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DIY Weddings -  A Personal Guide From A Wedding Professional

DIY Weddings - A Personal Guide From A Wedding Professional

A DIY wedding is the dream of many brides…a cheap way to have the wedding of your dreams with lots of personal touches. But is this the reality? Is it really possible to do a wedding yourself and make it look fabulous and professional? Or the bigger question, is it possible to do a wedding yourself and make it look fabulous and professional without stressing yourself out and making you resent every part of your big day?

The simple answer is ‘yes’ it is possible, but you have to know how. Professional Wedding and Events planner and coordinator Tabby Kerwin who owns Mode for…Events creates fabulous, relaxed and professional events for clients, but in 2016 she ‘DIY’d’ her own wedding for 140 people in the beautiful Derbyshire countryside, including every bit of styling, cooking, entertainment and more!

In a new eBook entitled ‘DIY Weddings – A How to Guide from a Wedding Professional’ she gives her words of wisdom to help you create your perfect DIY wedding.

This free book is featured on the Mode for…Events website and was written by Tabby to accompany a series of DIY Wedding workshops being launched in 2017. Mode For...Events will help brides and grooms DIY their own wedding, giving them the tips, advice and confidence they need to plan and coordinate their own wedding.

The Wedding of Tabby and Simon - Hargate Hall

30 April 2016

In 2016 Tabby married Simon, who co-directs Mode for…Events.

“We were engaged in Italy where we have a houseboat in the beautiful region of Umbria and we knew we wanted the relaxed style of an Italian wedding but back in England,” said Tabby.

“Being in the wedding and events industry I struggled to find a venue that was a complete blank canvas and had no supplier constraints. Having our own catering element of the business and being able to do most things ourselves I knew I just wanted to do it all, so it was a DIY wedding but with a stack of experience!”

“Thanks to a wedding industry colleague we found the fabulous and little known Hargate Hall near Buxton. It was perfect; a country house with accommodation for 77 in 12 apartments, a marquee, exclusivity and absolutely no restrictions! It was perfect and we both fell in love with it the first time we visited (which was just as well as we’re now one of the recommended suppliers and have 13 weddings there in 2017!).”

“Our mission was to create a fabulous, relaxed weekend of fun for friends and family with an Italian feel, a hint of country gentleman and a sprinkle of Military as Simon is also the Bandmaster of the Nottinghamshire Band of the Royal Engineers.”

“Everything had a story or concept; even the wedding dress, as it came from a nun in a convent in Umbria, Italy, courtesy of a friend reading an article in a magazine who contacted me and told me about this fabulous dress making nun! I of course had to go and visit her on my next Italian trip and she produced my perfect wedding dress in 10 minutes in return for a donation to the stunning Monasteria Santa Rita da Cascia. It was an amazing experience, if not slightly surreal stood in your high heels and underwear in the middle of a monastery chatting in Italian to a Nun!”

“Working to an Italian flag coloured palette I paired some red shoes and petticoat with the dress and my two best friends wore an olive green colour. Plus two gorgeous flower girls in white and red. Simon opted for the country gent look with tweed, red corduroy trousers and a cravat in his military colours. In the evening all the boys wanted to wear Military Mess Dress so we made the evening do ‘black tie’ giving everyone a chance to dress up (and myself a chance to jump into PJs and trainers in-between day and night do to turn around the venue and not ruin my dress!). Our wedding was actually a wedding weekend thanks to the exclusivity of the venue, so we opted for a bank holiday weekend meaning no-one had to rush off for Monday morning work.”

“Whilst the wedding itself was on 30th April, the day before it started snowing…a lot and this carried on during our wedding day and as we said our vows the snow started to fall, plus a few other comical elements to the ceremony such as fabulous fully acted reading about two dinosaurs and ‘Siri’ expressing “I do not understand the question” when the Registrar asked if anyone has any objections! The ceremony music was fabulous too. We’re both professional musicians by trade and Simon is a much-published composer so he wrote the music for me to enter too, which was performed by the amazing Nottinghamshire Band of the Royal Engineers and the stunning violinist Lauren Charlotte, who does quite a lot of work for our musical events. I was walked down the stairs and given away by my then 12-year-old son Oliver, who was incredible all day, even giving a tremendous speech that brought everyone to tears at the reception.”

“With a marquee seating 140, we held the meal for 100 people in the marquee which I styled, decorated and organised myself, taking inspiration from several of the wedding shoots I’d done previously. Our tables were named after villages around Lake Trasimeno in Umbria where our Italian home is and we had great fun driving around the lake and hopping out at every signpost to take a selfie to give us the pictures for our table plan and table numbers! The locals thought we were nuts but it was well worth it!”

“Food wise we had our signature Mode for…Events three-course Italian meal with antipasti sharing boards, roasted Porchetta and Pandora cake. Each table had a nominated carver who collected the roast for the main course and carved at their table; we also decked them out with comedy Italian style aprons which keep making an appearance at parties with friends! We also had a fabulous cake made by my wedding pal Claire at Sweet Sugar Sixpence. It looked fab but tasted even better (her lemon cake absolutely rocks!).”

“We are very blessed to have some amazingly talented friends and the reception was like no other I’ve witnessed! We did our speeches between courses starting with best-man Paul, Oliver, myself (who incorporate a wedding themed version of 12 days of Christmas, or the 12 hours of marriage as I renamed it) and finally Simon, who kicked-off his speech with a musical flashmob of The Carpenters ‘On Top of The World’ featuring Simon, myself, my two bridesmaids and a few others, plus sing-a-long lyrics! Madness but great fun! We also had our Master of Ceremonies, good friends Will and Olly, better and more infamously known as ‘Wollie’ run our reception, giving them free rein to ‘entertain’ but keep it a secret from ourselves as we’d organised everything else. They did not disappoint, with plasticine making competitions, musical quizzes and an inter-table ‘make a band and give a performance’ competition which we had to judge in brass band competition style from behind screens! Hilarious!”

“Games and shenanigans continued into the night with a Bavarian Band and conga dancing, good friends Alex & Dan of The Acoustix singing and much drinking and partying in the house before bed time!”

“The beauty of Hargate Hall is you don’t have to leave on Sunday so we created a plan for Sunday too which included a country walk in the Peak District, Sunday lunch at the fabulous Merchant’s Yard in Tideswell and in the evening an inter-apartment Italian cookery competition which did get quite competitive. All rounded-off with more drinks and a beer pong competition!”

“It was an absolutely amazing weekend with friends and a few family and we feel blessed every time we go back to Hargate Hall and get the opportunity to help another couple have the most amazing wedding weekend.”

“It was a weekend full of love and lots and lots of laughter, laid back and absolutely brilliant! Whilst we did pretty much everything ourselves we did have a couple of amazing suppliers including the super talented Adam Wilkinson from Adam Wilkinson Photography.”

If you like Tabby's style and ethos and would like help planning your own DIY wedding, she's going to be doing her very first workshop on 18th Feb in Halifax at 2pm, You can attend with a discounted rate of £50pp, just email Tabby at modeforevents@gmail.com

With special thanks to:

Planning, Coordination, Styling and Catering: Mode for…Events 

Venue: Hargate Hall, Buxton

Photography: Adam Wilkinson Photography

Cake: Sweet Sugar Sixpence 

Bouquet: Lily Rose & Daisy Chains

Wedding Logo: Handmade calligraphy logo used on all stationery designed by an old school friend Lizzie Matthews

Hair & Make-up: by the Bride

Dress: Courtesy of Sister Maria Laura @ Monasteria Santa Rita da Cascia

Music: The Acoustix, The Nottinghamshire Band of the Royal Engineers and Lauren Charlotte

Written by Tabby from Mode For...Events

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