Music-mad newlyweds stage festival to celebrate marriage

Bride and groom Sarah-Jane Gouldbourne and Simon Williams with their festival guests.

Sarah-Jane Gouldbourne and Simon Williams party with their guests.

First published in News Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Senior Reporter

Music 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.

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.

Related links

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.

Comments (3)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

6:19pm Mon 28 Jul 14

lizzie1441 says...

Did anyone think about the noise nuisance for local residents?? Music from early morning on Saturday until after 3am on Sunday. This was totally unacceptable- a midnight finish might have pacified neighbours- but while the idea of such an individual wedding reception is great, music and lyrics could be heard for miles.
Did anyone think about the noise nuisance for local residents?? Music from early morning on Saturday until after 3am on Sunday. This was totally unacceptable- a midnight finish might have pacified neighbours- but while the idea of such an individual wedding reception is great, music and lyrics could be heard for miles. lizzie1441
  • Score: -13

6:36pm Wed 30 Jul 14

mims782 says...

We had such a fantastic day, never have I been to a weeding that had so much for everyone. Our son had a fantastic time with all of the children’s activities. We really hope this goes ahead every year as it was a magical day.
We had such a fantastic day, never have I been to a weeding that had so much for everyone. Our son had a fantastic time with all of the children’s activities. We really hope this goes ahead every year as it was a magical day. mims782
  • Score: 6

6:41pm Wed 30 Jul 14

lizzie1441 says...

I understand that the guests had a great time- but believe me for local residents it was a nightmare for around 20 hours. We had no advance notice of this event which after enquiries I understand was on private property- a local company who were thought to be associated have been very cautious in their comments.
I understand that the guests had a great time- but believe me for local residents it was a nightmare for around 20 hours. We had no advance notice of this event which after enquiries I understand was on private property- a local company who were thought to be associated have been very cautious in their comments. lizzie1441
  • Score: -1

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree