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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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A Swedish Vintage Circus Wedding: Frida & Richard

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Frida & Richard were married at Hagaparken, a nature reserve just north of Stockholm, Sweden. The beautiful ceremony took place under a carefully selected tree and the reception was in The Copper Tent, also in Hagaparken, which was originally built by one of the Swedish Kings to house his horses, but which looks a little like a circus tent. The couple based their celebration around this tent, creating a vintage circus theme.

The bride designed her own dress and the couple DIY’ed as much of the day as possible including the flowers, the stationery and all the reception decor and props.

“My sister married us, something we decided to keep from the other guests,” Frida told me. “Despite a short line about guests being welcome to add their own touches to their outfits, we were took by surprise when everyone turned up with personal touches to match our wedding theme. Even the most unlikely of our family members really took to the task, which was ace. My personal favourite, the groom’s Uncle who appeared in a top hat, weilding a riding crop! We also had the pleasure of an assortment of fine shoes, hats and sparkles.”

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“As we spent a little time with the photographer after the ceromony, we gave guests a few games to play outside the venue while having a tipple including a photobooth with props, vintage circus games and ’the infuriating hammer game’, which was our take on the strong-man. Our chum Gus played records on a little portable record player.”

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“We really wanted to give ourselves and everyone else a day of merriment,” the bride concluded. “More of a cheeky flow of surprises and smiles rather than stiffness and formality – almost make it a bit like our little journey as a couple. Our start point was simply taking full advantage of wearing good clothes for a day, for one day just being a little bit more extravagent than we have ever been. We had no real outside influence, in that Richard’s family are all in the UK and Frida’s scattered across Sweden, so we just got to immerse ourselves in the process and take our time with it.”

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“The whole outcome was pretty satisfying – like everything from the little signs indicating the table groupings (strong men, ring leaders, mine artists, tattooed ladies, bearded ladies…) to the little trinkets around the venue were things that we found or made. There was also a train of thought that we wanted to blend the English/Swedish side of things so that some elements would be surprising to the relevant nationalities.”

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A Village Fete Meets Tattoo Parlour Wedding: Jess & David

Jess & David were married in All Saints Church in Kirby and they had their reception in the bride’s parent’s back garden. Jess wore a Candy Anthony Dress, Upper Street shoes (which she designed herself) and Vivienne Westwood jewellery. The lucky couple had Shell De Mar there to capture their day.

“We met at school and had been together 12 years when David proposed at sunrise on the beach in Mexico,” Jess told me. “Initially I’d been reluctant to get out of bed so early but something told me it might be worth it…and it was!”

“We always knew we wanted to get married in Pocklington, the small Yorkshire town where my parents live and where the school at which we met is. But finding a venue was a big problem as everything just felt too formal and wedding-y. In the end, it made perfect sense to do it in my parents garden as we had the space and freedom to do everything exactly as we wanted. We felt really strongly that if we were going to have all the people around us that we cared most about, we didn’t want to be standing on ceremony. That was one of the reasons we put our table in the middle of the room, because we didn’t want that us and them separation.”

“I knew immediately I wanted a 50’s style dress and as soon as I clapped eyes on Candy Anthony’s dresses it was love at first sight. The polka dots were just perfect and the red sash was brought everything together. I was worried that David would be disappointed that I hadn’t gone more traditional but the look on his face when I walked down the aisle told me I had nothing to worry about. The right shoes were proving extremely difficult to find and it was my Mum who eventually found Upper Street’s website. I designed exactly what I wanted and six weeks later they arrived and couldn’t have been more perfect.”

“My biggest thing throughout the planning was that I didn’t want to settle just because something was easier and I spent many hours trawling websites for ideas on how to do things,” the bride continued. “There were times, I think, when my Mum struggled with the idea that it wasn’t going to be a traditional, fluffy, sugar coated wedding, but she soon got what I had in mind and was amazing in helping everything come together. We couldn’t have done it without my Mum and Dad.”

“In the end the theme was a celebration of all things kitsch – or village fete meets Rock n Roll tattoo parlour as one of our guests described it. The biggest compliment at the end of the day was the number of people telling us how the whole wedding was totally ‘us’.”

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A Relaxed London Wedding: Sally & Clifton

Sally & Clifton’s city wedding had a classically elegant but quirky vintage vibe. The wedding was held at Century Club on Shaftesbury Avenue, London, which really set the relaxed tone of the day.

“We didn’t really have a theme to start with, we just went with what felt right and what would make us happy,” Sally told me. “We just wanted a really great party with only our closest family and friends and for it to be relaxed, informal and fun. So it ended up really personal and fortunately all the styling came together very nicely too. Our outfits had a 1950′s vintage vibe and my dress was from Fur Coat No Knickers.

“I think I was really lucky with the people I hired to help too – they all really made a huge difference and all came to it with a very similar relaxed, personal, professional approach which made it easy. There were no outlandish over the top bridezilla moments (my best ladies made sure of that), nothing was over-organised so there was plenty room for spontaneity, and I didn’t go anywhere near any bridal magazines. And the result was that we loved every minute of it.”

The couple chose some of my all time favourite wedding suppliers to be a part of their day. As well as a Fur Coat No Knickers vintage dress, they employed the expertise of Elbie Van Eeden for Sally’s hair and make up and Charlotte of Restoration Cake who made their yummy heart-shaped cake.

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A South African Winter Wedding at A Private Game Reserve: Jaimi & Adrian

Jaimi & Adrian are wedding photographers themselves so when it came to planning their own big day the photography was obviously a very important part for them. “Adrian and I met through a photographic project he did back in 2008 and we fell in love,” Jaimi told me. “He asked me to marry him on a misty morning in October 2009 in the Drakensburg Kzn. We got married on January 10th, 2010 and had a small ceremony at Tala. We renewed our love for each other and had our wedding celebration on June the 24th this year at our special love place … Tala Private Game Reserve.”

“As Adrian has been in the wedding industry for over 12 years now as a wedding photographer. We really wanted our day to be ‘us’ and a bit more rocker than the weddings we shoot every weekend of the year. We took all the ‘stuff’ we loved and piled it onto one day – from the clothes we love, to the passion we have to the fun we wanted for our family. It turned out awesome, it was personal, full of love, non stressful and just super rocking.”

“We had the most intense African storm at about 2pm in the afternoon and we almost thought our shoot would be hindered but we had the most awesome day thereafter, the sky cleared and Sam (our photographer) literally shot us in one location rotating us in a 360 degrees.”

“Our whole playlist scared our DJ, David just a little, but he trusted us and played it anyway and Adrian (not a big dancer) and I (love dancing) ended up being the last couple on the dance floor. Our first dance song was ‘Monuments and Melodies’ by Incubus and everyone just stood around us and we attempted a dance. It was incredible – I felt like it was just us.”

“As mentioned earlier, this was a renewal of our love from a year and a bit back, and we loved every second. We are so glad we had a videographer  (Lauren & Andrew) and Sammi Babe did a super job of the photos. Everything was just an overwhelming blessing having the most important people either side of us and everyone we loved at our long single banquet dinner table. We chose our own wine for the evening and a shooter table. We also had a DIY photo booth that made the party start on a high note.”

“Our theme was all about being us,” the bride concluded. “Adrian and I got together under rough circumstances and got married just 4 days after deciding we wanted to. We just needed this. This solidarity with our family. It was evidence of our love for all to see. Being a winter wedding in South Africa we had a sort of vintage-autumn theme. I did not like the idea of flowers so we did black candles, different height and size crystal candle stands and real autumn leaves across the whole length of gold taffeta table cloths.”

Beautiful…and check out the video too!

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