A Somerford Hall Wedding from Cassandra Lane Photography

Rachel and Scott's vision for their wedding was very clear from the start - a reflection of the couple they are. Both were involved in the planning and they didn't feel obliged to follow any tradition or trend. The result is this super fun, DIY wedding with button bouquets and converse wearing bridesmaids! All the thoughtful details were captured by Cassandra Lane and Rachel & Scott's story is a must-read.

From the bride: My husband and I hate the idea of weddings! We feel weddings can be stuffy and are quite often only a reflection of the bride and her childhood dreams. It was so important to us that we remained ‘us’ and didn’t feel the need to go overboard with what we were wearing and decorations. I, as the bride felt that it was our special day – not just mine- and it was a priority of mine to make sure the Groom was part of the planning and everything that went on! The main aim of our day was more about our guests rather than us. We wanted the day to be relaxed and easy going and we set the dress code as smart casual to encourage this.

Tell us about your dress

The dress was a Lou Lou dress – a 50’s length Taffeta dress with ruched sash and lace bolero. After a lot of consideration I chose the Lou Lou dress, but still wasn’t quite sure it was THE dress like I was told I would feel. As the months passed though, everything seemed to slot in place around the dress – and it all felt perfect. I got over what I should wear and accepted what I thought felt like me. Looking back at the photos now, I am so happy!!! I cannot imagine ever getting married in a different dress and in hindsight, it was THE dress. I chose a birdcage veil to compliment this (I felt a long veil was too traditional for me) from Emmerling.

I knew right from the start that I wanted purple shoes, and wanted to break the mould of ivory especially when I knew they would be on show. I bought some VERY cheap peep toe shoes from New Look and thought they looked great. I changed on the evening into Converse, no bride should suffer in pain too long and if the Groomsmen can be comfortable, so can I!!

I struggled with jewellery. I’ve never really worn nice jewellery and have normally opted for fashion jewellery, so when trying on beautiful pearls and the like it just didn’t feel right. Instead, I opted for a more fun alternative and had some plastic purple earring personalised to say Scott!

Make up was important to me – because I never normally wear it so I didn’t want to be out of my comfort zone and feel like a clown! Similarly, after issues with my hairdresser I just thought ‘what the heck’ and I just didn’t have it done!

Tell us about your details

Budget meant that we could not be extravagant with the details (not that we wanted to be). 

Who needs flowers? The decision to not have flowers was a twofold one. The budget really couldn’t stretch to allow for extravagant displays (that die within a few days) and I’ve never been a flower person. Don’t get me wrong, I love a pretty bunch of flowers as much as the next girl but I wouldn’t say it defines me as a person or my husband. So I had the dilemma of what could replace the flower bouquets and came up with the ideas of buttons. After searching the internet for a way to turn buttons into a bouquet, I came across an idea and bought job lots of floristry wire, buttons (from ebay sellers) and ribbon and gave it a go. I even managed to fashion a buttonhole of buttons for my dad and husband with ‘I love you’ buttons and music themed buttons to personalise them.

Making the bouquets was time consuming, but we roped in friends and family and by the time they were finished they looked really effective. For the 4 bouquets it cost no more than £50 altogether, because we had generous friends and family donating old and new buttons to the cause. Once they were complete, it was nice to reflect on where all the buttons had come from – in particular, I purposely used some buttons of my husband’s Nan that had passed away the year before so that we knew a part of her was involved in our special day.

We had agreed that we would not have matching this and matching that and went for each table having different decorations on them. After months of trawling charity shops, bargain stores and sales we came up with a collection of items that we scattered on the tables.

The best idea I think we had was the place settings/favours. We worried we would not be able to pay for guests to have a favour due to the limited budget. After a holiday to Cornwall, we discovered a disused slate quarry that we ‘borrowed’ a lot of slate from. Me, my husband, usher and bridesmaid carried rather heavy bags for miles and found ourselves bruised and aching – all for a good cause. My husband then used a friend’s factory to cut each piece of slate into a heart which we then decorated with buttons and wrote their name on with chalk. These 50 favours cost us £5 altogether! Bargain!

A huge hit with the guests was the sweet table that we had in the reception room. It looked fantastic and they provided fresh popcorn and candyfloss – we had a lot of hyper guests by the evening!

We bought cheap handkerchiefs from Primark, and rolled them with ribbon and added a label reading ‘for happy tears’ on chairs in the ceremony room.

The table plan was a large chalkboard which was reduced in price because it was broken on the bottom corner and we wrote this ourselves.

We decided to pot lavender in different objects for the tables – teapots, sugar canisters, kilner jars, milk jugs.

We provided laminated speech bubbles and thought bubbles on sticks to our guests for them to write messages on. This got inappropriate very quickly, but produced some hilarious photos!

Your favourite part of the day

There are too many! Other than ones I’ve already mentioned, the groom and 5 friends played a few songs in the garden of Somerford Hall with varying instruments, while guests watched on picnic blankets. This reflected our relaxed day perfectly, and created a great vibe for the rest of the day.

The speeches! I think I might even be brave enough to say that no one was bored during the speeches! Some speeches were emotional and we also had a poem from the father of the bride and a little ‘skit’ with props and instruments from our close friends.

Any advice for our planning brides?

Do not feel you have to follow the rest of the crowd! Make the day yours and do not compromise. If you don’t think you can afford the wedding of your dreams – believe me, with a little clever DIY, you can!

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