If you’re sad about the fact that your wedding day will be over in a flash, why not do what Mark and Alex did and have a two-day celebration?! They wanted both parts of their wedding to have their own unique personalities, so day one was a casual fancy dress festival party, and day two had a more glamorous, sparkly theme.
“We held our wedding over the August bank holiday”, began the bride, “with the fancy dress festival day on Saturday and the wedding on the Sunday. We hired Colehayes Park in Dartmoor for the whole week (oh yeah!) and over 25 family and friends stayed with us. We actually continued the celebrations until the following Friday. Greedy aren’t we?!”
“We always knew that we wanted to drag the wedding celebrations out for as long as possible, so finding a venue where we could stay and party for longer than a day was our pre-requisite in choosing where we were going to get married. Our plan was to always have a festival day and wedding day, we decided to have the festival day first so that all the guests could mingle and were familiar with each other before the wedding. This worked out really well and we had an 12pm curfew so that people were still fresh the next day!”
“The main thing we wanted was an incredibly relaxed, fun and friendly wedding”, she continued. “We’re not huge fans of serious, formal and traditional weddings as just not our style, and so wanted to go as far from that as we could while still ensuring we were getting legally married.”
“The festival day was an incredible, sunny day. The theme was Willy Wonka which meant that a lot of oompa loompas turned up! Mark went as Willy Wonka in lilac and purple suit, and I went as the golden ticket in a metallic sequin jumpsuit! Our friends made such an amazing effort with one group coming as confectionery – so we had the Milkybar kid, a Fried egg, a Fruit Salad, a Loveheart and Strawberry Shortcake. We had face paints, a lemonade stand where we served chilled cocktails. We also had someone dressed as a Jagermeister bottle, handing out shots of Jager!”
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.”
Rachel and Luke were married in a field at Fernhill Farm in Somerset. They had their ceremony outside and their reception and after party in she sheep shearing barn! “Our legal ceremony was very low key at a registry office in Bristol the day before the wedding so we could have a personal ceremony at the wedding venue”, began the bride. “We asked our friend Doug Francisco, Ringmaster of the The Invisible Circus, to guide our unofficial vows.”
“It was important for us to create a party for all of our friends. We have so many people that are important to us in our lives – especially because of Luke’s festival work – we wanted to find a way to involve as many of them as we could. Creating a festival style wedding seemed the perfect solution, enabling us to use our contacts. I guess lots of people would consider this alternative, but to us it is quite normal.”
Rachel wore a 1920s style sequinned, beaded dress which came from a high street store. Her shoes were from New Look and in her hair she wore simple silk flowers. Luke dressed very casually, in his favourite hat, jeans and a black jacket. They both wanted to feel comfortable and like themselves.
Bella and Matt were married at Cowparsley, a wedding venue in Somerset. They wanted a relaxed, outdoorsy day with a festival feel, a picnic lunch and a meaningful ceremony.
“We searched for a long time for a venue that would give us free reign to do what we wanted, (at an affordable price!) and we had nearly given up when we discovered Cowparsley”, the bride began. “The whole day; ceremony and reception, was spent in their delightful farmhouse country garden. We had our ceremony in a lovely little orchard, saying our vows in front of a tree that we decorated with Mexican flag bunting, flower garlands, paper petal strings, and paper birds. We drank Pimms and played croquet and skittles on the neighbouring lawns, where we also relaxed on blankets for our picnic style feast. There was a lovely big antique canvas marquee, in which we danced in the evening, before sitting round the bonfire back in the orchard at the end of the night. Everything being in one place allowed everyone to kick off their heels and make themselves at home, rather than standing on ceremony. This informal atmosphere was very important to us.”
“We wanted to get married outside, under a tree, in the sunshine”, she continued. “Sadly, it is not currently possible to have a legal marriage service outdoors in England, so we went to a register office in the morning with Matt’s mum and my step-mum as witnesses. In and out in 20 minutes, no fuss. For what we considered the proper ceremony, that afternoon, with our family and friends, we considered hiring a Humanist minister, as we are not at all religious. However, we felt that it would be a little odd to have a stranger preside over such a personal event, especially as we had quite an intimate wedding, with just 70 of our closest friends and family. So we asked a close friend to be our celebrant. Esh is an actor, so very confident with public speaking. He has also shared a flat with us in the past, so knows us both very well, and has a unique insight into our relationship! He did a wonderful job, creating the relaxed, fun tone we wanted, and giving a brilliant speech in which he logically proved that our relationship was a good one, with reference to a theory by philosopher Bertrand Russell!”
Chris and Emmy were married early in the day, so they wanted to lay on lots of entertainment for their guests. “We wanted a day that was relaxed, fun and family-friendly”, wrote the bride. “We had our humanist hand fasting ceremony at 10:30 in the morning, so we wanted to make sure there was plenty for our guests to do throughout the day. We go to a lot of festivals and run a dance tent with my family called the Griffin Tent, so we used that as a starting point, using the marquee and having a pub quiz and live bands in the afternoon.”
“The river running through Loudwater Farm is the same river we both played in as children (we’ve known each other since we were 11!), so we had fishing nets and wellies for everyone to paddle. We added archery, circus toys, dreamcatcher making and an art and crafts den, and finished up with a silent disco.”
Lizzie and Rob, wedding photographers from Australia, were married in a field, on a friend’s property in Upper Brookfield, Queensland. Their wedding had a colourful, festival theme, and even though it rained – a lot – it didn’t damped spirits one little bit!
There was oodles of amazing DIY action in this wedding. Lizzie’s mum made her dress from a vintage pattern, the bouquet was home made and the bride designed and made that amazing cake herself! All the invitations were sent out digitally, which saved a lot of money. They also designed these themselves.