Real Weddings

Sustainable Barn Wedding in Lancashire – Kayleigh & Ashleigh

These real brides created a wedding day that was sustainable and beautiful, with lots of recycled and repurposed elements. Their Lancashire wedding took place at a barn that came with some wedding crashers - donkeys and llamas! They kept things fun and relaxed with plenty of love thrown in. Read on to find out how they did it...

Photography throughout by Nik Bryant Photography

How did you guys meet?

We met via a dating website five years before we got married whilst Ashleigh was still at university. On the first date Ashleigh joked about not liking yellow as we walked to Kayleigh’s yellow car. Luckily she still got a second date (and still gets lots of rides in the yellow car!)

The proposal

Around two and a half years after the first date Ashleigh prepared love letters leading down the stairs to bacon sarnies and a handcrafted wooden sign proposal. To this day, Kayleigh only remembers the bacon butties.

Bridal makeup - real wedding

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

The Wellbeing Farm. We chose it because it brought aspects of Ashleigh’s country upbringing to the city lifestyle that we now live. Also we wanted a relaxed, chilled and quirky venue to reflect our personalities.

The venue had bow tie wearing llamas, donkeys and alpacas which were brought out after the ceremony whilst guests enjoyed cocktails and llama biscuits by Pink Cocoa.

Tipi and beetle car and campervan at Wellbeing Farm
 Colourful wedding ceremony in Wellbeing Farm

Who was your photographer and how did you choose them?

Nik Bryant Photography. Nik fitted in with our ideas for the weddings from the get go. When we saw how he captured real life moments not just posed photos we were in love. From the engagement shoot to the wedding he fitted in with us and our family, taking photos without us realising and capturing the parts of the day we missed due to socialising with guests.

A photobooth inside an old style vintage caravan was brought in the evening for guests to enjoy as the sun went down. This provided images for the guest book.

What song played as you walked down the aisle?

The bridesmaids and younger ushers walked down to Sara Barielles “Choose you” which linked to our proposal and engagement.

We both walked down the aisle to a female cover of Ed Sheeran’s Perfect. The words really resonate with both of us and what we want from our marriage.

How did you choose to decorate your venue?

We dressed the venues ourselves with the help of a few relatives. We went for blue/purple tones with a rustic feel. Our chairs had pink, purple and blue taffeta as ribbons tied to the back of them.

We used wallpaper as table runners, clear decorated jars on tables that we recycled over 2 years of planning the wedding. The jars were filled with sand, multi-coloured balls and handmade flowers. 

Our table names were all places from our favourite films, including the top table as Hogwarts, Grandparents table as Neverland, Wonderland, Taboo, Agrabah, Atlantica etc.

Our wedding favours included sweets, a key with a meaningful quote and a shot of a potion personalised to our theme, eg: Snapes’ love potion.

Did you have any readings?

We had a reading from a Native American wedding ceremony. The way in which the Native Americans view marriage and joining to become one life is how we both see marriage.

What was your budget?

We tried to cover as much of the cost of the wedding ourselves, originally budgeting £13,000. Fortunately, our families gave us some financial support which covered the cost of the photography, Kayleigh’s dress and wedding cars. This meant we were then able to have a honeymoon within our budget.

What did you DIY?

The paper flowers were all handmade by Kayleigh from comic books, Disney books and Harry Potter books. These also featured in Kayleigh’s self made bridal bouquet, which had a Lightsaber handle and framed picture of her late Nanna.

Tell us about the cake

We didn’t want a standard wedding cake, as cake selections were part of our dessert, so we opted for a cake made completely out of fudge made by Little Joy Emporium. This featured a few bits of our more geeky side with a Batman shaped Mrs and Mrs sign and Alice in Wonderland figurines.

How did you pick your flowers?

Ashleigh had her bouquet made from Wild Flowers by Sue Partington.

Sue created a beautiful mixture of purple tones with a wild effect for Ashleigh to fit in with the relaxed country feel.

Tell me about your catering. Was it done in-house or did you bring outside caterers in?

We had a halloumi starter with a hot buffet style main which had curry, hotpot and burgers, all catered for by the venue. This allowed everyone to have as much as they liked and have a good variety for all. The venue catered amazingly for all dietary requirements from vegan, coeliac to a garlic allergy!

How did you get everyone up on the dancefloor?

During the day Kayleigh had made a playlist of songs for the ceremony up to the reception. These included songs ranging from those meaningful to us to Disney songs. We had a work friend DJ Charlie provide music at night who used a few songs we’d given him to ensure people were always on the dance floor. He even initiated a dance off when a few guests were trying to show off their moves!

Any tips for saving money?

We saved a lot of money by making things ourselves and recycling. We wanted to make our wedding as sustainable as we could and reuse things. This included second hand items or things in the sale and jars which we’d recycled and used as table decorations.

REAL moments

  • Bringing together 2 families from either side of the country (Manchester and Somerset). It felt like we had always been one. Siblings and cousins of both brides became best of friends despite never meeting before and they partied into daylight together.
  • Relaxed celebration of love. Everyone has said how they enjoyed the day in different ways showing it catered for all of our guests of all ages. This included our close friends who after 13 years got engaged a month after our wedding when they realised that they could have everything they wanted in a wedding. They have now booked the same venue for 2020.
  • Both fathers, Ashleigh, Niki (Ashleigh’s maid of honour) and Kayleigh’s siblings (Josh and Chloe) gave memorable amusing and heartfelt speeches.
  • The venue had an outdoor tipi which was the epicentre for numerous entertaining shenanigans
vintage caravan photo booth at Wellbeing Farm with brides

Any tips for couples?

We organised a few things to keep guests entertained, which meant that we could experience parts of the day together in our own company and not worry that everyone was having fun. This meant we had our own uniquely shared memories of the day.

There were lots of lawn games being enjoyed as drinks flowed including go kart races and space hoppers resulting in some cracking pictures of guests including mother of the bride Clare.

When the party started going there was a limbo and dance offs. To keep guests energised pizza and popcorn was served and the fire pit was lit for those enjoying views of the night sky.

Would you do anything differently?

Go back and enjoy it all over again, it went so quick and we felt that it went by in a flash!


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With thanks to REAL suppliers:

Nick Bryant Photography

The Wellbeing Farm


Ashleigh’s dress: by Heidi Hudson and altered by All Sewn up (Louise) | Kayleigh’s dress: Berketex with sleeves and alterations by Cupid’s treasure | Ashleigh’s shoes: secondhand Reiss bright purple with gold glitter heels | Kayleigh’s shoes: were white lace brogues. Both then wore colourful converse to end the night when the heels got too much | Hair accessories:  Just gypsophilia (babies breath) | Jewellery: Kayleigh wore a necklace given to her by her mother the night before and borrowed her mum’s mother of pearl earrings | Ashleigh wore pearls from her great Nanna and rose gold earrings bought by Kayleigh, with a bracelet from her mother | Bridesmaids: Bridesmaid’s dresses “bluebell” from Monsoon (but bought second hand), bouquets handmade by Kayleigh to match her bouquet | Flower girls: Flowergirls’ dresses from Primark, with converse shoes and flower garlands made by the florist and Disney bouquets made by Kayleigh | Bridal party: waistcoats from Burton and younger lads worse waistcoats from Next|Bridal party Bow ties by Dickiebow | Florist: Real flowers by Sue Partington | Photographer: Nik Bryant Photography|Videographer: Liam O’Hara (North West Weddings)| Hair & makeup: Ashleigh, maid of Honour and mother of the bride: Make up by AlexKateMakeUpArtistry | Hair by Ashleigh’s cousin | Kayleigh, bridesmaid and mother of the bride: Make up by family friend Clara Armstrong | Hair by Ashley Partington|Cake: Cake made completely from fudge by the Little Joy Emporium|Catering: Llama biscuits by Pink Cocoa|Rest of the catering by the venue (Wellbeing Farm) | Entertainment: DJ Charlie | Transport: Beige VW Beetle and VW Camper called Timon and Pumba by Bay Camper weddings


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.