Good morning oh beautiful ones. Today we have the most amazing real wedding to share with you – ticking all the boxes, it involves a barn, a beach, a Sottero gown and heaps of rustic charm, achieved on a budget coming in at just shy of £5,000! If this picture-perfect, elegantly chilled and super fun wedding doesn’t have you keener than a bean to set that date then nothing will! You really don’t have to hold-off and panic over the cost of your wedding when so much can be accomplished with imagination, inspiration (enter Festival Brides!) and DIY. Devon and Natalie chose the stunning Waxham Great Barn venue overlooking the beach in Norfolk for their special day last year. The bride made almost everything herself – a hula hoop and hessian seating plan, oak slice centrepieces and even arranged her own flowers for under £100! Georgia Rachael was the brilliant photographer to capture this hazy beach / barn celebration, and we think she did an incredible job, snapshotting the best moments from the chilled out, romantic sunset stills to the fun, beach, rodeo giggles. Here’s super-savvy bride Natalie to tell you more about how her and Devon created their dream wedding with a little creative love from friends and family….
We are not fancy people and just wanted to do and make lots of things with our family rather than using a ‘ready made’ venue.
Dog walk proposal
Devon proposed whilst out walking the dog at Wells Beach. We were sitting on the sand by the woods and he had made a picnic of all my favourite things (glass bottle of coke, chocolate orange etc.). I said yes and he’d already told my family who were waiting for the call to take us out for dinner to celebrate. We had our engagement photo shoot on the same beach a year later.
Versatile Sottero Gown
I wore ‘Mattea’ by Sottero and Midgley from Pure Brides – it was a beautiful dress but more importantly, I knew I would be comfy in it all day. I went in the sea, rode a rodeo bull and danced all night – it was the perfect dress for everything. My shoes were by Miss KG – Grey heels with gold straps (in the sale in House of Fraser), and I wore a full length, lace cathedral length veil borrowed from friend with fresh white flowers in my hair.
Devon wore a waistcoat, shirt, trousers and shoes all from Next and a tie from Jarrolds. Dexter the dog wore a tweed bow tie! Sainsbury’s supplied the sage green wrap skirts for the bridesmaids and I teamed them with white ASOS laced top with button backs.
Everyone did their own make-up, we all helped each other. I did my mum’s and my own, the bridesmaids all helped each other. We used a range of stuff from MAC, Bobbi Brown, No7, NYX, Urban Decay and I had great fun going round and trying different things before the big day.
Dog and Dinosaur Ceremony
We were married at St. Peter’s Church, Repps with a reception at Waxham Great Barn, right by the beach in Waxham . I was born in Repps so always wanted to get married in the church where I grew up. We were able to walk to the church from my parents’ house in the morning which meant we saw everyone in the village and got lots of lovely photos. Our ceremony was full of character. My mum and her dear friend decorated the entire place on their own flowers. We were lucky enough to be the resident vicar’s last ever ceremony and she put on a show filled with laughter and awe with her magic tricks for the children to take part in. Our dog, Dexter, led the bridesmaids down the aisle and we also exited the church to the theme of Jurassic Park. Our friends produced some memorable readings with one all about two dinosaurs who fall in love. (Devon loves dinosaurs).
Great barn by the beach
The venue wasn’t really a wedding venue, just an empty barn which we could afford and meant we could do a DIY wedding with all of our friends and family to help. We knew we wanted loads of people there and it is the biggest thatched barn in Norfolk so there was lots of space. We also knew we wanted everyone to come down to the beach for a paddle so it was great that it was so close. We prepared the barn the day before which was amazing. We had about 20 friends and family from all over the UK (and Australia) helping us to turn an empty old barn into a beautiful wedding venue. We used fairy lights which we had to throw over beams which were over 20 ft tall (which turned into quite a competition). We had bought some decorations from various other people’s weddings the year before and had lots of cream and gold paper lanterns to hang from the beams. We had a wall of lights behind at the end of the barn behind the top table which looked beautiful. The barn was split into 3 sections; the tables for the meals, a middle section for sitting and chatting and a dance section in the final third of the barn.
Oak slices and dried flowers
We used rustic tables and benches which were laid out in 3 long rows with farm house chairs for the top table (which we had our best men and bridesmaids rather than a traditional top table). On each table there were oak slices with dried flowers in glass milk bottles etc bought from carboot sales and fairy lights. Each place had a horse shoe (from my horse William) painted black with a name tag which I hand made with lace and kraft card which we gave to the guests as a lucky wedding favour. We used old tea cups and jars for anti-pasta and baskets of bread for a starter. We also had a table at the back with the ‘cheese’ wedding cake and the Jurassic Park wedding cake which had 2 t-rex dinosaurs holding hands. Finally we had set up a projector onto the white wall of the barn which my dad used for his speech and all day we had a constant stream of photos of us from when we met until the wedding. Each kid had a little party bag with presents just for them and things to play with.
DIY, Fairy Lights and Hay Bale Dancefloor
We used straw bales in groups with an array of mini tables in the middle decorated with loads of different patterned blankets over the bales and nuts and crisps out for people to eat. We had a table of sweets with an old fashioned bike next to it and a drinks table full of champagne and big glass kilner jars with taps for other soft drinks. We had small milk bottles with colourful straws for the kids to drink from. We also had a table for gifts with a suitcase covered in world maps and a large wooden oak slice for people to sign. The table plan was a big hoola hoop we covered in hessian and baby’s breath. We tied string in the pattern of the tables with people’s names on and suspended it from a beam in front of some doors we weren’t using. We made the dance floor by surrounding it with straw bales and we had 5ft LOVE letters which had fairground lights in them. All the lights we used were yellow lights to fit with our colour scheme of cream and sage green and white. The disco set up later in the evening and also used cream/white lights.
DIY Flowers for under £100
We did all our own flowers. A lady in the village helped my mum with the church flowers the day before. I bought mostly dried flowers so they would last forever – my house is full of them. Lavender and different types of corn and long grass. We added fresh baby’s breath which we bought the day before (the man at the flower shop was very surprised we were leaving it so late and doing it all ourselves but it was so worth it! All the flowers cost under £100 and looked amazing). I made all of the bouquets for the bridesmaids and me and the button holes for the groom and best men. Devon had a special one with a daffodil to represent his mum who sadly passed away when we were younger. We had a cheese tower cake from the The Cheese Shed – you design your own and they deliver it! And we had a Jurassic Park cake (surprise for the groom!) from the Fairy Baker (@thefairybakernorwich) on Facebook.
Capturing the vibe
Georgia Rachael – this girl did a tremendous job of photographing our wedding and our engagement shoot also. We feel she really captured the fun we had throughout those days. Georgia was so patient and knew exactly how to get the best shots of everyone. Devon’s particular favourites are the ones at the beach on the wedding day. Her photos were so versatile, capturing candid shots of guests on the beach or in the venue, as well as the formal photographs of family and wedding parties. Our final moments of the evening in the field together with her were very special. I particularly loved the wedding preparation photos in the morning at my parent’s house.
Ride the Rodeo
We had a timeline of the day on a canvas made for us by a colleague of Devon which was on easel we borrowed from my mum’s friend. We had a bar which was an old horse trailer in sage green called the Nag’s head and a rodeo bull outside in the evening. We also had a BBQ which we borrowed from my Dad’s school which he and my uncle manned in the evening.
Solo dance by the Groom
‘Hooked on a Feeling’ – Blue Swede. We loved it from Guardians of the Galaxy and rehearsed our own dance for it. Devon was brought on to the dance floor on the shoulders of his best men (x3) and did a small solo dance before spinning Natalie on to the dance floor. We used Vibes Disco.
Natalie – getting ready with all my friends and walking to the church together, walking in and seeing all the people I love and Devon’s face when he saw me was the most perfect thing I could ever have imagined.
Devon – the speeches…. Natalie’s dad’s speech made everyone cry with an amazing compilation of pictures to the song ‘Wings’ by Birdie. Followed by the best men who threw in some hilarious surprises such as a Man United top with Mrs Ainley on the back (Devon supports Man City!).
Nothing needs to be expensive … we had the most amazing wedding we ever could have wished for with all our friends and family for under £5000. Do lots yourself – it will mean more and people love to help you so let them. You will remember these things … getting the barn ready with all the people we love and sitting together making bouquets and orders of service is something I will always fondly remember. All our suppliers were amazing, they all did us a bit of a deal in one way or another – either chucking stuff in for free or giving us discounts. They were fab to work with and we would highly recommend them all.
The Line Up
Wedding Dress: Pure Brides
Groom: Next / Jarrolds
Bride’s Shoes: Miss KG
Bridesmaids: Sainsburys / ASOS
Food and bar: Big Mag Events
Benches and tables, blankets: Event House
Photographer: Georgia Rachael
Disco: Vibes Disco
Jurassic Park Cake: @thefairybakernorwich
The Venue: Great Barn
Fresh Flowers: Wholesale Flowers
Dried Flowers: Essentially Hops
Hair: Charli Hair and Beauty
Cheese Cake: The Cheese Shed
Plates and Cutlery: Norfolk China Hire