Paul and Abi’s rustic home made wedding in Derbyshire

Hello everyone! Are you ready for today’s beautiful wedding? Paul and Abi went for a rustic home made wedding style, which was perfect for their venue -the charming and cosy Donington Park Farmhouse Hotel (I’ve always associated Donington with music hehe – it’s nice to learn a little more about such a lovely place!) So we have tons of handmade details with blue gingham ribbon, a photo wall, lots of gypsophila and magical sparkle from fairy lights and tea lights dotted around the venue.

Derbyshire rustic home made wedding by Shaun Taylor Photography (1)

Oh! And let’s not forget the beautiful bride in her stunning lace dress – Abi says she’s a little camera-shy while Paul loves the attention, but I think they both look amazing in the photos – and so in love! Read all about their Derbyshire wedding in Abi’s wedding report at the end of the blog feature today, and enjoy the lovely images from Shaun Taylor Photography. Congratulations to a fabulous couple (and even more congratulations for the bump news!!!) and big thanks to Shaun for submitting such a beautiful wedding to the English Wedding Blog! I hope you enjoy it.

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Derbyshire rustic home made wedding by Shaun Taylor Photography (2)

Abi and Paul – a beautiful, rustic home made wedding in Derbyshire

Derbyshire rustic home made wedding by Shaun Taylor Photography (3)
Derbyshire rustic home made wedding by Shaun Taylor Photography (4)
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Derbyshire rustic home made wedding by Shaun Taylor Photography (9)
Derbyshire rustic home made wedding by Shaun Taylor Photography (10)
Derbyshire rustic home made wedding by Shaun Taylor Photography (11)
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Derbyshire rustic home made wedding by Shaun Taylor Photography (13)
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Derbyshire rustic home made wedding by Shaun Taylor Photography (27)

The bride and groom: Abi and Paul Burrows

Wedding photographer’s website:

Wedding venue:

St Michael and All Angels Church, Diseworth with the reception held at Donington Park Farmhouse Hotel, Isley Walton, nr Castle Donington, Derbyshire

Can you describe your wedding in a single sentence?

It exceeded all our hopes and dreams, full of family and friends, fun and laughter.

What was your reaction to seeing your wedding photos for the first time? Were you pleased with your wedding photographer?

We spent time looking online at various photographers and immediately both loved Shaun’s style. He had also photographed at the venue before which was an added bonus. As soon as we met with Shaun we instantly clicked. He was always professional but really relaxed at the same time. Paul immediately gelled with him and we didn’t think twice -we booked him! We saw one photo before we went on honeymoon and whilst on honeymoon we viewed a few sneak peeks – I cried – I loved them and captured the whole story and feel of the day. So many people still comment on how great he was, both young and old – he seemed to put all the guests at ease. We have been to weddings where we have felt a little ‘bossed’ by the photographer, something we both said we didn’t want to feel at our own. Being so relaxed with Shaun (especially me – Abi, who has always felt quite awkward in front of the camera – Paul on the other hand needs no encouragement!) I have no doubt helped give us the amazing photos we got, and that’s all credit to Shaun.

Your wedding style and theme:

Rustic, homemade, personal and traditional

Any happy tears on the day?

Paul blubbed both saying our vows and during his speech – it was always going to happen! Seeing such raw emotion from him in front of everyone just cemented how much he cares for me and didn’t mind who witnessed it.

How long did you spend planning your wedding?

We got engaged on the 2nd January 2012. We got planning pretty quickly and I think we had probably booked the venue by February 2012. With Paul being an assistant head teacher we wanted to get married at the beginning of a school holiday to enable us to be able to go on honeymoon soon after the wedding. These dates are usually very popular so we thought we needed to get it booked pretty quickly – plus I’m super organised and couldn’t wait to get planning. We got married on 30th march 2013 so planning was probably 14 months in total.

I can honestly say however, that, despite dreaming of getting married, I had no ideas or plans in my head at all. We loved planning it together and Paul was really hands on.

Best bit of budget advice?

Draw inspiration from your surroundings and things that mean something to you as a couple. We love the countryside and I grew up in a rural area so using logs, tree trunks, rustic countryside flowers, clay flowerpots and ribbons etc suited us and fitted our style and likes. It’s also important to take the venue into account – we had our wedding breakfast and reception in a converted barn seated in and amongst old pig sties, a very smart theme just wouldn’t have worked!

Wedding invitations and on the day stationery:

We hand made everything. We made Save the Dates in the style of black and white photo strips on magnetic card, with photos of ourselves holding 4 different signs say ‘SAVE’, ‘THE’, ‘DATE’, ‘30th MARCH 2013’. These went down so well and were so much fun to do-showing our personalities that we decided to make our invites too. I found navy blue gingham ribbon that I loved which then featured throughout the wedding (on the invite, on the order of service and around the jam jars of flowers). I spend one evening playing around with a layout on the computer and folding the invite and Paul arrived home to a prototype invite. Originally the ribbon was just wrapped around the invite but it was my sister who came up with the idea of threading the ribbon through the card which we loved. The order of service followed a similar layout with the gingham ribbon.

My mum kindly made us a fabric pin board with a navy blue and ivory dotty pattern and ribbons that we have bought from our local market. We raided our buttons boxes for the finishing touches to make our basis for a table plan. We then found recycled ivory paper in heart shapes for each table and ripped this paper and stuck it onto luggage labels for the place names-all handwritten and very simple (but hopefully effective!). Our place names were these luggage tags placed in/among small terracotta flowerpots filled with mini eggs (we got married on Easter Saturday). They looked absolutely fantastic and so effective-my lasting memory is spending the evening before filling them all up and trying to balance/slot the luggage labels on top. We ate so many eggs and despite it taking an age it was totally worth it- looked awesome!

Finally the table names were made from pieces of chopped logs from my parents’ home. We were wondering around the house and garden one weekend when visiting looking for inspiration and saw their log store and came up with the idea. My dad was tasked with chopping appropriate sized logs and Paul used a soldering iron to burn in the names… he used spare logs with graffiti art saying ‘abw 4 pb’  and ‘love 4 eva’ as decorative pieces for the rest of the venue – all his own idea, I loved them.

Did you fall in love with your wedding dress?

I’ll be honest and say I didn’t have the ‘wow’ moment with any dress. It’s not that I didn’t love the dress, it was perfect for me but I’m just not that kind of person. I certainly knew what I didn’t want and my bridesmaids made sure they told me when one wasn’t right-that’s why I love them (my sister Claire and my best friend Emma). I know I didn’t want a strapless dress and we were all in agreement that when we saw the ‘one’. I did still have to go back three times until I was sure – I am very indecisive!

Wedding dress designer and bridal boutique:

The Dress was a Maggie Sottero, called Lorie. I did have it adjusted as I wanted it more fishtailed as it as originally a-line. I got it from a boutique called Brides and Gowns in Derby. I used the original belt that came with it but had all the netting and sparkle removed and kept it a simple ivory band.

Glitz and sparkle: the bride’s accessories:

I kept things pretty simple, I’m not great at accessorising normally anyway. I wore my sister’s earrings she bought for her wedding day (some simple drop pearls by Virgin Vie), I borrowed a bracelet from a friend and wore a long cathedral veil for the ceremony which I purchased from Brides and Gowns at the same time as the dress. I also borrowed a ring from my mum which had been my gran’s – I loved it and meant a lot to me – it’s little things like this that make things so special. Oh and a handmade garter made by yours truly on my hen do (we all made garters which all my hens wore on the day as well-with the customary navy blue ribbon and buttons!)

The groom wore:

Paul won the discussion on this one – I had wanted them to wear grey suits with matching waistcoats but he argued that as I got to dress up so should he and he chose silk grey tails with matching grey waistcoat from Slater’s menswear. He was right, they looked great. He wore an ivory tie and the rest of the groomsmen navy blue ties.

Beautiful bridesmaids: what did your best girls wear?

Both bridesmaids were pregnant which made dress buying slightly more challenging but even more exciting for all of us. We found the most beautiful long dresses from Dessy in navy blue made from nu georgette, a slightly stretchy material. The dresses were strapless and had almost a band around the stomach which was really flattering over their bumps. There were some nerves from all of us as we had to order the dresses so far in advance that we were worried they may not fit but they worked great – no need for all the worry. My flower girl was my cousin’s daughter who is Danish and lives in Denmark – always a challenge when it comes to finding a dress for someone overseas! She visited for the weekend and we found a lovely ivory flower girl dress from John Lewis – she said she felt like a princess in it – and she looked like a princess too.

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

I asked my usual hairdresser if she would do my hair on the day – she was fantastic – I have known her for over five years and completely trusted her. She knew my hair and seemed to understand what I wanted – I absolutely loved my hair on the day. My florist made me a few grips with gypsophila attached which my hairdresser used and looked very effective. She also did my bridesmaids’ and flower girl’s hair. A friend and old work colleague has told me that her sister had done her wedding make up having been Virgin Vie trained. My sister used her for her wedding makeup a number of years ago and she did a great job, not only with the makeup but calming everyone’s nerves on the day. I had made a pact with her then that she must do my wedding make up – and we stuck to it!

Wedding flowers:

My flowers were by a lady called Margaret Bacon who is a small independent florist in Derbyshire called Alice Lucas Flowers offering wedding flowers. She was our rock throughout the hole planning, coming up with ideas to save our budget and really took on our theme and style and ran with it. She even made a beautiful ivory and gypsophila archway for the church as a surprise and wedding present on the day – I was blown away on the day when I arrived and it was such a special gift – a real tear jerker before I even walked into the church!

The ceremony:

The ceremony was conducted by Rev Tony Edmonds. He gave the ceremony a personal touch with such warmth and thought. We had a relatively traditional ceremony with three hymns and three readings. We chose a reading each from our parents’ wedding and one of our own choosing. It was our way of honouring our parents in our special day.

Wedding readings?

No Matter how ‘common’ and traditional it is, 1 Corinthians 13; 1-13 is perfect for a wedding. We asked Paul’s dad to read this for us. We fell for a sweet little poem called ‘ever wonder why god made two’ which was read by an old university friend of Paul’s and my bridesmaid wrote a poem for us which she  read on the day – another tear jerker and not a dry eye in the house after that. It was beautiful and she has since given us a framed copy as a wedding present.

General styling – did your venue need much decoration?

Yes and no! It is a collection of three old barns linked together in a ‘u’ shape. It was very rustic, the wedding breakfast room having the old pig sties in which the tables are interspersed between. There were lots of nooks and crannies for people to mill around near the bar areas and sit or stand by the fire and the threshing barn where we had the disco is vaguely decorated in a few fairy lights. I guess we did do quite a bit of decoration, we filled the dancing barn with fairy lights and old jam jars filled with fine gravel and LED tea lights (no open flames allowed in the barns) and tied with ribbon. We ordered some bunting for a number of the rooms, in a navy blue, navy blue gingham and ivory colours (very Cath Kidston style) and the florist decorated and wrapped the bar of the pigsties in ivory ribbon and ivory and gypsophila flowers. We had jam jars filled with gypsophila and tried with ribbon as table decorations and re-used the pew ends from the church for decoration on the walls separating the sties. It honestly looked like a fairy tale when we were announced in for the wedding breakfast.

We were both aware there is always a slight lull for wedding guests during photographs in the middle of the day and wanted to make sure there was plenty to amuse them. Over the year we managed to collect a photo of all the wedding guests on their wedding day which e fixed to navy blue card with the gingham ribbon tied at the bottom and used a clothes peg to display on the railings on the side of the bar. The aim was for guests to guess and try and recognise people – some proved very amusing! We included our grandparents who are all unfortunately no longer with us which also meant something very special to us. On a similar display we attached some photos of ourselves through the years and as a couple to some stand-alone wooden trellising we had bought – the obligatory naked childhood photos and goofy school portraits made an appearance! They appeared to keep everyone amused.

The wedding cake: traditional or quirky?

Definitely traditional. My godmother is amazing at cakes and I asked her if she would kindly make ours. It was a three tiered square fruit cake (although she also did us a madeira sponge kitchen cutting cake as well). We talked through a gorgeous simple style which I had copied off Pinterest and got her the navy ribbon and ivory beading for the edges and she iced our initials on the ivory heart on the top tier. We saved the top tier which is currently in our freezer but we hope to use it for our first child’s christening (we are expecting our first baby on March 2nd 2014!!!)  I sourced a local lady to make us a fantastic cake topper which I had to keep top secret as it replicated both of us – including me in my dress! The only quirky detail we added was the cake stand. I didn’t like traditional silver ones and loved the idea of a slice of tree trunk – another task my parents were set! It came together brilliantly and looked really effective. I now plan to use it as a cheese board when we have guests.


Who needs entertainment when Paul is around – always the Joker! As I mentioned above we displayed photos of ourselves and all the wedding guests on their special days to keep everyone entertained. I asked an old secondary school friend who is a semi-professional singer whether he would sing at the reception venue. He did two sets, one before our wedding breakfast and one after in the bar area. Acoustic with his guitar, it blew everyone away and was made even more special as he was an old friend. He learnt a song that is individual to us and dedicated it to the two of us – a perfect moment which Shaun captured on camera (Feels like home, originally by Randy Newman which featured on Dawson’s Creek). We had a disco in the evening which cheesy music featured heavily! Our first dance was to ‘I won’t give up’ by Jason Mraz.

On the day tips and advice:

Take a few moments out together on your day to sit back and soak up everything you have achieved. The day goes so fast but it helps you to take stock of the day and how much being around all your friends and family means to you both.

What’s the best thing about being married?

Getting to say ‘my husband’ or ‘my wife’. It sounds ridiculous but I still smile when we say it, or hear the other one say it!

Quick supplier list for other brides and grooms:



I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s wedding feature on the blog. Paul and Abi are the loveliest couple, aren’t they?! If you have a sec, please do leave a comment for the bride and groom – you can use the facebook link or the Disqus one below. And if you’re getting married in Derbyshire you can find more Derbyshire weddings on the blog to inspire your big day and help you find amazing suppliers!

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 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.



  • Bellenza
    7 years ago

    “Draw inspiration from your surroundings and things that mean something to you as a couple.” So true! It’s always nice to add some personal touch to a wedding. It makes the event so much more meaningful and genuine. Love this feature ? What a lovely wedding and couple!

    • Claire Gould
      7 years ago

      I couldn’t agree more! Thanks for a lovely comment 🙂
      C xx

      • Abi
        7 years ago

        Thank you for such a lovely comment, we look back on our wedding with such fond memories, I loved every minute. Just looking forward to the next chapter of our lives now, eak!

  • Shaun Taylor
    7 years ago

    Abi and Paul were an absolute great couple to work with. Thanks for sharing Claire

    • Claire Gould
      7 years ago

      I can tell, Shaun! And the images are gorgeous – thank you again for sharing their wedding on the blog 🙂

  • Nathan @ Artemis Stationery
    7 years ago

    Behind the times (me in seeing this blog article) but some stunning images! Congratulations to Abi and Paul

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