Helen and Toby’s rainbow wedding took place at Coombes Farm in Lancing. The didn’t have a huge budget, £8000, but they made it go far with plenty of personal touches and DIY projects. The cakes, flowers and stationery were all done by friends and they didn’t hire a fancy caterer to feed their guests. Instead of gifts they asked their guests to each bring their favourite dish!
“We deliberately chose to get married on Friday 13th September 2013, as we liked the idea of choosing a date that is not usually chosen by couples planning a wedding”, Helen explained. “It also meant that it would be unlikely to clash with any other weddings and Toby won’t be able to forget our anniversary!”
“We chose Coombes Farm due to its relaxed vibe, it is very much a working farm and therefore doesn’t feel like the average wedding venue, which can feel very polished and formal. We also wanted somewhere where we could stay in the camper van and for our guests to have the option to camp, which made it feel like a mini festival. We basically treated planning our wedding like planning a party and wanted to ensure that everybody enjoyed themselves! Key ingredients included a tractor ride and of course, a bouncy castle!”
Do you watch the BBC Three show Don’t Tell the Bride? When I was engaged I was pretty obsessed. Gareth and I would sit together to watch it every week and my favourite game was quizzing him over what he’d do if he had to plan our whole wedding himself.
Like many of you, I always wondered what everyone got up to behind the scenes – Did the bride really not have anything to do with it? (SURELY you’d be dropping hints like mad before you signed the contract?!) How much influence do the production crew have? And why do the boys always pick the wrong dress?!
This is not the first time I’ve featured a DTTB wedding. Mike and Becky’s wrestling wedding has graced these pages previously but by their own admission they didn’t really enjoy the process. However when I saw Lauren and Perry’s big day, and read that they really did enjoy doing it, I was keen to speak to them about it. Plus what could be more Rock n Roll than a gig themed wedding at one of the most iconic music venues in London!?
“We knew that we wanted to get married but that after having a baby and buying a flat there was never going to be a time when it was financially possible”, Perry began when I asked what made them want to go on the show. “Lauren was going to apply for The Great British Bake Off but saw the application for Don’t Tell The Bride and decided to do that instead. I didn’t think we had much chance of being picked but when she read me her entry email I started to get really nervous. It was GOOD!”
Natalie and Katie were married at the Priory Cottages in North Yorkshire. They chose it as they wanted a place that they could be for the whole weekend and that all their family and close friends could stay there too. The wedding was a real team effort, with lots of people pitching in to make it perfect. One of Natalie’s friends, Hayley Neil of Glory Days Vintage, made both dresses, another friend did the flowers, another the cake, and they hand crafted the stationery themselves.
“We wanted a very casual wedding with an outdoorsy feel where everybody could feel very relaxed”, wrote Natalie, “In fact it was so relaxed that Katie’s dad, Kev, had his shorts on within an hour of the ceremony! The casual theme was reflected in everything from the style of the meal to the photography and the camping guests!”
Sara and Dave were married in November. They had been together for 14 years and have 5 children so having a wedding had never really taken priority, but after visiting the amazing Eclectic Wedding Extravaganza Wedding Show in Birmingham, that all changed!
“We met when I visited the local tattoo studio where Dave worked”, began the bride. “We got chatting and basically things progressed pretty quickly. We both shared similar interests including, of course, tattoos and body piercing. We definitely live life to the full and how we want to. We have 5 super kids, 3 boys and 2 girls. Again they are very original in their own ways and are certainly free spirited.”
“Marriage was mentioned in the past but, with having the kiddies we always put their wants and needs first,”, she continued. “The eldest and youngest boys are disabled so they take up quite a bit of our time and energy.”
“But we decided at the beginning of 2013 to do something that celebrated us as a big happy family and that was to get married. To celebrate it along with the kids was very exciting. Everyone had a say as to how they thought it should be as well as what they wanted to wear. I decided to visit the EWE event as everything I kept seeing just wasn’t us. I could not believe my luck, at last I had found what I was looking for under one roof.”
With the bride wearing vintage, the reception at Rich’s grandmother’s home, and music playing a huge part, this July wedding has all the makings of the perfect Rock n Roll celebration. The day was also a real DIY effort, with everyone pitching in to make it perfect.
A friend of the bride made her flower crown, all the flowers for the day were grown by friends and family and the stationery was made by the bride’s brother. The cakes were brought by the guests. They had a ‘bake-off’ competition and the everyone won comedy prizes!
“The flowers were styled by me and my good friend Blythe Bruckner”, began Rhian, “while the church flowers were arranged by Rich’s aunt Jo. The bar was made by my dad out of two old pallets from Rich’s uncle’s farm up the road. My brother made the ‘R&R’ sign out of the off cuts. My mum and I collected vintage salad bowls and cake plates from car boot sales and we painted the vintage glass vases with tester pot colours. The concrete cobbles that the vases sat on were also painted in tester pot colours by me! Using tester pots to paint everything was a revelation to making our colour scheme work! It also saved us a lot of money.”
I’ve seen a lot of festival inspired weddings in my time, but I think it’s safe to say that none of them have been as so naturally cool as this one! Not only do Charlie and Kane both ooze awesome, but their dinner set up has to be one of the most beautiful ever. At their reception site, a field behind the bride’s parent’s house, they had a Bedouin tent and one huge, long table for their 150 guests to eat at. Thank goodness it didn’t rain!
The couple met in London, Kane is from New Zealand and they now live in Australia but they wanted to get married back in the UK. “All I wanted was to eat at one single table in the middle of my favourite field, like a big family meal for our big extended worldwide family”, began the bride. “I also wanted everyone to come for the whole weekend since we’re not back in the UK very often and one afternoon was never going to be long enough to see everyone properly – hence the bell tents!”