Tag Archives: 1950s

Nicola & Steve’s Intimate New York City Wedding

Happy New Year!

I’m starting 2011 with a bang, and the wedding of loyal Rock n Roll Bride reader Nicola to Steve. The couple, from Northern Ireland, were married in New York and Nicola spent a lot of her planning time on Rock n Roll Bride – in fact when she emailed me her wedding submission, I actually recognised her name from all the comments she’d left along the way. It was almost like we were old friends, so of course I I said yes to featuring her gorgeous Rock n Roll New York wedding on these pages.

The ceremony took place in Central Park. The couple didn’t have a reception as such as only Nicola’s sister attended the wedding, however they did have a wedding dinner at The River Cafe under the Brooklyn Bridge. “The idea of being centre of attention brings me out in a cold sweat and as both of us are from different parts of the UK we just thought it would be a logistical nightmare trying to bring everyone together,” the bride told me. “We also selfishly wanted it to be about pleasing ourselves on our day and not about what other people would want or expect.  I think because we had both been married before we knew what we didn’t want and our families gave us their blessing to do it our own way.”

“The night before our wedding we went to a show on Broadway which was amazing. It was a last minute decision and a great one (even though I had planned an early night of pampering I’m so glad we went to the show instead!)  On our big day we walked from the hotel to Central Park with Brian (our photographer) snapping away the whole time!  It was the most beautiful Autumn day with just a hint of winter chill – no clouds, no wind, no rain which was really lucky as the Ladies Pavilion where we had planned to have the ceremony was occupied – a homeless man was sleeping there and so, rather than disturb him, we went round the corner to Hearnshead and got married on a rocky outcrop by the lake – Brian said he had never photographed a wedding there before so that made it all the more unique! Thanks to the wonders of Facebook a girl I worked as a holiday rep with years before and who I hadn’t seen since 1998 had seen my status update about getting married, happened to be in New York on a city break herself and turned up to watch us getting married – it was brilliant to see her after all that time and in New York of all places!”

“After the ceremony we flagged a yellow cab and went to Times Square – even though I hadn’t wanted to be centre of attention in a traditional church wedding I have to admit, it was pretty fabulous strolling round Manhattan in our wedding finery with Brian taking our photos!  So many people stopped to congratulate us or call out (nice) comments and we even got asked if we were shooting a commercial or was it a real wedding! We finished up at Grand Central Station and shared a bottle of Champagne with Brian before deciding we were hungry and had hours to go until our wedding dinner booked at The River Cafe.  So, Brian took us to Planet Hollywood in Times Square and it was really funny seeing the looks on peoples’ faces as we tucked into burgers in our glad rags!! We had only booked Brian for a couple of hours and really wished then we had him for the whole day as he was the most genuinely nice guy and an amazing photographer who, being a native New Yorker knew exactly where to take us for the best shots of the city. We then visited an Irish bar called the Playwright’s Tavern on Brian’s recommendation and had a couple of drinks perched on bar stools there with all the regulars! We then went to the River Cafe for dinner. It was the most amazing restaurant with views of the Manhattan skyline. It was honestly the most fun, relaxing, surreal day and New York is THE most amazing place on earth.  The fact that we got married there will always be so special and will of course be a reason to return for our anniversary at some point in the future!”

Nicola designed her dress herself and had it made by Alex Gillespie of The Wardrobe, a local dressmaker in Helen’s Bay, Co. Down. It was made using dupioni silk and lace in champagne and had hidden pockets. With this she wore shoes from Marks & Spencer and a faux fur jacket and retro handbag on from eBay.

“I love the glamour of the 50’s – when women looked like women,” Nicola told me when I asked about their wedding inspiration.” However in real life I am very much a jeans and jumpers girl andmost weekends will find us hillwalking or along the beach with our dogs so dressing up isn’t a frequent occurrence.  I knew that as we were having a city wedding I wanted to wear a 50’s style shorter dress andI wanted sleeves (which are strangely hard to find on the internet!)  As I couldn’t find what I wanted and unfortunately don’t have the 22 inch waist necessary to wear most original vintage dresses I came up with my own design.  I also love Sex and the City which was a big part of why we decided on New York as the location – we knew it would be cold as we were getting married in November and we liked the idea of a colder city break as opposed to a beach wedding.”

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Polly & Stuart’s Wartime Wedding

Polly & Stuart’s wartime inspired wedding was held in a marquee in Polly’s parent’s back garden. “We love vintage style from the 1930’s-1960’s. We wanted to incorporate our love of 1950’s Rock n Roll into our wedding and combine it with the aesthetic of a wartime garden party,” explained the bride. “We furnished our marquee and gentleman’s smoking room with pieces of furniture, decor and paintings from our home. I can safely say that I don’t think that anyone else has ever had a 1940’s waxworks dummy in their wedding marquee! We also wrote our own ‘hymn’ for our wedding service. We put sticks of rock on all the tables.We combined stylistic references and it worked- We backed the stage with 1950’s style working men’s club red curtains and had Victorian birdcages stuffed with ivy and pearls suspended from the ceiling. We turned my parents’ summer house into the ‘gentlemen’s smoking room’ complete with pipes, silk smoking jackets and a drinks cabinet.  We had our dog Enid Mouse as our whippet of honour. Our magnificent nautical cake complete with Marzipan octopus tentacles was by Annie at Yummy Nice. The cake was topped by a sculpture of us in a boat made by my husband Stuart. We didn’t want to be constrained with any particular rules!”

Polly wore a 1930’s vintage dress which she bought from Elizabeth Avey in London, which she then had embellished by Vikki Lafford who made a beautiful art deco shoulder piece for the dress. The bride’s reception dress was a 1950’s wedding dress which was purchased for just £70 from a dusty rail at the back of a costume shop in Manchester. Her gorgeous shoes were from Emmy and her hair piece was made by Rock n Roll Bride favourite, Flo & Percy.

For the centrepieces and reception decor, the couple hired vintage crockery from A Most Curious Party. The tea cup displayed were a DIY effort by the bride’s Mum and friends. “For our afternoon drinks reception and dinner we had the wonderful DJ 78 who played a divine selection of tunes on his gramophones and he went down an absolute storm!” continued Polly. “Our rockabilly band were the fabulous Rhythm Aces who kept the dance floor filled all night with great 50’s Rock n Roll. The music at our ceremony was performed by our musician friends Michelle and Susie. Michelle performed on our 1870’s American parlour organ which we transported (with the help of 4 very strong men) from our bedroom in London to our wedding venue in Suffolk!”

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Casey & Richard’s Sunny, Seaside, Sailor Wedding

My original plan today was to head out into my garden and take some snowy snaps for Photography Friday…however as I stared blankly through my kitchen window I had second thoughts and realised that it’s flippin’ COLD out there and you know what!? I’d rather stay here, wrapped in my slanket (blanket with sleeves – oh yes that is Rock n Roll!) For some further justification, I’ve got an amazingly SUNNY wedding from South Africa to share instead. This should warm your cockles…

Casey & Richard tied the knot on the 15th May 2010 (sunny!) They had the fabulous We Love Pictures there to capture their stripey seaside shindig. “We chose an old sugar baron’s estate cottage as our wedded haven – our family and friends descended from near and far to prep for the day and celebrate the occasion,” explained the couple. Dressed in a tea-length 50s Audrey Hepburn style frock with simple pumps to match, Casey traipsed to her husband-to-be thorough a thicket of coastal lushness. “Our crew were seated and standing in a clearing, aptly named  ‘The Glades’ – shielded by sunhats and paper parasols”, they continued. “The scene was decked out with paper daisies, white ottomans, picnic blankets, deck chairs and a tree draped in white with ribbons hanging down.”

“The pre-drinks consisted of wicked refreshers with names like ‘ pink polka dot bikini’ and ‘blue lagoon’. After ‘tying-the-knot’ in true sailor fashion – signifying our union – we paraded to the beach through a cacophony of streamers and screams. Guests enjoyed yoghurt lollies as we gathered round our sandcastle for the obligatory group snap. Table settings with flags, each grouped around a sandcastle, indicated basket-sharing teams for the picnic which followed. We took our wedding snaps on the beach, guided by a giant bunch of red and white balloons. Those were my favorite moments – mad wind and beach swept happiness.”

“Our guests engaged in a stripey seaside themed photo booth before we set down to our alfresco feast – a picnic and then fish braai under cloud-breaks of swing tunes and jazzy electro melodies. A tower of giant meringues were sparkled alight before we cut our stripey red and white wedding cake. The sweet table was ravaged, only two petit fours remained from a sizey spread of sweet offerings. The party set off with a bang in our transparent bunting flagged tent – and we entered the wee hours with a shebang and shoo-wop. It was certain, we were better together.”

See, how much better is reading that than seeing more snow photos?!

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Adrienne & Christian’s Budget-Friendly, Central Park Wedding

Adrienne & Christian were married in Central Park in a simple but perfect ceremony, “Central Park allows the rental of any place (except for the Conservatory Gardens) for just $25,” explained the bride. “The challenge is that they do not allow you to bring in anything, including chairs, so we all had to stand. It worked out perfectly, though, since we were in a beautiful location that did not need decoration, and we had two friends organize everyone upon their arrival into neat rows with an aisle. Another friend handed out whistles and ribbon wands on the path leading to the ceremony location, so everyone could arrive while making their own music with a smile. Our assortment of slide whistles, kazoos, and siren whistles were from Century Novelty.”

Adrienne wore a 1950’s style dress made for her by her Mum. Originally she had wanted a vintage dress, however after much research she discovered that most vintage dresses were teeny tiny! “I wanted a 1950’s tea-length dress, and scoured the web for weeks only to learn that girls in the 1950’s were TINY!” Adrienne continued. “My budget was under $200, and I found that all of the “XL” dresses were going for closer to $500 on eBay. Knowing that my mom is an amazing sewer, I changed my plans to find a vintage pattern, and found the perfect one for $20. We picked out most of the fabric at a JoAnne’s Fabric upstate, then I picked out some nicer lace at B&J Fabrics in NYC. My mom spent many hours sewing and did a beautiful job, including hand sewn beading across the neckline and subtle hand sewn lace and sequin accents on the skirt. The final touch came from a costumer designer friend in New York, Jess Trejos, who tailored everything to a perfect fit.” The bride also made her own veil.

Can we just stop one moment and share some love for Adrienne’s shoes?! They were the Mono Jane design by United Nude. “I had bought them the previous summer just to wear with everything-they are made from rubber and come in a rainbow of colors. When deciding what to wear for the wedding, I wanted something from my closet so I wouldn’t have to spend any additional money; the United Nude store in NYC seems to be closed now, so I was lucky to have them already! In talks before the wedding, my dad said, “you can’t wear blue shoes with a wedding dress!” and I said, “Sure I can!”

The reception was held at NYC Terrace in the Sky, NYC. The couple kept the decor simple but added personal touches here and there. The cupcakes (coloured to match Adrienne’s shoes) were made by a friend and their awesome personalised cake topper was made by the bride’s brother’s partner who runs a business ususally making creepy dolls called Strange Dolls.

With all of this, we wanted to avoid as much wedding commercialism as possible, and have friends and family contribute wherever they could as their gifts to us (luckily, we have some pretty talented friends)” concluded the bride. “It was cheaper, and much nicer, since everyone felt a part of the day. I was very inspired by the book One Perfect Day: The Selling of the American Wedding early on, and did not want to have a lot of wedding “stuff” just because that’s how weddings are done. Even with very hip parents and friends, throughout the process I heard a lot of “you can’t do that at a wedding!” types of comments. I’d like to tell anyone who is dealing with pressure from outside that we had a successful day after making a pre-nup, wearing glasses and blue shoes, not having paper invitations, not having bridesmaids or groomsmen, not having any chairs at the ceremony, and not serving food at the reception. None of that stuff matters, and it’s all about just having everyone you love together for the best party ever. They’ll get over it; it’s all up to what the two of you want.”

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Hannah & Jack’s Rockabilly Party Wedding

“When I was little, I dreamed of having my very own big, white wedding,” began Hannah. “However, when Jack and I decided to get married and started to make plans, it became apparent that even if we’d been able to afford it, we’d both feel out of place at a huge, formal gathering. What we really wanted was to have a great party with our families and mates, a party that just happened to include a wedding ceremony. So we threw ourselves into the planning and tried to make it ours.” And that’s exactly what this Rock n Roll couple did! The entire day reflected them and the things they love.

“I wanted to look like me on my wedding day, not like something that had been churned out of the ‘bridal industrial complex’. My dress was white but printed with black polka dots and strawberries which I bought from Vivien of Holloway when I visited my sister in London. I found my vintage white gloves on eBay. I fell in love with my shoes when I saw them on line and bought them to wear to work as an alternative to basic black but I ended up wearing them to the ceremony as well. My beloved hairdresser of two years, Kat, created spectacular, vintage inspired hairstyles for me and my two attendants. One of my best friends did our make up.”

Hannah & Jack walked down the aisle together to the Star Trek theme which ended up being one of her favourite moments of the day. After the ceremony, the wedding party went to an abandoned warehouse for anything but traditional wedding formals and the day concluded with a reception at The Famous Blue Raincoat, a lounge style café/bar/restaurant in South Kingsville, Australia. “The Raincoat’s style is wonderfully eclectic and funky and my Mother and sister had decorated it with flowers that Jack and I had bought from a market the day before. The ceremony was out the back, in the beer garden. The owner, Kaz, did virtually everything for us for us. She and her fabulous staff were relaxed, friendly, funny and welcoming. Their presence created a really wonderful vibe.”

“Despite our tight budget, the one expense we weren’t prepared to compromise on was the photographer. James was magnificent and Jack and I are so, so happy that we picked him to share our day. Our photos are beautiful. Best of all, when I look at them, I feel as though I’ve been transported back to the wedding. I can remember exactly how I felt when I arrived at the venue and saw all our friends and family, when my dress blew up in the middle of the street and when Jack and I said our vows.”

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Rebecca & John’s Elegant Vintage Garden Party

Rebecca & John’s beautiful Tennessee wedding took place at Almost Heavens Wedding Resort. With quirky details and elegant 50’s styling, this really was a wedding worthy of Rock n Roll credentials.

The bride wore a Paloma Blanca gown with awesome Irregular Choice shoes and a vintage veil that she found at a friend’s yard sale. A friend of the bride who is a costume designer re-worked it for her to suit the style she was going for. She carried and vintage lace parasol.

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“I really wanted to have a fun and inviting event for people to enjoy,” the bride explained. “I told every single wedding vendor we worked with that I did not want the wedding to feel fussy at all. I wanted our guests to feel like they had come to an extension of our backyard. I asked the florist to make the bouquets and table arrangements look as if they were picked that morning from Grandma’s garden. I borrowed jars from my mother and my maid-of-honor and also went flea market hunting.”

“I was so perplexed with cake toppers. I knew I would never find a good bride & groom figurine that was true to how we looked. I was finding wedding inspiration on a wedding blog and saw a cake topped with “kissing” salt & pepper shakers. I knew immediately I wanted to find kissing Indians so I could in some way show our appreciation for our native American ancestry. When the director of the venue couldn’t get my exact details on the cake I told her,”Tell the bakers to be inspired by the photo I gave them and have fun with it, and truthfully, I don’t care what it looks like as long as it tastes AMAZING!!!” She knew at that point that I was a laid-back bride. The best part about the cake was that it really did taste amazing and it was beautiful.”

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“I wanted there to be a lot of things for people to do as well. We had a huge toy table laid out for the more than thirty children in attendance. Who knew kids could be so creative with just pipe cleaners and jingle bells? I had little girls coming up to me all night with jingle bell bracelets. You could hear me coming from yards away. I think the parents enjoyed the kids being tied up with stuff to do as well like the dark thirty movie showing of Little Rascals under the stars on top of a mountain. I thought the kids would enjoy the huge candy table but I heard stories afterwards of old ladies shoving hand fulls of candy into their purses and pockets.”

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