Jim & Katy’s DIY-Fabulous Whimsical Beach Themed Wedding

I hosted a very special offer from Willow Tree Photography a while ago for free wedding photography to any lucky 2010 couples who maybe hadn’t planned to, or couldn’t afford a professional photographer. While I got a bit of stick on certain photography forums (apparently I was encouraging newbie photographers to undercut the market…well, anyone who read the post I published on Saturday will know this is certainly not the case!) I am over the moon that through running this very special offer I, and photographer Kathryn, were able to offer some awesome couples without the budget to spend on photography, the chance to have professional wedding photographs.

One of the first couples who took up this amazing offer were Jim & Katy. The pair had a whimsical seaside theme which started with an intimate ceremony at Harbour Community Church, Folkestone. “The wedding happened in our local church, its very near the harbour of our little town, its quaint but village-hall like (with a sloping floor) it helped to inspire the bunting and seaside/village fete theme”, the bride told me. “As we and our guests were outside the church after the ceremony doing the photos, a crack team of our friends re-arranged the church into a buffet for the reception, the chairs were moved from rows into circles and it was a very informal reception but with amazing food prepared by members of the church.”

“The church was decorated in hundreds of metres of bunting that was around the front and back of the church, ran down the aisle and spilled out to the rails outside, making everything look very happy and inviting. We then had an evening party downstairs at a local bar, informal, good atmosphere.”

The bride wore a custom made dress, which she had designed and created especially for her by a local seamstress. To this she added those amazing and awesomely bright Irregular Choice shoes (she also had white pumps from Schuh for the evening.)

The couple, who are both recent art graduates didn’t have much money to spend and so DIY-ed a lot of their wedding – the flowers, all the decor, the favours, the buttonholes, the cupcakes – everything was made by the couple or their friends and family members.

Katy concludes,
“Our inspiration was based on three things…

1. wanting an honest reflection of ourselves and the aesthetic
preferences that are likely to hallmark our marriage, not the packaged
ideal of a modern ‘wedding’.

2. We didn’t have much money.

3. The venue, we let that dictate somewhat. it wasn’t the prettiest
building but had charm that we used our theme and decoration to bring
out. We wanted to get married there because it is our local church and
so it was an emotional choice.”

“We knew we had this village hall-like building and we were right by the sea. Also we love bunting, so to ignore our actual surroundings would be absurd. My recommendation to anyone trying to think of a theme is to not only be true to yourselves but also to the architecture and geography of where you are getting married. That way everything will gel and fit, plus that location will become even more strongly associated with your special day.”

“We also new that lots of our friends have toddlers and we didn’t want to exclude them. We felt that our theme allowed everyone to be able to enjoy the day and have fun.”

Huge thanks to Jim & Katy for sharing their day and of course their photographer Kathryn for being so fabulous and capturing it so beautifully for them! 

Photography Credit: Willow Tree Photography
Venue: Harbour Community Church, Folkestone
Bride’s Dress: Custom Made
Bride’s Shoes: Irregular Choice  & Schuh
Groom’s Suit: Debenhams
Cupcakes: DIY (Bride’s Mum)
Flowers: DIY
Buttonholes/Favours (given to all guests): DIY
All Decor: DIY
Band/DJ: Friends
Car: VW Camper Van
Stationary: DIY


  1. Love the ice-cream shots, have always wanted to do a shoot with ice-cream and just by the way your article on Saturday was brilliant. I recently put my prices up and was so incredibly nervous to do so, but after studying 2 degrees, buying crazy expensive equipment, assisting photographers, constantly self learning and working to be a better photographer … it was time. Your article really reaffirmed so much for me so i would personally like to thank you!!!!!!!!!

  2. Az

    This couple look adorable. The photos have are great, love the detail shots, and all the effort made for the couple.

  3. Gorgeous dress – I heart 50s prom dresses – the absolute most beautiful style of any era ever (imho, and why I’m wearing one in 3 week’s time!). I love those shoes with the dress and would love to have seen more of the photos with the bride wearing them. The beach shots are great as well and I love how family and friends made it all come together. Lovely.

  4. Thank you for all the positive comments about the photography. I would also like to mention Keith who took some of these fabulous shots too. Katy and Jim are such lovely people, as are their friends and family and I’m pleased that I was able to provide the photography for them. The shoes were amazing and quite frankly I don’t know how she managed to wear them for as long as she did. The minister even drew attention to them during the ceremony. Katy and Jim are the perfect example of two people in love and they have proven that you don’t need to break the bank to celebrate in style. If photography is important to you and you’re on a budget, you could ask friends and family to help you make a lot of the other things. Katy and Jim made their wedding unique to them and I can honestly say that so far, it was the most fun and enjoyable wedding I have had the pleasure to photograph. Thank you to Katy and Jim for being so hospitable and making us feel so welcome.

    Willow Tree Photography

  5. Elizabeth Hill

    Kathryn, again you have taken some truely stunning photos, these really portray what a fun day must have been had at Katy and Jim’s wedding. I’m so glad we’ve booked you to do ours in June for a Country Fayre!

  6. Thanks Lizzie (Elizabeth Hill), I can’t wait to photograph your wedding, think it will be an absolute blast and the opportunities for photographs will be amazing!! So excited!! Shame I have to wait until June 🙁


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