Rich and Fran chose Romsey Town Hall as the venue for their April wedding. They wanted a day that was fun and personal but didn’t break the bank. With a lot of help from friends and family and a truckload of DIY, they created a wedding day that was the perfect reflection of them and their love.
“Our wedding was defined by our families and friends and the huge amount they supported us”, began the bride. “We are both very close to our families and our friends are just like a little family to us too. From start to finish our wedding was a real team effort. Having my grandma, aunts and uncles making pompoms the week before and then turning up to the venue the day before the wedding to see my oldest friend hanging them up with my cousins was really humbling. On top of that my Mum pretty much organised the whole thing and my Dad made nearly everything. We owe them so much and are so incredible grateful. They didn’t say no to any of our crazy ideas, even though at first they weren’t convinced by us eating lasagne and curry (our favourite meals) or having a male bridesman.”
Stefano and Rossana had a purely Rock n Roll wedding at Queen Brasserie, Castelnuovo Rangone, Italy. The majority of the wedding was DIY and the whole shebang cost them less than €5000! However it wasn’t all smooth sailing…
“Initially, the ceremony was to take place in a church, followed by dinner in a restaurant, but two days before the wedding there was an earthquake and we were told that the church was not accessible any more. We had also really wanted to have our meal outside but it was due to rain so we had to make a last minute change of both venues! The alternative location we chose the Queen Brasserie was our first choice from the beginning, since it was almost a second home for us. The reason we didn’t choose it initially was because we thought we had too many guests as it’s not a huge place. However with the earthquake, a lot of people couldn’t come so we had a smaller guest list and the Queen Brasserie was now the perfect size!”
“So on Thursday morning (the wedding was on Saturday) we rushed to the restaurant and begged the owners to see if they could host our ceremony and dinner… thank God they agreed! However in Italy if you want to get married somewhere like a pub or restaurant, you have to have a legal ceremony in city hall. We did this at 8.30am the morning of the wedding wearing jeans and tee-shirts!”
The wedding has a rock music theme with the couple DIYing the paper goods, cake and centrepieces. “We love rock music”, she continued. “and so our theme was an obvious choice. Our home is full of music-themed books and biographies of the greatest rock bands and artists. Stefano plays the drums and loves to customise musical instruments, so we said from the outset that our wedding would have to reflect this.”
“A lot of weddings in Italy are boring, traditional and all the same. For us it had to be a party! In Italy it is also very rare to see a bride in black dress and a wedding menu made with gnocco and tigelle (traditional local food). We also wanted all our guests to feel comfortable so we asked the boys to wear the t-shirt of their favourite band!”
Alison and Michael were married at The Green Building in Brooklyn. They got together after chance meeting at Kate’s Paperie in New York, a Craigslist ‘Lost Connection’ that actually worked and a long online relationship. After finally getting together and then getting engaged they planned the wedding in just three short months.
“When planning the wedding I became charmed by the idea of parlour weddings, the way folks used to do it before the Big Business of weddings”, Alison explained. “So we wanted to create the look and feel of a living room for ours. We wanted to take items from each of our apartments and create a cozy and personal space where we could gather our nearest and dearest to watch us make this amazing commitment.”
“I loved the fact that most of the décor was made up of items from our own homes and items we’ve collected over the years. We didn’t have a whole lot of time to plan the wedding so spending countless hours on Pinterest looking for ideas just wasn’t a possibility. I had to go with my instincts and make quick decisions. We first nailed down the venue and date and caterer, but then the rest of the details came together in the last month. I know most people may think we’re crazy to have done it so quickly, but we’re thrilled with how it turned out. We didn’t have time to over-think it. It was very much a reflection of who we are both as individuals and as a couple.”
People often ask me if I ever get bored of blogging about weddings. I can see why because usually once you’ve been doing something – anything – for as long as I have been doing this, it’s natural to think that you might start to become a little ‘over’ it. So while I’m not going to pretend that I’m always thrilled, overjoyed and amazed by every wedding that graces my inbox, I can safely say that I am probably as far from ‘over’ this job as I could be… especially when I get sent images like Polly and Jamie’s wedding to drool over.
I had actual butterflies browsing through these last week. I might have even held my breath. I’m pretty sure you’ll be able see why and in actual fact this might be one of the most beautiful weddings I’ve ever seen. Yes, I said ever.
“Jamie and I met at the foot of another mountain, Mt Taranaki, at a festival in New Zealand”, began the bride. “I was trying to work out how to put up my tent and Jamie was returning from the toilets. Ever the knight in shining armour he offered to help me and I asked if we could pencil in a ‘pash and dash’ later in the night. On the final day of the festival our paths collided again and we escaped from the festival barefoot and found some random person’s tent where we made love like wild animals. We then dragged a single mattress into a clearing in the woods and made love until the sun came up. We’d fallen in for each other. The next day I flew back home and five weeks later Jamie moved to Australia and we started our life together. Four years later he proposed at the foot of Mt Warning and six months after that we tied the knot in the same place.”
I am always so incredibly inspired when I see weddings where the budget was small. Far from it seeming like the couple had to make compromises, the ones I get to share always seem to prove that a small budget doesn’t have to mean a budget-looking wedding. In my opinion it is actually often the weddings with the smaller budgets that seem to have the most heart, the most personal details and the most inspiring ideas.
Jon and Alex had a budget of £2000 for their wedding but wait for it… only spent £800! A big reason for this was that the wedding was held on the bride’s parent’s farm and they helped out with the cost of the marquee. Their professional photographer was a friend (always handy!) which also clearly saved them a big chunk of change. They decided not to have any flowers, Alex’s sister in law made some cupcakes and her mother did all the catering. Instead of hiring an expensive wedding car Alex drove herself to the wedding in her own Ford Fiesta!
Emilie & Antony spent just £3000 on their wedding. They were married on a Friday and were really lucky to have a friend who worked at Lains Barn in Oxfordshire, who was able to get them a really cheap deal on the rental and food costs. “Lains Barn is perfectly charming and was perfect for our shabby chic wedding!” wrote Emilie. “We chose to have a hog roast. It was served with buns and apple sauce. My grandmother didn’t seem a big fan of the way it was served, but not everyone agreed – one of my friends said ‘Burgers at a wedding – genius!’ with a big smile on his face and a couple of burgers on his plate!”
This wasn’t where the money saving stopped though. Emilie found her dress for just £30 on eBay and Antony’s suit was from TK Maxx. They also didn’t have any bridesmaids or groomsmen, the bride’s mother did the flowers and they kept the reception décor minimal. “The venue already came partly decorated”, she continued. “The main barn had long flowing fabric hangings which I thought looked perfect as they were, so I just added the flower arrangements to decorate the tables. The second barn, where the bar is, already had fairy lights and greenery decorating the animal troughs. I hung lots of silver stars along the wood beams to add some shabby chic whimsy to the room. I made them myself using the inside cardboard from toilet rolls, cutting each roll into 5 roundels. I flattened each roundel to make it a little pointed, and then hot-glued them in the middle to make stars! All that was left to do after that was spray-painting them silver.”