Homemade Weddings: A Magical, Musical Marriage…

Hello Walls: Homemade Weddings, the Bride and Groom

Mr & Mrs Parkes-Nield on their wedding day.

Back in 2012, in the middle of the Far Out Stage at Greenman Festival, South Wales, Sophie and Chris were awaiting Adam Buxton’s arrival on stage when the interval music began to play. LCD Soundsytem’s ‘Someone Great’ travelled through the speakers…and Chris chose this moment to propose to Sophie. The photo is probably a bit of a giveaway but yes, she said yes.

They’re a musical couple – Sophie, a folk fanatic and violin player, and Chris, a singer-songwriter and accomplished guitarist. They met back in 2006 when Sophie answered Chis’ ad for a violinist to join the band, Air Cav*. So of course when it came to planning for the big day, music was naturally a key component.

I’ve known Sophie for a number of years now and was privileged enough to be invited along to the wedding (I may have also been responsible for designing the wedding invitations so that probably left her with no choice but to invite me – perk of the job, I say.)


Homemade weddings folky invite graphic design

Homemade weddings folky invite CD case

The musical thread was established as early as the invitation, in the guise of a CD, landed on the doorstep with lyrics from folk song ‘Searching for Dams’ on the front – “We join our hands in wedding bands and married we shall be.”

The wedding took place in June 2014 at Bo Peep Farm in Banbury, Oxfordshire (they skipped 2013 due to Sophie’s irrational aversion to odd numbers). A beautiful venue, the ceremony was held onsite in Dovecote Barn – an impressive 18th Century conversion, and then the revelry continued as we moved onto a neighbouring field – 15 acres of land to do with what they wished. A marquee was erected and straw bales were scattered and similar to Kath’s wedding at York Maze, guests could camp over, saving them the expense of a hotel – this time the bride and groom joined in the camping fun too, albeit in a slightly more comfortable ‘Emperor Bell Tent’. Being a thrifty Yorkshire lass I was more than happy to pitch up  – but boy I wish I hadn’t had those last few ciders…tent plus early morning sunshine is not great for hangovers.


Hello Walls: Homemade Weddings Honeymoon Tent

It was an absolute blast – they’re such a great couple and I feel honoured to be able to feature their day as part of our Homemade Weddings series, sharing with you some of the personal touches that made it such a genuine and complete day.


Hello Walls homemade weddings. Bunting and Guitar card case

Preparations began right away in advance as Sophie started to hand sew 150 metres of bunting, a mighty task for which friends and family members were roped in to help with. Floral fabrics in blues, pinks and purple hues, the decorations were bound for the edges of the marquee where the reception was held – a simple way of creating a celebratory and welcoming feel to the space.

Sophie recalls “I really did go bunting mad. Pinking shears and thread lived permanently at the foot of my sofa as I made reams of the stuff for almost two years straight. I was pretty pleased to finally finish.”

All the effort was worth it as it’s still in use today – a length of it now draped across the fencing of the front garden of their new house together. The rest is loaned out, upon request, for various occasions including a 1st Birthday party, mine and Sophie’s 30th birthday celebrations and, most recently, for the hen party of one of her bridesmaids. It also made its way to Wales, back to the Green Man Festival and decorated our communal gazebo.


Hello Walls: Homemade weddings, table names on ladders

Sophie and Chris eschewed the idea of a theme, but they did want a wedding that felt in-keeping with the age of the barn and its countryside location. Bridesmaid, Louise, offered to do the table plan and came up with this lovely idea: Sophie’s mum’s stepladders and plants, decked out in twine and luggage labels to let everyone know where to go.


Hello Walls: Homemade Weddings Giant Initials

Box letters were purchased from Fred Aldous and covered in old sheet music, picked up from a dusty corner in a charity shop. Green paint daubed across the ampersand livened up the hanging letters a little, and made sure everyone noticed them in the marquee entrance.


Hello Walls: Homemade Weddings, Homemade Cakes

Homemade weddings cakes made by the bridesmaids

Bridesmaids, Kerrie and Emma, are handy bakers so Sophie knew she needed to look no further when it came to the wedding cake. Friends since they were tiddlers, the girls know Sophie’s taste only too well and kept the three flavours – carrot, Victoria sponge and fruit cake – along with the décor a complete secret until the day.


Hello Walls Homemade Weddings Morris Dancers

Sophie’s long been a folk fan and took the opportunity to weave some of her passions into the day. Adderbury, the village in which the couple were married, is renowned for its three morris sides, and Sophie had difficulty in choosing which side to ask to dance at her wedding. But she thinks she picked wisely – especially as they encouraged the groomsmen to have a go, much to their embarrassment! Good friends, Laura Smyth and Ted Kemp, are beautiful singers, and the duo regaled the guests during the ceremony.

The couple were also lucky enough to have our friend and award winning photography, Graeme Cooper volunteer his services for the day. All the pictures featured here were taken by him so thanks Graeme!

Hello Walls: Homemade Weddings Placesettings Hello Walls: Homemade Weddings CD favours Hello Walls: Homemade Weddings Jam Jars and Candles Hello Walls: Homemade Weddings pinata fun!


* Shameless plug alert. Air Cav have just released their latest album ‘Procession’ on limited edition vinyl. If you like good music buy it. If you like good design (I may have designed this too) buy it. BUY IT.

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