Ben and Helen had a casual wedding in Tooting. “We wanted to throw a wedding for our families as much as for us, to celebrate life and love and enjoy a special day together”, Helen said. “It was important to us to celebrate all the years we’d already had together (and all the ups and downs, joy, growing up and hard work in that!) rather than acting as if the wedding was the start. So that was part of the message on our invitations, and we got the Registrar to frame the ceremony that way in her welcome – a celebration of 8 and a half happy years and the witnessing of our next step together.”
The ceremony was held at Merton Registry Office and their reception at Tooting Tram & Social. They got the tube between the two! “We threw out any of the traditions that didn’t suit us, and built our day from the ground up to make sure it was personally meaningful”, she continued. “Traditions we ditched included the top table, cutting of the cake, fancy tired wedding cake, bride given away by father, bridesmaids, best man, receiving line, just men doing speeches. We included lots of creative and soppy details, and prioritising fun! Guests say they were still feeling the love and humming the tunes weeks later! Our venue was an old tram shed turned gig venue – a stunning reclaimed industrial space with gorgeous natural lighting, chandeliers, industrial piping and vintage tiles.”
Hands up if you love a little bit of sparkle and a lot of rainbow? Then prepare to fall in love. Zoe and David’s wedding has both coming out the wazoo! They were married in a church but had the reception in David’s great aunt’s garden.
“It’s difficult to have a truly unique wedding – you think you’ve thought of something independently and then the next blog you see its already been done!” Zoe wrote. “I think there’s a real upside to this, in seeing how people have already done things. No competition, all collaboration! David and I were so lucky in all the support we had from our amazing friends and family. It was such an epic day. So full of love and fun.”
So I KNOW you’re all desperate to hear about Zoe’s dress! Well, it was from one of my favourite Etsy sellers, Ouma. She has it customised from this dress and only cost her £120. What a bargain! Her shoes were Irregular Choice.
There was also plenty of DIY in this wedding including the bridesmaid dresses, the cake, the stationery and the food. “The wedding meal was a big family effort”, she said. “My brother made vegetable kebabs, my sister made nibbles. Two South African friends cooked the BBQ – they refused to cook anything that wasn’t meat so another friend, Pete, did the vegetables! We also had an ice cream stall from The Icicle Tricycle Cambridge which was a real hit.”
Debbie and Angelo picked an unusual venue for their September wedding – a cow shed! In fact when they visited the farm before they booked it, there was actually cows living in it!
“We were determined not to have a traditional reception venue or anything that resembled a package wedding”, said the bride. “We just wanted to fill our wedding with things we love. That includes Angelo’s batman socks and Star Wars cuff links, the James Bond themed Martini reception drinks, the Mariachi band, the homemade tea leaf bar, the tuk tuk to take us to our reception, the travel themed tables and the jam jar cups for every guest. All these are things that we love and remind us of some of the best times in our lives.”
“The reception venue was probably one of the most unique things about our wedding, certainly in terms of what our guests were used to. Before the wedding most of them didn’t know what to expect, and to be honest I think they all thought we were mad. But on the day they were all amazed at what we were able to do with a barn which, when we first visited it, had cows living in it!”
Sam and Mike got married in Vegas. They eloped and only told their parents they were doing it. Their friends had no idea, in fact they thought they’d gone to Greece on holiday! The couple didn’t have any professional pictures taken of their Vegas elopement (they just snapped a few on their phones). When they returned home, they decided that they did really want to celebrate with their families too. So they decided to have a party in Manchester, with Tandem Photo there to capture the magic.
This was a super budget-friendly wedding, with the couple spending just £2000. The bride’s dress was £28 from eBay and her headpiece was £3! They bought and arranged their own flowers, designed their own invites and decorated the space with help from their army of besties.
“The inspiration for our Manchester party was retro vinyl, the sixties and the seventies and festivals,” said Sam. “Our invite was a rip off of the original Woodstock poster. Mike is really into 70s rock, prog and southern rock and I’m a bit more mod and psychedelic 60s. I guess the theme was ourselves with a nod to Vegas.”
“We didn’t want the day to be too formal”, she continued. “We didn’t want to be taken too seriously or too stylised. Hence the ‘bad album cover’ theme for the tables with vintage teapots and glass jars. The decoration was all done by us and friends. We had fairy lights, pendant lights and bunting from eBay and lanterns from Ikea. The table markers (vintage vinyl) were from our own record collection as well as some from my bridesmaid Dani who has the best collection of horrendous album covers known to man.”
Chris and Kimberley wanted an unconventional and small wedding in the city where they met: Belfast. “We knew we didn’t want a religious service or a big wedding”, began the bride. “We didn’t want to spend our wedding day talking to people we didn’t know or didn’t want to! We had 38 guests, which was perfect.”
The couple also knew they didn’t want a traditional venue, so the wedding was held on Holohans: The Belfast Barge. “It was the first place we looked at and the last. We had the ceremony and the meal on the top deck and then we moved downstairs below deck for the evening. Calvin, the owner, is such a great host. We had so many people telling us how brilliant he was and how much they loved the staff (and food!). It was a small intimate wedding and the location lent itself to that perfectly.”
“Our wedding was relaxed and fun, will no bullshit!” she laughed when I asked about their theme. “We also did a lot of DIY. We designed and printed all the stationery, invites, table plan and name settings. We also created a ‘wedsite’ for our guests with useful travel info etc. as a lot weren’t from the area. We made the bridesmaid’s flowers, men’s buttonholes, and pom pom flowers that we placed in old beer bottles. Also a few hundred metres of bunting! Chris also made his own beer for the toast, so each guest had a bottle.”
Brady and Sara both wanted a simple wedding that reflected their own style. They didn’t want to spend a huge amount, and their budget was just $2000, but they managed to pull it off. They kept their guest list tiny, and reused a lot of things they already owned.
“We didn’t have a lot of money to put into the wedding but that was okay with us”, began Sara. “It was laid-back, outdoors in the beautiful nature and just a freaking blast the entire weekend.”
“I wore my mother’s wedding dress that she wore in her wedding to my father in the early 1980s”, she explained. “It is also the wedding dress that my grandmother wore in her wedding to my grandfather (over 60 years ago). The dress was modified to fit my body and be a bit more modern, but it still held the vintage style as well. In my hair I had a handmade fabric flower hairpiece made by one of my best friends and her mother. It was made from extra material from my/ my mother/grandmother’s wedding dress. My bouquet was the same.”