Real Weddings

Ethereal Dream. Charlie Brear for a colourful DIY barn wedding in East Riding – Sam & Rob

18th February 2019 | Alexis Forsyth

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Happy Monday Brides Up North! We’re starting the week on a high, by rolling back to last summer to pore over the gorgeous rural wedding of Sam and Rob.

We’re not all lucky enough to have access to a family-owned barn, but today’s bride did, and she more than made the most of it, convincing her parents to speed up their five-year renovation plans! It was certainly worth the effort as it makes the dreamiest of backdrops, complete with fairy lights, 150 metres of organza, bales of hay, terracotta plant pots, bunting and so much more!

And please can we take a minute to admire the incredible #bridesquad, with leading lady Sam looking amazing in her lace detailed Charlie Brear number, and we just love those colourful, patterned bridesmaid dresses too. Talk about n point!

With images by Brides Up North Sponsor,  M & G Photographic.


Sam says: We got engaged on 10th July 2016, following a three-week holiday in Malaysia (where I had hoped that Rob might pop the question… but he didn’t). It was a Sunday afternoon and Rob had bought me a flying experience at Leven Airfield for my birthday earlier in the year. I had finally got around to booking the flight for this date. We went up into the air and flew around the local area and over the town of Driffield (where we live). We also flew over my parent’s farm in Watton where Rob and my dad had been scheming earlier that morning to spell out ‘marry me’ with bales in one of the fields. It was all very romantic.


Our wedding date was Saturday 28th July 2018. We chose this date as we wanted a summer wedding but also wanted a couple of years to plan. I really wanted to be able to throw myself into the planning whole heartedly and at the time of the proposal I was in my final year of uni, as well as working full time, so allowing ourselves two years meant that for one of those years I wouldn’t have the distraction of uni.

We got married at St Mary’s Church in Kirkburn, East Riding of Yorkshire. We chose this church as it is situated directly opposite Rob’s grandparent’s house, whom we are very close to. Rob spent a lot of his childhood in the village and this made Kirkburn church a clear winner for us.

We chose to have our wedding reception in a barn at my parent’s small holding in Watton, East Riding.

We knew from the very beginning that we wanted to have a wedding that was fun and unique and that reflected our personalities. Also, anyone who knows me well knows that I like a challenge and to really get my teeth into a project – and that is how I treated the planning of the wedding! It was also really important to us that the wedding was family focused, which definitely showed through the way everyone threw themselves into pulling the whole event together.

For months my dad tried to convince Rob and I to have a marquee, though we were well and truly set on the barn… the trouble was, that said barn did not have a proper concrete floor at this stage, nor did it have substantial sides. My parents had only bought the small holding one year prior to the proposal, and to say it needed some sprucing up would be an understatement! They had a ‘five-year plan’ for the farm, which got sprung into fast forward mode once we convinced my parents that the barn was the winning idea. We saw the rejuvenation of the barn as an investment that would reap benefits in the future whereas, marquees, as lovely as they are, seemed a short-lived luxury.

We didn’t have a particular theme, though we did want to ensure that the full day was relaxed and fun.

In terms of the barn, we wanted to decorate it and make it a really outstanding venue, whilst allowing the typical barn features to remain exposed. I bought 150 metres of organza fabric which the guys from Village Farm Marquees suspended and draped in the five bays of the barn, along with metres and metres of warm fairy lights, which were also coiled around the steel stations from floor to ceiling. The drapes and fairy lights were perfect as they did not disguise the barn in any way shape or form but added a lovely soft and ethereal atmosphere.

The décor of the barn was mainly in the finer details, including hand-made bunting made my myself and Rob’s mum; decorated jam jars bursting with colourful flowers; non-symmetrical varnished log slices (contributed by Rob’s granddad); terracotta plant pots filled with lavender and other features including handwritten chalkboards perched on artist easels donated by my creative aunty and uncle, oversized sanded cable reels and an old glass panelled door which I used to create our seating plan.

Unintentionally, our wedding did have a slight festival feel to it, which came about through us offering our guests the option of camping over in the field on the evening of the wedding. We’d also bought ourselves a beautiful little bell tent to spend our first night in as a married couple.

We also had a variety of oversized, outdoor games set out for our guests to enjoy, including tug of war, giant jenga and croquet.

We didn’t have a colour scheme as such, our only prerequisite was that the wedding was colourful and bright. We captured the colour through details including lots of flowers, provided by the lovely Helen Jackson, aka Rosebud Flowers and also lots of potted plants, namely lavender, nurtured by my mum.

Other ways in which we injected colour were through metres of bunting made by myself and my now mother-in-law and many a throw draped over a large horseshoe seating area made from bales (we just had to incorporate bales somehow into the day to tie in with the proposal!).

Another beautiful injection of colour came from the masses of natural confetti made by my mum in the run up to the wedding. All of the dried petals came from flowers grown on the farm that had been dried out on the kitchen table.

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I wore a white backless dress, named Marceau designed by Charlie Brear and purchased from Marrime Bridalwear in Jesmond, Newcastle. The dress, to me, was perfect. It was sophisticated, elegant and beautifully crafted, whilst also having an element of fun.

I chose to wear the Adah floor-length veil with a delicate lace edge around the train purchased from Britten. This veil was part of the Barely There range and it appealed to me due to its simplicity and sheerness which meant that it did not disguise the fact that I was wearing a backless dress, but added a sense of modesty which I felt was important, particularly as we were getting married in the church.


Rob wore a navy-blue tweed waistcoat and suit jacket from Marc Darcy, teamed with some beige tailored trousers from Ted Baker; a white shirt; emerald green tie from Moss Bros and navy-blue leather brogues.

The groomsmen wore the same but in reverse: brown tweed waistcoats from Marc Darcy, teamed with white shirts; matching Moss Bros ties; navy-blue tailored trousers and brown leather shoes.


My four bridesmaids wore floral print pleated cami dresses by Urban Touch, purchased from Silk Fred. Two of the girls wore it in white, and the other two wore it in pink.


My hair was done by my cousin, who was also a bridesmaid, Kate Spence, who is a self-employed hairdresser and the bridesmaids’ hair was done by Chloe Shepherd, a friend who works at Cads of Micklegate in York. I wore a flower crown which was made by Helen Jackson (florist) using fresh flowers. Rachel Watts, owner of The Beauty Box, did my make-up, as well as the bridesmaids’ and my mum’s.


Rob and I have a love of VW campervans and own a T4. We wanted to embrace a bit of a VW theme with the vehicles so decided that Rob would drive us from church to the reception in our own van, which we decorated using the traditional tin cans tied to the back, as well as a Just Married bunting made by myself and white fabric flower garlands across the dash.

To get to church, a family friend very generously offered to drive me, my dad and the bridesmaids in his beautiful VW Split Screen campervan ‘Mr Blue Sky’. He then also kindly drove my mum and dad back to the reception.

To complete the VW convoy another of our friends drove the bridesmaids back to the reception in his VW T4.

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Photography & videography

We opted for a photography and videography package with M & G Photographic. Our photographer was Patrick and our videographer was Josh.

We couldn’t recommend M & G Photographic highly enough. They captured our day perfectly including some really fantastic candid shots, which was exactly what we had asked for. We wanted our photos to naturally show the journey of our day and they certainly do. Our video equally encapsulates many a beautiful moment from our magical day and definitely brings on a happy tear or two.


I carried a hand tied bouquet of mixed coloured flowers and lush foliage, including lavender which was a flower used throughout the wedding. The florist we used was a lady called Helen Jackson, aka Rosebud Flowers, who uses mostly flowers that she has grown herself, she belongs to the Flowers from the Farm community.

Rosebud Flowers also created an arch of flowers which was suspended above the church entrance, as well as an arrangement in a basket which was hung from the front of an old bicycle that was situated by the entrance to the church and later relocated to the barn.

In addition to this, Helen also created beautiful floral arrangements within up-cycled glass jam jars which were used as centre pieces on the tables at the barn.

For wedding favours my mum made raspberry jam, made from raspberries grown on the farm. We decanted the jam into miniature glass jars and customised them with labels saying ‘Spread the love… Sam & Rob… 28th July 2018”.

The favours also doubled up as name places, so I used brown garden twine to tie small brown luggage labels, which had all been hand written, around the neck of the jars.


We had a small, one tier, naked Victoria sponge cake which was made by our caterers, Field and Forage. This cake was served with teas and coffees after dessert, but was not the main event…

Our main wedding cake was crafted by Field and Forage and consisted of seven tiers of different cheeses, as well as a large homemade pork pie. We presented the cake on a rustic barrel borrowed from the Spirit of Yorkshire Distillery. The cake was served during the evening along with an array of breads, crackers, fruit, more pork pie, chutneys and fruit cake. We opted for this style of cake simply because we love cheese!


Field and Forage provided all of the food for our wedding. They are a wonderful small business based in East Yorkshire creating wholesome, great tasting honest food, all from the back of Flora, a renovated horsebox.

We opted for a range of canapes to feed our guests with on arrival to the reception, this also doubled up as a starter. Our canapes included: sausage rolls, mini Yorkshire puddings with creamed horseradish and smoked salmon, dates stuffed with blue cheese and wrapped in Parma ham and traditional bruschetta.

For the main course we served pulled beef in rolls with an array of sauces, green salad, goat’s cheese and orange salad and rosemary and garlic roasted new potatoes.

A personal favourite of ours were the desserts which were served in jam jars. On our tasting session we tried a variety of puddings and just could not choose one or two, so the puddings on offer consisted of: rhubarb fool, Eton mess, a chocolate brownie-based dessert as well as a banoffee dessert.

For liquid refreshments we chose Kim Hickson Events. Kim provided reception welcome drinks, including Pimms and bottled beer, and fizz for the toast as well as a fully functioning and fully staffed mobile bar serving a range of beers, wines, ciders and spirits, even cocktails, as well as ales on draft by Great Newsome Brewery.

An element of Kim’s bar which we and our guests totally loved was the ski shot! A vintage ski which had been upcycled to allow four people to knock back a shot all at the same time!

My mum had also home brewed raspberry gin which we served from glass Kilner bottles on each table. Our guests ‘pimped their prosecco’ with it and others drank in on the rocks – it went down a treat!


In church a friend of ours, Ben Couper, belonging to The Shamrock Experience, played his violin as guests entered and also whilst we signed the official papers.

On arrival to the barn our guests were greeted with live acoustic music by Ben Cook, a guy who I have listened to many a time busking on the streets of Beverley, who kindly obliged when I asked him to provide some entertainment at our wedding.

For the evening entertainment we had a four piece, Scarborough-based band, Friday Street, playing – who got our guests throwing shapes on the dancefloor! We had previously seen these guys headline at the 2017 Harewood House VW festival and knew that if we were to have a band, we wanted it to be these guys!

We also had Spectra Entertainments DJ-ing and taking song requests into the early hours of the morning!

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Special touches

My mum had secretly arranged for my childhood pony to be waiting outside church after we had tied the knot! This was a really moving and magical moment and I don’t think there were many dry eyes! Moony is a blue eyed, white pony, the kind of pony you imagine in fairy tales – it was really special to have him there on our big day!

In order to get a photograph of the entire wedding party our photographer, Patrick went up in my dad’s Manitou to quite a height to capture us all from above!

Thanks to

We could have not wished for a more wonderful venue for our wedding reception; it could not have been any more personal! Currently this venue is not available for others to hire, however this does not mean that it won’t be available in the future – watch this space!

Best bit

Being surrounded by all of our favourite people made the day what it was, and each moment was perfect in its own right. Amongst many parts of the day, we reminisce regularly about the hours spent partying hard into the evening with our nearest and dearest to some bloody good songs!


We spent three weeks travelling and island hopping around Croatia. We opted for Croatia as we thought it looked like a stunning country, and we knew that we would easily fit in plenty of exploring.


We had been told by so many people during the run up to the wedding to take a step back on the day in order to really take in the special moments and also grab some time to ourselves. We did this and we’re so glad we did – so this would be our top tip too!

I avidly followed Brides Up North on Instragram from the moment Rob popped the question. I found the posts to be a great source of inspiration for venue dressing ideas and bridalwear. Myself, Rob and my mum also visited the WEDSTOCK Wedfest Fair at Stockheld Park, which gave us lots of inspiration.

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