Two Eliza Jane Howell Gowns For a Colourful + Vibrant Handmade Tipi Wedding

Molly and Steven 56

I can’t tell you how lovely it was to open the folder of images for this wedding and see such brightness and colour.

This is a late spring wedding in three parts – a church ceremony followed by drinks and canapes at a local pub, followed by a tipi reception held in the bride’s parents’ garden. It’s also full of really personal, handmade touches, a female bagpiper (how often do you see this? We love!), colour, sparkle, pattern, fun and the most amazing tipis supplied by The Unique Tent Company. We begin with a sweet film by photographer Claire Batey, of Unscripted Photography, which really captures the effervescent joy of the whole day, not to mention these joyful, colourful images.

Molly is the founder and artistic director of Molly Freelance Dance and works as a community dance practitioner. She married Steven, a bus driver, on the 6 May 2018, six years to the day after they officially became a couple.

Images + Videography by Unscripted Photography

“Claire was absolutely outstanding – she was like one of the guests and put us at ease by just being there and capturing all the bits we wanted to treasure forever without being intrusive or over-directional. She just worked her magic eye and documented our day so perfectly. This means we are able to relive our Big Day over and over again and we could not recommend Claire more highly.”

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“Our friends and family would describe …us as fun, adventurous and unique. This was the inspiration for the theme and style of our day. We really wanted every single aspect to represent us in our truest form and use the talents of friends and family to help form the day. Lots of colour, pattern, rustic, handmade, personal and vintage-ness!”

Molly’s ‘something blue’ were her fantastically sparkly, embellished aquamarine shoes from ASOS, and for perfume, Jo Malone’s Pomegranate Noir, a gift Steven gives to her every Christmas and birthday.

“My hens bought me a silver bangle with a subtle hammered effect and small daisy with a rose gold centre, with a personalised engraving underside reading ‘Onto the next adventure together,’ which they gave to me on my hen do in Dublin in February, by Carole Allen Jewellery.

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Molly’s adorable flower girl wore a white dress with applique flowers from Monsoon, with a sash made from an off-cut of one of the bridesmaid’s dresses and a floral crown to match Molly’s.

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After an initial dress search drawing a blank, Molly attended a friend’s wedding and loved the gown she had chosen, by Eliza Jane Howell. This led to an online search for the designer – one of our fantastic Little Book directory members, and to Molly falling for the ‘Violetta’ gown, which she purchased from Kathryn Trueman Bridal.


“I organised a dress appointment … on my lunch break, in between teaching dance sessions. I went on my own thinking I just needed to try it on so that I could carry on the search if it wasn’t the one. The boutique was so light and airy and the ladies in the shop made me feel at ease. They suggested I picked a few other dresses to try before trying on THE dress.”

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When Molly did try on the ‘Violetta’, she was smitten, and it’s easy to see why. I love the beautiful beading and silhouette, with its gentle nod to the glamour of a bygone era. As well as this gown, Molly also liked the ‘Zenith’ gown, too!

“With no-one there to influence my decision and with both dresses samples and in the 70% off summer sale, I decided to get both dresses. Both so similar yet totally different, mirroring the traditional side and party girl side of my personality. The boho and the 1920’s glamour looks both dresses created were just perfect.”

01 Eliza Jane Howell wedding dress

Their ceremony took place at St. George’s Church, Mickley, Northumberland, and it’s a church with huge emotional significance for them both – Molly’s parents were married there 31 years ago, both Steven and Molly were baptised there, and they both have relatives laid to rest in its churchyard.

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Molly and Steven first met on a blind date organised by Molly’s younger sister Alice and her boyfriend almost seven years ago. They got to know one another over food and a pint in Newcastle, and after three years in a long-distance relationship (while Molly completed her dance studies), Molly moved back to the Northumberland countryside she had grown up in.

“After a year building up my business and living half at my parents and half at Steven’s, and after 4 years together, I moved in to Steven’s house. During the next year or so I (alongside building my business), I travelled on my own to America, Canada and India…”

A mutual love of hiking (and the new addition of Murphy, a cocker spaniel) took them to the summit of Ben Nevis in a blizzard for Molly’s birthday in May 2017, and this is where Steven proposed.

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Molly and her party travelled to the church in true vintage style, in a lovely classic VW Campervan, Skye the Blue Camper. The Maid of Honour and flower girl made their way down the aisle of St. George’s first, followed by the two bridesmaids, and lastly Molly, accompanied by her dad to Coldplay’s Sky Full Of Stars played as a live acoustic cover by Molly’s friends Flossie and Joe Mainwaring-Taylor.

“For both of us, our favourite part was the moment we locked eyes (teary ones on Steven’s half, though he blames the high pollen count!) as I entered my walk down the aisle in the church. A huge overwhelming sense of calm, happiness and pure love being surrounded and supported by all our loved ones. Euphoric!”

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“The vows remained as the vicar produced them. However, we were able to pick uplifting hymns, which reflected my love of dance, with Lord of the Dance and our shared love of travel, hiking and seeing the world with All Things Bright and Beautiful.”

“We also included a part where both sets of parents blessed us by lighting a candle each and placing them at the high altar. The singer and guitarist played Signed, Sealed, Delivered by Stevie Wonder as the signing of the register took place.”

For readings the couple chose 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7 as well as Blessing For a Marriage by James Dillet Freeman. During their vows they also exchanged rings; plain polished platinum bands from Beautiful Co.

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The bridesmaid’s hair accessories – individual fresh flowers secured on twine and woven into their hair, coordinated perfectly with Molly’s blowsy flower crown in bright yellows and oranges. Marion from Stobo’s Flowers put together the most glorious technicolour bouquets of orange ranunculus, yellow roses, pink peonies and thistles.

“Apart from yellow roses, lilies and a blue Scottish thistle to represent my heritage, I just wanted colour, fun and vibrancy but simplicity in all of the flowers.”

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The bridesmaid’s dresses added more floral fun, with fluttering cape sleeves and a bold and bright print, from ASOS, which they wore with their own shoes.

“Earrings were given to the bridesmaids as a gift …on the morning of the wedding. This even resulted in one bridesmaid having to re-pierce one ear hole there and then! Each bridesmaid had a different colour (their favourite colour) of pastel Swarovski pearl drop earrings by Joy by Corrine Smith…”

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Steven wore a handsome petrol blue three-piece suit in tweed herringbone from Master Debonair, which he wore with a crimson floral print tie from Etsy-based My Tie Shop, and a tie pin engraved with the couple’s wedding date and ‘Sky Full of Stars’ – a gift from Molly courtesy of Not On The High Street.

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On his feet Steven wore brogues in a rich oxblood hue from Charles Tyrwhitt. The Best Man and groomsmen wore coordinating suits and burgundy pocket squares from Slaters, with ties to match Steven’s.

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Molly wore pearl drop earrings from Joy by Corrine Smith and an Art Deco inspired lace garter from Crystal and Pearl Bridal. Friend Lauren Vincent from Blossom Beauty Spa put together a gorgeous and bold make-up look for Molly, with sparkly eyeshadow and vivid scarlet lips.

Her braided hairstyle was created by a friend, Kate Wanless-Barker, and Molly added a fresh flower crown and the most incredible dramatic veil adorned with kaleidoscopic sequins in a beautiful floral motif, made for her by Belinda Chorley of Beyond Bridal.

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“An ivory dress is far from what I would have chosen to represent myself but I wanted to remain classic so that in years to come it would still be fashionable and could be worn again and passed down the generations. This gave me the idea to flaunt my artistic licence and co-design a fabulous and memorable veil in regard to colour and pattern alongside Belinda Chorley at Beyond Bridal who had contacts in India to bring the creation to life! The veil was definitely a talking point of the day and still is now.”

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Bag piper Sue Thorell was hired to entertain and serenade guests as they made their way to the reception. How absolutely wonderful to see a female bagpiper!

01 Sue Thorell Bag Piper for weddings

It was a short walk to the Dr. Syntax pub for canapes and drinks before everyone was escorted over to Molly’s parents’ garden by piper Sue Thorell for the wedding breakfast and reception. The tipi, supplied by The Unique Tent Company was decorated with lots of lovely handmade items, with Molly’s friend Sophie of Signed by Sophie creating helpful signage and a large order of the day, and place cards for the tables made by Molly using picture frames, glitter paper and lollipop sticks.

“The chair backs were created from different patterned and bright eclectic colours of ribbons and strips of material, each hand crafted by me and attached to the back of three chairs per table. The bunting was all handmade by my mother and her fairy godmothers! They also brought greenery from their garden and ribbon from the florist I used to dress the tipi poles for cohesion and unity.”

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Post-ceremony it was over to the Dr. Syntax Pub nearby for canapes and drinks and then onto Molly’s parents’ garden for a tipi reception party.

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There was a basket of cosy throws in case things got chilly, a vintage suitcase belonging to Steven’s late nana, and photos of the couple pegged onto string, as well as vibrant floral arrangements on the tables.

“Wedding favours were small bags of Scottish tablet, which my Granny made from scratch. I assembled each bag individually and tied them each with tartan ribbon. They were displayed with each individual place-name card stuck through them.”

45 A vibrant handmade tipi weddingSigned by Sophie colourful wedding sign46 A vibrant handmade tipi wedding49 A vibrant handmade tipi wedding

Hutchinson Catering provided a three course wedding feast, while Event North took care of the bar. The incredible wedding cake was made by Molly’s childhood friend, Lauren Duncan.

“The bottom tier was chocolate, middle tier was Victoria sponge and the top-tier was lemon drizzle. Covered in ivory butter icing and hand piped design of flowers, birds and hearts in bright colours, which tied in with the authenticity of the theme perfectly. The cake was dressed with extra fresh flowers left by the florist…”

01 Colourful wedding cake

The decoration is so beautiful – it reminds me of some pieces of Hungarian embroidery I have here at home, so lovely! The cake topper was created by Sarah Shorter of Feats of Clay.

“This incorporated a map of Ben Nevis (where Steven proposed), a suitcase with luggage tag ‘Kilimanjaro’, which is what we are climbing for our honeymoon in November 2018. We also have backpacks and walking boots on and our outfits are in resemblance of what they wore on the big day. Murphy, our cocker spaniel, features here making sure he had a part in our day.”

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In the evening there was more delicious food from North East Pig On A Spit Hog Roast Company and crepes from FlipnFast. Molly also changed into her second Eliza Jane Howell, and the sequins and beads on the ‘Zenith’ gown catch the light beautifully – perfect for dancing to live music from Phil Davids and The Good Times Band.

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For their first dance, it had to be Sky Full Of Stars by Coldplay for Molly and Steven – they are both huge fans and have seen them live a number of times.

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“For the first minute and a half, we took to the floor as the new Mr and Mrs Grey, Molly in light up glitter wellies, and danced a non-choreographed (much to the surprise of many!) authentic dance where we were in a bubble of pure joy and love for each other. We then shouted ‘everyone in!’ as the beat kicked in and there was a sea of jumping bodies having so much fun in what can only be described as a mosh pit!”

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Words of Wedded Wisdom

“Enjoy getting crafty and creative! I found the making of every little detail therapeutic and, although time-consuming, so worth it as everyone appreciated how personal and ‘us’ it all was. Do everything with love and love will shine through.”

As much as you want to make sure everyone is catered for and happy, remember it’s your day. We had just over 200 guests, some of whom who had travelled long distances, from Thailand, New Zealand, Australia, Canada and all over the UK to be there, and we catered for veggies, vegans, gluten, nut and dairy intolerances, which if anything made me feel at ease to know there was something for everyone, but in hindsight everyone was just happy and there to celebrate with us and the food was a small part of a big day!”

“Don’t get hung up on the little things! When it all gets a bit hectic (around the two week before mark) drink some fizz and enjoy the ride! On the day, make time to getaway with your new hubby! Myself and Steven drove in the campervan to a sentimental place which looked across the valleys in which we live, upon leaving the church whilst the guests made their way to the pub. It was so nice to have time to ourselves to realise and appreciate the commitment we had just made and take it all in. (It also gave us time to readjust – for me to re-apply my lipstick and Steven to cool off!)”

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Wow! Thank you Molly and Steven, what a jam-packed, fun, bright and bold day you had. Many thanks also to Claire at Unscripted Photography for her stunning images and film. Take a look at more showstopping Eliza Jane Howell gowns on our blog pages right here.

With love,


Credits & Thanks

Laura Callan

Laura Callan View all Laura's articles

Laura is a freelance writer and content creator who loves telling stories. She has keen eye for photography and art, and lives with her husband, cats, and huge amounts of books.

One thought on “Two Eliza Jane Howell Gowns For a Colourful + Vibrant Handmade Tipi Wedding

  1. Fabulous. I’ve just relived an absolutely exciting, energetic, joyous day celebrating the marriage of Molly and Steven. From beginning to end the day buzzed with happiness, a day full of smiles for everyone to remember. Molly and Steven, you both are stars. XX

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