Planning an outdoor element to your wedding? Whether it’s a full on festival themed wedding in a field, or a marquee in the garden, your guests are going to want to sit down casually and comfortably at some point. So have you thought about outdoor seating? I’m not talking about upright dining chairs, but something altogether more fun and relaxing.
Did you know that you can hire deckchairs for your wedding? How fun and chilled is that? Liz Ridgway is the owner of Denys & Fielding, a boutique garden furniture, cushions and accessories company that also has classic deckchairs available to hire for weddings, events and special occasions.
We asked Liz to tell us more about her deckchair hire and the wider business:
Tell us a little about yourself and your business.
My name is Liz Ridgway, my company is called Denys & Fielding.
How can couples judge if a company is the right fit for their wedding?
Well, the weddings we supply tend to have a similar ‘vibe’. To date, all have taken place on farms or in the gardens of friends and family of the bride and groom. Good food and good company, relaxed and informal have tended to be the characteristics. Our fabric designs are all inspired by thirties and forties dress prints, so there is often a hint of vintage styling to the day.
If our readers were to order from you, what can they expect?
High quality products, a really personal service and a positive can do attitude. I am sure these all sound like cliches but they are the lifeblood of our fledgling business. There is no huge team, no call centre, no complicated hoops to jump through. Just two sisters, a range of products we are proud to call our own and a commitment to delivering a really personable, friendly service.
Tell us a little more about the day to day activities of your business.
2016 was our first season and every single day since has been very different to the last. I try and carve up my week into separate activities – some days dedicated to making our deckchair slings, others working a new fabric design. Admin constantly hums in the background! And since our love of the garden is what started our business, I write a blog about our exploits in the garden.
Part and parcel of getting our name out there is attending different events – these are hard work but brilliant fun. It is great to get out and chat to people about our business. There is no better feeling that the delight that people show at the sight of our bright and breezy range. It is such a tonic.
What motivated you to start your business?
My sister and I were both looking for garden furniture. Cat lives in London, I’m in Kent and despite very different gardens (small city pad, larger cottage garden) neither of us could find what we were looking for. We both wanted something bright, bold and joyful. We both love our gardens and view them as our ‘escape’ but we couldn’t find anything that really hit the spot in terms of seating and accessories. That is what prompted us to start making our own.
Going to a close friend’s beautiful marquee wedding helped make the decision to have a hire service as part of our offering. The marquee and wedding was just gorgeous but there was nothing v. comfy to sit on by the end of the evening! We thought deckchairs at a wedding would be wonderful, so keep a separate stock of our ‘classic’ deckchair range available for wedding and event hire.
What are your favourite moments from previous weddings you’ve been involved with?
I love the set up. We often hire our chairs for a whole weekend so we are usually there on a Friday evening before a Saturday wedding and then return on the Sunday or Monday evening. This way, families can use them for a pre wedding get together, post wedding celebrations etc…
Nothing beats that feeling on the eve of a wedding. Our chairs are usually an integral part of the styling of the wedding and add a real wow factor to the setting. For some reason it all starts to feel very real the moment we turn up. Perhaps because people can visualise their guests sitting back, chatting in them. I don’t know, but the excitement in the air is unmissable. It is just really lovely to be part of that.
Our chairs, particularly our extra large deckchair makes a great wedding present and momento of the day. When we receive these orders, I try and do the deliveries myself rather than use a courier. It isn’t very cost effective, but it is wonderful to go and visit a couple after their special day and deliver a chair that is such a visual reminder of their day.
The bigger picture – does your business offer goods/services outside of the wedding world? Tell us more.
Yes, Denys & Fielding is essentially about enjoying life outside. Included in our range are large floor cushions, mix and match scatter cushions, garden aprons and gifts for garden lovers.
We have an online shop and also a small number of independent shops stocking our goods.
And finally, what or who inspires you and why?
Crikey – it is a long list! Family, friends, people who get their heads down and really go for it. Random, everyday acts of kindness by strangers to strangers. Colours, textures, fabrics, plants, flowers, old seaside towns.
Above all, I feel really passionate about the importance of enjoying life outside – whether it is precious, special events such as a wedding or those quiet times in the garden after a tough day at work. To me there is something very life affirming about the time you spend outdoors. That sense of wellbeing you get when you are outside inspires me. Creating joyful products and services that help celebrate those moments is what Denys & Fielding is all about.
All images courtesy of Denys & Fielding