A DIY mismatched wedding in a 300-year old barn

DIY mismatched wedding in a barn - Esme Mai Photography | Bonjour Bride

While I love summer (or this odd grey-but-warm season we’re experiencing right now), I’m super excited for all incredible colours, knitwear wearing and cosiness Autumn will bring with it! So today I’m skipping forward a few months weeks and sharing Siân and John’s wonderful DIY mismatched wedding which took place on October 
24th, 2015. They married in a beautiful church ceremony and had not one, but two receptions!

Siân looks amazing in her tea-length gown with polka-dot detail, gypsophila crown and shoulder length veil. The couple filled their day with everything they loved, and so many of the details you’ll see were handmade by them or Siân’s incredibly talented mum. John is one of the smiliest grooms I have ever seen! The pictures are so full of love and happiness just beams from them. Check out the book wall in the second reception venue and the shape throwing at the end of the night – it looks like so much fun!

Photography by Esme Mai Photography 

DIY mismatched wedding in a barn - Esme Mai Photography | Bonjour BrideDIY mismatched wedding in a barn - Esme Mai Photography | Bonjour Bride

Something blue

Siân, the bride: John sent me a tiny postcard the night before the wedding. It came in a blue envelope, in order to be my ‘something blue’. My bridesmaids sewed it into the hem of my dress.

DIY mismatched wedding in a barn - Esme Mai Photography | Bonjour BrideDIY mismatched wedding in a barn - Esme Mai Photography | Bonjour BrideDIY mismatched wedding in a barn - Esme Mai Photography | Bonjour Bride

The dress

My dress was by LouLou Bridal, which I bought it from Rogue Bridal Gallery near Baker Street. I picked it out with my mum, about 3 months before the wedding. My shoes were Rainbow Club – I saw them in a bridal shop and just really liked them!

DIY mismatched wedding in a barn - Esme Mai Photography | Bonjour Bride DIY mismatched wedding in a barn - Esme Mai Photography | Bonjour Bride

I accessorised with pearl drop earrings that belonged to my grandmother and a simple but beautiful gypsophila circlet that our wonderful florist, Branching Out, made for me.

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Rings

We bought our rings from Cred – an ethical and fair trade jewellers near Hatton Garden.

DIY mismatched wedding in a barn - Esme Mai Photography | Bonjour Bride

How we met

John and I met in 2012 when we in the same prayer group at church. We got together in 2013. I drove after John at 3am after our first date. I said ‘If I don’t get to kiss you, I’ll be really disappointed.’ It worked!

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The ceremony

We had an Anglican wedding at Croydon Minster. We walked down the aisle to Bon Iver’s Holocene played on the piano and walked up as Mr and Mrs to Sigur Ros!

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Photographer

Esme Mai has photographed almost every single wedding of our closest friends and always produces stunning photos. It was an absolute no-brainer choosing her as our photographer. Esme was such a blessing throughout the day. We had a pre-wedding photo shoot with her in Regents Park, which was great fun too.

DIY mismatched wedding in a barn - Esme Mai Photography | Bonjour BrideDIY mismatched wedding in a barn - Esme Mai Photography | Bonjour Bride

An everything-we-love mismatched wedding

I decided to buy a bridal magazine when I needed some change one day. John and I had a look and we both found it really intimidating so stopped looking at any magazines and Pinterest. We just came up with ideas and did them! It was a total joint effort and we both came up with different ideas that combined the things we enjoyed – games, making candles, painting glass. We played around until we had lots of things we liked.

DIY mismatched wedding in a barn - Esme Mai Photography | Bonjour Bride DIY mismatched wedding in a barn - Esme Mai Photography | Bonjour BrideDIY mismatched wedding in a barn - Esme Mai Photography | Bonjour BrideThere wasn’t a specific theme or a colour theme. We like odd and unmatched things, so in the end it turned out to be mismatched wedding theme. We pretty much just made things we liked and put them together, figuring that if we loved them, they’d make us happy on the day and we would enjoy the process of planning and making.

DIY mismatched wedding in a barn - Esme Mai Photography | Bonjour Bride DIY mismatched wedding in a barn - Esme Mai Photography | Bonjour Bride

Groom

John got his suit from Jack Bunneys in Essex. On the day he wore a tie pin that belonged to his father, which was engraved with his father’s initials. 

DIY mismatched wedding in a barn - Esme Mai Photography | Bonjour Bride

Flowers

Our flowers and arrangements were created by a small local florist called Branching Out. It was special for us to use them because it was near to us and has an amazing coffee shop that we’ve visited a lot.

It is also an important place to us because we had a small wake there after my grandmother had passed away a few years ago. This is the same grandmother whose earrings I wore on the wedding day.

DIY mismatched wedding in a barn - Esme Mai Photography | Bonjour BrideDIY mismatched wedding in a barn - Esme Mai Photography | Bonjour BrideDIY mismatched wedding in a barn - Esme Mai Photography | Bonjour Bride DIY mismatched wedding in a barn - Esme Mai Photography | Bonjour BrideDIY mismatched wedding in a barn - Esme Mai Photography | Bonjour BrideDIY mismatched wedding in a barn - Esme Mai Photography | Bonjour BrideDIY mismatched wedding in a barn - Esme Mai Photography | Bonjour Bride

The venues

We had two receptions. Tea and cake was organised for everyone at the wedding (just shy of 200) in the medieval hall of Old Palace School, which is adjoined to the Minster. Then we held our evening reception at The Red Barn in Lingfield, with about 100 of our closest friends and family.

We were very fortunate to be given contributions from both of our parents, and this covered our biggest expense which was our reception venue. We really adored it, especially the wall of books!

DIY mismatched wedding in a barn - Esme Mai Photography | Bonjour Bride DIY mismatched wedding in a barn - Esme Mai Photography | Bonjour Bride

All the DIY

We made all the invites ourselves – including buying over 200 postcards, printing onto laminate and sticking them together… it was a real process! The order of service was created by us too, and we wrote individual notes to every person who came to the wedding for them to receive in our first ‘tea and cake’ reception.

DIY mismatched wedding in a barn - Esme Mai Photography | Bonjour Bride

For our evening reception, we made over 100 candles in different shaped jars to go on the tables at the evening reception. All the name places were tiny tags that we handmade and had an individual (mostly rude) limerick inside, specific to each person. We had so much fun together making everything. We really wanted to our guests to know how much we loved them, and how grateful we were that they were there.

DIY mismatched wedding in a barn - Esme Mai Photography | Bonjour Bride

Also, we have to mention my mum Lesley – she was a creative tour de force! She made post-ceremony cakes, our wedding cake and copious amounts of ‘matrimonial fruit gin’. Because we wanted the wedding breakfast to ‘fit’ the rustic look of the barn, she also made all the hessian table runners. She was heroic.

DIY mismatched wedding in a barn - Esme Mai Photography | Bonjour BrideDIY mismatched wedding in a barn - Esme Mai Photography | Bonjour BrideDIY mismatched wedding in a barn - Esme Mai Photography | Bonjour Bride

Candle & Gin favours

We gave the candles that we’d made for the evening reception to everyone at the end of the night. They had verses from our favourite poems painted onto them. My mum makes her own gin too, so there were little bottles of ‘matrimonial gin’ on every table.

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Cake

We had a two tier cake that my mum made, and I iced. My mum makes the most amazing fruit cake at Christmas and it’s John’s favourite cake in the world, so it was a natural choice. It was made extra special as my remaining grandmother told my mum to specifically ‘stir in a lot of love from both her grandmothers’.

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Entertainment

Our first dance was to Great Expectations by Elbow. We then had a big barn dance with an amazing folk band from Brighton called Boondock.

DIY mismatched wedding in a barn - Esme Mai Photography | Bonjour Bride DIY mismatched wedding in a barn - Esme Mai Photography | Bonjour Bride

Favourite part of the day

The entire day was amazing, but there’s one thing in particular that stands out… as we left, John’s best man put on one of our favourite Sigur Ros songs. All our friends grabbed a candle and formed the most beautiful tunnel of lights for us to walk through as we left the reception. It was completely unexpected and we felt overwhelmed by the love from our family and friends.

DIY mismatched wedding in a barn - Esme Mai Photography | Bonjour Bride

Words of wisdom

Enjoy every moment of the planning. If you’re feeling stressed, it’s probably because that thing doesn’t actually, really matter. I don’t think we ever felt stressed or worried, even when we were up until 4am two days before the wedding writing limericks. We just loved it, because it was us, together, and we knew we’d never get to do this again, so we relished every moment. So yes… maybe just that. Relish every moment of the planning.

You should look back and not want to change a thing. We wouldn’t change a single thing.

Honeymoon

We spent a night in Brighton before driving to the New Forest for 5 nights in a secluded cottage. We then headed home for 2 nights before a week of train travel and adventure across Europe.

Siân and John’s Little Black Book

PhotographerEsme Mai Photography
Ceremony venueCroydon Minster
Reception venueThe Red Barn
Bride’s dressLouLou Bridal
Bride’s shoes – Rainbow Club
Bridesmaid dressesH&M
Grooms AttireJack Bunneys
FlowersBranching Out Florist
BandBoondock

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