Sarah & Charlie's DIY Woodland Themed Wedding @ Lyde Court

Let me take you on a journey to rustic Herefordshire, to an oldy worldy 17th Century Stone Barn at Lyde Court. Get ready to fall in love with see what happens when woodland, Lord of the Rings and Zelda meet paths. This is where Sarah and Charlie exchanged their vows and got hitched.

The Proposal

After starting our relationship at the age of 16, we didn’t follow a typical love story route...! Due to choosing different universities, and then our careers taking us separate ways, we were long-distance for the majority of our relationship. The time apart was incredibly difficult, but it made us certain that we could make it through anything. On our 7th anniversary, Charlie decided to propose on a walk up the same hill that we went on for our first date all those years ago. Sarah took her time to respond, as it was a bit of a surprise, but of course she said yes.0

The Vision

Having both grown up in the Herefordshire countryside, spending a lot of time outdoors, we knew we wanted a nature and woodland inspired wedding with a rustic feel. There was a loose bluebell colour theme, as it’s our favourite flower - having visited many bluebell woodlands, and ivy features were a must. We also wanted to have a small ceremony with close family and friends, with a few more guests arriving later on, to create an intimate and relaxed feel to the day.

The Planning Process

We had plenty of time to plan the wedding as we weren’t in any rush, so we could work slowly through our wedding to-do list over the course of a couple of years.

The Budget

Both of us started off pretty naïve of how much weddings cost(!), but we knew that we didn’t want an expensive wedding. We paid more for key things that were important to us, but balanced it out by saving on areas that we weren’t so worried about. This meant that we could stick to our budget pretty well, but we took a lot of time creating aspects ourselves.

Hair & Beauty

From the recommendation of our photographer, we booked Sandra Elizabeth hair and makeup for the bride and mother of the bride. She made Sarah feel in very safe hands, having listened to her preferences during the trial and pushing Sarah just the right amount, and did a stunning job on the day. It was just enough glamour to make Sarah feel special without not feeling like herself. Sandy also brought a lovely relaxed and happy energy to what could have been a stressful morning. The make-up stayed immaculate throughout the day and evening, and Sandy somehow managed to tame Sarah’s full fringe, so there wasn’t a hair out of place the entire time! Pure magic.

Outfits & Accessories

Charlie managed to find his outfit with ease, purchasing a Harris Tweed grey and blue suit from ASOS which he had tailored along with a custom-made shirt from Walker & Walker. He finished off his look with a Leaves of Lorien brooch from Lord of the Rings (just one of the nerdy details we put into the wedding).


Sarah did not have the same luck, slowly losing hope after having to visit different dress shops around the country six times and trying on countless dresses before finding ‘the one’! She found that shops stocked similar looking dresses which made it difficult to find a dress with the unique touch she was looking for. Her search ended after trying on the 7756 Ti Adora dress in Songbird Bridal located in the Lake District. Being a delicate dress, many adjustments were needed, and were completed by the lovely Nicola at Walker & Walker.


Having similar difficulty attempting to find a flower crown which suited the look, Sarah decided to take matters into her own hands and make one herself. Using a blank woven crown with small gold buds, she attached pieces of artificial ivy to achieve the look.

The Venue

It only took a couple of visits to settle on our venue of Lyde Court in Herefordshire. Lyde has a wonderful relaxed garden atmosphere, settled deep in the countryside, with the most beautiful old stone barn which has an almost Mediterranean feel inside, adorned with fairy lights. The venue allowed us to have absolutely everything in one spot, an outdoor ceremony space, the barn for the reception and dorms for guests to stay over. The perfect package for us! Lyde also had plenty of flexibility in case of wet weather – fortunately we only had a brief shower during the ceremony.

The Readings

We had one reading, an extract from Lemony Snicket’s The Beatrice Letters which was read by Sarah’s older brother. We both have a quirky and dark sense of humour, so it worked well.

“I will love you no matter how many mistakes I make when trying to reduce fractions, and no matter how difficult it is to memorise the periodic table. I will love you as the manatee loves the head of lettuce and as the dark spot loves the leopard. I will love you as the iceberg loves the ship, and as the passengers love the lifeboat and the lifeboat loves the teeth of the sperm whale, and the sperm whale loves the flavour of naval uniforms.

I will love you until the bird hates a nest and the worm hates an apple, and until the apple hates a tree and the tree hates a nest, and until a bird hates a tree and an apple hates a nest, although honestly I cannot imagine that last occurrence no matter how hard I try.

I will love you as we grow older, which has just happened, and has happened again, and happened several days ago, continuously, and then several years before that, and will continue to happen as the spinning hands of every clock and the flipping pages of every calendar mark the passage of time, except for the clocks that people have forgotten to wind and the calendars that people have forgotten to place in a highly visible area.

I never want to be away from you again, except at work, in the restroom or when one of us is at a movie the other does not want to see.”

The Music

Whilst thinking about music for our wedding day, we realised how important music is to both of us, and how we wanted it to set the mood beyond the ceremony to throughout the entire day. We set about creating five different playlists on Spotify which were played throughout the venue via the sound system. Yes - it took a long time, but it was totally worth it and we now have playlists that we can listen to and reminisce!


For the evening we decided to book Just for Tonight, a live band that does a mixture of Mumford & Sons and electric rock/pop style covers. Their song list had so many of our favourite tracks, and having a band created such an awesome atmosphere for the evening.

by Danielle / June 2020 / Real Weddings

The Flowers

Flowers were a tricky one for us, as Charlie suffers from hay fever, so we didn’t want to cover the place in them! We therefore provided flowers ourselves, mostly conveniently sourced from Charlie’s family farm, alongside a few stems of Gypsophilia that we bought from a local flower shop. We had a mixture of ox-eye daisies and cornflowers.


For the bouquet, Sarah purchased a dried flower bouquet from the Artisan Dried Flower Company. We were able to choose the look of the bouquet and receive it in advance of the day, making the process nice and relaxed and we can now display the flowers without any fuss of drying them. The bridesmaids’ bouquets were bunches of Gypsophilia stems.

Booking our photographer was our second aim after booking the venue, and our easiest decision. Sheryl from Oobaloos Photography was recommended by one of the bridesmaids, so we knew we would get along. Sheryl was a fantastic choice, on the day she provided so much laughter and made us feel at ease. Her photographs somehow contain all the emotion of the moment, like mini time capsules that we can relive over and over again.

The Photographer

Bridesmaids

The bridesmaids were four of Sarah’s close friends, all of which met back at school. Sarah decided that rather than having a fixed colour or style of dress, she chose four complementary colours and helped each bridesmaid find a dress that they loved. The dresses were a mixture of Oasis, Wed2be and Dorothy Perkins.

Groomsmen

The best man was Charlie’s brother, who wore a Harris Tweed waistcoat in a slightly different colour as well as a Leaves of Lorien brooch. Charlie also had a close friend as the Master of Ceremonies who also wore the same brooch.

The Details & Decor

A lot of our wedding was down to DIY and was all inspired by the woodland and nature theme. Both the save the dates and invites were watercolour designs that Sarah created, which we then got printed professionally. Sarah also wrote on each wood round which served as our guests’ place names and favours alongside a chunk of fudge which was Charlie’s creation.  We worked alongside Lyde to decorate our reception tables, with a banquet style layout, an eclectic mixture of chairs, hessian runners, candles and eucalyptus leaves that we brought along.


Our Barn Owl cake topper was also made by Sarah to go on top of a Victoria sponge cake covered in fresh berries made by Charlie’s mum. Charlie put together lots of wooden signs to go around the venue, alongside making a pallet sign for the timetable of the day, Sarah then wrote on and decorated each of them. One of them featured a character called a Korok from the Zelda game franchise to represent our shared love of gaming.


Sarah and her mum created a cascading ivy backdrop for our DIY photo booth where guests took and printed their own pictures for our guestbook. Ivy was also used alongside origami stars made out of gold paper and old maps which were hung in the rose barn for the ceremony. In the outdoor reception area, there were various lanterns that we have collected over time with candles in, alongside a steam of fairy lights. We also created a marshmallow toasting station which was a lot of fun in the evening.

The Film Maker

After we booked our photographer, we decided that we also wanted a videographer to capture the memories of the day, and we are so glad that we did. We chose The Wedding Station, as recommended by our photographer (so we knew they would get along well). They did such a wonderful job at filming the day and it hardly felt as though he was there. The videos taken were edited together so beautifully to songs that we requested, and they also captured our ceremony, speeches and first dance in full. So worth it!

The Honeymoon

As the wedding had a lot of planning involved, we decided to delay our honeymoon until our first anniversary. Unfortunately, it had to be cancelled with the global pandemic that has happened this year. We look forward to our honeymoon in Canada on our second anniversary in 2021 instead!

Memorable Moments

The day felt effortless overall thanks to all of our vendors and the fantastic work that they did, which allowed us to fully experience the day. Our memorable moments:


  • The bridesmaids seeing the wedding dress for the first time, when everything suddenly became very real (and a few tears were shed)

  • Seeing each other for the first time coming down the aisle

  • A downpour of rain during our outdoor ceremony just as we had our wedding reading, once Sarah’s brother had finished, we all huddled inside the open-sided barn to finish the ceremony

  • Sitting together on a sweetheart table for the wedding breakfast being able to take in the day just the two of us

  • Being out in the wheat field at sunset as our photographer worked her magic

  • Playing table football in the games room – Sarah won!

  • Being surrounded by friends as we danced the evening away

  • Sitting around the fire toasting marshmallows letting our feet have a rest

Advice for other couples...

Try not to worry about pleasing other people with your day, weddings are magical, and guests appreciate the atmosphere and happy emotions of the day – not the tiny little decorative details that you may stress about.

If you can, find a venue with accommodation on site, it took some of the sadness away of having to say goodbye to everyone on the wedding day, knowing that we would see a fair few in the morning.

Good photography will cost you, but of all of the areas to spend big money, this is one of the only things that will last past the day! If you need to compromise, book a professional photographer for a shorter time or have a mid-week wedding like us.

Let go in your wedding photos, they may not all be profile-picture worthy, but if you’re not worrying about how you look - the pictures radiate the happiness of the day which is so lovely to look back on.

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