Outdoor DIY Village Hall Wedding with a Dip Dye Wedding Dress

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Now here is a wedding which screams personality, fun and colour! It’s time to share WWW readers Molly and Frazer’s epic DIY outdoor wedding, which was held at Pleshey Village Hall in Essex on the 25th May 2019. Their wedding vision was for a day that was totally and utterly them, making decisions which were right for them such as opting out of having a wedding cake or a cold buffet. Instead they brought in alternative ideas, such as a dessert table complete with doughnut wall and a pizza truck to cater. Delicious!

They had an outdoor wedding ceremony complete with Persian Rug aisle and a gorgeous greenery arch as a backdrop to their personal vows. There are some really fabulous touches I am totally coveting, from the bright painted orange welcome sign to the multicolour flowers and the smoke bombs. Wait until you see Molly’s dip dye wedding dress in a gorgeous blue hue, she looked stunning. Frazer meanwhile wore a navy suit with vibrant orange accessories and a bee pin on his lapel, so stylish!

Three Flowers Photography was on hand to capture everything and I just love these wonderful photographs, which I am so thankful to be sharing today.

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The Proposal

For our 8 year anniversary and Christmas presents combined, we went away to Reykjavic, Iceland. I had a plan to propose to Molly under the northern lights, which she has always dreamed of seeing. The northern lights on that night turned out to be very disappointing, so I abandoned the plan and went with plan B… The next day we went to see a waterfall that you can walk behind! When we were inside the waterfall we both got absolutely drenched as we slipped and stumbled our way across the gravel, so plan B was cancelled. Our next stop was a tour of a glacier that lies on top of a volcano. This place turned out to be perfect and I got down on one knee and finally popped the question. After a worryingly long pause… Molly said yes.

(I (Molly) would like to interject here and add that the pause was due to shock, not doubt haha!)

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The Vision

When I first began to plan our wedding I was quite naïve to the planning process. Previously I worked as an Events Manager, so I was excited to dip my toes back into the world of events planning. But, as I dove headfirst into blogs and Pinterest and Instagram and wedding fairs I wasn’t truly prepared for the rabbit hole I was falling down. I quickly became overwhelmed with the choices. Did we want Boho? Or festival vibes? Traditional? Quirky? A fusion of both?

It took many months of pinning and unpinning and many Google Sheets pages for me to realize that what I really wanted was for our wedding to be… us.

It meant explaining to lots of people why we wouldn’t be having a cake, or a cold buffet (if I ever have to refuse a dressed salmon again I might drop down dead). And it meant hours of worrying over small details that wedding guests probably wouldn’t even notice. But it was so worth it.

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The Planning Process

We probably spent about a year seriously planning the wedding. Everything before that was just consideration and suggestion, until we booked our village hall venue around 12 months before the big day.

I love a bit of organisation so we had a Google Sheet I fondly named ‘The Big List’. This was a list of wedding to-dos (colour-coded to each of us, of course), with deadlines to keep us on track. Although The Big List seemed never-ending at times, especially as I kept adding little details I had thought of at 3am, it was good to have everything written down in one place.

We aimed to have everything complete one month before the wedding, and managed to run over that deadline by only one week! It meant in the fortnight preceding the wedding we could focus on the important things; like vows, speeches and final haircuts!

The day before our wedding we set up the venue with a small team of our wonderful family and friends. I had prepared a detailed list of jobs, and floor plans for indoors and outdoors. I even left a checklist of jobs for the Groom and Best Man for the morning of the wedding; so yes you could say I was very relaxed.

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Budget

We were working to a modest budget for our wedding day, ahead of us leaving to travel the world in September.

We are so grateful to have been supported by our families to make our day as special as it was.

And although we don’t want to reveal our final budget on here – let’s just say it was well under a third of the cost of the average UK wedding…

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The Venue

Our venue was a village hall in Pleshey, a beautiful village in Essex. We viewed almost every village hall in the county to find a hall that had a lovely outdoor area, but didn’t scream “Scouts on a Thursday evening”. Eventually we discovered Pleshey Hall, the perfect mix of quaint village hall with potential, and, affordable.

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Your Outfits & Accessories

Frazer is so laidback that he is practically on the x axis, so he was in no hurry to sort his outfit out. After much nagging, and several Instagram post tags I managed to direct him towards the Vintage Suit Hire Company. Then, they shared the information of their annual stock sale event at their Boyds of Bedford store, which was perfect for Bargain-Hunter Frazer. After a male re-enactment of that scene from Friends where Monica gets her perfect wedding dress we emerged from the shop; a bit sweaty, slightly shell-shocked but one wedding suit and pair of shoes up.

For me it was a little different. I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to wear, as I am not really a girly-girl. I found an alternative bridal wear store in Essex and decided to go along and try some things on with my Mum, sister and friend, just to see if there would be something that I might like. There I tried on one of Lucy’s dip-dye dresses and completely fell in love. It was perfect; a wedding dress that would make me feel like a bride, with something that made it feel a bit different, like me.

From there I contacted Lucy directly, and went to her studio in Chelmsford where I tried on more of her beautiful designs. Lucy makes wedding dresses to order, so everything was completely bespoke. I had dreaded this part of the planning process, so to find a dress that made me feel like a bride was so special.

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The Readings & Music

Some of our wonderful best friends played live music for us during the ceremony – Canon in D on guitar, cello and violin.

Then Frazer’s sister Emma read an excerpt from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, our friend Neil read an excerpt from Philip Pullman’s The Amber Spyglass, and our housemate Wayne wrote something of his own.

We were so grateful to our wonderful friends for being part of our ceremony. Especially to Frazer’s best friend, Tim Blore who led our ceremony. Tim is a wonderful friend, and an amazing actor – who is currently making his west-end debut in The Night of the Iguana. We are so proud of you Tim!

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Beauty

I don’t really wear makeup and having a make-up artist was something I really couldn’t decide on for a long time. Eventually I made the decision that I should have one, as there probably isn’t another day in my life where I am literally going to employ a person to follow me round taking photos of my face.

Going to my make-up trial was the most nerve-wracking part of the whole planning process to me. When I arrived Lauren made us feel so relaxed, and I ended up really enjoying myself. The thing I was most worried about was not looking myself – actually Lauren made me look like the best version of myself.

On the morning of my wedding Lauren came to my Mum’s house and was absolutely amazing. She made me feel calm, put up with me spontaneously weeping at random intervals, and laughed at my terrible facial expressions. When my sister needed an SOS eyelash intervention she stepped in, and when my Mum required some assistance with her hair styling she was ready for that too. Plus, she made me look stunning so thank you Lauren!

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The Flowers

My beautiful bouquet and flower crown were made by the wonderful Hannah of Hannah Louise Flowers. Hannah also created the buttonholes worn by some of the men in our wedding party, and the beautiful arch we got married underneath. She was so patient with all of the changes we made, and did such a wonderful job of creating exactly what we had dreamed of.

The flower arrangements on our tables were actually created by my Mum and sister. After showing them my pinterest board they visited local florists to buy unusual flowers, and arranged them beautifully in the brown bottles and copper cans. My Mum and Nanny also filled the milk churns hired from Anthology Vintage Hire with some Gypsophila from the sides of the road which was so easy but super effective!

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Your Photographer

Our photographs were taken by the incredibly talented Charlotte, of Three Flowers Photography. Waiting to get the photographs back almost killed me, but Charlotte’s little social media teasers kept us on the edge of our seats.

Frazer doesn’t like having his photo taken, and I was nervous that I wouldn’t like how I looked in the photos. But with over 1000 to choose from, there are so many that we love!

On the day Charlotte, and her second shooter Nicola made us feel so relaxed. They were so professional and friendly, and they have captured every important part of our day!

Our friends and family have absolutely loved the photographs, as have we. Charlotte and Nicola did an amazing job of capturing the colours, the emotions and the memories for us. I literally can’t stop watching the highlights video!

When we return from our travels we’re going to have a tricky time choosing which photographs we would like to get printed – there are so many options.

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The Details & Décor

It was a very DIY wedding. All of our furniture came from Anthology Vintage Hire; the tables, chairs, benches, barrels, rugs and trunks.

Our trellis photo backdrops came from Wilkos and were decorated with Ginger Ray bunting, and fresh roses which my Aunt bought in the local supermarket.

Frazer made our doughnut wall, LOVE light-up letters and copper polaroid photo frame from scratch. He also designed all of our wedding stationery, and signage, and co-created our wedding post box with our flatmate Wayne.

Frazer’s amazing talent for design meant that he could create so many small touches that really brought the day together. From personalised stickers for the prosecco bottles, to sparkler tags and toilet door signs featuring mini us, I am so grateful for all the hard work that he put in to make our special day so special.

The place names we had were handwritten by Heather from leigh_calligraphy. The personalised matchboxes were from Etsy seller – TakestwoShop. The doughnut bags were also from Etsy from seller – BallardWeddingCrafts. And another Etsy purchase – our Harry Potter pages confetti cones from seller ShhhSistersSecrets.

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The Cake

We decided to forgo the tradition of a wedding cake that we awkwardly slice and feed to each other in front of our guests, and instead have a buffet of doughnuts and mini cakes to feast on.

Frazer designed and built our doughnut wall from scratch, and we filled it up with Krispy Kreme doughnuts (yes they’re more expensive, but supermarket doughnuts just don’t cut it do they?)

And then I contacted Charlie of I’ll Bring Dessert to see if she would be able to provide our miniature cakes for the dessert buffet. We went to her house for a delicious consultation (my Dad claims this is the best part of wedding planning), and then sent over our final order. Charlie made frangipane, coffee and walnut cake, miniature lemon loaves and victoria sponges, vegan apple tarts and chocolate salted caramel brownies that are to die for. The brownies are so good that I actually didn’t manage to get hold of one on my wedding day, and so Frazer ordered another box the week after the wedding so we could enjoy them on our minimoon!

Charlie actually found out she is pregnant with twins after accepting our booking, so is on maternity leave currently awaiting her two bundles of joy. Wishing you all the best Charlie, and can’t wait to get some more delicious brownies once you’re back open for business!

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Bridesmaids

I didn’t have official bridesmaids for the day, just my little sister as my Maid of Honour. She wore a beautiful coral dress which was Karen Millen.

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Groomsmen

Our groomsmen dressed themselves in blue suits they already owned or thriftily picked up in January sales!

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The Honeymoon

Frazer’s 94 year-old grandfather wasn’t able to join us for the wedding as he lives down on the South Coast in Littlehampton, so after the wedding we went to visit him for our mini-moon. We had takeaway, visited Arundel Castle and enjoyed lots of time chilling out.

Now we are preparing for our “main” honeymoon – an 18 month round-the-world trip. We leave on 24th September for our first stop which is Bolivia and have planned to do the Inca Trail and see Machu Picchu in October, visit Mexico City for Dia de Los Muertos in November, and visit friends in Costa Rica for Christmas. After that it’s a very rough plan that sees us visiting family in New Zealand and Australia, and backpacking around South East Asia. You can follow our adventure on my instagram – @mollytheblog , or on my blog www.mollytheblog.com.

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Memorable Moments

  • Frazer got me a beautiful hand-sewn handkerchief (from Extra Special Touch) as my “something new” and gave it to my sister to give to me on the morning of our wedding. It was in a box with a small gift note, which he hadn’t written on as he hadn’t seen it. Instead he had written a note on a piece of scrap paper and popped that in the box. It really made me laugh on the morning of our wedding.
  • My sister surprised me with a “Something Blue” Katie Loxton clutch bag for all my on-the-day essentials, and I also wore a necklace made from the sapphire that had been in my Mum’s engagement ring from my Dad, given to me on my 21st It was my “Something Old”, and I also wore my Nan’s ring as my “Something Borrowed”.
  • My Dad did an amazing speech which made everyone laugh, and cry, and was really special. It was lovely to hear my Dad saying (mostly) kind words, and he did an excellent job of starting the celebrations.
  • I was also incredibly proud of my husband, who hadn’t originally intended on doing a speech but decided to give it a go. He doesn’t enjoy public speaking, and was very nervous about speaking in front of a big group. But he made everyone laugh with his (silly) jokes, and did himself very proud. We also wrote our own vows and it was so amazing hearing him read something that he had written from the heart.
  • Talking of speeches; during the speeches our catering company Weirdough Pizza served sharing garlic bread pizzas to the tables, and it was literally the most delicious garlic bread of all time. The guests raved about it for weeks!
  • My amazing twin cousins – Bonnie and Laurie, were part of my bridal party for the day. They got the venue ahead of me to show people to their seats, and hand out confetti, and then spent the afternoon clearing crockery and cutlery from tables, and putting empty drinks bottles into the recycling. They were so amazing and helpful and we were so grateful for everything they did!
  • Being in the sun with everyone we love, becoming husband and wife.

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Advice For Other Couples

Try to enjoy it – every moment of it. The planning, the cake tasting, the deciding which colour napkins. And the actual day – getting ready, the vows, the readings, the speeches, the food, the dancing, and the laughter. Because it goes so quickly!

And also, everyone says this but make sure it’s you. If you don’t want a wedding cake, don’t have one. People will say they really think you should get one. But on the day, nobody will notice what’s missing – they’ll enjoy what’s there!

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Credit Where Credit Is Due

Photographer
Three Flowers Photography

Furniture Hire
Anthology Vintage Hire

Florist
Hannah Louise Flowers

Make Up Artist
Lauren Siddons of Be Fabulous

Miniature Cake Buffet
I’ll Bring Dessert & Krispy Kreme Doughnuts

Caterer
Weirdough Pizza

Bar
Duck and Pheasant Bar

Aisle Music
Provided by friends: Tim, Bryan, Patrick

DJ
Fox and Braces

Groom’s Outfit & Shoes
Vintage Suit Hire Company (Boyds of Bedford)

Bride’s Dress Designer
Lucy Can’t Dance

Something Blue Clutch
Katie Loxton

Brides Shoes
ASOS

Maid of Honour Dress
Karen Millen

Transport
Little Yellow Bus

Venue
Pleshey Village Hall

Oh so wonderful! I do love to feature village hall weddings, aren’t they just so special?

Thanks so much to Molly and Frazer for sharing their super awesome wedding story with us. I hope you have the most incredible time on your trip xo Lou

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