Wedding of the Week: Joanne Garraway and Samuel West

11 Jun 2018

Joanne Garraway and Samuel West's DIY barn wedding was a colourful affair, offering an informal and relaxed approach to the extra special celebrations

How did you meet?

At work, we are both trainee forensic psychologists.


Tell us about the proposal.

The proposal was in Venice on a city break. We went out for a nice dinner and drinks and then walking back to St Mark's Square, Sam got down on one knee near the Bridge of Sighs. I cried when I found out he had asked Harry (his son) and also spoken to my family and my brother to let them know he was going to propose. We then drank a lot of prosecco and celebrated with the locals in a little café.


What was the theme for the day, and did you have a colour scheme?

There wasn’t really a theme as such but in line with the venue everything was very rustic, so lots of bunting and hay bales. There was no particular colour scheme either but we seemed to have a lot of pastels and then some random purple bunting.


What venue did you choose and why did you choose it?

We chose Deepdale Farm in Keldholme (York), because it was beautiful and a place where we could DIY. We also wanted a venue where people could camp and stay over if they wanted. Plus Harry loved it.


When did you know when you’d found ‘the’ dress? 

I tried on around 60 dresses... my mum was very patient. I liked a lot of the dresses I tried on but somehow they weren’t the one. I found a lovely bridal shop which was recommended by a friend, that had loads of different styles of dresses and bridal separates. The woman who owned the shop encouraged me to try my dress on and I fell in love.


What did the bridesmaids wear?

Mid-length floral dresses from Next. I wanted them in something pretty but casual. They looked gorgeous. 


Where did you find your suits?

The suits were from a suit shop in Cleakheaton, found just in the nick of time. 


Tell us about your floral arrangements.

To decorate the venue we used flowers we picked up on the day from a local flower shop; we weren’t very organised. We cut the flowers and put them into glass milk bottles from Ikea to line the tables. We also used dried bundles of wheat to decorate the two barns and Sam’s dad bought some lovely fresh flowers from home. In addition, we went to a local garden centre and Jo’s dad put some plants into some milk churns we had. We had dried flowers for the bouquets, buttonholes and Jo also wore a dried flower crown.


Often the aspect that makes a wedding original to the couple is the detail – tell us about the details of the day.

We wanted a really relaxed informal vibe and the great thing about the venue was we could DIY it. We had a games area with giant Pass the Pigs and a Swingball (my favourite as a child). We’re vegetarian so all the food was vegetarian. We made our own picnic boxes instead of canapés and had vegetarian Mexican street food for our mains. Later in the night we had a wood fired pizza company come which went down a treat. We had a bath with ice full of alcohol and a mobile coffee van. The weather was sunny during the day which meant people could make the most of the outdoor space. There was a hut with a fire in for people to relax and keep warm in later on.


How did you feel as you walked down the aisle?

Nervous, my heart was pounding and I was shaking. My dad had to tell me to calm down and walk slowly.


How did you make the ceremony personal to you?

We wrote and read our own vows and Jo’s brother did a wonderful job of leading the ceremony. We had got legally married two months before at Leeds Town Hall (just us two and two random people we asked to be witnesses). We had a reading from Sam’s son (who’s 15) and Jo’s uncle. The whole ceremony was very personal and meaningful.


What was your most memorable moment?

So many to choose from. Walking down the aisle was amazing but the whole day was just full of such laughter and happiness. We loved how much our family and friends got along. 


What was the most challenging aspect of planning this wedding?

The planning. Neither of us love organising and we left a lot of things until the last minute which was a bit stressful. Luckily our family and friends were there to save the day and did an amazing job helping us set up and helping Jo manage her tantrums.


What was the most important investment for you?

Probably alcohol, food and entertainment – we felt that those are the things that people remember most from a wedding.


What song did you choose for your first dance, and why?

We chose The Story I Heard by Blind Pilot. Sam used to play it to me when we were first dating, on his guitar. It also brings back memories of us dancing to it together, after a few drinks.


Did you have any evening entertainment?

We had a band from Hull, The Airwaves. They were a last-minute addition and were brilliant. Everyone said they were amazing and they added such atmosphere.


Did you have a wedding cake?

We didn’t have a wedding cake. Instead we had a cake table and asked for guests to bring something for dessert (if they were happy to). We got loads of lovely different cakes and were eating brownies for days afterwards.


If you could go back and change anything, what would it be?

Nothing, it was the way it was meant to be. Actually, maybe leave a little more time to set up.


Did anything go wrong on the day?

We ran out of beer pretty quickly, but the venue opened up the bar earlier for us. It was a very relaxed informal wedding so even when things went off track people just pitched in and helped us. 


Was there anything you wish you’d known before?

That the day goes so quickly and it’s hard to take everything in. Also that things that seemed really important when planning, like chair covers, become meaningless on the day.


Where did you go on honeymoon? 

We went to Mexico, three days after the wedding. We wanted somewhere we could relax in luxury but somewhere where there were things to do and see.


Do you have any advice for couples in the planning stages?

Don’t worry, it will all work out in the end and you will even miss the planning when it’s over.

Steal their style: 

Photography: Matt Nicholls,
Venue: Deepdale Farm,
Catering: El Kantina, and The Wood Fired Pizza company,
Band: The Airwaves,
Coffee van: Espesso Van Gogh:
Dress: Lace and Co,
Furniture: Event Furniture,
Men's suits: Joshua Adams,
Flowers: Artisan Dried Flowers,
Videography: Beed Studios,

For more real wedding inspiration, pick up the latest edition of Bride magazine

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