This has to be the ultimate in DIY, the bride making her own wedding dress! And boy what a gown it is too. I'm so pleased Kerri has now taken up bridal design at Kindling Bridal as she has definitely got the talent for it. The lace, the cut, those sleeves and V back are all making me swoon with delight. The sentimental homemade efforts continue with all the decor for the tipi reception, with loved ones keen to pitch in and help make cakes and crafts too. Its no wonder the day was full of smiles, love and laughter, and I bet made Tim Dunk's job at photographing the happy occasion a dream.

Our Story

Kerri the Bride: We started dating about 12 years ago, we were in the same group of friends and we decided to make it official only a few months before Sam jetted of to Australia for a year's work placement in Brisbane! That year apart flew by and distance really did make the heart grow fonder! I went over to Australia to meet him for a couple of months after his placement, before we came back home together, and the rest, as they say, is history. We've had a good few adventures along the way, we spent 2 years travelling and Sam did technically propose up a mountain in Borneo, as he jokingly got down on one knee with a makeshift zip tie as a ring to entice me to the summit, but I assured him that this didn't count! He did a pretty good job at proposing for real in the desert in Morocco a couple of years later, it was just the two of us and there was a shooting star- it's almost like he planned it! I’d always planned on a long engagement, but as we'd had a pretty long lead up to the engagement we got straight on with planning and got married just over a year later.

Big Chief Tipis Wedding Reception

After looking at some venues further away as we loved the idea of making a weekend of it with our loved ones, we decided that we'd really rather have it closer to home as we have such beautiful countryside around here so it would have been a shame to make these memories elsewhere. We booked a local church which my mum had grown up next to, as it's really small and we wanted it to feel pretty intimate, and it has great views overlooking a tree lined reservoir which was a bonus. We wanted the reception to be as outdoorsy and relaxed as possible, without feeling totally at the peril of the weather (why can't you book sunshine and blue skies!?) So we decided on a tipi from Big Chief Tipis, which was perfect as it was pretty cosy inside but allowed us to make the most of the outdoors too. We had a bit of trouble finding somewhere to have the reception but our caterer came to the rescue when she suggested her friends' nearby campsite which provided a perfect space which was flat, green, private and had great views over our beloved hillside. As we really loved the idea of waking up the next day to enjoy a hangover breakfast with our friends and family, we had glamping belltents set up which was great as it gave the venue a real festival feel, and it was nice to be able just to crawl into our tent from the dance floor (via the burrito van, of course!)

Handmade Wedding Dress

I made my own dress. I had so much fun shopping around some lovely boutiques to find my perfect dress, and it's not that I couldn't find one that I liked... my problem was that I loved them all! I loved elements from particular dresses, but I loved the idea of one that was made in the UK and using really luxurious fabrics, and I had made a couple of wedding dresses before so I eventually persuaded my hesitant mum that making my own was the only option! I'm a designer, and I came across some beautiful lace at work so it all worked out well. It was a great experience as it was such a team effort- my mum helped with lots of hand sewing (including hand sewing an amazing matching veil for me) and my best friend was on hand to help with bits, so by the end my dress felt so personal and I will treasure it forever. It's inspired me to start my own bridal wear label, Kindling Bridal, which I'm hoping will help other like-minded brides find their perfect dress too!

Beggars Run Grooms Suit

Sam is an arborist so it's not often he gets to wear a suit, but he does have good taste and he knows what he likes! We came across Beggars Run through Instagram. They're based in East London and make amazing bespoke suits, so Sam went to get measured up for a 3-piece suit and the guys there were amazing! He chose a forest green coloured wool, which, incidentally, is woven very near to us in Huddersfield so, again, we managed to incorporate something local. He was adamant he didn't want him and his groomsmen in matching suits, so we got ties from ASOS to add a little cohesion.

Bridesmaids & Page Boys

After trying on a LOT of dresses, my beautiful bridesmaids eventually all decided on a pale yellow dress from ASOS. I didn't give too much guidance, as I just wanted them to feel comfortable and hopefully not feel too 'bridesmaidsy'! I liked the idea of them all wearing the same style, but I didn't want to do that at the expense of them not being able to find a style they all liked, but we hit gold with the dress they ended up with! I just added in some buttons for two of the dresses so they could hide their bra straps with style! Our beautiful twin nephews did a great job as Page boys, just like their Uncle Sam they know what they like, so luckily they had no objections to their outfits put together from H&M, Zara and M&S.

Wedding Rings

A friend who makes beautiful jewellery made our rings. Sam had my engagement ring made by him so I had a crescent moon shaped wedding ring to fit around that, and Sam had an amazing band with a mountain scene engraving. He always said he'd probably never wear a ring but I think he's surprised himself because he loves it and never takes it off!

Firenza Flowers Wedding Florist

We wanted the wedding decor to make an impact but also look effortless at the same time, quite a feat, Pinterest has a lot to answer for! I had been following Fiona at Firenza Flowers on Instagram long before I got engaged as I love her style; she creates amazing arrangements using mainly locally grown flowers (most of them are grown in her own garden!), add to that she lives just down the road from us so it was always going to be her. She created some beautiful buttonholes for the guys and our mums, and her bouquets for myself and the bridesmaids perfectly met my confusing request of 'bright but not too bright'.

Decor & Styling

The rest of the decoration was a complete DIY- we got a bucket of local flowers from Fiona which we mixed with shop bought ones and put in mixed vintage vases and jars. Lots of greenery and herbs foraged by Sam's parents the morning before, and Sam managed to get hold of lots of Eucalyptus branches- this was all put on the tables, in hanging pots and a taped to a flower board which went behind the top table. Luckily a lot of our friends and family are very creative so we had everyone involved- Sam's dad made us an archway which we added a macrame hanging piece to, my dad planted some lovely pots and hanging baskets which added a lot of colour. We spent a lot of weekends sign-painting and cleaning wine bottles and jars for candles. For favours we made scented concrete candles and Sam's mum made some rhubarb gin. We spent about a year collecting vintage wine glasses, rugs and vases from charity shops and auctions. We didn't want to spend too much money on it all, but as our family and friends got so involved it felt more like an enjoyable activity. The week before, whilst we were setting everything up was such a nice time- I just felt so emotional watching so many people pitch in and help us (in my defense I was running on very little sleep!)

Homemade Wedding Cake

Sam's mum made our wedding cake, which was beyond anything we expected! It was one huge tier of chocolate and cherry, and one tier of lime and coconut. I got the cake topper laser-cut and she added fresh flowers, it went down very well with all of the guests!

Intimate Wedding Ceremony

We knew we wanted an intimate ceremony- we just wanted a small room filled with people we love, and I think that's what we got! We had a bit of added drama during my friend Sarah’s reading, as the glorious sunshine outside subsided to a momentary dark cloud and loud thunderous roar! Our friend Jack read Bob Marley's 'He's Not Perfect' which was very fitting for us, and my mum put the most beautiful surprise reading together, which totally stole the show and had everyone in tears and had me wishing I’d stuffed a tissue in my bouquet! The ceremony was kept simple, we didn't tailor our vows but the vicar was great and managed to make it all feel so personal. After the ceremony we exited to Jonny Cash 'A Thing Called Love', which we decided long ago that we'd be having at our wedding!

Wedding Photography

We spent so long looking for a photographer as we both knew exactly what we wanted and realised that this was definitely one of the most important decisions we would make for our wedding. I came across Tim through another wedding on Rock my Wedding, which I totally fell in love with, and when we found out that Tim was Yorkshire based AND available we were delighted! It's definitely a decision we're still so happy we made, from our first meeting with him he felt like an old (young?!) friend. Neither of us are particularly comfortable having our photo taken, but after he showed us the ropes on our pre-wedding shoot we felt totally at ease with him on our wedding day. He sat at the table to eat with our friends and everyone loved him- I think most people didn't even realise he was the photographer, he just blended in so effortlessly to get those all important candid shots! The anticipation of getting our photos back after the wedding helped subside any sad feelings the wedding was over, and seeing the moments that he’d captured made me do a happy dance.

Wedding Music

Our first dance was to UB40 'I Got You Babe'- my dad and I used to dance around singing the Sonny and Cher version, so this song has always been sentimental, and me and Sam have been known to dance around to the UB40 version on occasion!

Wedding Entertainment

We had the Washboard Resonators playing as guests arrived and throughout the welcome drinks- they're a very cool duo from Leeds who play a lively mix of blues, ragtime, swing and folk. They were a perfect choice for us, as it was perfect background music that guests could bop along to whilst chatting and admiring how dapper these two guys looked. And they made some speedy transitions indoors/outdoors as the showers came and went! Our evening band was one that we had almost given up hope on, as we just did not want a cheesy wedding band. When we came across Just for Tonight, we knew these were the guys. They played a folk inspired set followed by a rock set, which had everyone on the dance floor all night!

Special Moments

It's so hard to choose one favourite, we loved it all! The ceremony was a massive highlight; it just felt so intimate and personal. There were tears and laughter and I got face ache from smiling so much! And the speeches- they blew my mind! My dad’s speech was literally the best thing ever- I knew he was good with words but he wrote such a lovely, funny and sweet poem- he had the whole teepee crying and laughing (at mine and Sam’s expense, of course!) The bridesmaids did an amazing speech too, again mainly revolved around embarrassing me but two of them are still to marry and revenge is sweet! Sam was absolutely dreading his speech but it was amazing! And the best men’s’ speech was memorable on a whole other level... (too.much.whisky!)

Wedding Advice

All of the cliché’s that everyone tells you are true; not everything will go to plan on the day, but it really won’t matter, so it’s not worth stressing about! You don’t need to blindly follow all of the traditions- it’s your day so do it how you want to do it. A friend pointed out that your wedding is the only party you will ever go to where every person in the room smiles at you, and it’s so true! Every single person there wants you to have the best day; so just enjoy it, embrace it, and try to take as much of it in as you can. Have a tissue ready at all times!
Lorna Shaw

Written by Lorna Shaw

Tipi: Big Chief Tipis | Catering: Gimbals | Ed Urban Eat's | Entertainment: The Washboard Resonators | Just for Tonight | Bar: Hebden Craft Catering | Wedding Dress & Veil: Kindling Bridal | Headdress: Naturea Design | Grooms Suit: Beggars Run | Grooms Shoes: Loake | Bridesmaids : ASOS
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