Caroline and Joe's country fair themed wedding was shared with friends and relatives in a quirky tipi close to their family home

Little did Caroline know that a trip to New York for a friend's wedding would be the start of her own!

Having met during fresher's week at university, Caroline and Joe's first date really did end with Love Actually. “We had a few drinks at a local wine bar and then went back to my student house to end the evening with the Hugh Grant classic,” Caroline remembers. “It went really well and we couldn't wait to see each other again, which was lucky considering we met through friends.”

The romantic proposal came nearly 10 years later during a break in the Big Apple, “We went to America for a friend's wedding and were walking through Central Park when all of a sudden Joe got down on one knee and popped the question,” Caroline recalls. “We celebrated by having a delicious meal and champagne at the Boathouse, which was a beautiful and perfect way to end an amazing trip,” she says.

The duo chose a country fair theme for their special day and celebrated close to nature in a tipi in the garden of a family friend. “The relaxed feel of our day really brought everyone together. I loved all the quirky touches we added to make it fun and informal,” Caroline remembers.

Here she tells us more about planning the perfect day.

Love actually: Image 1

Caroline Sweeney and Joe Griffin, both 29, tied the knot at Hatfield Heath Holy Trinity Church, followed by a countryside tipi reception on 30th August, 2014.

 
Love actually: Image 2a

I knew my dress was perfect as soon as I put it on. I wanted to be able to do lots of dancing and feel relaxed, so being comfortable was really important.

Love actually: Image 2b

My bouquet was made up from a mixture of wild flowers, tied together with lace and twine. Our florist was amazing, she made such an effort and the flowers were perfect. I wanted something very natural and not too structured to suit the style of the wedding.

 
Love actually: Image 3

After trying three different styles, my hairdresser knew just what I wanted and did a perfect job on my elegant up do. The hair clip I chose really stood out and complemented the lace of my dress perfectly.

 
Love actually: Image 4a

I travelled to church with my dad in a vintage Bentley. We listened to a playlist of my favourite songs whilst drinking champagne along the way

Love actually: Image 4b

The turquoise bridesmaids' dresses looked amazing on the three girls.

 
Love actually: Image 5

We were really pleased with our choice of photographer and felt like we could be ourselves around her, which is just what we wanted. Our photos are beautifully natural.

 
Love actually: Image 6a

We made the decorations really personal by using lots of photographs of us through the years displayed in wicker hearts around the tipi.

Love actually: Image 6b

Having our reception in a tipi was the perfect option for us. It was informal, fun and suited our theme perfectly.

 
Love actually: Image 7

My dad was very emotional when he walked me down the aisle in our stunning local church.

 
Love actually: Image 8a

Joe started the day in a morning suit, but ended the night on the dancefloor wearing just trousers and a waistcoat with his tie round his head.

Love actually: Image 8b

I'm so pleased that we hired a vintage ice cream van. It worked really well as a dessert option and the pistachio ice cream was delicious.

 
Love actually: Image 9

Our country fair theme was brought to life with a stroll around the fairground rides that were close by.

 
Love actually: Image 10a

Our tables were named after our favourite places and we used milk jugs filled with wild flowers surrounded by candles and tea lights for our centrepieces.

Love actually: Image 10b

Rather than the traditional tiered cake, we decided to have cupcakes. I loved how the tower looked and how easy it was for guests to help themselves.

 
Love actually: Image 11

After drinks and canapés in the afternoon sunshine, friends and family danced to our favourite songs around the illuminated C&J initials that lit up the dancefloor.

 
Love actually: Image 12

Everyone enjoyed how informal our wedding was. A lot of people hadn't been to a tipi wedding before, and the barbeque was an unusual touch. I think the free bar helped too!

 

Caroline Sweeney and Joe Griffin's contact book


Bride's dress
Mia Sposa
www.miasposa.co.uk

Bridesmaids' dresses
Les Trois Soeurs
www.lestroissoeurs.co.uk

Catering
Duxford Country Kitchen
www.duxford-countrykitchen.co.uk

Ceremony venue
Hatfield Heath Holy Trinity Church
www.achurchnearyou.com/hatfieldheath-holy-trinity

Entertainment
Shoosh weddings DJ
www.shooshweddings.co.uk

Flowers
Mrs Custom
www.mrscustomflowers.weebly.com

Groom's and groomsmen's suits
Moss Brothers
www.moss.co.uk

Hair and make-up
Lolly Lou Boutique
www.facebook.com/lolly.lou

Ice
Baby
www.icebaby.co.uk

Mother-of-the-bride outfit
Mary's of Enfield
www.marysofenfield.co.uk

Photographer
Hannah Mia
www.hannahmia.com

Reception venue
Beautiful World Tents
www.beautifulworldtents.co.uk

Videographer
K&K Productions
www.kandkproductions.co.uk

Wedding night
Down Hall Hotel
www.downhall.co.uk