Emma and Gregory’s Epic DIY Village Hall Shindig by JRP Photography

Today I am taking you to Lancashire for the gorgeous DIY wedding of Emma and Gregory. This country loving couple wanted a blank canvas for their wedding reception, close to the church where Greg was christened. They wanted a day they could really put their own stamp on, which they did by filling each weekend with DIY projects until the entire hall was filled with their homemade decoration and details. Their love for their beloved Pug Eric was reflected in many areas and can be seen as a running theme through their day. It was Emma herself that sent me in this wedding, so big thanks to her and thanks to JRP Photography for the images.

An epic DIY village hall shindig! 

Emma and Greg were married on 15th of July 2017 at St Helen’s church, Churchtown with the reception at Over wyresdale parish hall, Abbeystead village. ‘We chose to marry at St Helen’s church as Greg’s family grew up in the village and Greg was christened in the church. I stumbled across over wyresdale parish hall while looking for halls within reasonable distance from St Helen’s, I can honestly say it was love at first sight. The hall is located in the picturesque hamlet of Abbeystead and when we went to view it we couldn’t stop smiling, the gorgeous stone, enormous windows and breathtaking countryside and whimsical woodlands that wrap around the hall just felt magical and we just knew this was it. We hired the hall for the full weekend and was able to really put our stamp on it and make it our own. We really wanted our wedding to be small, intimate, fun and completely personal to us.  We had a small wedding of just 50 guests (and one pug!). It was 22 months from the beautiful proposal to our big day. We had always spoke about our wedding and what we both envisioned, so we jumped straight into planning and had most things booked rather early on.’

How they met
We met when celebrating a friends birthday. We have been together for six years. 

The proposal
Greg proposed on the 25th of September 2015 in Grindleton Village, Clitheroe. Greg proposed on the beautiful green overlooking the spectacular pendle hill. It was a crisp september day, the sun was shining and our pug Eric was at our feet, no one else just us in the peace and quiet. We love country dog walks so the stunning village setting was just perfect and felt like “Us”. Greg had put so much time and thought into the proposal and had been working with master jeweller Damian Carr from Carrs Jewellers for the last four months to design my beautiful vintage inspired engagement ring.  We celebrated in style at the village pub with pudding and of course a good cup of tea!

How did you allocate your budget?
The church ceremony and village hall were the most important so we budgeted for them first, followed closely by the food! The rest we really just went with a flow and did our research to ensure we budgeted sensibly and made our money go further. I kept a detailed table of everything we were having and the cost. There is a million things you could splurge on and easily get carried away with in the excitement, but we really wanted to stick within our budget and spend an amount were comfortable with. 

Where did you splurge and where did you save?
We splurged on rings as they are something we will wear for the rest of our lives. My gown and accessories, Greg had said to me prior to dress shopping if I try a gown on and it’s the one just say yes!
Everything else was a save! We really did our research and were very lucky that our suppliers were amazing but really reasonably priced. Arranging everything ourselves was a challenge as you really have to be super organised and put your trust in your suppliers  as a diy wedding just has to run itself on the day!  Making everything ourselves and choosing the village hall definitely enabled us to really stretch our budget.

How did you choose your photographer?
The very talented John Shahabeddin from JPR Photography is a dear friend and fabulous photographer. John is a childhood friend of Greg’s so as well as being the photographer he was also a guest. He was absolutely fabulous. He really captured all the finer details and made everyone feel relaxed. 

The dress 
I said yes to the most beautiful Justin Alexander (Florence) dress in Lulu Browns bridal boutique, Whalley. I had been scouring the website for months as they have won many awards and had the most beautiful selection of dresses.  It was the fourth dress I tried on and I knew immediately it was the one! My shoes were my dream shoes, they were “Andrea” from Charlotte Mills, complete with “Happily ever after” shoe clips. I wore my blue tiffany bracelet as my something blue, it was a gift from Greg a few years ago.

The suit and bridesmaids
Greg loves green and with the country feel we were going for, his green suit from slaters was a no brainer!  His brogues were from clarks and he wore pug cufflinks and a pug tie clip. He also wore the green vivienne westwood watch I gifted him on the morning of the wedding.
My childhood best friend and bridesmaid Samantha wore a lovely peach floral swing dress from Lindy bop and nude heels.

Did you have a theme or colour scheme?
We had a sweet summer color palette of peach and ivory, mixed with hessian inside the hall. 

Simple petite peach roses and gyp. Our beautiful flowers were sourced and made up by the very talented Gemma from Bluebells and Daisies. Gemma dressed the church pews beautifully with gyp and hessian bows. On the church gate hung the most beautiful flower wreath. 

We went for a rustic, summer vintage feel and hired log slices, crates, ladders, a few extra jars, chair covers/sashes, tablecloths and runners from bluebells and daisies. We hired a gorgeous twinkly dance floor, love letters and scrummy candy cart from sparkling events. Everything else we used to decorate the hall were bits and bobs we had handmade and collected over the last two years. We had a lot of stuff which was much needed as the hall is a very large blank canvas.

Food was a massive deal to us. We knew we wanted our favorite foods and lots of it!  We didn’t want canapes as it just isn’t us, instead we opted for unlimited locally made ice cream served from a vintage style trike.
We had a two meat carvery with all the trimmings made by the wonderful Davina from Davina’s high class catering. We wanted Greg’s granddad’s amazing jam roly poly for dessert, so we gave the secret recipe to Davina and she made it for us, a personal and rather tasty touch.
We hosted a “Great wedding bake off”. Me and Greg judged the competition (In Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood masks!) and gave the winner a choccy woccy doodah solid chocolate pug. There were lots of tasty cakes and everyone made such an effort to get involved. 

Wedding cake
Where to start! Due to unforeseen circumstances our cake maker cancelled the week of the wedding (panic mode!) Luckily choccy woccy doodah saved the day. We ordered the cake online but due to its size it could only be picked up from store, in London. Greg travelled to London on the train and picked up our enormous choccy woccy doodah cake but ended up stranded in London due to major delays which meant carrying the enormous (ridiculously heavy) cake around to everyone’s amusement! This must have a being a big story in the village where we married as while we were on honeymoon a local newspaper rang to see if they could publish a story on our cake dramas!
The cake was a rich chocolate sponge with chocolate orange filling, topped with chocolate fans and two little lovebirds.  We also had two choccy woccy pugs sitting at either side of the cake to represent our pug Eric.

We had garden games such as bowling, giant dominos and a sack race. We made our own colorful photo arch with selfie sticks, heaps of props, pug masks and a life size cardboard cutout of Eric. Throughout the day we had a wonderful harpist called Frank who played beautifully throughout the drinks reception and meal, followed by the amazing acoustic duo Georgina and Dan singing a selection our favorite songs including our first dance song Ed sheeran, Tenerife sea. We had an absolutely fabulous Caricaturist  called Sean, his drawings were brilliant and had all the guests giggling, plus they were a fantastic keepsake from the day. For the evening sparkling weddings provided an epic disco which got all the ladies dancing in flip flops and the guys rocking the blow up guitars! 

Who supplied the stationery?
We had very simple, rustic invites and luggage tag save the dates. The invites were made by “Little paper press” and our save the dates were made by “Two 5 designs”. We made our own place cards and order of service booklets. 

Personal touches
Our day was a full on DIY extravaganza! The entire day was very personal as we had literally made everything and dressed the hall. I put together little bags of colourful confetti with personalised stickers for the church,  we collected and decorated lots of jars over two years, scoured ebay for little bits such as the wooden table confetti, became regulars at the local charity shops and collected bits and bobs such as the teapot centerpieces, old photo frames, wicker baskets, props and little trinkets. We made 230 paper poms, hand stamped luggage tags/quotes,  created our colourful photo booth, made the place cards and the table plan out of an old picnic basket, painted an old pallet to make the itinerary for the day, the list literally goes on! Our wedding was a real labour of love, but worth all the effort. My lovely friend Nicola made 50 meters of bunting for the hall. Every single weekend was a craft weekend leading upto the big day.  Along with the various teapots we collected for the centerpieces, we also had the top table Emma Bridgewater teapots personalised especially for the day and they now sit on my dresser with the rest of my Emma Bridgewater collection.

Special moments 
Honestly, it all just felt so special to us. I remember entering the church and thinking “Oh goodness, it’s our wedding day!” my heart was pounding as I got to the top of the isle and I couldn’t stop smiling when I saw Greg.
Also, we loved our pug Eric being brought to the drinks reception for cuddles and pictures, although he totally ignored us and was prancing around the hall getting fussed off all the guests! 

Advice for other couples 
Do things your way no matter how wacky and wonderful your ideas may be.  Your wedding day should be a celebration of you as a couple, so let your personalities shine through!  Don’t worry if it rains, We had plans for most of the festivities to be outside but it ended up being the wettest day of summer! The hall felt really snug with all the candles lit and we honestly didn’t care about the weather.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help, we couldn’t have set the hall up without our amazing family and friends. You may not believe it, but if things don’t go to plan you will not care on the day,  just soak it all up as it really does whizz by! 

Biggest surprise 
How smoothly the day ran, this was all down to our amazing suppliers. Everyone just knew what they were doing and at what times so we really got to just enjoyed ourselves. Greg and the groomsmen got a funny surprise when they all got into the vintage beetle and it couldn’t set off with all three of them in, Greg ended up travelling to the church on his own with the groomsmen having to flag down a taxi!


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