Author Archives: Kat

Alice in Weddingland at The Designer Wedding Show, October 2010

A few weeks ago myself and the lovely Rock n Roll Bride intern, Alice, headed to The Designer Wedding show. I asked her if she’d like to write the report for me as I felt that her opinion on the show (as a bride-to-be) would be much more interesting for you..especially those of you who might be a little afraid of the whole ‘bridal show experience.

I’m not going to lie, the big shows can be hella scary – but this smaller and more intimate wedding show is actually very pleasant- there are no scary brides running around with clipboards (give me strength!) or manic and desperate suppliers trying to shove leaflets in your face. Think champagne reception, clean white stalls and super friendly and creative wedding suppliers.

Alice wrote about some of her favourites. Photos by us both (although we were a bit rubbish and didn’t take nearly enough…we were having too much fun to work!)

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So when Mrs Rock n Roll Bride asked me if I was going to the Designer Wedding Show, I was forced to face my biggest wedding fear; the bridal show.  To make matters even more complicated this was no ordinary bridal show-this was the designer version.  Sloany girls with their pushy mums immediately jumped into my head, along with the worry of disapproving looks from snobby vendors as a scruffy tattooed bride to be stopped by to have a look.  Needless to say, I was doubtful that I would fit in, and that in turn there would be nothing there to tempt to (or within my price range!)  However I bit the bullet and told Kat I’d be there.  I bought my ticket online, and booked the day off work.  The countdown was on until D-day; Designer Wedding madness day!

The day started smoothly with the complimentary shuttle bus picking me up from Sloane Street station.  I was pleasantly surprised by the other brides on the bus..aside from the odd exception decked out in their Joules finery, most of them seemed, well, normal. A very pleasant surprise!  The show was being held in Battersea Park, and so a quick journey across the river and we were there.  The first thing that hit me was the pleasant sound of an opera-singing pianist performing, well, I’m not quite sure what exactly what it was, but suffice to say it was along the lines of a jazzed-up Kaiser chiefs style number!  Ha, it was a brilliant start to the day!

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Scott & Ashley’s Incredible DIY Picnic Party Wedding

I loved Scott & Ashley’s wedding as soon as I saw it…and I loved it (and them!) even more once I got chatting to the bride and their photographer Jeremy Lawson about all the amazing little details of their day.

“Our inspiration came from our love of the vintage,” the bride began. “We listen to records at the house, shop for clothes at retro themed consignment stores, and stay glued to TCM. We sort of envisioned a party that looked like a party scene we saw years ago in the movie Mona Lisa Smile combined with the famous barefoot dancing scene from Big Fish in the town of Spectre. We wanted that easy, happy, homemade, and colorful party for our closest friends and family.”

Ashley wore two stunning dresses, the first a Goddess Gown by J Crew which she found for a steal on Ebay (seller paisleypetunia) and the second a GORGEOUS 1950’s vintage pink prom dress from landof100dresses on Etsy. Ashley chose the first dress for their first look and pre ceremony shoot as well and for dancing afterwards, “It was beautiful, simple, comfortable, and easy to dance in” she continued.

“We made the decision to see each other before the wedding to take pictures around our amazing city, but I still wanted the surprise element of the ceremony. My dress was a 1953 prom dress that came with the owner’s original filled out dance card from her senior prom. This dress made me giddy in a way I didn’t know was possible, as I’m almost strictly a jeans and T-Shirt kind of girl. My shoes were from Dillards, the jewellery served as my borrowed items from my sister (who wore them in her own wedding), and flower headband a combination of rosettes from Francesca’s and H&M.”

The couple got crafty and DIY’d their wedding completely. With a sister who runs a cake making business, it was a no -brainer to Ashley who would make their cakes, “I loved my cakes! I’m one of those lucky brides that has a sister with a cake business at home in Tennessee. She spent the week making six different flavored cakes, drove them up to Chicago, and finished the job in a tiny hotel kitchen the night before. She even made up a Tennessee Jack Daniels Chocolate Recipe to represent my home state and a Georgia Peach for Scott’s. She is amazing.”

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Juliana & Tiago Small & Intimate Brazilian Wedding

Brazilian born Juliana & Tiago met online and wed a year and a half later. They married at sunset in a small and intimate ceremony. The couple were keen to keep the day personal to them and not to succumb to the expectation of the large and lavish wedding that a customary in Brazil. “We got married in a small town, it was a mini wedding, during sunset, ” the bride told me. “We decided to not make everything big, like it’s usual here, and everything very romantic, but with a vintage touch. In the ceremony we played The Who, Beach Boys, Beatles and She & Him. The reception had the same spirit, a lot of songs to make everyone dance, from 60’s to 80’s.”

Juliana created all the flower arrangements herself from the bouquets to the centrepieces and her Aunt helped her create the flower arrangements for the place settings as well as the chocolate favours.

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“Rock n Revolution” – A Parisian Punk Rock Marie Antoinette Photo Shoot… The Final Results!

A few months ago photographer David McNeil and I were sat in a Creperie in London. He turned to be and said, “Let’s do another photo shoot and let’s make it the best yet… Let’s go to Paris!” It’s hard to believe how far we’ve come since that first whimsical conversation and that we actually managed to pull it off – to hop over the channel and channel my inner Marie Antoinette!

Well, if I do say so myself, we not only pulled it off but we SMASHED it! I am actually so blown away by the whole experience (and the results) that I kind of don’t really know where to start..maybe the beginning would help?

The Photographers
Myself and David McNeil have been friends for years – before either of us got into this who wedding ‘thing’ so needless to say we know each other pretty well. I love the fact that we started our businesses around the same time and I often refer to him as my “wedding industry husband” (and a few people have actually thought he was my husband – however Gareth is a lot more beardy!) We’ve worked together on shoots before; he did Gareth and my engagement shoot, my (two!) bridal shoots (here & here) and my boudoir shoot, however this was our first with proper styling, hair & make up.

Working with David is a dream. He’s calm, he makes me comfortable and he’s so creative it’s unreal. In fact the first ever shoot we did together was my boudoir shoot which just goes to show how comfortable I am with him! David also asked our friend and Rock n Roll Bride favourite, Shell De Mar if she’s like to come along too. I think it took her all of about 3 seconds to agree after we told her we were going to Paris! Shell second shot with David and also shot some behind the scenes images and video – both of which will be featured on the blog next week.

The Stylist
With such an epic idea as a Marie Antoinette themed shoot in Paris, there was really only one lady I could ask to help is style it. Penny Merricks of Tigerlily Weddings is not only one of the most well connected planners I know but her vivacious personality and unique visual flair made her perfect for this project. She managed to get some amazing people to donate props for us to use and she pulled together an utterly incredible hair & make up team. She also persuaded Ian Stuart to lend us FOUR – yes FOUR – gowns to bring with us! Gift of the gab? Yes I think so!

I don’t quite know how she did it, but after she spoke to Mr Stuart himself (yes she spoke to him directly!) and told him of our plans, he immediately shipped four of his most extravagant dresses right out to us! I know. I still can’t believe it either. Amazing.

The Dresses
I am so pleased that we asked Penny to take creative control on the styling of this shoot because in all honestly I would never have chosen Ian Stuart as the dresses for the shoot if it was all up to me. Not only would I never dream that he’d agree to letting us borrow over £20,000 worth of stock to bring to Paris, but big dresses scare me a little…and these were BIG dresses! These were the kind of dresses that make an instant impact and yes, are ginormous and a little scary, but after getting my hair and make up done and rocking the look out of the streets of gay Parieee, they were, well…perfect. The lady was right!

All the gowns were from Ian Stuart’s brand new Revolution Rocks! range.

The Concept
The inital idea from David & I for this shoot was to do something really really different. That phase is thrown around a lot at the moment so we really did have to think outside the box, and even go out of our own comfort zone. DIY & quirky touches, tattoos, pink hair…are all very unique and Rock m Roll but we really wanted to make you all go WOW. We wanted to pull off a real statement of a shoot…something you’d literally never seen before and maybe wouldn’t even expect me to do.

Penny was able to bring this out of us, even more so than we envisaged ourselves. David & I may have said said “Paris, Marie Antoinette” but if we’d done everything ourselves I don’t think even we would have gone as far-out as we did.

I predict that over the next few years the trend of small and quirky DIY weddings might shift slightly towards couples wanting to create something a bit more opulent and ‘out-there’. I think that people will still be doing things on a budget and implementing DIY elements, but that the styling will become a lot more more glam, ostentatious and extravagant.  With this shoot we wanted to show you that more dramatic styles can still be pretty damn Rock n Roll and you don’t have to follow everybody else’s idea of what makes a Rock n Roll Bride to be fabulous!

Want a big dress instead of a short quirky number? Go for it!

Want mini wedding cakes instead of cupcakes? Do it!

Want to wear vintage pearls and a custom made crown? ROCK IT OUT!

…And what a way to showcase this idea that by channeling one of the most glamorous and opulent women in history, Marie Antoinette!?

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The Rock n Roll Bride Venue Guide – London

I get loads of emails from you lot asking me advice on all manner of wedding planning related matters and while I’m easily able to reel off a long list of fantastic photographers I know or recommend some awesome dress companies, when it comes to wedding venues…well I’m as clueless as you are!

We had a massive drama with our wedding venue (they cancelled three months before our wedding day – but that’s a story for another time!) so needless to say finding the perfect venue for your Rock n Roll wedding is not my speciality! However luckily for me (and you!) I know someone who knows all about the very best and coolest venues in the country. I asked my good friend Mary Herrington of Forever & Ever Events if she’d be able to start up a feature for me, showcasing some of her favourite and most Rock n Roll wedding venues all over the country, First up London…

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I can’t tell you how cool I felt when Mrs. Rock n Roll herself approached me about guest blogging on the topic of Rock n Roll venues in London.  Seriously felt like I had gotten the official seal of cool approval.  My mind started racing through the mental rolodex, considering all the many amazing venues in my books, and I realized that I needed to stop and think about what makes something Rock n Roll. As you all know, a Rock n Roll Bride wedding can be punk rock, hip hop, down home, urban chic, tattooed, but at the same time, Rock n Roll Bride is also about beautiful weddings –every single featured wedding is full of jaw-dropping photography, romance, high style and just the pretty.  And that’s just it: what makes everybody stop and take note is the fact that every single one is different and unique.  So rather than assume that all of you want the same kind of venue that evokes rustic elements or architectural design or a space you can DIY, I knew the best way to approach this mammoth task was to think of unique qualities about each venue that stand out, that will get guests talking, that will be awesome for a rock band, or a jazz band, or a venue that will provide the outdoors indoors, or exude laid back cool, or that will give you a wicked setting rife with kick ass photo ops. It was clear I needed to give you a wide range in both style, size and economy, but all of which have something extra-ordinary.

Without further ado, here is a list of 10 wedding reception venues that should satisfy your different Rock n Roll sensibilities.

1.  Shoreditch Town Hall

You can’t get more Rock n Roll than Shoreditch.  Right off the bustle of Old Street, the Town Hall, while situated in the thick of uber hipsterdom, does not attempt to be trendy.  Far from it, the building’s interior harks back to Edwardian times, with gilt-edged walls, stained glass windows as well as an orchestral bay, all preserved in its historic state. However, staying true to Shoreditch’s alternative energy, the motto speaks quietly to the venue’s Rock n Roll spirit: “More Light, More Power”, a motto etched on its crest and in the stained glass windows (check out the photos of me in the venue below!).  The main Assembly Hall has its own elevated and built-in stage, perfect for your wedding band and holds 350 comfortably for a dinner and dance set-up, while, for smaller weddings, the Council Chamber downstairs can hold 80+ comfortably for dinner and dance.  Licensed for civil ceremonies, it is also entirely flexible – no on-site caterers or furniture, so you are free to bring in whatever and whoever you want.  Hire charges range from £3,000-4,000 + VAT.  And the most Rock n Roll of all: readers with any Forever & Ever wedding planning service will get a 10% discount on hiring Shoreditch Town Hall on bookings made prior to 1st February 2011.  For more details on this special offer, contact me directly at info@foreverandeverevents.com and make sure to refer to Rock n Roll Bride.

Shoreditch Town Hall, 380 Old Street, EC1V 9LT, 0207 739 6176.

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