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A beautiful village hall wedding in West Sussex

One of my top money saving tips is always to consider a village hall for your wedding reception venue. They’re so much cheaper than hiring a stately home and are very often a blank canvas – perfect for crafty couples to transform into their dream wedding venues. Sarah and Peter successfully transformed East Dean village hall into a gorgeous backdrop for their wedding reception.

Village Hall wedding Ali Gaudion Photography (1)

With huge thanks to wedding photographer Alison Gaudion, and congratulations and big hugs to the gorgeous bride and groom. Thank you so much for sharing your wedding story with us all today! Everyone – enjoy! Claire xxx
Village Hall wedding Ali Gaudion Photography (2)

A beautiful village hall wedding in West Sussex – Sarah and Peter

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Wedding venue:

Ceremony at Petersfield registry office, followed by the reception at East Dean village hall

Wedding photographer:

Alison Gaudion

Your wedding style and theme:

Vintage/Traditional English

How long did you spend planning your wedding?

9 months

Best bit of budget advice?

Don’t rule out village halls for wedding receptions. In comparison to traditional wedding venues, they are much cheaper. We looked at around 10 village halls in West Sussex before deciding on this one, but several would have made ideal reception venues. Not only are they a lot cheaper, they provide a completely blank canvas with regards to style and decoration.

Invitations and stationery:

We asked my brother to sketch a traditional English countryside scene for our invitations, which we printed on blank cards along with our chosen text.

Did you fall in love with your wedding dress?

Yes and no. It wasn’t a love at first sight moment when I first tried it on, but having worn it on my wedding day I now love it!

Glitz and sparkle: the bride’s accessories:

For my 21st, my parents gave me pearl earrings and a matching string of pearls. I thought a string of pearls might have been a bit much for my dress so we took one of the spare pearls and made it into a pendant necklace. I then wore the pendant with the original earrings. My shoes were from the Rainbow Club who I couldn’t recommend more – very comfy!

The groom wore:

A 3 piece suit hired from Debenhams. He had tails, an ivory waist coat and a lilac cravat.

Beautiful bridesmaids: what did your best girls wear?

I bought the bridesmaid dresses from a small shop on a Thai island when I was on holiday. I loved the dresses and they were wrap around so I chanced it that they would fit.

Hair and make-up – did you DIY or hire a professional?

Liz from Finesse Hairdressers did my hair and Michelle from Tranquillity Beauty Salon did my make-up. Both were local ladies in Bracklesham Bay who a friend had recommended. I loved having them there to help me get ready. They also styled my Mum and one of the bridesmaids.

Wedding flowers:

We got our flowers from Nursery Fresh, a wholesale florist in Waterlooville, who a friend had recommended. We decided on a whole array of wild and natural flowers in a multitude of colours that looked fantastic on the tables and around the hall in jam jars. We did the flower arranging ourselves with no prior experience. A bit of a risk perhaps, but it all came together in the end! The bouquets, buttonholes and corsages all looked amazing, and there were no wilting flowers over the course of the day!

The ceremony:

We had a civil ceremony at Petersfield Registry Office along with 50 of our friends and family.

Wedding readings?

We had two readings in the ceremony: one read by my brother (a funny/philosophical passage) and the other by Peter’s sister (the poem On Your Wedding Day).

General styling – did your venue need much decoration?

Yes! I don’t know if this was a good or a bad thing but, due to the village hall being such a blank canvas, it meant Mum and I spent a lot of time planning how to decorate it. I was determined to keep it traditional but classy at the same time.

My MIL hand-made the most beautiful pastel coloured bunting for inside, and in the hall’s garden. We wrapped ivory ribbon around the lovely beams in the hall. My Mum made 3 huge photo boards of me, Peter and our friends and family over the years. She also hand-made the favours, which doubled up as place settings.

The Design and Technology teacher from my Mum’s school made our table name stands. We had colourful flowers all over the venue in jam jars. We spent a lot of time debating about chair covers, but finally decided on ivory covers and lilac organza sashes from The Wedding Project in Hampshire, which looked great and pulled the whole look together.

The wedding cake: traditional or quirky?

We both love cheese so we had a six-tier cheese tower that then doubled up as the evening buffet. It looked amazing, far better than I ever expected. We sourced the cheeses ourselves from a range of supermarkets, and our florist made a centrepiece for the top. The cheese tower proved extremely popular with our guests and was demolished later in the evening along with plenty of port! We didn’t want cake lovers to go without, so we asked a few friends to bake some of their signature cakes. My MIL made some fantastic fruitcake daisies that were delicious.

Entertainment:

We hired Andy Collins Wedding DJ for the evening. We also used his speakers to play our own playlists inside and outside for the Pimm’s reception and wedding breakfast. I couldn’t recommend Andy enough; he was very professional and played a good mix of music in the evening. Being a relatively small wedding, I was nervous that there wouldn’t be enough dancing, but the dance floor was packed most of the time (apart from when the cheese buffet came out!).

On the day tips and advice:

We delegated absolutely everything on the day so that we didn’t have to worry about anything. I was originally nervous I’d struggle to relax as I thought I might be worrying about all the little details. However, after making sure our groomsmen and bridesmaids knew everything we wanted them to do, we managed to relax for the whole day.

Also, try not to worry too much about the weather. I was nervous in advance as we had a terrible weather forecast for the day. I honestly barely noticed the torrential rain we had from about 3pm onwards!

Quick supplier list for other brides and grooms:

Claire Gould

Claire spends her days writing - either in beautiful calligraphy or online. She lives on the edge of the English Lake District only minutes away from the beach, where she loves to escape and unwind. Claire's calligraphy can be found at www.byMoonandTide.com. Claire launched the English Wedding Blog in November 2009 - it's been a top 10 UK wedding blog ever since, with a regional focus we hope you LOVE.

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