If there’s one thing the Irish know, it’s how the throw a good party and this was the exact criteria for Ana and Ricky’s humanist wedding. Held on the Liss Ard Estate in County Cork, they wanted a colourful day that celebrated them, but that was also really fun for all their guests.
“My family is half Colombian and we wanted to celebrate the mixing of cultures in our wedding so we decided to have a wedding with a Latin theme”, explained Ana. “Both being fans of bright colours, we hoped our special day would reflect our gregarious personalities and loving relationship. We are definitely more spiritual than religious, so we took a lot of inspiration from traditional folk celebrations such as the Mexican Day of the Dead as well as the decorative religious imagery found in catholic churches around Latin America.”
“We wanted an event that was unconventional, joyful and exuberant, in contrast to the muted and restrained style of weddings traditionally held in the UK and Ireland, but with a touch of the vintage glamour we both love. Our priorities were for their guests to relax and have fun, and for everyone to be pleasantly surprised with the originality and creativity that had gone into planning the day.”
Ellen and Rory were married at Cottiers, a bar, restaurant and theatre venue in the West End of Glasgow. Their day had a bit of a Mexican fiesta feel with the oilcloths and paper banners from Viva la Frida. They also had hand stitched bunting and dried chillis hanging from the ceiling! Most of all though they just wanted a fun day to celebrate with their friends and family.
“We basically planned the wedding before we let anyone know we were engaged!” began Ellen. “We wanted to know we could do what we wanted before deciding on a big wedding. We had looked around a lot for a good venue, with no joy until we found Cottiers. We wanted somewhere laid back and relaxed, where we could choose how to do things, not have things follow a proscribed pattern. Cottiers had only just started doing weddings and were very open to our ideas. Obviously the setting is absolutely stunning, but it was the relaxed vibe that was most important.”
High school sweethearts James & Ashley were married at Crane Arts in Philadelphia in October. Despite the Autumnal time of year, the couple didn’t want an obvious colour scheme – they wanted a rainbow!
“Our wedding was very DIY”, wrote the bride. “My husband and I can be crafty when we want to be and this wedding really let our creative juices flow. I hand painted all of the sugar skulls and signs while Jim was busy building the dance floor and the entranceway. We also got some old doors from my grandmother, painted them and used them for the ceremony backdrop. One thing I am particularly proud of is the beer bottle cap heart that we screwed to a pallet. We of course drank all of the beer ourselves! I also found some amazing Day of the Dead fabric that we used to make the photo booth, Jim’s bow-tie, and I also wrapped the flower bouquets in it.”
Yep, you read that right – Carla & Nicholas spent just $800 on their intimate fiesta elopement. In fact I had to double check they didn’t mean $8000 when I received their submission and that it wasn’t just a typo!
The elopement took place on 28th December at Madison County Courthouse. After they got engaged, the couple immediately started planning a big wedding, but after some time decided to instead elope the weekend after Christmas. All their family was in town for the holidays so it meant they could all be there to celebrate with a big family meal afterwards. The bride’s sister-in-law, Melanie, secretly hired wedding photographer Ashley Vaughn of White Rabbit Studios as a gift to capture their day. Everything else came in under the $800 budget.
“Our family gathering after our ceremony was inspired by fiesta with a kick of Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead)”, Carla explained. “When we decided to do a courthouse wedding with a small family reception, I knew exactly where I wanted the reception. I love the look, the colors, the details, and atmosphere at Rosie’s Mexican Cantina. A fiesta theme just fit perfectly. Nick and are a little off the beaten path when it comes to what we enjoy and love in life and I have always been intrigued by and enjoyed the Mexican celebration Dia de los Muertos. We already had the family gathering together so why not honor loved ones who had passed on while we were at it?”
Mat & Anna didn’t have a huge budget for their November wedding, but that didn’t mean they did things by half! Oh no, this thrifty couple made as much as they possibly could themselves and managed to pull their gorgeous wedding off for just £5000. Oh and they also planned the entire thing in under four months! Wonder-couple or what!?!?
The ceremony was held at Shrewsbury Castle – yes you read that right, an actual castle – and their reception was at the picture perfect Mytton and Mermaid Hotel. “The Mytton was a great venue as it was close to Shrewsbury but with a real country house feel and the layout works really well for a group of people”, began Anna. “There was an enclosed courtyard where we could sit and have drinks, a disco/reception room off one side and the room we ate our meal in off to the other side. The bar was close by with a big open fire and more seating. We particularly appreciated how relaxed they were about our big day and that they let us do things that were a bit more quirky.”
“Once we knew our date was in November we wanted to look for an alternative to an autumnal or Halloween type colour scheme”, she continued. “I really like the imagery and bright colours of Mexican sugar skulls. The Mexican Day of the Dead holiday also falls at the start of November, so we decided to use some of this imagery on our stationary and to introduce some other small Mexican influences like the Piñata’s, chillies and cacti. I also wanted some vintage influences in the wedding with my dress having quite a vintage look. We covered this with the bus, the table decor and some other small touches. In terms of colours the deep purple of the silk anemones was the main reference point. The bridesmaids wore black and purple and the boys wore black lounge suits with purple knitted skinny ties and matching flowers.”
This wedding was full of DIY details a-plenty including the cakes, the flowers and the stationery. “I made 96 cupcakes and our traditional wedding cake was made by a family friend”, Anna explained. “Early on in the planning I had decided I wanted to make cupcakes to save some money and just to see what we could whip up! After a few test runs we ended up with chocolate, vanilla, carrot, lemon and poppy seed and gluten free pear and almond cupcakes. We made almost all of them the day before the wedding and iced them at midnight when I should have been getting some beauty sleep! I don’t know if I would recommend this to others but I was so proud of the results when I saw them at the reception. I actually don’t think it saved us much money in the long run once I purchased the extra equipment and all the ingredients and decorations such as sugar flowers and edible sequins!”
Julia & Stephen were married at Knowles Lodge, Yorkshire, in September. The wedding, although set in the English countryside, had a colourful Mexican fiesta theme! “We wanted the day to be relaxed, intimate, rustic and fun”, explained Julia. “I knew I wanted bright colours, and I have an obsession with Mexican food so a fiesta theme seemed to fit. As soon as I saw the Mexican team at the opening ceremony of the Olympics I knew we’d picked the right theme!”
“We had no idea about traditions before we planned our wedding, which was definitely a good thing because it meant it wasn’t a particularly traditional wedding”, she continued. “I always had a dream of getting married in a forest but there aren’t many places in the UK where you can get married outside, so we were really lucky to find one. We took a huge risk planning an outdoor ceremony at the end of September, but the risk paid off and the weather was beautiful. We were so lucky because the week in the run up to the wedding saw the worst storms in the area for 30 years!”