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Pastel Colours for a 1950s Inspired Wedding: Emily & James

As soon as I laid eyes on Emily’s incredible silver embellished 1950s inspired wedding dress I was smitten. What an utterly gorgeous bride and a completely beautiful wedding. I couldn’t wait to get it on these digital pages of mine! The couple were married at Edes House, Chichester and had their reception at the groom’s father’s house in Bosham.

“We wanted our wedding day to completely reflect James and me”, Emily told me. “This was something we kept in mind during the whole process, as I think it is easy to lose sight of what and who weddings are for, when you are surrounded by so many people in the wedding industry telling you that you absolutely need this and definitely need that. 
We both adore the 1950s and the pastel shades, and I really feel like these things were very present in the whole day. We also chose from the beginning which things would be the most important to us – these ended up being the food/drink for James and the flowers for me. We chose a catering company who were very local and produced the most delicious food. We hand picked each of the types of alcohol we chose, with Arundel Ales coming from Sussex and the cider coming from Appledram which is just around the corner from the reception.”

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My biggest advice to future brides is to always keep a clear idea of what you want the overall feel of the day to be. Use Pinterest as it will really help you to channel your style of the day and keep you focused. And don’t be afraid to delegate. I was terrible at this and had to really be coaxed into it by my lovely Dad, who was concerned I would end up having some sort of bridal breakdown with the amount of work I was taking on. As soon as I began to delegate the smaller jobs, I found it so much easier to relax and enjoy the bigger jobs. Lean on your family and friends who offer to help – they do genuinely want to be a part of the process!”

“I’m a very creative person and always have some sort of project on the go, so we always knew our wedding would be DIY heavy”, Emily continued. “Little did our wedding party know just how much they would be getting involved as well! 
I had seen beautiful ‘doily bunting’ on a couple of blogs, which involved taking a large doily and folding it in half over a pieces of cotton tape, and repeating to create bunting. This had the quaint look I was going for, but I was eager not to have them in white as I wanted to bring as much colour as possible into the blank canvas of the marquee. So, after much looking, it seemed near impossible to find doilies in the right shades of blue and pink, and it was then that I decided we would have to make them ourselves! 
I fashioned a template which worked, and my parents got stuck in at home, with various family members, creating a production line of doily bunting. They were fantastic and I think we ended up with approx. 300 metres of it!
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“The choice of paper lanterns came about when I hit a stumbling block with lighting. I originally wanting ‘festoon lighting’, conjuring up images of old fairgrounds, like the one out of The Notebook. Sadly, the ones which our marquee company had were only allowed to be used outdoors. That was when I found some stunning photos of paper lanterns inside marquees with dimly lit bulbs inside. I sourced mine through eBay and was so pleased with the outcome. One friend said ‘It looks like the wedding in 500 Days of Summer’ – it was the perfect compliment!”

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James and I both love all things whimsical and retro, and we’re big readers. So, I chose to use old books as our table centres. These were relatively easy to source through eBay and old book stores. I loved picking out ones with quaint and quirky covers! The flowers were then dotted around them in old jam jars and bottles. I love using these around my house, as it has the lovely ‘just from the garden’ feel, so I knew straight away that this was how they would be displayed. With the help of some kind friends and family, we quickly gathered together around 150 jars to be used as vases and also lanterns in the evening, which were painted a light rose pink colour and gave off a beautiful, warm glow.
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“I wanted to add some colour to the tables, so I used the same 5 patterns of fabric which we used on the chutney jars, and made 70 placemats to go in each guest’s place. They were a little labour intensive as the pinning and sewing of the hems was fiddly, but I was so pleased with how they looked when we laid them out.
 The ‘Mr and Mrs Dall’ banner originated from my Hen Weekend. My wonderful bridesmaid, Penny, had made a lovely ‘Mrs Dall’ banner from card, paint and ribbon. I took it home with me after the weekend and realised how fantastic it would look with ‘Mr &’ added to it, and then hung behind us at the top table.”

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Working in theatre, I saw a great opportunity to go wild in the Chichester Festival Theatre props store and hire plenty of old bits of furniture and the odd trunk and suitcase to give a truly whimsical and old fashioned feel to the day. We used two suitcases and one hat box on the cake table to tier the cake levels and display them a little better. We used another suitcase for the presents and cards table. We also had a small ‘lounge’ area near the photobooth, where people could relax and feel like they were a little further away from the dance floor action if they wanted. For this we chose a couple of large, wing-backed armchairs, a nice big trunk as a coffee table, and a few little side tables with mismatched wooden chairs dotted around them. It gave a really lovely cafe style atmosphere and was very popular with all the guests, particularly the littlest ones who liked the big chairs!



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‘So what about that amazing dress?’ I hear you cry! “My dress was designed by Emily Garrod“, the bride told me. I realised quite quickly that I would not find my wedding dress in a bridal shop. I adore vintage style dresses and have a few 1950s style prom dresses with big petticoats. I knew I needed something in this style, rather than the classic long wedding dress. 
I found Emily by chance through a friend who worked in a shop and enquired about Emily’s dress which she was wearing when she wandered into the store. It turned out she had made herself. She is a wedding dress maker who is relatively fresh to the industry but absolutely fantastic and keen to fulfill your brief but also aid you with understanding what designs work with your height, shape etc. I gave her a brief of ’1950s MGM musical meets ballet dancer’ and I was over the moon that she managed to make a dress which looked entirely as I had imagined it would.
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Brighton Cinema Wedding: Vicky & Ted

With Ted proposing to Vicky at the Duke of York Picturehouse in Brighton, the wedding theme and location were pretty much a given. They are both huge movie buffs so it suited them perfectly.

Vicky explained, “The proposal was amazing and a huge surprise. It was 25th February 2011 (the day after my birthday) and we had the day off for food and fun. I knew Ted had a surprise up his sleeve, but it wasn’t unusual (we often surprise each other with treats on birthdays), so I didn’t suspect a proposal. We got to the Duke of York Picturehouse at about 12.30 and Ted told me to go straight upstairs without looking at what film was showing. I assumed this was going to be a random screening of a Marilyn Monroe movie or an 80s classic. The place was dead (it was a Friday afternoon, so nothing strange about that) and when we took our balcony seats I turned to Ted and joked ‘You haven’t booked the place out have you?’. He smiled awkwardly and fretted about me turning my phone off.”

“The trailer for Shaun of the Dead started, ‘Wow, cool, the original trailers… are we seeing something from 2004?’ I said. I was also thinking how funny it was, as it was the trailer to one of our favourite films. Then the When Harry Met Sally trailer came on ‘What are the chances!?’ I thought, ‘Both our favourite films as the trailers!’. Then the third trailer came… ‘hold on’, I said, ‘that’s Brighton… that’s our road… that’s our building…!’ Ted had made a film trailer which was a camera running down the street, him doing a movie voice saying ‘one man… one woman… half a decade…’ and at the end a Spiderman card on our front door opens to read ‘one question’. At which point Ted was down on one knee and ‘our song’ was playing. We came out to the bar and a bottle of champagne on ice. It was amazing, I was so surprised! The story of the engagement has made women cry, but men mostly growl ‘Cheers for raising the bar, Ted!’. All in all it was a pretty fantastic and very personal proposal, which is exactly what I had hoped for.”

So they were engaged, and the Duke of York Picturehouse was to be the venue for their ceremony. Of course the wedding had to have a movie theme, and before Vicky walked down the aisle, they played this trailer on the cinema screen (watch it, it’s brilliant!) Then, after the ceremony came the reception at The Hove Club.

“I love a wedding, but we had been to so many where the main difference was the colour of the bow on those annoying chair covers!” Vicky continued. “Ted and I discussed the fact that we really didn’t like the traditional wedding suits from Moss Bros etc. and were just not big on ‘standard’ wedding stuff. We had also been to a lot of weddings where the Cheeky Girls, the Macarena and various other dire tunes were gladly played out, so we were looking forward to the chance to have some good tunes for the dancefloor (don’t get me wrong, Footloose is one of my favourite dancing songs. There is a fine line between cheese and mouldy cheese!) So our starting point was already all about trying to avoid those dislikes, but then I discovered wedding blogs! Oh the joy! So most of the inspiration came from blogs like Rock n Roll Bride. Just being able to see other people doing amazing weddings that were about personal touches and fun, silly stuff inspired us. I saw someone serving cola with striping straws and decided I wanted bottled drinks with stripey straws… but went for Babycham… saw the heart bouquet on Rock n Roll Bride I think and stole it, but with a twist.. picking different fabrics and coming up with the idea of large hearts on sticks for the bridesmaids.”

“Although we wouldn’t like to think we had a ‘themed wedding’ it was blatantly a movie themed wedding, with a vintage edge. I love all the vintage weddings I see online (with lace, dainty things and hay bales etc), but I knew that Ted and I were definitely more… cartoon/comic book vintage than dainty vintage! So we wanted more colour and humour. When I stood outside the cinema with the bridesmaids on the red carpet, I felt so glamorous and happy, I thought we looked like we had stepped out of an Elvis film! Ted asked if I was disappointed he didn’t dress up as Elvis but I wasn’t! I loved his tweed suit – it really was ‘him’ and people said he looked like a matinee idol!”

To continue the movie theme, the couple had a friend photoshop their faces onto various movie posters for all the wedding stationery. ”I have work friend who often creates crazy birthday cards for people at work, photoshopping their faces onto other people and things. I found the Bride and the Beast poster online and my friend made it into our invitation. When it came to the order of service and table names he had to do a mammoth photo session with us to get all the right angles etc, and bless him he worked very hard to get those all done in time.”

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An Alice Wedding in Australia: Stew & Ali

The Australian wedding of Stew & Ali was held at Leaning Church Vineyard in Tasmania. “We knew even before we were engaged that we wanted to be married in a vineyard,” Ali told me. “We love to visit the amazing vineyards in our area of Tasmania, which is famous for its Pinot Noir. We’re known for our somewhat overzealous love of said Pinot Noir….So a vineyard screamed Stew and Ali. We chose Leaning Church because of its rustic charm, hills full of vines, a quaint little lake, long yellow grass and absolutely fabulous wedding coordinator!”

The bride wore a bespoke dress and Lady Dragon shoes by Vivienne Westwood/Melissa. “I wanted my dress to be whimsical and flirty and Alice inspired,” she continued. “My princess style dress had a blue petticoat and underskirt and a layer of blue tulle over the ivory skirt, so it shimmered blue in the sunlight. The bow around my waist was pure Alice. The shoes were the very first thing I bought, before we’d looked at any venues or decided on any sort of theme! It was so hard not to wear them before the wedding!!”

Ali’s headpiece was a mini top hat by Two Back Flats. “Well how could you have an Alice wedding without a top hat?” I contacted Jasika at Two Back Flats to see if she could customise her bridal top hat for me. I bought the vintage style mad hatter brooch from etsy and then sent that to Jas, who then put it all together with a gorgeous blue ribbon. I used a blue French net in birdcage style.”

Her bridesmaids wore blue, but were asked to pick any blue dress they liked. They also each carried a polaroid photo with a ‘glimpse’ of Ali down the aisle, which they handed to Stew when they got to the end. “It was a fun way to tease Stew (who didn’t know what I was wearing) and for the girls to have a chance to hug him and say something to him before the ceremony.”

Their reception was decorated to reflect the Alice in Wonderland theme. “I actually contacted Kat of Rock n Roll Bride late in 2011 to ask about lighting ideas. The result was glass jar ‘chandeliers’ with LED tealights inside, created by my Ma, as well as a wall of hanging glass jar lanterns in between teacups and doily flowers. We used books, teacups and silver jugs, sheet music and tiny white rabbits were gathered from op-shops and markets. All the flowers were handmade by Ma, and extra little details were purchased from etsy. My favourite stores were Black Baroque who did the Wonderland prints for the table ‘numbers’ (each table was a different character), and Windrosie who made the paper clocks and photobooth props. My Best Girl Sarah gave me the White Rabbit lamp as our wedding gift, which was a perfect addition.”

“Instead of a seating chart or escort cards, each guest received their own copy of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. I covered each book with blue fabric, glued brown paper to the spine and then wrote the guests’ names on them and our wedding date. Inside was a handmade bookmark that told the guest which table they were seated at. At the ceremony were handkerchiefs tied with ribbon and a card that read ‘You ought to be ashamed, a great girl like you, to go on crying this way… Stop it at once!’. We also had personalised water bottles with our logo from Brewtopia.”

Hearing about a couple’s inspiration is often my favourite part of the wedding stories I’m sent – especially when they say Rock n Roll Bride helped them (brownie points all round!) “Our inspiration was clearly the Alice story,” Ali concluded. “I re-read the book about 10 times during the planning…And of course, Rock n Roll Bride was the first web page I opened every morning to get my fix of wedding prettiness. I got a lot of inspiration from the real weddings that Kat features.”

“We saw our wedding as a huge party, and the best chance I’d get to create my own whimsical wonderland. We had our own touches in our vows (Stew’s were made entirely of lyrics from cheesy love songs…) and we included a bit in our ceremony acknowledging our support for equality of marriage. We also asked our guests to write three words they would use to describe us in their RSVPs, which I put together into a coherent story that made up part of our ceremony as well.”

“I think we’re Rock n Roll simply because we did what we wanted, not what we were ‘supposed’ to do. My aunt and uncle brought a mad hatter costume along with them – he’s the crazy looking guy with the tiny teacup in the photos. My cousin rolled her eyes and said ‘it’s a wedding, not a party’. But I disagree; it was a party, at which we happened to get married. And to us, it was the best party ever.”

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A Modern Black, White & Green Wedding: Jessica & Ty

Jessica & Ty’s wedding was all about having fun, throwing and great party and entertaining their guests. They didn’t have a concrete theme per-say, they just included things they loved and thought people would get a kick out of! Jessica explains,

“I’m the kind of person to go OVER THE TOP! On my son’s birthday for example, I hired a bouncy house that took up the entire backyard! So basically that’s what happened for our wedding. I had so many ideas but wanted to try and balance it all that it didnt end up looking to much like a circus or a mish mash of ideas all thrown together. I still wanted the event to be formal and still look like a wedding.”

The couple wanted their wedding to be fun for all their guests and for there to be something for everyone. So they added surprises, and things people might not expect, at every opportunity. These included the ‘Til Death do Us Part’ cake, the hand folded origami cranes, the high school band, the custom cocktails, the ice luge (!), the cotton candy machine, the belly dancers and the fact that the bride wore 3 wedding dresses! “This was decided way before Kim Kardashian did it!” she laughed “I couldn’t decide and I wanted to change it up throughout the night. Obviously 3 dresses meant lots of alterations & lots of cash but it was worth it… although I could barely move in dress number 1!”

“We just did what we wanted, and took no notice of anyone’s negative comments about our ideas,” Jessica concluded. “We didn’t really have any drama with anyone but there were a few comments here and there about it being a little out of control, but this did nothing to stop us doing our wedding as we wanted. It was our vision and actually not really about all the stuff, but about us as a couple. It was our way to express ourselves. I would not change anything about the day except maybe hiring the fortune teller who never showed up!”

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A Multi-Coloured South African Wedding: Mark & Manilla

When Mark & Manilla’s colourful wedding landed in my inbox I just about burst with excitement. There’s nothing quite like a rainbow wedding in my opinion!

The South African wedding was held at The View Boutique Hotel, a glamorous hotel in the heart of Johannesburg. “I felt that the ceremony should be the serious part of the day but I wanted the rest to be a very relaxed and festive carnival style celebration!” the bride told me.

“My final wedding for last year was an instant favourite,” wedding photographer Rensche Mari wrote. “As soon as I walked into Manilla’s home I knew it was going to be one of those weddings where I was just going to be wowed the whole way. The wedding had a carnival feel to it, the bridesmaids all dressed in different shades of green and each outfit was unique. Manilla’s whole look was so refreshing and just a lot of fun, her dressed popped with the beautiful colours and her dress even had the same green velvet as her shoes.”

Manilla’s stunning dress was made by Arwen Corsetry. The colour scheme she chose was complimented beautifully by all the wedding details – including bunting handmade by some ladies in an retirement home and all the DIY stationery and reception decor. The couple designed and handmade everything they possibly could. I’m loving the multi-coloured balloons on the ceiling!

Their wedding car was their own, which they decorated with brightly coloured ribbon and streamers.

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A Budget-Friendly Wedding Planned in just Four Months: Terry & Elle

For Terry & Elle their wedding wasn’t about a big show or how much money they could spend. After a health scare in October 2011 they decided they wanted to get married quickly so planned the whole thing in just 4 months. They wanted a wedding that represented them and didn’t cost a bomb. As the bride explains, “We held a wedding for 90 guests, including bridal party plus all bridal attire, wedding rings the works for under 15,000 AUD (that’s about £10,000) – the average Australian wedding is $36,000 – do it all yourself and be resourceful and you can achieve wonders!”

“We did everything DIY – decorations, catering, fashion everything! Our original quote for catering was $10,000 so we shunned that idea and did it ourselves for $2,000! Whilst DIY allowed us greater control over our wedding and make it cost less, it is very easy to get carried away and become stressed! We learnt that it’s very important to keep on top of it all at all times!”

Elle wore a handmade green wedding dress with accessories which she found at flea markets. “We did a lot of shopping online, in flea markets and at op-shops etc. We also found out 7 days before our wedding that I was pregnant with our first child! It was a challange to keep it a secret.”

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