Amy and Jonny’s DIY Terracotta Themed Wedding in Northern Ireland by Iain Irwin

Happy Monday everyone, I hope you all had a good weekend? What did you get up to? Mine was pretty chill, a visit to the theatre to see ‘Life of Pi’ with my best friend, a visit to the cinema with Dexter and quite a few jobs ticked off the list! I am now ready for a super busy week ahead. I have a packed schedule to share with you over the next few days so do keep popping back for more fab content. Today I have the super fun and totally gorgeous wedding of Amy and Jonny to share with you. It’s a mix of modern meets rustic DIY goodness. A colour pallet of orange and terracotta mixed with pops of yellow, keeps it on trend and full of fun. Big thanks to Iain Irwin for the lovely photos.

We would say it was relaxed, fun, and didn’t take itself too seriously – more like a celebration than a wedding! It was also a bigggggg day of eating.

Amy and Jonny were married on 4th July 2023, the whole day was at Larchfield Estate Larchfield Estate in Northern Ireland. They had approximately 115 guests and it took just under a year to plan.

How they met 
Jonny slid into my DMs in December 2018, ‘innocently’ asking whether I would recommend a Masters at QUB. I politely replied twice, and then took the first opportunity I could to ghost him. About 3 months later I realised my mistake, and (tail between my legs) I slid back into his DMs to congratulate him on a blog post he’d written that had been shared on social media (clutching at straws to get a conversation going, of course). Within two weeks, we were sitting playing Scrabble in a board game café on our first date. As they say, the rest is history. (And four and a bit years later, Jonny still hasn’t won a game of Scrabble).

The proposal
Funny story. I tried to propose three different times at three different locations, before I finally had to admit defeat and call it a day. Location One – I couldn’t find a parking space. Location Two – way too busy. Location Three – it started to rain, and it did not stop. So, the proposal had to be postponed until the following day (much to my stress, as Amy was heading on holiday in a couple of days.). We ended up heading back up North and to Portballintrae beach. We walked for a while along the boardwalk, then veered off into the dunes where I got down on one knee. It did take Amy about 5 whole minutes to compose herself enough to actually give me an answer – but all the stress paid off in the end, and here we are!

How did you allocate your budget?
I’m not sure we went into the wedding planning with a clear idea of how much to allocate to each individual thing – we just decided what would be our ‘splurges’, and then tried to get absolutely everything else on a budget. We managed to make good use of seasonal sales etc to get a lot of things (like bridesmaids dresses/accessories/pyjamas/shoes), and we just shopped around for a long time for a lot of our vendors to make sure we were getting the best deal we could get away with.

Where did you splurge and where did you save?
We splurged on the venue and food, because we really wanted our guests to feel well-cared for on the day. I also splurged on my dress, because it’s hard to exercise self-restraint when you know you’ve found ‘the one’! We managed to save on a lot of other things, but only because we got really lucky (and managed to call in a few favours from friends!). I found the bridesmaids dresses on sale in Ted Baker, and got them altered by a family friend. A close friend of mine baked our cake as a wedding present. One of the bridesmaids made all of our stationery. We used an incredible band that were only just breaking into the wedding market, so gave us an amazing deal. There were also just a few things we didn’t bother with – wedding cars, wedding favours, décor (all DIYed!), expensive shoes/accessories etc.

How did you choose your photographer?
Iain is a very close friend to two of my bridesmaids, and I loved the idea of my photographer not being a stranger. I’d also been following his work on Instagram for years, so this was a bit of a no brainer. We actually arranged the wedding date based around Iain’s availability!

The dress
My dress was by Sarah Seven, and I got it from Ivory and Pearl in Comber, NI. I also got my pearl veil from here. My shoes were cheap – on sale for £17 from ASOS (I actually thought since my dress was long with no slit, no one would see my shoes all day so I didn’t want to spend a fortune or put too much thought into them. Ironically, it rained all day and I was hoisting my dress up to my mid-shins all day. The shoes got much more air time than I expected them to!). I wore a pearl bracelet from a brand called Assuwa. I bought my mum the matching pearl necklace for her to wear on the day, which she paired with the pearl earrings she wore on her own wedding day. I also wore pearl earrings from Ti Sento which my mum bought me as a Christmas present.

The suit and bridesmaids
Bridesmaids = Ted Baker
Suits = Herbie Frogg (Purchased from Bogarts, Belfast)

Theme or colour scheme
My favourite colour is orange, so the whole day was centred around that. I was nervous of it becoming too autumnal for a July wedding, so I made sure to include lots of pops of yellow and white to keep it bright, fresh and fun.

Ditsy Floral made my vision come to life. I asked for quirky, fun, orange bouquets with pops of yellow – and asked specifically for billy balls (craspedia to use the formal name!) such because I love how cute and fun they are. I asked for an arch for the ceremony, that could be repurposed for the top table décor for the evening reception. She did an incredible job at catching the brief!

We chose our venue because it was beautiful enough on its own, without needing tonnes of decoration. Any décor we did have was DIYed by myself. I loved the idea of using terracotta pots to feed into the orangey rustic theme, but quickly discovered these were very expensive. So, using the ‘trash to terracotta’ method (Google it!), I painted 65 vases that I managed to find in the bric-a-brac section of every charity shop in NI. I used these as table centres and aisle decoration. Other than that, I relied on my florist to produce a beautiful arch to decorate the ceremony room, and then just let the venue speak for itself!

Drinks reception: – Ice cream cart from Brook Avenue (mango sorbet, Kinder Bueno, mixed berry Eton mess, honeycomb)
– Canapes (prawn skewers, chicken caesar sourdough toasts, nacho with guacamole, pulled pork sliders and chocolate strawberries)
Dinner: – Main = sharing platters placed on each table (rump pf beef, chicken, herby boiled potatoes, chili and lime corn, char grilled peppers, asparagus, salad with broccoli
feta hazelenut and tomato, orzo salad with roasted Mediterranean veg, peppered sauce and chimichurri).
– Dessert = trio (banofee, apple crumble, raspberry cheesecake)
Evening: – Chip van = gravy / cheesy / curry chips from a food truck

Wedding cake
Made by a close friend @victorianotasponge. Victoria sponge, chocolate cake and lemon cake. We only had one small tupparware box of leftovers!

– Afternoon = the Bella Caves for drinks reception music
– Evening = Watson Street (band for the party)

Who supplied the stationery?
A very talented bridesmaid!

Where did you go on your honeymoon?
The day after the wedding, we went to Killeavy Castle to relax before getting on a long haul flight the next day. On the 6th, we left to spend two weeks in Bali, and then 3 nights in Singapore on our way home.

Personal touches
– DIY vases (mentioned previously)
– My venue only allowed biodegradable petal confetti, which we found to be so expensive. So my granny ended up drying thousands upon thousands of petals for us over the space of months to be used as our wedding confetti. She got them from her own garden, from bouquets she had been gifted, and from the reduced aisle in Tesco at the end of the day!

Special moments 
– All the emotions in the morning – with parents, siblings and bridesmaids. Once we got to the ceremony we felt much more relaxed, but the whole morning was just so overwhelmingly emotional – I’ll never forget it!
– We did a first look before the ceremony, which was such a special moment – knowing you were standing together for the last ever time as just ‘boyfriend and girlfriend’
– Screaming Taylor Swift’s ‘Love Story’ at the top of our lungs near the end of the party, and getting lifted up by our brothers/brothers in law

Advice for other couples
Everyone told us the day would go so quickly, so we really made a conscious effort to slow right down and savour every moment. The day ended up feeling really long in the best way possible, and we both feel like we can remember every second of it. That would be our main advice!

Biggest surprise 
My mum and dad organised two videos for us:
1) I’m a secondary school teacher, so my mum rang my school and asked them to produce a video to be played on the day. Each of my classes came up with their own little ‘Congratulations’ message for the video, which was both very funny and very sweet!
2) Jonny is a huge Leeds United fan, so my dad managed to get a personal video message from Liam Cooper, Stuart Dallas and Carl Frampton wishing him all the best on his wedding day. He said it was the closest he came to crying all day!



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www.iainirwin.com / www.iainirwin.com/blog / [email protected] / +44 7749448818 / FACEBOOK / INSTAGRAM

My name is Iain Irwin, and I am a wedding photographer based in the countryside of Northern Ireland. I am big believer in marriage and the love that it celebrates. I absolutely love pouring my heart and soul into capturing every wedding day.
When it comes to my couple’s weddings, my aim is to find those same connections between them and their loved ones. I love pausing time on those unique relationships so that my couples can come back and live a little longer in the love of those special moments.




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    Brindha Dhanabalan

    What a beautiful and unique wedding! Amy and Jonny’s blend of modern and rustic elements, along with the vibrant terracotta and orange hues, really made their day stand out. It’s so heartwarming to read about all the personal touches, from the DIY vases to the special videos organized by their parents. And that proposal story is simply adorable!


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