John and Louise wanted a rustic, barn wedding and Sledmere Barn in Yorkshire was perfect for them. The venue was a real ‘blank canvas’, meaning they can completely free reign on how they decorated it.
Sledmere barn was the first place we visited and we didn’t need to see any other locations – we loved it!” said the bride. “The barn has some gorgeous details, brick archways, wooden beams, old hooks and nails dotted everywhere. It is open on one side but to protect us from the elements the manager said he would build us a hay bale wall!”
“Our wedding theme was simply about us, our friends and family, our loves, our lives and our memories”, she continued. “We made everything we could ourselves, and used an eclectic and rustic country theme to pull everything together. We called in a lot of favours from people, not necessarily to save money but to just make everything as personal as we possibly could.”
Flo and Matt wanted a relaxed wedding that bucked tradition and felt like them. “We started out fighting against traditional wedding themes, looking for something that represented us”, began the bride. “The venue was the way-in to planning for us. We were keen to find a venue with accommodation but a relaxed feel in Herefordshire. We viewed many venues including yurts, country houses and a priory but knew on the approach to Lyde Court that it was the place for us.”
“Initially we weren’t sure if we needed to do it at all so we didn’t set out with any great ambitions or themes”, said the groom. “Flo had never made that ‘wedding book’ you read about in all the magazines and she didn’t want to make all of the decisions on her own either! It was important for us to create a relaxed atmosphere and that ambition helped to inform a lot of our decision making along the way. We set out to avoid anything too ‘wedding’ and we thought long and hard about the things people assume you must do or must have on your wedding day. When it came down to it we still did a lot of the standard stuff but somehow it felt more personal because we had chosen to do it rather than felt we had to.”
When it came to organising their wedding, Jess and Tony had one thing in mind – family. This was their second time around (yes, they married each other twice!!) and this time they wanted to do things completely on their own terms. “Our wedding was shabby, ethereal, vintage, pin-up, country and quirky”, explained the bride. “Basically, it was anything but normal!”
“What made it even less normal was that this was actually our second wedding…. to each other! It wasn’t just a vow renewal, it was a wedding. We were really young when we got married in 2000 and had a very traditional wedding that neither of us really felt a part of. Life took over and our marriage fell apart after 13 years. We separated and worked really hard through some excruciating stuff and this was a celebration of new life, new family, and is as our authentic selves. We have 3 kids and they were part of our wedding. This was us doing the wedding the way we wished it had always been.”
A dairy farm in South Africa was the location for Philip and Lily’s steampunk wedding. Wearing a unique dress and thrifted accessories, the bride planned the day to reflect their mutual love of their chosen theme.
“Initially the wedding was just inspired by the steampunk theme”, said the bride. “Although, as I worked for about a year on pulling everything together, the end product seemed to combine steampunk with DIY and Alice in Wonderland! I wanted it our wedding to be a little bit fantastical without making it look like a Halloween dress up party. We wanted things quite simple and pretty.”
Debbie and Angelo picked an unusual venue for their September wedding – a cow shed! In fact when they visited the farm before they booked it, there was actually cows living in it!
“We were determined not to have a traditional reception venue or anything that resembled a package wedding”, said the bride. “We just wanted to fill our wedding with things we love. That includes Angelo’s batman socks and Star Wars cuff links, the James Bond themed Martini reception drinks, the Mariachi band, the homemade tea leaf bar, the tuk tuk to take us to our reception, the travel themed tables and the jam jar cups for every guest. All these are things that we love and remind us of some of the best times in our lives.”
“The reception venue was probably one of the most unique things about our wedding, certainly in terms of what our guests were used to. Before the wedding most of them didn’t know what to expect, and to be honest I think they all thought we were mad. But on the day they were all amazed at what we were able to do with a barn which, when we first visited it, had cows living in it!”
I’ve seen a lot of Day of the Dead themed weddings in my time, but hand on my heart, none have been as incredible as this one! From the bride’s black dress with hidden rainbow petticoat, to the extravagant and gorgeous DIY decorations and the holi powder war (!), this is a wedding I KNOW you’re all going to love.
“Between the two of us we share a few cultures – Indian, Afrikaans, Polish and good old everyday South African”, began Tash. “Mashing the cultures, and therefore the traditions that accompany the various cultures, with our own individual likes and dislikes, was inevitably the inspiration for our day.”
“A few eyebrows were raised when we shared our ideas with family and friends, but we stuck to our guns and created a day that reflected who we are as individuals. This to me was what made it ‘alternative’ (besides the black dress, unlimited vodka and skulls everywhere).”
The day was held at the Mckenzie farm in Lions River, South Africa. The ceremony was in the nearby woods and the reception was in the barn. “The thinking behind our wedding theme was that we got engaged in India, we both love colour and we both love to dress up”, she continued. “I love skulls and Neil dislikes anything fancy and elegant. I also love DIY and power tools! From that process evolved our theme: laid back, unpolished, colour explosion, Day of the Dead dress up barn party!”