I’m rather partial to IKEA… I know it’s not the fanciest of home stores, but whenever I persuade Gareth that we need a trip there (I’m sure we’re due another one soon) I feel like a proper grown up. I can actually afford the stuff (like who decided £2000 was standard for a table and chairs? pah John Lewis, PAH!) and it makes me feel all educated buying things with Swedish names. Plus their items are always pretty… even if not always functional – “why yes Gareth I do need that cardboard deer head to put on my office wall…” And don’t even get me started on the kids department. I just wish the pink chest of drawers came in adult size…
So when wedding photographer and all round cool dude Chris Barber sent me Janet & Dave’s wedding I was excited. Not just because of Dave’s Rock n Roll stylings but because they chose the Coventry Ikea as the location for their wedding day portrait sesh. GENIUS! Oh and they spent just £4000 on their day. I’m IN AWE.
“We had our daughter in January 2011 and that gave me a serious itch to be married”, Janet began. “Dave proposed on Christmas morning 2011 with my Granny’s wedding band. He had a calendar printed with a photo of our daughter from each month last year, and on December 25th 2012 he had written ‘anniversary of our engagement’, which is when he nervously popped the question!”
The couple were married in July at Coventry Registry Office, and their reception was held at Varsity Warwick, a local student bar with delicious food. “We were originally planning a bigger and more expensive wedding for September 2013. It was the wedding we had talked about before we were engaged, and before we had our daughter. It would have been a wonderful day, but something about it just wasn’t sitting right with us. We hadn’t booked anything yet, despite having found the venue we wanted already, so we changed our mind. I had been looking at options for having a small ceremony and then a meal for close family and friends, but even the costs for that seemed astronomical for what you would get, and none of the restaurants were ‘us’ or had any meaning to us as a couple. Then Dave jokingly said ‘why don’t we get married at Varsity?’ – our favourite place to go for a meal, a somewhat quirky student pub in Coventry with an amazing menu. Unbeknownst to him, I made some enquiries and spoke to the super lovely manager, Rachel, who was so excited to have us there for our wedding reception. It wasn’t something they had ever done before, although they have parties there all the time, but they pulled out all the stops for us. They really went the extra mile, putting up all of our decorations for us and setting everything up beautifully (after my very helpful instructions of “here is a box of stuff, please make it all look pretty”).”
A warehouse might just be one of my all time favourite wedding venue ideas. Maybe it’s a throwback from my teenage rave phase or maybe it’s the fact that it’s so raw and grimy – a fabulous antithesis to the over-saturation of pretty-pretty wedding fluff that I’m subjected to by working in this crazy little industry. But either way I flippin’ LOVE Kari & Torkel’s wedding. They had their legal ceremony 9 month’s earlier but wanted a big party in August to celebrate with their friends & family.
“We both have demanding work and work long hours as well as travelling extensively,” began the bride. “We met through internet dating, both sharing a strong interest for physical outdoor training like running, cycling and canoeing. Since we had cheated everyone by having a small 5-minute ceremony the November before, my parent’s decided to reenact this part of the day with my father taking the role of the officiator. We used flower wreaths as a symbol instead of exchanging rings.”
The warehouse, Färgfabriken, an exhibition and art space located in Lövholmen, Stockholm, was an obvious choice for this couple who didn’t want to do things at all traditionally. “We did not want a traditional mansion wedding; it’s just not for us”, Kari continued. “We wanted friends and family to have a good relaxed time and enjoy a great party in a non-traditional setting. We were very happy when we found Färgfabriken, a converted 1930s paint factory located in an industrial area, but still easily accessible in central Stockholm. And of course you can play the music loudly without disturbing any neighbours. Torkel is passionate about music. He’s been a tour leader for bands like Deerhunter and has worked as DJ at the coolest nightclubs in Stockholm. So the music was obviously very important to him. He spent A LOT of hours mixing the perfect wedding playlist and the dance floor was busy until sunrise.”
Nellie & Matt planned their Whistable wedding in just three short weeks. They wanted something small, something personal and something relaxed. They found the amazing Beacon House, right on the beach, for their ceremony and were able to use the back garden of the bride’s brother’s holiday cottage for the reception.
“Serendipity and our amazingly supportive family and friends brought our wedding together in just 3 weeks,” the bride began. “Matt and I had been engaged for 3 years, neither of us are planners but we had a clear idea of the kind of wedding we wanted, a relaxed, seaside celebration centred around our close friends, family, good food and drink. But every option we explored in Cambridge and Brighton, our two home cities, in one way or another tied us into expensive packages, so we put off the wedding and skipped to the baby.”
“A year after our son Ted was born Matt was offered his dream job in the USA, the prospect of leaving our life in the UK brought into focus the importance of celebrating our love and commitment to our new little family. With a little over a month before we were due to leave we thought lets just see if we can do this, finding our dream venue on our very first internet search and them having an available date seemed like fate. Indeed fate struck again on the day when the predicated storms were replaced by sunshine. We decided on Whitstable because my brother lives there with his family and we were planning on visiting them that week anyway. When we saw Beacon House we fell love with it immediately. It is small and personal and is in the most idyllic location, overlooking the sea. It feels secluded and private. Getting married outside to the soundtrack of the sea was a dream and my most special memory of the day. Having the freedom to spill out from the garden to the beach afterwards was perfect for our wedding party’s large brood of children; Beacon House is everything we’d tried and failed to find in Brighton.”
Honestly? I struggled with what to write about today. Usually on a Sunday I’ll post something non-wedding related that’s caught my eye or I’ll share something exciting that I’ve done in the week. But I shared my Photography Farm retreat escapades in this week’s Thursday Treats and since then I’ve basically been chained to my computer replying to the squillions of emails that came in whilst I was away and writing as many blog posts as physically possible. I also spent rather a lot of time on the phone to Cosmopolitan Magazine. NO BIG DEAL (more on this soon!)
And then this wedding pinged into my inbox and it all became clear.
Show me a rainbow wedding and I’ll show you a very happy wedding blogger. Of all the weddings I feature, I think I’ll always be have an extra special place in my heart for a wedding with so much colour. Like, seriously, what’s not to love?! With $12,000, Jason & Gwen planned this colourful explosion in Jason’s Mum’s back garden. “It isn’t always cheaper to DIY,” wrote the bride. “But we never could have done so much ourselves without the mega-ton of help we received from our friends and family. I am so glad we did it that way though, because we had some great times working on projects, planning, and being excited with our closest people.”
“It’s hard to want things different from the norm sometimes”, Gwen continued. “Some people had a hard time understanding some of my ideas, but overall people were great. I really wanted the wedding to represent us and our styles, and to do what felt right to us, not what it felt like we should do to fit into everybody’s idea of what a wedding is supposed to be.”
Jordan & Michael wanted a wedding that truely reflected them and the things they love, so they grabbed their children and were married in private on top of a mountain in Canada. “Our inspiration was definitely nature and our love of hiking”, explained the bride. “We chose Gros Morne National Park in the beautiful province of Newfoundland and Labrador known for its mountainous terrain and unbelievable views. This in our minds made the perfect backdrop for our quiet intimate ceremony. We knew that hiking boots were a must so why not include them on our special day? We kept our attire simple and clean and focused on more important details like the photography and the food!”
The bride wore a short and simple dress which she bought from a thrift shop for $14. It was by Club Monaco and was perfect for a hike and a wedding! “Our favorite part of the wedding had to be our vows”, Jordan continued. “We simply asked to each other ‘why do you love me?’. I also loved the fact that we had absolutely no schedule for the entire day. Making it stress-free was our motto.”
Eileen & Peter were married at Glasgow University Union. They had a tiny budget, but with the help of wedding blogs sharing affordable and DIY options, they were able to plan the wedding of their dreams.
“We really just wanted to have a fun wedding that meant something to us personally rather than just doing things because you are supposed to”, explained Eileen. “I was really inspired by blogs like Rock n Roll Bride that showed how you can have a wedding anyway you want. We had to explain our decisions a bit more than most to some people who didn’t get it but I knew it would all come together in the end. Things like not having a religious ceremony. This upset our families to begin with but they later realised that they had pestered us for so long to get married that any way we wanted was fine just as long as we did it! So we had a small intimate ceremony filled with songs and poetry we love and lovely romantic things we had said about each other. Then we just wanted to have a big fun party to celebrate with all our extended friends and family. We didn’t set out to be ‘Rock n Roll’ but we definitely ended up that way. Ha ha!”