Real Weddings

Outdoor boho wedding – Amy & Craig

Looking for wedding reception ideas? You've come to the right place! Amy, a Vet and Craig, a Bar Manager got married in a rustic, outdoor boho wedding last summer. Their venue was a complete black canvas so they set about planning every detail themselves. The results were a unique, stunning special day which I can't wait to share with you! So much inspiration from this couple who kept it so real they were decorating the venue together at 10pm the night before their wedding...

This rustic boho wedding took place in a field in Northumberland next to a ruined chapel. The bride and groom completely transformed their venue and got stuck into planning a beautiful wedding and epic party with plenty of good food and banging tunes.

Tell me about the engagement…

We got engaged on a ski slope in Lapland in January 2018. It was a total surprise! Craig had somehow managed to smuggle the ring through the airport and he’d had the ring designed and made for me. The rest of the holiday was a celebration of skiing, husky rides and skidoo riding. We were married eight months later.

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

We chose to get married at Low Friarside Farm in Burnopfield, a little village in County Durham. It’s a new and totally unique venue, in fact we were only the second couple to be married there. The venue is a farm that has its own 14th Century ruined chapel.

Because the venue isn’t a licensed wedding venue it meant that we could have an outdoor humanist ceremony, which was super personal. We chose the venue because we knew we wanted to have a DIY wedding. Having been to many weddings of friends and family around the North East we wanted to have a totally new venue. It also helps that it was only one mile from our home!

Hiring the field space meant that everything else was up to us and we had loads of wedding reception ideas…

Who was your photographer and how did you choose them?

Andy Hudson. Andy was a dream to work with. He photographed my best friend’s wedding, however we’d actually met a few years earlier when I used to be his vet for his old dog Lady. Neither myself nor Craig particularly like having our photo taken so it was important to us that the photos were natural and not staged in any way with only a tiny handful of formal photos. Andy fit in with the guests, he mingled, got the most perfect relaxed shots and all of the guests commented on how lovely the photos were. The one photo that I’d hoped for on the day was an epic confetti shot which he totally nailed and his night time photo with the lanterns in the background is particularly special.

Tell me about your hair and makeup

My hair was by Emma Scope at Sabai, a salon in Newcastle. Emma has done my hair now for a number of years and does the most amazing ‘hair up’ styles. Before even confirming the wedding date I made sure that she was available to do my hair on the day! My make up was done by Aimee McKenry at Lisa Jones Hair and Make up.

What did you DIY?

We did EVERYTHING ourselves! Every aspect of the venue was booked separately and therefore totally bespoke to our tastes. From the unique tent to the catering, toilets, dance floor, festoon lighting, decorating…… the list goes on! We are both super busy people and as well as doing the most long and unsociable hours at our respective jobs but we threw ourselves whole-heartedly into planning our wedding.

The aim was to have no real formality, totally relaxed and a huge party! All of the decorating was done by us the day before – we were still setting tables and folding napkins at 10pm the night before. It certainly wasn’t how I’d planned to spend the night before my wedding. All of the stress and hard work was totally worth it though. It was great seeing our ceremony and wedding reception ideas come together.

Who created your wedding stationary?

Our table plan, posters, invitations etc were again anything but traditional and were designed and created by the Product Agency, who do all of the artwork for Craig’s bar. They did a fantastic job our bringing our random thoughts and ideas into an amazing landscape.

They consisted of a cartoon version of the chapel, tent, ski slopes (where we were engaged) and 2 cartoon dogs. When booking the venue we had planned on including our two family dogs in the day somehow however I lost Milo a month after booking the venue. We decided that we still wanted him to be a part of our day and both he and Lily were included on all of our artwork. Sadly I had to put Lily to sleep too only 2 weeks before the wedding however it was very special to us that they were still a part of our day in someway in all of the artwork on the day.

REAL inspiration:

  • Our arched wedding tent from Curious Tent Hire was pretty spectacular.
  • We did all of the venue styling ourselves (mainly paper lanterns, bunting, fire pits, signs) and although I’m the least creative person ever I made all of the painted pallet signs myself!
  • We had lawn games aplenty
  • We abandoned the table plan and although allocated people to tables they could choose their own seats
  • Everyone sat on hay bales during the ceremony which looked amazing.
  • Craig running a city centre bar meant we could put his contacts to great use including the DJ’s (which everyone loved), street food and all of the tables, chairs and fantastic bar with an amazing cocktail selection.
  • Our wedding generally raised a few eyebrows when we explained that we were holding it in a field in the middle of September and were planning an outdoor humanist ceremony with hay bale seating however all of our guests agreed that we pulled it off!
  • Even more eyebrows were raised when I said that I’d still be wearing a full length dress (although I did have the train cut off as short as possible) and heels!

Your cake looked delicious! Tell us more…

Our cake was created by Pat Egan at Ivory Cake Company. It was a semi-naked cake decorated with fresh flowers (the flavours were salted caramel, lemon drizzle and cherry bakewell). It tasted AMAZING!

How did you pick your stunning flowers?

Emily Matthews, a friend of my sister-in-law did the flowers. We wanted a wild, ‘just picked out of the garden’ look. Craig loves thistles and is half Scottish so it was also important to include these. Lots of jars, pots, ladders and gypsophila (babies breath).

My bouquet was a wild soft mix of pinks, blues and whites. The flowers included roses, berries, lisianthus, thistle and foliage. In keeping with our rustic theme it was tied with a natural raffia bow.

I love flowers and was very keen to have lots of flowers all around the venue and ceremony. Emily did the most stunning job and the flowers that she prepared and individually wired for both mine and the bridesmaids hairs were just amazing.

The hay bales were scattered with gypsophils and the chapel decorated with beautiful scented eucalyptus and jars of similar flowers to the bouquets. We had so many compliments on the flowers.

Let’s talk catering. Who did you bring in?

The main meal was catered by Newcastle restaurant The Earl of Pitt Street and was an option of 3 main courses which included pulled BBQ chicken, Beef Rendang curry or Moroccan vegetable stew.

Dessert was a dessert bar selection of brownies, rocky roads and crumbles prepared by Build a Bake which tasted amazing. They also kindly loaned us the selection of wooden logs which the treats were served on. We also had a stunning macaron tower from Le Mini Macaron and a selection of doughnuts from Krispy Kreme. A dessert table is a wedding reception idea which I fully recommend!

The dessert bar was kindly set up and beautifully arranged by Pat from The Ivory Cake company. Evening food went down an absolute storm and was a selection of flat breads served from an outside tent by Wood & Kindle.

How did you arrive at the venue?

As a surprise to Landrover Defender fanatic Craig I arrived in a vintage Landrover Defender. His face in the photos is an absolute picture.
Craig’s uncle was in on the surprise too and he kindly drove the bridesmaids in his beautiful Range Rover Sport. Craig just thought that I was arriving in that too!

Tell me about your walk down the aisle…

My dad walked me down the aisle to an instrumental version of ‘Whatever’ by Oasis. He was a bit of an emotional wreck on the day and the photo that Andy managed to capture of seeing me in my dress for the first time is one to treasure.

Did you write your own vows?

Our vows were written by us but very much helped by our celebrant Helen Carnell. It was very important to us to have a humanist ceremony anyway so when we found our perfect venue it was fitting that a humanist ceremony would be for us.

Did you have any readings?

Del Fiddes, who has known both of us for the longest having been a school friend of mine since the age of 11 swell as Craig’s brother! He introduced us and it was only right that he play a special role in our wedding day.

Also Emma Lindop my best friend from university read Dr Seuss ‘We are all a little weird.’

Low Friarside Farm Burnopfield County Durham humanist ceremony

How did you choose to decorate your venue?

The venue decor theme was pretty rustic and included lots of paper lanterns, bunting, lights, candles etc. It was fun coming up with wedding reception ideas that would suit our unusual venue!

The tent was set up two days prior to the wedding and was beautiful and suited our venue beautifully. As mentioned above we did all of the decorating ourselves. We used our own garden furniture to set up an outside social area around fire pits, and used up-lighters to light up the inside of the chapel on the evening. Festoon lighting provided a lit walkway for the evening but also looked beautiful too.

Rather than a traditional photo booth we decided to have a GIF booth from Studio Social North instead. Interactive and something for the guests to share on their own social media accounts. Everyone loved it!

What was your first dance song?

Mario Biondi ‘This is what you are’ mixed with ‘Lady’ by Mojo. Kriss did an amazing mix of the two and got everybody on the dance floor by the end.

The Mario Biondi song is a regular at Hoochie Coochie in Newcastle and we often listen to him at home too.

First dance paper lanterns Andy Hudson Photography

How did you get everyone up on the dancefloor?

Darren Laws was our early DJ and he played chilled out music, background music, cool vibes. Our night time DJ was Kriss LKP.

Our night time party was pretty special and managed to generate some pretty spectacular feedback on the local residents facebook page (oops!). Kriss is a friend of Craig’s who DJ’s at many of the bars in Newcastle city centre and coincidentally used to DJ at my favourite bar a few years ago. The style ranged from everything from 80’s to indie/rock to 00’s R’n’B hip hop with a bit of a scooter rave thrown in for good measure. So many guests have asked for a copy of the playlist!

Any tips for saving money?

I suspect that our DIY wedding cost a little less than doing everything in one venue however it still ended up blowing out budget and ultimately probably cost double what we’d anticipated. We would do it all again though for what was our perfect day with all of our family and friends.

Wedding reception ideas… from booking the wedding venue in March up until our wedding day we tried to spread the cost by booking different things each month and also we started buying decorations from places like Amazon and TK Maxx each month.

Would you do anything differently?

Ideally we’d have probably booked the tent from the Wednesday for a Saturday wedding as it definitely got a bit stressful the night before trying to get set up. Craig’s best men up a pole tying fairy lights around the centre poles at about 11pm the night before definitely wasn’t great preparation and I think it was well after midnight when I got to bed.

REAL Moments

  • An outdoor, unique personal ceremony with the most stunning backdrop. Thank goodness we had great weather too!
  • Unbelievable party with the most awesome of DJ’s. Everybody was up dancing and having the best time.
  • All of our wonderful family and friends all in the same place at the same time having a wonderful time. I would love to do it all again as it went by just too quickly.


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Rosa Clara beaded wedding dress paper lanterns wedding night Low Friarside Farm County Durham Andy Hudson Photography

REAL Suppliers

Bride’s dress: Rosa Clara Bridal boutique: Y.A.P | Shoes: Jenny Packham for L.K. Bennett|Earrings: Beaverbrooks | Watch: Gucci |Rings: Bespoke by Old Eldon Jewellers|Bridesmaids dresses: Ted Baker | Bridesmaids shoes: Ted Baker | Bridesmaids earrings: Beaverbrooks | Photographer: Andy Hudson Photography | Hair: Sabai Haidressing| Make up: Aimee McKenry | Grooms suit: Walker Slater | Cake: Ivory Cake Company| Catering (Main Meal): The Earl of Pitt Street Dessert bar: Buildabake Macaron tower: Le Mini Macaron Evening food: Wood & Kindle| Celebrant: Helen Carnell| Entertainment: (String quartet) Aurora Strings DJs: Darren Laws & Kris LKP|GIF Booth: Studio Social North Table plan, posters, invites: Product Agency Tent: Curious Tent Hire Lanterns: Paper Lantern Company | Bunting and vintage tea sets: Vintage Tea Party | Festoon lights: Northstar AV | Bar, tables, chairs, tableware: Boutique bars | Dancefloor: Collingwood Marquees | Luxury Toilets: Rent a Toilet


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.