Lucy & Dan's vintage vegan Buddhist wedding

February 8 |

We met this bride and her cutie pooch in a Monday Montage. Here's the rest of this outdoor UK wedding.

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Photos by Anne-Marie Arpin

The offbeat bride: Lucy, photographer

Her offbeat partner: Dan, musician

Date and location of wedding: In the woods at The Sustainability Centre, East Meon, UK and then a little village hall for the reception — July 23, 2011

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We had a woodland Buddhist ceremony at a sustainability centre in the countryside, and then went on to a pretty country village hall for the reception. 120 guests for a £2000 budget was our goal, but we enjoyed making everything so much that it didn't feel like we were losing out on anything. It felt like it was really personalised as a result.

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Tell us about the ceremony: Dan and I wouldn't call ourselves Buddhists as we're still learning the faith, but as it plays such an important role in our lives, it felt right that one of our teachers, Yanai, from Gaia House delivered our ceremony. We wrote our vows to encompass the three refuges in Buddhism: the Buddha and his teachings, the Dharma (way of life), and the Sangha (your community of loved ones that support you in your Buddhist practise).

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We had two very close friends, Ben and Toby, play acoustic guitar both before the ceremony while guests were being seated, and as I walked down the aisle. They played Romeo and Juliet by Dire Straits, my favourite song. It felt so beautiful to have them playing that song at that moment and for it to be played by them.

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My dad walked me down the aisle and the ceremony was fairly short, with Yanai giving a spontaneous talk on love/metta, which felt really appropriate and unrehearsed (which it was!).

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Our biggest challenge: Dan and I have been vegan for quite a few years, and although we have no problems with what other people choose to eat, we really didn't want to be buying and serving non-vegan food. This in itself wasn't much of a challenge as there are loads of great vegan caterers, but we had 120 people to feed and we were doing all the food ourselves.

We went through various ideas that would fit into out tiny budget (£350 for food and drinks), and decided on a buffet of falafel, dips, cheese-less pizza, and some very creative salads. Family and friends helped provide an amazing array of desserts including traditional Welsh Bara Brith and Welsh Cakes and what vintage wedding would be complete without strawberries and soya cream?! The stars of the day however, were Team Bridesmaid, who spent hours preparing the salads and being generally amazing.

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My favorite moment: Almost every guest at the wedding helped out with a little something and this really made Dan and I feel so incredibly grateful to everyone. The bridesmaids obviously were superstars, but also the team of seven best men(!) orchestrated the whole day so everything went smoothly, from organising the group photos to announcing the first dance (outside).

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Not only did my mum and sister help me sew 120 meters of bunting to decorate the hall, but they also surprised us with some extra special handmade bunting that they decorated the top table with which was really beautiful and must have taken forever. Dan's mum spent hours doing calligraphy on luggage labels for the ceremony seat names, and made some awesome Welsh food for the buffet.

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We tried to repay the assistance by providing things to make the day as enjoyable as possible for them. For example, the hanging frame outside for them to take photos in, hay bales so they could escape for some fresh air, and a "Who's Who" board which had a baby photo of every guest.

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My funniest moment: Aaliyah, our gorgeous little flower girl was very well rehearsed at walking down the aisle and sprinkling rose petals. But when her dad (Richie, best man no.5) decided it would be a good idea for her to hand Yanai the rings during the ceremony, she tripped, and they both rolled dangerously near a gap in the wooden floor. Thankfully not down it!

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The doggy table numbers also made a lot of people laugh. I was determined to have my little puppy, Stevie Nicks, there somehow!

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Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? The whole day was meticulously planned, but honestly, it was so DIYed that we knew anything could happen. We were expecting something to go wrong, but amazingly it didn't. Or maybe the best men just kept it well hidden.

I also expected the top tier of the wedding cake (made by me) to be delicious, but it was practically inedible! Thank goodness we got someone else to bake the other two tiers!

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Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

  • Wooden reception place names: Etsy seller PhoenixLaser. I absolutely adored these and the seller was so helpful!
  • Vintage plates, vases, and tablecoths: Charity/thrift shops and car boot sales
  • Dress: Biba from eBay
  • Bride's cotton jacket and groom's suit: H&M
  • Venue: Sustainability Centre
  • Officiant: Yanai from Gaia House

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

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  1. Could this be any cuter, any sweeter or any more personal? I'm actually a little teary-eyed.

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    • I was fortunate enough to be a guest at this wedding, and was so pleased to find Lucy had put it up on here. They are a truly lovely couple at it was a beautiful, touching and very genuinely lovely day. I'm looking forward to returning the favour next year! Much love to Lucy and Dan x

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      • adorable! thanks lillie, hope your wedding plans are going well my lovely! xxx

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    • thank you so much, we definitely enjoyed stuffing ourselves! hehe

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  2. So happy for you both! What a sweet ceremony!

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  3. Thank you so much for sharing your experience and your budget! We, too, will be working on a very similar budget and it is so encouraging to see that not only can it be done, but it can be done very nicely! The story that your photos tell shows that you can have a very beautiful wedding day and not drop a ton of cash. Thank you again!

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    • thank you so much, yeah go for it! budgets just force you into making it super personal, hehe, all the effort is worth it in the end :D hope you have a magical day! xxx

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  4. This is exactly what a wedding should be: beautiful, real and made by everyone there (literally). Love this! Congratulations to both of you xx

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    • thank you so much Kate, it was definitely a group effort! xxx

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  5. Please do tell about your "hanging frame" photo booth. I love the idea, my sweetie and I are both photographers and would love to do something like this for our guests and do a little post production work to the shot and give the photo as a gift.

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    • ooh, well we basically got the biggest, gaudiest frame we could find in a charity shop, took out the glass and back and hung it with fishing wire from a tree :) we had to tie the base to a chair beneath it, as it was swinging about a bit! we put a camera on a tripod infront of it with instructions like how to focus etc and just checked it periodically to make sure it was working ok :D have fun with it, cant remember where we got the idea from but people really enjoyed it :)

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  6. Just gorgeous!! I love your smiling faces <3

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  7. This is so beautiful and personal! I especially love your guest activities and your gorgeous venue :). What a find!

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  8. great photobooth idea; and vegan buffet – lovely. also love your dress, so different. thank you for sharing.

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  9. Any idea where I can see the photos that where taken under the tree with the frame? I already check on Flickr but there was no photos yet, Thanks

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