A Country Show-Themed DIY Wedding in the North East: Leanne Marsay and Kevin Ayrton

19 Jan 2016

Welly-wanging, a bake-off competition for guests and a gravy fountain made the country show-inspired wedding of Leanne Marsay and Kevin Ayrton a glorious rustic farm celebration

Photography by Chocolate Chip Photography

Holding their relaxed country show theme reception in a marquee at a farm in the village of Hilton in Stockton-on-Tees, County Durham, Leanne and Kevin packed fun by the bucketload into their big day.

After getting married in St Peter's church in Hilton village, the DIY aspect of the wedding became clear at the farm, with DIY flower arrangements, vegetable sculpting and to guests’ delight, a welly-wanging contest. Leanne tells the story…



Tell us about the proposal.
Kevin had set up some decorations with photos from our past, present and some made up ones of our future where he’d aged us, in a forest at the bottom of a valley. He’d hidden a bottle of Champagne with a glass and got everything ready on Christmas morning pretending he was with my dad. After dinner he insisted we took my parents’ dog for a walk down to the valley. I had waited for eight years for the proposal but it was still a surprise.

What was the theme for the day, and did you have a colour scheme?
The theme was country show and there was no colour scheme.



How did you know when you’d found your dress?
We found the Maria Senvo dress by looking at images online and then found a stockist in the grounds of Hatfield House in Hertfordshire. It was the first dress I tried on and I knew before I even put in on that it was the one.

Where did you find the suits?
Again by searching Google, Kevin found the contemporary designer of tweed suits, Victor Valentine.


Tell us about your floral arrangements.
We arranged our flowers ourselves with DIY flowers from Natural Favours.

Often the aspect that makes a wedding original to the couple is the detail – tell us about the details of the day.
Our wedding was a very relaxed and fun day. The church was within walking distance of my parents’ farm where we had a large marquee for the reception. We told our guests that they could wear whatever they liked including wellies. The favours were wildflower seed packets which we got from Natural Favours which also acted as place names. As it was country show-themed there were competitions with rosettes and prizes. There was a bake-off, with the winning cake becoming the wedding cake, vegetable growing, vegetable sculpting and a welly-wanging contest.

The wedding breakfast was high tea and for our canapés we had mini Yorkshire puddings with sweet and savoury fillings. We had gravy fountains where people could dip in sausages, potatoes or Yorkshire puddings. We had a hand-made frame for guests to have their photos taken with, and a vintage Massey Ferguson tractor everyone enjoyed sitting on.



Tell us about your wedding cake.
It was the winning cake from the bake-off contest, which the groom’s mother and sister won, although it was anonymous.

How did you feel as you walked down the aisle?
Very excited, I can’t remember too much about it, it all happened so fast.



What was your most memorable moment?
Probably announcing the winners of the vegetable-sculpting contest. They were all brilliant but we knew our niece and nephews had entered a sculpture each, so we had to have a three-way tie for first place. They were ecstatic, it was so much fun. 

What was the most challenging aspect of planning this wedding?
The weather, it did not stop raining the day before, which made setting up the marquee in the middle of a field very difficult.



What was the most important investment for you? Food, drink, honeymoon?
The marquee, it looked beautiful and kept everyone comfortable throughout the day.

What song did you choose for your first dance, and why?
Dakota by the Stereophonics. The song came out when we first got together and we danced to it during our first date.



If you could go back and change anything, what would it be?
I don’t think I would change anything; the things that went wrong just made me laugh.

Was there anything you wish you’d known before?
If I could have known that our first dance was going to be perfect without any mistakes I might have been a bit more relaxed.



Where did you go on honeymoon?
New Zealand.

Do you have any advice for couples in the planning stages?
If you have a lot of DIY elements then ask for as much help as possible the day before your wedding.



Steal Their Style:
Photography: Chris Greenwood, Chocolate Chip Photography www.chocolate-chip.co.uk
Dress: Maria Senvo, mariasenvo.co.uk; Heritage Brides, http://www.heritagebrides.co.uk
Suit: Victor Valentine, www.victorvalentine.co.uk
Rings: Pravins pravins.co.uk
Flowers and favours: Natural Favours www.naturalfavours.com
Marquee: Your Marquee, www.your-marquee.co.uk
Catering: Sue Hodgson, 0786 641 3015

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