Rowena and Cain were married in Dingle, Ireland. They only had €7000 to spend but still managed to create a gorgeous and meaningful day with a little imagination and a lot of elbow grease!
“Our theme was Dia de Los Muertos meets the Owl and the Pussycat”, explained the bride. “Bright, vintage, musical, quirky and memorable. This theme ran throughout from the vintage style Save the Date cards complete with his ‘n hers skulls, the wedding invitations which were made from real 7inch records, the Sailor Jerry style wedding programme which had old style tattoos on it, the wedding cake and bridesmaids’ dresses. The reception tables had painted sugar skulls on with ladybird books, filled tea cups, birdcages and flowers in jars.”
Rowena bought her dress second-hand from eBay and had it customised into a 1930 style. She fell in love with the dresses of that time period after watching one too many movies set in that era!
“In Ireland, weddings still tend to be quite traditional and never really deviate from each other”, she continued. “We wanted to have something different and therefore memorable, one of those weddings that stands out and looks like something from a film or from a magazine. I decided early on that I would not follow any of the ‘rules’ that brides and grooms feel compelled to adhere to. I never went to any wedding shops, I didn’t have fresh flowers, we didn’t have a DJ or a first dance, there was no set seating and nobody gave me away. The whole day was very off the cuff yet totally relaxed.”
Louise and Pete’s Belfast manor house wedding was full to bursting with cute, quirky and retro DIY details. The bride wore a polka dot Candy Anthony wedding dress and looked every but the mid-century starlet with her beehive hair do and classically gorgeous make up. “We definitely had a retro themed wedding”, Louise explained. “I took inspiration from Hairspray (especially when it came to my hair!) and had a pink polka dot 50s style dress. Pete had a teddy boy-esque suit. We played 60s garage songs during the drinks reception and 60s girl groups afterwards. We asked all our male guests to wear bow ties, which they did, including my 5 month old nephew!”
“In the year leading up to our own wedding Pete and I attended 13 weddings (including an amazing 5 day affair in Rajasthan), so we ended up with a really good idea of what we felt was important”, she continued. “It all centred on making sure our guests were having fun and that the food and alcohol was plentiful. We wanted to get everyone up and dancing. We knew from the outset that a hotel wedding wasn’t for us and we discarded elements that we didn’t feel mattered on the day, like having a top table or a cake cutting ceremony.”
With steampunk and a contemporary twist on Victorian fashion as their influences, Amy & Adam planned their Glenarm Castle wedding to totally reflect them. They homemade as much as possible and hired tipis that were put up in the walled gardens of their venue for the reception. They had a humanist ceremony which included personal readings by friends, one of which was inspired by quotes from Einstein, Darwin and other scientists and philosophers. Amy designed her own wedding dress and had it made by dressmaker Lynne Gregg. Her shoes were Irregular Choice and her accessories were all DIY.
“We always knew we wanted to have a party that was all about style and fun, and encouraging our friends and family to embrace the idea of the day”, explained the bride. “The laid back atmosphere was the main goal; we felt it was so important to not have an uptight, stuffy, traditional day.”
“A lot of our wedding was DIY That’s what made it so true to us and although stressful at times (at 1am the morning of the wedding making buttonholes!) it was always our aim to do as much ourselves to make sure our stamp was clearly upon it all. We loved every moment. I particularly remember the afternoon before the wedding organising my dad and his friend assisting me with flower arranging and decorating the tables with strawberries whilst Adam was up a ladder stringing bunting and fairy lights! We decorated the tipis with a customised gramophone, which was a gift from the groom’s cousin who is an art director for films. We also bought duelling pistols, hot air balloon models, birdcages, an antique typewriter and decorated tables with old family photos. We got extra props and help with décor from Grace and Saviour.”
Rebeka & Gerard were married in October at The Station House hotel in Ireland. The ceremony was held in the gardens where the couple had set up hay bales covered in blankets for their guests to sit on. They basically homemade everything and spent just €1500 (!) but it was perfect. The bride bought her wedding dress from a charity shop and customised it herself to create a real one of a kind gown. She wore it with a stunning homemade veil and Dorothy Perkins shoes. The bridesmaids wore high street dresses and carried flowers that the bride had arranged herself.
“Our vintage bohemian wedding was personal and DIY”, Rebeka writes. “We love everything vintage and unusual and we bought that into our day. My advice to other brides would be to collect as much as you can, because everything has a purpose. We made all the bunting and collected the table linen throughout our planning from second hand shops.”
Noel & Dee’s Cork wedding had a laid back, bohemian vibe and was held at Ballyvolane House. The ceremony was held outside in the woods. “The owners of Ballyvolane House, Justin & Jenny Green and their wedding coordinator Breffne McKenna organised our ceremony and reception flawlessly”, began the bride. “We didn’t have to worry or think about anything on the day as everything went so smoothly. Even when our celebrant didn’t show up, there was no issue as Justin stood in to conduct our ceremony in the woods. This made it even more special. Our guests didn’t know any different, and just assumed Justin was the celebrant until he came around during the reception with a tray of champagne. Some of the guests commented that we were really getting our money’s worth out of him! We can’t thank them enough for going above and beyond in every way.”
The ceremony was made even more personal by the musicians who performed, “Music for the ceremony was by my husband’s extremely talented musician friends, Craig O’Neill, Grainne Gormley, Sandra O’Halloran and Karen Jordan”, Dee explained. “They chose the music and I walked up the aisle to ‘Scarborough Fair’. During the hand tying they sang a very old Irish love song called ‘Eileen Aroon’ and we walked back down the aisle to Bob Dylan’s ‘Forever Young’. All of these songs were so beautiful and haunting, it was so special to have them sing for us and we are eternally grateful. As Karen lives in Buenos Aires many a Skype practice session getting their harmonies right happened in preparation.”
Running her own vintage boutique, Dirty Fabulous, in Dublin, Caroline was in the perfect position to plan her DIY circus themed wedding. She and fiancé Peter knew from the outset that they wanted something fun and unusual, and they had the perfect place in mind to host it. “We go to flea markets at the Dublin Food Co-op building and we always loved it”, the bride began. “It’s not particularly pretty by any stretch of the imagination but it always has a lovely vibe. We were at the market one Sunday and we both said that if we were ever to get married that it would make an awesome venue. It just went from there really, it took me about 6 months to convince the co-op to let us do it and we didn’t have a back up plan if they said no.”
“We did everything ourselves and for about €5000 (with 120 guests!) using props from Dirty Fabulous” she continued. “We started the day with a 1940s girl band, The Bugle Babes, followed by a pre-wedding first dance to Cathy Davey & Neil Hannon singing a duet. Then we got married on stage, my brother dressed as a ring master reading Oscar Wilde, and as soon as we were pronounced husband and wife The Dublin City All Stars, a big brass band, marched in playing Louie Louie. They had never played at a wedding before and they are mostly kids and their parents but they learnt the song for us and it was AMAZING! Everyone went bananas! They then played for about thirty minutes while everyone went crazy. Oh and my husband sang a Fred Astaire song to me during our vows which was awesome.”