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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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Roll Up! Roll Up! For The Alternative Wedding Circus

Mwah haaa haaa…are you ready for The Wedding Circus? A creepy fright-fest where the alternative wedding elite came together to create something truly magical? Well that’s exactly what happened on a freezing February morn in a Birmingham Warehouse.

I recieved a phone call from photographer Sassy of Assassynation telling me all about her latest and greatest photo shoot idea – a ‘Wedding Circus’ filled with some of the freaks most alternative wedding suppliers in the UK. Of course Gareth & I were thrilled to be asked and so bright (OK not so bright) and early one morning we dragged ourselves out of bed and battled the snow to drive up to Birmingham for our 9am call time.

With nine models all with very distinctive looks (and hair colours – I’ve never felt like the one with the boring hair before!) a team of 7 hair stylists and make up artists worked their socks off to transform us into circus acts.

The shoot was pulled together by photographer Sassy of Assassynation and Jo of The Couture Company & Rawhide Corsets. “We were actually brought together by Rock and Roll Bride, where I had long admired Sassy’s work,” Jo explained. “I commented on one of Sassy’s amazing weddings, Sassy dropped me an email saying thank you for my comment and then asked if I fancied collaborating! Of course I said HELL YES!”

“Sassy’s idea was to get a warehouse in the urban metropolis of Birmingham, with access for a big truck. When I asked why she said “Well…don’t think I am crazy but I like the idea of a horse in a warehouse!”

“My original idea for this shoot was just to pop up to Birmingham and take a couple of nice piccies of gorgeous dresses,” Sassy took over, “but it didn’t quite work out like that. My mental brain took over and the horse in a warehouse idea grew a life of it’s own. I love the circus and thought wouldn’t it be fun to do a dark circus theme. I wanted the crème de la crème of alternative wedding providers on our project so I set about speaking to the best people I could think of to see if they would represent their area of weddingness…they all said yes thankfully!”

“It was freezing on the day and everyone was so incredible, I don’t think we would have had that level of professionalism from paid models and creative…everyone just got on it and for that I am eternally grateful! There were 29 people and a horse there on the day…this was a huge shoot! All the behind the scenes team need a huge amount of praise as they were amazing and brought my idea to life.”

The first look was the more subdued and ‘classic bridal’ of the two – we all wore white dresses and corsets from The Couture Company & Rawhide Corsets and the boys looked incredibly dapper in their smart vintage military-inspired outfits. After a few shots in the remarkable circus set (complete with graffiti elephant on the wall and actual circus props from Russell’s International Circus) inside the warehouse it was time for the biggest surprise of the day…that there was a horse waiting outside for us to pose with!

Now I’m not normally scared of horses but jeez this horse was ginormous! He was beautiful as very well behaved but I certainly wasn’t brave enough to get on him! Well done to Charlotte for being the first to do so and to Gareth for keeping on brand with his hand gestures!

The second look was the all-out freaky, creepy circus look…complete with fire-breather! The make up was piled on heavy – eyes darkened, lines painted and hair made even bigger! Gareth was even made up in Crow-inspired make up which although was kinda weird to begin with seriously started to grow on me near the end of the day (Brandon Lee? yes please!) The outfits got a little more risqué too thanks to Jo at The Couture Company. We could tell she was in her element when creating these weird and wonderful ensembles!

Can I also please publicly announce that I need one of Jo’s corsets in my life permanently! They literally took me down a couple of dress sizes…my waist has never looked so tiny (believe me, it ain’t nothing like that in ‘real life’). In this second look I’m wearing a black version of one of Jo’s tattooed wedding dresses. I loved it so much!

The day was hard work, freezing, but a serious amount of fun! I’m so excited to have been involved in this shoot and to be working with such an amazingly talent group of people. I hope you enjoy the results as much as we did making them. Could a spooky circus wedding theme be the next big thing?!

Show the team some love in the commnets won’t ya?!

Oh and a spooky shoot needs a spooky video does it? The fabulous Frank of Sassy n Frank was there to capture exactly what went on that day. Click through to watch the full video…

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A Help Yourself, Village Fete Wedding in Cornwall: Rosalie & Fergus

Rosalie & Fergus had a sweet homespun wedding in Cornwall. “The whole ethos was to get all our creative friends and family together for a two week holiday in Cornwall,” the bride explained. “The deal was, that they spent the first week, sewing, making, cooking, baking and generally doing anything and everything – then we had a massive great wedding/party which continued for the rest of the week. I don’t think they feel used, it was a great vibe and a really chilled way to organise a wedding.”

“The records that we used as table numbers was a very last minute decision, we found a box of singles in a charity shop in Wadebridge (nearest town) and then made them into lollipop type sticks using our favourite musicians and some red and white tape! I had always wanted a sort of help yourself village fete type affair, so we made little flags for all the food and people helped themselves. The vintage crockery was the star of the show, having just started by business, The Crockery Cupboard, it was hot topic and really brought the whole reception to life, and because of all the colour, no-one noticed the drab marquee we were sat in!”

“We lit the garden with hundreds of jam jars filled with a little sand and a tealight, so easy cheap and looks so pretty when it’s dark,” Rosalie continued. “Also, the cake table was a massive success, we had lots of different cakes to choose from, all on beautiful cake stands to cater for everyone and people could have a cuppa and a slice of cake at any point as it was there for the whole reception, which made people feel at home and looked really pretty too with all the vintage cups adorning the tables. We didn’t spend a fortune on flowers because we had a beautiful assortment of vintage vases that only needed a few stems but dotted around everywhere gave the illusion of lots of flowers.”

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