I didn’t think people like this existed in real life. When I first laid eyes on Erik & Caitlin’s wedding images I was convinced it was a styled shoot with models. This couldn’t be an actual wedding, surely? But I was wrong and my heart whooped with joy.
The wedding took place in September at the bride’s parent’s home. The entire wedding cost less than $5000. (I know! As if it wasn’t amazing enough already, right?!) Caitlin designed her own dress (which was made by the mother of the groom and ended up costing only $190, including the veil!), wore $20 shoes (which she customised) and her floral headpiece was made by one of her bridesmaids an hour before the ceremony. The cakes were homemade, the flowers were grown and collected by friends and family and the invitations were hand painted and wax sealed by the bride. All the catering was done by the mother of the bride and the bride’s brother Matt acted as bartender. As you can probably imagine the couple also decorated the entire space themselves.
Brink & Meagan’s South African wedding is a gorgeous mix of floral overload and bohemian chic. I mean, what’s not to love?! I’m just dying over the location, the details and the bride’s awesome style. Orange flowers in her hair and a lace wedding dress that dreams are made of? Oh God yes.
“Our wedding was a reflection of all the things we love”, began Meagan. “So to make the day as real as possible we brought elements of our life into it. I didn’t want a predictable ‘white’ wedding. The things I love most in life are colour, texture, pattern, fabric and flowers – anything tactile. So the more colour the better. I love combining things together that contrast so combining colour and texture worked really well!”
Oh I love a surprise wedding! And a surprise wedding + pool party!? EPIC!
But this wasn’t actually a real wedding, it was set up as a recreation of the wedding of some friends of the photographer who were married 30 years ago. Jessie & Kenny had a wedding just like this one, in the exact same spot, in 1982 (some of their wedding photos are at the end of the gallery – how amazing are they?!) So to celebrate, and to have an their anniversary party with a difference, they decided to relive the whole thing. This is a styled shoot unlike the rest and, yes, they really had the big party afterwards!
Styled shoots have been wedding blog favourites for a few years now. I do like to feature them to share new wedding ideas with my bride & groom-to-be readers but I’ve always really preferred to publish real weddings. It’s not that I don’t like styled shoots, but I know real life examples always go down better than a ‘concept’ set up but a bunch of wedding industry professionals who think that it’s a quirky, cool (or in recent times – trendy) and very ‘blogable’ idea for a wedding.
Which is why I love this shoot. It is a new concept. It’s a recreation of a wedding, being sympathetic to the original inspiration while showcasing some awesome new ideas. Just like with Whit & Colby, I was initially disappointed when I realised that this wasn’t an actual wedding, but again like with Whit & Colby I love it because of the amazing creativity behind it. On reflection I congratulate the creative team for doing something that I wish everyone else would… actually being creative.
Mark & Ania didn’t particularly want a theme for their wedding, but what they did want was a relaxed and laid back wedding with all their friends and family. They chose Islington town hall as their ceremony venue as the north east of London is one of their favourite areas of the city. For their reception they headed to AK Rowing Club which is right on the bank of the Thames in Hammersmith.
“We went from not wanting a wedding at all to toying with an idea to run away and get married in secret”, began newlywed Ania. “But as the planning went on, the guest list grew bigger and bigger and we ended up with the project of organising a proper wedding. We really wanted for our big day to be as simple and relaxed as possible. We didn’t have any particular theme in mind when planning the day other than wanting a simple, informal day.”
Filipino born Ariane & Jonathan now live in New Zealand, which is where they chose to have their May wedding. The 3pm ceremony was held at in the vineyard of the Ascension Wine Estate in Matakana. “We wanted to showcase how New Zealand is part paradise and part home with our wedding, Ariane told me. “Marrying in a vineyard in the dead of autumn, what could be more gorgeous than that? Ascension Wine Estate was the perfect backdrop for us. The theme was a mish-mash of our passion for travel, photography, literature and the French countryside. We didn’t really set something in stone, but in the end, the travel-bohemian theme dominated, with hints of shabby chic and vintage.”
For the ceremony space decor, the couple added personal touches such a flowers in beer bottles, twine and pinwheels. “In the vines where the ceremony was held, we tied beer bottles with twine and hung it around. We also made pinwheels out of colorful scrapbook papers in lieu of flowers to grace the aisle. We carried that over to the reception venue by having wine bottles adorned with lace and twine as centerpieces. We also had disposable cameras in French-country muffin trays on the tables. The colors of the pinwheels in the ceremony were carried over to the reception through a candy buffet where we served colored popcorn, gummy bears and red licorice.”
The Welsh wedding of Ioan & Anona was planned with everyone in mind – themselves, their friends and their families. It was important to them that their wedding would be an enjoyable day for everyone in attendance. “On one hand we wanted quite a traditional wedding that would keep the parents happy but also one that both our friends and ourselves would feel bore our own individual stamp,” the groom told me. “I play guitar in a hardcore punk / rock band and am obsessed with old 70s riff heavy rock and classic album art so I was really keen to ramp up those kind of aesthetics. Anona’s mother was quite keen on a ‘spring flower’ theme and whilst initially I worried those two influences would clash spectacularly I think in the end it all came together and balanced each other nicely.”
“Although we were both keen to stylize the wedding to some degree, the bottom line for us was that we just wanted to have all our friends and family nearby and really enjoy the day for what it was, a celebration of our love and commitment to each other. I think ultimately that really came across and whilst there were traditional elements it was by no means stuffy and the little personal touches really shone through.”
With the groom being in a band it was obvious that music would play a big part in their day. “I was determined to get a proper rockabilly band that could really tear it up!” he continued. “Wild went down a storm and both the youngsters and the oldies were going crazy for it. It was important to me that the band be really tight and professional and as far removed from the kind of bands I’d been involved with as possible!!! The playlists that we spent hours crafting went down really well and it was such a thrill to see people enjoying themselves and dancing all night long.”
“My friend Sian did both our cakes and we were just absolutely blown away by her sponge, chocolate and icing creations”, he continued. “She made a really elegant cake with pretty flowers for the day and a totally rocking cake for the evening. The life size chocolate skull was a complete surprise and it really cemented our rock n roll evening theme. I’m not really one for playing up to the camera but I couldn’t resist going ape with the cake knife and inflicting some dramatic damage during our ‘cutting of the cake’ ceremony!”