I can assure you that today’s real wedding is SURE to brighten up your day. Dara and Jamie tied the knot on 9th September 2017 at The Secret Barn in Sussex. Their celebrations were a riot of colour and by all accounts a whole lot of fun!
The entire day was DIY and a real team effort. Cakes were provided by friends and family competing in a “bake off” and the results look simply spectacular. Following plenty of fun and games throughout the day, friends took turns on the decks keeping the party going late into the night.
Dara and Jamie encouraged their guests to dress up in bright colours for the festivities and Dara surprised Jamie by wearing a traditional white dress, changing into a different outfit for the evening, which I think you’re absolutely going to love!
Our pair weren’t originally sure that they wanted a photographer so Yvonne Lishman stepped in at relatively short notice and captured these absolutely fab images. Thank you so much for sharing Yvonne.
We’ve known each other since secondary school! We didn’t interact much in year 7 or 8, we became good friends in year 9, and by year 10 Dara plucked up the courage to ask me out. Ten years later, I proposed to Dara while on holiday in Cuba.
We wanted a wedding where everyone could express themselves and dress however they want. The more colourful, the better. And we had activities where our friends could show off their personalities: a cake-making competition and late-night DJ sets.
THE PLANNING PROCESS
We first sorted the venue in early 2016 – the amazing Secret Barn, near Brighton. Once we confirmed a date and number of guests, we spent around 18 months slowly but surely amassing as many colourful
decorations as possible: Chinese lanterns, fairy lights, table decorations, anything we could get our hands on for a good price! A couple of days before the wedding, we chucked everything in a camper van, drove to the Secret Barn and had around a dozen close friends and family help with decorating the venue. We still owe them for all their help.
The Secret Barn, Wiston, Sussex We didn’t want anywhere particularly showy, and we loved the idea of having somewhere where our friends could camp overnight. The Secret Barn ticked all the boxes.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES
Dara always said she wasn’t going to wear a dress, so you can imagine my surprise when she walked down the aisle looking absolutely beautiful in a traditional wedding dress. She managed to flip the rulebook slightly by matching it with light-blue converse. In the evening, she wore all-white dungarees and a rose-patterned shirt underneath. She’s never tried to be fashionable, but she can’t help it.
Dara’s wedding dress came from Ocean Brides in Hove (Dara: “Simone helped me find a dress I loved even though I was terrified of wedding dresses!”)
I (Jamie) wore an all-green suit from Next, mainly because it complimented my red hair! I had it tailored by No One Famous Tailoring in Leytonstone, London.
Provided by Petal & Feast and my (Jamie’s) mum made the buttonholes,
We also held our own wedding cake competition, which encouraged a bit of friendly rivalry AND meant everyone got fed!
Yvonne Lishman was our photographer. We’re quite camera shy (or at least we thought we were), so it took us a while to decide we actually wanted a wedding photographer. Yvonne was asked fairly last-minute whether she was free for our wedding weekend. Thankfully she was, and she was incredible to work with. She captured the bizarre personality of our mates like nobody else could, and she somehow managed to make a camera-shy couple seem completely at ease.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR
We made our own save the dates, decorated the venue ourselves, my mum helped with the buttonholes, and we asked our mates to play DJ sets instead of hiring a band. We wanted it to be colourful, the more colourful, the better. We encouraged friends to turn up in snazzy, bright suits, and we decorated the secret barn with dozens and dozens of multi-coloured lanterns. Dara’s mum made giant wooden D and J initials to hang over our wedding table and during the speeches she added a red heart to the centre of the letters.
We spent two weeks in Vietnam – first in Ho Chi Minh City, then in a really relaxing resort on the coast in Nha Trang, and finally in the bustling capital Hanoi. We swam lots, read books, tried delicious food
and drank huge amounts of coffee. It was amazing!
It was all perfect! I’m not sure it would have been the same without the outdoor orchard we had our ceremony in, or the fact that the sun stayed out (the skies opened immediately after we tied the knot!). We asked some of our closest friends to play their own DJ sets towards the end of the night. They had their own DJ stage name (eg. ‘DJ Pink Fizz’ for our resident bubbly fan), and they all lived up to the task of making almost 100 people dance the night away. Everyone probably thinks their friends are the best in the world, but they really made the day what it was: ridiculously fun, hilarious and silly. I don’t think there’s anyone else in the world quite like our mates.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES
Don’t worry about whether the day will go to plan, or the nitty-gritty details, or whether your guests will have a great time. They will, and if they don’t, you’ll be too caught up in a happy bubble to notice! It really will be the best day of your lives.
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Wow, what fun Dara and Jamie! Thanks so much for sharing your day with us here at WWW. Rachel x