Bold & Colourful Fun Filled Barn Wedding

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We’re heading to Norfolk today in a riot of colour for the nuptials of WWW readers Becky and Tommy, and my what a lot of fun it looks to have been! They tied the knot on 4th August 2018 at Waxham Great Barn, one of the few venues in the area that could accommodate the number of guests that they wanted and suited their vision to a tee.

We’re so chuffed that Becky found WWW relatable and used it during the planning process to get inspiration. She was a real bargain hunter and became an expert on budget friendly ways to achieve their vision. There are so many beautiful homemade touches, from the ribbon backdrop to the pompoms and hand crafted signs, fans of the bright and bold will definitely be inspired.

Tommy and Becky felt that they really clicked with Joshua Patrick Photography and I think that really comes through in the marvellous pictures. Not many wedding parties go skinny dipping on the day but Joshua was on board and captured all the fun! Thank you very much for sharing with us Joshua.

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The Proposal

OK, so a total cliché but totally me all the same… It was in front of Cinderella’s castle in Disneyworld, Florida. My favourite place in the whole wide world. I jokingly say I would have said yes to anyone there as I love it so much. Despite this, it was a complete surprise. We were away with friends who were all in on it too, and I still genuinely had no idea. It was great to have some of our best friends with us to celebrate such an amazing day.

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The Vision

Tommy and I are lucky to have a lot of friends and family, so we knew from the beginning this wasn’t going to be a small affair. This also meant we knew we were going to be slightly restricted on venues which could accommodate all of us.

We are both from a catering background so we agreed from the start we wanted to choose our own caterers, and provide our own alcohol. We were not prepared to compromise on this. A “ready made” venue just wouldn’t have suited us.

I also knew from the start that it was going to be colourful. I don’t really do traditional so always had a bright, vibrant colour scheme in mind.

Most of all, we wanted it to be a huge party. Informal, fun and a day to remember.

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The Planning Process

I’ve got to be honest I really enjoyed the whole planning process. I definitely felt a bit of a hole in my life once it was all over! Hence why I created my own Instagram page @diyweddingdiary to pass on some of the ideas and knowledge I had gained.

I am quite thrifty, so was constantly searching Facebook marketplace, Gumtree, charity shops and car boots for literally ANYTHING I could fashion into our wedding. Over a year and a half you can imagine I collected quite a bit!

Our venue was a complete blank canvas, we didn’t even have a kitchen or proper toilets! So there was a lot to organise. This was stressful at times, I was constantly worrying I would forget something. All I can say is its never too early to get stuff booked in. Leaving everything to the last minute just would not have worked for us or our sanity!

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Budget

We came up with a loose budget but if I’m honest this went to pieces! We ended up spending way more than predicted in some areas, then less in others. We kept a constant eye on it though, and never let it spiral out of control.

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Your Outfits & Accessories

Like most brides I had an idea in mind of what I wanted. Something simple, a-line and backless. I went to pretty much every bridal shop going, and struggled to find what I wanted. I ended up revisiting a shop in Norwich, La Creme, as they had a wide selection of Pronovias gowns, a make I really loved. I ended up choosing the Pronovias Ornani gown, but had the back adjusted so it was more open. I added a simple, single tier veil for the ceremony. The team at La Creme were super helpful and really understanding of my needs.

Jewellery was a no brainer. I have practically lived in gold hoops since my teens so my wedding day wasn’t going to be any different. I wanted to feel like myself. I wore a Thomas Sabo pair that Tommy had bought me when we were first together.

I definitely wanted some quirky shoes… I trawled the high street and found a few contenders but settled with a Kurt Geiger pair that were adorned with bright coloured pom poms. As I had made what seemed like thousands of pom poms as part of my wedding décor these shoes seemed appropriate! (Plus the added benefit of using a friend’s staff discount to bring in budget!)

Tommy was a lot less fussy and after not much searching found a smart, blue, three piece suit in Next. In the past he had found Next to be one of the best high street shops for suit fit, size and availability. His shoes were also from Next, and he went for a tan brogue. He wanted a bright paisley tie, which we struggled to find on the high street, so looked online. We found a perfect one of eBay, which was surprisingly good quality, for only £5.99. So it just goes to show it pays to look around.

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The Cake

A great benefit of having a large guest list and a background in catering, is that we had a few people kindly offered to make our cake for us. Our close friend, and talented pastry chef, Dani, created a three tier masterpiece smothered in buttercream, filled with chocolate ganache and a rainbow sponge to match our colour scheme! She had the genius idea of using a mini Colin and Connie the caterpillar as cake toppers. These cakes are a staple in our household on birthdays so it was a nice, personal touch.

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The Venue

So, with an ever increasing guest list of over 200 people (with more in the evening!) we were slightly restricted with venues that would fit us all in. Kind of a blessing in disguise as Norfolk is full of so many beautiful venues it would have been hard to choose otherwise!

Waxham Great Barn was recommended by a friend and as soon as we saw it we fell in love. The barn is old, with a extended roof of thatch, stuffed with character and steeped in history. Surrounded by corn fields and only a couple minutes stroll to the stunning Waxham beach front.

It was a total blank canvas. Which although meant a lot of planning ahead, it meant we could provide our own caterers, bring our own booze and decorate however we wished. I could see our vision coming together instantly.

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Groomsmen

The seven groomsmen were all kitted out in the same Next suit as Tommy. It was a very hectic Saturday afternoon a few moths before the big day, as we all sat in Next trying to get everyone’s sizes worked out and ordered. I must mention the staff in our local Next were incredible. You would have thought we were in a bespoke tailors the amount of time and effort they went to. And you just cant beat them on value for money.

On the day, they all had a pair of colourful Marvel superhero socks on which I loved!

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The Readings & Music

I always think it’s kind of unfair that the Mother of the Bride doesn’t get a look in when it comes to speeches, so we asked my mum to do a reading during the ceremony. She absolutely smashed it with an adaptation of the poem “I’ll be there my darling…”. She personalised each verse to Tommy and I, and had the whole room in tears then in stitches!

My dad delivered a cracking, comedic speech and the Best Man Stefan, did not hold back either. His ended in a very emotional slide show of photos he had asked all our guests to send to him. It was such a surprise and a truly lovely touch.

Our band was The Collective. An upbeat, power house of a band, who kept all the guests on their feet all night. Some very talented brass musicians and two lead singers that were out in the crowd singing with the guests! I had to change into trainers as I was dancing so much! I cannot recommend them highly enough. Any Norfolk couples get them booked up before its too late!

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Beauty

I was extremely lucky that my best friend, and bridesmaid, Amy, had organised all the hair and make up for me and my bridal party.

Samantha Louise Dearing, from The Retreat, had her work cut out as she soldiered on through three bridesmaids, a mother of the bride, and the bride’s hair and make up. She was brilliant.

I just had fairly natural make up and a loose up do to mirror the informal nature of the day.

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The Flowers

As the theme was bright and colourful obviously I wanted this reflected in the flowers. And I wanted BIG! Our florist, Lydia, from Rambling Rose Florist, totally nailed it. She had the brilliant idea of adding some of my pom poms (that I had made as part of wedding décor) into the bouquet to add a bit of colour and volume. This meant when the flowers had died I still had a bunch of bright pom poms that would last as a keepsake forever.

My bouquet was big, bold and full of colour with long trailing ribbons add to the stems. The bridesmaids bouquets were a slightly smaller version of mine.

The groomsmen had mismatched, colourful buttonholes which complemented their bright paisley ties.

I didn’t bother with a lot of flowers in the barn itself, as it was such a large, open space I felt they would get lost a little. I settled with some supermarket gladioli on the tables which did the job I think!

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The Details & Décor

I arrived in style in a cool, red VW camper-van which was another total surprise as I had always said I was happy to go in a taxi!

We were so lucky with the weather, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and there was a slight coastal breeze which meant it wasn’t too hot. After such a long run of good weather I was always paranoid that it could change at any point!

The main décor in the ceremony and reception areas was all handmade. I made rainbow ribbon curtains to fall from all the beams, and had pompoms hanging everywhere. Multi coloured ribbons adorned the back of all the chairs. I pretty much begged, borrowed and stole all manner of fairy and festoon lights from my workplace, friends and family. The barn didn’t have a lot of natural light so I knew lighting was a priority.

After the beautiful ceremony, we had a cocktail, corona and cider filled drinks reception outside in the courtyard. The outdoor bar was stacked with crates, buckets and baths I had accumulated over the planning process. There were cocktail filled kilner jars surrounded by random glasses and jars I had picked up at car boots. It was decorated with loads of bunting, paper fans and fairy lights I had picked up from Poundland and eBay mostly.

A few photos and an epic bouquet throw later we all then got seated to the wedding breakfast. This was some of the best Mexican food I have ever eaten. Our amazing caterer Keith Evans, came up with a huge, sharing menu full of Mexican delights. Cajun chicken, pulled pork and lamb tacos to name just a few. We had a whole host of tasty sides that everyone could dip into. It really was a meal to remember.

After dinner, Tommy and I, the groomsmen and bridal party all sloped off (with a few bottles of prosecco) towards the beach for some more photos. The photos taken in this time are by far my favourites and are definitely one of a kind.

Back at the barn, we danced the night away with all our friends and family to the beat of our amazing live band whilst stuffing an epic cheese buffet!

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Bridesmaids

As there was already so much colour in the wedding, I wanted the bridesmaids more muted. As pastels really aren’t my thing, I decided (albeit a bit controversially) to go with midi, lace, ivory dresses that tied in slightly with my dress. They all looked stunning.

Budget wise I only ever looked on the high street, and the dresses I found were from Monsoon. Ever the one to find a discount, I signed up to their mailing list to get a good percentage off (so bear in mind if you’re buying from them!)

Obviously there still needed to be a pop of colour, so we went with orange shoes, which were also off the high-street, from New Look.

They honestly all looked incredible. I felt the look was something a bit different and original. They all said it was a dress they could wear again, which was nice. I always think it must be such a shame to spend loads on a bridesmaids dress that can only be worn once.

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Your Photographer

Where do I start… from the moment we met Josh, we knew we would get on like a house on fire. After I had seen his photos online, In instantly shortlisted him, but after meeting a few photographers we knew he was totally on our level. Tommy and I are definitely not naturals behind the camera but Josh put us at ease.

We decided to go for an engagement shoot, which is would definitely recommend if your budget allows. It really helped us all get to know each other and sort of prepare ourselves a bit for what it would be like on the big day. The three of us ended up on a pub crawl and it was such a laugh, not at all scary as we had anticipated.

Josh’s style of photography suited us perfectly. More laid back, fun and none of those awful staged lovey-dovey shots. I am constantly looking back through our wedding photos as not only are they a document of our day, they show so much genuine happiness and emotion you feel like you are back there reliving it. There are so many great moments captured where people aren’t looking, so many smiles and laughing faces and crazy dance moves. He truly represented us and our big day in the best way possible. He is a total legend.

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The Honeymoon

Well it seemed only right that we paid Mexico a visit seeing as our wedding was pretty much a big fiesta! But we decided to go to LA first for a few days for a bit of action. We were total tourists and roamed Hollywood and Beverly Hills. We went to an LA Rams football game which was definitely a highlight. We then headed down to Cancun which was beautiful, very chilled and relaxing. However two days in we changed our minds and ended up in Mexico City! Turns out we aren’t very good at relaxing…. But we were in Mexico City for the official Day of the Dead festivities which were amazing. It was a completely memorable holiday and we were so glad we could fit so much in a very short 10 days!

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Memorable Moments

There are so many its difficult to sum them up… but this is a shortlist!

  • My mum’s emotional yet hilarious poem that was so personal to us
  • The best man’s raucous speech which was full of laughs, and a nostalgic sideshow
  • Tommy and I going skinny dipping in the middle of the afternoon with our closest friends… I’ll never forget trying to get my dress off and then back on again! And seeing everyone’s bare bums running in the sea! Top credit to Josh the photographer for getting on board with that!
  • Dancing the night away with all our closest family and friends
  • Probably most of all, spending the day surrounded by all the favourite people in our lives. Knowing everyone there, was there for us, was truly overwhelming.

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Advice For Other Couples

Get planning as soon as you can. It will creep up on you so quickly!

Be needy! We roped in so many friends to help and borrowed so many things from people. Ask around, people are normally so happy to help out and our wedding literally would not have happened if it wasn’t for some of our mates.

Enjoy yourself. Do what you want to do, when you want to do it. Do not be afraid to buck traditions if they don’t suit you.

I saw a quote once and it completely summed up wedding planning to me: “It always seems impossible, until it’s done”. At some points you are going to want to pull your hair out or think the whole things going to pot, but trust me it will be alright in the end!

Credit Where Credit Is Due

Thank you so much Becky and Tommy for sharing your wonderful wedding with us. What fun you had and some great budgeting tips too! Rachel x

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