There really is no other way to explain Lucy and Benjamin’s wedding. There are Alice in Wonderland weddings… and there are festival weddings… but mash them both together and imagine everyone in attendance has dropped acid and you’re maybe halfway there to how bonkers this wedding was! Their wedding photographer Lee Allen described it as the maddest wedding he’s ever been involved with… and you know what, I can totally see why!
“We met at a friend’s BBQ and the week after went to Reading Festival together so we wanted our wedding to have a festival feel”, explained the bride. “We wanted people to feel like they had been on a weird acid trip that couldn’t have been real when they left! It sort just took shape over time. We met Hamish Guerrini, the Druid Minister who officiated our ceremony, at his stage, The Rabbit Hole, at Glastonbury two months before the wedding. After we met him we completely changed the wedding theme to include him! We added the tunnels and different rooms for guests to be led into.”
Now that I’m writing my final ever ‘Alice in Weddingland’ post I really don’t know where to start. I am now happily married and honeymooned, and it is the best feeling in the world. So I shall simply relive that amazing day with you, through this article, and hope that I can convey at least some of the magic that the day held for me. I hope you enjoy this final instalment: Alice in Weddingland got married!
We booked to stay in the hotel the reception was being held in for two nights, one night prior and then the wedding night itself. Our room was beyond gorgeous: champagne, chocolates and strawberries waiting for us on arrival, and a bed so big it took FIVE pillows to fill it up lengthways. There was also a lovely sofa, coffee table, and dressing table, which turned out just perfect for when Elbie arrived at 9.30am to do my hair and makeup. We had done a trial a few weeks earlier so we knew exactly what we were doing, and it took around two hours from start to finish. During this time Sassy from Assassynation Photography, Frank from Sassy n Frank videography and Andy from Cine8 all arrived and got to work filming my getting ready, and shooting my dress in all manner of positions around the hotel. When sassy disappeared with my dress I was of course a little nervous, but when I saw the pictures I knew it was all worth it! I put in a little ban – no photos or filming before my makeup had been done, because it had been an early morning for me, and a late night drinking with our friends the night before!
Although I didn’t have traditional bridesmaids, my two best friends Lois and Claire were with me the whole time while I was getting primped and preened from all angles. The helped me into my dress and garter, and even did up my shoes for me (I broke my foot three weeks before the wedding, so had to hobble around the whole day. Also, suddenly the gorgeous Irregular Choice red shoes Graham had purchased me as a present were so impractical I had to ditch them, and cram my swollen foot into a pair of red Ked plimsolls!)
Once I was all ready, and Graham had called me to say he was we set about orchestrating a lovely mini-shoot within the wedding day. Sassy had had the idea of photographing our first look (our reactions to seeing each other all dressed up for the first time) and thought where better to do this then in the reception room that had been dressed by our florist Miss Moles that morning? So, I limped up the spiral staircase that led to our ‘room in the sky’, and saw Graham standing by the window with his back to me. When Graham turned around it was such a special moment – he looked beyond adorable, and I knew then and there that I was making the best decision of my life by marrying him. We explored the room, taking in all the beautiful flowers, giant cupcakes, and sweetie buffet, as well as the photos from our engagement shoot that we had displayed on mini-easels around the place.
We then went to have our portraits taken. We decided to take these photos around the hotel. Lucky for us the hotel was filled with mirrored walls, chandeliers, and quirky old fashioned wooden phone booths so it made for a cute backdrop. It was so fun just messing around with Graham and our wonder team and it calmed me down quite a lot from the nerves I’d been feeling creep up on me all morning.
A couple of hours later it was time for me to go wait for my wedding car in our room, and Graham to lead the guests down the seafront to the Town Hall. I can honestly say, those ten minutes I was alone in our room were ten of the most surreal moments of my life. The beautiful magnitude of what was about to happened to me was really sinking in, and I was so excited I couldn’t contain it any longer. When my Step-Dad arrived at the door to take me to the car I knew I was ready to get married, and I couldn’t bloomin’ wait!
We arrived at the Town Hall around the same time as the guests, and it was lovely seeing our loved ones in all their finery, mingling and getting excited to share our special day with us. I made a beeline for Graham, and we headed into the building to have our pre-ceremony meeting with the Registrar. A short while later, it was time for us to enter the room via a side door, as all our guests were already seated. Regina Spektor ‘Us’ played as we walked through, and I remember seeing everyone’s expectant and animated faces as we took our seats at the front. It was a lovely feeling.
We opted for a simple and modern set of vows, and the ceremony lasted around twenty minutes. When it was time to leave, an unorganised sort of receiving line formed, with each guest personally greeting us as they left through the door. This moment was one of the highlights of my day, as it was so unexpected and meaningful. We didn’t plan it but it was so nice to say “Hi” to everyone. We only had 30 guests so it didn’t take very long.
As the guests exited the building they were greeted by Hannah from The Tea Set, who while we had been actually getting married had set up a red vintage ice cream trike just outside the door. This was a huge hit with the guests, and I cannot recommend her enough. It was quirky yet practical, as everyone likes a little light refreshment! Also it fit in perfectly with our seaside theme, so I just knew I had to have it!
Graham and I were driven back to the hotel, and the guests walked back along the seafront. As we walked through the rotating doors of the hotel we were met by the staff greeting us as ‘Mr and Mrs Clark’ and with two flutes full of champagne. Lovely! Our guests started filtering in then, so we directed them to the 8th floor, where our reception was being held. We commissioned Lucy Ledger to design an A2 poster board that we displayed on a giant easel to pop by the entrance to the Chartwell Room, to point guests in the right direction. Although I don’t see how they could have missed the entrance, and there was a vintage apple crate full of glasses of Pimms right by it!
We had a Pimms and canapé hour, whilst we mingled with the guests and enjoyed everyone’s reactions to the little touches we had put in to make the decoration unique to us. The sun then came out, so Kat made sure us girls and Graham hit the beach to have some outdoorsy photos taken. This part of the day was super fun, and the difference natural light makes in a photo is phenomenal. We then all headed back to the Hilton, for the wedding breakfast.
We opted for a seaside themes buffet, and I must say there was an insane amount of food. I think we got through little more then half of it! We didn’t have a seating plan, but we needn’t have worried as everyone found a seat next to whomever they were talking to, and it worked out perfectly. At the end of the meal Graham and I made a small toast/thank you speech each, and I must say Graham’s utterly trumped mine! We then opened presents, drank lots of champagne, and cut our giant cupcake! Another highlight for me was throwing my bouquet, as I had no idea how competitive the single girls at the wedding were going to be! The action shot photos of this single event are priceless!
We had to vacate the room by 9pm, so at around 8.30pm some guests left, and the rest moved downstairs to the hotel bar with us. Queue a LOT of drinking and stolen cigarette breaks, until at about midnight when the night came to a natural close. (Apart from Sassy and Kat, whom I later found out went out and hit up my favourite Brighton nightclub until 4 in the morning!!)
All in all, it was quite simply the best day of my life. But don’t let me mislead you into thinking that it all went perfectly…the registrar kept calling me Elizabeth during the the vows, I got chicken satay allll over my one-of-a-kind Joanne Fleming wedding dress, and Graham was such a bag of nerves the whole day he didn’t eat or drink a thing!
You learn though, and I want to stress to you all, that it is the imperfections that make your wedding personal and unique to you. If you wanted a generic, perfect white wedding then you probably wouldn’t be reading Rock n Roll Bride right now, and it’s important to keep that in mind.
Remember what the day really means: is it a party for a party’s sake, or is it a party to celebrate the commitment you have just made to the love of your life? By putting everything into perspective you can minimise and bridezilla tendencies, and have the best day of your life.
To all you lucky ladies (and men!) planning your wedding day – enjoy it! The day itself goes so quickly, so make sure you enjoy every part of the process, because it wont last forever. And finally, I’d like to say the biggest thank you of all to Mrs Rock n Roll Bride herself: my wedding would have been a million miles removed from the day that it turned out to be if it wasn’t for you. I hope you know how much you mean to Graham and myself.
Alice & Graham were married on Tuesday in sunny Brighton. The imtimate wedding had only 30 guests and I was one of the lucky few to be invited to join in the celebrations. We ate ice creams, drank champagne and Pimms and wore silly glasses on the beach…
Alice will be writing up her full wedding report when she returns from her honeymoon to Florida in a couple of weeks, but for now…here’s a little teaser for you. How cute?!
Congratulations Mr & Mrs Clark!
You can see the rest of Alice’s adventures in weddingland here.
Never one to turn down a good party, the invite to Alice’s hen night (bachelorette party for my American readers) a few weeks ago couldn’t have been more exciting news. I was all geared up and ready to rock Thorpe Park with soon-to-be-wed Alice and her hens…Reading Alice’s report is a little scary though because I have no recollection of a lot of the late night (early morning!) stories she’s telling. Maybe one too many Cosmo’s maybe? Whoops…
♥ ♥ ♥
It’s set up to be one of the most classic nights of your life…you hear horror stories about it, have to delete the pictures of your Facebook profile so great Aunty Val in Australia doesn’t see them, and overall enter the experience with a sense of trepidation. I can only be talking about one thing: your hen night.
I say hen night, but the stag do is just as important. Admittedly a lap-dance limo and copious amounts of semi-naked ladies never appealed to me much, and not just because of typical ‘girly’ insecurities. I fully DO NOT agree with the sentiment that your hen or stag do is your last night of freedom. This implies that by getting married you are throwing your best days behind you, and also that nothing counts until ‘I do’. Well I disagree with both of these sentiments; getting married is going to start the best chapter of my life, and I would never dream of trying to get one final conquest on my hen (although a man in the queue at Thorpe Park did offer me “one final bunk up” before I got hitched. Obviously I was very tempted by such a romantic offer…!) So while Graham was off at a surprise band practice and bbq on the beach back home with all his old friends, I hurriedly arranged a day at Thorpe Park and a night in the cheapest hotel I could find, which just happened to be the Travelodge at Heathrow Terminal 5! Only the best for my girls…
Five of us met in the Thorpe Park car park, and I was met with a flurry of pink ‘hen weekend’ sashes and a ‘bride to be’ custom made tee shirt courtesy of my art teacher friend. I also had a wand and a veil. Now let me tell you straight, at first I found the idea of dressing up in stereotypical hen do paraphernalia simply horrifying. However, out of the context of a seedy nightclub in Brighton I suddenly found it quite a novel idea. Also the attention we drew was quite funny, although I’m still reeling from the muppet who shouted “as if she’s getting married”!!
After a day of fun and frolics at the theme park (and a few water rides that Kat was not loving!) we drove to our hotel via Sainsbury’s for an essential booze run. Champers and pre-mixed Cosmopolitans purchased, we made our way to the hotel and settled down for a drink and a gossip. I’d booked three rooms for 6 of us (my photographer and now good friend Sassy from Assassynation was meeting us after she finished at a wedding she was shooting that day) but we hung out in the largest one all together. At this point we had NO plan for the evening, and I’m so glad of this. We let the evening pan out, and it ended up being beyond classic! We asked at reception where was nearest to go out for dinner and they told us Windsor. So, as soon as Sassy arrived we called a cab and made our way there.
Keeping you up are we Alice?
As soon as we saw the castle we knew we were in a whole different world…posh just isn’t the word to describe how out of place penis straws and pink sashes were! We went for dinner and then followed the masses of beautifully dressed young people until we found a bar called “AllBarOne”. And let me tell you, it all went downhill from here. We made friends with a stag party, where the stag just happened to be Peter Jones from the Dragons Den’s little brother (apparently), and the men were all over fifty and incredibly well to do. However they loved downing Jaeger bombs with me, so we enjoyed their company for a few hours and enjoyed the drinks that followed suit even more!
At around midnight we went on another wander, and came across a bar that had a dance floor and DJ at the back, so naturally we just had to hit it up. Cue dancing on chairs and feeling like a celebrity as Kat and Sassy both snapped away while I was dancing with various characters. Oh dear, if only this was the end of the night….
We headed back to the hotel by 3am, and as we had some alcohol left over from earlier, we kept drinking. Fast forward 4 hours later and you have a video of me streaking down the hotel corridor, a tee shirt from a random lad we met in the foyer, and one huge mess of a room. In fact security came and told us off so many times that they even went and got the master key and tried to physically make us leave! (Kat: although secretly I think the guard was enjoying the entertainment…I can’t imagine the Terminal 5 Travelodge usually sees so much action!) However being drunk and more then a little brazen we bolted the door from the inside and hid in the bath tub (yes the bath tub, not even the bath room, the bath tub!) and waited for them to leave.
The next day I had to rush home to Kent for midday where mine and Graham’s families were having a big meal together in preparation for the wedding. I was feeling very sorry for myself indeed, until I got to Graham’s parents house and found him lying on his bed, curtains closed, in the dark. I asked if he was okay, and he replied “Well I would be, if I hadn’t come home from the stag without my shoes and half my shorts missing”. Looks like it wasn’t just us girls that got up to mischief!
I’m getting a little bit sad becuase Alice’s wedding is drawing ever closer…and that means she won’t be my blog intern any more (boohoooo!) However the tears will have to come later because today I’m off on her hen weekend! We’re heading to Thorpe Park for some childish, girlie silliness (the best kind) and afterwards for dinner, drinks (standard) and living it up in a hotel for the night. I can’t wait!
Happy hen weekend lovely Alice…and I promise not to bring any ‘L’ plates or willy straws…well… probably not…
Full report and embarrassing photographic evidence to follow…
With Rock n Roll Bride columnist Alice’s wedding day drawing ever closer, this month she decided that it was high time to tackle something she was a little nervous about – the flowers! Pretty blooms may not sound too terrifying to some, but as a punky chick who readily admits to not being the ‘flower type’, she didn’t even know where to start. Luckily she found a lovely florist in her home town of Brighton who was not only able to help her find her perfect flowers within budget, but who was able to show Alice that actually flowers aren’t that scary at all.
♥ ♥ ♥
With less then 12 weeks to go everything is (hopefully!) coming together. Still, there remains a few pieces of my wedding puzzle that need to be organised, and this month I’ve been an absolute bridal machine getting as much sorted out as possible. Wedding flowers always caused me slight concern when allocating a budget to each element of the wedding, because, quite frankly, I had no idea where to begin! I’d never stepped foot in a florist, and found the ones that I walked past in Brighton quite unapproachable and intimidating. So needless to say, organising my wedding flowers was not something I was looking forward to.
A few weeks ago I was invited on a girly night out with Kat, Joanne Fleming (my wedding dress designer), photographer Jacqui Mcsweeney and the infamous Lisa Devlin in Brighton. It was over copious amounts of cocktails that the topic of wedding flowers came out, and Lisa suggested a little florist tucked away on the outskirts of Brighton. One twitter reminder the next day, and I set about googling “Miss Moles Flower Emporium”. From the website I thought that the flowers looked pretty, but what do I know about flowers? I knew that it was best that I arranged a meeting with Barbara Mole and went to her shop to see what she had available in the flesh. So, following a lovely exchange of emails Graham and I set out for the Emporium armed with images of flowers I’d seen in bridal magazines that I’d cut out and scrap-booked that we could use as inspiration, and three retro buckets that we were hoping to use as centrepieces.