Posts categorized: real weddings

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A Tropical Matara Wedding with a Tortoise Ring Bearer

Tortoise at Matara


To be frank, this wedding is a total treat for the eyes.

Harri and Ranjana wanted a venue with an outdoor component. They had previously travelled to Japan and loved the ornamental gardens there and are also huge fans of all things botanical. When they heard about a Japanese garden venue in England in which you can get married they knew they had to check it out. It was of course, Truly Quirky, Matara!


Japanese Water Garden Matara


Most of their family and friends are based in and around London, but they knew they wanted to pick somewhere a bit further afield where people would stay for the weekend.

They first contacted Matara around 11months before the wedding and pretty much knew as soon as they had walked out of the carpark and into the gardens. “We saw two other venues but they didn’t even come close,  the moment we saw the bamboo and Japanese maples, we were sold.”


Group shot at Matara


Matara has a stunning Japanese garden so was a big sell, they also wanted to have their own personal ceremony as well as the civil ceremony.  The cloistered courtyard and woodland area seemed perfect. Furthermore, the big house onsite for the wedding party was also a huge draw – they didn’t initially plan on using it but simply couldn’t resist. Outside, the gardens also afforded an opportunity to encourage guests to explore.


The House at Matara


A few questions to the couple:

Top three features of the venue? Firstly, the Japanese garden with the pond for our civil ceremony, the woodland clearing for our personal ceremony, the house for everyone to get ready and spend the night.

Did you stay? If so where and for how long? Did any of your guests stay? We stayed the night of our wedding in the big house onsite along with the immediate wedding party, around 18 in total. Our parents stayed in the zen rooms (again onsite). We booked out the Hunters Hall Inn (across the road) for around 30 of our other guests to stay. The remaining guests found their own accommodation in and around Tetbury.


Bridal Selfie Photo


Groom Getting Ready Matara


What was the food like, did you get caterers in? We were initially told that we would need to use Matara’s caterers but after explaining to them that we wanted traditional Sri Lankan food they were happy for us to find our own caterers. We therefore had traditional Sri Lankan snacks for the reception followed by rice and curries for the wedding breakfast.


We need to know ALL about that tortoise ring bearer please! Harri had always wanted a pet tortoise, and we got one back in 2016. We called it Ravitoto, named after a stew we had while travelling in Madagascar – there is no tortoise in the stew but we just liked the name. He/she is only 2years old now and fits in the palm of your hand.

We decided early on that Ravitoto would be the ‘tortoise ring bearer’ but we knew he/she would need a little help getting down the aisle so we put him/her on a cushion and got my niece to provide the ride. Harri made him/her a backpack out of a tea-light holder and some gold sprayed ribbon and the rings sat in there. He/she didn’t seem to mind. By the way we use gender neutral terms for him/her as we don’t know Ravitoto’s sex yet – that will only become apparent in about 3 years time.


Tortoise Ring Bearer on Cushion


The colours look divine, please tell me all about the colours and how you chose them. We loved the idea of a destination wedding but realised that having all our friends and family there was more important. So instead of taking them to the tropics we wanted to bring the tropics to them. The theme was tropical – thus we went for bright colours, greens, oranges and pinks. The groom and groomsmen wore tropical ties whilst the bride wore a tropical dress in the evening. We encouraged our guests to wear bright colours and tropical patterns. Tables were animal themed.


Matara Reception Colourful


Colourful Sri Lankan Wedding Matara


Tips for another couple choosing a venue? Consider getting married on a Friday – we were initially cautious about this as we worried some people wouldn’t come but soon realised that all the people we would want there would happily take a day off work. Plus you get the bonus of having the whole weekend to recover and see everyone. It works out as cheaper as well. Your dream venue may just become affordable if you consider a Friday.
Consider picking a location a bit further afield – it does make things logistically tricky but you get the benefit of having more people staying around for longer.

Try and do as much stuff yourself . We ended up doing all the decorations, including the flowers, as well as the invitations ourselves. Although this was a bit of work it was really fun doing it together as a couple and made the day even more special. It also saves a lot in costs – money that you can spend on other important things like booze.


Tortoise Ring Bearer with groom


Photographer Kevin Belson talks about shooting this stunning wedding at Matara:

Was this the first wedding you shot at Matara? We have shot there a couple of times before over the last few years. We shot a Glastonbury themed wedding there in 2013 and a Sri Lankan/English wedding in 2015 and we’ve shot a couple of weddings at Matara this year

Did Harri and Ranjana ask for anything out of the ordinary in terms of their photos? They had a second ceremony led by the Groom’s sister in the woods which was beautiful and emotional. They also asked for the group shot around the pond. Of course the most unusual thing was “Ravitoto” the tortoise ring bearer. We’ve had pets before but never a tortoise.


Beautiful flowers at Matara ceremony


What was your favourite thing about the venue in terms of shooting this wedding? It’s a venue where you don’t have to worry about time of year or weather. There is a variety of amazing spaces indoors or out and it makes life easy knowing that you are going to get fabulous photos without really trying. But if you do try the images are on another level again.


Couple & Wedding Party Sofa

Pink orange Wedding Decor Matara


Which features of the venue really appealed to you as a photographer? The overall eastern theme. Having many diverse settings indoors and outdoors small and large providing different moods.


Sri Lankan Wedding Matara Watersdie


Where there any challenges at the venue in terms of shooting at Matara?Trying not to steal the Kef 104.2’s from the house. Beautiful speakers which would sound and look fantastic in my house.  Apart from that no. It’s an incredible venue. One of our favourites and the staff are really lovely too which for us is the most important thing.




Who made it happen?

Photographer Kevin Belson

Caterers  Sri L Catering

Flowers  Triangle Nurseries Arrangements done by friends and family

Evening Dress  Samsoe and Samsoe (Ranjana wore a Sari from India for the ceremony)

Suit  Harry Brown

Cake  Made by sister of the groom

Hair Suzanne Hale



blog, real weddings /

Colourful festival & bumble bee wedding at Tournerbury Estate

This wedding at Tournerbury Estate really caught my eye.

I first met Nick of Velvet Storm back in 2014 when I was running Belle’s Events and I knew then that him and his team would be in demand and producing gloriously vibrant wedding photos for creative couples forever more. Naturally, when I saw Velvet Storm Photography post an image of this wedding at Tournerbury Estate on Instagram I was drawn in… the colours, the vibe, the venue! Oh me oh my. 

Of course, I wasn’t surprised to discover that this beautiful purple, lilac and orange, English country garden, festival, bumble bee wedding took place at Truly Quirky Wedding Venue Tournerbury Estate.

The gorgeous Sapphira Rose Kelly-Trotman and Timothy John Kelly-Trotman were married on on 9th July 2016. Feast your eyes on these my pretties…

wedding at Tournerbury Estate sapphira-tims-wedding-velvet-storm-photography-414



I needed to know more about the dress so Sapphira told us that after searching many stores in Portsmouth and the surrounding area she decided to get her dress made. As a costumier herself she wanted to design it but didn’t want the stress of making it herself so she roped in a professional, Wendy Benstead who she’d worked for in the past. After Saphhria came up with the initial sketch they both worked together with the assistance of Wendy’s head maker Heather Coad to choose fabrics and techniques to bring the design to life.

Wedding at Tournerbury Estate velvet-storm-photography-irregular-choice-boots


The bumble theme really warmed by heart, Sapphira bought her groom bumble bee cufflinks from Simon Carter and they were given to him on the morning of the wedding, she also gave her bridesmaids each a silver bumble bee brooch to wear on their collars. 

The flower girl was Teddy, her outfit was made by Sapphira, she used a McCalls pattern that she adapted to create her bumble bee dress, it had a black beaded lace bodice and a black and yellow striped skirt made of silk dupion. Her wings and antenna were both bought from Etsy.






Wedding at Tournerbury Estate Couple in Woods

Festival Wedding at Tournerbury Estate-velvet-storm-photography-281



Nick of who shot the wedding told me it was his first wedding at Tournerbury and was truly excited after seeing the venue on social media.

“Tournerbury Estate is a very versatile venue with shoreline and woods, which means great opportunities for shooting some incredible images. Weddings at this location can certainly be very different”  Nick








Amazing Photo Booth Wedding at Tournerbury Estate by Velvet Storm

Beautiful Ribbons & Flowers Wedding at Tournerbury Estate



Who made it happen?

Truly Quirky Wedding Venue Tournerbury Estate

Shot by Velvet Storm Photography

Dress Bride & Wendy Benstead

Bride’s Boots Irregular Choice

Flowers Roys Florist Gosport

Make Up Rouge Make Overs

Hair Dimensions Different Gosport

Ceremony St Mary’s 

Thank you to Velevet Storm Photography and to this creative couples for sharing their wedding at Tournerbury Estate.


ENQUIRE NOW about holding your wedding at Tournerbury Estate.

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French Bulldog Wedding | Marleybrook House | Scott Miller Photography

Marleybrook House wedding photos - Preston Canterbury Kent | Scott Miller award winning Photography

Marleybrook House wedding photos – Preston Canterbury Kent | Scott Miller award winning Photography


When I discovered that the fabulous photographer Scott Miller had shot a Fairground & French Bulldog Wedding (well it wasn’t the dogs getting married to be fair, oops, pardon the pun!!) at the glorious Marleybrook House I was truly excited. Great photography, a Truly Quirky Wedding Venue and my favourite of all the beasts in one package, not to mention the utterly gorgeous couple.

Dionne and Daniel were married on Saturday 6th August 2016 and what a stunner of a day was had. This was the first wedding at Marleybrook House that Scott had shot and he was really excited when he Googled the venue, a photographers dream! 

Scott told me “We were blessed with a wonderful sunny day which just complemented the the wonderful grounds and of course I just love the fairground”. 


Marleybrook House wedding photos - Preston Canterbury Kent | Scott Miller award winning Photography

Marleybrook House wedding photos – Preston Canterbury Kent | Scott Miller award winning Photography


Interestingly many of the couples that use Truly Quirky Wedding Venues want to know if dogs are allowed to join them on their wedding day. More and more couples are having their pets along to celebrate and who can blame them? I am new to pets and have only had my dog for a year, he’s my first, he’s Ted, a French Bulldog and if I were to be getting married now I would defiantly want him there. A french bulldog wedding would be a thing of beauty in my eyes!




I hope you enjoy these vibrant photos of Dionne and Daniel’s Fairground and French Bulldog Wedding, they ooze fun and good times, just like they should.

Marleybrook House is an immaculately presented seventeenth century ‘chocolate box thatched farmhouse full of unique character, and oozing charming history. Former home to the legendary international singer, actress and cabaret star Eartha Kitt, this Truly Quirky Wedding Venue is in a secluded location, offering total privacy and exclusivity, yet just seven miles from the city of Canterbury.  The five acres of landscaped gardens, paddocks and woodland provide the perfect setting for a quintessential English Country Wedding.



Marleybrook House wedding photos - Preston Canterbury Kent | Scott Miller award winning Photography

Marleybrook House wedding photos – Preston Canterbury Kent | Scott Miller award winning Photography


Marleybrook House is perfect for weddings all year round providing the prettiest ‘picture postcard’ backdrop throughout the all the seasons.  Experience the nostalgia of the many quirky features in abundance here including our authentic Vintage Fayre with Victorian Swing Boats and traditional side stalls, original haywain, gypsy caravan, vintage tractor, age-old carts, butchers bike, red telephone box and loads more cool stuff.




Marleybrook House wedding photos - Groom at Preston Canterbury Kent | Scott Miller award winning Photography

Marleybrook House wedding photos – Preston Canterbury Kent | Scott Miller award winning Photography




Marleybrook House wedding photos - Fairground and French Bulldog Wedding | Scott Miller award winning Photography

Marleybrook House wedding photos – Preston Canterbury Kent | Scott Miller award winning Photography


Marleybrook House wedding photos - Fairgrounf & French Bulldog Wedding Preston Canterbury Kent | Scott Miller award winning Photography

Marleybrook House wedding photos – Preston Canterbury Kent | Scott Miller award winning Photography




To enquire about holding your Truly Quirky Wedding be it a Fairground and French Bulldog Wedding, a Boho Festival Wedding or a Traditional Summer Fete Affair simply click here and fill in your details!


Until next time.



Photography by Scott Miller Photography


blog, real weddings /

Real Wedding at Comrie Croft | Ainsley & Iain | Wonderful & Strange Photography

One of my favourite things about running this site is hearing about and seeing really creative weddings that take place at Truly Quirky Wedding Venue’s.

was lucky enough this week to be given the details of Wonderful&StrangePhotography by the super helpful fellows at Comrie Croft. Naturally I was thrilled to see this glorious affair. The gorgeous and creative couple that are Iain and Ainsley told me why they chose and loved the venue so very much.

This is a ‘Real Wedding at Comrie Croft‘ | Truly Quirky Wedding Venue | Perthshire






So Ainsley, how many venues did you look at while you were planning your wedding?

We had a shortlist of three or four venues that we contacted by email and phone, but Comrie Croft was the first and only venue that we visited in person. We knew as soon as we saw the Barn and the beautiful views over the hills that this was the place where we wanted to get married.





What made you choose Comrie Croft?

We knew that we wanted something different from the traditional, formal church wedding and dinner. We wanted as many of our friends and family as possible to be able to join in the wedding and we hoped that we could extend the celebrations over a whole weekend. Comrie Croft ticked all the boxes: it offered us the chance to style the wedding in any way that we chose, and it provided onsite accommodation that our friends could make use of so we could all spend as much time as possible together over the weekend.

Comrie Croft lists good local suppliers, but you are not at all obliged to make use of them (there’s no pressure to spend money where you don’t want to). You are left alone to run your day exactly as you like, and there’s so much space that guests can wander off to do their own thing as and when they want to. We had a lot of children at our wedding, and it was great to see how much they enjoyed the venue too. Overall, the vibe is really informal and relaxed, which is really conducive to creating a fun event.


Real Wedding at Comrie Croft | Before it all starts | Wonderful&StrangePhotography Real Wedding at Comrie Croft | Grooms Sporran | Wonderful&StrangePhotography



What was the main selling point of Comrie Croft?

We loved the fact that we had control over every aspect of our wedding, and that we were involved in every decision that was made on the day. I don’t think we realised when starting out just how big a task we had assigned to ourselves (we chose to organise absolutely everything, from plate, glass and cutlery hire, to caterers for two days, to the bar, prop hire, and the silent disco and a PA system).

It was a huge undertaking, but it meant that on the weekend of the wedding itself we felt that we had created something really personal and unique, and we were filled with a real sense of pride when we saw how much fun everybody was having.


Cheeky Taxidermy Bunny | Wonderful&StrangePhotography


How much input did the venue have in the look of your day? Did you have a stylist, did they recommend anyone, or did you do it all yourselves?

Comrie helpfully list local suppliers on their website, but ultimately the venue is a blank canvas and it is left entirely to the couple to style their day. With the exception of the floral arrangements, we did everything ourselves (with lots of willing hands to help put everything together).

We were working until the small hours the night before our wedding getting the barn ready, which meant that we were absolutely shattered on the day itself, but the adrenaline kept us going all weekend!  I can’t rate our florist, Amanda Clayden of Green Pea Studio highly enough: her creativity with the trees and floral arrangements that filled the barn and Cowshed was incredible and it filled my heart with joy to see how she transformed the space.

Bride with umbrella at Comrie Croft | Real Wedding at Comrie Croft by Wonderful&StrangePhotography Bride at Comrie Croft | Real Wedding at Comrie Croft by Wonderful&StrangePhotography Moose Head at Comrie Croft by Wonderful&StrangePhotography Awesome Wedding Table | Real Wedding at Comrie Croft by Wonderful&StrangePhotography


Did you stay at Comrie Croft?

Yes, we booked one of the Katas to stay in (we chose the same one that we had stayed in when we went to view the venue initially). It’s a great way to glamp. However, we were having so much fun that we ended up staying up all night and didn’t use it. My husband eventually crashed out there while I ended up sleeping on a sofa in the bunkhouse!





Did any of your guests stay, and if so did you spend time with them at Comrie the next day?

A lot of our guests turned up the day before the wedding to help us set up, so as a thank you we offered them all a free bed for the night on site. On the night of the wedding itself all 74 beds available at Comrie were full too (the guests paid for this, which helped a little to offset the cost of hiring the venue over three nights), and quite a few of our friends opted to camp too.

We also hired out three of the Katas on site to accommodate ourselves and family and friends. We knew from the start that we wanted our wedding to be a whole weekend affair, and we were delighted that most of our friends chose to stay on until the Sunday. On the Saturday afternoon, we put on a hog roast (supplied by Highland Spit Roasts, and which was universally agreed to be the best hog roast EVER), and Ivan Drever (of Wolfstone) played an acoustic set followed by various friends DJ’ing until the small hours on Sunday morning.

It was great to have more time than you would normally get at a wedding to spend with our friends, some of whom had travelled from as far as China, South Korea, and the Philippines to share our day.



Bride with dog by Wonderful&StrangePhotography Real Wedding at Comrie Croft | Wonderful&StrangePhotography



We would heartily recommend this venue to anyone looking to create something slightly different and really personal for their wedding. Your imagination (and your budget!) is your only limit. We visited the site on a couple of occasions before the wedding itself (you can visit as often as you like) and were lucky enough to catch two weddings taking place on those visits, each of which were styled uniquely. The staff at Comrie are amazing (especially the lovely Ellen) and were endlessly patient with our long list of questions and requests. They leave you to just get on with things, but are also on hand if you need any general advice. 

Our guests were a bit uncertain about what to expect from the venue, but they all left saying that it was the best wedding they had ever been to. People loved being involved in setting up and helping to run the day itself. Comrie really does have something to offer for everyone, whether they are seven or seventy.



Real Wedding at Comrie Croft| Iain & Ainsley | Wonderful & Strange Photography



Dancing Bride | Real Wedding at Comrie Croft| Iain & Ainsley | Wonderful & Strange Photography

And a few words from the awesome photographers…

“This was the first time for us at Comrie Croft, although we’re back there in December and can’t wait to see how a Winter wedding will look there! We were really pleased to be capturing our first wedding Comrie Croft, from what we’d seen of the venue, it looked like a blank canvas to create something really personal and to reflect couples brilliantly.

We don’t tend to visit venues beforehand unless we anticipate any tricky situations or logistical issues… however, often we’ll scout the surrounding area for awesome locations in case the venue itself doesn’t have many options for a couples shoot. Although Comrie Croft is absolutely jam packed with places to go!

We loved working at Comrie Croft. It’s a really authentic venue, with a real community feel to the way it’s run. A million miles away from many of the faceless ‘wedding factory’ type venues. A wedding here will always be your own. The more creative you are, the more incredible your wedding will be. So many possibilities!”


Real Wedding at Comrie Croft


Bride wore Delphine Manivet and Laure de Sagazan and hanged into ASOS at night.

Bridesmaids wore ASOS and Flowergirl was in Ted Baker


Hector Russell Kilt shop in Inverness


The amazing Amanda Clayden of Green Pea Studio


A real mix. Some items were from India, others from Ebay and Amazon, Bride2Bride, Preloved notonthehighstreet.comSome items were homemade by friends (the LOVE sign and some of the bunting and they also hired props from Carnival Chaos in Edinburgh. Hay bales and lights from Comrie Croft.



Couple at Comrie Croft Dancing by Wonderful&


I really hope you have enjoyed seeing this Real Wedding at Comrie Croft. Thank you so much to Ainsley for her words, to the fantastic David and Martyna of and of course to Comrie Croft.

Yours Truly