A circus celebration at South Farm in Cambridgeshire

Emily and Geoff ran away to the circus for their spectacular big day at South Farm

Circus wedding South Farm Cambridgeshire confetti

Photography: Nicki Shea Photography

A circus theme

Emily and Geoff first met at an adult gymnastics class, so it didn’t come as a surprise to their 120 family and friends when acrobats, jugglers, stilt walkers and magicians brought the couple’s vintage circus theme to life. Their venue for the ceremony and reception, South Farm, even offered guest accommodation in renovated Romany caravans and showman’s wagons.

‘They fitted in so well with our vision and we absolutely fell in love with the fabulous barn,’ says Emily. ‘It was full of great charm and character.’

For the ceremony in the grounds, Emily walked down the aisle to True Love Ways by Buddy Holly. ‘It has such sentimental value for me, as it was my nan and grandad’s song,’ she says. ‘And the gazebo where we were married at South Farm was gorgeous.’

A colour palette of red, white and gold with a touch of navy worked well with the vintage circus vibe. And Emily and Geoff made the stationery themselves, including circus-style tickets and playing cards with names as place settings. ‘For our seating plan, we named the tables after various circus acts and created a custom-made frame with vintage pictures,’ says Emily.

‘Over the two years leading up to the wedding, we collected jars and bottles to spray gold for the tables. We also sprayed ferris-wheel cupcake holders for the tealights and elephant candles we had picked up here and there along the way.’

‘It took me at least a year to find my Lillian West dress and, at first, I didn’t enjoy the process at all,’ says Emily. ‘It was my nan who eventually picked it for me and I absolutely loved it. It made me feel like an understated princess! I added a huge veil and wore my nan’s wedding ring as my ‘something old’.

Geoff’s three-piece Ted Baker suit was blue with an orange check. ‘We picked it out together and I bought him a pocket watch as a gift to add to it on the day.’ And Emily’s eight bridesmaids shimmered in gold, 1920s-style draped dresses by Jenny Packham. ‘I bought them the moment I spotted them – guessing the girls’ sizes!’

South Farm Cambridgeshire reception

Roll up, roll up

Signature cocktails – Elderlinis – and canapés were served during the drinks reception followed by a seated wedding breakfast of prawn and salmon mouse to start, roast lamb for the main, and a trio of mini desserts for dessert. Later in the evening guests were served hot dogs, mac and cheese and wedges, plus a very popular market stall dessert cart, with popcorn, sweets, donuts and cupcakes.

The couple decided against a traditional cake as they wanted a dessert stall. So one of their bridesmaids created a dummy cake for them to ‘cut’, which was designed to look like piles of ticket reels stacked on top of each other. Favours were little custom-made bottles of shots with a fun rhyme.

South Farm Cambridgeshire desserts

Real-wedding advice

‘My advice would be, if you can, try to do as much of the detailing as you can yourself – it really makes the day personal,’ says Emily. ‘And involve friends and family in all the planning – my mum couldn’t do enough to help. Just trust your instincts and take time to plan if – like me – you like everything to be just so!’

South Farm Cambridgeshire cake

Your wedding contacts

Venue south-farm.co.uk
Photography nickisheaphotography.co.uk
Bride’s dress Lillian West at georgejamesbridal.com
Accessories davidsbridal.co.uk
Groom’s outfit Ted Baker at mossbros.co.uk
Bridesmaids’ dresses Jenny Packham at debenhams.com
Flowers thebasementflorist.co.uk
Styling fleurdelace.co.uk
Entertainment chriscoproductions.com; corporateentertainmentprofessionals.co.uk