Today we head off to Newark in Lincolnshire for the colourful, eclectic wedding of Donna...
We are fast approaching the end of the week, yay for that! And it certainly is getting colder here in the UK. I hope you’re all keeping warm as the temperature has certainly dropped here today. To keep us warm and cosy I have a super cute Swedish barn wedding to share with you, courtesy of Heather Birnie Photography. Emily and Shane chose Sweden, as Emily’s family are from there and they wanted to treat their guests to all the amazing traditional food that is on offer from this part of the world. With a large proportion of their budget spent on the food, they managed to take care of lots of the other elements themselves with the help of their friends and family. The result is this gorgeous rustic barn wedding, filled with love, smiles and lots of DIY details.
Emily and Shane were married on 5th August 2017 at a family friend’s small holding. ‘The ceremony was by the lake and reception held in a hay barn that we decorated the week leading up to the day in Malsta, Norrtälje, Sweden. My family is from Sweden and Shane has always loved everything Swedish when we’ve visited. He even loves sill (pickled herring) which not many Brits do! I think he may have been a Viking in his previous life. We were debating having a small wedding in Sweden and a blessing in the UK. However, all our friends and family were up for the trip so we thought why not!? We had 90 guests and it took us about 18 months to plan the wedding. We got engaged 3 years prior but didn’t start proper plans till we found our venue.’
How they met
Shane and I met at a party in our teenage years. We’ve been together for 10 years.
Shane proposed at Cheddar Gorge in the car as it was cold! My dad’s reaction was ‘how mature’ which featured in Shane’s speech!
How did you allocate your budget?
Most of the budget went on catering. We both felt it was really important to give the ultimate Swedish experience of a smörgåsbord with local produce.
Where did you splurge and how did you save?
Catering was around £3000 but so worth it. The chef actually prepared the desserts for the Nobel Prize dinner, which we didn’t find out until after our first meeting! We saved by doing a lot ourselves and asking our creative friends to help! My mum made the wedding cake, we ordered flowers and a family friend made the bouquets. Another friend designed the invitations and we printed those ourselves. We decorated the barn and bought in alcohol and charged £1 a drink- we didn’t break even but it certainly helped! Pinterest had so many great ideas!
Why did you choose your photographer?
There was no question on who we wanted as our photographer. One of my best friends, Heather Birnie Photography who I’ve known and grown up with since I was 9. I’ve watched her talent blossom and I knew she would capture Shane and I at our happiest.
My dress was from Wed2b I’d really recommend going there as they always have things to try in your size. I decided not to have a veil as the dress was backless and that’s what I loved about it. My shoes were Carvela by Kurt Geiger. They were white medium heel wedges, super comfortable and I wore them on my honeymoon too!
Theme or colour scheme
We just wanted things to be very natural. The bridesmaid’s dresses were mint green and so were the flower girls. The groomsmen had a sage green bow tie.
A mixture of pink and purple roses, daisies and a purple flower which I can’t remember the name of!
Most of the decoration ideas came from Pinterest. We had hessian table runners sewn by my aunty and round wooden platters for centre pieces which were cut from the pine and birch trees that surround my Godmother’s summer house. Glass jars with raffia string and flowers in and lots of fairy lights around beams. We also had birch trees in the barn which is a Swedish tradition.
Swedish Smörgåsbord – wild boar meatballs, hot dogs, gravad lax, new potatoes, crisp bread, salad, venison, pickled herring, cheese pie.
Swedish sugar cake with mixed berries and whipped cream on the side.
We had a string quartet called Cosmos that played us walking down the aisle and at our canapes. My mother sang a folk song during the ceremony as well as the reception. As our ‘first dance’ we played Brazilian drums alongside Jamma de Samba, a Bath based samba band that I was part of at university who drove all the way from Somerset to surprise our guests! For the evening party we made a Spotify playlist which went down really well! At one point we thought the floor was going to collapse as it was bouncing so much!
Who supplied the stationery?
We bought craft card online and made our own!
We had so many! Lots of our friends helped with various decorations. On our wedding programmes we had a mixture of British and Swedish native animals such as fox, elk and lynx.
Our first look photos were so special and it felt so right to see each other before we got married. It got rid of any nerves and we were just so happy. Seeing everyone smile and have a good time when seated in the barn was also so special. Finally, surprising our guests with the samba band! We had put ear plugs in everyone’s favour bags which they finally worked out what they were for.
Advice for other couples
Make sure you do things that suit you, not anyone else. Give yourself the week before the wedding if you choose to do DIY as it will make the experience enjoyable rather than stressful! Drink lots of water on the day and don’t rush!
Definitely the speeches! They were incredible!
Heather Birnie Photography is a documentary wedding photographer based in West Wales who focuses on real emotions, capturing intimate moments and creating natural, memorable wedding photographs. Heather shoots weddings all over the UK and abroad.