If you’ve been following any of my social media channels, you will have seen me mention my wedding. A lot. Ok, I’ve not shut up about it! Lol!
It was around two months ago now and we’ve only just had time to reflect back, look through the photos and really take it all in. It was a total whirlwind.
We had the ceremony at a popular, centuries old, local venue and the reception in the garden of my family home, which was super special.
It meant that we could make it exactly as we wanted it, add our own touches, invite as many guests as we wanted and party late into the night without any complaints.
I am so grateful to be able to say that the entire day went without a single hitch! It was more perfect than I dared to hope for and all of our hard work paid off. So, I thought I’d share my top tips with you, for the perfect country garden wedding… The things that really made this wedding special to us and the things we learned along the way.
Invite the Neighbours
My parents don’t have too many neighbours, with the house backing on to acres of open fields, but we invited all of the neighbours we do have to the wedding and this worked really well for two reasons.
Firstly, they’re a hoot and we love their company, but secondly, nobody is going to complain about loud music from the party they’re invited to!
Cheap and Easy Decorations
There were so many decorations that we dotted around the garden that hardly cost us a penny. One of my favourites were the glitter horseshoes. We asked the farrier if we could have some and he donated an entire bucket full.
We then spray painted them gold, sprayed them with glue and dipped them in glitter. Then we covered them in waterproof lacquer and put them everywhere! Lol! And now I have a couple in my house, as do all my bridesmaids.
We also grabbed a lot of things from the house, like pictures for the pallette wall, lanterns for candles and vases for the bouquets. And lastly, we went to quite a few boot sales! These are an absolute goldmine for picking up cheap decorations.
Decide What’s Important
So, when we first got engaged, like most brides, I wanted everything to be absolutely perfect and just so. And as we went along, I ended up making decisions about what was and wasn’t important to me. What did I need to spend money on, and what could be done cheaply. Or what didn’t need to be done at all!
For example, I loved the shoes I chose in the end, but they cost me £60!! And I’m SO glad I didn’t splurge on shoes. One of my main stipulations when deciding on my outfit was comfort. With the wedding in my family garden, I wanted to be relaxed and comfy enough to party. And I ended up taking my shoes off during the main course. I know that if I’d bought expensive shoes, I would have felt more pressure to keep them on and make the most of them. And realistically, nobody even saw my shoes.
Similarly, I decided early on that I wasn’t going to go mad with the invitations or save the dates. Yes, I would keep one and my mum and close family might keep one each, but most of them were going to end up in the bin! It felt like a waste to buy expensive invites.
We did so much ourselves and I’m so glad we did. Not only did it cut costs, but it also made it so personal. The pallette wall that stood behind our top table was made my husband and my dad. They visited a reclamation yard and bought fifteen pallettes for £7 each and I hope you’ll agree that the result was pretty special!
We covered the wall in fake garlands and put fairy lights behind it to light it up and then hung a mirror and various framed photos, aswell as shelves for the bouquets, to create a very personal, unique feature wall. And on that note, mixing real flowers with fake flowers is a cheaper option than having all real flowers, and is still really effective!
If you were having your wedding at an official venue, there would already be plenty of signage to point out the toilets, parking, etc. So we wanted to make sure that our guests knew where they were going.
We made these signs with old, used wood that my dad had in his garage. I printed off words, using different fonts, cut them out with a scalpel to make stencils and then just painted into the cut-outs. They were also sprayed with waterproof lacquer, just incase it rained!
Accept All the Help Offered to You
A few friends and family members offered their services soon after we were engaged. Namely, my cousin’s boyfriend wanted to make our cake. At first we politely declined, because we didn’t want anyone to have any stress on the day and have anything to think about other than enjoying our wedding.
However, similarly to the previous point, we had to pick and choose what we wanted to spend on and what we wanted to save on. And we soon realised that we were crazy to turn down any offers of help that came our way.
In the end, we had so much help from so many people that we were completely blown away. And I can honestly say that we wouldn’t have had the wedding we had if it weren’t for everybody’s generosity. So I’d definitely advise that you accept help, when it is offered!
We got SO many ideas from Pinterest. Our table plan, the pallette wall, out centre pieces, the horsebox bar… It was totally invaluable!
Light It Up
Fairy lights were a huge part of my wedding and everybody commented on them. Sadly our wedding photographer left before it got dark enough to turn them on, but they made the garden look magical. I’ve attached a simple phone snap below, because they were one of my favourite things we did, so I had to include them.
Fairy lights, or any lights really, are such a simple way to add a dreamy feel to your wedding.
Keep Guests In the Loop
One of the things I always find most awkward about weddings is that indefinite time between the ceremony and the wedding breakfast. You never really know how long you’ve got to stand around for.
So we created a schedule, out of another pallette, to let our guests know exactly what was happening, when. That way they wouldn’t miss anything, they knew how long they had for cocktails and canopes and hungry guests knew how long it’d be until they were getting fed!
We started planning and prepping for our wedding about five months in advance. It sounds crazy but there were so many odd jobs to be done around the house and garden and my dad and (now) hubby only had weekends to get things done. Every weekend we were at my mum and dad’s, creating things, painting things, cleaning and fixing things… I’m so glad we started as early as we did. It definitely minimised the stress and made it feel like less of a mountain to climb.
Forget Trying to Please Everyone
You can not please everybody! There’ll always be somebody that doesn’t like chicken/beef/pork. If you’re providing the alcohol, there’ll be somebody who want’s whiskey when all you’ve got is gin!
There’ll be somebody who wants the band to play R&B, when you’ve asked them to play 90s cheesey tunes.
Don’t even bother worrying about what everybody might want. Pick what suits you and go with that!
A tip that somebody else told me, was to use the bridal and bridesmaids bouquets (aswell as the table display from the table you sit at to sign the register) as decorations for the marquee and this proved to be such a great idea.
You pay a lot of money for the flowers, for them to just sit on the table next to the bridesmaids. We bought vases to dot around the marquee and put one of the ushers in charge or putting a bouquet in each vase, when they got back to the house. Instant floral decoration!
The girls still all got to take their own flowers home at the end of the evening, but it just gave them somewhere to place them and brightened up the venue, in the meantime.
Write a List of Photos
This sounds obvious but we didn’t do it and I wish we had. I’m not talking about photos of different family members… I mean just bits and bobs you want to capture.
My dad and Sam had slaved over some stand-alone wooden letters that spelled out Mr & Mrs B, which we really wanted photos in front of, but in the whirlwind of the day, we totally forgot!
Write a list of photos you want to ensure your photographer captures and give it to them, so that you don’t have to remember what to ask for on the wedding day.
I think that’s about everything. I hope this has been somewhat helpful to anybody planning a wedding in the near future. I’d love to hear if you have any tips and tricks of your own, in the comments below.
And if you’d like to see more wedding photos, I’ve created an entire blog post full, right here!
All photography credit goes to the fab Real Simple Photography.