WOW where to start? There is literally so much to marvel at and revel in at this DIY wedding. It’s so apparent all the passion, time and effort that went into making all the decor and details as special as possible, and it’s such a joy to pore over.
From each fold of the 1000 paper cranes hanging as a backdrop behind the top table at Upwaltham Barns, to the pimp your drink station, pork pie wedding cake and adorable vintage caravan photo booth, you just know each task was carried out with love and a personal touch.
The jaw dropping peony blooms and tender moments captured by Danielle Victoria Photography will have you swooning with delight too, and I can pretty much guarantee you’ll reaching for your pin button. Enjoy.
Victoria the Bride : My wedding dress was the first one that I pinned on Pinterest a couple of days after we got engaged, I knew I wanted something elegant, a little bit different and that I could dance in. The dress buying experience for me was amazing, my Godmother Barbara is one of the most important people in my life but living in Washington, USA so I don’t get to see her much. When she came over to the UK a few months after we got engaged, we went dress shopping with my mum to Hannah Elizabeth Bridal, bottle of champagne in hand. It was so much fun, oddly we all loved the biggest dress in the shop; a huge strapless tulle princess dress, I loved it on but I knew it wouldn’t be THE dress as I could hardly move! My lovely mother in-law-to-be has three boys, so I really wanted her to come shopping with me and my mum, a few months later we went to Catherine Francis where I tried on another 8-10 dresses on, they were lovely but I knew I needed to try on “my first pinned dress”. Extremely fortunately I was traveling to New York with work where the designer of my dream dress has a studio, my Godmother was also able to travel to NY to meet me. I booked appointments at four places, including Kleinfeld! But the last was Sarah Seven, as soon as I tried on Bedford I knew it was my dress!
As Bedford is very sleek, I wanted to give my mum and Barbara a little of the princess look they loved on me, so I set about finding someone that could make a tulle overskirt, Inge at WardrobeByDulcinea on Etsy was fantastic, she sent me colour samples, was always quick to reply to my emails and delivered a perfect skirt. A friend from high school is a wedding seamstress and with Claire’s help I had my dream dress sorted.
I brought my awesome Vivienne Westwood shoes second hand from eBay and I’ve worn them a few times since the wedding. My mum made my belt the night before the wedding, I got the jewels from eBay and she sewed them onto ribbon, I’m really glad I wore it. My veil was my something borrowed from my sister-in-law and bridesmaid, Jasmine. I wore a silver locket as a bracelet which Robbie gave to me on the wedding day, it had photos of our two cats in; Bruce and Eddie. I also wore a ring my mum gave to me which was a blue gem stone, my grandad Poppy* had made for my grandma Gardy*. *Names I made up for them when I was little.
The Groom’s Fashion
Robbie knew he didn’t want all the men in matching suits, so he said they could wear their own suits with a white shirt, we would supply the tie and pocket square. On a suit buying trip we went to Ted Baker where Robbie found his jacket, he wore this with a blue waistcoat and trousers from Next, a white shirt and brown shoes. The ties and pocket squares were grey and Robbie chose different pewter animal lapel pins for the groomsmen and the dads, Robbie had a stag on his jacket and a dinosaur on his waistcoat for our pageboy Hudson who was sadly too ill to come to the wedding.
My three beautiful bridesmaids wore dove grey dresses from ASOS which we had altered slightly, as part of their thank you presents they wore pearl earrings and necklace and a silver bracelet. Grey was the main colour for the wedding as it complemented our bright flowers, we had grey velvet ribbon on the flowers, place settings and buttonholes to tie it all in.
Upwaltham Barns is beautiful at all times of the year, in every type of weather. Tim and Nicola the owners were so warm and welcoming, every time we visited they acted like we were old friends and that they remembered everything about us and our wedding. The layout of the venue worked so well for us, two barns, a bar and a lovely honeymoon cottage to stay in the night of the wedding. They also have beautiful grounds and grazing sheep in the fields as it’s in the middle of the South Downs.
We clicked with Kerry from Rose Cottage Flowers as soon as we met her, I had a very clear image of what I wanted and I’m a little obsessed with flowers! I sent her our Pinterest board which was mainly eucalyptus, huge coral peonies and dove grey roses. We can’t recommend Kerry highly enough, the flowers were absolutely stunning. The buttonholes incorporated small feathers that Robbie and I had picked on a walk and our flower girl’s mini bouquet was perfect. I couldn’t have loved my bouquet anymore! The mums and I did the flowers on the tables, in the ceremony barn and the milk churns – we ordered them from Triangle Nursery who were great. It was such a lovey afternoon spent with the mums the day before the wedding, I can’t thank them enough for their help.
We had the excellent Tiger Tim’s Ragamuffins welcome our guests into the courtyard before the ceremony and after, they set the tone perfectly! Nick from Toast Functions was our DJ and he was awesome!! He read the room perfectly and ensured there was always someone on the dance floor.
It was one of our favourite parts of the day, after Willow – our adorable flower girl charged down the aisle, I almost did the same and my dad had to slow me down. Robbie and I smiled the whole way through, it was so relaxed, having all our family and friends there was so special. We had two readings read by our friends; “Your Personal Penguin” by Sandra Boynton and “What Is A Soul Mate” by Emily Matthews.
Nibbles to Nosh are the caters for Upwaltham Barns and Helen was our event manager, she was brilliant from start to finish! We had canapés after the ceremony, for dinner they served a selection of breads, oils, olives and mozzarella for people to pick at while we had the speeches, then platters of roast pork, crackling, stuffing and vegetables, dessert was chocolate brownies with salted caramel ice cream. Our guests said it was the most amazing food! We had a cheese and pork pie cake from M&S which Helen decorated with flowers and it looked amazing!
The venue was stunning without us doing anything, but we did….a lot! We looked at renting a caravan to use as a prop and photobooth but after looking online and spotting a vintage 1980s caravan that needed a little bit of love, we thought why not! Robbie totally transformed our beautiful caravan Peggy, he did all the painting, wallpapering, sanding and scrubbing. My mum was amazing, she made the curtains and recovered the once bright orange velvet seats. Peggy is named after my grandma. Over a year I made 1000 origami paper cranes, it seemed like a great idea until number 300, but I’m so glad I did it, we had a wall of most of them behind us during the wedding breakfast, it was a labour of love and I learnt a new skill! My mum and Robbie’s mum together made several meters of cream bunting, which my dad hung in the morning (although he was under strict instructions not to go up a ladder!). Robbie made the classic West Sussex style sign post which had directions for the venue and also significant places around the world to us. We made air dry white clay hearts for the place settings, upcycled a vintage school desk for the Pimp you Drink station, used string art to make the table plan, sourced vintage shot glasses for the “toast” during Robbie’s speech, designed and printed the table names, made the vinyl “guestbook”, wrote chalkboard signs, a lovely friend of ours Clare dried three boxes of rose petals for our confetti and the talented Caroline Bishop made icing sugar models of our cats Bruce and Eddie, which sat next to our cheese and pork pie cake.
The amazing Danni was recommended to us via another photographer and after looking at her work and speaking to her on email, we were sure we’d found our photographer. Danni travelled down to West Sussex eight months before the wedding to see the venue and meet with us. We loved her from the moment we met her and talked about the wedding and Harry Potter for most of the day. She also did an engagement shoot with us, which was great as it helped us get used to the camera a little. We really can’t thank her enough for everything, she was a calming influence on the day and everyone said how lovely she was, and stealth – we can’t even remember seeing her in the ceremony barn, but she got some beautiful photos, so must have been there.
Robbie the Groom: Marry someone that is organised and loves spreadsheets! Victoria the Bride : Marry someone that doesn’t mind how much you love spreadsheets!
Give yourselves plenty of time and enjoy it, keep the traditions that you both like and change or get rid of the rest. We also enjoyed keeping a few secrets along the way, it was lovely to surprise people with added extras and personal touches, even our families didn’t know about some aspects of the wedding until they helped set them up on the day! Find suppliers that you actually like, you’ll communicate with them a lot, so you want to get on with them. Everyone says it but take time out on the day to be alone with each other, we went off two or three times just to catch our breath and take it all in.
Thank you so much to our amazing family, friends and suppliers for making it the most amazing day! xx