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Rustic DIY Cow Shed Wedding

Sarah & Jim’s Rustic
Cow Shed Wedding

How often do you get to dress up and party in a cow shed next to a field of curious cattle? Almost never! With loads of DIY details made by a whole herd of friends and family all mucking in, pics to moooooon over by Andy Griffiths Photography, a moooovingly special humanist wedding ceremony, and an evening party filled with the infectiously happy music of JukeBossa to get hooves a-stompin’, Sarah and Jim MacDonald fling open the barn doors and invite us to take a sneak peek at how they achieved their udderly gorgeous day – you herd it here first! (And we promise, no more cheesy cow-based punnery…) It’s the most fun you can have in a cow shed.

Here Sarah, Jim and their amazing team of suppliers share their top tips, wedding entertainment ideas and contact books with you. Plus, use our shareable Shop the Style section to steal the best bits, while adding your own personal touches. Planning sorted!

Shop the Style

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Sarah & Jim’s Wedding Playlist

Processional: Wishing On A Star, Beyoncé

Recessional: James Bond theme, You Only Live Twice, Nancy Sinatra

First Dance: I Can’t Feel My Face – The Weeknd,
performed by JukeBossa

Personalised background and party music mixes:
Indie mix; Motown mix; general mix; hip hop/RnB mix

Favourite Moment

“The ceremony was just perfect”, and “the first dance was one of my favourite moments of the day.”

The Couple

Sarah, a Housing Coach for homeless charity Crisis, met Health and Safety Manager Jim while studying at Leeds University. Sarah laughs when she recalls their first encounter in 2007, “We were in the same halls of residence but we actually met in a club… and we kissed on a revolving dancefloor – really romantic!”

But that was only the beginning of a beautiful… erm, friendship! Their romance finally blossomed just before their final year in 2009. Sarah explains how all their friends knew, even before they did: “We thought it was this big surprise to tell all our friends, but they were like ‘yeah we all knew’. We were genuinely shocked! Looking back, I always had a big soft spot for him, and probably the other way around – we were really close.”

They were engaged in June 2016, and planned their boho big day for 12 August 2017.

The Proposal

As lovers of the great outdoors, Jim whisked Sarah away to the Lakes for a surprise proposal, and even made Sarah carry the ring…! “We love going up to the Lake District. Jim had planned a surprise camping trip the week after my birthday, where we were going to be wild camping on top of Bowfell mountain in the Langdale Valley. We kept swapping bags on the hike, little did I know that half the time I was carrying my own engagement ring!”

Jim had to use his powers of persuasion when Sarah ran out of energy near the mountain top though. “I just sat on a rock and said ‘I can’t go any further!’ but he was adamant we go on. He grabbed both bags and started pacing off, so I followed him. The sun came out, and he led me to a perfect viewing point of the valley. He asked me to hold something and started rooting round in his bag. When I turned round, he was on one knee!”

They popped the champagne and camped up, together alone, which Sarah cherished, “We didn’t tell any of our friends or family… that was the best part; we got to enjoy it for a night, on our own.”

The Style

“It will be rustic but still everyone will be dressed in their best!”

Personal, handmade details, BYOB, real ales and a hand-built bar, naturally soft flower stylings, thoughtful touches, and dancing into the night to amazing live music among the hay bales… Sarah laughs as she talks about the style they went for, “Definitely rustic and DIY! Relaxed and fun, chilled, just dead happy – really, really happy!

This is how Sarah described the day to her suppliers: “We are having our wedding on a working farm in the cow barn. We’re doing everything from scratch and having the ceremony there also. It will be rustic but still everyone will be dressed in their best! There will be hog roast for dinner followed by cheese in the evening and we’re fans of craft beer and ale so that will be flowing!”

Can we rewind time, and all get an invite please?!

from the photographer...

Sarah and Jim are two fantastic people, exactly the type of couple that I enjoy working with – laid back, fun, and just want to enjoy their day… a good match with me because my photography style is relaxed, natural and fun.
My brief was to capture the day as it happened; they wanted to be able to relive all of the effort and time they spent on this wedding. The photos truly reflect their effort and attention to detail.
I spoke with Sarah quite a bit in the buildup to the day. A DIY wedding for anyone to undertake is a big ask, but she and Jim were so relaxed. To make sure they had the best experience, I went up a week before to have a look around – I was so genuinely excited. The transformation of the barn was incredible!
Top Tips
It is so important to pick the right person, and always get a contract. Go for a photographer who you like, both in terms of personality but also style. You don’t always have to go for recommended suppliers from venues or fayres. Shop around!
Communication is key in the buildup. Make sure you have a chat with your photographer before the wedding, and discuss the plans for the day so they don’t miss anything.
Don’t just think that because other people have done things in weddings you have to. Be your own people and have fun!

Andy Griffiths, Andy Griffiths Photography

Your Ultimate Guide to Wedding Entertainment

The Setting

Sarah and Jim struggled finding their rustic barn, and were surprised by the costs and restrictions.

“The different barns we saw were just insanely priced, really expensive, and the venues were telling us what we had to do – like have a three-course sit down meal and use their suppliers, but we wanted to do a lot of stuff ourselves. We wanted live music, but their restrictions were just shrinking the budget for the stuff we really wanted to spend our money on.”

Luckily, Sarah’s Dad suggested a friend’s barn that’s free in the summer time, when the cows go out to pasture. “It really was just a cow shed. But when we stood inside it, we realised it was amazing in terms of the space and the possibilities. It wasn’t weather-tight, but we could have time the week before to decorate it (something other venues didnt offer). That said, we went back there two months later and all the cows were in for the winter. We immediately thought ‘oh my god! Have we done the right thing?’!”

It was just a cow shed. But when we stood inside, we realised it was amazing in terms of the space and the possibilities.

“It was a really big space, perfect for the number of people we had (84 in the day). We wanted everything on one site, so we created different rooms – we built the ceremony room out of hay bales and a drinks reception room next to it, so everyone moved from the ceremony to the drinks reception, had canapés there and then moved into the back in the evening for food and the live band.”

Having their whole wedding day in a cow shed had its chilly drawbacks, but Sarah and Jim made sure their guests were snug all day with a box full of blankets and plenty of pre-warning. “We were a bit worried because it wasn’t overly sunny, but more than anything we just wanted it to be warm. We sent out some information with our invitations to say the venue wasn’t weather-tight, so bring a jacket for the evening. If you were up and dancing you were alright... and once you had a hundred bodies in the back surrounded by hay, it was fine.

The Details

“We were renovating our house until about Christmas 2016, but confirming the big things was a priority – the venue, the band, the food. We didn’t start getting our heads into making things until about February 2017.”

Hand-crafted décor

Sarah and Jim’s vision for their big day included a tractor-load of homespun rustic and beautifully boho inspiration. But it was also a group effort, with loads of help from their lovely friends and family. Says Sarah, “It was such a big space, so we needed big statement décor to keep it simple. Jim’s step-dad welded loads of huge iron hearts, which we put everywhere – they were amazing. I did my seating plan on one of them, put fake candles and weaved ivy on another, and some we left naked, black iron hearts.

“My friend’s Dad, Ian, works for a TV and lighting company… he went mental with all the lighting, we had a disco ball and everything – it was amazing!

“Part of my UK hen do was at The Art Shop in Manchesters Northern Quarter, where we all made the bunting. I think it was one of their record lengths, so it actually went the whole way down the barn!"

“I made the blackboard, all the signage, and ittle confetti cones, which were pegged up onto the back of the wall as you came in. We put decorations, like little pom poms, over the band.

“I’d done all my own invites, and save the dates, and I made the place settings – we sliced up logs, and I painstakingly stuck moss onto the side of them all, and then stamped everyone’s names on them. It took forever!

“We’d just take stuff from people’s houses! Jim’s Mum had an old-fashioned bike which we used, and my Mum and Dad had lovely bedded plants in their garden, which we borrowed.

“I think because we were doing it on our own and people could see the effort that we were putting in, everybody involved just went the extra mile to help. It was lovely.”

The Hand-built Bar!

“My Dad and Jim built the bar out of wooden pallets, with hops across the top and dangly lights that came down. It was amazing!

“For the drinks reception, we hired a couple of whisky barrel tables from Nerissa Eve Weddings in Leicestershire. But everything else was our own.”

from the décor supplier...

Sarah and Jim really loved our oak whisky barrel poseur tables, but weren’t sure they would be able to hire them as the venue was a considerable distance from our base. Between us, we found a way to make it happen. We met Jim’s father at our storage facility, to size things up before their wedding, and we managed to squeeze two barrels into his van.
We often meet people at our storage facility to help them work things out. We also meet them at their venues (sometimes more than once), to help with their planning process.
Top Tips
Most décor hire companies will deliver, but you may find it more cost-effective to collect directly from your supplier. Always check in advance.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to find an honest company who meets you halfway. There are so many cogs in the planning of a wedding, and working with suppliers who are amenable and approachable is absolutely vital for a smooth journey.
We always listen and try to help as much as we can – it doesn’t matter how small or large your booking is we understand that you are what matters!

Nadine, Nerissa Eve Weddings & Events

Sarah explains how they kept their guests’ whistles wet with a mix of BYOB and their own fizz – and how she and Jim are still benefitting!

“We bought Kilner jars to make a drinks station that had Pimm’s, lemonade and water. We provided beer, wine and bubbles at the bar, and we just asked guests to bring everything else. We had ice boxes under each table, to store all their drinks and keep them cold. There was a ridiculous amount of booze – our drinks cupboard’s amazing now!”

Jim was in charge of the choice of ales they provided from their bar, and visited Blackjack beer wholesalers in Manchester. Sales Manager, Nick, talks us through Jim’s picks:

from the drinks supplier...

It was a pleasure helping Jim – we knew how important the occasion was, so really wanted to ensure they picked the right beers for their celebration.
They went for a cask of Pokies and a cask of Pokerface, both universal, easy drinkers. Pokies is an all-New Zealand hopped, low abv (3.5%) beer, with a bright citrus taste, that you can sup all day. Pokerface is a slightly stronger (4.4%) American hopped ale, with Cascade and Chinook hops, and slightly darker in colour – all in all, slightly richer but still really quaffable. Jim also chose a case of Mosaic Light. Mosaic is the king of hops, with fruity, grapefruit and peachy qualities – it’s so good, I think he bought that case for himself!
Top Tips
To help you select the right beer, we have to understand a bit about your event. Factors like how many people are going to be there, the type of people there age, demographic etc. (You don’t want to get everyone TOO hammered at a wedding!)
We are happy to drop off, but it’s best to leave your beer in the cold store here, and pick it up just before the event, to ensure the beer stays tip top.
Although we supply keg beer, it requires special gassing and cooling equipment. Its much easier to use casks for an event.
Finally, get the formalities out of the way… then get on it!

Nick, Sales Manager, Blackjack Brewery/Glassworks Drinks

Blackjack Glassworks

Personalised Coasters

“Our biggest extravagance probably doesn’t sound very lavish, it’s… a beer mat! They’re lovely – individually designed and properly pressed.

Sami from To & From designed them for us. They’re a really nice keepsake, and you get the letterpress as well.”

from the beer mat designer...

The beer mats I create are bespoke to each couple and are unique to their wedding. Sarah sent over some of her existing stationery so I could match some of the styling that had already been created, ensuring all her stationery flowed. I knew the cow shed had to be the main focus of the design and I used some similar typefaces that Sarah and Jim had on their other stationery.
The mats take around three weeks to produce; we perfect the design within a week, then a metal plate is made of the design before being sent to the letterpress printer to press them onto beer mat board. Clients can choose any colour they wish as the ink is mixed by hand; the metallic inks are a popular choice. Sarah and Jim had their design printed in gold ink.
Top Tips
Choose a supplier who can create a bespoke design so that your personalities and wedding day can be perfectly captured throughout your stationery. I often illustrate a couple’s wedding venue, or them and their family. Even pets have made an appearance! The personal touches make all the difference and are the ones that are remembered.
Whether you use your beer mats for save the dates, table decorations or favours (they work really well with a perforated beer token in the middle that your guests can pop out and use at the bar), ensure you give your stationer plenty of time to get them created for you, especially if you want bespoke elements within the design. I would say at least one month in advance before you want to send them out or before your wedding day, but check with your supplier.

Sami France, Owner, To & From

The Dress

“I needed a dress that suited our venue – something comfy, a bit flowy, and that fitted that rustic look. If I’d turned up in a mermaid style gown, it would have just looked ridiculous!

“To try and get a feel for the style of dress I wanted, I went to one of the Wed2B warehouses. I tried a few styles on and I saw Arielle… it was perfect, I loved it! They didn’t have it in my size, but they checked their other stores for me, and I bought it from the Liverpool store.

“I still went to my other dress appointments, because I was really freaked out that I’d found something so quickly… but nothing was hitting the spot. Some of those dresses are just so expensive, and it feels like such a steal from Wed2b!”

... it was perfect, I loved it! … I was really freaked out that I’d found something so quickly.

from the dress supplier...

With a stunning open back, the beautiful bohemian style Arielle gown was Sarah’s dream dress. This intricately embroidered wedding dress is from the contemporary Heidi Hudson Collection which blends lightweight fabrics and graceful silhouettes for the perfect touch of boho style.
Top Tip
Try on a variety of shapes and styles of wedding dress. When you find ‘the one’ – you’ll know! Our expert bridal consultants will help you add accessories and the finishing touches to complete your look.
We believe every woman should look and feel amazing on her wedding day regardless of budget. You can find a Wed2B bridal store nationwide, and theyre open 7 days a week. Brides-to-be can visit at their own convenience (no appointment needed) and take home their dream dress the very same day, for a fraction of the couture cost.

Wed2b and Heidi Hudson

Hair & Makeup

“Getting ready in the morning… it was just a weird feeling, it’s so good. You just get really nervous!

The Gatsby Salon provided Sarah’s hair and makeup for the big day. In charge of Sarah’s up do, was wedding hair aficionado Dawn Robb.

from the hair stylist...

Sarah told me about her style of wedding, I instantly realised she was looking for a bohemian feel. Sarah had a trial, went home and tried her dress, but just didn’t feel her hair complemented the dress – she wanted a longer ponytail, so we added extensions at a second trial. I used a 32cm tong, loosely curling pieces of hair. Using texturising dust, I lightly backcombed the roots, popped the extensions in so they couldn’t be seen, secured the hair with a hook bobble, and hid the bobble with a cute 3 strand plait. Personally, I love hair that has a matt/messy texture. It makes the up do look effortless and gives it a real boho feel.
She wanted the bridesmaids to have thick chunky Dutch plaits that came over to the side. I knew this style wouldn’t last all day (the hair would become loose and fall on the opposite side), so I recommend a different technique, which looked gorgeous.

Dawn’s Top Products:
L’Oréal Professionnel Tec Ni Art Super Dust £13.45
Diva Professional Styling Intelligent Digital Argan Curling Wand, 32cm £44.99
Beauty Works Professional Hair Extensions, various prices from £39.99
Hair Tools Bunjee Hooks, pack of 4 £1.68

 

Top Tips
When looking for the perfect hairstylist, you need to feel completely comfortable with them, and able to ask them to tweak things – it’s important to feel like yourself on your wedding day. I would always recommend a trial in case any hair pieces are needed, and so you’re sure your hair style complements your dress.
I’ve done a lot of wedding hair, and timing is key. If the bride’s hair and makeup is done first, she can have time with her bridesmaids, mum, friends or whoever she’s spending the morning with. To prevent stress, everyone should be ready early, so you can all have 30–40 mins to yourselves, have a drink, talk about the day, and try to relax. It’s definitely cool when everyone involved is chilled and ready on time!

Dawn Robb, Hair Stylist, The Gatsby Salon, Manchester

To top off her fresh country boho look, Sarah wore a beautiful flower crown, which was provided by boho accessory specialists Flash Floozy, as Designer Marie Porter explains.

from the flower crown designer...

I met Sarah at a vintage wedding fair (Magpie Weddings) at the wonderful Victoria Baths in Manchester. I always try to bring a full range of different sized crowns so there are plenty of options on offer.
Sarah really wanted to wear a flower crown on her wedding day, but didn’t want real flowers or a big crown but rather something more subtle. We make very small garlands right through to big statement crowns so there’s always something for everyone.
Top Tips
If you’re not used to wearing hair accessories, we recommend you try on as many as possible.
Before your hair trial, go to a wedding fair or order a few online so you can see what style suits. Often the one you think will suit you isn’t the one, a bit like a wedding dress! Sarah tried on the SLOANE crown originally which is a very subtle crown using the smallest of roses, but ended up with a slightly bigger crown COCO which, unless she tried it on, would perhaps never have gone for. It suited her perfectly.
Most of our hair accessories are ‘mix and match’ so if you don’t want everyone in a crown then you can team a flower crown with matching hair pins or combs. This works very well especially for the bridesmaids and flower girls as hair styles can differ so much.
Sarah opted for an off-the-peg flower crown, but as all our crowns are handmade they can be customised, both in style and colour to create your perfect look.

Marie Porter, Designer/Owner, Flash Floozy

The Flowers

“Stef from Alternative Weddings Manchester took me and Jim to the wholesaler a couple of months before, and we chose all the flowers. She made the bouquets and the guys pinholes.”

from the florist...

To make sure I got their flower design absolutely perfect I took Sarah and Jim directly to the wholesalers and let them pick their flowers from a huge selection of seasonal blooms. They wanted to keep the colours fresh and wild-looking with light greens, creamy white and a delicate splash of pink, which the foxgloves gave nicely.
They asked me to dress the tables with plenty of greenery, like an indoor garden! For Sarah and her bridesmaid’s bouquets they wanted something feminine, long and ‘overflowing’. In my opinion, slightly asymmetrical trailing bouquets always look like plants are supposed to look… beautiful in their wildness!
Top Tips
Some grooms glaze over when it comes to flowers! To get your betrothed involved, ask your florist to take you to a wholesaler, where you can both have an active input. Way more interactive than flicking through photos of past arrangements! Plus, it gives you freedom to make your choices unique and special to you.
Look for a good florist who has flair and creativity. There are lots of unusual things you can do with flowers beside table arrangements and bouquets. My clients give me a maximum budget for their flowers and pay for the materials and my time instead of me charging per item. I will always have extra flowers left over to dress cakes, entrances, bars and any other nooks and crannies… that’s where the fun stuff happens, that I know are going to make guests smile later on in the day – like putting Gypsophilia and fairy lights in the bike wheels at Sarah and Jim’s!

Stef Ferrerman, Wedding Planner/Celebrant, Alternative Weddings Manchester

The Ceremony

Sarah and Jim opted for a humanist wedding ceremony in the cow barn and were married by her sister, “I think it was just so special that my sister did the ceremony – plus she was 19 weeks’ pregnant at the time!

“With a humanist ceremony, you can write your own vows. My sister had written the whole ceremony months before, and there were bits that we wrote – what does marriage mean to us, what was ‘being married’, what is love, and stuff like that.

“Because our wedding venue wasn’t licensed, we still had to go and get married at a registry office. We did that the day before, but made nothing special of it, and we kept everyone away so it didn’t take away from our ceremony the next day.

“I chose Wishing On A Star, by Beyoncé to walk in to. I love that song; every time I hear it, it just gives me tingles! And it’s the sort of song I’ll still love in a year. It was lovely because the bridesmaids made their entrance first, so I got to hear quite a lot of the song before I walked in. It really fitted well.”

I love that song… it just gives me tingles!

“I’m a massive Disney fan, so my best friend and bridesmaid Fliss read a poem, What’s Mickey without Minnie? It goes through all the characters ‘What’s Mickey without Minnie? What’s Tigger without Pooh?’ and so on.

“We had the James Bond theme, You Only Live Twice (by Nancy Sinatra), for our recessional. We chose it because Jim loves James Bond, but funnily enough, my Dad’s a real whistler and he always whistles that tune! It was lovely because it was a nice surprise for my Dad as well. All the ceremony music 100% lived up to our expectations!

“Because of the wind on the day, rather than coming out and setting up the confetti shot, we did it as we walked back up the aisle together. Everyone had a confetti cone and we’d made the actual confetti out of sequins and tissue paper.”

Get more rustic ceremony music ideas…

The Reception & Wedding Breakfast

Music continued to be a key party of proceedings, as Sarah explains, "For our reception drinks, the music had an indie vibe. It reminded me of growing up, going to uni, and living together in the centre of Manchester… and some of the gigs and festivals we went to. It was all quite happy feeling music.”

Find more rustic reception music ideas here…

Sarah fondly remembers the wedding breakfast, giggling as she recalls, “The food was amazing – that hog roast.”

from the hog roast caterers...

We provide bespoke wedding event management, discussing our couples needs so we can tailor a package that’s bespoke to them. Sarah and Jim came to us through a recommendation, and we chatted over the phone about their needs. They wanted locally sourced, high quality food, served casually in a good fun atmosphere. We use the best, locally reared Gloucester old spot pork, roasted slowly for 18–24 hours for the perfect pulled pork and crispiest crackling.
We regularly provide food at events across the UK, so we can invite our couples to come and sample our food.
We let Sarah and Jim know our space requirements in advance, and then went to the cow shed in the morning to set up our street food units in the main function area. The hog was displayed as a centre point – very fitting for their farm venue! We also provided them with handmade canapés, which their guests enjoyed after the ceremony.
Top Tips
Hog roasts are a great way to feed a large amount of people with great quality food at a value for money price.

When you’re looking for a good hog roast specialist, there are a few things you can check:

  • Quality of pork and where the pigs are sourced. Anyone can buy any old sow, but if you want quality, check with your supplier!
  • The facilities they offer. We always use state of the art hog roast ovens, which give the tastiest results.
  • Documents and accreditation. Always ensure your supplier has up-to-date documents, such as health and safety, food standards, gas safety certificates, and public liability insurance.
We always itemise our quotes, so it’s easy to tailor your wishes to your budget. We break it down into each individual part, like the menu, labour, crockery and cutlery, etc., so adding or removing elements is simple.
If you want to guarantee a good supplier, I’d recommend you book as far in advance as you can, so start researching early… and get tasting!

John Walne, Event Leader, The Striped Pig Company

“After the meal, my Dad’s speech was so nice. Dad’s don’t usually say really sweet lovely things, I suppose, so it was just really nice to hear my Dad talk.”

The Cakes... and cheese!

“We bought a variety of cakes from Marks & Spencer for dessert. Our wedding cake was made out of cheese (Costco) which we served with homemade chutneys, crackers and sausage lattices.”

“At one point I’d worried about getting the cakes out on the table. We’d setup a big dessert table with big wooden logs and had labelled it all, so we just needed the cakes to be brought out and put on the table, which I thought I could do. But as a bride, you can’t go anywhere without getting stopped or congratulated or talked to, so I started to panic about getting these cakes out! Then in walked an army of Groomsmen and Jim’s friends with a box of cakes each. People were like that all day – anything that needed doing, people just seemed to want to be involved and do it, and I thought if there’s any reason to choose a venue like that, it was that – everyone being part of it. It was lovely.”

The Evening Party

JukeBossa… were the first thing that we booked, because it was really important – we had to have good music!

Sarah and Jim spent a lot of time falling in love with their party band, JukeBossa. In fact, they fell so in love with the bands version of their first dance song, I Can’t Feel My Face by The Weeknd, they now prefer it to the original!

“What attracted us to JukeBossa in the first place was that we wanted something a bit different. We heard their version of I Can’t Feel My Face, and we just loved it, and we kept going back to them all the time. They were the first thing that we booked, because it was really important – we had to have good music!

“We really wanted the band to do our first dance, and it just seemed like a good introduction to them. The way they start it off is amazing… quite ‘big band-y’ and slow, and then the chorus is quite fast, so it’s not an awkward first dance, you can mess about and have fun. About halfway in, there’s a part where we could get everyone to come up and dance with us – then it was fast and played in their really happy, infectious Latin sound. It was perfect, it was so good!”

“The first dance was genuinely perfect. The sunlight came through the barn’s wooden slats making these perfect orange beams on the hay. It was mad; I just loved it! Where we were dancing, the sun was blinding us from seeing anybody else, so it was like it was just us two. I think Jim was quite nervous about doing the first dance, but because we couldn’t see anyone, we were just having a laugh, messing about and being silly really – it was perfect, it was so good!”

Where we were dancing, the sun shone...we couldnt see anyone...it was like it was just us two.

Between JukeBossa’s sets, Sarah and Jim plumped for their own personal playlist, “We chose to have the band play three 40-minute sets, so in-between that we had themed Spotify mixes, complied by my sisters boyfriend – we had a Motown mix, then we had a medley, which was wedding stuff that would get everybody dancing, and then at the very end of the night we had a hip hop RnB mix. I have to say the Motown probably went down the best.”

Check out these rustic evening party ideas…

The Band

One person was shouting ‘TEN more songs!’

When we were thinking about the first dance, Danielle from JukeBossa was really helpful. We spoke over the phone and she sent me little sound bites from their rehearsals, of another song that we’d also thought about (Beyoncé’s Love On Top).

from the band...

It was an absolute pleasure to be a part of Sarah and Jim’s wedding, and we were so glad we could be involved and add our little personal touch to their special day.
I discussed potential tracks with Sarah before the wedding and she told me how she wanted us to play one of our Latin cover versions for their first dance – I Can’t Feel My Face by The Weeknd. It was their absolute favourite of our set and it was so fantastic on the day! It gave a Salsa twist to the first dance, which was so unique and really added to the style of their wedding.
Our niche as a band is how we take favourite contemporary and classic songs and give them an exotic makeover to become fresh Latin tunes! We don’t completely change them – we keep all the necessary original elements (particularly the vocals and key musical riffs) so they are recognizable and you can still dance and sing along! As we give every cover a Latin rhythm, they often become even more danceable once people join the dancefloor they find it hard to leave! A reaction we often get is “I much prefer your version of this song!” or “You guys make me enjoy Justin Bieber!” – That’s always amazing to hear!
Top Tips
When booking a niche band, you possibly already have in mind the style you want for your wedding. If you’re Latin or retro or swing enthusiasts, for example, or just want to bring something different to your special day, you can browse through categories on Alive Network’s website or their Entertainment Coordinators can help you choose.
Band repertoire and set lists can be personalised with requests for your special day – this is a fantastic challenge and always welcomed! We recommend communication with the band as far in advance as possible, so there’s time for them to put their twist on your song choices and really bring them to life for your special day.

Danielle, Singer, JukeBossa

View JukeBossa’s Profile

“We hoped everyone would like JukeBossa... It was really funny because we left to have some photos taken in the amazing sunset, and when we came back in, everyone was really merry, the dancefloor was packed, and people were just chanting, ‘one more song!’ One person was shouting ‘TEN more songs!’ It was just hilarious!”

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Most Importantly...

“The people definitely made the day. Because of the venue that we chose, people didn’t know what to expect, so when they came, they were quite pleasantly surprised. I think it made for such a happy feeling on the day… people were so genuinely happy and just lovely. And afterwards, so many guests said That was the most warm and friendly wedding I’ve ever been to! Everyone mingled; it wasn’t cliquey at all, and you could actually feel that. It just seemed like everybody made our wedding what it was because they were just so, so happy, it was lovely.

…everybody made our wedding what it was because they were just so, so happy, it was lovely.

“And THE COWS! They were such a big part, they were outside and they’d kept away from us for ages, and then they just became so interested with all the people there, and they were just a big hit with everybody. I think everyone had a picture with the cows at some point!

“Plus, we wanted to make sure we felt like we’d seen each other and that we’d spent the day together – lots of people say that you don’t. It’s hard, because you are meeting and greeting everyone, but I feel like I’ve got a lot of good memories of me and Jim together from the day.”

What We Learned

Take your time…

“The day goes so fast, so have that in mind. As much as you want to see everyone, you need to try and not jam-pack your day so you’ve got time to see each other. Savour every single minute because it’s over so quickly.”

Listen to advice... and hand over tasks so you can relax...

Delegate as much as you can on the day. It was hard because we did everything ourselves and were very invested in it all, wanting to do a lot of things. But you don’t want to be thinking about doing anything because people are going to be coming up to you, and you’ll want to just enjoy yourself. Really listening to that advice was invaluable for us. Looking back, the best thing I did was asking certain people to do little tasks on the day that I know now I wouldn’t have had time to do.”

Banish the post-wedding blues...

“Having our honeymoon a few months after the wedding really helped us. Because we did it all ourselves and the build-up was just mental – for months, you’d feel guilty if you sat down! It really helped us to avoid the wedding blues, because we thought ‘what do we do with our time now?!’ …book holidays!”

The Magic Makers

Music, atmosphere and vibes of love and fun
Alive Network, UK-wide
Band, JukeBossa, UK-wide

Photographer
Andy Griffiths Photography, UK-wide

Bride’s attire
Dress: Wed2B, UK-wide
Accessories: Floral Crown, Flash Floozy, UK-wide

Hair and beauty
The Gatsby Salon, Manchester

Flowers
Alternative Weddings MCR, Manchester

Hog Roast and Canapés
The Striped Pig Company, UK-wide

Real Ales
Blackjack Beers Ltd., Manchester

Whisky Barrel Poseur Table Hire
Nerissa Eve Weddings & Events, UK-wide

Trestle Tables and Bench Hire
Alternative Weddings MCR, Manchester

Dessert Table Cakes
Marks & Spencer, UK-wide

Cheese Tower Cake
Costco, UK-wide

Letterpressed Beer Mats
To & From, UK-wide

Light-up Letters
Wedding Venue Lighting. Also available through Alive Network

Venue
Willoughby Farm, Haigh, Wigan. Find similar rustic wedding barns here

Wedding Rings
Beaverbrooks, UK-wide

 

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