When it came to planning their wedding, Nicole & Tom knew they didn’t want a big fuss. In fact a private elopement at home was just the ticket. They did everything themselves from the decor to the food for their small number of guests and the music. They set up a video camera for the ceremony to be livestreamed to their friends & family that couldn’t attend.
“The main inspiration for our wedding was my dad”, Nicole wrote. “We actually weren’t planning on getting married until 2013 but when my dad got sick, we decided not to wait and planned it all in three weeks. We had it in my parent’s backyard so he didn’t have to travel anywhere and it made for a nice backyard venue. Because he was so sick, we didn’t want to bombard him with all of our family and friends flying in so we came up with the idea to stream the wedding live on the internet for everyone to watch. We had our guests take pictures of themselves watching our wedding and they did fun things like dress up and drink champagne and such. It turned out fantastic and my dad was actually able to walk me down the pathway.”
Bryce & Josie were hitched in October at As You Like It restaurant and bar in Newcastle. They budgeted £5000 for the wedding but ended up over-spending a little with the whole day coming in for a still very impressive £8000.
Wearing a vintage dress from eBay and a Topshop mini lace dress in the evening, Josie carried a vintage feather bouquet that had belonged to her mother. Her bridesmaid wore dresses from Hobbs and carried homemade crepe paper bouquet. Her groom was decked out in an Oliver Spencer suit.
“We met in 2005 in a bar in London, my last night out in Kew before moving to Islington”, began Josie. “A few weeks later Bryce followed my lead and moved down the road to Highbury. What can I say, his persistence paid off, 7 years, 3 cities and 2 kiddies down the road we got married!”
“This wasn’t the original wedding we planned,” she continued. “At first it was going to be a country village, marquee in the garden affair in May 2011. But various life events cropped up and meant that that was no longer to be. Never mind, who’d want a smooth running wedding plan anyway..!? Where are the stories to tell in that?! So we began to construct a plan for the North East.”
Not wanting to do things by halves, Clare & Aslam had three weddings. The firs two were Muslim celebrations, and this one was their western wedding. Having three whole weddings to plan, the couple kept this event low key and budget friendly. They DIYed a lot and spent just £5000 on the day. “We tried to do everything second hand or hand made as I hate waste and am a big environmentalist”, Clare explained. The wedding was held at Hyde Barn in the Cotswolds.
“Although my husband and I live and breathe south and east London now, I grew up climbing trees and then later on, going to big raves and technivals in the beautiful countryside here”, Claire continued. “So it is as much my hometown as it could be. Aslam and I are basically big kids so when we had our pro pics taken we ran into the garden and climbed trees and messed around, the venue was perfect for this. The venue actually hadn’t even been built when we booked it! But for that reason we saved a lot of money. Risky, but worth it. Because they were a new venue they pretty much let us do what we wanted. And seeing as I wanted to throw a childlike homespun DIY shoe-gaze/punk/rock festival style kid’s party with bubbles and story books, masks and games as well as accommodate a naughty french bulldog – a blank canvas like this was ideal.”
Ciaran & Ellen’s wedding was a far removed from a traditional wedding as possible. The bride didn’t wear a white dress, she wore a tweed suit; they didn’t have bridesmaids or groomsmen, they had their dogs; they didn’t have a fancy vintage car, the went for a hike. The ceremony was held at The Woolpack Inn in Cumbria in February and was followed by a low key and intimate meal for their few attendees. A few months later they had a larger gathering in their own back garden for the rest of their friends and family.
“Just keep it really, really simple!” Ellen began. “We’d stayed at The Woolpack before and nearly all the other people we used were recommended by friends so we knew we could trust them. For example, I showed Chrissie at Hat Therapy my Liberty Freedom outfit and my favourite hat and let her work her magic on the design. It was great because the design was completely different to what I might have chosen. Chrissie interpreted the tweed brilliantly and the hat exceeded my expectations.”
Rebeka & Gerard were married in October at The Station House hotel in Ireland. The ceremony was held in the gardens where the couple had set up hay bales covered in blankets for their guests to sit on. They basically homemade everything and spent just €1500 (!) but it was perfect. The bride bought her wedding dress from a charity shop and customised it herself to create a real one of a kind gown. She wore it with a stunning homemade veil and Dorothy Perkins shoes. The bridesmaids wore high street dresses and carried flowers that the bride had arranged herself.
“Our vintage bohemian wedding was personal and DIY”, Rebeka writes. “We love everything vintage and unusual and we bought that into our day. My advice to other brides would be to collect as much as you can, because everything has a purpose. We made all the bunting and collected the table linen throughout our planning from second hand shops.”
I’m not an expert of the history of weddings, but when you think about it, many wedding traditions are really quite odd. A tiered cake, putting your best friends in ill-fitting in matching dresses, an awkward dance in front of everyone you know, throwing a bouquet of flowers at people’s heads… odd.
So I was presently surprised to receive Kelly & Toby’s wedding from their photographer Joanna Millington and see that it had none of that. In fact isn’t this the perfect example of what weddings should really be about? A ceremony declaring your intention to be together forever followed by a celebratory gathering with your nearest and dearest? So so awesome.
The day started with a ceremony at Islington town hall, followed by a stroll and casual drinks at the Drapers Arms, and concluded with an intimate dinner for 14 at The Wapping Project.
“We didn’t want to spend a fortune on the wedding and really tried to keep costs a minimum without spending a lot on unnecessary paraphernalia”, began the bride. “We kept it intimate and stripped it way back and put more money into different areas – namely a big bar tab and really great food. We also split the event into two days (we had a party on the second day for 70 people which wasn’t photographed) which helped reduce costs as it meant we didn’t have to put on dinner for 70 people (which would inevitably have ended up a bit naff on that scale).”