Sadie and Marie were married at Calke Abbey Riding School, a National Trust venue in Derbyshire. They were the first same sex couple to marry here and they fell in love with it’s less than perfect appearance. It was the ideal setting for their alternative wedding.
“Our wedding day was perfectly imperfect”, explained the brides. “We were adamant we did not want a prefabricated, immaculate wedding and opted for a laid back, rough round the edges kind of day. We chose the amazing venue, not for the grand unstately home (yes it’s really called that!), but for the rustic, flaking paint and quirky riding school, owned by the National Trust. We also made history by being the first same sex couple to have a ceremony there! We visited the venue on several occasions and it was transformed every time. We wanted a blank canvas where we could truly make our mark.”
Steph and Harry had a quintessential Brighton wedding. Their ceremony was on the famous Brighton bandstand, they had photographs taken on the iconic seafront and their reception was at the amazing Proud Cabaret.
“Our theme was a little bit mad”, laughed Steph. “We love the peacock colours so that became our colour palette. We were never going to have a traditional wedding in a church or hotel, we wanted something fun and memorable. Our wedding was all about having fun, getting our families together with things that we love such as the sea, fashion, textiles and creativity. We made most of our decorations and favours as well as the bouquets. It was a very hands on wedding and I enjoyed the prep as much as the actual day.”
“The ceremony venue also made it unique. The bandstand is incredibly beautiful and it’s not everyday you get married on Brighton’s oldest landmark. It’s got such character and is stunning but it was always risky this our wonderful British weather!”
“We chose skulls instead of flowers for the buttonholes, we had a skull cake and our reception at a cabaret bar!” she continued. “We ended up having a sea theme on the tables with the octopus and the lobsters!! The lobsters were a personal joke – for anyone that watched Friends they’ll understand..! Harry was also brought up in Clacton on Sea, and is very much a seaside boy. It was also very appropriate. Our table plan was prints by my favourite tattoo artists, Angelique Hautkamp.”
29th March 2014 was a good day in England, because same sex marriage finally became completely legal! While gay couples have been able to become civil partners for a few years now, it’s crazy to think that until two months ago they didn’t have the exact same rights as heterosexual couples.
So, with an amazing development in human rights taking place, hundreds of same sex couples rushed to say “I do” as soon as they could. One of the first was Phil and James, who were married at 8am in Brighton & Hove Town Hall.
“Our wedding was unique in the sense that it was the first LEGAL same-sex wedding at Brighton & Hove Town Hall and was attended by Madam Mayor Cllr Denise Cobb who presented us with the Brighton & Hove Crest in the form of cufflinks and a pin-badge”, they explained. “From the ceremony we went on drive around Brighton making as much noise and celebration as we could before pulling up at the front of Brighton Pier where we were greeted by a FLASHMOB doing their rendition of Kool & The Gang’s Celebration! And of course, we had to join in as did our guests and members of the public.”
I was so excited to get Eileen’s email about her wedding because she wore the Gala bow from my collection with Crown and Glory at their reception! Doesn’t she rock it so well?! She and James were married at Brighton College and their wedding had a retro theme with geeky touches.
“We crammed so much of ourselves into the day”, began the bride. “We didn’t really set out to have a theme but people that came to the wedding said it was so ‘us’! We’re pretty geeky and love books and films. We nicknamed the venue Hogwarts so we made table confetti out of pages from Harry Potter books as well as vintage atlas pages. James proposed to me using a vintage map poster that he had marked out all the places in the world that we had visited so far and the places we’re going to go, and wrote across it, ‘Will You Marry Me?'”
“Our table plan had couples from films that we both love and we gave the kids Harry Potter themed gifts. Our favours were little wildflower kits to save the bees, because I love bees (my mother in law knitted bees for the kids, too). We had DIY photo props, the top table had a crystal skull bottle used as a vase and I wore several glittery things including a dinosaur brooch and my Rock n Roll Bride for Crown and Glory hair bow!”
The idea behind Tim and Holli’s wedding was for it to reflect the things they love, so they opted for a vintage, tattoo and 1950s inspired day. They added personal touches by making the centrepieces themselves, Holli also made her own bouquet from 12 red roses.
“We didn’t initially intend for a particular theme, it was a natural progression from our own ideas and lifestyle”, she wrote. “The tattoo parts to the wedding were inspired by Tim who is a tattoo artist. We wanted to keep the whole affair fun and very free, we just wanted everyone to have a good time.”
Kat and Andrew had a colourful wedding and took inspiration from the bride’s tattoos and of times gone by. “We planned our wedding by the rule ‘do what you’d do if you didn’t know what was done’, as we didn’t want to go along with traditions that we didn’t understand or necessarily agree with”, Kat wrote. “We both saw our wedding day as an opportunity to throw a massive party for all of our family and friends, which made planning so much more fun! It’s far easier to be creative when you’re not preoccupied with what you think you ought to be doing, or with what you think people expect of you.”
“At our reception we created an informal, summer party atmosphere by hiring lots of vintage games from Matt and Annabel (our gramophone DJs). We both had an amazing time splatting rats, hooking ducks and throwing coconuts with our friends and family! It was great to see how involved everybody was and how competitive some people became over the egg and spoon race.”