Ralph & Carly love all things Americana and retro and so the theme for their wedding was easy to decide on. They wanted to incorporate the feeling of driving through America in an open top car – something they love to do in real life. Ralph had even proposed on a road trip through Arizona, one of their favourite places in the USA. “We love Americana and we feel that there is a big difference between what is retro and what is vintage”, Carly explained. “We wanted our wedding to be all things that we love. We love nothing more than booking a flight and a car in the US and then exploring, although sometimes we end up in very peculiar places and cannot wait for daylight to arrive so that we can head out! For the most part though it’s the way that we have discovered some of our favourite places. Each table was named after a hotel or motel that we have stayed in on our trips, there have been many others but these had the coolest signs.”
The wedding was held at The Chainstore in Trinity Buoy Wharf, at the London Docklands, a venue they originally found when going to an American themed diner in the area! “Went to visit the diner there, Fatboys, and after eating more than we could handle we felt that it would be best to walk it off so we went exploring”, Carly continued. “This is when we discovered the lighthouse which turned out to be The Chainstore. We fell in love with the building and its surroundings and I immediately pictured our wedding. When we looked into it we found that it is a complete blank canvas which was music to our ears as we had visited other, more traditional, wedding venues that were dictating everything to us. That, to us, sounded like hell!”
With a budget of just £8500, Kelly & Matt pulled of a wedding that perfectly encapsulated everything about them. From the cute red colour scheme, the DIY details and the relaxed photography, their wedding was one to remember. “We did absolutely everything ourselves for as little money as possible!,” began the bride. “We wanted the day to represent us as a couple and to be really personal. We wanted to make it a really relaxed atmosphere and make sure all our guests and we had fun. The theme was slightly retro, with red as the main colour set around black and white polka dots and loads of red love hearts! Everything looked exactly as we had imagined and seeing it all for the first time was one of my favourite parts of the day. All the details looked amazing and we were glad we put so much time and effort into them.”
The bride bought three dresses (third time lucky!) before finding her perfect gown. “The first was ordered online from America and was not the size described”, she explained, “the second was a ‘settle for’ dress and then I fell in love with the third and final dress which only arrived a week before the wedding!! It was by Marc Le Carr – the ‘Kelly’ dress – and I got it from Berketex Brides in Bristol.”
The couple also wanted to have a few surprises throughout the wedding for their guests to enjoy. After the wedding breakfast, an ice cream truck showed up for dessert, which also provided some great photo ops as well as being a delicious alternative. Then for the entertainment they had ‘bandeoke’ which, to their delight, everyone got involved in!
Hannah & Lewiss’ small and sweet wedding was held at St Fagans Castle, the National History Museum of Wales. For their evening party they moved to the trendy Jolyons at No.10, a boutique hotel in the heart of Cardiff. The venue choices were important to this couple and they both wanted places that stood out. Hannah explained, “We both didn’t believe in long engagements so we set a date for 9 months after we got engaged. Finding a unique venue was important to us, but this was harder than we imagined. Living in Cardiff, we wanted somewhere in South Wales but it seemed to be flooded with chain hotel venues or vast historic buildings which were too big for the small wedding we had dreamed of. After overlooking it a couple of times we went to visit St Fagans Castle. St Fagans is the National History Museum of Wales, an outdoor museum full of historical buildings from all around the country. The Castle is a Grade 1 listed Elizabethan Manor House set in the most fabulous gardens. Even though it wasn’t what we originally had in mind, we knew straight away it was perfect. Also it’s in the area where Lewiss grew up and his parents still live, so it being local meant a lot to him.”
For their wedding theme, they oped for a subtle 50s theme, but really, they just included anything they loved. “The last thing we wanted was a one colour themed cookie cutter wedding”, Hannah continued. “We are both really creative so we did pretty much everything ourselves. Not only did this help us stamp our personality on the whole day, but it worked well with our smaller budget too. We started off with quite a strict theme idea, but over time, we stopped thinking about it too much and just let our natural style and quirkiness shine through. I love the classic look of the 1950s so that inspired what I wore as well as some of the decor; we went for a simple black white and red approach. I was very specific about what decorations I wanted so ended up making a lot of it myself. I did a lot of sewing with the table runners and tablecloths, and we designed and printed the stationary ourselves. We both LOVE rock music, I’m all about 1970s classic rock, and Lewiss is obsessed with 1980s metal, so we threw a bit of that in too with the table names and some of the decorations. We filled the day with music we love; I walked down the aisle to Joe Satriani, we signed the register to Led Zeppelin and we walked out of the ceremony to Creedence Clearwater Revival. During the day reception we had on Free and more Led Zeppelin while everyone was enjoying their lunch and our DJ in the evening loved British Punk music so we danced to a lot of The Clash which was amazing!”
Kate & Doug’s backyard wedding took place in Kent, in June. Kate designed her own dress, hand-crafted the decor and played in a band with her husband at the reception! She told me all about their magical day. “We have been together for 10 years so we really wanted to have a proper big wedding to cement our relationship and have a blast with our friends and family. I really wanted to get married in the garden of England, Kent, where I grew up and have a proper English country wedding. So we started looking at venues and found Ratsbury Barn, a beautiful 17th century Kentish barn in Tenterden for the ceremony. Then, my Mother’s boyfriend who lives down the road very kindly offered to let us use his amazing place for the reception! We got a marquee and extended his pool house area, it was perfect.”
“I had our good friend Adam who works as a designer at Penguin books help me design a fun tea towel wedding invitation with a matching rsvp postcard”, she continued. “I really enjoyed designing it with him and we were so happy with the result, we love the fact our guests got to have a little pre wedding favor to get them in the mood for the big day! We went with a red white and blue colour scheme to tie in with the Queen’s Jubilee which was the weekend before our wedding.”
Our Labor of Love, Sharkpig, The Flashdance, Smilebooth.… oh boy did Kristi & Ben have the dream team behind their San Francisco wedding! With an Alice in Wonderland theme and a ceremony at the Golden Gate Park, they really did go all out to make their wedding day extra special. The reception was held at RF-80, a studio space in the city.
“Our inspiration was the eclectic city we live in combined with a love for all things imaginative”, began the bride. “We wanted a wedding that wasn’t cookie cutter and that reflected both of our personalities. There were a lot of DIY elements involved. I scoured wedding blogs for my ideas. I also got inspiration from magazines and store windows. I would recommend figuring out what is doable within your timeframe or it can all get overwhelming. Enlist your friends, buy or make some cake, pop open some champagne and get crafting. It saves you money and gives such a personal touch to your wedding. I’d also advise other no not listen to the masses, they will scowl at your ideas, mostly because they’ve either never seen anything like it before or can’t get the proper visual. It’s your day, do what you want.”
Jess & Martin’s quirky wedding fills my heart with glee. It seems that these days, it’s not the wedding details I’m falling in love with (although seeing the pretty/cute/alternative/awesome ideas that people come up with is ace) but the people behind them. How can you not fall in love with these two?
“We wanted a relaxed, quirky and easy going wedding that was easy for most people to get to, so set it close to where we lived in Stoke Newington”, Jess told me. “We love the funky yet friendly atmosphere of this area and are passionate about where we live.”
The ceremony was held at Stoke Newington Town Hall and was an emotional service. “The local registry office has just been renovated back to its art deco glory and it’s a beautiful stylish venue”, she continued. “One of our friends had written a beautiful, personal speech, so much so it left the Registrar in tears – having apparently not cried during a single ceremony for 12 years.”
“We chose a laid back arty pub for the reception in Islington that was just perfect. Originally we were going to another pub in Islington but they cancelled on us 12 weeks before the wedding which was a little stressful. Actually, this worked out for the best as The Wilmington Arms were so helpful and really got into the style and spirit of the day and nothing was too much trouble – we got the relaxed atmosphere we had always wanted!”