Claire and Neil’s DIY barn wedding in Norfolk is pure, country chic perfection and oh so beautifully captured by Natalie J Weddings Photography.

Here’s your checklist of loveliness to watch out for:

– A dapper groom in a bespoke navy blue suit with the date of the wedding sewn into the inside pocket and a penchant for fast cars.

– A radiant bride in a sparkly Jenny Packham wedding dress carrying a sunny bouquet of white peonies, daisies and rosemary.

– A traditional English church ceremony with pews covered in trailing ivy.

– Historic Great Barn at Hales Hall (the oldest brick barn in the UK) filled to the brim with hand picked flowers, fragrant herbs and candlelight.

– Cherubic flower girls in white wearing delicate flower crowns.

– A delicious ‘carve your own dinner’, textured, old hessian sacking as table linen and a rustic, 5 tier  cheese cake adorned with grapes.

 From The Bride…

I’m an interior designer and work for Kit Kemp of Firmdale Hotels, so I always knew I would find a venue where I had full scope to personalise the day as I wanted. I had complete control from food, music, flowers and styling of the venue which was just what I wanted.

The barn is such an amazing space, it spoke for itself in scale and character, I didn’t really have to do much, just followed its lead. It was all about the detail and making sure it reflecting both mine and Neil’s personalities – see the car for instance – Neil is a huge car fan, so we had a white Ferrara – not exactly fitting for the venue, but certainly for him! The kids loved it!

 The Wedding Music

My friend Mike Walter played me down the aisle on his saxophone to ‘It’s A Wonderful World’ by Lewis Armstrong. Then he played us out to Morecombe and Wise – ‘Bring Me Sunshine’!

Our first dance was an acoustic version of ‘Use Somebody’ by Kings of Leon.


Natalie J Weddings Photography

Natalie exceeded our expectations at every stage of working together. From being to end, she put her heart into making our wedding day special and unique to us. It was our top priority to find the right person to capture all of the memories of the day and Natalie more than delivered. Her natural, unstaged style made us feel at ease in front of the camera and captured our country wedding perfectly.

She spent time getting to know us, so our photographs reflected our personalities and picked up on all the details we had spent time preparing. We cannot recommend Natalie highly enough – a super talented lady we were lucky to get to know!

Décor & Details

We incorporated LOTS of DIY, what wasn’t DIY?! The barn was a complete shell so everything you see was brought in – even the furniture which I luckily got from work. We made the order of service booklets ourselves, my mum hand-sewed the pages together with twine.

I wrote the seating plan by hand on a large board painted in blackboard paint.

We used branches, cut down as bases for the church candles on table and made tablecloths out of hessian sacking.

We wrapped jam jars in ribbon for flower vases on the tables and the confetti cones were made from vintage sheet music.

As the day was about uniting 2 families and my grandparents weren’t there, we put photos of our parents, and our parent’s parents, on the table around our cheese tier – it was lovely to see the previous generations sharing the day with us, and the Guests loved guessing who was whose side!

 The Flowers

The bridesmaids carried posies of sweet peas, the button holes were rosemary and lyseanthem. I sent Neil and his brother to collect cow’s parsley from the nearby fields the day before!

We hired silver birch trees to create impact in such a large barn – flowers would have been too costly.

For the tabletops we mixed a lot of different garden flowers with herbs to create a great smell. Place settings were flowering mint so it smelt gorgeous in the venue.

 The Refreshments

We wanted to food to reflect the day – so we went for lots of sharing platters to get people to socialise and talk. Very relaxed. We’re big foodies and Rebecca and the team at Bespoke by the Crown did an amazing job!

We surprised our guests by making them carve their joints. It was such fun. We gave them chef hats, aprons and carving knives – they were so shocked – it was great to see their faces and got everyone talking.

 Cheese Tier Wedding Cake

We bought our cheeses from Neil’s Yard in Borough Market. Such a fun day out trying all the different cheeses. They delivered them to our venue for free. We served our cheese on a homemade cheese stand make from blocks of timber from my parent’s garden.

 Advice For Other Couples

Try to make it personal to you. People really connect into the day which is often a universal format if it reflects you and your fiancée.
Many hands make light work – the day before the wedding our close family and friends helped us hugely to transform the venue – great fun too!

Congratulations Claire and Neil! Thanks for sharing your special wedding day with us.

Thanks also to Natalie J Weddings Photography for sharing these gorgeous photos – it’s been such a pleasure featuring them!

Pssst….are you getting married this year and still looking for your perfect photographer?

Natalie is offering a 20% discount on remaining 2013 weekend dates and a whopping 35% off 2013 weekday dates. FYI.

– More Beautiful Real Weddings – 

Photographer: Natalie J Weddings Photography / Bride’s Dress: Jenny Packham, Willow dress / Bride’s Shoes: Jenny Packham / Groom’s Attire: Moss Bross bespoke suit / Groom's Shoes: Paul Smith / Groom's Tie: Hugo Boss / Bridesmaids Dresses and Headwear: I love Gorgeous / Reception Venue: Hales Hall, Hales, Norfolk / Catering: Bespoke by the Crown / Bouquets: Bloomsbury Flowers, London / Jazz Band : The Norfolk Dixieland Jazz Band / Hairstylist: Dean Andrews Hair / Makeup Artist: Sarah Nice Beauty / Wine: Majestic