What Does Marriage Mean To You?

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Working in the wedding industry means than when I meet new people, after the usual queries about “what makes a wedding alternative?” and “what’s the weirdest wedding you’ve seen?” are answered, our conversations often turn into a discussion about marriage.

I feel like I’ve had these conversations with a very broad spectrum of people, all with very differing thoughts on what makes a healthy marriage. I’ve met people who have sexually open relationships and others that didn’t go to bed together before they said I do. I’ve chatted with those who cohabited within days of meeting and others that are married but still chose to live separately.

Over the years, these conversations have quickly made me realise that while I might be all for the most unconventional of weddings, I really do have quite a traditional view of marriage. Sure, our roles might be slightly unusual as I’m the main breadwinner whereas Gareth takes on more of the household chores, but in terms of what it actually means to us to be husband and wife, we’re pretty damn vanilla.

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Day of the Dead Wedding in Shoreditch

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Lindsay and Steve originally planned to elope in Las Vegas, but when the bride fell pregnant those plans had to change! “We had booked our wedding ceremony and flights to Vegas to get married in October 2014, followed by a UK Day of the Dead themed reception a week later”, Lindsay began. “A week after we did this, I found out I was pregnant! Cue cancelling of the Vegas plans and, shotgun wedding in London, and the nicknaming of bump as B.V (Baby Vegas)! We brought our plans forwards to August and, fortunately, all of our other suppliers were super accommodating and we were able to move all our UK plans forward without a hitch.”

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The reception was held at Far Rockaway in Shoreditch and they were the first wedding they’ve ever held there. Judging by these awesome photos I don’t think it will be the last though! (Oh and by the way the very awesome Eclectic Wedding Extravaganza wedding show is being held there March 1st!)

“Our original Vegas wedding was to be followed by a month’s honeymoon in Mexico for the Day of the Dead festival”, the bride continued. “Sadly, this also had to be cancelled. However we continued with our Day of the Dead themed reception as a nod to our original plans.”

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Way Up North 2015

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In early December I received an email from Cole and Jakob of Nordica Photography, inviting me to speak at a wedding photography summit that they were putting on in Stockholm this coming October. It took me approximately 3.5 seconds to reply and say “OMG yes! Where do I sign?!”

Sworn to secrecy, I quietly and internally freaked out about travelling to Sweden to speak to a conference of 500 photographers all about blogging for business… but I was excited. Very goddamn excited.

Then, this month, they slowly started to drip feed their social media with the rest of the line up… and my quiet, internal freak-out became a whole lot louder and more vocal.

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Travel and Art Deco Themed Wedding

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Daniel and Keely had lots of different influences for their October wedding. From the bride’s love of jewel tones – reflected in her dress and make up and the bridesmaid outfits, to their mutual love of travel. They even had art deco references in their stationery. It sounds like it shouldn’t work, but it totally does because it was a real reflection of them.

“The inspiration for our wedding was definitely ‘fun’”, said the bride. “We put a lot of effort into making sure that everyone had as much fun as possible. In fact, most of our decisions were made with our guests in mind. We had the ceremony and reception at the same location so that guests didn’t have to drive to another venue and could have a drink or two at the ceremony. We also did our photos beforehand so that our guests didn’t have a big boring break between ceremony and reception. This also meant we got to spend a lot more time with our guests.”

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“We organised lawn games for guests”, she continued. “We had archery (which was a huge hit!), badminton, croquet, boccie and giant Jenga (we made it ourselves and painted it in the colours of the wedding). It was great fun for everyone, and we were so happy to have a venue that was really creative and accommodating. They put in so much work to make sure our ideas could be made real and we really wouldn’t have been able to have the wedding we wanted without a unique venue like The Hideaway Retreat.”

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Pirate Wedding in Italy

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Marcy and War’s wedding was pirate themed! The day was held at Castello di Leguigno restaurant in Casina and their ceremony was officiated by a friend. Both the bride and groom wore pirate costumes made for them by Midnight Costumes. They also made the bride’s bouquet from bones, shells and rope. The couple also asked all their their guests to dress up, and everyone obliged!

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“I didn’t want a wedding like all the others”, began the bride. “We are both cosplayers and nearly everyone of our guests is too. It’s a really large group of friends and we travel all throughout Italy and attend conventions. The idea of a pirate theme was inspired by Pastafarianism (Church of the flying spaghetti monster!) We wanted to make sure everyone would be dressed up so wearing a costume was a must-do on our invitation.”

“We weren’t really fussed with décor and details, mainly because we figured our guests would ornate the venue enough with the amazing variety of costumes”, she continued. “We just had a few skulls dotted about an a treasure chest cake which we made ourselves!”

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Valentine’s Day Circus Wedding

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Ray and Paul had two wedding days. The first was an intimate ceremony in Poland, with just close family members on Valentine’s day. Then, a week later they had a crazy fun, fancy dress circus themed wedding at Circomedia in Bristol!

“The thread through everything was magpies – two for joy”, wrote the bride. “But how that worked in Poland and Bristol was, well, pretty diverse! Our Bristol party was approached from a magpie’s perspective. Pick everything you like best in the world, add shiny stuff, mix it all together, add more shiny stuff. And a tiger. And some games. And some more shiny stuff. And lots of French 75s. That was it, really!”

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“We also wanted to avoid what we called ‘wedding tax’ and so chose our suppliers based on the fact that we wanted to support good people, not buy tonnes of wedding ‘stuff’ that would end up in a landfill. We tried to spend our money with small businesses and specialists  where we could, and where we couldn’t, we involved people and companies that have always been good to us.”

“Our reception venue is an independent arts charity space”, she continued. “so we felt really good about supporting them. We also had lots of things that will be reused like plastic plates and fancy dress stuff. Even all the balloons went home with our guests. Paul will wear his suit and coat again and again, and I’ve already worn my red coat and shoes with my normal clothes!”

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