Freakshow Wedding at a Cemetary: Jess & Matt

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Jess and Matt were married at a cemetery. Although this might sound a bit ‘weird’, they thought it was anything but, “Many people get married in a church, and pretty much all churches have graveyards so our venue was not too far from the ordinary when you think about it”, Jess said. “Arnos Vale is a place we hold deep affection for, so the surroundings were the focal point and the building was an aside.”

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“As neither of us are religious or keen on upholding tradition were very eager to do things our way, creating a day that was so obviously ‘us’ every step of the way”, she explained. “We only the kept the traditions we want and threw out those we didn’t. We got dressed on the morning of the wedding together – we get ready with each other every time we go out, trusting each other implicitly to be honest about how the other looks. We are each other’s mirror, so to get dressed with anyone else would’ve started the day on completely the wrong note.”

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“We also walked each other down the aisle – we wanted to start our marriage together. And besides, I am not anyone’s to be given away or to. Instead of having bridesmaids we chose to be walked down the aisle by our parents and siblings to celebrate the unity of our families.”

“The theme for the ceremony was based around my hair colour – this which led to importing a pair of British made peacock print shoes back into the UK from America and raiding every garden centre in Bristol for purple and turquoise heathers! Although our wedding was in a graveyard, and both of us are ex-goths, we wanted to move away from the stereotypical creepy wedding that everyone was expecting of us, and have a theme which reflected the natural beauty and peaceful nature of our surroundings.”

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The reception was held at The Thunderbolt, a pub in Bristol. The whole wedding party, and their wacky entertainment, The Ambling Band, walked there together from the cemetery. “After the ceremony, we opened the doors of the chapel to be greeted by The Ambling band (a surprise we’d kept hidden from our guests) playing a cover of ‘It must be love’,” she continued. “Doing the can-can on the crematorium steps and then being led to our reception venue by the band and taking in the public’s reaction was so fun! One car stopped and asked our photographer ‘Is this a protest march?!'”

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“The reception party theme was born of our love of the peculiar, paying homage to the dark carnival feeling of New Orleans and the freak shows of Coney Island”, she explained. “Hand crafted and painted freakshow posters adorned every wall, and the guests got to leave their cards in a ‘Zoltar Says…’ booth as well as their good wishes for us in a copper embossed anatomical heart guest book.”

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“Matt proposed to me on a valentine’s day midnight picnic, at the top of Brandon Hill in Bristol. Matt and his brother had spent hours creatively slicing open a packet of Jammie Dodger biscuits and hid the engagement ring box cleverly inside. Cue a beautiful of view of our home town city lights, a flask of hot tea and a marriage proposal! The Jammy Dodger theme carried through to our Save the Date Cards (Jammie Dodger fridge magnets) and our wedding cake (a giant Jammie Dodger) and we had them on top of the cupcakes.”

“It’s not just ‘the brides special day’; you are committing to each other and agreeing to share every part of your lives”, she advised in conclusion. “With that in mind, share the planning, the workload, the stress and the excitement. Compromise with each other when you can’t agree, and make sure both of you feels that you play equal parts in the day.”

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“Don’t be afraid to do what feels right to you both. Don’t bow to pressures applied by society, family or friends – those who love you will respect you more if you do it your way. Congratulate yourselves on what you’ve achieved after the big day is done. It is the biggest party you will ever organise and it is a stressful thing to do. Take some time out afterwards to celebrate your hard work – we recommend doing this over a bottle of something fizzy!”

“And finally, I just want to say thank you to all those who have gone before us and shared their weddings on Rock n Roll Bride. It is through your efforts we learned that we could have the wedding WE wanted, hopefully through ours others will learn too!”

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Supporting Cast

6 comments

  1. Angela

    Oh my giddy goodness! I absolutely and utterly love everything about this!!! The bride’s incredible hair, the dress, the flowers….argghgghgh! STUNNING! :-D

  2. I was blessed to have been asked by Matt and Jess to be their Wedding Celebrant. We spent time together over the months before the wedding where I found out about them both, how they met, what makes their hearts sing and together we wove an extraordinary and beautiful ceremony. With humour, love, joy, music and great readings that they had trusted their friends to chose for themselves! I knew the readings that the friends had chosen but, bravely, Matt and Jess didn’t. They are a colourful, innovative and extremely creative couple – we had a ball! I am so lucky to do this work that I love with people that I love to spend time with and share such extraordinary times with. Blessed x

  3. Karilyn clayton

    What a lovely way to have a wedding celebration
    Far removed the expected, but defiantly well thought
    Out, I was in awe looking at your gallery and reading
    Your story. Yes your right you have to do things your
    Way it’s the couples day. Congratulations on your wedding and much good luck and wishes for the future. Xx

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