Red Brick Barn Wedding
DIY, Personal, Relaxed, Whimsical, BBQ, Fun!
Dan and Lauren
I just love everything about their day, from the barn ceremony to the BBQ vibes, live music and wooden pallet décor. They really pulled out all the stops for their dreamy DIY wedding; crafting and making so much, such as the wooden bar, signs and coffee tables to name just a few. To entertain their guests they had lawn games, a Gentleman’s Corner for viewing the Champions League final and even a bake off. Their risk of hosting their reception outdoors totally paid off and the whole party looked really magical.
Also keep your eyes peeled for seriously gorgeous attire, beautiful blooms, smoke bombs, cute transport and twinkling lights. Whoa.
Jess Soper Photography thank you so very much for sharing your utterly stunning shots with us all.
Dan proposed one morning at our home. I woke up to find him missing from our bed and as I walked out of our bedroom, I found a trail of petals and photos of Dan and I leading downstairs. Once I made it to the living room, he was on one knee with a ring surrounded by candles.
We knew we wanted less tradition and more of a relaxed BBQ feel. Good food, live music and plenty of drink! We also love to be outside so this was a must for us. It was also important for us to keep costs down and be as green as possible.
The Planning Process
Dan pulled together the most epic spreadsheet to keep track of everything and I made list after list after list in my little planning book. It took the best part of a year to make all the little DIY touches – hard work but worth it!
We definitely spent more than we had set out to do, but we cut costs were we could and tried to spend on the things that really mattered to us. We would never have had the wedding we had without the financial support of our family though, we were very lucky.
The flowers for the Bridal Party and Groomsmen were by Hannah Louise Flowers. Again, I came across her on Instagram and picked up on her eye for little intricate details – her arrangements were perfect for the wildflower look we wanted and smelt AMAZING!
Flowers for the venue were arranged by my Mum and Sister, Chloe. We ordered the majority from Triangle Nursery online; they were brilliant. So helpful and supportive – as a total novice they really put me at ease and gave great advice! My Mum and Grandma also grew foliage and flowers in their gardens – the orange blossom grown by my Grandma was used in the Bridesmaids hair and looked gorgeous.
The Details & Décor
We decided to take a risk and not hire a marquee for the garden. Mainly because we like being out in the open air but also to save on cost, it was a big risk for June in the UK but it paid off as the weather was perfect! We just went for it – if it had rained, we would have worn wellies!
We’d used haybales for parties in the past and we love the way they looked, so we’d decided early on that these would form the majority of our seating – with some extra picnic blankets too. We hired a stretch tent to provide shade for the bar area, as well as a small tepee with some armchairs for our older guests so they were comfortable. After the wedding we donated our haybales to a horse sanctuary.
The majority of our décor was made from pallets. We started collecting them about a year before the wedding and they were completely free. Dan made coffee tables, bars, signs, a stage and even our guestbook was a pallet! We also borrowed a lot of things from our friends and family; when people heard about the type of wedding we were going for I think they liked the idea of being involved, so we found so many people offered to lend and give us décor – everyone was so kind. Our favours, lucky horseshoes, were given to us by a family friend who owns a stud in Newmarket where I (Lauren) used to live – Dan and I scrubbed each horseshoe clean with an old toothbrush!
We love a burger, so we set about finding a BBQ caterer. We were keen to find a local business and came across Jim at The Brisket Tin. It turned out he’d also got married at our venue so knew the site well – he was also super flexible and relaxed. He didn’t disappoint, the brisket and slow cooked chicken was mouth-wateringly delicious. He served each bun with Mac n Cheese on the side – another favourite of ours.
We got all the wine and beer from Calais and kept them cool in huge bath tubs filled with ice we hired from Anthology Vintage Hire. We served our drinks in jam jars, which friends and family collected for us over the months leading to the wedding – I painted each jar with a different pattern so the guests would know who’s was who’s. We also hired a prosecco van for our welcome drinks, the Bubble Tap were great value and the little Piaggio looked great as our guests arrived.
We loved the idea of lawn games, so we set up beer pong, welly wanging, darts and dangling donuts for our guests – no frills and great fun! We also love a photo booth at a wedding, but to keep costs down we made a DIY version with a tripod and some vintage furniture.
Our wedding just so happened to coincide with the Champions League Final so we pulled together “Gentleman’s Corner” which had a couple of leather sofas, some brandy, whisky and cigars – it worked out nicely as a make-shift pub for our guests to watch the match!
The venue took 2 straight days to set up with the help of our friends and family as it was a complete blank canvas. It was really hard work, especially for our venue team, but it was so rewarding to see everything come together.
The Readings & Music
I walked down the aisle to an acoustic version of Everlong by Foo Fighters, our song and our favourite band.
We chose two readings; Bob Marley “On Love” and “The Vow” by Wendy Cope.
We had The Dancing Monkeys play an acoustic set for our drinks reception and whilst everyone ate. They got the vibe just right with their chilled covers. We also made a playlist for in between their sets which pretty much consisted of Live Lounge Covers of our favourite songs.
We really struggled to choose our first dance, in fact we went back and forth right up to the very last week of the wedding! So, we kind of had two! Our first dance was to “Sweet Disposition” by The Temper Trap which included an amazing moment when my sisters all let off confetti canons over us. Then our evening band opened their set with “Always Where I Need to Be” by The Kooks – our other choice for the first dance.
We found Broadway Band on Instagram, they were local guys and so friendly and flexible. We loved their set so much that we spent pretty much all night on the dancefloor meaning we missed spending time with some of our evening guests!
We discovered really early on after visiting a few places that we didn’t want a conventional wedding in a traditional venue; we didn’t like the restrictions and rules – or the price tag! We decided to go for something different, so we could do things our way and within a reasonable budget so we had more money to spend on the things that mattered most to us.
When we went to visit Red Brick Barn we were instantly struck by how flexible and accommodating the owners were. No restrictions, no rules and at a really reasonable rate. It was local, had the outside space we were searching for and they had one date left for the following summer. We booked it on the spot!
The girl’s dresses were from ASOS; we ordered them online as they were the perfect colour and then had them altered by a local seamstress. It was a real mission to find a dress that suited both a young woman and a teenager, but after months of shopping ASOS came to the rescue! They both wore orange blossom in their hair and looked stunning! I was so proud of them.
Your Outfits & Accessories
My dress was by Rebecca Ingram for Maggie Sottero. I felt so comfortable and free in it. I had planned on wearing shoes, but ditched them on the morning and went barefoot all day. I wore a flower crown made by Hannah Louise Flowers made with simple foliage, lavender and limonium. My veil was my “something borrowed” from my bridesmaid, Rachael.
Dan’s and the Groomsmen’s suits were from Moss Bros. Their ties were from Liberty London.
Dan and I weren’t really fussed about the cake tradition. However, as we knew a lot of our guests love a bit of cake at a wedding – we challenged the guests to a bake off! With champagne for the winner and personalised aprons for runners up. We were so lucky to have so many beautiful cakes, so many of our guests went to a lot of trouble and it was great fun judging them all!
Hair: From the moment I first got in touch with Charlotte (Hair So Boho), she was an absolute pleasure to work with. On the morning of the wedding she was so cheery and fun and really made the morning feel special. She got the style I had in my head on the first try – I LOVED my hair on the day.
Make up: Charlemagne did my make-up, my daughter’s and my Mum’s. It was lovely for us all to have a bit of a pamper in the morning after a long day of hard work at the venue the day before! It took the pressure off to just sit back and let someone else handle it so I’d def recommend.
Dan’s Best Man also treated him to grooming session at The Valet London so his beard was on top form for the wedding!
Searching for a photographer was one of the 1st things we started to do as soon we got engaged. We both agreed that this was a priority for us and that a big chunk of the budget should be put aside for it.
I did most of my research through Instagram and came across one of Jess Soper’s images. I fell in love with her honest, earthy, ethereal look straightaway but it was when we met her that we knew she was right for us. She was also into fuss-free, relaxed weddings so we knew we could be ourselves around her.
She was one of the best decisions we made. We’re so in love with the photos.
A videographer wasn’t a priority for us, so instead we asked our guests to film as much as poss on their phones and share them with us after the day. Dan’s brother also filmed some footage on his GoPro. My amazing friend pulled them all together into a film against our first dance song and it turned out brilliantly.
We headed off to Greece 2 days after the wedding for a ridiculously lazy and indulgent honeymoon – a must if you’re doing a DIY wedding. We were EXHAUSTED!
There was a moment on the dancefloor when the band played Dakota by Stereophonics and all of our favourite people were dancing and hugging along to it. Since then, this has become “our wedding song” as it takes us straight back every time we hear it!
My Mum surprised us on the day with a beautiful poem, read just before the speeches, by my sister Chloe who had travelled from New Zealand to be with us on our day. It was such an emotional moment.
We had another surprise on the day, when one of our family guests brought their Glitter Tattoo kit with them on the off-chance we’d like them for our guests. Jo did some amazing tattoos that the guests LOVED – we were so grateful!
Advice For Other Couples
Whilst a DIY wedding is so rewarding, it’s not for the faint-hearted. There were some really stressful times in the few days leading up to the wedding. What kept us going was the support from our family and friends. We had a little “team” that worked so hard to bring everything together; we’d have never been able to do it all without them.
I’d also say, “don’t sweat the small stuff”! In hindsight, it doesn’t really matter! It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the little details and as a perfectionist, I have to admit I struggled with this – but when all is said and done, it’s about you as a couple. Ignore the opinions of others!
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Jess Soper Photography
The Brisket Tin
Hannah Louise Flowers
The Dancing Monkeys
Hair So Boho
Goodness me, so whimsical, I love it all! Dan and Lauren you looked stunning and super loved up to boot.
Dan and Lauren thank you so very much for sharing your delightful wedding story with us xo Lou