You love the idea of creating your own unique wedding but do you have the confidence to step away from all of those boring package deals that most wedding venues offer? I mean, where do you begin with a DIY wedding? Just follow our simple 6 point checklist below.
1. Choose Your Venue
This is step number 1 and one of the most important decisions – this is the core of your wedding and will set the whole vibe for your special day. Thankfully at Brook Farm we also organise all of the boring bits – we’re talking generators, cabling, loos, bins, security, checking suppliers’ PLI & hygiene ratings etc. Definitely not glamorous or fun and not something that you want to be wasting your time with.
2. Choose Your Structure – marquee / tipi / yurt / stretch tent
The next decision should be what style of tent you want? There are a lot of choices out there and once you have an idea of your numbers why not get in touch with our preferred suppliers to get a quote. Our preferred suppliers know our venue well, so will easily be able to give you a quote. I’d recommend picking up the phone and chatting with them – we have a very friendly bunch of suppliers who will gladly chat to you and offer their professional advice. They also organise everything that you need for the structure (the tent, the flooring, the lighting, the furniture, the catering tent, external furniture, fire pits). Our top tip – don’t forget to have bit of extra space (often the dancefloor area) so that you can have your drinks reception inside if the weather turns.
3. Choose Your Caterer
Things are really beginning to get fun now. What is it you want to eat? Most of our couples want to veer away from the stuffy, formal wedding breakfasts of the past. We imagine you probably want to have great tasting food but you also want the whole feel to be more relaxed and fun. Our preferred suppliers and their staff are brilliant at delivering just that. Think about anything you particularly want whether it be the format (e.g. sharing platters, a bbq served to the table, food van) or a specific food – maybe there’s a specific dish you love or maybe there is a certain style of cuisine. Just work out what your core criteria is and then speak to our caterers. They have great ideas and flexibility so will be able to advise you what will work best for you.
Please note, the caterers also organise everything you’re going to need, e.g. the equipment to cook your food, crockery, tablecloths, cutlery etc. You only need to think about what you want to eat!
4. Choose Your Bar / Bar Staff To Serve Your Drinks
The vast majority of our couples provide drinks to their guests during the reception and with the meal. After this, a paid bar is in place for the evening.
The evening bar is the time when it gets complicated (and expensive) because there are a lot of variables involved. There are so many different spirits and mixers to choose from and that’s before you start venturing into the world of shots and cocktails. Trying to do this yourself will leave you with a headache and a whole load of leftover drinks. You are far better off getting a bar company such as The Swig & Filly to manage this.
They will understand the quantities and types of drinks that will need to be supplied as well as the number of glasses that will need to be ordered – this is really important when you are on a dry site such as Brook Farm as you can’t simply wash a few up if you run out. Leave it to the professionals so you do not need to stress yourself out thinking about these things. They will have experienced staff who will be happy to serve your drinks in the reception and then add the finesse to the bar in the evening, meaning your guests are well looked after and have an amazing experience.
We know that some of you would never dream of asking your guests to pay for drinks which is also fine. Please note, the look is a little more relaxed as the day goes on as whenever there is a free bar, people seem to put their drink down then forget where they have put it. They then just go and get another one. This means you use a lot more drinks, a lot more glasses and it is hard to keep everything tidy. Not a problem, just something to think about when making your decision.
The key thing to remember is that which ever way you decide to provide drinks, you will need staff to do this. Even the most relaxed event needs staff replenishing stock, serving and clearing bottles/glasses.
Background music for your reception and a band or a DJ for the evening are next on your list. When you book, we will send you a document detailing our sound system so that you can pass this on to your band or DJ. The decision of who to book is so personal and subjective. We’re pretty sure you will already have an idea of the kind of vibe you want to create but feel free to ask us if we’ve seen anyone perform that fits your brief. Alternatively, you can swerve the Other Artiste Fee by booking one of our own fantastic DJs.
6. Styling / Florist
The final big thing to organise in your DIY wedding is any flowers or styling that you may want. There is a whole array of ideas out there. Get browsing and save the ideas you like so you can discuss this with your florist / your stylist / your friends & family.
You have the freedom to create whatever look you want. We appreciate we may be a little biased but remember, Brook Farm is an absolutely stunning venue and you don’t need to add a lot. Sometimes a few simple flower stems in a vase can be just as stunning and effective as a big display.
And that’s it. In 6 straightforward steps you have sorted all of the main things for your DIY wedding.
Photo Credit; Gabriela Matei Photography