Not wanting to do things by halves, Clare & Aslam had three weddings. The firs two were Muslim celebrations, and this one was their western wedding. Having three whole weddings to plan, the couple kept this event low key and budget friendly. They DIYed a lot and spent just £5000 on the day. “We tried to do everything second hand or hand made as I hate waste and am a big environmentalist”, Clare explained. The wedding was held at Hyde Barn in the Cotswolds.
“Although my husband and I live and breathe south and east London now, I grew up climbing trees and then later on, going to big raves and technivals in the beautiful countryside here”, Claire continued. “So it is as much my hometown as it could be. Aslam and I are basically big kids so when we had our pro pics taken we ran into the garden and climbed trees and messed around, the venue was perfect for this. The venue actually hadn’t even been built when we booked it! But for that reason we saved a lot of money. Risky, but worth it. Because they were a new venue they pretty much let us do what we wanted. And seeing as I wanted to throw a childlike homespun DIY shoe-gaze/punk/rock festival style kid’s party with bubbles and story books, masks and games as well as accommodate a naughty french bulldog – a blank canvas like this was ideal.”
For their late summer wedding Sarah & James wanted something relaxed, quirky and quintessentially English So they opted for a tea party style reception in the Suffolk countryside. The wedding was held at Otley Hall, a 16th Century moated hall surrounded by 10 acres of gardens and which has been voted one of the top 20 Historic Houses in the UK.
“We don’t like conform to the traditional”, began Sarah, “so we didn’t go for the big bank busting do to show off and invite hundreds of people we didn’t know. We wanted a day to celebrate our love for each other and to share it with the people we cared for. It was a day to show who we were as a couple in a setting that suited our individuality and to have a celebration! I suppose you could say our inspiration came from a collection of things we liked; we wanted it to be a celebration of us.”
“Our theme was English country garden party with a vintage homemade feel. There wasn’t a specific colour palette, but we decided to go with blue scale for the wedding parties’ attire. We decorated the space ourselves including a sweet stand for jars of sweets made by James’ dad, with handmade doily cones (made by James!) I customised the stand with bunting to match the bunting around the room and outside space made by my sister Aime.”
Ciaran & Ellen’s wedding was a far removed from a traditional wedding as possible. The bride didn’t wear a white dress, she wore a tweed suit; they didn’t have bridesmaids or groomsmen, they had their dogs; they didn’t have a fancy vintage car, the went for a hike. The ceremony was held at The Woolpack Inn in Cumbria in February and was followed by a low key and intimate meal for their few attendees. A few months later they had a larger gathering in their own back garden for the rest of their friends and family.
“Just keep it really, really simple!” Ellen began. “We’d stayed at The Woolpack before and nearly all the other people we used were recommended by friends so we knew we could trust them. For example, I showed Chrissie at Hat Therapy my Liberty Freedom outfit and my favourite hat and let her work her magic on the design. It was great because the design was completely different to what I might have chosen. Chrissie interpreted the tweed brilliantly and the hat exceeded my expectations.”
With family flying in from England, Thailand and the USA for their Scottish wedding, Bex & Santi really wanted to make their wedding something special. So they started with having a weeklong event, hosted at Crear, a farm house near Tarbert in Argyll. “We actually got married on 20th January but with our families travelling from all over we rented the house for a whole week (18th-24th) and everyone stayed there with us”, Bex began. “We wanted to spend as little as possible, which ended up being about £10,000 but that did include the rental of Crear for 19 people for a whole week! I think my amazing mother needs a special mention here as she was ‘head of catering’ for the entire week at Crear and did all the menu planning and shopping for up to 30 people every day!”
Bex wore a 1950s style wedding dress from Just Gorgeous Bridal Studio in Crawshawbooth which was actually two dresses made into one. “The dress and the lace overlay top were actually two separate pieces made by different designers.The dress was made by LouLou and the lace top was made by Ellis. I then took the dress and the top to a fantastic seamstress, Natalie Murphy, based in Rawtenstall, Rossendale (01706223132) who carefully beaded the lace top, added some layers of silk organza to the skirt and made various alterations to make it all fit perfectly. Combining two separate pieces and having alterations made by Natalie gave me a unique dress that was exactly what I wanted.”
Despite not having any Scottish connections himself, Santi wore a kilt. Bex’s bridesmaid was her best friend – her dog Luna! “She said she didn’t want a dress and that her beautiful brindle coat was enough of a statement”, she laughed. “But I did lovingly craft her a wedding collar on a new cream lead. Oh and diamanté encrusted name tag!”
When Theo & Lisa started an online campaign to get Craig David to perform at their August wedding, they never really thought they’d pull it off. But if you don’t ask you don’t get and all that…and with the help of their YouTube video that went viral, Mr David did in fact show up to the wedding and perform to their astonished guests! ”We met in Oceana nightclub”, began Theo. “Lisa thought I really had the movement of a dancer! Craig David’s music brought us together and having him there at the wedding was literally a dream come true.”
“Our wedding was inspired by everything we love”, continued Lisa. “Music, fashion, friends and family. It really was a giant party. We didn’t want anyone to pay for anything apart from their travel there. For us, this was a party to celebrate everything our incredible friends and family have done for us over the years. We had a free bar which was one of the best things we did. The wedding was held in my dad’s back garden and we also had a camping village at the bottom of the garden where 90% of our guests camped-including myself and Theo! We sent a ‘tent tag’ with our invites, and asked everyone to deliver a tent to our house one week before the wedding. We then put them all up so they were ready for everyone when they arrived!”
A colourful country fête wedding with a 1950s flair? What’s not to love in Steph & Dale’s wedding?! The day took place in Essex, kicking off at St Giles Church with the reception at Pledgdon Barn.
This wedding was a real DIY love affair and a project of passion. The couple made as much as possible including (deep breath) the bunting (both triangle and heart shaped), their stationery and all the paper goods, cocktail stirrers from laser cut card, the cake flags, the acrylic cake toppers, the wooden signs, the blackboards, the paper hearts for decorating the tables, the bridesmaids earrings, the buttonholes, the bow ties for their dogs and the cupcakes!
“I really wanted most things to be handmade because I like to be creative, plus this allowed things to be personal to us and also it can keep costs down”, Steph explained. “The bunting and stationary took the longest to make. If anyone says that bunting is quick then they would be lying!! The amount of man hours it took to make 200m of bunting was ridiculous!! I was still making up until a couple of days before but it turned the barn from something ordinary to something really special and it was definitely worth all the blood, sweat and tears.”