I have an absolute delight of a wedding to share with you today and to...
I have an absolutely gorgeous wedding for you today! A rustic barn wedding with so many handmade elements, I just know you are going to love it. I know I always say it but the photography is going to be one of the most important investments you make when planing your wedding. There are so many costs to a wedding but I really do think it’s worth spending as much as you can on a good photographer, and that is exactly what todays couple, Kelly and Matthew did. Even though there were on a strict budget they still recognised the importance of a good photographer and these photos by the very talanted Amanda Curd Photography are a testimony to that! After splashing out on a good photographer they then saved money on the dress by getting a sample, as well as inviting as many friends and family to help out with all the other areas, from catering to decoration to the flowers. So many gorgeous handmade elements to this wedding, it really is brimming with fantastic ideas.
Kelly and Matthew were married on 23rd August at All Saints Church, Beighton, Hall Farm, Low Road, Strumpshaw. ‘It’s our village church which doesn’t get much use; we were only the 2nd marriage ceremony in 5 years! Family friends own a farm which I grew up on. It has a beautiful thatched barn which was my childhood best friends Dad’s workshop. He died in 2007 and I referred to him as my 2nd Dad, therefore it had special memories for me and was a bit like he was with us on the day. We had 80 guests for the day, 120 by the evening and the wedding took 20 months to plan.’
How they met
We met through mutual friends at my friends birthday party in 2010, although we went to the same high school so I knew who Matthew was, but he had no recollection of me!
Matthew intended to propose on Christmas morning 2012, with a bench a friend had made from an oak tree from the farm. It was supposed to be carved with ‘will you marry me?’, where it was being stored, but the bench got locked in his nanny’s garage after the key went missing….so then he thought he would just ask at some point in the day, but my that didn’t work out either. He ended up asking me on Boxing day whilst we were walking our dogs, there was no bended knee or a ring, but that was fine with me, I was able to choose my ring!
How did you allocate your budget
As we were not at a wedding venue we had to hire or buy a lot of stuff. The biggest spend was the band & our photographer, the rest was food and drink and decoration. We wanted everyone to come and have a good time and not have to buy drinks, so I did loads of research on the wine & fizz and bought it when it was on offer. I borrowed and bought what I could second hand to save money. The biggest saving was probably on my dress, which was a sample and that allowed me to have enough for my Mum to make an evening dress for me.
How did you choose your photographer
We wanted more of a photo journal feel rather than loads of posed photos. I looked around on different photographers sites and in magazines and came across a Norwich wedding, which Amanda had photographed. I really liked the photos, had a peek at her website, sent an enquiry and a phone call later an Amanda was booked!
My daytime dress was by Justin Alexander and was originally a full silk dress. Mum replaced the top half of with lace I bought online make it a one off. My evening dress we made together so I had something which was easier to dance in and I bought a Ted Baker jacket to wear over the top. My day shoes I made myself at a Hetty Rose shoemaking course in London, using vintage Kimono fabric (I loved making my shoes) and my evening shoes were by Rachel Simpson which I bought on eBay. They weren’t the right colour so I painted them pink. A family friend gave me a beautiful string of oyster pearls and she bought me some matching earrings as a gift, my headdress was made from lace beading, taken from a Victorian wedding dress (Mum did this). We had to spend hours sewing the pearls back on that has disintegrated with age. I decided with a few weeks to go I would like a veil, so my Mum found some tulle in a charity shop for 50p and she hand sewed lace around the edge. My Mum was amazing!
The Suit and Bridesmaids
Matthew wanted something more relaxed than a formal suit but it still had to be smart so we bought him a Brown Paul Smith cord suit. We ordered Harris Tweed directly from Harris and my Mum made his, the groomsmen’s and our page boy’s waistcoats. My older bridesmaids had Ted Baker dresses and the four flower girls had Monsoon Estella dresses with a different cardigan each.
Theme or Colour Scheme
I picked out different pinks and yellows which I mixed in purple, blue, and greens. We more wanted something very rustic & country with beautiful old things that didn’t match.
I wanted to limit the amount of imported flowers as it was important to me that we sourced as much as possible locally and used what was in season. We grew a cutting garden at my parents house, used a local supplier of cut flowers, raided the hedgerows near our house and bought the roses from a flower stall on Norwich market. My friends brother in law who grows roses also stepped in at the last minute with a bucket of roses when we didn’t have enough and no time to get anymore. Her husband picked them up on the way home from work and dropped them off the night before the wedding! My Mum, niece (who is a florist) and lots of family & friends arranged the flowers. My niece made mine and the bridesmaids bouquets from a photo I found on Pinterest.
We filled jam jars with the wild flowers and hung them from string on the end of the pews in church and jugs , teapots and cut glass vases we had collected on the tables in the barn. My favourite arrangement was a ‘flower swing’ which hung in the barn entrance and a flower sphere in the centre of the barn ceiling.
We also bought loads of potted Dahlias which we put in two old cattle troughs outside and had an heart archway of eucalyptus.
Loads of old things! I made tissue paper pom poms and Mum re-covered loads of old lampshades with vintage fabrics. We hung these in barn with strings of fairly lights. We had an old cart filled with brewery jugs.
My two best friends made amazing canapés as a wedding gift, getting extra from Dozen Bakery in Norwich (the whole lot was devoured in minutes). For main we had a Hog Roast and I made coleslaw and salads and family friends supplied a dessert table as our wedding gift also. There wasn’t much of that left over either!
It was 1 double tier of carrot cake (our favourite) and the top tier was a carrot & courgette gluten free cake. I made it myself, helped by my bridesmaid Kate and daughter Grace. I was icing it at 1am and finished decorating it with sugared rose petals (Mum made these too from roses from our gardens) in the morning before I had my make up done. It was a bit stressful.
To keep the children entertained during the day Matthew made a giant Kerplunk, Ladder Golf & Corn hole game, which we found the instructions for on thisoldhouse.com. In the evening we had a local live band play called Empire, they were brilliant and had loads of people up dancing
Buy or DIY your Stationery
I made the invitations and order of service myself. They took well over 80 hours but they summed up us perfectly and they only worked out at £40, which was the cost of the card & envelopes. I had so many compliments about how good they looked.
Personal or Handmade Touches
Pretty much everything! The barn is just used for storage and was full of farm bits, bricks, windows which we had to clear out. We then had to paint it, sort the electrics, construct a stage, make a make shift kitchen area, put flooring down and then decorate it. Matthews Dad made us a bar for the beer kegs and his friends cut hazel trees to string army lamps up outside, turned pallets and wooden cable reels into seating and tables, put up fencing covered in hessian, laid AstroTurf across the farmyard and ferried the flowers from my parents house.
My mum did the lampshades, made cushions for every chair from vintage fabric and all the things I have mentioned above!
Special moments or any highlights of the day
Travelling to the church with my Dad in a 1960’s MKII Jaguar, the hailstorm during the canapés (never seen that in August, I’m claiming it as double good luck) and the final song the band played at midnight was ‘Hey Jude’. The remaining guests formed a circle around me and Matthew and sang to us, it went on for ages and we could feel the love!
Advice to other couples
Have a vision in your head and then spend time looking for inspiration, I loved Pinterest, it was great for putting all my ideas onto boards and for finding bits I never would have found otherwise for ideas (that’s where I came across a picture of the flower swing which became one of our main features in the barn). Have fun while you are preparing and don’t get too caught up in what other want you to have. It’s your day and the most important thing is you are marrying the person you love, no one will notice the things you didn’t get time to do.
I’d really wanted to have some big light up letters, but decided they were over our budget. When we arrived at the barn, there was a giant ‘K’ & ‘M’ hanging on each door which lit up in the evening. My Dad’s friend had made them for us as a surprise after he heard that what we had planned, but couldn’t because of the cost. They now sit side by side in our living room as a lovely reminder of our day.