Leslie & Ben’s Rowing Club Wedding

Leslie & Ben’s rowing club wedding shows perfectly why I adore my readers! Such utter gorgeousness without conforming to anybody else’s idea of what makes a wedding…plus the whole thing was DIY. I approve!

“We called in a lot of favours to make the day; partially because we had a limited budget, but also because by using friends the day would be more special.  Luckily we have a lot of talented friends who include a graphic designer (who did our invitations), a chef (catering), a musician (band), ex-florist and so forth.  The favours, peanut butter fudge, I made myself 4 days before. It was all gone before the main course at the sit down dinner, so I’m guessing no one minded it was made by the bride!”

“The venue decorating was DIY by a friend…we found out on the Thursday that we weren’t allowed into the venue on the Friday to decorate as they had another booking.  I had been worried about that the whole time, so had minimal decorations in mind, just flowers, and a few other bits and pieces.  So late Thursday night, I called my friend Gary who happens to be my event assistant at work and bribed him with a Gaucho in exchange for decorating.  So he cancelled his plans on Saturday and went and did some diy decorating for us.  And it was all perfect.”

“Ben also joined the wine society and we had months of wedding wine tasting before we decided on what to get and brought it all in ourselves (the venue has very reasonable corkage for a London venue). We take our wine very seriously and wouldn’t settle on a wine list, so it was very important to find somewhere we could choose our own wine. And god it was good.  We bought way too much, Ben fully expected to bring some home.  I expected to run out.  Our friends and family did not disappoint on the drinking front; it was just the right amount to see us through the day without a drop to bring home.”

When I asked the bride why the felt their wedding was Rock n Roll, her answer just made me love them even more! It’s all so true. “I didn’t plan a wedding.  I planned a party that we happened to get married just before and dressed up for.  I never wanted a wedding in the “traditional” sense.  We wanted a wedding, followed by a slap up meal and a big party in the evening.  I had family come from all over the world – The States, Australia, Kuwait – to be with us, so we kept the wedding and meal (4 course feast) as family only, with a couple of friends thrown in: mine who had delayed their honeymoon following their August wedding so that they could come from The States, as well as a few of Ben’s close friends as I have an enormous family and he has a tiny one.”

“We wanted a wedding where everyone could have fun, and wasn’t just a spectator on the sidelines.  The Father of the bride speech happened when it was only family which was great as he knew everyone, everyone
there knew what a tough year we had so no explanation was needed and so forth.  So no speech that alienates a lot of people, or bores them as they have no idea what’s happening.  The evening guests had the groom and best man’s speech, it was all friends, so was perfect.  They were short and sweet.”

“I think this sums it up.  We have had so many people tell us it was the best wedding they had ever been to, because at the end of the day it was fun.  Within half an hour of the evening guests arriving, we had everyone on the dancefloor, and they didn’t leave it until the venue made us stop well after midnight!”

“The best piece of advice I was given, sadly not sure who from…don’t try to please anyone else when wedding planning.  Stay true to yourself and plan the best day for you.  We did and we had an utter blast.  And people won’t like what you do.  My mother HATES our wedding invitations – they’re based on steampunk – but we thought they were the coolest thing ever.  So what!  We love it and that is all that matters.  Don’t be swayed by others opinions.  Or by the whole bridal machine.  And ENJOY it all.  I do event organising for work, so approached it all in a functional way as it is what I do.  I wish I had had more fun with it, rather than make spreadsheet after spreadsheet after spreadsheet.”

Good advice Leslie!

Continue reading

Carolyn & Julian’s Multi-Coloured, RayBan Registration of Marriage

“My husband and I met on New Year’s day in 2007 after a persistent friend-turned-matchmaker insisted that we meet,” began Carolyn, the bride, when I asked her to tell me the story of how she met Julian. “It wasn’t love at first sight at all, in fact I thought he looked like an obnoxious guy! It wasn’t until we started chatting online and finally meeting up a couple more times, and when he asked “Have you heard of Explosions In The Sky?” (our space-out-heart-tugging fave musicians). It was a done deal. We became inseparable ever since.”

“We had so much in common, it felt somewhat surreal at times. Music aside, we were also big tattoo enthusiasts but I reckon the core of our relationship is really our nonsensical side. We do so many silly things and laugh at ourselves so much that well, it still is funny! I love that the most about us as a couple. Julian works as a tattoo artist and I am a photographer, I think we both compliment each other so well not only in terms of personality but also on a creative level.”

“I’m not a fan of bling at all, so Julian proposed to me with a vintage film camera that you will see me holding in one of the photos. It was to me, the most perfect engagement gift!”

From this perfect beginning, came a wedding that was perfect for them. This event was actually their ‘registration of marriage’ – ie the legal bit. The bride told me that in Malaysia, it is quite common for this to happen a few months before the actual wedding. Instead of a traditional registration ceremony, they wanted to make a big deal of it and so asked their registrar to come to their venue, a funky bar & restaurant called Palate Palette in Kuala Lumpur, where they signed their papers and promised to marry in front of all their friends and family. “Instead of inviting only a few people for our registration, we invited close friends and relatives, it was pretty much like a wedding-on-the-go. It was really special and so much fun!! We even did a mini-walk in where we walked up spiral steps to ‘Today’ by the Smashing Pumpkin’s.”

“What makes our registration Rock n Roll I think pretty much stems from our (nonsensical) personalities and interests. We both love film photography and got our photographer friends to help shoot the event. We got a whole bunch of different coloured Ray Bans for our guests for our photo session, which turned out really awesome! We had several portraits taken of us around the premise which I felt really gave out happy, kiddy feel, simply cause it was colourful. Oh and the surprise for the day (for me), was The Simpsons themed placards!! Obviously, its my favourite cartoon.”

“Another surprise was from my Godmother who prepared a huge board of some of our photos and guestbook, she also went at length to do the flower pieces for each table with recycled bottles. So much love from her I can’t describe!”

The lucky pair get to do it all again next Summer in their actual wedding, I can’t wait to see the photos then.

Continue reading

Laura & Andy’s Classy, Rockabilly, Back to the Future Inspired, DIY Wedding

Laura & Andy’s rockabilly wedding is pure class. Shot by the wonderful Chloe Browne of Caught the Light, the day exudes 1950’s elegance and styling…with a big fat Rock n Roll twist!

“We did things differently by really letting our personalities and our interests shine through our wedding preparations,” began the bride. “Both ourselves and our friends are immersed in the music dancing and lifestyle of the 40s and 50s Swing and Rockabilly scene.  It was inherent that I would wear a 50s style dress rather than a traditional wedding dress, that the details of our wedding would be centered around our love of vintage music, pin-up fashion, jive and jitterbug dancing, traditional tattoos, classic Chevy pickups!”

“Everything to do with the day reflected our day-to-day interests as well as some personal obsessions (particularly a certain Michael J Fox film from the 80’s!) Rather than having a ‘theme’ our wedding day reflected us -eclectic, unconventional and fun-loving and we wanted it to go with a swing!”

“We wanted an on-budget, hand-crafted rock’n’roll wedding where everyone we love best in the world could come and share the fun of seeing us get hitched followed by an awesome party. In the evening we truly ‘Rocked Around The Clock’ with my Great Aunt and Uncle showing us kids how they danced it the first time round which was awesome!”

“I knew from the get go that I would be wearing a 1950’s style wedding dress but still enjoyed the rites of passage of trying on some meringues beforehand. My Bridesmaid Hollie had nicknamed me ‘The Anti-Bride’ after every white dress I saw myself in left me in peals of laughter. I just felt like I was in fancy dress which I didn’t want. I just wanted to feel like me. I had my heart set on a coloured dress – and the inspiration for the peach colour came from the dress that Marty McFly’s ‘mother’ wears to the prom in ‘Back To The Future’.  ‘BTTF’ is our favourite film and not only was my dress an homage to it, but also our first dance was ‘Earth Angel and then straight into Johnny B Goode’ as an in-joke between us.”
 
I just have to interrupt right about here and say that the Back to the Future references make me love this wedding even more! It’s also my favourite film of all time and Gareth & I walked back up the aisle to ‘The Power of Love’ from the film. Anyway, sorry about that brief interlude…back to the task at hand…

“My dress was custom made by Caroline Arthur and my petticoat was custom made to match the colour of my dress by a Annabella Designs on folksy. Hollie had also had a lady on etsy make me a custom garter in leopard print and silver skull detail that I unwrapped on the day. It was so very ‘me’ and I was really touched.  I was originally planning to have the Heart Vivienne Westwood shoes but when I saw the cherry version I actually let out a small scream and hugged the sales assistant in Liberty! They cherry shoes then inspired the design of the bridesmaid’s hats which I made from millinery items bought from MacCulloch and Wallis.”

“I was insanely happy to find the ‘My Pretty’ Jewellery collection from Tarina Tarantino when I was planning my outfit as I have a life long obsession with The Wizard Of Oz. I was really torn between The Wicked Witch Of The West version but saw sense and went with Glinda The Good Fairy pearls and matching bracelet.”

“The Bridesmaids and I each wore over sized heart rings, custom for the wedding by Clutterfly Jewellery who make Rockabilly inspired jewellery. It was the perfect answer to my ‘Something Blue’ – but with added glitter. The bridesmaids had matching red glitter heart rings declaring their love of ‘TEA’! This matched our vintage teapots and teacups dotted around the mansion and reminded me of the brilliant vintage tea–hen-party they had thrown for me!” 

The couple decided to buck tradition and had the groom arrive in style at the ceremony in a Chevy. “As myself and my bridesmaids had a beautiful large Bridal suite to get ready in at the Mansion, we decided to turn tradition on its head and have the groom turn up in a vintage car – a mint green 1950s Chevy pickup,” Laura explained. “I will always remember hearing the engine revving as it pulled up outside and feeling insanely excited that the ceremony was about to begin!”

Both the Laura & Andy are designers and met during their Design Degree at University. Therefore, in order to make everything super personal, the couple decided to hand make most of the wedding decor and details with help from their friends and our family. The group worked hard and created the tissue paper pomanders. the cake and crocheted cake toppers, the cd favours, the guest book and the family photo board. “Other goodies at the guest table included 40s style hand-held fans to help guests cool down after a jive on the dance floor and vintage pressed glass bowls filled with marshmallows, bon bons and other sugary treats.”

Continue reading

Helen & Dan’s Good Old-Fashioned Coronation Street, 1940’s Tea Party Wedding

Cute, quirky, British weddings are my utter favourites to feature. There’s so much originality and such fabulous ideas floating around this industry of ours, and it really really excites me! I was lucky enough to meet Heather, the photographer who captured this beautiful wedding, at the Unveiled Photography Conference that I spoke at in July so I’m so excited to see that she’s put what she learnt in to practice with this killer wedding.

Helen & Dan were married in September in Rye. Their theme was “a good old-fashioned Coronation Street party/1940s tea party feel”. Originally the couple had planned to have an Alice in Wonderland theme, however after the film came out, and the whole world went Alice mad, they decided to do something different and more unique. “My mum is a magpie for nice bits and set about scouring the length and breadth of Lancashire’s charity shops for table decorations, the cups and saucers, the teapots and the candelabras” began the bride. “Dan’s nan volunteers in a charity shop, so she managed to pick up some lovely pieces too.”

“The outfits were the thing that I was most concerned about and probably spent the most time ruminating over. I KNEW it had to be a retro/1940s feel but the shops were all a bit full of conventional, uninspiring things. I scoured the internet and, thankfully, found Claire Pettibone, an American bridal designer. Her stunning gowns are stocked at Blackburn Bridal in London. Once I had the dress, it felt like everything else fitted into place.” With her dream dress, Helen wore Irregular Choice shoes and a hairpiece by Orelia.

Helen continued, “Neither Dan or I are religious, and we were both paying for the wedding ourselves, so we knew we wouldn’t be going down the traditional route! No older family members to please. Our readings at the ceremony reflected our desire to do things differently, and we had ‘To Love is Not to Possess’ by James Kavanaugh and the Doctor Seuss ‘Wedding Vows’.  My older sister and her son read the Doctor Seuss piece, to much laughter from the congregation, and Dan’s mum read the To Love… piece.”

“We’re both really big Blur fans, so it seemed appropriate to walk up the aisle to ‘Tender’. Dan came to the doors of the wedding chamber and met me so we could walk down together. I was so happy to see him when the door opened! My friend said he knew I was nervous when he saw my dress hem “trembling”! Our exit tune was ‘Celebrate’ by Kool & the Gang, and our first dance was ‘To The End’, again by Blur.”

Continue reading

Best of Blogs – Issue 15 ~ The Bowie Bride & Nicole Polk (Plus Bonus Press – Rock n Roll Bride featured in The Guardian Newspaper!)

In this month’s Photo Pro article I featured one of my favourite bloggers, The Bowie Bride, and her killer wedding shot by Nicole Polk. The magazine is available in shops now!

When I sat down to write this month’s article, I pondered for a good few hours about what you might want to read from me next. Then it hit me – what is the number one question photographers always ask me? “How do I get Rock n Roll clients?” The answer to this question is as complicated as it is simple – basically, you need to show these allusive “Rock n Roll clients” what you’ve got – show them, not just tell them, why you’re perfect to shoot their style of wedding. As I touched upon last month with Jasmine Star, the type of clients you shoot will generally determine the next set of clients you get – a “self fulfilling prophecy” so to speak.

One tried and tested method that I know has been successful for many a newbie photographer is to run free wedding photography contests – pick a deserving couple who match the criteria of the type of weddings you want to be shooing, shoot their wedding for free (brownie points and karma a go-go) and voilà! – a perfect example wedding in your portfolio!

Photographer Nicole Polk based in Philadelphia wanted to do just this – to raise her profile as an alternative wedding photographer and to give free wedding photography to a deserving couple who might not have the budget for professional photography.  In order to do these the contest idea seemed like the answer. She used blogs for inspiration as well as promotion.

She explained, “Over the last few years, I’ve come across some amazingly personalized weddings on the wedding blogs.  The Philadelphia market has been a little bit slower to adapt this trend in the industry.  I had couples that were infusing small things into their weddings that reflected their personality, such as favors, or holding the event outside.  Largely though, these weddings held a lot of traditional elements.  I wanted a way to show my clients what is possible.  The old saying is “show what you want to sell” so I decided the best way to get it out in front of my clients and potential clients was for them to see me photograph a very stylized event – the kind I wanted to be shooting..”

Continue reading

Alice in Weddingland – The Perfect Punk Rock Princess Dress

For most brides-to-be the dress is the number one most important thing they’ll choose for their weddings. In fact in the mind’s of many girls it’s the most important dress they’ll ever wear so getting it just right is key. This month, our resident intern Alice talks about her hunt for the perfect punk rock princess wedding dress…and one that wouldn’t break the bank! (and I’m pretty chuffed that I was able to help her out with that one)

Enjoy, and as always, show some love in your comments…

♥  ♥  ♥

I’ll be perfectly honest with you; a wedding dress was never high on my to-do list when it came to planning my own wedding.  In fact, until I went to the Designer Wedding Show I had never even seen a wedding dress in the flesh before!  Through watching their Designer catwalk show I was able to see examples of all the things that were previously foreign to me, and began to develop my own ‘bridal taste’.  I knew from one look that the Delphine Manivet short dresses were right up my street, and that the Lisa Redman dresses were perfectly whimsical and modern at the same time.  I was like a kid in a candy shop!

I fell in love with the gorgeous short dresses from the Lisa Redman range

Delphine Manivet ‘s dresses are the perfect mix of quirky and classic but with a hefty price tag!

Continue reading