wedding festival149AMusic fans Simon Williams and new wife Sarah-Jane decided celebrated their marriage by putting on their own summer festival.

As if organising one wedding reception was not enough, the bride plans to turn her own unconventional wedding reception into an annual festival for the public.

The couple were legally married at Winchester Register Office last week. On Saturday they had a blessing in front of family and friends then partied the rest of the night away to music from local bands.

Many of the hundreds attending were camping out in fields on the farmland site just outside Botley.

Twelve months in the planning, the festival included entertainment for children, with a bucking bronco, characters from Alice in Wonderland and bouncy castles.

The main marquee had a stage for performances and hay bale seating.

Instead of wedding gifts, business consultants Sarah-Jane, known as SJ, and Simon asked guests to make a cake or donate their time as site marshals or serving refreshments.

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As a result there were dozens of wedding cakes, including one with a Smurf couple on top, in recognition of SJ’s nickname Little Smurf.

In true festival tradition, some ended up covered in mud while many basked in the sunshine, all wearing green wristbands.

Beyond the refreshment vans almost everything else was run by friends and family, who had worked until late the night before to make sure that it was all ready for the big day.

In keeping with one tradition, however, SJ donned a white gown and veil for the occasion.

The 39-year-old came up with the idea because both she and Simon are musicians.

The couple, of Dibles Road, Warsash, met on the last night of the 2011 Isle of Wight Festival, on the last song in the last open bar.

They got talking and realised that they lived only a few miles apart.SJ, whose maiden name is Gouldbourne, gave Simon her phone number but as he put it into his phone it ran out of battery and he had to wait until he got home to know if the number had been saved.

The couple are regular festival goers and have been to the Isle of Wight Festival and Glastonbury this year.SJ said: “We wanted to do something that we enjoy doing. We wanted people to join in and it’s worked.

“I’m over the moon.”

Simon, 47, said: “I didn’t want to do traditional in a church – it doesn’t reflect how SJ and I are and this seemed the perfect thing to do.”

It also meant that they could invite 493 people, he added.Now SJ wants to use this as a template for a future annual community festival for Botley.

The event would raise money for causes close to the couple’s heart.


Useful links:
Wedding Music Italy
Wedding Bands Italy