Laura & Rich’s classic English themed wedding had some super quirky and personal touches. The couple were legally married at Merton Register Office, London and a few days later had an outdoor blessing ceremony and their reception at Tilford Institute, Surrey. “People were confused as to why we had two days, but why not?” Laura told me. “I wore my dress twice. I was driven in a posh car twice. The first day with my dad, nervous; the second with my new husband, brimming with excitement at seeing my friends! I’d recommend spreading out the love to anyone.”
The bride wore a second hand dress which she found in Oxfam, which she customised with some fabric flowers. “My dress was donated by a recently widowed man,” Laura told me. “It had been his wife’s wedding dress many moons ago. I’ve always loved charity shops and so it was only natural for me to find my perfect wedding dress in one too! On the day of our register office ceremony, I walked in the door and the registrar choked on her words. She stood in shock as apparently she had worn something very similar on her wedding day in 1959. Her marriage was still going strong and she wished us as much happiness as she had had. It was a very special moment for both of us. I found a green satin flower sash to go accessorise the dress from ProjectU on Etsy.”
The DIY elements really made this wedding stand out, and kept the day super personal. Laura continued, “I don’t know if Rich or myself are particularly Rock n Roll (in fact, he wouldn’t let me have a live band, thinking it was too try-hardy ‘cool’) but we just did our days how we wanted. Putting together a DIY wedding was stressful though, don’t get me wrong. But we could not believe how generous friends and family were with their time and energy. My mum and Rich’s mum did all the food: good, heart portions of homemade curry, chilli and fishpie. The ‘waitresses’ were all neighbours who donated their time to make sure the booze didn’t run dry and the plates were cleared away. Richard’s Mums are Buddhists and so our outdoor ceremony was influence by that and also humanism.”
“I made all the table decorations in the months leading up to the big day. I read online somewhere that pretty wallpaper was a cheap way of doing table runners so the buffet tables had those. Elsewhere, I found a garish 1970’s flower print duvet set in a Red Cross charity shop and so simply cut that into two pieces and draped them in diagonals over the cake tables. I was surprised at how good it looked! Then, I use the two pillowcases to make a matching runner for another table. If you cut the pillowcases open into a strip and sew them together, they end up long enough for a top table!”
“For the daffodil pots I collected jam jars and clear bottles for months and then glued strips of lace, hessian and ribbon to them. I collected lavender from my neighbours’ gardens to dry and then drop in to the bottles. I found some even brighter 70’s fabric that I used for the backdrop to our photobooth. Nice.
I bought muslin bags online from Papermoon on Etsy and then filled them with mini eggs as part of the favours (it was the week before Easter). I also made heart-shaped bird seed feeders with veggie gelatine & silicone cake tins, putting them in cornstarch plastic bags (trying to be eco-friendly!)”
I’m coming over all Français today, with not one but two real wedding features with a French flavour. The first, Candice & Dave’s, took place in South Africa but had a distinctive Parisian infusion.
Photographer Jacki Bruniquel explained, “They were on a tight budget and really made the best of what they had and made their wedding ‘their own’. They had a Parisian theme running through the day as this is where they got engaged, but through in a bit of local flavour too. Friends pulled in to help and Candice made many of the details herself.”
“Candice and Dave live in Umhlanga, a seaside village near Durban South Africa, so they had their creative shoot and reception in their home town and included the icon of Umhlanga – the big red and white lighthouse. The boys all surf so we started the day with some surfing pics. On the actual day this crazy storm came up and instead of getting into a sulky panic we just embraced it and let the wind take them away! Who says an Armageddon like storm is all bad on your wedding day?”
The wedding was held at The Breakers Resort at Umhlanga Rocks. The tight budget meant that the wedding was full of fantastic DIY elements, as Candice explained, “We did a lot of DIY! It was a good opportunity for all the bridesmaids to get together and hang out a bit. We made the: 1. hand fans, adding lace and tassels 2. the candy apples 3. the ring pillow 4. the aisle runner – This was so easy! We just bought a long piece of white fabric, stitched the edges and stenciled a pattern along the sides using fabric paint. We saved a lot of money and had fun in the process! The best part was creating the table centerpieces to look like Parisian street lamps. We sourced a whole lot of lanterns and had “lamp post” stands made for them. We then named each table after a street in Paris and had the street names hanging from the arms of the lamp post – It looked awesome, and each street was one that we had actually visited when engaged in Paris!”
“Because we were working to a budget, we had to decide what we couldn’t skimp on and what we could – priorities! One thing on top of the list was that we wanted all of our friends there to celebrate with us, as that is what this day is all about! So we needed a big venue, and our numbers were quite high. We managed to find a great venue that looked beautiful and had a great menu, but was really reasonably priced. Also we knew that the one thing you keep after your wedding day are the photos! We knew that a brilliant and talented photographer was the only way forward – Thanks to Jacki Bruniquel (Who is the best in our opinion), we now have the most beautiful memories to last a lifetime, capturing our characters so brilliantly and truthfully – wow. There were other things we could save costs on, hence all the DIY elements! But the result was that we got to have a wedding within our budget that was everything we wanted it to be!”
Bride Aimee and photographer Naomi Kenton connected through Rock n Roll Bride. They both got talking via facebook about some weddings they’d both seen and liked on the blog and so after getting to know each other well in this informal way, Naomi shot her vow renewal to Ben.
Can we also just please stop for one minute and share some love for Aimee & Ben’s ink?! Seriously…wow. “Tattoos are a big part of both our lives as Ben is a tattooist,” explained Aimee, “and we are both really into all things rockabilly, hot rods and VW lovers so that’s what we wanted for the day. We are just ourselves and we do things the way we want and are happy as a result.”
The handfasting ceremony was held at Tutbury Castle in Staffordshire in April. “We wanted to celebrate our relationship and our two children, so we decided to renew our vows – we chose a handfasting as it was a lot more personal to us and was performed by a good friend Caroline Johnson.”
“I made the flowers myself and also used Jack Daniels bottles as decoration on the buffet table,” Aimee continued. ” I gave all the guests a favour bag that we got a couple of ‘meet & greet’ girls to hand out – which were white paper bags lined with tissue paper, in each I put a little spell bag, some heart bath fizzers for the women and skull shaped soaps for the men. For the children I gave duck shape bath fizzers and rhubarb & custard soaps.”
Fleur & Alexander’s Brighton wedding took place on the 29th April, although Fleur was keen to tell me that the royals had nothing to do with their choice of wedding date! “Al proposed to me on a beach in Pollensa, Majorca at midnight on July 8th last year and we booked the date in September, long before the Royals!”
“We chose the Unitarian Church for our ceremony venue because we aren’t religious,” the bride continued. “They have the belief that if you’re in love and want to get married they’re happy to perform the ceremony. I’d sang in the church so knew how lovely it was. We could have our friends band play, The Miserable Rich, which was wonderful, our hymn was Old Man by Neil Young, we walked down the aisle with our friends to The Throne Room by John Williams from Star Wars & left the church to Les Fleurs by Minnie Ripperton (very apt!)”
“We wanted to make sure our wedding was very much about us. Alex is a massive fan of Star Wars, hence the music, and has collected comic books ever since he was a child so our order of service had a Spiderman cover. I’ve sang all my life so wanted the band & everyone singing along to Neil Young (who we saw twice in concert & loved, the song means a lot to us). We’ve been to tons of weddings where it could have been anyone, nothing really spoke to us about the couple themselves. We really wanted to make sure that the day was very much ours. I had looked at Jacqui’s website and loved the work i’d seen from previous weddings she’d done. The pictures looked relaxed, happy & like people were really enjoying themselves! Some wedding photos can look so stiff & boring which we definately didn’t want! We had an engagement shoot with Jacqui a few months before the wedding which was so much fun! We loved her ideas, the way she made us both feel so relaxed in front of the camera and the end result was just fantastic, we knew that out wedding would be great. Everyone had such a brilliant time & we have hundreds of gorgeous pictures to treasure forever.”
Fleur wore a David Fielden dress, the first and only dress she tried on.
Solvig & Diego were married on the rooftop of the modern 500 Brickell building in downtown Miami. They had a very low key wedding but their friend and photographer Amanda was there to capture these beautiful portraits of them just after the ceremony. Their 1950’s look was inspired by their favourite movie, The Notebook, and the modern and urban location provided an interesting contrast to their vintage styling.
Katie & Tim were married in August 2010, after being together for nearly 12 years! “We got married in Batcombe Old School Hall, a tiny listed building nestled within the rolling countryside of Somerset,” Katie told me. “I was getting overwhelmed by the size and price tag of large stately homes. The Old School was £120, at this price we were able to hire it for the day before to decorate it too!”
For their reception they took over an old manor house in Wiltshire (which is no longer doing weddings unfortunately) for 4 whole days with all their friends. A few people even camped in the grounds. “We loved it because it had a barn attached so we didn’t need to spend extra on a marquee plus our guests paid us to stay there which bought the cost down considerably,” the bride explained.
Katie wore a David Fielden dress which was just what she wanted a long ballerina style gown. With this she wore shoes from Office, jewellery from not notonthehighstreet.com and a headpiece from Emmy.
The couple and their friends made pretty much everything else for their wedding themselves. “We’re both from creative backgrounds and with so many talented friends it was impossible not to make our wedding ‘everyone’s wedding’” the bride continued. “We made a wedding website with our gift list on, and put on it things that we needed for the day… We had all the major things covered but really wanted people to feel involved so we played to everyone’s strengths.”
“My aunties all made cakes for the buffet as our wedding presents. Rachel and Gemma made pimms. Our friends Maisie Broadhead a jewellery designer her partner Jack Cole (a Director) are great photographers, they set up the MoonCam photobooth. Rachel also made vintage teacup candles that looked so pretty on the tables. Syreeta is a props buyer and had just broken down a film set, she was able to lay her hands on loads of old lace tablecloths and hankerchiefs which looked great on the haybales, she was an amazing resource for buying things leading up to the wedding. Tim’s dad bought us a webber BBQ which we used on site the next day. Aunty Brenda also bought us a tug of war rope which was fun the next day.”