Aynhoe Park might be one of the weirdest and most wonderful wedding venues in the UK… because it’s stuffed (boom boom!) full of taxidermy! Everywhere you look the walls are adorned with animals. They even have a full sized giraffe being held up by balloons! Rosie and James wanted somewhere unusual to host their alternative wedding and Aynhoe Park was just perfect.
“We really just wanted our wedding to totally reflect our personalities and us as a couple”, explained the bride. “We didn’t want to be restricted by following traditions. Instead, we wanted everybody to be involved and for it to be a celebration of all our family and friends coming together as well as our love for each other. We chose two long banquet-style tables for this reason, forgoing the tradition of a top table, and included our family and friends in the ceremony with readings. James and I also wrote our own vows, something that was very important to us, as we could include some personal, silly and soppy touches.”
Ross and Amy met at Download Festival in 2009, so obviously their wedding was going to be pretty Rock n Roll! They had just £4000 to spend, but that didn’t stop them planning a wedding that was beautiful. meaningful and fun for their guests.
“My grandma was always the main event at family parties but she passed away a few years ago”, began the bride. “I love that Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrates the life of people that have passed instead of mourning them. Ross had also lost his granddad around the same time so we thought this would be a good theme for our wedding.”
“i made all the small skulls and painted the pots for the centrepiece”, she continued. “We set the room up ourselves and the masks and the sugar skull pictures were made by my best friend. Our whole day was awesome but I’ll never forget watching my Dad dancing to Limp Bizkit and the dance off between my bridesmaid Lucy and our good friend Mark!”
I’ve seen a lot of Day of the Dead themed weddings in my time, but hand on my heart, none have been as incredible as this one! From the bride’s black dress with hidden rainbow petticoat, to the extravagant and gorgeous DIY decorations and the holi powder war (!), this is a wedding I KNOW you’re all going to love.
“Between the two of us we share a few cultures – Indian, Afrikaans, Polish and good old everyday South African”, began Tash. “Mashing the cultures, and therefore the traditions that accompany the various cultures, with our own individual likes and dislikes, was inevitably the inspiration for our day.”
“A few eyebrows were raised when we shared our ideas with family and friends, but we stuck to our guns and created a day that reflected who we are as individuals. This to me was what made it ‘alternative’ (besides the black dress, unlimited vodka and skulls everywhere).”
The day was held at the Mckenzie farm in Lions River, South Africa. The ceremony was in the nearby woods and the reception was in the barn. “The thinking behind our wedding theme was that we got engaged in India, we both love colour and we both love to dress up”, she continued. “I love skulls and Neil dislikes anything fancy and elegant. I also love DIY and power tools! From that process evolved our theme: laid back, unpolished, colour explosion, Day of the Dead dress up barn party!”
If there’s one thing the Irish know, it’s how the throw a good party and this was the exact criteria for Ana and Ricky’s humanist wedding. Held on the Liss Ard Estate in County Cork, they wanted a colourful day that celebrated them, but that was also really fun for all their guests.
“My family is half Colombian and we wanted to celebrate the mixing of cultures in our wedding so we decided to have a wedding with a Latin theme”, explained Ana. “Both being fans of bright colours, we hoped our special day would reflect our gregarious personalities and loving relationship. We are definitely more spiritual than religious, so we took a lot of inspiration from traditional folk celebrations such as the Mexican Day of the Dead as well as the decorative religious imagery found in catholic churches around Latin America.”
“We wanted an event that was unconventional, joyful and exuberant, in contrast to the muted and restrained style of weddings traditionally held in the UK and Ireland, but with a touch of the vintage glamour we both love. Our priorities were for their guests to relax and have fun, and for everyone to be pleasantly surprised with the originality and creativity that had gone into planning the day.”
Lauren and Ralf had a Dia de Los Muertos themed wedding in a goth club. Both the bride and groom even wore face paint! “Our wedding was unique not only because of the theme, location and decorations, but because we went with a mixed wedding party. I did not have a maid-of-honor; I had a man-of-honor. Ralf had a best man and a groomswoman. Also, due to the small size of our wedding party, we all go ready together in the same space at our venue. I’m not superstitious, so it didn’t matter to me if I was seen in my dress before walking down the aisle. But getting ready together made things all the more fun.”
“The visuals of everything defined the wedding. The lighting and the décor that the club already had meant we had very little to do when it came to decoration, and the things we did have were handmade. Also, the music was great. I came down the aisle to ‘Treasure’ by The Cure and for the recessional, we had ‘We Are The Champions’ by Queen.”
Jessie and Joby’s Nebraska wedding was held at Apothecary Lofts in Downtown Lincoln. Their wedding had a day of the dead theme which some of their older relatives thought was a little morbid but the couple thought was perfect, “but we got into this UNTIL DEATH, right?” Jessie laughed.
“My favorite part of our wedding was our ceremony”, she continued. “We wrote our vows together, incorporating super personal and meaningful things for each of us (like me pledging to be sensitive and respectful of Joby’s collections, and Joby pledging to be sensitive and respectful of my chickens). It was also super meaningful to me to have my daughter, Stella, be apart of our ceremony too. We made vows as a family to always be loving and respectful of each other. We also presented Stella with a locket that serves as a momentum for her of the promises that we all made that day. Don’t get me wrong the dance party and reception were fun, but the meaningful mushy stuff was my favorite.”