I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I just can’t get enough of creative crafty couples. Their weddings always rock, filled with personal touches breaking traditions and creating new ones for future generations.
Take Sean and Emily’s wedding for example. It’s a master-class in DIYing your day, in fact I am feeling pretty jealous myself of Emily’s sewing skills alone. She not only made her stunning gown, bridal separates of a lace top with two skirts and a knitted shawl! But she also hand made Sean’s waistcoat and trousers and the floral bridesmaids frocks. No mean feat and it shows just how much love was poured into the celebrations. Their loved ones also gave a helping hand, the gold cake was hand baked, the paper flowers were hand folded and the flowers bought and arranged too. WOW.
The pair settled on a Spring wedding on the 6th May 2017 at the spectacular Odo’s Barn in Kent, following a church ceremony where Emily was christened. They made some great choices with their suppliers, especially with their photographer Rebecca Douglas who captured all the action so beautifully. I will leave you with Emily’s words of advice “your wedding pictures last a lifetime and are worth investing in”…
THE PROPOSAL | We do our local Parkrun every Saturday and Sean nervously carried the ring around in a sweatband on his wrist 3 weeks in a row but never found the right moment. He proposed once we were home and dressed up for a romantic home-cooked Valentine’s day dinner!
THE VISION | A relaxed, country handmade wedding filled with love.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | We set the date shortly after we got engaged, and gave ourselves 2 years to get everything ready. We booked the church and barn, then didn’t do much for a year! After nearly leaving it too late to book our photographer we got into action with the rest of the planning and getting started on all our handmade items. We made a budget and some big lists early on (that was the scariest bit), and then just worked through them. The whole process really wasn’t as stressful as we’d expected; I think because we had a clear vision but weren’t too set or rigid about how we got there.
BUDGET | My parents very kindly provided the wedding budget. With all the DIY we were able to save money in some areas, which meant we could really get what we wanted in others. It’s all about balance.
THE VENUE | We married in the church where I was christened, just 5 minutes walk from my parents house where me and my sisters grew up in Rolvenden, Kent. Our reception was at the stunning Odo’s Barn in Bilsington, about 30 minutes drive away.
The first time we saw the barn we knew it was perfect, both inside and out. We were free to style it however we wanted and Charlotte and Robert were very helpful. The barn looked beautiful on the day, and it was lovely seeing people having the same reaction as we did the first time we saw it.
Our caterers were Cuisine Studio and they served us incredible food with a very professional service. Joannah was so organised and efficient and really ran the show. We had a selection of canapés as starters along with local Chapel Down sparkling wine. For mains we had sharing plates with ambient beef. Our trio of desserts was so popular tables were asking for seconds. The style of food worked so well for the barn – brought to the table where people could chat and help themselves.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | The dress was handmade by myself. I went for separates; a lace overlay sweet heart neckline bodice, with an exposed lace buttoned back, and a floor length crepe skirt. I also made a shorter silk skirt for dancing in the evening.
For my ‘something blue’ Sean surprised me by buying a beautiful topaz necklace. For the rest of my jewellery I made my beaded brow band, bracelet and hair pins with freshwater pearls.
One of the first crafts I learned when I was little was knitting, and I’ve knitted a few wedding shawls for close friends. I spent a long time knitting my traditional Shetland lace shawl knowing it would be an heirloom piece. It came in very handy on the day as it was actually very cosy to wear!
My shoes were floral stilettos from Ted Baker.
I had my hair done at the hairdressers in our village by Ella at The Barn Hair Studio. I did my own make up after a Bobbi Brown lesson a few weeks earlier.
FINDING THE DRESS | This is where the DIY went into overdrive! I’ve loved sewing as a hobby since I started 3 years ago and my “why buy it when I can make it” nature really kicked in.
I decided on separates as I loved the more relaxed look. The bodice was loosely based on the Kim dress bodice pattern from By Hand London. I added a lace overlay and modified the back to expose the lace. The maxi full circle skirt was self drafted, and my shorter dancing skirt was the dipped hem Flora dress skirt pattern, also from By Hand London.
I was so glad I made my dress; I felt so comfortable and I was really able to choose whatever I wanted. For anyone out there who might have started sewing for fun but thinks a wedding dress is out of their reach – it really isn’t! I used ‘everyday’ patterns and bought all I needed at my local fabric shop, no specialist items needed.
GROOM’S ATTIRE | Sean wore a navy suit with brown tweed waistcoat. I made his trousers and his waistcoat using fabric bought on a trip to Rye to visit the incredible Merchant and Mills shop. I really enjoyed adding special touches – such as using leftover fabric from my bridesmaid dresses for his waistcoat lining, and hand-sewing the buttonholes.
His jacket was the first one he tried from John Lewis and fitted perfectly. I gave him a pair of cuff-links from the jeweller who made his rose gold and rosewood wedding ring. His shoes were Ted Baker.
I also made tweed ties for the best men and groomsmen, who all wore their own navy suits – I loved the ever so slightly mismatched look.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | We had two readings at the church; Colossians 3:12-17, and a wonderful excerpt from Thief of Time by Terry Pratchett.
I walked down the aisle to the organ playing ‘The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba’ and we left to ‘Trumpet Tune’.
At the reception we had a ceilidh and our first dance was a short round of Strip the Willow with our immediate family. Glashin provided the music, with accompaniment from my Scottish family members!
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | My two sisters were my bridesmaids – they wore dresses that I’d made (Kim dress pattern from By Hand London again!), and I also made their jewellery to match mine. They were such a big support, and we had a brilliant time getting ready at home – they really made me feel so relaxed and happy. We walked up to the church from home together once everyone else had already got there and it was one of my favourite moments of the day, full of laughter.
THE FLOWERS | On my hen weekend my sisters had organised some bouquet making with a local florist, as they knew I wanted to do my own flowers. A couple of days before the wedding we got up super early and had a road trip to Covent Garden flower market to buy the flowers and foliage for the bouquets and buttonholes. We each hand-tied our own bouquet and made a team effort on the buttonholes and corsages. I had picked up a couple of feathers on a walk on my hen weekend, and added one to my bouquet and one to Sean’s buttonhole.
At the church we had flower arrangements by the ladies who usually do the church flowers, led by Sylvia from Laurel’s Nursery.
At the barn we decorated with another DIY labour of love – paper flowers. We had white roses, peachy dahlias, blue ranunculus, pink cosmos and a garland of white wisteria, accompanied by real foliage. We had friends and family help with the flowers at various ‘flower making parties’, kept their labelled blooms and put them on their tables at the reception so they could take them home.
THE CAKE | The cake was made by my sister Katy. We had three sponges in lemon, vanilla and mocha and all were dairy free. She also made an extra mini-cake for one of my school friends whose birthday it was on the day. Having said all along I wanted a naked cake, she put up with me at the last minute deciding I wanted a gold layer. She decorated it beautifully with flowers from our Covent Garden trip, and we cut the cake with our engagement gift from my other sister Helen.
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | The incredible Rebecca Douglas was our photographer. From the first email I knew she was perfect, which was totally confirmed when we saw our pictures from our engagement shoot. She was so friendly and such a joy to be around. She made us feel as though ours was the only wedding in the world with so many extra special touches. We absolutely trusted that she’d take the most incredible photos and were completely blown away by the results.
Working within a budget for a wedding is always difficult, but I knew from the outset that one of my biggest priorities was getting a photographer who we loved and trusted; your wedding pictures last a lifetime and are worth investing in. Whilst a friend of a friend might save you money they probably won’t get the same results.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | We handmade nearly all the details, and the flowers certainly took the longest. We made seed paper for our place names (and used champagne corks we’d saved to hold them up). Our table names were from places where we had been running together and also had a picture that I’d taken at each place.
I designed and printed all our wedding stationery, which took a few frustrating hours on Illustrator as I’ve never really used it before! It was all worth it in the end as I was able to carry the theme through all of the stationery to menus on the day, thank you cards, and the website where we had all our information and RSVP.
Instead of a guestbook we had a thumbprint tree which I drew (a Pinterest idea that really worked!).
THE HONEYMOON | We hopped on the Eurostar from Kent and spent 3 glorious days in sunny Paris. We’re planning a trip to New Zealand next year (and Sean is thrilled that he’ll get to watch some cricket).
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | The whole day was perfect. Some moments that stand out are walking up to the church with my sisters listening to the bells ringing, sneaking off for some bluebell and sunset pictures with our photographer (and leaving my shoes in her car), and our dizzying first dance!
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Don’t feel too bound by tradition. Use the bits that work for you, but don’t feel you have to do a certain thing just because it’s expected. Decide on your priorities early on – have a vision but don’t get too caught up in making it ‘perfect’. And don’t be afraid to try making things yourself – the internet has all the answers!
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photographer | Rebecca Douglas Photography
Dress patterns | By Hand London
Caterers | Cuisine Studio
Reception | Odo’s Barn
Music | Glashin
Hair | The Barn Hair Studio at Rolvenden
Church flowers | Sylvia from The Laurel’s Nursery
Paper flower templates (cosmos, ranunculus, dahlia) | Lia Griffith
Sean’s ring and cufflinks | Justin Duance
And ceilidh dancing to end the day. How perfect!
Sean and Emily, I cannot thank you enough for sharing your darling wedding with us. Thanks also goes to Rebecca Douglas for providing these amazing photographs xo Lou