An almost completely DIY wedding is impressive enough, but when you have such a theme as steampunk then I think it’s doubly so! Alys and Stu were hitched last October in Manchester. The reception was held at the Museum of Science and Industry.
“We both love the steampunk and neither of us was particularly keen on a traditional white wedding”, said Alys. “We are also not religious we fancied doing something a bit different. We both love the Museum of Science and Industry and have been going since we were kids so it was quite a poignant place to get married. I can’t quite remember which came first, the theme or the venue, but either way they complimented each other really well!”
They shunned tradition in plenty of ways, not just with their inedible outfits! “We did a joint speech as we were not keen on a lot of the gender specific obligations. Likewise, I had both my parents walk me down the aisle. We let the cake bakers have first ‘cut’ of their own cakes rather than just us being up there doing it. My sister also did a speech as well as the best man and I had ‘bridesmates’ instead of bridesmaids (don’t really like the word ‘maid’).”
Helen and Jamie are also planning a big, elaborate wedding with all their friends and family in Spain, but organising the legal bit over there was a huge headache. So they decided to have their official ceremony in a teeny tiny church called St Gobbans in Port Braddan, Northern Ireland.
“We live and work in Thailand and therefore getting back and forth to Spain and organising everything from far away wasn’t straightforward”, explained the bride. “As we are UK citizens and all our families live there, the least complicated way to officiate our marriage was in the UK. My mum’s cousin, Connel Auld, is a minister and has the most incredible cottage with tiny church up in the North Coast of Northern Ireland and we thought it would be really personal to get married there. Connel really only officiates for friends and family so when he offered to conduct our ceremony, we felt very privileged. He is such a great character and really made the day for us.”
“His house is like a museum with relics from WW2″, she continued, “Pieces of furniture, including the porthole windows that feature in some of the photos, were made for but didn’t make it onto the Titanic! The church is the smallest in Ireland and one of the smallest in the world and we just about managed to squeeze the 11 people in! This made it all the more intimate and special.”
Kelly and Benjamin knew what they wanted for their wedding right from the start. They wanted an informal day with a festival vibe and lots and lots of colour! “The inspiration for our wedding was just ‘let’s be ourselves'”, Kelly said. “We’ve been to so many weddings over the years that all feel the same; a lot of people try and have this fancy formal affair when it really doesn’t reflect who they are as people.”
“As soon as we started planning, the main focus was that we wanted a relaxed and informal atmosphere. We were adamant we didn’t want a fancy sit down meal instead we wanted a party atmosphere with everyone tucking into burgers and sausages. Everyone that we spoke to after our wedding spoke so fondly of the day and how relaxed and fun it was. There was so much laughter from start to finish, exactly like we wanted. Our budget was just £8000 and we only really spent money on the things that guests enjoy at weddings – the venue, good food and the music!”
I’m totally obsessed with the spectacular location of Holly and Tom’s informal Welsh wedding. They were married in the lighthouse at Nash Point, on the coast of Vale of Glamorgan in South Wales. They chose the location because it was so naturally beautiful.
“We drew inspiration from our gorgeous surroundings, the beautiful beach and the stunning coastline”, said Holly. “Tom used to be a keen surfer so we instantly knew that we wanted the wedding to take place near the sea. We were so lucky that Nash Point has a breath-taking view. The fact that the lighthouse is the only working lighthouse in the country licensed for weddings sealed the deal.”
“We didn’t want anything too formal so I spent hours scouring Pinterest for casual wedding ideas”, she continued. “The first thing we wanted is for the wedding to be like one big party, like a festival, so we hired tipis and set them up in the field next to the lighthouse for our reception. The farmer we hired the field from also let us borrow his hay bales which made for great decoration and seating. We wanted to have a sweet table, a popcorn bar and s’more kits for our guests which we made ourselves the night before the wedding. The finishing touch had to be fairy lights and bunting because let’s be honest they make absolutely anything look pretty and magical!”
Lucy and Sean were married at Fazeley Studios in Birmingham. A bright, white and modern interior, this venue was the perfect backdrop for them to put their own colourful stamp on.
“We’re both music lovers and our favourite bands influenced the table decorations and the music that shaped the day”, Lucy began. “There was nothing too formal or traditional, no pastels and no cutesy bridesmaid dresses! Whilst many venues do a lot of the work for you with their set wedding packages, Fazeley Studios let us run wild and create our perfect day.”
“I would describe our wedding theme as bright, fresh, bursting with clashing rainbow colours and a dose of rock n roll”, she continued. “We had gigantic helium balloons with brightly coloured ribbon lining the aisle – until one of them exploded just before the ceremony! It gave those already gathered a shock and it was a good job I didn’t hear it – I’m terrified of balloons popping! We decided to have them lining the room for the meal instead of in the centre of the tables after that!”
Zack and May’s wedding was a weekend-long affair. They invited their friends and family to stay with them at the venue from Friday-Sunday and everyone pitched in to help.
“We wanted to have a mini-festival where everyone was part of the event, rather than turning up to a stage-managed thing”, the groom told me. “Most people stayed on-site in rooms or treehouses. Everyone came up on the Friday to help decorate the venue, and we had the Proper Pizza Company, who built two brick pizza ovens in the courtyard, to feed the helpers. Everyone contributed to the day, and many stayed until Monday. Instead of presents we asked the guests to bring a couple of bottles and a dessert or some cheese for after the meal. On Sunday we woke up early and cooked a huge roast for everyone who stayed over.”
The wedding was held at West Lexham Manor in Norfolk. “We heard about the venue through a friend”, he continued. “We were able to do lots of DIY and make them place our own. We had custom printed table runners with cartoons us done by friends and pom pom sheep name holders with top hats. The tables were identified by posters of our top five favourite films and the ceiling was decorated with dried flowers, red and white paper lanterns and giant tissue-paper flowers. We also had strings of lights and lots of flowers in vases to teapots. Our plates and cutlery were made from naturally fallen materials like banana leaves. We got them from Little Cherry.”