Ok, so there are certain brides that know exactly what they want, when I say exactly, Sarah Dack was absolutely no exception. As little girls, we all play in our school playgrounds taking it turn to be the bride, (I am talking duffle coat hoods over our heads using the rest of the coat to act as a veil). I am absolutely certain that from this age, the lovely Sarah had her plans and not much had changed!
Simon took the original call from Sarah as I was out at a venue, from memory the hand-over notes were along the lines of…” You are not going to be able to get a word in edgeways, but this gal loves us and you are going to love her”.
The next few months we did however exchange a few thousand emails, not all wedding related, to make sure that Dackfest was the real deal for both Sarah and Chris. We met up for food tastings and prosecco which you must understand is obligatory if you are one of our couples.
The weather leading up to Dackfest was slightly unsettled, but in true Wedfest style, when the Saturday morning arrived, we could not have hoped for a more beautiful stonker of a day. Thinking back, it may have even been the hottest day of the summer.
Sarah and Chris opted for a set colour theme of dazzling white and yellow which complimented the venue perfectly. Every shade of yellow was chosen from the flowers, to flags, cakes, bridesmaid dresses, the table confetti, this was colour co-ordination at its best! I never did ask Sarah what colour underwear she was wearing, I am kinda hoping she had a yellow and white thing going on, but upon reflection, the girl was far too classy for that!
The atmosphere was electric as guests waited in anticipation for the arrival of the bride. Chris and his groomsmen were extremely cool customers, totally taking the whole thing in their stride, all looking rather gorgeous I should add! Nick Myers, their celebrant, was in position and guests were asked to take their seats on the perfectly laid our bales, with an aisle of shepherd’s hooks, lanterns and bridal flowers all overlooking a stunning lake with wait for it…. yellow flowers all over it! Nothing to do with us, it just happened. Of course, we did try to claim that the Wedfest crew had positioned them all perfectly. I don’t think Chris and sarah actually bought into that one, it was worth a try though!
The arrival of babe, aka Debbie Dack, Sarah’s Mum, was quite a spectacular one! This chick danced the whole way down the aisle and then we knew it was only moments before Sarah and her girls arrived.
Just Millie was playing gentle acoustic instrumental songs ready to start to perform for the bridal entrance. Then, we saw it, my faithful bug, being driven by Paul Buttaci (Sarah’s Father) across the venue, it was her moment, everything she dreamt of, not a duffle coat in sight, just a stunning beautifully laid out venue ready for Sarah to wed her beau. The Guests all started to raise the roof as the bug drew closer, clapping, whistling, cheering erupted. I am pretty sure (Sorry Chris, I know you are super cool, but hey modern men and all that) that Chris was feeling slightly emotional and this point. To be fair, we all were!
I will be honest, I do get planners rights, so I had seen Sarah’s dress. But as she got out the car, we all stopped for just a moment with our jaws dropped. Now, all brides to us are beautiful, most people to us are beautiful, but by golly, this bride had it going on! A stunning combination of natural beauty and elegance stood before us and we were all speechless. Yes, even me, it happens, not often, but this is one of the occasions even I was lost for words.
We did have a rehearsal the previous day, with her three girls, Sarah Dimes (Maid of Honour), Hayley Snishko & Siderah Shafak, named by me as the three amigo’s who seamlessly got straight into position ready for the big entrance. Nick Myers asked everyone to quieten down and be upstanding for the bride as I moved everyone down to start of the aisle. The nod was given and Just Millie, who by the way has the voice of an angel, started to sign “ All of me” by John Legend. At the precise moment, I backed away and off Sarah, and Paul (Dad) went on their walk down the aisle.
The ceremony was perfect as the sun shone down on the couple as they exchanged vows and rings. All beautifully ended with Just Millie performing “ Happy” By Pharell Williams as the couple walked back down the aisle to a bombardment of confetti, clapping cheering with a glass of prosecco to greet them at the other end!
The line -up for the day was kicked off on our outside stage called the Haybale stage. This stage offers the chance for guests to relax in the afternoon sun, while being entertained by some of the South Coasts finest acts. Just Millie was very quickly transported over and she played a cracking set to open up the festival and set the scene for the day. Guests congregated around the couple to congratulate them while being served an array of canapes and sipping prosecco.
Next up was the stunning Khaleda Brophy-Harmer leading the brilliant Day of The Rabblement who performed a mix of fabulous foot tapping English folk. Khaleda has the most enchanting, beautiful and memorising voice, backed up by Danny Harmer on the squeeze box, Sean Brophy on bass and Mac Brown on guitar. If you haven’t heard these guys before they're an absolute must to check out. They are regulars on my play list because they are just simply bloody awesome on so many levels and really lovely peeps too.
The Swine Waiter, who never fails to deliver served up what we call the “Swine and Dine” menu, crispy seasoned roast potatoes, slow cooked pork accompanied by fresh crisp salads.
Tables were called up one at a time, each aptly named after a well-known festivals, to help themselves to this delicious posh nosh and in case you’re wondering I did finally get that crackling that I was promised, thanks Ed ;) The speeches were everything they should have been, hilarious, warming and moving. Boys, you all did very well!
Next on the line-up was up was one of our finest performers. Josh Clark aka RemedySounds, an absolute staple (even if we do say so ourselves) for any wedding festival, there really is no one who gets the crowd going as much as this guy. At this point we had moved inside of the marquee and on to the fully kitted out main stage. Now, it’s become a bit of a Wedfest tradition when RemedySounds plays to have a bit of a bride and groom dance off, but what was about to happen will definitely go down as one of the finest Wedfest dance off’s and there have been a few now!
We are pretty prepared for guests shaping moves, but even we weren’t ready for the kind of moves that were about to be unleashed on us. The bridesmaids got fully involved sassing it across the dance floor one at a time. Then, as a team, doing roley poleys left right and centre! La piece de resistance however was the bride doing a full on cartwheel IN HER WEDDING DRESS in front of all of her guests, followed by the groom coming back at her with the worm, successfully done one end of the dance floor to the other, boom! Needless to say, the guests were absolutely buzzing by this point and so RemedySounds cut straight back in to his set and had everyone encapsulated with his rendition of Paul Simon’s ‘You Can Call Me Al’.
There’s one person I really have to mention here as he gave us so many smiles on the day, just check him out! Sarah’s Grandad, aka DOTD, dude of the day! What an absolute legend he was around the venue that day. Pimping up his scooter, right or wrong? Answer; absolutely right!
The Hatties played a blinding set next, they always do, a mixture of all the great covers from the 70’s right up to modern day hits that everyone knows. These guests were now ready to party and that's what they they did! This is where the inflatables from the Photo Booth really came out in force too, the crowd were almost unrecognisable in multi-colored curly wigs and ridiculous sunglasses, and yes Chris kept a set of bongos on wrapped around his neck ALL NIGHT, I think he became pretty attached to them actually. They suited you Chris!
I don't know what it is about fireworks, but everyone, no matter how old or young, bloody loves them. There is a story to tell with this though, a lot was lying on this firework display, at least it was for me. I made the suggestion that we should try and time the fireworks to “Clubbed to Death”, doesn’t sound very wedding does it?! It’s the incredible soundtrack to The Matrix and I my opinion it was written for fireworks. Sarah loved this idea and there it was, our very own timed firework display, now to tell the Sound stage and lights guys and the firework company that I wanted to add a small twist. I thought if I said it quickly enough that it would perhaps just go unnoticed. I did and it didn’t. Apparently, these things are harder than one who comes up with these crazy ideas may have anticipated. The thing is, at this stage we were all up for it, it was now a challenge. Walkie talkies in hand, the pyrotechnics one end of the venue, the sound engineer the other end, our crew moving everyone in place, this was our chance to give the Chinese Olympics a run for their money. Ok, that may be a slight exaggeration and I now know that I do not want a job working with timed firework displays. This track starts with a full orchestra for the first thirty seconds, then the bass drops in, it builds and builds right up to another piano solo and then boom, just as the bass kicks in again, that very second, that was the second we wanted the big bang. I stood there holding Chris and Sarah’s hands tightly, were we actually going to pull this off? Of course we were, we smashed it down to the second! We won’t mention that I ran around shouting I am the Chinese Olympics at that point…but I was.
Three hours, three channels, two great DJs and one cheesy Wedfest playlist, it must be silent disco time! At this point in the night everyone is so hyped and just ready to carry on the party and the silent disco does just that. Our friends at Bee Ariel who had been videoing the whole day, were really getting involved at this point too. They did say they would be leaving at 10.30pm as it would be a long day for them. However, I am pretty sure they were still dancing at 2am! These guys are top London videographers and they all said they had never experienced a wedding quite like it!
Slowly the odd few people slipped away to bed to the beautiful bell tent village, but the hardcore’s were still going, sadly the silent disco had to eventually come to an end at 2am. Sarah had put in a very special request on her wedding wish list and that was for RemedySounds to play some late night unplugged. Josh doesn’t let anyone down, least of all a bride on her big day. He played all the classic as the guests sat around having a requests session. By 3.30am, everyone was tucked up after what was yet another fantastic wedding and another happy couple.
The obligatory full English baps were served for breakfast the next morning as guests sat about almost in disbelief of what had actually taken place in the Surrey countryside the day before.
Thank you Dackfester’s you were all tremendous fun, we absolutely loved hosting you and would do it again tomorrow. Most of all, thank you so much to the super lovely Chris and Sarah who let us Wedfest up their big day. You were great to work with, we all wish you a long and beautiful life together with whatever makes you both smile.
The Wedfest Crew xxxx