Real Weddings

Lillian West for a Colourful DIY Wedding at Everingham Park – Emily & Jonnie

Sarah Symonds

Today’s real wedding shows what you can do with a bit of creativity, two years of collecting vases and trinkets from charity shops, mum’s super colourful homegrown flowers and a passion for the DIY. Plus, don’t miss the petal bar! We’re bringing you inspo by the bucketload from the wedding of Emily and Jonnie!

When the theme of the day is colour and the florals play a major part, you know it’s going to be a jolly one, and a photographer that feels like part of the party is a huge bonus. Doing so much of the wedding yourselves, and even roping in friends and family, really means Emily and Jonnie’s personalities shine through. 

Emily’s bridal outfit change to allow for maximum movement on the dancefloor is a choice we’re fully onboard with. The transition from ethereal, delicate daytime bride to broderie anglais evening party bride is an excellent development!

A couples swingball match instead of a first dance is very much a new one for us, and we completely love the idea! If you’re not comfortable doing the slow sway in front of everyone, why not opt for something totally different – after all, it’s your day (And, don’t worry, lots of dancing did ensue after the swingball interlude)!

With photography by Alex Bates Photography


We got engaged at Derwentwater in the Lake District, which is a place that is very special to my family, as my grandparents ashes are scattered there and we’ve had family holidays there for many years.

Around six years ago Jonnie gave me a book of letters that all had different instructions on, such as ‘open me when you’re sad’, ‘open me when we have something to celebrate’ etc. The final letter said ‘open me when I tell you to’ and Jonnie gave me this letter as he got down on one knee at Derwentwater. When I opened it, it said, ‘Will you marry me?’ and obviously I said yes!


We got married on the 2nd September, as the UK seems to be heading more towards warmer September/October months so we thought this would be more reliable for warmer weather. We also thought a September wedding may give us more choice for our chosen suppliers.

We got married at Everingham Park, Everingham. We got married in a private chapel and then had our reception in a converted barn. We were the first couple to get legally married at this venue and we liked the unique element of not having attended a wedding here before. We also wanted a venue that was close-ish to our house, to allow us to travel back and forth to our house when setting up the wedding. We definitely wanted a DIY style wedding as we didn’t want the constraints that some venues ensure. We’d definitely recommend Everingham if you’re looking for a DIY wedding venue with everything on site.


We didn’t have a theme as such, I just knew I wanted a relatively formal ceremony and then a big party! We also knew we wanted a lot of colour, so the only brief I told our florist was ‘colour’! We just wanted fun and simple décor that was easy for us to source and re-use, and flowers that were in season and didn’t require air mileage. 


I chose a dress from Osh Gosh Gowns in Scunthorpe. The dress was sleeveless and from Lillian West. I loved that it was something different from what I thought I would go for and also loved the detail of the flowers. I planned to stay in the dress all day but had an emergency change to ensure maximum movement on the dance floor!


Jonnie’s suit was from Marc Darcy and was a blue tweed style. He wore a Liberty tie and pocket square.


The bridesmaids dresses were all navy but different styles and were from Oasis

The groomsmen chose their own outfits and also wore the Liberty ties and pocket squares, and our dog also had a matching bow tie!


The Style Lounge did all our lovely hair and makeup. 


A family friend transported me and the bridesmaids in her converted camper.


Our photographer was Alex Bates. I’d come across his images on Instagram and loved the vibe and style of his images. I approached him early on in our wedding planning to ensure availability. 

We were very aware that we didn’t want a long list of images to shoot and wanted a relaxed feel from our photographer and resulting images. Alex was so friendly and approachable from the minute we first contacted him, during our engagement shoot and at the wedding. During the wedding he felt more like a friend than our photographer and gelled so well with our guests, one of our best friends has even booked him for their wedding. We love our wedding photos and really feel they captured the day.


Our videographer was Jonny from AA Videography. He was recommended by our florist, and again we would definitely recommend him. He slotted into the day so well and had a fab relationship with our photographer, despite them never meeting prior. He produced a fab video that, as we like to say, captured the class and chaos of the day!


Stationery was all by Ellen Wilson and my florist was Vix from Wonderland Blooms. Vix brings an amazing energy to any wedding she works on. She is a local florist, which was very important to me, and she provided flowers for my bouquet and my bridesmaids bouquets. The arrangements she created were so vibrant, fresh and beautiful and she also preserved them after our wedding.

My mum had also grown a lot of seasonal flowers for the wedding and Vix ensured that these were incorporated into my own flowers and those at the venue. Before and after the wedding we shared tea and cake and she really invests time into making the whole wedding planning enjoyable. 

We sourced all the decorations ourselves. In the two years we were engaged, I collected vases, bud vases and candle holders from charity shops. We used a lot of home grown flowers and our own candles to decorate the chapel and barn. We used ribbon and photos of us and our family and friends to decorate, added bunting and hung coloured paper lanterns. Our amazing family and friends all chipped in with decorating.

One of my friends also gave me a copy of UNVEILED magazine which gave me some lovely initial ideas about bright, vibrant colours and flowers.


We gave out sloe gin shots, as a nod to my grandparents who always used to make their own sloe gin. These were then used as a toast in the final speech to ensure everyone drank them and they didn’t get left behind!


We went for one layer chocolate, one layer lemon and one layer raspberry. The cake was delicious and made by Nat at My Little Cakery. We had our wedding cake and berries for our pudding to ensure it was eaten and none went to waste. Nat pressed our flowers on the outside of the cake, to keep the floral colour scheme. 


Our caterer was Babaganoush and their food was delicious! We had Wensleydale croquette for starter, mushroom wellington/beef roast for main and our wedding cake for pudding. 

We also had welcome cocktails; a Hugo Spritz and a berry cocktail, there was plenty of wine on the table, prosecco for toasting and an espresso martini hour before dancing to keep everyone awake and excited! Bar staff were hired from Louisianna’s.


We had a band called The Bowermen, who read the room amazingly and kept everyone on the dancefloor all night! Having a band was something we didn’t want to compromise on, as having live music really makes a difference and keeps the dancefloor busy! A bride stage dive was even included!

We also had a family friend singing Songbird for the coming down the aisle part and an organist for the hymns.

Special touches

We had plenty of special touches! From the homegrown flowers by my mum, a memory table for relatives that weren’t able to join us, hand drawn portraits of our family pets for table names, and the handmade sloe gin favours in memory of my grandparents to our female speeches, which should be compulsory for all! We also had a swingball match rather than a first dance!

Thanks to

Extra thanks go to the amazing Vix, our florist, and Alex, our photographer.


We went to The Lakes for our honeymoon and stayed at the lovely Low Wood Bay in Windermere. We took our dog with us and had a fantastic time walking, completing water sports, going to the spa and having afternoon tea. The weather was amazing and really gave us time to relax and reflect on the wedding. 

Best Bit

My favourite part of the day was the excitement and adrenaline of walking down the aisle and seeing Jonnie at the end, I wish this was a feeling I could recreate.

Jonnie’s favourite part of the day was us going off with our photographer and videographer after we first got married, as this was the first thing we did as a married couple. He said he loved having that time together to reflect on the ceremony. 


My top tip would be to enjoy the run up to the wedding, as it’s a feeling you will never relive! Soak up every moment, take time off work, book treatments, book lunch out, enjoy your hen and stag dos and really enjoy that run up that is full of excitement and nerves!

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