See How A PapaKåta Event Planner Gets Married!
When PapaKåta Event Planner Danielle (Dannii) Pooley got engaged, we knew we’d be in for something special. With a background in Fashion textile, Dannii is a self-proclaimed follower of fashion, who loves old-school glamour and a 1950’s vibe.
For a truly honest and heartfelt account from an event professional’s personal wedding experience, read on, and see how Dannii planned her wedding day, celebrating under the canvas of our Sperry Tent…
As soon as Tom asked me to marry him I knew I wanted a PapaKåta tent, it almost went without saying. As an Event Planner at PapaKåta, I love both the Teepees and the Sperry Tent but in totally different ways. Tom is a PE Teacher so we knew that if we wanted a bit of a mini-moon afterwards then it would need to be the middle of the Summer holidays. For me, the Sperry Tent is perfect for a Summer garden wedding with the open sides and elegant canopy.
Tom proposed to me in a very Mills & Boon fashion, we’d been for a meal at the magical Alnwick Treehouse Restaurant, Tom’s family are from Alnwick so it was such a nice homage to his family and in particular his late Dad. He gave me a twirl as we walked along the boardwalk under the fairy lights and before I knew it he was down on one knee with a ring. I had actually picked the ring from Guest & Philips Jewellers in Beverley (where we went on to get our wedding rings too) but had no idea when he’d do it. He’d managed to keep the ring hidden in the house for about 3 months! We had about 1 year and 9 months to plan the wedding and I’m glad we did. There was a lot that we got done in the first few months because I already had my eye on certain suppliers, but there was still a lot to do and time doesn’t half fly when you think you have a lot of time!
The tricky one was finding a venue, we originally wanted to have it at Tom’s family farm in Alnwick, however, there was a lot of work being done on the farmhouse which would have made it tricky. I ended up speaking with my colleague, Sophie, whose parents own a stunning home called Everingham Hall which actually only ended up being about 15 minutes from where we now live. We went and had a look at it about a month after we’d been engaged and we immediately fell in love. It has a stunning Chapel on site which is more like the size of a Church but we loved the fact that it wasn’t completely finished or polished. The garden was the perfect spot for the Sperry Tent as well, making the most of the views of the hall and the surroundings.
Everingham Hall didn’t have a license and when I contacted the local registry office they didn’t have any times left for our wedding day (this was a year ahead) but even if they had, they couldn’t book us in because they didn’t have a license. This changed our plans slightly as we now needed to look at a different route which led us to a Celebrant, the lovely Georgina Pugh. We met with Georgina to see if we all got along and Tom and I instantly felt at ease with her, she had some great suggestions for how to make the ceremony personal to us. We worked with Georgina to create a ceremony that was personal to us and had a few touches in it like a reading from my sister, lighting candles for loved ones no longer with us and our own vows. Both Tom and I and all of our guests were laughing, crying and everything in between during the ceremony. Georgina was fantastic and absolutely made the ceremony, we felt as though she was part of the family and we’d known her for ages which was so important to have someone to calm our nerves.
Photography wise, I had my heart set on Wynn Davies Photography, I’d worked with them a couple years prior at a client’s wedding and they were fantastic with the couple and the guests. Their style is so real and it doesn’t feel staged with guests which is what we wanted, they capture the moments that not everyone sees.
Then on to the food which was such an important thing for Tom and I as we are huge foodies! I’d worked with Siobhan from Feast Yorkshire a few times for a Christmas event PapaKåta runs and then at an Open Weekend, Tom and I both felt comfortable with her and her recommendations for us were absolutely spot on. When we went to do the food tasting, we were not disappointed and we both came away with full tummies and smiles on our faces – we knew we’d made the right decision there!
When it came to the dresses and the suits, Tom’s sister owns a boutique in Northallerton, Victoria Robson Bridal. She’d bought a few Pronovias Gowns while on a buying trip in Barcelona that she knew I’d love. When I went to try ‘the one’ on, my bridesmaids and Mum pulled out about 20 different dresses, the last one I tried on was the one I’d had my heart set on and it was just a coincidence that my Mum had picked it out for me.
When Tom went to try on suits he wanted something a little different as he very rarely wears suits. He chose the tweed and a bow tie which I wasn’t convinced on initially but closer to the time I warmed to it and when I saw him at the end of the aisle on our wedding day, I fell in love with him a little bit more with his burgundy bow tie!
When it came to styling the wedding, I was absolutely in my element, my engagement ring is rose gold and Tom and I love all things copper and burgundy colours so we decided this would be the basis for our colour scheme. I really wanted foil pressed invitations as I wanted to set an elegant tone for the wedding. One of my bridesmaids recommended Minted.com and we fell in love with their designs. It’s an American based company with a number of contributors, you can make the invites so bespoke that it is so easy to get carried away with ordering all of your stationery from them!
Deciding on the table decorations etc was something we did much closer to the time, we wanted to bring a bit of our personalities in to the décor so we spray painted Superhero stencils (bought off Etsy) onto card and put them in copper photo frames (a lucky find in Aldi) to make up the table names. It had already been decided that we would introduce some dusky pinks into the florals so my Mum and I bought some fabric, dyed it and made some lose pink fabric runners. Similarly, with the napkins, I wanted a contrasting colour to the white crockery so purchased some plain fabric, dyed it grey and made some napkins. Making everything for the wedding was my favourite part, we split it up over the 6 months prior which meant it wasn’t too rushed towards the end.
With my flowers, I’d got in touch with Jo from Twisted Willow as her floristry is stunning, we’d discussed the colours and style of bouquets and the floral hoop in the tent, however, I had no idea what it would actually look like until I saw it on the day, I just trusted her to do an amazing job and her team didn’t disappoint.
On the entertainment front, one of Tom’s oldest friends is in a band Ridley Woof and he’d played at his own wedding a few years prior (in a PapaKåta Teepee actually). When we saw them play we’d both vowed that we would have them play at our wedding when we finally got married. They had everyone on the dancefloor – even the ‘non-dancers’ and were fantastic! In between their sets, Tom had crafted a playlist with all of our favourite songs to keep people on the dance floor!
We decided to run the bar ourselves which despite being a bit more work, it meant that our guests could have a great night without having to re-mortgage their house to pay for drinks. We got a Temporary Events License from the council which meant that if there were any problems then the local council and Police were aware. We had some friends who had worked in bars before so we drafted them in, bought all the alcohol across 6 months and hired the glassware from a supplier I work with regularly, The Catering Hire Company.
When we first got engaged and after the excitement had levelled slightly, the next thing was definitely the budget and there was a little bit of a moment of ‘can we make this work?’. We were very lucky in that both our Mum’s and other family members were very generous so we funded about half of our wedding which was still a lot of money to find in a year and a half, particularly when buying a house as well! There were definitely things we compromised on, for example, I wanted a lot more florals in the tent. But really when it came down to it, the moment I walked into the Sperry tent on the day, it looked amazing with what we’d done and the flowers we did have were perfect. You definitely do have to create a budget otherwise you have nothing to work towards and tick off, spreadsheets are your best friend!
We were also very lucky that we had a lot of great contacts and friend’s in the industry, but there were certain things that we didn’t have contacts for and that’s where we improvised and made a lot of things ourselves. It is extra time making a lot of things yourself but it keeps your costs down and some of it you might be able to keep afterwards. There is also something really nice about creating parts of your wedding and putting your own little touch on it. Keep an eye out for bargains at places like TK Maxx, HomeSense and Aldi, Ikea is also a great place for photo frames that you can reuse.
When we look back on our day, there is absolutely nothing we would have done differently. We had quite a few setbacks in the run-up to the wedding with the passing of my Nan, a family fallout and then the week of the wedding about 6 people who couldn’t come for medical reasons. Even the day prior, my table plan was stood on but we made it work and on the day of the wedding when we were all getting ready with my make-up artist Becca Hunton and my hairdresser Niki Thomson, it was a really relaxed morning of Bucks Fizz, pancakes and laughter. My top tip for reducing stress levels is, try and plan for everything that you can because there will always be things that you can’t plan for and when they do happen, just take a moment to think ‘what can we do to sort it’ instead of panicking. You have an army of amazing people around you (that’s why you chose your bridesmaids) and they are to help with anything that is thrown at you!
In the run-up to the wedding everyone kept on saying, just remember to take a step back on the day just you and Tom to take it all in, and we did and I am so thankful for that advice. However the best advice I was given was from two of my bridesmaids who are married: when you are walking down the aisle, remember it. Look at your future husband/wife and remember their smile (and tears in my case) then look around at your guests. I’m not very good with big audiences and walking down the aisle was the only thing I was nervous about but remembering that walk and seeing all of our friends and family smiling back at me is a moment I will cherish forever.
See Dannii and Tom’s full Sperry Gallery HERE