A Rustic East Sussex Wedding Venue And A Crafty Brighton Bride

This Brighton-based couple filled their gorgeous East Sussex wedding venues with beautiful crafty homemade touches. They started their day with a traditional ceremony at the quaint St Peter and St Paul’s Church and continued their country fete and afternoon tea inspired wedding celebrations at nearby The Sussex Barn in Hellingly. Here’s crafty bride Lucy to tell us all about her DIY big day:


Sam proposed on New Year’s Eve in 2011 in my auntie’s back garden, just before midnight. It wasn’t the proposal that either of us expected but it was perfect. My mum died unexpectedly in October 2011 and I had been dreading Christmas and New Year. I couldn’t make up my mind where I wanted to be, whether it would be too difficult to stay at my parents house at New Year.

Sam thought that although the year had ended badly for us, that it would be fitting to have something good to start 2012, something to look forward to that Mum would have loved, so he picked out a ring which I love (I had always been a big vague on what I liked – something a bit different but definitely not a tiny diamond!), and organised with my auntie how he would do it.

We had a quiet evening with my auntie, uncle, my brother and his girlfriend (everyone knew apart from my brother who was deemed a security risk!) and then just before midnight, Sam took me outside and had prepared the words to “All I ask of you” from Phantom of the Opera to read out to me as a poem, the garden was covered in fairy lights but I still hadn’t twigged what was happening. He read the poem and gave me a rose and then said that was all really, by this point I was quite confused and then he got down on one knee – I was speechless. We had the card he’d written the poem on framed and placed on card/table plan table at the wedding.

We live in Brighton so we wanted to get married somewhere relatively close by. We really liked the idea of a more informal setting so the barn worked perfectly for us and it was supplied as a blank canvas so we could chose our own caterers, decor etc to really put our stamp on it.

The wedding was very much hand-crafted – we (or our fantastic friends) made as much as we could so that it was really personal and not just a theme that came out of a box. It had vintage elements, as well as a kind of country fete feel. I found most of my inspiration on crafty sites such as Pinterest and etsy – I used sites like these to help make my ideas into practical things. I also gathered ideas from other weddings we’ve been to.
We didn’t really have a hard and fast colour pallet but the bridesmaids were each dressed in a different colour (cornflower blue, dusky pink and dusky green), with their flowers to match and mine an amalgamation of all three. The boys wore cravats to match those colours and Sam wore lilac to stand out from everyone else.

Non-Traditional Touches

I walked up the aisle with my maid of honour, I don’t really believe in the tradition of being given away and my Dad wasn’t at the wedding. I had wanted to walk up by myself but last minute nerves got the better of me so I asked my maid of honour to walk up with me – we’ve known each other since we were four so it was really nice to have her there.

We also didn’t have a traditional formal meal – I don’t enjoy that element usually at a wedding (and when I’m nervous I don’t tend to want to eat a heavy meal) so I wanted to have something a bit more informal. We decided on an afternoon tea complete with vintage crockery and Marmite sandwiches (my favourite).

Made With Love

We tried to give everything a personal touch. Our wedding car was Sam’s Dad’s car, my maid of honour made the bridesmaids dresses and cravats and a friend made the cake. With the help of my maid of honour I made bunting, place mats and other decorations.

I collected pots and vases that I either already had or ones I liked and asked my brilliant florist to fill them with seasonal flowers that fitted into the kind of colours we used elsewhere. I designed all of the stationery myself and a designer friend made the save the date cards and invites for me. I made my own confetti from flower petals I saved for a year. I also made the table plan, card box, table name cards, favours and personalised the bags for the sweetie table.

Hitting The Right Notes

I walked down the aisle to Goin’ to the Chapel by the Dixie Cups, our hymns were Amazing Grace and Make Me a Channel Of Your Peace. Our amazing bridesmaids sang At Last by Etta James while we were signing the register (they did a repeat performance for a second dance at the reception), and we left the church to One Day Like This by Elbow. Our first dance song was Buddy Holly’s True Love Ways.

The Thing I Enjoyed Most About Wedding Planning Was…

I enjoyed making things and coming up with new ideas all the time, it felt really special to know that I was making our wedding unique with things I made myself – just start making things well in advance!



My Tips For Other Sussex brides To-Be…

Be organised but don’t stress. Let other people do their bit. Most importantly, remember that it is your day as a couple and although parents or other family members/friends might contribute to your wedding fund, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they should have a say in what happens at your wedding or who is on the guest list – most people are very understanding if you explain things to them reasonably.


Team Wedding:

Wedding: St Peter and St Paul Church | Reception: The Sussex Barn | Photographer: PhotoMadly

Dress: Ozone | Shoes: Vivienne Westwood | Hair: RUSH

Suits: Ozone | Rings: Ring | Flowers: Flowers By Lulu

Band: The Audacity |  Crockery: Doily Days Catering: Jam Queen |

What an emotional and romantic proposal story. After such a tough 2011 for Lucy it’s heartwarming to see how friends and family helped Lucy and Sam to create so many personal touches for their beautiful homespun Sussex wedding. Lucy’s bridesmaids, hubby and his groomsmen all rocked their individual home-made dresses (the girls) and cravats (the boys) brilliantly too.

Lucy did an amazing job with making so much of the decor herself as well and looked phenomenal in her delightfully detailed full gown, teamed with chic up ‘do and those dreamy wedding day Vivienne Westwood heels.

The newlyweds and their friends really went to town and got stuck in with making and creating for their special day – something we feel really comes across in these fabulous photos from the lovely Erika at PhotoMadly. A huge thank you to Lucy for sharing their emotional story and re-living their amazing August wedding day for us.

Click here to subscribe
Country Weddings Sussex, Real Weddings, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Permalink

6 Responses to A Rustic East Sussex Wedding Venue And A Crafty Brighton Bride

  1. We loved this venue! This was a lovely couple, who had planned the perfect day for their wedding. It was a brilliant day all round. We were very pleased to meet the people behind Doily Days and the excellent photographer Erika and we had an absolutely fabulous time playing for the guests. Great memories for all of us.

  2. lovesussexweddings says:

    Thanks Erika, love your photos and this wedding is so gorgeous xx

  3. Thank you so much for this Liz – the post looks beautiful & I’m sure Lucy & Sam will be delighted with it. Xx

  4. lovesussexweddings says:

    Thanks for your comment Clare, they’ve made so many lovely details haven’t they. It’s a corker of a wedding isn’t it. x

  5. An absolutely stunning wedding – I love everything about it. In particular the beautifully mismatched napkins and the bright colours they have used.

    A really touching proposal story too.

    Just lovely x

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *