Chic Weddings/DIY Weddings

A Sweet, Labor Of Love English DIY Wedding

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I went to a wedding once where the bride gave a speech at the reception describing their perfect, joyous day as a “labor of love”. I found this wedding idea so sweet, such is our lives together right? Our future? I’m reminded of this moment as I read about the bride and groom’s families in this English wedding and all their DIY help throughout the day.

Being on a small budget, Sophie and Matt recruited their nearest and dearest to make their DIY wedding shine. Sophie’s brothers baked their wedding cake and even cut tree trunks for a rustic and beautiful display. The mom’s of the family banded together to make jam gifts for guests (my favorite wedding takeaway!) and a family friend arranged the flowers.

So much more went into the planning of the day, which Sophie and Matt did themselves, and even while it was certainly a big chunk of work they made the whole event exceptionally personal – investing plenty into the lighting and sound, given Matt’s profession as a musician.

The two offered sage advice for those planning to “do it themselves”: take the week off before the wedding. With plenty to do, you want some time to relax between wedding tasks, not work. Without much further ado, find out what other wedding feats their labor of love team accomplished.

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Our Love Story

We met online in 2012, and on our first date we went for a ‘test the water’ cuppa to suss each other out – followed by a couple of pints in the pub! Matt wore an amazing fox jumper, and the rest is history.

We got engaged just before Christmas 2015. It was a really miserable December day so we went to watch Star Wars The Force Awakens at the cinema. Afterwards, Matt cooked us a steak, and then got down on one knee and casually popped the question!

He was so relaxed all day I had absolutely no idea, it was perfect for me as a public proposal would be my worst nightmare! He’d originally wanted to propose weeks before, but my ring is antique and needed altering so he had to wait, but he never gave it away.

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The Styling

We knew from the start we had a fairly small budget, and we wanted to keep things simple and fun. We worked as a team and enjoyed the planning process.

We wanted to keep the colours fresh and neutral, so white-green hydrangeas, pale foliage, eucalyptus and pale pink roses were the main focus, with other hedgerow-style flowers. The buttonholes had echinops, herbs and a tiny peacock feather, the textures and colours worked really well. Giant white globe balloons over the tables gave a cool false-ceiling effect, each was tethered to a gin bottle as our tables were all named for a different type of gin.

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The Venue

When we found out about St John’s Place we knew it was perfect, and just down the road from our home! It’s a 19th-century church that’s been renovated and turned into a community centre and venue. It was the blank canvas we wanted, whilst also being a beautiful building.

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Favorite Moments

It was a wonderfully relaxed day and it had a real party atmosphere – with plenty of great food.

Dancing to Bob Marley in a church as a newly-married couple surrounded by our dearest friends.

A biased viewpoint but all the speeches were incredible, a particular shout-out to the best man who was very nervous and had everyone in tears of laughter within minutes – Matt, on the other hand, was a complete natural!

Seeing the end result of all our hard work coming together and everyone enjoying themselves was really special.

And of course, changing into Converse High tops to dance the night away.

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The Details

Being on a small budget but also wanting to be a bit creative we came up with various ideas to save money.

My (Sophie) brother, Sam is a Tree surgeon and cut the tree trunk table centres and to display the cakes. My other brother, Ollie made the cakes which were amazing. My mum made our favours which were tiny pots of raspberry jam, and Matt’s Mum made little calico covers for them.

We collected rose petals through the summer and dried them to make confetti. Our lovely friends who married the year before let us borrow some vases, and one of the bridemaid’s mums lent us lots of wonderful lanterns.

Matt’s bandmates were guests and did an acoustic jazz set as a wedding gift. A family friend arranged the flowers. It’s really amazing how generous people can be and it made every part of the day feel very personal.

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The Music

As Matt’s a musician he was very particular about the lighting and sound in a venue, so we did invest in hiring a lighting rig and PA system. It was definitely worth it as we danced the night away to funk & soul, reggae and disco thanks to our brilliant DJ, the venue was amazing at night! Our first dance was Thinking of You by Sister Sledge.

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The Photography

We saw Lu’s photos following her photographing a friend’s wedding. We loved the dreamy lighting and natural style, and following a pre-shoot, we knew we’d made the right choice for us. Lu is amazing to work with, putting everyone at ease and we were over the moon with her shots.

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The Food

Our caterers Nyama were amazing, we’d been to a taster day so we were looking forward to it, but it surpassed even our expectations! We love food and cooking and wanted the meal to feel as relaxed as a Sunday BBQ. We had sharing platters of charcuterie, BBQ’d meats and salads served to the table, which seemed to work really well, and dessert was ice cream, served at a cart either in a cone or pot – sprinkles and everything!

For an evening snack, we asked our local fish and chip shop to deliver individual portions of chips, with sauces, mushy peas and curry sauce. That was a surprising success, it was so simple and great value for money and everyone loved it.

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Advice to Other Couples

Matt and I worked as a team on all elements of the day, but we were so lucky with the generosity and help of our friends and family too – let people help you! That made the day feel incredibly personal, but the immediate lead up to the wedding can be a very busy and potentially stressful time if you are doing everything yourself. Make sure you keep that in mind – we were so glad we took the week preceding the wedding off work!

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The Honeymoon

We spent a week in Lisbon in Portugal, it’s a fantastic city to explore, loads of great food, very friendly people (and lots of hills)! We like to do our own thing so stayed in a fab AirBnB right in the heart of the city.

We could only do a week at that time, so we’re also going skiing in Austria in January as our Honeymoon II!

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