Oasis Events: Transforming a Wiltshire estate into an enchanted forest
PUBLISHED: 11:24 02 February 2017 | UPDATED: 10:24 03 February 2017
We take a peek behind-the-scenes at Cotswold based luxury event planning and management company Oasis Events who brought an enchanted forest to a private estate in Wiltshire with stunning results
Oasis Events were asked to make a 21st birthday celebration extra special. Taking place at the top of a winding hill, through a wood and overlooking a lake on a private estate, the area was to be themed as an enchanted fairytale forest. 260 guests would be attending for drinks, dinner and dancing late into the night.
Design planning incorporated the outdoors and the woods as well as two large connected marquee spaces. Outdoor settings included playful ideas to bring the theme to life with the woods as the backdrop. Inside the first marquee, the feel was magical, with “faded opulence” as the key styling guide, leading through an enchanted garden gate into the secret, overgrown, candle-lit garden in a second, connected marquee for dinner.
The enchanted forest theme was brought to life with party settings out in the wild woods – a luxurious giant red drape set between the trees welcomed the guests, who then passed a fairy tale sign post and entered the reception marquee though a double door dressed with giant wooden stumps cut by the amazing estate team, and moss, ivy and flowers all studded with candles. A real, live friendly toad was found amongst the stumps just hours before the party started…waiting to be kissed and turned into a Prince!
The focus for the faded, opulent reception space was the 6m wide bar, dressed with hops, flowers and trailing greens, taxidermy and natural elements for a beautiful, feminine centrepiece to the reception. Overhead, opulent multi-layered drapes met at the apex, where birdcages were hung dripping in fairy light and greenery. The fabrics tumbled to the floor, over white linings, which had occasional showers of magical fairy light shining through them.
Furniture was carefully curated in a mix of velvets and aged wood, and chalk-painted bric-a-brac, set in small groups for intimate gatherings, with quirky side tables, rugs and gold-sprayed fruit and flowers mingling with and set inside the items, peeking out of drawers, trailing along the mirrors. Giant Baroque mirrors further dressed the walls, one housing the table plan, and a couple of items of furniture were painstakingly dressed entirely out of moss as if they had grown out of the ground, which was not boarded or carpeted, but was the natural grass of the site.
Through the clear PVC wall panels guests could see the inviting outdoor spaces accessed through the side of the marquee – a quirky outdoor sitting room complete with a free standing fireplace, pallet furniture trimmed with hessian and lace, and hay bales surrounding one of the fires outside the steps of a prettily dressed and comfortably furnished shepherds hut, complete with LED lighting for safety.
The fantastic giant wooden bench chairs were skilfully hand made by the estate team, from oak felled on the estate, and were lifted into place by their sturdy farm machinery. A single oversized chair brought a bit of Alice in Wonderland humour to the fireside.
Dinner was called as darkness fell. A theatrical garden gate, standing on tree stumps, surrounded by ivy trellis and bark, mosses and flowers, opened and welcomed guests through for supper. The Dining Room was entirely candle lit with a little careful highlighting from the lighting team, focussing the eye on the completely transparent panelling showcasing the night sky, dressed with suspended tress and branches overhead and around the eaves, and overhead antlers and wreaths draped in ivy and hops, hung with candles in twine-suspended jars.
The natural grass flooring continued in the dining room, tables clothed in a mix of a natural sage colour and gold sequins featured stunning tables centres: a mixture of delicate bell jars encasing mini woodlands, mosses and flowers, and giant candelabras wreathed in flowers and ivy, dressed with the animal skulls and holding towering gold candles.
With catering and bar management arranged by the marvellous Victoria Blashford Snell, the guests wanted for nothing as speeches ran on into dinner, and then dancing to the inimitable Gaz and his Trojans.
With the dance floor alive and kicking, guests roaming back into the faded, opulent drawing room found a garden fountain had appeared, growing up out of the grass in the centre of the room, serving chilled strawberry daiquiris.
Sometime after 2am the crowd was lured to the stretch tent tucked deep behind a hilly outcrop, under the cliff of an old quarry, slung artfully between the tall trees. Draped in camo netting, and dressed on the underside with abundant lengths of floristry, the natural dance floor was the guests’ home for the next six hours. Flanked by rocky outcrops and ferns, the outdoor “Day bed” appeared out of the darkness complete with iron bed head, drapery, bedside tables and suspended jars full of glowing candles, ideal for lounging and watching the revellers dance into the night.
The last minute miracle…
An enormous rain storm on night 5 of the installation and into party day threatened to fill the stretch tent ceiling to bursting with rain water, waterlogged the ground and meant mud, mud and even more mud. Working with the marquee team for last minute solutions, and the awesome estate management team for heavy lifting gear, within a couple of hours the water had been moved of the stretch tent, inch by careful inch, by the farm’s JCB. The mud surrounding the whole party site had been spread with beautiful fresh wood chippings, and the entire dressing team was put through it’s paces reviving all the outdoor settings after their drenching and the setting was then ready for the evening’s celebrations.
Dany Fremantle and her excellent Oasis team performed a miracle last weekend. The 21st birthday party had been many months in the making and had a theme of Fairy Tale, Enchanted Forest, which lent itself to many wonderful ideas. Dany waved her magic wand in such a calm and clever way that the end result was nothing short of heavenly. The thought, the execution, the interpretation of client requests, the co-ordination, the artistic flare, the ingenious ideas all accumulated to make a night of the birthday girl’s dreams. Dany is an absolute super star and she has an amazing team behind her. They don’t panic when things don’t go exactly to plan, which is always inevitable, they simply find clever solutions. This is the second time we have used Oasis and it definitely won’t be the last. No matter the size or the occasion, Oasis should be the only events teams anyone should look to. We cannot recommend them highly enough and just wish we had an excuse to use them again soon because we’re already missing them all.
PA to the owner of a private estate in Wiltshire, September 2016
To discuss your event contact Dany Fremantle via email on email@example.com or telephone 01608 651100