Cake of Cheeses: La Cave a Fromage
Tents and décor: Via Lush Creations
DJ: Paul Lillie
Jazz band: Bags Groove
Band: The Peppermint Beat Band
Catering: Metrodeco and Splitting Pig Surrey

West Pier wedding photo Brighton beach

Photos by Tristan Glinski & Klick Chick

Thanks to Tristan of Apix Photography for his cracking photos of the day and thanks again to Helen and Michael for sharing their most fabulous wedding with us. They certainly know how to throw an amazing party and we love all the creative ideas they included in their day, we can see why Helen’s ventured into bachelor/bachelorette party planning. Lovely that their friends and family contributed so much too.

Coming up on tuesday on Love Sussex Weddings we have a very exciting Pagan-inspired bridal inspiration shoot and video. Later this week we will also bring you news of how Love Sussex Weddings is teaming up with Belle’s Events for their exciting forthcoming Brighton Wedding fairs and of course we’ll be bringing you more local real wedding inspiration!

And just before we go, since featuring Helen and Michael’s wedding ceremony at Brighton Bandstand earlier this week we discovered a video of what the Bandstand looked like before being restored to its formed Regency glory. Here at Love Sussex Weddings we had already forgotton what it used to look like (even though it was only restored a few years back) so we thought we’d share this video of the ‘before’ version courtesy of an old Beach Boys video.

See the Bandstand in its restored Regency glory in Michael and Helen’s beautiful vintage infused Brighton Bandstand wedding (Part 1). Remember the West Pier when it looked more like it does in the video? The summer weather didn’t look too great back then either!

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