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A Mexican-themed wedding in Norfolk

A Mexican-themed wedding in Norfolk

Emma and Rich filled their celebration with bright colours and playful details


Emma Harrabin, 27, a redevelopment manager, Richard Hayes, 30, an Earth Observation Specialist, held both their ivil ceremony and reception at Chaucer Barn in Greham, Norfolk.

Budget: £17,000-£20,000

Flower budget: £900

Photography: Katherine Ashdown

We met while we were both studying at the University of Sheffield. After we'd been together for four years, Rich took me to Berlin to visit the Christmas markets. I love Christmas and Germany, so I had an inkling... I had just woken up from a nap (I was in thermals, wooly socks, hair in pigtails, no jewellery) and asked Rich if he had seen my ring. He said “No, but would you like this one?” and that was it!

Our wedding was Mexican themed with lots of papel picado, succulents and bright colours. We love colour and had been finding it hard to pick a 'colour scheme' with just one or two shades, so we thought we'd throw the whole rainbow into the mix. We also absolutely love Mexican food and never say no to a shot of tequila!

We fell in love with our venue before we'd even arrived – and then we met the staff, who I cannot speak highly enough of! It's an eight-bedroom barn conversion that you get for the full weekend, and you can have your day your way. We arrived on the Thursday afternoon and has everything set up by the Friday, with help from our loved ones.

We knew we wanted bright and bold flowers but didn't know where to start. Rich's mum is very green-fingered and her friend is a retired florist, so we asked them to help and they did a wonderful job! The flowers were the most talked about thing from the day. The bouquets and displays were just so vibrant and they made a huge impact.

The flowers were so important to us – they played a huge part in helping us achieve our vision of a colourful, Mexican fiesta. Without the flowers I just don't think it would have been the same... they added so much! It was also really important to us that our nearest and dearest were involved in some way in the wedding, so it meant the world that friends and family were able to contribute in this way.

We went for yellow onicidium orchid, red leucospermum, red trailing ameranthus, green trailing ameranthus, bright yellow and orange spikes dahlia delphinium, hot pink gerbera, purple veronica, dark marjte, yellow calla lilly, Black Eyed Beauty and Orange Celosia. All of the greenery and foliage was taken from Rich's mum's back garden and consisted of olives, cotinus purple and eucalyptus robusta.

My mum made our cakes and they were simple, yet delicious. We had one coffee and walnut cake and one that was white chocolate, but by the time I'd smashed the piñata (!) and we'd done a few rounds of tequila, we'd forgotten all about them! They were delicious the next day though. Instead of favours we donated the money to Cancer Research.

We did so much of the wedding ourselves or with the help of family and friends and thats what made our wedding so special to us. My friend Alice sent the papel picado (Mexican paper bunting) all the way from Mexico, my mum grew all of the succulents in her greenhouse, my cousin and sister set up a make-shift photo booth with an iPad and a wireless printer, our friends picked readings just for us, Rich's step mum made table cloths and runners and put together goody bags for the children.

Three of our closest friends played and sang for us during the ceremony; they even learnt my favourite song, The Girl, by City and Colour, and when they started playing it, I fell apart. Something that really made me laugh was the fact that Rich had his flies undone for the whole of the ceremony and we only noticed when we got outside for group shots!

We had planned to get married outside, but the forecast got worse as the week progressed. The day before the wedding was beautiful, as was the day after... but it was grey and rainy on the Saturday. In the end it worked out for the best as everyone was inside together. It was truly lovely.

My advice to brides-to-be: Ask your caterers to save you some canapés for after your photos! Also, if you want to ignore traditions, ignore them. We nearly slept in separate rooms the night before our wedding, but then realised we don't sleep well when we're apart so we may as well be together!

Steal their style!

FLORIST: The bridegroom’s mother VENUE: Chaucer Barn DRESS: The House of Webb SHOES: ASOS GROOMSWEAR: Ted Baker STATIONERY: Pingle Pie HAIR STYLIST: Rock’n’Roller Parlour MAKE-UP ARTIST: Kat Steele