Dan & Charlotte had a two-day wedding celebration in Wales. They started off planning just the Saturday wedding by the beach with a pagan blessing, as this was what Charlotte really wanted. However they soon realised that legally, and for family reasons, they would need to have another ceremony with a registrar present, in a venue sanctioned for wedding ceremonies. “I did view having to have both ceremonies as a bit of a compromise”, Charlotte explained, “But rather than just doing the legal bit in a quick service on our own in a registry office or something, we set about finding somewhere just as beautiful for that part and made it into it’s own distinctive day. We also really wanted our wedding to last a bit longer than the usual one day which is why we split it into two. I would advise anyone planning their wedding to think about spinning things out a bit! It’s all over so quickly on the day and we really treasured the extra time we gave themselves over the weekend to spend quality time with everyone that came to celebrate with us.”
The first ceremony, on the Friday, was held right by Pistyll Rhaeadr, the highest waterfall in Wales. Afterwards they had a small reception at The Plough Inn - local pub in the Welsh village of Llanrhaeadr Ym Mochnant (!) They kept it informal with a roaring fire, a simple buffet, and a cosy, intimate and very laid back atmosphere. “We run our own business and dare to do things differently on a daily basis”, explained the bride. “Our shop was recently voted the ’7th Most Unusual Shop in the UK’ by the Guardian, so I suppose it was it was inevitable that our wedding would be a bit different! In terms of inspiration we both love nature and being out in the countryside, and I felt really strongly about being married as ‘outside’ as possible. We started visiting this waterfall a couple of years ago, so as soon as we realised we could get married at there it made complete sense. It’s a really special place, a lush green Welsh valley with the mighty fall like a hidden gem. There’s a calmness there, a natural spiritual feeling.”
Not wanting to do things by halves, Clare & Aslam had three weddings. The firs two were Muslim celebrations, and this one was their western wedding. Having three whole weddings to plan, the couple kept this event low key and budget friendly. They DIYed a lot and spent just £5000 on the day. “We tried to do everything second hand or hand made as I hate waste and am a big environmentalist”, Clare explained. The wedding was held at Hyde Barn in the Cotswolds.
“Although my husband and I live and breathe south and east London now, I grew up climbing trees and then later on, going to big raves and technivals in the beautiful countryside here”, Claire continued. “So it is as much my hometown as it could be. Aslam and I are basically big kids so when we had our pro pics taken we ran into the garden and climbed trees and messed around, the venue was perfect for this. The venue actually hadn’t even been built when we booked it! But for that reason we saved a lot of money. Risky, but worth it. Because they were a new venue they pretty much let us do what we wanted. And seeing as I wanted to throw a childlike homespun DIY shoe-gaze/punk/rock festival style kid’s party with bubbles and story books, masks and games as well as accommodate a naughty french bulldog – a blank canvas like this was ideal.”
Blessed with a balmy night, great music and guests willing to get into the spirit of the theme, Ben & Serina had a wedding that that they described as a ‘gypsy village gathering’ in Panton Hill Winery, Australia. “Our guests thought they were transported to another place and time”, wrote the bride. “There was no stress and our wedding photographer Lucky captured the feel of the day perfectly.”
“It was very important to us to design an ceremony and celebration that incorporated only aspects of wedding tradition that were meaningful to us”, she continued. “The ceremony was incredibly emotional and the words we each wrote for each other had everyone in tears. I loved the relaxed atmosphere and the absolute fun every one had which ended up in impromptu circle dancing.”
Amber & Jo’s art gallery wedding was held in downtown LA. They kept things informal and low key, really wanted to focus on the ceremony and hoped to create a real community feel.
“We wanted our wedding to be a representation of the things that are important to us and that we love, so we put a lot of thought into the details of the wedding”, explained Amber. “We tried to create an experience for everyone that would be a memorable celebration of our love for each other and for our friends and family. Our venue, ArtShare, a non-profit that supports low income youth to get involved in the arts, was perfect in that it allowed us to support a great organization while also providing the perfect physical space. The venue is part warehouse (reminiscent of some of the great downtown LA parties we’ve been to); part art gallery, which created a lovely reception space; and part theater, where we had the ceremony. It also provided a great spot for photos, with the downtown LA skyline in the background and that uniquely LA combination of colorful murals, graffiti, historic buildings and palm trees.”
“For our ceremony, we didn’t want it to feel like a show or performance that our guests watched. Instead we wanted it to be more like a community gathering, where our friends and family showed their support for us and made a vow to continue to support us through any rocky times to come. Two of our best friends, a couple, officiated the wedding. We asked our guests to share with us their thoughts, wishes, advice, and hopes for us relating to love and commitment. It was a remarkable gift to us to get to hear from them. We wrote our own vows and kept things very simple.”
“We found plastic glowing orbs for the flower girls and ring bearer to line the aisles with before we walked down them. We had to search high and low for metal stands to put them on, as they came with stakes to be used in the ground outside but in the end my ever-resourceful dad helped us find table leg extensions, which he cut to be the right size. They went really well with the industrial, urban feel of the space. The orbs have since then been put to good use at parties and on group camping trips.”
“I wasn’t the kind of girl who had dreamed about her wedding day since the age of five”, began newlywed Leah who married Simon earlier this year, “and being engaged on December 20th and getting married on March 31st didn’t give us a whole lot of time to plan anyway. So I found myself in a little deep at first, but a few days into discussing ideas, we realized how cool it was to be able to create an event from the things we love – nature, the woods, rustic details. Daily life delivers you many inspirational things, and having eclectic tastes we knew it wouldn’t be a cookie cutter or ‘paint by numbers’ kinda wedding.”
“We decided we wanted to be married in the forest”, she continued, “and so our feel of the day went from there. We stuck to earthy tones. The woodland didn’t need much decorating and the natural beauty of the Pacific North West was an inspiration in itself.”
“We had decorations that included antlers, natural burlap, feathers, herbs and mason jars wrapped in sticks and hemp. We wanted to do something personal for our friends, so we made the wedding favours from brown paper lunch bags and stamped with our ‘crest’ that I had designed and had made up at a local rubber stamp company. We stitched the bags along the top with string to seal them and in the bags, we put little jars of Citrus Chutney that my (now) husband lovingly prepared, a piece of Biscotti and a test tube full of vodka infused with thyme. These turned out better than expected and the tedious work of pouring vodka into those thirty-two test tubes was worth every second.”
Allison & Scott were married at 4,629 ft, at their favourite place – the top of Max Patch Bald, NC. They hosted their reception in their own home. “The décor of the ceremony was the panoramic view of the Smokey/blue Ridge Mountains and the wild buttercup flowers”, they began. “At the reception, drinks were served in mason jars, farm tables were used for dining, and the flowers were roses and hydrangeas mixed with sunflowers in mason jars. Vintage plates and napkins were used and little jars of local Tennessee wildflower honey and dippers were at each table setting as favors. Our home was built in the 1800s and we wrapped the columns in garlands and roses.”
The whole wedding had a really personal feel and everything they included was significant. A keen hiker, the groom and his best man camped out the night before near the ceremony site, and the bride and her bridesmaids stayed at a cabin just a mile up the road. The groom, his best man and all the guests were already on top of the mountain the morning of the wedding.