It’s about time we shared a crafty village hall wedding, am I right or am I right? Village hall weddings are always some of my very fave celebrations, thanks to the typically lovely locations and the complete freedom to create and craft whatever the heart so desires. Introducing WWW readers Rick and Sophie who were married on 17th August 2019 at East Keswick Village Hall in Leeds. They described their day to me as “crafty, fun, relaxed and personal” and it was all of that and so much more.
DIY weddings always bring a real feeling of community and Rick and Sophie’s day was no different as their loved ones all came together to help out. There is so much to love as every little detail has been considered. The bouquets were a dream, complete with pops of coral, there was an epic cake table and the hanging hoops in the hall looked amazing.
Do also look out for seriously stylish outfits, cute signage and a sparkler exit come evening. Oh so gorgeous! Thanks ever so much to Dot and Scolly Photography for sharing these super fun and stunning photographs with us.
Rick and I met when we were 17! It was on our 10 year anniversary that he popped the question. On the 14th December 2017 we celebrated being together for a decade, we shared cards and in mine was a surprise weekend away. Rick planned for us to return to the Freemason’s at Wiswell (where we had celebrated our 5 year anniversary) and an overnight stay at the Fence Gate Lodge. I suspected that he may propose, but the whole day went by with no inkling of a proposal. We walked back to the hotel about 10pm and he said he had one more gift for me. It was a laser cut frame with the engagement date on it (I thought he had got our anniversary date wrong), and as I Iooked up he was on one knee!
Initially we wanted a tepee wedding, but soon got real when we priced them up! Rick and I knew we wanted autonomy over food, music and decoration- this is what lead us to hiring East Keswick Village Hall. We wanted relaxed vibes and for everyone to party hard!
Rick is a Tax manager so he was all about the spread sheets and keeping to budget. I was all about the crafting and planning- we made a great team!
My creative vision began with a Pinterest image (cliché I know) of a stunning, wild bouquet with a dominant coral peony in it with lots of eucalyptus. This is where my ‘pop of coral and lots of greenery’ theme began. I love being creative, so I knew I wanted to put my stamp on the wedding. I loved a wedding that my cousin @hanbullivant styled (check out her Instagram and Pinterest), which had suspended greenery hoops above the top table. I knew that greenery hoops/ wreaths would play an integral part to our theme.
The Planning Process
Doing a DIY wedding isn’t for the faint hearted, but boy was it worth it when my creative vision came together! The key to enjoying the process was completely down to the meticulous planning. I booked in a day a month with my equally crafty and organised Mum- don’t know what I would have done without her. This meant that all of our makes and logistics were scheduled. I bought myself a Paperchase scrap book and used this to sketch out any ideas of how I envisaged the venue to look.
I also decided to have a Wedding Co-ordinator on-board too. Bex at @oakleaf _weddings was like an angel sent from above! She offers bespoke packages- this was ideal as I wanted to fully plan my own wedding, but have someone to help coordinate on the day and clear up the day after. Bex met up with us about 4 times throughout the 18 month planning process. During these meetings Bex would build on a working document that had all the logistics, suppliers, plans, running order etc. Her expertise was so helpful, as there were lots of things that wouldn’t have even crossed my mind unless she had asked.
Our initial budget was £15,000- I think were more like £16,500 including absolutely EVERYHTING. We had 130 day guests and an additional 35 in the evening.
East Keswick is a lovely village in Leeds, and offers the perfect backdrop for a relaxed country wedding. East Keswick Methodist Church was simply perfect too. The ceremony led by Rev Steve was inclusive of everyone and they were so flexible about combining some of our favourite music and readings.
A colleague mentioned East Keswick Village Hall to me on a training course- we visited and knew instantly that it would be perfect. It had a hall that you could totally make your own and wonderful outside space that backed onto fields with miles of countryside views. We used CGC Event Caterers and Marquees to line the village hall, put up fairy lights and assist with hanging our homemade greenery hoops.
Rick loves cooking and took charge of sourcing a caterer. We did lots of research and came across Happy Hogs Caterers. They provided us with a Summer BBQ- their food was INCREDIBLE, guests raved about it! To help keep our costs down we got canapés from Marks and Spencer’s and also made a snack station with popcorn tubs for nibbles and crisps. We sourced our own welcome drinks (Pimp your Prosecco and trugs of beer) and table wine. We kept looking out for supermarket offers throughout the year to find bargains. The Village Bar (a mobile bar service) kept our guests watered throughout the day and even let us have ‘Mr Parry’ and ‘Mrs Parry’ Gin cocktails on the night! For dessert we did a ‘Bake Off’ style spread and we asked friends and family who were pro bakers to bring their creations along- there was absolutely nothing left!
The Readings & Music
My Dad and I walked down the aisle to ‘Angel’ by Jack Johnson.
My Grandma read Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 ‘Two are better than one’ and my cousin Hannah Bullivant read a poem written by her friend called ‘The Love I like the Best’ by Felicity Shemoon.
I have a super talented family and my Uncle (a classical guitarist) and his wife (soprano singer) performed 2 of our favourite songs acoustically. ‘How long will I love you’ by Ellie Goulding and ‘You’re My Best Friend’ by Paul Canning whilst we signed the registers. You can hear their performance in the background of our video clip.
Recessional to ‘Better Together’ by Jack Johnson.
First Dance ‘Stay with You’ by John Legend.
The Gems Live who can be found on Instagram @thegemslive lit up the venue with incredible covers that got all generations dancing the night away. If your budget allows, get live music!
Your Outfits & Accessories
Rick was adamant that he wanted a damn good suit that was a bit different to his work numbers! When I bought my wedding dress from Ava Rose Hamilton in Silsden, I was given a voucher for Bridgewater Menswear in Colne. We took the groomsmen and they decided on the blue ‘DION’ 3 piece suite by Marc Darcy. The Ushers wore peach ties and pocket squares from ‘Ties R Us’. Rick wore a peach and coral paisley tie and pocket square from ‘Jenson Samuel’; he wore cufflinks with his grandparent’s photo on them too. The lads teamed their suits with tan shoes.
Initially I thought I wanted a lacy, vintage style dress, but after an appointment at Ava Rose Hamilton (Silsden store) with my 4 bridesmaids and Mum, I decided on something completely different! I fell in love with the intricate art deco sequin pattern that adorned my dress; it was traditional yet quirky at the same time. The deep V was surprisingly flattering and the A line fit was super comfortable. I chose a fingertip length veil (I didn’t want people standing on it throughout the day) with scalloped edges and teardrop crystals. My shoes were a complete bargain from M&S and I danced in them until 11pm! My earrings and necklace were by Jon Richard at Debenhams.
I was made to feel a million dollars by Lottie (@lottiehaighhair) and Jess (@faces_makeup_). I met them at a wedding fair well over a year before our wedding. I had so much fun having trails with my ‘bridesbabez’ and my Mum. They made us feel so relaxed and the morning of the wedding was super chilled thanks to them!
I met Daisy Hoban @daisyhobanflorist at the same wedding fair as Lottie (hair stylist) and Jess (makeup artist). When I saw her display, I just KNEW that she could create my floristry dreams. I told her about my vision of pops of coral and lashings of greenery. I wanted the flowers to feel as though they had been picked from a meadow. She created all the bouquets, buttonholes, cake flowers, my hair flowers, flower-girl crowns, top table arrangements and milk churns for the front of the church. I will never forget that moment she arrived at The Castle Inn Hotel with our bouquets (in Spofforth, Harrogate @thecastleinnspofforth) – my mind was blown!
To keep to budget my amazing bridesmaids, Mum, Auntie’s and cousins rallied around on the Thursday before the wedding to create the table greenery wreaths, pew end hoops, top table backdrop and the large suspended ceiling hoops using fresh greenery from Triangle Nursery Ltd and colourful ribbons. I could not have done it without them, but it all looked so effective on the day. I also collected gin bottles and put single stem flowers in them to decorate the various tables around the venue.
With over 18 months to go until our wedding I had contacted over 10 photographers and they were all fully booked (don’t leave booking a photographer till last minute). I contacted Bex our wedding coordinator for a supplier recommendation and we struck gold! She recommended Ali and John from Dot and Scolly Photography- they were absolutely brilliant. We had a free pre wedding photo-shoot, which really helped us to get to know them. They were highly professional and they simply blended in with the rest of the guests. We wanted documentary style photography to go with our relaxed wedding.
We are very lucky to have a mega talented family! @hanbullivant ‘s husband @davebullivant who is a Director and Photographer filmed our day and made a beautiful Vimeo clip.
The Details & Décor
From the day we got engaged I knew that I wanted a venue where I could totally put my own stamp on it. A village hall provides a perfect backdrop for that! I knew pretty early on that I wanted lots of greenery, pops of coral and a cosy vibe.
For well over a year I scrolled through Facebook Markeplace, Ebay and Gumtree in search of bargains that I could transform. I bought an old door and made it into our table plan. I used discontinued fabric-swatch books to make 50 metres of rag bunting (with lots of help from friends), we planned on hanging it on the fence but after a wrestle with the cows my Dad had to think of a ‘plan B’ on the morning of the wedding!! I got lots of ideas from ‘DIY Brides UK’ Facebook page and @cheapweddingstuff on Instagram too.
My Mum and Auntie made the floral table runners using a clearance curtain fabric from Abakhan. This really brought the colour scheme together and meant that we didn’t need flowers on the tables. We made fresh greenery wreaths for each round table and I sprayed old glass sweet jars gold ombre effect with a pillar candle inside. I made tags to match our wedding stationery that hung around the neck of the jars with table numbers on. I made all our orders of service myself on Microsoft Publisher and had an army of Bridesmaids tying twine around them when we had a girl’s weekend before the wedding. We only had 5 kids at our wedding and I loved making them activity bags to keep them entertained throughout the speeches. We had 6 speeches that were broken up between courses- couldn’t leave Best Woman, Mother of the Bride and the Bride out could we!
Our favours were also part of the Best Man’s speech toast- Rick’s favourite ‘night out shot’ Sambuca. I got stickers printed from Ali Express (such a great place for non-urgent wedding stuff like ribbon etc.) that matched our wedding stationery that said “Save me for the Speeches”. The mini jam jars were from Wilko stores- my brother poured sambuca into every one and then tied ‘thank you’ tags onto them.
We got hay bales delivered which created a central seating area on the grass outside. I found 2 cable reels on Facebook Marketplace which were great as tables for drinks.
I made all the signage at the wedding too, using blackboard paint, thin MDF and chalk pens. Instead of paying a fortune for individual table menus, I made a 4ft sign that had all the options on written in chalk pen. I’m a lover of re-using too, so used a tatty palette to display the order of the day on. I used the same technique on a £10 pasting table to make a ‘Team Rick’ and’ Team Soph’ Beer Pong table!
The selfie booth that I made from an old hanging rail and spare table runner fabric was such a hit! We used a Polaroid camera to document the fun and then stick in our guest book. Guests took the inflatable instruments onto the dance floor all night. I made a DIY festival style glitter bar too- I will never forget my cousin lathering his beard in blue glitter and then busting some mega dance moves!
I have a huge sweet tooth and really wanted to have a ‘Bake Off’ style dessert table. I asked our lovely family and friends to bake specific desserts so we had an amazing variety from vegan banana loaf to salted caramel profiteroles- you name it we had it! Our wedding cake was made by Sophie O’Connell owner of @sophscakesleeds. We chose 3 different flavours- gluten free lemon and elderflower, white chocolate and raspberry, and carrot cake- they were delicious! We kept the décor simple by using white and coral frosting to tie in with the theme. My husband’s friend made fondant cats as a surprise for him an ode to our 2 cats. I bought a personalised topper from EBay and then got Daisy Hoban (florist) to add some floral accents.
We also had a pick ‘n’ mix table that we decorated with crates, gin bottles, flowers and handmade signage.
Rick is brilliant when it comes to planning holidays, so I left it fully to him! What an incredible adventure we had going round Croatia for 10 days. We went to Dubrovnik, Hvar and Trogir. An amazing mix or history, delicious food, stunning beaches and perfect weather- if you haven’t been, then you MUST!
My ‘bridesbabez’ as I call them were incredible! They had their hair done by Lottie and wore dresses that I had got from Facebook Marketplace that were BNWT from Harvey Nichols- love a bargain!
Watching my creative vision become a reality, as all my friends and family rallied round to set up the village hall the day before.
Getting ready on the wedding morning with all my Bridesbabez and Mum and feeling so excited and filled with love.
Pulling up to the church in our vintage blue Morris Minor and taking some very deep breaths as it dawned on me that everyone I love so dearly were all waiting patiently inside.
Hearing incredible speeches from my Dad, Mum, Husband and Best Friend Lucy!
None stop dancing with all my friends, family and hubby!
Advice For Other Couples
Get your friends and family to help you- it makes monotonous jobs so much more fun!
Be super organised if you want a DIY touch.
Get live music if budget allows, all our friends and family have raved about it ever since!
Be honest and keep track of your budget. Plan in time to have ‘wedding chat’ so you are both clear about the plans.
Lastly, get a WEDDING CO-ORDINATOR (Bex at Oakleaf if you are in Yorkshire) if you are at a Village Hall- it pretty much guarantees that you can thoroughly enjoy the best party of your life without worrying.
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Dot and Scolly Photography
Styling & Wreaths
Daisy Hoban Florist
Happy Hogs Catering
Lottie Haigh Hair
Jess at Faces Make-up
Ava Rose Hamilton
East Keswick Village Hall
East Keswick Methodist Church
Wooden Cross Back Chairs
Black Event Furniture
Bridal Party Prep
Castle Inn Hotel
The Gems Live
Morris Minor Car
Classic Car Hire North
Online Florist Wholesaler
Peg and Basket
So much fun.
Rick and Sophie, thank you so very much for sharing your really awesome wedding celebrations here at WWW xo Lou