Hayley and Ben’s DIY Berkshire Barn Wedding with a Hog Roast, Sunshine and Lots of Dancing by Masha Unwerth

Today’s gorgeous Barn wedding comes from very sunny Berkshire as we are transported back to the amazing summer we had last year. Hayley and Ben are big lovers of the outdoors so they wanted a venue that reflected this. They chose the hidden barn as it was a totally blank canvas ready to be trasformed. They added their personal style and creativity to the venue, making it totally their own. Hayley and Ben’s beautiful rustic wedding was an amazing labour of love, with almost all of the details DIY-ed, the couple chose to have a humanist ceremony in the adjoining cowshed surrounded by over hundred guests and family. The celebration was full of love, laughter with a hog roast in the evening and an awesome colourful wedding party! Big thanks to Masha Unwerth for the lovely photos.

Unbelievably hot!

Hayley and Ben were married on 30th June 2018. ‘Both the ceremony and reception took place at the beautiful North Hidden Barn, in Berkshire. The venue does not have a marriage licence, so we asked a friend to conduct the ceremony, which was fantastic – it was so personal and very funny. We were legally married at the Southampton registry office a few days before the wedding. The venue is stunning and the owner, Sally, was wonderful. The barn was a blank canvas, which is exactly what we were looking for. We did everything ourselves (with a lot of help from friends and family), which enabled us to have the big wedding that we wanted at a fraction of the typical cost. The adjoining cow shed was perfect for the wedding ceremony and the barn itself was huge (accommodating our large guest list) and had a separate dancefloor and stage, which was a huge selling point as we wanted live music and didn’t want the interruption of having to move tables and chairs. We had around 135 people attended the whole day. It didn’t take long to plan, we knew what we wanted and all the big ticket items were sorted within a couple of months.’

How they met 
We met at university in Southampton, where we both read psychology. Ben was immediately taken with Hayley, but she was very studious and insisted on going to the library all the time. Three years later (a substantial chunk of which was spent in the library, the rest watching Scrubs), she finally gave in and the rest is history.

The proposal
Approaching their 10 year anniversary, Hayley got sick of waiting for a proposal and sent Ben a link to the antique ring she wanted and booked some venues to visit that weekend. We put down the venue deposit there and then. Yes, he still had to get down on one knee when the ring arrived.

How did you allocate your budget?
We agreed our top priorities upfront – we wanted a big wedding, live music and a free bar. We shared the view that our wedding was one day in our lives and we’d rather finish our house renovation than have a luxury wedding. All in, the wedding cost about £13,000, including generous contributions from our parents. I’m still impressed by how much we achieved for that sum of money.

Where did you splurge and where did you save?
We splurged on the bride’s rings (not included in the wedding budget!) The band and DJ were a big expense (a little over £2,000) and they were worth every penny.
We saved on pretty much everything else.  The catering was fantastic and incredibly reasonable – this was our greatest saving.

How did you choose your photographer?
I really liked the beautiful pictures on Masha’s website, and wanted a photographer with a good eye and an appreciation of what we were trying to achieve.

The dress 
The dress was by Catherine Deane. I found the designer before I found the dress, I loved her romantic, ethereal designs and my dress was selling on her website for a third of its list price, as it was the previous season, so I snapped it up. As soon as it arrived and I lifted it out of the box, with all its silk and beautiful tulle, I knew it was the one. I didn’t try any others on. Accessories and shoes were a mixture, shoes were Kurt Geiger (but I switched to flips flops fairly early on). I borrowed jewellery from my mum.

The suit and bridesmaids
The ‘suit’ was chinos and a shirt. Blazers and ties were worn for the ceremony. The bridesmaids are the bride’s five lovely sisters. Their dresses were from Debenhams.

Theme or colour scheme
Not really, but subconsciously we stuck with a fairly neutral scheme.

We had seasonal blooms, some of which we grew in cans that we had collected. Our friends at Rectory Farm made the bouquets (as well as providing a whole load of other stuff for the day, they were fantastic).

We went for a rustic style to suit the feel of the barn.

Hog roast, cake, strawberries and cheese.

Wedding cake
We had a table of cakes (made by us, family and friends) and a tiered cake made of cheese wheels, which was the evening food (supplied by the caterers). At the end of the night, we raided the cheese for a midnight snack back at the hotel.

We had a band and afterwards, a DJ, both provided by Golden Groove entertainment. They were amazing and set off the day perfectly.

Who supplied the stationery?
We made it!

Personal touches
We did pretty much everything ourselves, with the help of friends and family, so everything felt personal.

Special moments 
The ceremony was really special, as were the readings and the speeches. Losing the family dog, Ziggy, was a low moment, but after some concentrated efforts, the search party were successful (and he now wears a tracker!)

Advice for other couples 
Get suppliers near the venue, not your house (driving to and from suppliers to drop off hired items was not a highlight the day after the wedding!)

Biggest surprise 
How much everyone pitched in to help – it was really touching. We owe our friends and family a lot of gratitude!


Supplier Shout Outs



For more information on Masha’s work go to

www.unwerth.co.uk / FACEBOOK / INSTAGRAM / 07827795247

Wedding photographer based in Windsor, Berkshire. I believe in keeping things simple and portraying a wedding story in the most organic and sincere way. With a special love for natural light I have been shooting weddings for over two years. I have been featured in numerous wedding publications, and I adore to capture love and emotions in the very subtle, intimate and beautiful way.


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