Now here is a real wedding full to the brim with personality. I just love how Steven and Leanne incorporated super personal elements to their DIY wedding at the stunning Pimhill Barn in Shropshire on the 7th July 2018. Their love of cats was given a nod through Steven’s wooden cufflinks gifted by Leanne, their pet cat table names and Leanne baked the most amazing cat shaped cake for their epic dessert table. I was also really excited to see a Harry Potter reference, with that quote “After all this time? Always” printed to the bottom of Leanne’s shoes. So perfect! In fact Leanne’s gown was a real show stopper too, with it’s illusion back and long train, she looked just stunning. Steven and his fave boys wore blue suits, tan shoes and check ties, they all looked so smart and totally on trend too.
Their day was two years in the planning, which enabled them to go to town on the incredible décor. Think fairy lights, glitter jars for blooms, wooden pallet signage and hand sewn bunting to name a few. The barns looked so magical, how romantic?!
I will leave you with not only their brilliant story, but with sensational images and film by the wonderful Leah Lombardi, thank you so much Leah.
Steven whisked me away for a mini break in London, where he had booked a room at the Shangri la hotel in the Shard. We had a beautiful room with a panoramic window which had a breath-taking view of Tower Bridge. When it was dark and the city lights were twinkling away Steven laid out polaroid photos which he had taken. Each polaroid was a photo of something I loved and a little letter … W for wild flowers, L for lights, O for Oreos etc. These spelt out will you marry me.
At this point I turned around and he was on one knee with a little wooden ring box which had our names engraved on it. At this point I cried for about 10 minutes whilst spluttering yes yes over and over again. Steven had bought and proposed with a costume ring which he thought I would like the style of (which I did), and we used this to design and make my engagement ring together in Hatton Garden the next day.
I always dreamt of having a DIY wedding and upcycling everyday items for decorations. We didn’t want to have a huge wedding with fine dining and an extravagant guest list of distant relatives we had never met. The most important things in our lives are close family and friends, food and our cats so this is what we based our wedding on.
We invited our nearest and dearest, had the food we loved (picnic baskets, a BBQ and ice-cream van) hired garden games and added personal details. We added little details of our cats to live up to our reputation of the crazy cat people. We didn’t pretend to be people we weren’t and this made our day really special.
The Planning Process
The planning took around 2 years, with many lists, spreadsheets and pots of paint.
We tasked our family and friends to collect jam jars, champagne bottles and corks. We had over 200 jam jars to decorate for our table decorations which took over the house for the best part of a year.
To successfully execute a DIY wedding, it all comes down to the venue. We did not want to be restricted in what we could and couldn’t have and our venue was perfect for this.
Your Outfits & Accessories
My dress is by Lillian West and I paired it with a floor length veil. I found the dress when I went to Lucy Alexander Bridal Boutique (Stafford) with one of my friends as a bit of fun. I didn’t expect to find anything I liked so soon because I am known to be fussy. I visited 5 other shops and each dress I compared to the Lillian West so I knew it was the one. I added an appliqué belt which was gifted from my bridesmaid from her wedding dress to make it unique. My shoes were gold glitter peep toe by Carvela, with a personal touch of a Harry Potter decal on the soles.
The necklace I wore was a 1960’s Wedgewood cameo pendant which originally belonged to a great grandparent. This was gifted by my Step Dad’s Mum who unfortunately passed away a few months before the wedding, so this was really special and was much more than my “something blue”. Steven bought me a beautiful pearl bracelet to finish off the outfit.
Steven chose a blue slim fit suit with a tweed waistcoat, tie and pocket square. He hired them online from Burton Formal Hire which was really convenient as it was courier delivered and returned. He paired the suit with tan suede shoes which were from ASOS.
I also bought him a wooden pocket watch with our photo engraved on the back which was from Chisel Tree, and a pair of wooden cat shaped cufflinks as a wedding gift.
I came across Pimhill Barn in Shrewsbury (Shropshire) whilst helping a friend plan her wedding a few years back. When got engaged we went to view the Barn and the following day we had set our date. We didn’t even go and view any other venues. It was perfect.
We loved that the barn had history and was not purpose built as a wedding venue. The barn has mixture of open brick and stunning oak beams which date back to 1584. As Pimhill is a complete blank canvas, we didn’t have to work with someone else’s décor, catering and layout choices. Our wedding could be exactly how we wanted to the very smallest detail. We had a lot of suppliers and at times it was over whelming; but I wouldn’t change any of it if I did it again.
Steven and I love cake so we always wanted a cake table. We tasked our family with making our favourite cakes and I made a cat shape fruit cake and cupcakes.
For our main wedding cake we chose a three tier semi naked sponge (classic Victoria, white chocolate and raspberry and cherry and almond). It was decorated with fresh flowers, macarons and finished with a handmade cake topper. The cake topper included our much loved cats.
We sourced cake stands from family and friends and finished the table off with bunting, a wooden engraved knife and French Fancies. The cakes were dismantled and cut up in the evening for a cake buffet. It appears we are not the only ones who love cake!
The flowers included roses, thistles, gypsophila, eucalyptus and other wild flowers in deep pink and nude tones. Kath from the Shropshire Field creates such beautiful floral arrangements from flowers which she grows herself. She created a rustic vibe to compliment the barn and was a perfect choice for us. Kath created floral arrangements in jam jars, champagne bottles and milk churns along with our bouquets and button holes.
We gifted the table flowers to our guests when they left and bunched the larger milk churns flowers for our Mums; so that they were enjoyed whist we were away on our honeymoon.
The Readings & Music
I walked down the aisle to Christina Perri – A thousand years
We signed the register to John Legend – All of you
We exited to Bruno Mars – Marry you
Our bridesmaids read two poems during our ceremony one titled ‘Today You Marry Your Best Friend’ and the other ‘Your Wedding Day’. We chose these readings as the words meant something to us.
Our first dance was to Birdy – Wings. During the dance one of the bridesmaids set off a confetti cannon and we were then joined by our guests. It was a really special moment.
The Details & Décor
Visualised by me at 3am, aided by Pinterest and supported by my now husband. Our wedding was completely DIY and we had a team of helpers assist set-up the day before. We were so pleased with how the overall look came together and the months and months of hard work paid off. The décor included:
- 200+ jam jars decorated in natural, gold and rose gold accents using lace, hessian, twine, spray paint and glitter. These lined the wooden trestle tables with beautiful gypsophila and warm ivory candles.
- Champagne bottles from a friend’s wedding were painted and filled with flowers.
- Corks were glued together to make hearts and were dotted around the barn. We used red wine corks to create a purple stain fade and the tops of the printed champagne corks to spell out our surname.
- We hand cut and sewed 60 meters of pastel bunting and hung this inside and outside the barn.
- We created origami crane garlands which were hung outside in pretty metallic and ivory card.
- For the guestbook we commissioned a water colour painting of the barn and turned this into a fingerprint guestbook.
- We hung our Christmas lights outside and hired a professional team to hang a fairy light canopy from the beams which looked so magical and complimented the barn wonderfully. We also hired wooden LOVE lights which lined the dancefloor in the evening.
- We upcycled pallets and hand painted them to create signs, the order of the day and the table plan. For the table plan we used polaroid photos of the guests, using wedding photos for those that were married to spread the love. The table names were our cats names (past and present).
- Our favours and place settings were wooden laser cut names paired with a Lego mini figure selected individually for each guest. We spent months planning and sourcing the best figures. They went down really well.
Steven had four groomsmen; his brother and three close friends. They were a huge part of our day as the DIY aspect meant that there were lots of jobs which needed doing. They did a great job and kept everything running smoothly. The suits matched Steven’s but with a different colour tie (so people could tell the difference between Steven and his twin).
Our two nephews were our page boys, who wore a shorts and waistcoat combo with converse and so they could run around and enjoy themselves. Their outfits were finished with a wooden page boy badge and bow tie.
I had four Bridesmaids; my big sister and three of my closest friends. All four have different styles, personalities, hair colour, heights and body shapes. So I decided on Nude pink as the colour and give the girls free reign of what dress, shoes and hair style they wanted. They each chose a dress from Little Mistress which suited them individually. I did not see all the dresses together until the day which was a lovely moment. The bridesmaids looked beautiful and the dresses worked really well as they complimented each other perfectly.
We spent considerable time researching for a photographer. This was a really important aspect of our day as when the cake has been eaten and the flowers have wilted the photos will last a lifetime.
We wanted a photographer who could capture our day without being intrusive with embarrassing forced poses. We booked Leah Lombardi to capture our day. We came across Leah whilst looking into videography as she provides a fantastic joint photo/video package. Her style is exactly what we wanted: natural and relaxed. Leah was supported on the day with a second shooter Jenn Brookes.
When we received our photos and video I cried at how perfect they were.
We spent 16 days touring the beautiful island of Sri Lanka. We did a range of activities including: various city tours, visiting a turtle hatchery, going on a safari, visiting temples, exploring ancient cities and relaxing on the beach.
- Feeling like the only people in the room when saying our vows.
- Watching our guests on one of the hottest days of the year ditch the suit jackets and heels for a game of tug of war.
- Dancing until 1am to Sean Kingston, Usher, Sean Paul and 50 Cent. The club hits which we loved when we were 18 now bring us memories of our wedding day.
Advice For Other Couples
- Create a plan and stick to it.
- Hire a videographer.
- Don’t worry about the small details these things will not matter on the day.
- Relax and enjoy the day, it goes so fast.
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Photography & Videography
Be Beautiful Too
The Shropshire Field
Steven and Leanne, thank you so so much for sharing your incredible wedding story with us xo Lou