Sarah and Robert’s boho countryside wedding had a wonderfully relaxed vibe with Sarah DIYing many of the decorations and all of the flowers herself. The money saved by all the DIY elements, which we think looked awesome, meant that Sarah and Robert were able to offer an open bar so that all their guests could help themselves and really get into party mode.
We also love the fact that the wedding catering was a relaxed and sociable affair which matched the mood of the whole day. And as we all know, well nourished guests are happy guests. And their guests really were well catered for. Literally, with a free bar, a delicious BBQ followed by a pizza truck in the evening.
The joyful relaxed ambience of Sarah and Robert’s day was photographed beautifully by the super talented Yvonne Lishman who always seems to be in the right place at the right time to capture the most tender and spontaneous moments in her photos that you can treasure forever.
With so much more to tell us, including some great tips for planning your own wedding, we’ll pass you straight over to Sarah.
The name and location of your venue
We had it at my mum’s house in Cheshire, which isn’t an official wedding venue but is a beautiful old house called Stretton Hall.
What was the style of your wedding?
We didn’t try to fit one particular style but I guess it was boho/countryside.
How did you make your day feel really personal to you as a couple?
We did a lot ourselves so it felt really personal, and meant that we could have things exactly the way we wanted rather than choosing existing options out of a brochure. We could also have stuff that you couldn’t buy ready done if we made it ourselves – I wanted wool pom-poms as decorations and at the time couldn’t find anything like this for love or money so I spent the run up to the wedding making hundreds of pom-poms. I think rather annoyingly you could probably find them to buy now!
We used old Persian rugs that we had at home as our aisle and then they went back into our house too, so we get to walk down the aisle for our wedding every time we walk down the hall to the kitchen!
We also ploughed all the money saved by DIYing into the bar. It was really important to us that we had an open bar and people could let their hair down and have a good time without it breaking the bank for them (in my experience as a wedding guest you have to take out a second mortgage to buy a round of drinks at fancy wedding venues). We also had no bar staff, it was just piled up at one end of the tipi so people could really help themselves and we didn’t have too many people we didn’t know milling about.
We also gave people drinks as they entered the ceremony because that can be the most boring bit of a wedding for guests and we wanted people to get into the spirit of things from the word go! We also used a cortisone quaich in the ceremony that Rob’s parents had bought us, and used it to drink champagne from my mum.
How did you decide on your venue?
When I announced we were engaged my mum came up with the idea. My dad had died a few years previously so wasn’t able to give me away and it was a nice way to feel like he was close.
Also, my childhood bestie, a mini schnauzer called Penny, was buried in the garden and my favourite ever human, my Nan, had her ashes scattered there ha but that is seriously morbid! It’s an absolutely beautiful Tudor house too, more beautiful than most official wedding venues I’ve been to and obviously we didn’t have to pay for its use. It’s actually going up for sale soon, it’d make an amazing wedding venue!
Tell us about your wedding outfits
Robs family is Scottish so he went up to Glasgow with his dad and best man to get their outfits but I think it was an excuse for a jolly haha. They got their kilts in arran tweed from a shop called Macgregor and Macduff and they were just lovely. I think it was the first thing they saw when they walked into the shop, so more time to go to the pub!
My dress was vintage and from a cute shop called Vintage Lane bridal in Bromley Cross. I’d seen the dress listed on Etsy and then saw the shop had a few items that were my taste so arranged to go. I didn’t expect the dress I’d seen would still be there, but it was.
Our wedding colours were navy and gold and the dress has gold thread woven into the lace. The super friendly ladies in the shop told me they’d bought the dress in New York and that it was from 1970.
The floral crown I got after many hours of trawling through the internet from a lady called Alice Halliday. I knew I wanted flowers but I didn’t want anything massive, just small and pretty and this was perfect and delicate, the thistles matched our flowers and there was a touch of gold too.
We found our bridesmaids dresses in Mango, so they were just off the high street and not expensive and we’re the first ones my friends tried on.
What was your standout moment of your day?
The band we had were so much fun, they were called the Tin Cats and we had them come as a two piece (though I believe there were a lot more of them if you wanted a bigger band) and they were both such nice guys, and everyone had a whale of a time dancing. I may have had a few too many bubbles and stacked it into them at one point, whoops!
What are your top tips for other couples planning their wedding?
Don’t be bound by tradition just because you feel like that’s what’s expected. The only thing I thought could have been better at ours was our main meal. We had a barbecue type thing and sat down because we thought it would be more traditional and easier for older guests but then for our evening food we had a pizza truck that was delicious. I wish we’d just have had a few food vans throughout the day!
Also you can do so much yourself and then you’re not restricted in your choices. I really enjoyed making all the decorations and I did all the flowers myself too which was really cost effective. When I look at the cost of wedding flowers from florists it blows my mind how much money we saved just by me doing them!
By not going to a usual wedding venue we really got what we wanted too, so I’d recommend looking at fields you could rent etc, so you don’t end up with a carbon copy of every other wedding that happens at a particular venue. Also, you can buy your own booze!
One thing we didn’t think about was getting rid of all the waste at the end, I guess a downside to not using an established version is or wedding planner that took us by surprise a little. I’d probably look at getting a recycling skip or something in to be collected the day after if we planned a similar thing again.
The Dream Team
The Photographer: Yvonne Lishman photographer extraordinaire. Hands down the single best purchase of our entire wedding!
The Venue: see above
Your Wedding Attire: see above
The Cake there’s a small Chinese restaurant and bakery in my home town called Little Box of Treats, Sue is amazing and so friendly. I was determined not to have a naked cake with flowers on it ha and so we went with the tastiest cake I’ve ever eaten! Lighter than air!
The Flowers – did them myself. Bought floral supplies from amazon and Hobbycraft, wire, pins and floral tape and ribbon in the right colours. The flowers I ordered from a wholesaler I found online called Triangle Nursery so they just arrived a few days before the wedding and I fed them and left them in a cool place, then made the bouquets and button holes the day before the wedding.
We got a pizza van for evening food called Top That and it was amazing. I don’t think I actually got to eat any myself but the groom and all the guests still talk about how awesome it was.
The wedding breakfast we had a BBQ from a company called Big 5 and to be honest I wasn’t that fussed with it in the end. We got out tipi from Tipi Unique, couldn’t fault the service from them, would recommend.
The celebrant we used was Maxine Beech and she was the other best thing we did, the ceremony was so personal and she was a really lovely human being! If anyone is looking for a humanist celebrant I couldn’t recommend her highly enough.
Oh and we got our wedding rings from a seller on Etsy called AverieJewellery, they’re made to look like they were made from the same piece of metal and have a sort of Celtic knot design.