One Friendly Place in South London was the perfect venue for Anna and Mat’s colourful wedding. While they officially got married three months earlier at Islington Town Hall, they wanted to throw a fun celebration for their friends and family. The venue was decorated with the coolest props already, but they added their own personal touches with the LOVE sign (made by the groom!), flowers in beer bottles (which they collected themselves) and the multi coloured paper lanterns which they hung from the ceiling.
“Our inspiration was just the notion of all the things we loved and enjoyed”, Anna said. “We decided very early on there were literally no ‘rules’ we were going to follow, and we did exactly what we wanted! We had party bags, balloon animals, loads of live music and mountains of booze and food. Basically, we wanted it to be the best party we’d ever been to and not to be constrained by the notion of what a wedding reception ‘should’ be.”
“Our theme was just ‘fun’! We created our own website called ‘Lovefest’ to share all the details of the day that was very fairground/ circus themed but the day itself was just a mash up of everything we like, including Mat’s love of skulls which made it into the cake and some of the decorations.”
The bride wore a 1950s inspired dress made by Oh My Honey and a Rock n Roll Bride for Crown and Glory (woop woop!) headpiece. “My whole outfit (including hair and make up which I did myself – well, actually Mat did my hair!) cost less than £150. I wore shoes I already owned and my dress was made to be twirled in but not expensive! Our biggest expenses were food, two live bands and the photography. We really wanted people to be well fed, dance the night away AND have amazing photos of us all to look back on in years to come so those were the areas we really went to town.”
“We also saved money by using old beer bottles for vases, and lights and soft furnishings that we already owned. We also organised everything too. Even though we had a lot going on we arranged all the suppliers ourselves and thanks to the people we worked with it all turned out really well. We also had amazing help from our friends to set up the venue the night before which was invaluable! Mat’s mum bought and arranged the flowers on the morning of which was a lifesaver too.”
“The only thing that didn’t go quite to plan was the fact that the venue was SO HOT (we were married in July and there was no AC)”, Anna explained. “In fact it was so ungodly hot that everyone was sweating like maniacs and using the ice cubes from the beer bath to cool down! It really was like having a party in a bikram yoga class..! But everyone’s awesome spirit made it bearable and it seemed to make everyone just party harder and be more in the moment.”
“My advice to other couples would be don’t get bogged down with what you ‘should do'”, she concluded. “People can take a while to get used to the idea of something so different, but everyone (of all ages!) loved our wedding and in the end, no one missed the more ‘traditional’ aspects. Plus, if you’re going to pay this much for something, why should it be anything but exactly what you both want? Also, don’t choose suppliers you don’t like – if they don’t ‘get you’ or aren’t responsive/ make you feel bad about your day, then don’t hire them! Oh and finally, no one is ever too old for party bags, bubble guns and balloon animals!”