Afternoon lovely people,

Happy Tuesday!

How gorgeously happy is the picture above from Nicky and Tijs AWESOME handmade wedding? If there was ever a picture to really capture a perfect wedding moment then the above is it.

Nicky and Tijs said ‘I do’ on the 24th May 2014 at a wedding that was inspired by Bestival, Borough Market and bringing people together. Held at Tijs family home, their rustic farm wedding was full of so many special personal touches that I think it may win the award for being the most DIY wedding we’ve ever featured (Tijs built the barn for their wedding……from scratch. Yes I know. I don’t think you can get more handmade than that!)

Spread over 3 days, their wedding was all about bringing all their favourite people together so they could enjoy good food, company, music and laughter.

Nicky tells us all about it….

A Trip to Paris and Two Rings Later…

Tijs proposed in Paris in December 2012.  We had booked a converted monastry in the centre of Paris for a few days, it was really beautiful.  Tijs proposed in our room before taking me out to a special restaurant.  He proposed with a gorgeous unique ring that he had bought secretly from a designer near the hotel, the designer was so pleased what he was using it for that she invited us to have champagne after he’d asked me.  We then picked a diamond ring together in Paris over the next couple of days; it was very special. I still wear both rings!

Tijs and I were together when we were teenagers and then had a 6 year break before coming back together 5 years ago, so we’ve known each other a long time.

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A Labour of Love and A Carving on a Beam…

Whilst Tijs and I were having dinner just after he proposed, he told me he really wanted to build the barn at the farm for our wedding.  It had been in the pipeline for years, but various things had held it back, but Tijs was desperate to have it done for our big day.  So, we decided we would give it about 18months and hopefully he could get the barn built in that time.  At the time is seemed like ages away – of course in reality it flew by!  In the autumn of 2013 it looked like it wasn’t going to happen (planning and financial issues were in the way) and I started to look at marquees – by this point the date was set for 24th May 2014.  BUT, Tijs was determined and managed to get everything in place to begin the build in January 2014.  Watching the barn go up was amazing, some sections went really fast, others felt like they would never be done in time. It was so exciting every time I went back to the farm and saw progress, it was a real countdown to the wedding. My parents live close to the farm as well so they went up often to see it all coming together.  As that went on me and a team of wonderful helpers set to making all the decorations and personal touches for the wedding.  Tijs’s sister Sanne brewed sloe gin, with sloe berries from the farm, that were made into favours and everyone began collecting jars for the cocktails to be served in later on.  My dad made signs and the wooden boards for the antipasta to be served on and my mum and sister set to with the cake and lots of other creative touches. It was a big undertaking, but I really enjoyed the planning and making stages, there was still a manic rush at the end but that was always going to be the way!

I came down to the farm three days before the big day (I should have taken the whole week!) and Tijs had been up late into the night laying the barn floor. It looked amazing and his carpenter friends were just hanging the beautiful wooden doors.  Tijs led me into the barn as he had another surprise for me – one of the carpenters was carving our initials and the date of our wedding into the beam at the entrance to the barn.  It was so special and is emotional every time we go back there and I see it.

Bestival, Borough Market and Pinterest….

We got lots of ideas from festivals we had been to for our wedding, particularly Bestival. We were also inspired by Borough Market and LOTS of inspiration from pintrest. We had 18 months to plan so I spent a lot of time looking at rustic and handmade ideas on the Internet.  We have similar tastes though and automatically know the style we would go for, which made it easier.

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A Pre-Loved Jenny Packham Dress….

I bought my dress second hand and had it modified. My wonderful seamstress Delphine added a short train in the same silk as the main dress that I could detach for dancing in the evening.  I’d decided that I wanted to try and get a second hand dress if I could and I got really lucky when the dress I loved came up on pre-loved website.  It was in my size and had only been worn for a couple of hours so it was spotless and looked brand new.

As the dress had a lot of swarovski crystals, I didn’t want or need any extra bling so i kept my jewellery simple. I borrowed my mum’s simple diamond studs and she bought me a delicate bracelet, which I also wore.

I wore blue swayed Dune shoes that I already owned. I knew I wanted blue shoes and realised I already had the perfect (comfortable) pair in the wardrobe!

I couldn’t decide what to have in my hair. I really wanted flowers, but nothing seemed to go with the crystals on my dress. In the end my hairdresser (who also happened to be my bridesmaid’s sister) had the idea of sewing silver tread directly into my hair. It was very game of thrones and went really well with the Grecian style of my dress.

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3 Bridesmaids, 3 Groomsmaids…

As Tijs has three sisters and lots of friends we decided to have his sisters as groomsmaids rather than having six bridesmaids and Tijs having to choosing between his friends for ushers. He also really wanted to have his sisters around him on the wedding morning.  It was a lovely idea and brought all the family together.  The groomsaids wore dresses by Dessy made to order and my bridesmaids dresses were from Coast.

I made all six of the girls coral coloured material flowers for their hair. They had white pashminas from Monsoon and matching bouquets to bring them all together.

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A Grand Unveiling….

The wedding was amazing. It was wonderful to have all our friends and family together and totally overwhelming. The barn was rightly the talking point, it looked stunning, Tijs had worked incredibly hard and it was very romantic to be the first people to use it.  A ribbon was put across the main door and Tijs’s dad gave a speech before we stepped up and cut it.  The doors had been kept purposefully shut so it was quite a grand unveiling.  The timing went totally out of the window, with extra speeches and dinner taking quite a while, but it was the fun event atmosphere we had hoped and it felt like a real family affair. The celidh finally came on at about 11pm, followed by Gary our DJ, and we danced until about 4am!  Tijs and I stayed in one of the beautiful yurts and then started the party again on the Sunday.

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Scaffold Boards, Pillar candles and Three Archways…

As the barn was such a show piece that we didn’t want to over decorate it. We wanted long wooden rustic tables, but couldn’t find them anywhere, so we made them out of scaffold boards and my mum made hessian table runners.  She also colour sprayed and decorated tins to hold the table flowers. We had pillar candles wrapped in bark that Tijs’s sister Marte had gathered from the woods around the farm.

We tied ivy around the beams and in the marquee and hung pom-poms from the ceiling.

The centrepiece was a beautiful chandelier that Tijs’s eldest sister Sanne made that was attached to the beam above where Tijs and I were sitting.  I had seen something similar on pintrest that I totally loved and she set to making it for me.  She decorated it with the same flowers as were in my bouquet. It was stunning, she did an amazing job!  His other sister Aafke decorated the farm swing for us to have photos on and made three archways for everyone to drive through as they approached the farm.  She also booked cocktail waiters for us later on and created a brilliant photobooth for our guests to use later in the night.  And his youngest sister Marte planted flowers all around the farm too – it was a family affair!

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A Market of Food….

We decided very early on that we wanted the food to be an event and to feel a bit different to many of the other weddings we had been to.  We love Borough Market in South London so decided we were going to try and recreate their vibe.  We designed market stalls with stripped material from Ikea and chalk board signs made by my Dad.

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Four Tiers and Sugar Flowers…

For our cake we had an AMAZING four tear extravaganza made by my sister and my mum.  They worked for weeks in the run up to the wedding making sugar flowers.  The bottom tear was fruitcake, then carrot and chocolate on the top – it was delicious and all got eaten over the wedding weekend.

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Favourite Moment…

I loved the ceremony, it was very emotional and special, seeing Tijs at the end of isle was wonderful, we’d known each other a long time and bringing the day together was quite full on, but it was totally worth it.  Our friend flying over the farm and taking photos from an aeroplane was an amazing surprise too!

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Any Advice…

If you are planning a DIY wedding then make sure you take a good few days off to set everything up.  We were rushing around like crazy on Thursday and Friday, which was a bit of a shame.  It all came together though, our friends and families did loads for us!

The Line Up

Photography: Kenny McCracken Photography
Ceremony Venue: Kidbrooke Park, Michael Hall School, Forest Row
Reception Venue: Yoghurt Rooms
Bride’s Dress: Jenny Packham
Bride’s Shoes: Dune
Bridesmaid’s Dresses: Coast
Groomsmaid’s Dresses: Dessy
Groom: Suit – Hackett; Waistcoat – Ted Baker
Florist: The Orchard Nursery
Caterers: Consuming Passion
Band: Licence to Celidh
DJ: Gary Ratsteppa 

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