10 March 2020

Alpaca’s and Unicorns Galore – Lichfield Wedding Venue

In August last year, I shot Jimmy and Lisa’s wedding at on of my favourite Lichfield wedding venues, Bilston Brook Wedding Barn. I knew from our chats during the planning stage that this would be really fun. They are both very creative and adventurous people and after an exciting chat about alpacas – I was in! Below, Lisa has given written about the wedding, suppliers they chose and how they found the whole process. This one is a feast for the eyes! Enjoy!

Venue: When we were thinking about venues we knew we wanted something we could do entirely ourselves, from the food to the decor (especially the decor) as being an artist I just love putting my own creative stamp on things. And we both knew we wanted a venue with a laid back, informal outdoorsy feel as neither of us really suit the “fancy” wedding style so we basically did a LOT of googling and found Bilston Brook Wedding Barn, we both fell in love instantly and it was the only venue we went to see. We could instantly see how we could make the barn our own and it’s entirely self catering so every little detail can be personalised. The staff were amazing as well. We spoke to Hollie (owner) when we visited and she was so friendly and helped us to see how we could create our dream wedding. Its also worth mentioning that as soon as she said they also offer unicorn and Shetland pony appearances I was sold!

The Outfits: The bridesmaid skirts were £30 from Amazon and the tops were £4 from Primark. I knew I wanted a floaty style for the bridesmaids and also something that wasn’t going to cost a fortune as the girls all paid for their own outfits and I didn’t want them to go all out on something they would only wear once. Also they were really comfy! The men including Jimmy hired their waistcoats from Ascot suit hire in Wolstanton. They were great quality and great value for money. They paired them with some trousers from Marks and Spencers.

The Rings: Are simple silver bands mine is platinum and Jimmy’s is paladium (he informs me this is the material that Iron Man’s original chest piece is made from which is very important to him?)

The Flowers: Were from Helens Flower House in Wolstanton and she is so lovely! The flowers are probably one of my favourite things about the whole day, they just made me so happy to look at them! I didn’t really give her much direction I just told her I wanted all the colours and bright and happy with some ribbon! And that’s exactly what she delivered. I’ve had my flowers freeze dried by Precious Petals because I felt like they were just too beautiful to not keep forever. I haven’t had them back yet as it takes sooooo long but they will be back really soon and I can’t wait to see the result.

Photographer: Again basically googling a lot. As soon as I saw Laura’s website I just loved her style! (10/10 for branding and styling there?) we weren’t sure what sort of feel we wanted to go for with our wedding photos but when I saw Laura’s work I knew that was it! I also loved the fact that she had different packages to choose from. We went for the “big fish” package as I am photo obsessed and I’ve always hoarded photos. The option to have a second photographer on the day was amazing and something that not a lot of other photographers offered.

Evening Entertainment: Danny was the resident DJ at Bilston Brook Wedding Barn, and he was amazing, he worked from a list of songs we chose.

As our Bilston Brook Wedding Barn was not technically licensed to carry out the ceremony part of the wedding we had to have a Celebrant to carry out a ceremony on the day (we did the official, legal, paper bit the previous week). We sent out a few emails to celebrants asking them how the process works etc and how they personally work and Gaynor (https://gaynorstickelscelebrant.co.uk/) was so friendly and warm and her love for what she does was just instantly obvious! We had no idea that a ceremony carried out by a celebrant was so different from the usual register office ceremony but Gaynor helped us to understand how literally anything can be done. She’s carried our pagan hand fastings, viking ceremonies and all sorts! So she really gave us a lot to think about in terms of how we could make our ceremony unique and personal to us. We met with her and chatted with her about our story and personalities and she helped us to create a beautiful ceremony that meant so much to us and we could tell that she was just as passionate about it as we were. In the end we went for a crystal blessing where each person held a rose quartz heart in their hands and and blessed it with love which we now keep in a special box to take out every now and then to relive our day and all the love that we have (cheesy I know). Our vows were written by ourselves with lots of guidance from Gaynor. At first we really struggle with writing the vows as we aren’t ones for being soppy and really saying how we feel but in the end we managed to add a bit of humour and romance.

Venue Decor: Well it’s probably safe to say we didn’t really have a particular theme. It was kind of crystals, flowers, lots of hay, fairy lights and lanterns? The majority of the decorations and bits and bobs were thrifted too and sourced from charity shops and Facebook marketplace! The 2 sets of ladders that we used as the backdrop for behind the top table also had a kind of hidden meaning to us, one set of ladders was made by Jimmy’s grandad which had photos of his family placed on it and the other set belong to my Dad and they had the photos of my family on it. Then the hoop in the middle had photos of both our family’s on it, so it was sort of representing 2 sides of a family coming together.

The Alpacas were from Simply Alpacas. I know it sounds ridiculous but I just love them and as soon as me and Jimmy got engaged I asked him if we could have Alpacas there and he said yes so they were the first thing we booked after we decided on Bilston Brook Wedding Barn. They absolutely made our day as we’re both animal lovers and the guests thought they were brilliant. Simply Alpacas themselves were also really lovely and they let me have photos with them in the field.

Catering: Our day time meal was by Carell del Caffè who provide afternoon teas. We knew we didn’t want a super frilly and for lack of a better word “posh” sit down meal and as we were having a cheese cart later on we didn’t think everyone would need a large cooked meal. Also, with the Bilston Brook Wedding Barn being self-catering there weren’t kitchen facilities on site so any food would have to be either prepped before hand or cooked using portable facilities brought in by caterers. That is also one of the reasons why we chose to hire a chip van for the evening food which was lovely and we had so many people telling us what a good idea it was. It was also considerably cheaper than other catering options and people could go up whenever they wanted to (within the 2 hour time slot). It was also really informal and chilled out, like us!
I think when we were doing the planning one of the most important things for us was to not spend a fortune! We didn’t want to go overboard and spend a lot on just one day so we tried to find a lot of ways to cut the cost such as thrifting a lot of the decor and going for cheaper catering and outfits. Also, we bought a house and renovated it in the same year we got married so we knew we wanted to still have enough money to spend on the house. Another thing we thought was really important was the atmosphere and the general feel of the day. Me and Jimmy are both quite laid back and informal and I think if we’d gone for something really fancy it just wouldn’t have been “us” and we wouldn’t have felt all that comfortable. We really wanted a wedding style that reflected our personalities and our quirks.

My only advice to anyone planning their wedding is to just go for what feels right for you as a couple! Don’t be too concerned with what other people think or with pleasing other people because at the end of the day it’s your wedding! Enjoy the experience as much as you can and try not to worry too much about the little details because on the day they won’t matter because you just get so swept up in it all.

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