Anoushka Florence Doughty, founder of women’s empowerment company The Goddess Space, and Michael Edward Doughty, retired soccer player and founder of sustainable sportswear company Hylo, met at a bar in London. “We both didn’t want to be there, and as I was about to leave and go home, [when] he and his friend came up to me,” Anoushka explains. “He made me laugh, so I decided to stay a little while longer.”
After two-and-a-half years together, he proposed at his home in the English countryside. “We reached a rolling field, overlooking wild horses and sheep. He ran to the middle of the field, got down on one knee, and asked me to marry him,” she remembers.
Anoushka had always wanted to get married in the forest, as she feels closest to her spirit there. When she found the Wilderness Reserve in Suffolk, which had a forest, the bride knew it was meant to be their wedding venue and began planning their “natural, rustic, sacred, bohemian” nuptials for June 2, 2019 with help from Pocketful of Dreams.
For Anoushka’s wedding dress, she had a clear vision of a bohemian, Spanish-influenced dress with ruffles, crochet, and antique lace trimmings. A dear friend of the bride and her mother, Antonia of Sestra Moja, helped Anoushka create a gown from her mother’s lace curtains and other materials from local markets.
The bride’s beauty look was bare-faced and a surprise to herself. “My husband asked me not to wear make up on the day,” Anoushka explains. “I laughed and said I’m a bride, of course, I have to wear makeup. The irony was, on the day of my wedding, Jessie May came to do my makeup, and halfway through, I broke out in a reaction. My face got flushed, and I panicked and asked her to remove everything. He got his wish—still a shock to me.”
In Anoushka’s culture it is also customary to not wear jewelry during the wedding ceremony. However, since her grandparents passed some time ago, she broke tradition and wore one grandmother’s diamond watch and the other grandmother’s pearl bracelet. “It felt so special to have them on my arms during this sacred day,” she recalls.
The night before the ceremony, Anoushka held a bridal blessing by the lake, and the couple spent the night apart. Michael stayed in a cottage in the woods with no electricity, while she was at Sibton Park Manor House at the reserve.
The ceremony weaved rituals from Anoushka’s Jewish faith and Michael’s Christian upbringing. One of the bride’s favorite parts was when the groom met her halfway down the aisle and lifted up her veil, in keeping with the Kabbalah tradition. “He honored and acknowledged all of me,” Anoushka remarks. “That moment will stay with me forever.”
Once officially married, everyone headed under the beautiful, open Raj Tent Club marquee with dried florals from Swallows and Damsons hanging from the canopies above and watched the sunset. For dinner, people gathered around long, white-washed wood tables, set with menus by Crimson Letters, for the vegan meal, prepared by Oystercatcher Catering, and enjoyed music from a saxophone and trumpet.
After heart-warming speeches from the bride’s brothers, her sister-in-law, her father, and the groom, the newlyweds had their first dance to “Bones” by Ben Howard. And then guests moved into the orangery, which was transformed into a tropical paradise with disco balls and entertainment by Wedding Smashers. In line with Israeli dancing, Anoushka and Michael were lifted in chairs and “treated like a king and queen.” The party lasted until the early hours of the morning, and straight after the wedding, the new Mr. and Mrs. headed to Turks and Caicos for their honeymoon.