Following on from yesterday’s trip down memory lane, today I wanted to share the Polaroid fantasy of wedding photographers Julius & James. When Stephen (James), who has a passion for old film cameras, gave Julius a modified Polaroid 250 land camera for his birthday they immediately started to think about how they could use it in their wedding and fashion photography. So they started to experiment with 4X5 film in their Toronto studio.
“We’ve added three cameras, a Polaroid SX-70, which shoots the new Impossible Project film, and two Fuji Instax cameras”, Stephen explains. “Because this was going to be a studio shoot, we really felt free to play and have fun, so we decided to shoot a vintage bride, wearing authentic 1950s and early 1960s outfits. Our inspiration came from looking at a lot of original advertising from the Mad Men period. We re-used several period poses and compositions, and for about 12 hours only, it even became permissible, in fact obligatory, to smoke on set. We took multiple shots of the same pose using different cameras and film to demonstrate the variety of looks that are achievable with the instant film available today.”
I always get really excited to feature a super-budget wedding because I love to show you that, with a bit of clever engineering, a beautiful wedding doesn’t have to cost £20,000. Ruth & Steve spent just £700 on their day and it was perfect. They also planned the entire thing in just two months – sheesh, why can’t we all be such overachievers?!
This thrifty couple were very clever with how they spent the money that they did have to spend. Firstly the opted for an East London pub for the reception venue. Without extortionate rental rates, The Water Poet in Spitalfields was just the ticket. “The wedding took about two months to organise”, the bride began. “We booked the reception first, as I thought that would be the trickiest part of the operation. Then we booked our ceremony at Islington Town Hall and gave our Notice of Intent to Marry about four weeks before the ceremony.”
“Choosing a reception venue was probably the most challenging part of the wedding! I wasn’t too particular, but knew that I didn’t have the budget to hire a private venue. I started searching around for pubs with free room hire – most places could only reserve a couple tables at most. As the ceremony took place on a Friday, I knew most pubs would be rammed, which would have been too much for our parents to handle! We decided on holding the reception at The Water Poet in Spitalfields. It wasn’t too far from Islington Town Hall and they had a private room where we could set up the food, cake and decorations. My hens and I handmade all the paper flowers on the tables from a fab tutorial that I found on Rock n Roll Bride! The best thing about the room was its own sound-system – we plugged in our iPhone with our wedding playlist and just let it run all night!”
Ruth wore a dress from Topshop, and her shoes, also Topshop were an eBay bargain at just £10. Her headpiece was, amazingly, from Primark and her jewellery was a gift from Steve’s sister. The cake and flowers were both DIY efforts from helpful friends and family, the venue provided a buffet spread and they forgoed a DJ for a Spotify playlist.
Fancy having an eclectic outdoor wedding? Well have I got the inspiration for you today! With a hearty dose of elbow grease and a firm plan of action, Lou & Stu coordinated their Sheffield Botanical Gardens wedding mostly themselves.
“I’m a vintage events organiser so the vintage vibe was a natural way to go”, began the bride. “We’re both big 50s & 60s fans so we tried to combine the two in terms of the fashion but we didn’t want a fancy dress wedding. My dress was late 50s/early 60s in style (vintage, which I had altered to fit) and Stu’s suit was a 60s style tonic suit from Mod shop Jump the Gun in Brighton.”
“We didn’t really have a specific colour scheme but we tried to match his suit to my ginger hair and then the bridesmaid dresses to the hair and the suit so our wedding party complimented each other. That was harder than it sounds but we think we picked some good colours that worked together. My bridesmaid wore 50s style mint green dresses, Mary Jane shoes and seam tights.”
Describing their wedding as “Mod meets Moghul – a theme based on the sharpness of the Mod culture coupled with the glamour and colour from the Rajasthani era in India”, Aelia & Stuart were married at Kedleston Hall in Derby. They chose this space because it perfectly encompassed both of their cultures, which was really important to them. Aelia explains, “Asian weddings are notorious for being huge, but we didn’t want that. We wanted everyone there to truly feel part of the wedding. This was going to be a party for our nearest and dearest. We set out to find a unique venue to capture both our sides, tall order! We looked everywhere: gallery spaces, sculpture gardens, castles – the lot. We were losing hope until we came across a beautiful National Trust site in Derby. It was stunning and we fell in love with it straight away. Not only could we pretty much use the whole house for our ceremony, reception, dinner and dancing but it was closed to the public and it had a history steeped in the Rajasthani era as the owner was the Viceroy to India. Perfect! I had the Indian side covered and Stu had the design and architecture by Robert Adams covered. We couldn’t believe our luck.”
“Our inspiration stemmed from our two cultures: India and the Mod scene of the 60s”, Aelia continued. “Our profession as graphic designers also played a huge roll in making it a well designed wedding. My religion is Islam and Stu’s is, well… Jedi! We actually asked the string quartet to learn the ‘Ceremony Song’ from Star Wars so I could walk down the aisle to it! We both also have a love for geometric forms, and coincidently Islamic art is full of it so this naturally became the motif for all our stationery and paper goods.”
“Our next step was to secure the food. There was no question about it, we were to have curry for dinner. It was pretty much demanded by my friends and family. An Asian wedding isn’t complete unless you have a good curry. Five Rivers surpassed all our expectations. But this was a wedding of two halves, and instead of having canapés with drinks at the reception, we decided to have a tea party with copious amounts of cake, finger sandwiches and posh tea. This was kept a secret and I wish I’d been there to see everyone walk into the great kitchen to see a table running down the centre of the room with a mad hatter style party and a Choccywoccydoodah cake.”
Not wanting to do things by halves, Clare & Aslam had three weddings. The firs two were Muslim celebrations, and this one was their western wedding. Having three whole weddings to plan, the couple kept this event low key and budget friendly. They DIYed a lot and spent just £5000 on the day. “We tried to do everything second hand or hand made as I hate waste and am a big environmentalist”, Clare explained. The wedding was held at Hyde Barn in the Cotswolds.
“Although my husband and I live and breathe south and east London now, I grew up climbing trees and then later on, going to big raves and technivals in the beautiful countryside here”, Claire continued. “So it is as much my hometown as it could be. Aslam and I are basically big kids so when we had our pro pics taken we ran into the garden and climbed trees and messed around, the venue was perfect for this. The venue actually hadn’t even been built when we booked it! But for that reason we saved a lot of money. Risky, but worth it. Because they were a new venue they pretty much let us do what we wanted. And seeing as I wanted to throw a childlike homespun DIY shoe-gaze/punk/rock festival style kid’s party with bubbles and story books, masks and games as well as accommodate a naughty french bulldog – a blank canvas like this was ideal.”
The swinging sixties were the inspiration for Kara & Gary’s October wedding. That, and giant yellow balloons! The ceremony was held at the impressive Sefton Park Palm House and the reception was at The Hard Days Night Hotel. With the wedding taking place in Liverpool, The Beatles also played a vital role with them cropping up throughout the decor, on the cakes and even as the entertainment!
“Our theme was sixties sunshine!” began the bride. “Lots of bright sunshine yellow, lots of eyeliner & backcombing; daisies, vinyl records, a big red bus and some very skinny pants! Our wedding literally took shape because I saw and fell in love with a buttonhole made of billy balls online. I had never seen them before and I thought they were so fab I needed to have them! That was what started it all. I had picked my buttonholes and everything else would just need to fall into place! In the end the huge yellow balloons carried this round pop of sunshine through the wedding, and the bridesmaids wore a nice splash of yellow too!”
“Our wedding rocked because it wasn’t too rigidly tied to a theme and we went with what made us happy. If we liked something enough, it made the cut, whether it made sense or not! We love music so vinyl records featured heavily. We love Liverpool so we booked a Beatles cover band and our wedding favours were little hand stitched lambananas (synonymous with Liverpool and ever so cute! I didn’t care that half of the guests were from Yorkshire & had no clue what they were!)”