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!”
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!”
Marcus & Simone used some of my favourite wedding suppliers for their barn wedding in Gloucestershire, including Joanna Brown for photography, Fur Coat No Knickers for the dress and Severin of The Hepburn Collection for the bride’s hair. I love this! “I got a little frustrated at how little choice there is when it comes to creating an individual wedding, especially as I didn’t have that long to plan it (5 months),” the bride told me. “I found it easier to not refer to magazines and traditional wedding websites and preferred to take inspiration from Etsy.com, blogs such as Rock n Roll Bride and to go with my own ideas. I think it’s easy to get sucked into the wedding machine and things can become too fussy. My ethos was to try and keep it classic, stylish and simple.”
The laid back day started with the ceremony taking place outside in the glade of Cripps Barn. The bride didn’t actually realise the ceremony was taking place outside until she arrived in the morning! They were really lucky that it stopped raining just at the right time.
“We both work in Television and I laughed when Marcus told me that he had hired a Art Director and Lighting Director to help set up on the day as we had a relatively small, uncomplicated wedding. But both of them proved invaluable. We had festoon lights hung in the trees and around the outdoor fire pit. Sally Lock, the Art Director, provided gorgeous finishing touches inside and dressed outside with hurricane lamps and hanging pieces in the trees, taking all the stress off me on the day and giving it an extra special edge.”
“I was also desperate to track down a huge heart lighting piece that I had once seen at the Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club in London. However, during my search for it I stumbled across something even better: Giant (human size) light bulb letters. These were originally designed for a shop window display but are now hired out for events – they provided a great backdrop for pictures….even though our guests tried their best to move them around so they read S&M instead!”
“I always knew I was going to get a vintage dress and my wedding dress was actually the first wedding dress that I had ever tried on: I instantly fell in love with it. It originally had straps but the ladies at FCNK told me that they could amend it to make a strapless dress and fit boning into the bodice to give it a little more structure. They encouraged me to go and try on a few more dresses so that I could be sure that I wasn’t making a snap decision. I tried on a handful of dresses at a high end designer sample sale but everything felt very generic and nothing came close to being as unique as my vintage dress. We’re not sure of the original date of the dress but think it dates from the 1950’s.”
“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’.
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.
Pyucin & Dylan were married at Shelldance Orchid Gardens, Pacifica, CA. It was important to them to pick a venue that they didn’t have to decorate themselves too much, as Pyucin explained, “When picking a venue, our goal was to keep it sustainable. We didn’t want to purchase a bunch of decor that would be thrown away the next day, and we wanted to make sure that the site represented who we are. Thus, we went in search of a unique site that was within our budget, and we were so happy when we discovered this little green house. The Shelldance Gardens is a non-profit organization so we were happy to contribute to a good cause, and, on top of that, the site is so beautiful that it barely required any extra decoration. It is so green and earthy – it really reflected our love for nature and the outdoors.”
Pyucin wore two dresses, a white one from The Limited and a traditional Burmese Gown, which was handmade in Burma. “The search for the perfect dress was somewhat hectic,” the bride told me. “I initially had a vision of wearing gold for my wedding, wanting to look like a goddess in the greenhouse. However, ordering the dress from Burma proved to be a challenge because communicating my design concept from The States was much more difficult than I thought. For my first dress, I thought I gave very clear visuals and directions on what I wanted, but the dress that they made was nothing like I had in mind. It was a very generous gift, but I didn’t feel comfortable wearing the dress on my wedding day. In a panic, I took my mother’s Burmese gown and made my SECOND dress. While this gown was better than the first, I couldn’t find the shade of gold I wanted, or, for that matter, the type of fabric I wanted. So the second dress became my back up dress, and I still kept my search for the perfect dress going. The THIRD gown was a gown that my florist promised me after she heard about my lack of luck in the dress department. She told me that the dress was close enough to gold in shade and it was very traditional and beautiful. Unfortunately when I saw the gown I just knew that it was too much for me…it was too fancy, too traditional – in a nutshell, not me.”
“Then just 10 days before my wedding, a family friend sent me the FOURTH gown, which was actually a bridesmaid gown that her daughter had worn. I had seen this seen dress before through email, but when I finally saw it in person, I knew it was my dress. When I put it on, all my doubts were gone because it was just exactly what I had searching for all along. The search for the white dress wasn’t as difficult. I wanted something simple and within our budget. I was looking at both Anthropologie’s and J Crew’s bridal collections, but then I came across The Limited’s wedding selection. This dress was Dylan’s pick and when I tried it on, it was perfect too!”
The wedding was a real family effort, and nearly everyone involved in the wedding was a friend or family member. “With the exception of the caterers, everyone involved in this wedding was a friend or a friend of a friend, which made the wedding very intimate,” Pyucin continued. “Our dear friend Dustin Garrison provided the music for the wedding. Dustin was also one of our groomsmen. He worked so hard to make playlists that would reflect our taste, and he was up late into the evening the night before our wedding, incorporating all the songs that Dylan and I added at the last minute.”
“The flowers were done by a family friend, Ei Hlaing. She made me such a gorgeous bouquet, making sure to incorporate all the different colors from both of my dresses. She also made us the garlands of flowers we placed around our neck during the ceremony as tradition in Burma.”
“My make-up was done by one of my best friends – make-up artist extraordinaire Devon Nespica. Devon is a freelance makeup artist for Lancôme and we have been great friends since our freshmen year of college. I showed her the look I wanted to achieve, and she showed up with all her brushes and talent, making me feel incredibly beautiful. I am sure it was stressful day for her to be both make-up artist and bridesmaid, but she certainly didn’t show it.”
The DIY elements can also be seen throughout this wedding. “My sister Ohmar made the little pennants for our cake topper. She took a piece of yarn and sewed the little triangles of fabric to it. We then attached the yarn to two chopsticks. It was so simple and yet so adorable. My other sister Thirii made our little paper mache people as the other part of the cake topper. She added a green bow tie for Dylan and some flowers on my hair. This project only took us an hour at max.”
“The centerpieces for the cocktail tables were also very simple and sustainable. I went to the local library and found hard cover vintage books for decorations. It was a bit harder to find library books that didn’t have the plastic library stickers on them, but it still didn’t take too long. We then went to the goodwill and found small glasswares to place single stems of flowers in. The total décor didn’t cost more than $15. My sisters also helped with the finger print tree. Dylan and I didn’t want a traditional guestbook, and we have been seeing these finger print trees everywhere. We wanted ours to be a bit different, so asked my sister Ohmar to add two little birdies on the branches, and these birdies became the trademark for our wedding. The birds were incorporated into every little detail including the wedding programs, the invites and the wedding cd/ favors.”