A DIY Country Lavender Filled Wedding

DIY lavender wedding

A fire pit, homemade curry and camping… wow.

WWW readers Tanya and Matt were married in a church ceremony followed by a marquee reception in Matt’s sisters garden. They wanted their wedding to have a countryside feel which was relaxed with a party vibe. They DIY’d much of their wedding, creating their own cheese cake, having sewing Sunday’s to create the pretty decor and collected vintage crockery.

Tayna looked beautiful in her dress which swooshed and her amazing head piece which was a gift from her Maid of Honour. Matt went for a blue slim suit from next with brown brogues and i am loving the colour choice.

There are so many lovely elements to their wedding, from the confetti shots and the Irish dancer to the dried lavender bouquets which must have smelt divine. Just gorgeous.

Thanks so much to the amazing James Melia for sharing his images with us today.


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Names….  Tanya and Matt

Wedding Date…. 25th August 2012

The Proposal…. We were in Ireland visiting my family for the Easter Break and on a rainy Tuesday morning Matt suggested we go for a walk on the Salthill Prom (Galway Bay) We always walked the prom when we were home, even in the rain an cold, as it usually is on Galway Bay so I took no heed of Matt suggesting a walk on this miserable day. We walked along the prom hand in hand, me taking hundreds of pictures, as usually  ( I bring my camera everywhere I go) I joked with Matt that we could get married at one of the hotels along the Prom as many of my friends had and he questioned “Why are we getting married?” I continued to take pictures and Matt walked ahead walking up onto the outdoor diving boards, to the top. I continued to take pictures. Needless to say Matt was stood at the top of this outdoor diving boor in the rain and the wind shivering in his boots. Calling “Come on up”. When I got to the top I took a few more pictures and when I turned round Matt was on one know with a box in his hand. It was the most romantic moment of my life. As we walked down I was shaking and we realised a crowd had formed and old men out for a stroll were shouting to us “Jasus, what a guy. Congrats” and we continued to get congratulations as we walked back down the prom, and all of a sudden the rain stopped and a bright blue sky appeared, it was perfect. A few days later a friend even said that a girl at her work had come in telling a story of her mum walking the prom and saw a guy propose on top of the diving board. It was us!

The Vision for the day….  Immediately after getting engaged we were so impatient to get married and after a few vinos and joking “lets get married this summer”, a why not popped into our heads. So that was it! The coming summer it was. It was nearly expected that we would get married in my home town as is usually tradition for a catholic family for the bride to get married in her hometown,  but we had a clear vision of what we wanted for our day and neither of us would be happy with organising a wedding over the phone or by email. We wanted to be hands on and I wanted to do a lot of DIY decorations, bunting, and vintage crockery. Matt wanted a BBQ and Camping, I wanted a Tea party. So we decided on a Country Wedding Theme, where we could incorporate vintage inspired tea party and camping. We really wanted a relaxed party feel to the day with lots of good food, music, dancing and laughter.  It was really important to have all our friends and family there so we had to be creative with our budget to ensure we could afford to invite everyone.

The Planning process…. After deciding on the forthcoming summer we first checked with our local church and it was available. We couldn’t believe it, it was the bank holiday weekend in August and it was nearly unheard of for a wedding not to be booked in at least a year in advance. The next port of call was the band. We had seen “The Mojos” on several occasions and always knew when we got married they would be the band as they create a great party atmosphere, again another shocker when they said they were available as they are usually booked up. It was meant to be. Everything after that seemed to fall into place and as the wedding was in such short notice (in wedding terms) we were able to request discount from suppliers and they were happy to oblige as they most likely would not get any other wedding booking in such short notice. I became obsessed with wedding blogs including WWW and wedding magazines. I made a vision board, ideas seamed to stream and at one point Matt said “I think that’s enough now!”

Budget…. We were always budget conscious and I am very proud of the wedding we had for the budget we had. Lucky I’m an organiser and a planner, it came with ease to have my Excel spreadsheet up to date keeping an eye on everything. We were very fortunate that Matts parents and my mum where hugely supportive financially, and in ever other way.

The Venue… A hotel was never an option. We wanted somewhere we could relax with no restrictions and we also wanted guest to be able to camp over. Matts sister has a massive garden (more like a small field) and they offered to have the reception in their garden. I was so in love with the Tipis but they were extortionate (for our budget) so we decided on a marquee from a local company who had a Marquee with a wow factor. It was a little different for your normal marquees as you could unzip the sides all the way around, unfortunately the Great British summer would not allow us such luxury. The Marquee was beautiful and perfect size for our guests. The marquee is basically a shell and having a marquee wedding did mean a huge amount of work the week of the wedding, setting tables, decorating and meant we had to arrange every detail ourselves, from cutlery to toilets. We were very fortunate to have such supportive family and friends who helped with everything and the end result was worth it.

The Dress + Accessories….. I wanted to be comfortable and I wanted to “swoosh”, after trying on about 10 dresses the assistant said I think I know what you want but its upstairs in the attic. The minute I tried it on I got the swoosh factor. I could float around without having to pull or drag and could twirl to my hearts content on the dance floor. The dress had a big train and I asked if they could take it off and they were shocked but we were having the reception in a garden and with the English summer it was inevitable the dress would be pulled through mud.

My head piece was a gift from my Maid of Honour who had it handmade for me by a girl in Ireland after she saw my wedding dress. It was really special and completed the look. I always loved the romance of a veil and wore mine over my face walking down the aisle. I think this shocked Matt, in a good way. I wore blue shoes as my something blue and was cute that it matched Matts suit.

Groom’s attire… Matt wore a blue slim suit from next and brown brogues from Offices. Matt took total charge over his look and like a typical man it took Matt 5 minutes to pick his suit and it suited him down to the ground. We found ties to match the bridesmaid and all the groomsmen wore their own suits and matching ties. Matt also chose all the groomsmen buttonholes and I didn’t see his suit or flower until the day. Seeing him for the first time in his suit was a lovely surprise.

The Readings + Music…. The ceremony was really important to us both and we wanted as many friend and family involved. Family and friends read Prayers of the faithful and our friend Sinead did a beautiful reading, Union by Robert Fulghum. We didn’t want the traditional organ player and choir and our priest was really lovely and supportive and agreed to an acoustic guitarist. I walked down the aisle to an acoustic version of Bruno Mars, Marry You. We also chose a playlist of songs Marc sang as guest arrived and through the ceremony.

Beautiful bridesmaids….. The colour scheme seemed to evolve when we chose the bridesmaids dresses, with dusky pinks and gold tones.  My Maid of Honour was 7 months pregnant at our wedding so I thought finding a dress might be a bit of a challenge but it wasn’t we chose a different dress to compliment Stephs cute baby bump and to ensure she was comfortable. I wanted the bridesmaids to look like woodland fairies, but most of all I wanted them to be comfortable. Our niece Isabelle certainly stole the show and was beautiful in her floating dress and daisy head piece.

The Flowers… I love Lavender and instantly knew I wanted to incorporate lavender into my bouquet when I started to search I came across dried bouquets and I adored them. It was a little different and I hated the thought of the flowers dying within a couple of days. They were also very budget friendly so we had dried lavender, rose, corn and gypsophila. I had a special bride bouquet that also had pearls and my bridesmaids had smaller versions. I still have my bouquet in a vase at home, and the bridesmaids have kept theres. For the church we made paper pom poms instead of flowers for the phew end and for our reception I collected over 100 jars, with the help of my work colleagues, and Matt was the official label peeler and my local florist filled the jars with a beautiful array of country flowers. They looked beautiful and it was great because friends and family were able to take home flowers and enjoy them for a few weeks after.

The Cake… We decided on a cake made of cheese as we both love cheese and thought it would be a great idea to have desert platters and cheese boards. It was a huge hit and looked amazing. I did some research and companys selling Cheese Wedding Cakes for 100 people were about £300 so I went to our local delicatessen and told them what we wanted and they were so helpful and able to source the cheese for half the price of a pre made cheese cake. We asked for Yorkshire and Irish Cheeses and the shop owner’s offered lots of advice about choosing the right cheese and  stacking the cheese, as they were so heavy and what would look best.

Your Photographer…. With my obsession of wedding blogs and magazines I came across a blog about a photographer from Huddersfield, James Melia. After looking through his website and a five minute conversation I knew he was the photographer for us. Looking through James portfolio was like reading a story of each couples wedding. We met with James prior to the day for an engagement shoot and I would advise this to all couples as it got us use to being in front of the camera and an opportunity to get to know James. On the day we had so many comments from guest asking if James was a friend as he mingled with ease, capturing precious moments.

The Details + Decor….  Having a marquee wedding was like having a bland canvas. The lead up to our wedding was nearly as exciting as the day itself. We had a small army of workers, collecting, creating, DIYing ,. We had sewing Sundays and made 150 meters of bunting, we became regulars at the car boots collecting vintage crockery and I couldn’t pass a second hand shop without searching for crockery, doilies, vintage suitcases etc. We ordered cake stand setting from ebay and Matt made 10 three tier cake stands to serve canapés and deserts. Matts dad made quirky signs for the reception pointing to the “Posh Loos” “Campsite” “Wedding” and a crossroads sign with my hometown, Matts home town, where we met (Queenstown, New Zealand) and the distances to those places. I made all the stationary myself saving a fortune. We wrapped jam jars wrapped ribbon and filled with fresh flowers, jars filled with dried lavender, rose petals and tea lights lined the aisle of the church and on the tables of the marquee. Paper pom poms decorated the marquee and the ailse of the church and were so effective. A family friend lent us 20 bales of hay to use as seating in and around the venue and friends lent us fire pits that guests huddled round on the evening roasting marshmallow. A photo booth outside was a fun way to capture some memorable pictures and the guest had a hoot with the props for the rest of the evening, with a dancing horse on the dance floor. Matts mum made a huge curry, which we reheated on a bbq,  and in the evening, during the interval of the band our local Indian delivered naan breads and we served curry and naans in cute contains.

For our first dance Matt chose the song and it was a surprise to me until the time. He told me he decided to propose on Salthill Prom, Galway Bay as the words of a song always played when we are in Ireland are “Galway Girl ” by Mundy and the lyric goes ‘Round the Salthill Prom with a Galway girl….. So I took her hand and I gave her a twirl and I lost my heart to a Galway girl” Matt asked the band to change the lyrics from “Her hair was black and her eyes were blue” to “and her hair was red and she said I do”. It melted my heart that Matt had put thought into our first dance and it was so special. It’s quiet a lively song so it was the perfect start to party the night away!

It was really important to have a touch of home and show my Irish roots. I searched high and low for an Irish dancer, and it was really hard to find anyone as all the dance school are closed through the summer. I came across Rebecca by chance after reading an article about her fundraising for St Leonards Children’s hospital and running with the Olympic torch, the article also said that Rebecca had competed in an Irish dancing completion. So after exhausting every resource I decided to drop her and email on the off chance she did performance and she said she’d be delighted to and she’d bring her Olympic torch. It was random but the guests loved it and all had there pictures taken with the torch.

Between the band and the DJ we had organised some fireworks but they had been left outside and were drenched in the earlier rain. It was quite comical that they didn’t work out everyone shouting “the wick is wet” and every so often one random phewnnnnnn would fly sideward toward the tents.

The Honeymoon…. We spent 10 days touring the south of France. It was bliss.

Memorable moments… Too many to mention including Dave the dog on the dance floor boogying the night away with guests, sideward fireworks, jumping over hay bales to Irish ballads until all hours of the morning, the look on Matts face as I walked down the aisle, a surprise bonfire on the side of the road on the way to our reception (started by my Irish family, a tradition in Ireland) having all my English and Irish friends and family around me getting ready, spending our first night as a married couple in a tent but without doubt the ceremony was the most precious part of the day. We had put allot of thought into it and met with our priest who was so supportive so it felt so special and personal.

Advice for other couples… Enjoy every minute, don’t stray from your vision by other peoples opinions. Take them on board but do what you want to do anyway!

Credit where credit is due…

Photographer – James Melia www.jamesmelia.com

Cheese Cake – Flourish and Prosper www.flourish-and-prosper.com

Marquee – Premier Events Marquees www.premiereventmarquees.co.uk

Fresh Flowers – All Occasions Howden www.alloccasionsflorists.co.uk

Dried Bouquets – Brides www.pollyfields.co.uk & Bridesmaids www.daisyshop.co.uk

Catering – The Kings Head Barmby www.thekingsheadbarmby.co.uk/

Band – The Mojos www.themojos.biz

Acoustic Guitarist – Marc Atkinson – Marc Atkinson Music on Facebook

Irish Dancer – Rebecca Kane www.kaneacademy.com

Wedding Dress & Veil – Deborah Moore Bridal www.deborahmoore.co.uk

Head Piece –  www.loveit.ie

Bridesmaids Dresses – Debenhams

Flowergirl Dress & Shoes – Monsoon

Grooms Suit – Next


How fun was their wedding?! Brilliant. Thanks so much to Tanya and Matt for sharing their beautiful wedding with us today XOXO Lou

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