Tag Archives: budget wedding

A Mad Men Inspired Vintage Wedding: Rowan & Neil

Rowan & Neil were married at St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church, Renfrew followed by a Mad Men inspired reception at 29 Private Members Club in Glasgow. “The wedding ceremony was particularly special to us,” Rowan explained. “My Dad is an Episcopal minister and it was a great honour to have him conduct the service in his own church. My Mum walked me up the aisle – it was lovely to have them both involved in the duties of ‘giving the bride away’.”

The couple knew as soon as they got engaged that they didn’t want a traditional wedding. They met when working at a local hotel in fact so had seen a lot of what they didn’t want! The bride has also had a bit of experience planning a Rock n Roll wedding before as she helped her sister-in-law plan her wedding which was featured actually on Rock n Roll Bride last year! (You can see it here) “I had really enjoyed the creative aspects,” said Rowan, “so when I got engaged a few weeks after their wedding, I was soon sucked into the world of wedding blogs – checking Rock n Roll Bride everyday!”


The overall theme of the wedding was driven by the couple’s love of 50′s and 60′s music, fashion and design. “We are huge fans of Mad Men and we wanted the wedding to reflect something of the style of that period. We also thought that all guests, both young and old, could have fun planning outfits and throwing some groovy shapes on the dancefloor. One of our best memories is seeing Neil’s granny jiving under the discoball to Ray Charles, ‘Hit the Road Jack’.”

“I spent a looong time trawling the internet for retro style wedding invitations, most of which were either too expensive or a bit too cute and twee. Then I came across an amazing flyer for a 50′s/rockabilly club night in Glasgow and my ideas changed. We tracked down the designer and asked him if he would design us a wedding invitation is the style of a 50′s movie poster. We were delighted with the end result – as were our guests, many of have put them up on their kitchen wall! I designed a simple reply slip and Sean set us up with a wedding website, where guests could access more detailed information.”

To keep things personal, the couple wanted to DIY as much of their wedding (with help from their friends & families) as they could. “I jazzed up my shoes with a pair of DIY shoe clips. I made a bow with some ribbon, used a pair of earrings on the front of the bows and sewed them on to shoe clips bought from eBay. My mum even used her sewing machine to bind the order of services together. I stole the Mad-Lib idea from another blog and got pencils made with the words ‘Neil and Rowan get hitched’ on them.”

“My friend Brian had given me a badge maker for my birthday so I decided to make everyone a name badge, colour-coded to their table. The ladies’ favours were iced shortbread hearts, made by talented friend Laura. The guys’ favours were chocolate cigarettes, which were in keeping with the Mad Men influence and made for some great photos! Whilst browsing numerous wedding blogs, I came across the idea of the instant photo guestbook. I bought a blank album from Paperchase, a couple of cheap fujifilm instax cameras and film from eBay and my wonderful bridesmaid Sarah (who is rarely seen without a camera) snapped all of the guests in various poses and they each wrote a few words next to their photo.”


What a cool couple!

Be sure to check out the video too…

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Married by Elvis in Vegas – Michelle & Shane’s True Romance Wedding

Michelle & Shane were married by Elvis in Vegas – doesn’t get much more Rock n Roll than that does it?! After a long distance romance and a super romantic proposal involving messages in a bottle predicting that they’d both be married by Elvis in Vegas (!) they couple wed in the way they knew they should…

“The wedding was amazing,” Michelle wrote. “We had about 50+ friends and family that flew in from all over the country to be there for it. We decided that instead of going to an Elvis wedding chapel, that we would rent the 2,500 sq foot party suite “The Stardust Suite” in the Orleans Hotel & Casino. People usually rent it for parties & wedding receptions but we figured we would just order Elvis to come there and do the ceremony. I looked into the chapels & it seemed like most of them would only let you have a certain number of guests & the weddings sure don’t last very long. Doing it the way we did, we got the room (which was big & very nice with an amazing view of Vegas) for 6 hours.”

“We had an open bar until midnight! We decided a long time ago,that our love was a true-blue True Romance …a lot like the film “True Romance” (except I wasn’t a call girl!) …but we both love the line where Alabama says “I kept asking Clarence why our world seemed to be collapsing and things seemed to be getting so shitty. And he’d say, ‘that’s the way it goes, but don’t forget, it goes the other way too.’ That’s the way romance is… Usually, that’s the way it goes, but every once in awhile, it goes the other way too.” That’s how we both felt…it finally went the other way & we had found each other in this crazy world.”

“We knew that we wanted the beautiful theme song to that movie to play as I walked down the aisle, if you’ve seen the movie you probably know the song! It’s called “You’re so cool” by Hans Zimmer & I walked down the aisle to it to meet my “Clarence”. The Elvis was fantastic, he was SO nice. I recommend him very highly! The ceremony was a perfect mix of silly-fun, and at certain times, serious. My son was the ring bearer…and that was the only time I cried! And as you can see in the photos, my Daddy walked me down the aisle. That was very important to me too.”

“Even though I always dreamt of a Rock n Roll Elvis wedding, I still wanted some of the traditional aspects in there. The people closest to me joke with me a lot about how I’m a tattooed rockin’ roll girl, but the truth is, I’m really an old fashioned June Cleaver wannabe! I guess the same thing kinda happened with my dress. I originally purchased a gorgeous 1950′s red dress and I was all ready to wear it, when I saw ivory, tea length dress among all the long white gowns at Wedding Wonderland…and OMG, it was GORGEOUS! It looked like a vintage dress to me, but it wasn’t! So, I tried it on ‘for fun’, because I also certainly could NOT afford the dress! I couldn’t believe it..I really kinda almost cried I loved it so much and I never thought I’d even want a ‘real’ wedding dress!”

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Steve & Shelley’s Post-War Britain, DIY Wedding

Steve & Shelley’s Isle of Wight wedding had a post-war vintage and DIY theme. The couple were keen not to spend a fortune on their day and the theme really evolved quite naturally and organically from this idea. “We were conscious we did not want to spend a fortune on our wedding and the theme of ‘Post-War Britain’ fitted in nicely with our DIY wedding,” the bride told me. “Everything was done on a budget, a lot sourced from eBay, friends and family helped to make bunting and paper chain hearts for decorating the reception venue.  Our favours were Thorntons chocolates wrapped in brown wrapping paper with blue butchers twine (eBay again) and a parcel tag attached with the guests name as a place card. I handmade the invitations which were a shimmery Union Jack postcard style with the invitation wording as a telegram, on the invitation we requested that guests attend in their interpretation of post-war Britain dress, and gladly the majority of guests did so!”

“The Orders of Service were also handmade, inspired by the ‘Keep Calm & Carry On’ poster campaigns from World War Two.  We had a simple non-religious service which included a reading from “The Velveteen Rabbit” by Margery Williams.  The chapel was simple and perfect for our day, and we were the first wedding there in four years! We exited the chapel to a church organ version of Frank Sinatra’s Love & Marriage.”

“We had martini glass style table centrepieces (from eBay again) on the tables at the reception, filled with white and red roses.” Shelley continued. ” We decided on table names rather than numbers and chose British personalities from the 40′s & 50′s including Elizabeth Taylor (the ‘top table’), Vera Lynn, Diana Dors, Winston Churchill & Norman Wisdom!  For the table plan I used a Union Jack flag bought from Sainsbury’s (around the time of the Royal Wedding, we were lucky that everywhere was selling all things Union Jack!) mounted onto card, with the relevant personality’s photos next to the guests seated at each table.  We also had ration card style menu’s on the tables.  Upon arrival at the reception venue and throughout the meal, we had Glenn Miller Band playing in the background. The evening buffet consisted of a candy buffet of traditional sweets, and a british ‘afternoon tea’ – scones, jam & cream, sausages on union jack sticks and sandwiches.”

“We didn’t want a traditional wedding. Steve loves his classic cars and I love the 40′s and 50′s fashion, so we went for Post-War Britain, an era where things were very much do-it-yourself and on a budget and the fashion was beautiful and women really looked like women!  In all, we spent just over £2000 on our wedding, and we managed this because we hunted high and low for the best deals and friends and family helped wherever they could.  No one seems to believe us when we tell them what we spent – but believe me it really can be done – it just takes a lot of time to source the bargains.  Plus, Rock n Roll Bride was a big source of inspiration and ideas!”

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April & Christian’s Colourful Dance-Party Rooftop Wedding

April & Christian’s rooftop wedding was held at Aerial in Nashville and from the sounds of things it was a fun-packed wedding from start to finish. “The ceremony was on the rooftop in downtown Nashville right beside all the honkey tonks,” photographer Alex Bee told me. “The bridal party DANCED down the aisle to live music played by the bride & groom’s brothers. They really got into it! The bride’s entrance had the most tension/energy/anticipation that I have ever experienced at a wedding. The bride entered the ceremony to rising beginning guitar solo of  ”She’s the One” by Bruce Springsteen. Did I mention that they passed out tambourines & eggshakers & encouraged the guests to play along? It was really amazing! The reception was an epic rooftop dance party + karaoke.”

April’s dress came from Watters, but with the help of a clever dressmaker, she customised it to create her perfect gown. She also worked closely with designers to create her bespoke headpiece and jewellery items. The bride’s Mum even made the beautiful (and awesome!) bride’s bouquet, bridesmaid clutches and all boutonnières.

“I had a vision from the beginning that I wanted something wildly eclectic, but with a Nashville-esque retro vibe,” the bride told me. “I was a terrible shopper for dresses, etc. Nothing in any bridal store felt like “me”, so I ended up starting from scratch with artisans all over to put it all together. I have Etsy to thank for a lot of it!”

“For the decor, we wanted the rooms to feel homey – like a great vintage condo you never want to leave – but with the small twist that the interior of the venue have an outdoor/back porch feel (birdcages, grass, etc), and the outdoor space feel like the heart of the house (cake platters with overflowing flowers, a bookcase altar, and photo wall created with vintage curtains and antique frames). That vibe, mixed with a meticulously crafted playlist, and the special touch of karaoke, made our wedding just the kind of Rock n Roll house party we were looking for!”

“My top tip would be to work with people you know whenever possible, get ideas from everyone, and dont ever be afraid to ask – whether its about price, or some cooky idea you have floating around in your brain – there’s someone out there on your wavelength, or who wants to get there and just needs a little help! And whatever you do, make the wedding YOU. Embody yourselves in the event, and your guests (and you) will have an unforgettable time!”

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Stephanie & Aaron’s Budget ‘Peacock Vintage’ Wedding

“The whole wedding was sort of ‘peacock vintage’ themed,” newlywed Stephanie told me. “We really managed to keep the wedding cost pretty low and spent less than $12,000! We was able to do this by making our own centerpieces, boutineers, corsages, invitations, and headpieces. We also used an older, less popular florist because I knew exactly what kind of flowers I wanted, and I provided the ribbon and feathers to her, leaving no room for error.”

It’s clear that Stephanie & Aaron did things their own way for their Atlanta wedding. They didn’t spend a fortune, but with a bit of hard work, created a wedding that looked really spectacular. They spent money on the things they really wanted but saved on (or left out completely!) the things they weren’t too bothered about.  ”We did not send save the date cards, we simply sent our invitations out a month earlier than the traditional time frame,” continued the bride.

“My wedding dress is from a wholesale website. My 100% silk, fully lined and boned wedding dress was only $230 with shipping! I had the purple ribbon sewn on after I got it. My reception dress was found by my mother a year before the wedding at a consignment shop. I had a few minor alterations done and bingo… I was dancing the night away. My shoes are from zappos RSVP brand and only cost $59! The peacock feathers are from several peoples collections and I did buy a few extra at a craft store. They just gave everything a universal theme and looked beautiful in the candlelight.”

The bride also made her own headpiece from from russian veiling and peacock feathers, and her jewellery was a vintage Swarovski piece from France. They also were able to get their dream car to transport them for a lot cheaper than a traditional wedding car rental place might charge. Stephanie found the pink Cadillac parked outside a party she was at one night. When she was leaving the restaurant she literally left a note saying, ‘Please call me, I have to have this car for my wedding day’.

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Lou & Chris’ Simple & Family-Central Vintage Wedding

What’s this? Another awesome wedding from my photographer buddy Assassynation? Yep that’s right people, Sassy (aka Assassynation) really does get some of the very best wedding around…and the most awesome thing is many of them are Rock n Roll Bride readers so I get to then share them with you all afterwards. Yeey.

Lou & Chris had a simple wedding in London…and by simple I mean no fuss, no drama – just an awesome and super stylist day! They were married at Stoke Newington Town Hall, London which they followed up with a reception at The Londesborough pub, also in Stoke Newington.

“Our dream wedding was just a handful of family and close friends and a quiet registry office service,” the bride told me. “In all honesty, I was terrified of walking down the aisle and hated the idea of speeches. But we both have big families so, when we wrote down our list of essential guests, we realised that a small wedding was simply not an option. Instead, we decided to make it as personal as possible. We both work in magazines but were intimidated by the ideas in a lot of wedding magazines – we simply didn’t have the budget or the inclination to have a big swanky bash. Thankfully, I found Rock n Roll Bride just in the nick of time and realised that it was fine to do things differently – big relief!”

“We’re not religious so didn’t want to marry in a church and we didn’t fancy a hotel either,” Lou continued. “We looked at loads of venues in London and Yorkshire, where I’m from, from barns to restaurants to even an art gallery. Then we found the perfect place five minutes from where we lived. Stoke Newington Town Hall had recently been renovated and, every time we walked past and saw the grand pillars and art deco details, we’d both smile. When we had a wander around inside, we were equally blown away by it. We struck gold when we found the reception venue, The Londesborough – a gastro pub just down the road. Neither of us were interested in formalities or stuffiness and didn’t buy into the whole ‘princess for a day’ thing – we just wanted the whole day to be full of meaning for us and for it to be fun for our guests. Thankfully, the pub’s owners, Patrick and Greg Wright, were on our wavelength and happily allowed us to adorn the pub with homemade bunting and flower arrangements.”

“We tried to use local suppliers. Chris designed our invites and we used a local printer. The florist was also just down the road from our flat. We also had the idea of using old books as place settings as they’d double as favours and give people something to talk about at the meal. I had a romantic notion about DIY-ing and envisaged myself wafting around serenely, creating all these wonderful little bits. It was actually bloody hard work and I spent many weekends hunched over my sewing machine making metres of bunting and matching cushions. Thankfully, my sister helped out with sewing but I had to buy some extra in – the Mr and Mrs Smith bunting and the outdoor stuff was all bought in a panic the week before the wedding, as well as some extra cushions from Primark.”

“We made all the table names and also the place settings which we made by by writing names on parcel tags, putting them on raffia and then wrapping the raffia around the books. We got books from second hand book shops as well as purging my dad and gran’s book collections and we got a load of racy romance novels from the library – they were being sold off for 20p a book. We spent £20 max on the place settings and nearly all of them were taken home so they were definitely a success! We also saved money by using jam jars instead of buying vases for the reception flowers and dressed them up by wrapping raffia around them. Simple but really pretty.”

Lou went to my favourite dress shop for her vintage wedding dress, Fur Coat No Knickers in London. She explained, “When it came to my outfit, I always knew that I didn’t want a long dress. When I walked into FCNK, I completely fell in love – both with the dresses and with Laura and Emma, who run the shop. They are both so talented. At first, I’d thought that I’d go with a prom style dress but then I tried on a long fifties number and they showed me how they could transform it into a wiggle dress complete with a sash and funky ‘Priscilla Presley- style short veil. At every fitting I felt so comfortable in it and, on the wedding day, I even felt confident enough to make a speech.” Lou teamed her dress with shoes from Rachel Simpson and jewellery which was a gift from her Gran.

The photography was also really important to the couple, and I’m so excited that they picked one of my favourite ladies to shoot the day for them. “With the photography, it was important to us that the pictures captured the essence of the day and Sassy of Assassynation did not disappoint. She is such a calm person and she caught some really special moments, as well as all the fun bits, the decoration details and creating some really stylish shots too. We also had a little film produced by Frank Millar, which he set to our wedding music, and which makes us laugh and cry in equal measures. Everyone said how hard working and easy to get along with both Sassy and Frank were. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them.”

“Lots of people said that it was a very relaxed, fun wedding and I think that’s because we stayed true to ourselves and tried not to care what anyone thought,” concluded Lou. “On the day, the things that I’d worried about were my favourite part – walking down the aisle towards Chris was amazing and the ceremony was truly the happiest time of my life. Close friends did readings and my sister’s boyfriend Ian performed ‘It Must be Love’ by Labi Siffre. It was just perfect and really uplifting and I’m so glad that we followed our hearts. Our families and friends were amazing with helping us out. My mum organised the reception flowers – she brought down loads of flowers from her garden and did the arrangements the afternoon before the wedding, with help from Chris’ mum. And our families also helped us decorate the pub on Friday afternoon. Chris and his brother were out in pouring rain, putting up fairy lights in the garden, while the mums did the flowers and me, my dad, sister, auntie, my new sister in law Laura and one of our best mates clambered over chairs to pin up the bunting.”

“To me, that summed up the whole wedding – it was about two families joining together and it was really, really special. Not everything went according to plan – our shoes got trashed and we have a sneaking suspicion that no one remembered to turn on the fairy lights in the garden but we were having too much fun dancing to care! Our wedding day was messy and imperfect but it was real and so much fun and we wouldn’t have had it any other way.”

Yey!! This wedding makes me so happy. Don’t forget to check out the video too…wow.

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