A DIY wedding is both a great big annoyance and the most wonderful way to plan your big day.
The annoying part is not really knowing what you are doing and worrying on a daily basis that your guests won’t enjoy the fact you’ve gone off piste and planned a traditional wedding.
But for us the positives outweighed the negatives and we decided to go all in, taking the elements from what we liked about weddings and tie that into what was essentially going to be a great, big party.
We were able to have full reign on when things happened, what caterers we chose, the booze we ordered, where we could hang decorations and no one telling us when we had to finish. We were free to do as we pleased and work with companies we hand picked ourselves. We couldn’t have been happier with all the suppliers we selected. That in itself seems rather lucky.
So I thought I’d share all of them with you here, for a little extra recognition for them and for anyone reading this who is getting married in the near future.
Catering – Baz and Fred
If you want pizzas for your wedding, I can’t recommend these guys enough. Usually chosen for evening meals, we had them for our main meal, along with salads etc and so they warned us that their style of cooking was to feed people over a few hours, not ideally all at once. However, they worked non-stop when they arrived and got all the pizzas out in just over an hour. James and I only managed to enjoy a sample as we were busy mingling but they tasted great and we both received rave reviews from our guests.
My Wedding Dress – Simply Bridal, Cheltenham
Well, ahem, as most will know I already had a wedding dress before I even met James so that was one item that could be ticked off early on. It was made by Lusan Mandongus and three years after purchasing it, I was still so happy with it. Some of the beading had come unstitched from when I had been trying it on so we had a family friend, who is an amazing seamstress, fix it, who also discovered how most of the dress had been hand stitched. It was a little tricky to dance in but I loved wearing it and would love to find a reason to wear it again (apart from another wedding)!
Waitresses – Regency Recruitment
I spoke with Clare at Regency Recruitment and told her what we needed help with on the day and she immediately understood, taking notes and adding suggestions about what they could also help with – things I hadn’t really considered. The waitresses on the day were amazing. I had left some notes and a schedule of the day, and they got to it straight away. We didn’t have to worry about them once and everything ran like clockwork. We were both super impressed.
Make-up – The Beauty Call
Make-up was a tricky one for me, I was tempted to do it myself as I was struggling to find a make-up artist I liked. I also didn’t want to be caked in the stuff as that’s not really my style. Eventually I came across The Beauty Call, where there are dedicated make-up artists depending on where you live. The South-West is very lucky in that it has Marie. Marie came out to do a trial about 6 weeks before the wedding, I gave her some images to go off which she replicated, which we then amended to suit my face shape. On the day, Marie did my mum and my sister’s make-up, along with mine. I was really happy with how it turned out and it even managed to stay put right up until the early hours of the next morning.
Hair – Vanilla Cheltenham
My hair was done by Rachel, who works at Vanilla in Cheltenham, she also lives in the house opposite my parents which proved very handy on the day of the wedding and for the trial beforehand. We had a good chat about what look I was going for and how I wanted it to work with the accessories I was already planning on buying. The final outcome was just how I imagined and worked perfectly with the dried flower hairband. I also purchased dried flower hair clips for the bridesmaids.
Marquee – Lime Marquees
I didn’t really want the standard Marquee, I envisioned either the tipi or capri style tents, that would be more in-keeping with the laidback theme of our wedding. The prices varied a lot online but there was one stand-out company that seemed to be offering the full package without the hefty price tag. The communication with Guy from Lime Marquees was faultless, he would respond promptly to any questions we had and even came to visit a few months before to check the land we were putting the marquee on – incase it needed levelling or putting up in a different place. He arrived two days before the wedding to put it up, giving us time to decorate and fill with tables and chairs. We also had a full day to empty it after the wedding before they came to collect it on the Monday. An amazing service.
Photographer/Videographer – Felix Russell-Saw
James had worked with Felix and had seen the style of his wedding photography from a colleague who had also used Felix, so we didn’t take very long in deciding who would capture our special day. We met up in Bristol to talk through our plans for the big day several months before and then Felix came to my parent’s house to do some practice shots and go over any final details. On the day he brought along another photographer and his videographer, who all blended with our guests and you barely noticed they were there. With us both not enjoying being in the limelight and the subject of many photos being taken, we found ourselves feeling pretty relaxed in front of Felix’s camera lens. All the photos in this post and the previous wedding post were taken by Felix and his team, we can’t wait to get them printed and put on display.
Bridesmaid dresses – Asos
I was after either a subtle pink or a sage green dress for the bridesmaids, and even something they could perhaps wear afterwards and use on other occasions. Nothing too fancy, pretty but relaxed. Asos do such an amazing range of bridesmaids dresses, I regular checked their website for the perfect dress. I was having a casual flick through one weekend and spotted these cute, pink dresses – that had a lovely lace feature around the shoulders and back, that I thought would compliment everyone. I sent the link to my bridesmaids, asking what they thought and ordered once I’d got their approval. Better yet, I managed to bag them in the sale at only £16 each. One of the first things I bought for the wedding and was really happy with how they turned out.
Music – The Beehives
Choosing the band was the one area we couldn’t agree on. I found a band in Bristol that had a soul, Motown style and an amazing lead singer’s voice. James found a larger group, however I wasn’t too keen on their song collection or their style. Luckily, I won the band battle and we got The Beehives. I didn’t do a lot of dancing which was a shame but it was tricky in my dress. We got great feedback from our guests about how much they loved the band and her voice, I only wish we had booked them a little later in the evening so it wasn’t so bright when we had our first dance.
We were incredibly lucky when it came to our flowers. Jill, a close family friend from James’s side works as a florist in London and very kindly agreed to do our wedding flowers. We visited one weekend and went over the colours, style and how many – without me mentioning any particular type as I’m pretty hopeless at that kind of thing. When Jill and her husband Steve arrived a few days before the wedding, they pulled up in their camper van full to the brim with our flowers – it was like having the shop on our doorstep. Jill had taken the little snippets of ideas and colours I had given her, and managed to create the most beautiful array of bouquets, plant pots and vines for the arch. She had brought along a wealth of experience and little extras, that really added to the final touches. It brought our whole day together beautifully.
And finally we couldn’t have done it without a number of other friends and family that helped along the way. My Mum and Dad, having only been in the new house 10 months managed to provide us with a wonderful venue, having worked hard at tidying up the garden and preparing the paddock. James’s Dad built us the beautiful arch we got married under, which we’ll be able to enjoy for years to come.
Our friend Clare made James’s waist jacket, giving him something completely unique and tailored made for him. Mim and Jon helped create the perfect ceremony with Jon doing the music and Mim having the slightly more nerve-wracking job of hosting the ceremony. She did an amazing job and the ceremony was my favourite part of the day. My sister’s boyfriend’s friend agreed to play barman and did a great job of dealing with the slightly inebriated guests further into the night. My brother kept my stresses at bay during the main event by taking charge of certain aspects which I was likely to fret about which was very handy.
And I could go on! We had a lot of help which I guess is needed when you’re almost stepping into the unknown of planning and then hosting your own wedding. I still somewhat miss it but continue to cherish the memories we made along the way – that’s probably why I’m still blogging about it!
Wedding planning can be stressful, but try to enjoy every moment of it. Let friends and family help but don’t allow anyone to tell you what your wedding day should look like.