When we first chatted to Brighton couple (and Love Sussex Weddings readers) Collette and Andy, to feature their amazing Brighton engagement shoot, almost a year ago, we just knew we would want to show you their beautiful Bedfordshire barn wedding too.
This cool and quirky Brighton couple (originally from Bedford) had spent months creating stationery, making bunting and collecting crockery for their big May day at their beautiful Bedforshire wedding venue: The Tithe Barn wedding venue, back in their home county – and boy, oh, boy did it pay off!
Here’s gorgeous bride Collette to tell us more:
Andy and I have been together for nine and a half years and actually knew each other in secondary school. Three years later, I was looking for work in my gap year before Uni and Andy was running the bar I ended up working in. After getting to know each other and trading music – as they say, the rest is history…
Although we live in and love Brighton, it was important to have a venue that could be easily reached by all of our guests, so decided on our home county of Bedfordshire. We knew early on we wanted a barn wedding and the Tithe Barn at The Barns Hotel in Bedford was exactly what we were after and we could easily envisage the decoration we had in mind fitting perfectly. Another great reason for choosing this venue was that the ceremony, reception and guest accommodation was all in the same grounds.
Most of our wedding items such as the wedding rings, gifts and decorations came from Etsy which was a great source for things handmade and one of a kind. Almost everything else was picked up in town, Googled or found on eBay. Our venue provided the food and drink for the whole day and recommended our florist.
We both have similar tastes and aren’t ones for tradition, so wanted our wedding to be very personal and to make our own rules, rather than stick to specific traditions people come to expect at weddings – we took ideas and enjoyed making them our own.
We got a lot of great ideas from Love Sussex Weddings in the lead up to the wedding and kept an eye out for each new blog post for unique ideas and décor we could incorporate.
Our wedding theme would probably be described as a rustic, romantic, English countryside barn party. It was a personal and romantic wedding in an informal setting where our guests were relaxed and could enjoy all the personal details surrounding them. All we wanted was for people to come to our wedding knowing straight away it was ours.
We removed a lot of traditions we didn’t feel were needed such as the something old/new/borrowed/blue, I didn’t wear a veil or throw my bouquet and we saw each other on the morning of the wedding. We chose to have mismatched bridesmaid’s dresses and groomsmen outfits to add to the informal feel of the day. They each have their own style and tastes so it was important for them to feel comfortable.
We did the speeches before dinner and only spent 15 minutes doing so to keep them short and sweet and to keep any nerves and pressure off of people. I made the final speech. We threw confetti at each other after everyone has thrown it over us which was a fun moment. And, after the ceremony we walked down the aisle to the Super Mario Bros theme tune…
For the personal, handmade items we made, the list is almost endless… 100 metres of floral bunting, framed photos, hand painted wooden signs, ceremony booklets tied with twine, a ‘seating for eating’ table plan made from a pin-board, photos of friends and family pegged around the barn, a DIY photobooth with props, decorated glass jars and bottles filled with flowers, teapots for centrepieces, vintage fabric hankies, heart-shaped confetti, a freshen up basket for the ladies loo, and a box to hold the wedding rings. Oh and the best bit – every guest had a teacup and saucer as a take-home favour, filled with Brighton rock, fudge and our personalised tea bags.
Plan as far ahead as possible, even if you think you have plenty of time, so that you are ready and relaxed as can be on the day. If you’re a perfectionist like me then do things for yourself on the day if you want to. I found it hard to leave things, such as decoration, to other people and wish I had spent 10 minutes away from everyone to apply some of the finishing touches myself. Oh and always have backup umbrellas!
Due to the early planning, we were pleased to not find anything too stressful. We mostly enjoyed collecting and making all of the homemade items and to see everything come together. It was great fun deciding what to include in the playlist for our DJ, and spent months listening to as many electronic 80s tracks as we could find. Ticking something off the ‘to do’ list was always a great feeling each time we’d completed something.
In general, the amount there is to organise and the pressure of everything having to come together and go to plan on that one single day. But don’t worry, it somehow just happens!
Have picked a day with 0% chance of rain and asked more people to take video clips on their phones throughout the day.
This beautiful big day has caused a whole lot of swooning here at Love Sussex Weddings HQ! We loved how refreshing bride Collette and her hubby Andy were about doing their big day their way, adding lots of quirky touches – from the magical lighting to their homemade decorations, the bride having the final say in the speeches (she’s our kinda girl!) to ending their ceremony to the Super Mario Bros theme tune, their wonderful wedding was filled to the brim with personality.
Big Love Sussex Weddings love to Collette and Andy for chatting to us (again!) and letting us share a slice of their dream day and of course, huge thanks to the fantastic Paul of Shears •Mockford Photography for allowing us to use these fabulous photographs – it looked like a stunning day!