Real Weddings

Cornish Village Hall DIY Wedding


Bret & Sian had a DIY village hall wedding in Cornwall that brought together all the things they loved and didn't cost a fortune. By focussing on the things that mattered to them and forgoing things like a traditional venue and sit down meal they managed to create a wedding day that suited them and came in within budget.

How did you guys meet?

We met in our local town on a night out with friends. I actually thought Bret was someone else and called him by someone else’s name the whole night so I was surprised he even wanted to speak to me again! We got engaged on a horse and carriage ride in Central Park, New York. We were there for Bret’s 30th Birthday and I never anticipated an engagement – it was a massive surprise! We had our friend from New York there with us who managed to capture it all on camera.

Where did you get married and why did you choose your venue?

We had a traditional church ceremony followed by a reception in a village Hall in Kingsand, Cornwall.

We got engaged in 2012 and then found out a few days later that we were expecting our first child! We visited a few venues that we loved when we first got engaged but then having a baby took over our lives and the wedding got put off. Then we had a second child so it got put off a bit longer (6 years)  and then we finally decided we just needed to get it booked.

Who was your photographer and how did you choose them?

Melanie Cornish – Memories & Milestones Photography

From the moment we met Melanie we knew she would be perfect for our wedding and she definitely did not disappoint. She had such a relaxed feel about her previous photos and loved taking “natural” photos what is just what we wanted.

Who walked you down the aisle?

My Dad sadly passed away when I was 7 so my mum bought myself and my two brothers up on her own so she definitely deserved the right to walk me down the aisle. Bret got me a locket with a photo of my Dad in to wear and I also had a picture of me and my Dad on a charm with another charm saying ‘Walk with me today Dad’ for my bouquet that my bridesmaids got as a gift. Both gifts meant so much to me on the day.

What Music played as you walked down the aisle?

Gordon Carter played the saxophone live for us walking down the aisle. Gordon means a lot to my family as he was good friends with my Dad before he passed away. Gordon and my Dad both played saxophone together in the Royal Marine Band. Having both the saxophone being played and Gordon playing for us was so meaningful. I had to really hold back the tears!

The song he played was “Cant Help Falling in Love” with a piano backing track which me and Bret heard from a YouTube video and couldn’t imagine a more perfect piece of music!

What did you DIY?

We handmade the table plan ourselves. We used a pallet of wood and then used foam/card/hessian and pegs to show where everyone was going to be sat. We had long tables instead of round so we could fit more people into the village hall as there wasn’t much space!

DIY table plan wooden crate

Your cake looked delicious! Tell us more…

Our friend Sam Bigmore made our Brownie Wedding Cake.

brownie wedding cake

How did you pick your stunning flowers?

Our florist was Bea’s Flowers. We had gypsophila and roses in my bouquet, and in the bridesmaids’ just gypsophila. They decorated the venue with cute little jars filled with gypsophila with lace hessian wrapped around them. They looked amazing and were just what we wanted!

Tell me about your hair and makeup

Friends did all hair and make up on the day – Donna Clark, Victoria Yeardley & Avril Zinn.

Who did your catering?

As it was a village hall wedding, we had to get caterers in (Any Occasions Catering). We had an afternoon tea when we arrived at the venue and then in the evening, we had Thai curries, and a chilli. Can’t thank our caterers enough, the food was amazing! And there was so much left over!

How did you get everyone up on the dancefloor?

During the day we had Esther Cole who sang and played guitar in the garden of the hall, and then in the evening we had Starlite Disco provide DJ for the evening.

How did you choose to decorate your venue?

We did all the décor ourselves and choose to do a rustic theme with hessian runners and bunting.

  • We tried to keep it as simple as possible as we had to decorate the hall the day before. I still look back on the before and after photos and am amazed at the transformation. Can’t thank our friends and family for all their help!
  • We purchased all the hessian runners from ebay.
  • The village hall had tables that we could use but we had to hire in the chairs.
  • We had a hessian photo wall which we made ourselves (admittedly to cover up a wall we didn’t really like in the hall!) but it worked so well and had a photo of everyone that was coming to the wedding on the board.
  • We hired LOVE letters from Giant Love Letters Cornwall
  • We made some signs for decor from wooden pallets, stencils, chalks and then hair-sprayed them to protect them. So cheap and easy to do, and saved so much money
  • Put blankets outside and lawn games for people to help themselves too.

Was your wedding done on a tight budget?

We did try and keep as low as possible on the budget and we had a lot of help from friends and family to keep costs down. Altogether  the whole wedding with literally  everything included, even down to gifts for people etc. would have been about £8,000-£9,000 – we tried keeping note of everything to see at the end what we had spent but that soon went out the window!

Any tips for saving money?

We managed to save quite a bit by using our talented friends to help us quite a bit to save money.

Having afternoon tea rather than a 3 course meal.

Using local singer instead of a well known band, and local DJ. The decor of the village hall we did all ourselves and we set  the village hall up the day before ourselves.

Would you do anything differently?

Had the suits altered way before the wedding! Three days before the wedding we got the shirts back and they didn’t fit any of the men, including Bret. The length of the arms was so short and they could hardly move in them! We ordered about 100 shirts to be delivered the next day but none of them fit on the arm length (they’re all quite short men!!!)

In the end we managed to get one altered for Bret and all the other groomsmen went for the “rolled up sleeve” look. It was lucky we wanted a “relaxed look” and they were just wearing shirts, braces and bow ties! I always thought when planning the wedding that I would maybe look back and regret a village hall wedding as we were trying to save money but not having a “ proper” wedding venue but looking back now, it was amazing and we definitely wouldn’t of wanted it any other way!

REAL moments

  • The transformation before and after the hall was decorated. From looking like a school hall into a wedding venue!
  • Hearing the first note on the saxophone start playing for us  to walk down the aisle of the song I’d listen to over and over, I’ll never forget it.
  • The “first kiss” as husband and wife. Bret tried to give me a kiss when I got down the aisle but I pulled away as thought it may be “frowned upon” and glad I did as made the first kiss even more special
  • I remember everyone on the dance floor all in a circle at the end of the night with me and Bret in the middle and remember really taking in the moment and realising how lucky we are to have the most amazing family and friends which made our day absolutely perfect.  


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REAL Suppliers

Photographer: Memories & Milestones | Bride’s dress: Colin’s Bridal| Veil: Cotswold veil company | Shoes: | Hair accessories: Elizabeth Rose Design| Bridesmaids: Little Mistress | Flower girls: John Rocha – Debenhams| Florist: Bea’s Flowers| Grooms suit: Next | DJ: Starlight Disco | Catering: Any Occasions Catering | Brownie cake: Big’s Brownies & Cakes


Gaia Hudson

Written by gaia_bkir

Founder of Brides Keeping it Real and mum of two little ones, Leon & Ada. Passionate about providing a supportive online community for brides and grooms who want an achievable, uncomplicated wedding planning experience.