Do you watch the BBC Three show Don’t Tell the Bride? When I was engaged I was pretty obsessed. Gareth and I would sit together to watch it every week and my favourite game was quizzing him over what he’d do if he had to plan our whole wedding himself.
Like many of you, I always wondered what everyone got up to behind the scenes – Did the bride really not have anything to do with it? (SURELY you’d be dropping hints like mad before you signed the contract?!) How much influence do the production crew have? And why do the boys always pick the wrong dress?!
This is not the first time I’ve featured a DTTB wedding. Mike and Becky’s wrestling wedding has graced these pages previously but by their own admission they didn’t really enjoy the process. However when I saw Lauren and Perry’s big day, and read that they really did enjoy doing it, I was keen to speak to them about it. Plus what could be more Rock n Roll than a gig themed wedding at one of the most iconic music venues in London!?
“We knew that we wanted to get married but that after having a baby and buying a flat there was never going to be a time when it was financially possible”, Perry began when I asked what made them want to go on the show. “Lauren was going to apply for The Great British Bake Off but saw the application for Don’t Tell The Bride and decided to do that instead. I didn’t think we had much chance of being picked but when she read me her entry email I started to get really nervous. It was GOOD!”
Describing their wedding as “Mod meets Moghul – a theme based on the sharpness of the Mod culture coupled with the glamour and colour from the Rajasthani era in India”, Aelia & Stuart were married at Kedleston Hall in Derby. They chose this space because it perfectly encompassed both of their cultures, which was really important to them. Aelia explains, “Asian weddings are notorious for being huge, but we didn’t want that. We wanted everyone there to truly feel part of the wedding. This was going to be a party for our nearest and dearest. We set out to find a unique venue to capture both our sides, tall order! We looked everywhere: gallery spaces, sculpture gardens, castles – the lot. We were losing hope until we came across a beautiful National Trust site in Derby. It was stunning and we fell in love with it straight away. Not only could we pretty much use the whole house for our ceremony, reception, dinner and dancing but it was closed to the public and it had a history steeped in the Rajasthani era as the owner was the Viceroy to India. Perfect! I had the Indian side covered and Stu had the design and architecture by Robert Adams covered. We couldn’t believe our luck.”
“Our inspiration stemmed from our two cultures: India and the Mod scene of the 60s”, Aelia continued. “Our profession as graphic designers also played a huge roll in making it a well designed wedding. My religion is Islam and Stu’s is, well… Jedi! We actually asked the string quartet to learn the ‘Ceremony Song’ from Star Wars so I could walk down the aisle to it! We both also have a love for geometric forms, and coincidently Islamic art is full of it so this naturally became the motif for all our stationery and paper goods.”
“Our next step was to secure the food. There was no question about it, we were to have curry for dinner. It was pretty much demanded by my friends and family. An Asian wedding isn’t complete unless you have a good curry. Five Rivers surpassed all our expectations. But this was a wedding of two halves, and instead of having canapés with drinks at the reception, we decided to have a tea party with copious amounts of cake, finger sandwiches and posh tea. This was kept a secret and I wish I’d been there to see everyone walk into the great kitchen to see a table running down the centre of the room with a mad hatter style party and a Choccywoccydoodah cake.”
London. The 1960s. Mod.
These were the inspirations for Paula & Mark’s big day. The couple met at a rhythm, blues & soul night run by Mark in a bar in Bethnal Green, so the theme was very ‘them’. “We bonded over our love of vintage fashion and music”, wrote Paula, “I couldn’t believe my luck when we were introduced, we hit it off immediately. The bar has changed owners since, but we always smile when we go past it. It holds happy memories of parties and beautiful friends in immaculate vintage fashions dancing to great music and having fun.”
The ceremony was held at Islington town hall, with the reception taking place at The Peasant pub. “We wanted the wedding to feel like it was OUR day. Not a generic ‘wedding’ that looked like every other wedding you see on the pages of wedding magazines. We wanted it to be as individual as we are and to reflect our love of anything Mod.”
“First and foremost we wanted a party and a day where family and friends could relax and have fun. That was the most important thing to us. I didn’t want anyone to feel uncomfortable. We knew that it would be a vintage inspired wedding as mine and Mark’s everyday life is inspired by retro style and the vast majority of our friends all have a love of anything Mod. It just felt natural to us. Even my entrance was different! I walked down the aisle to ‘The Avengers’ theme tune. The tune is very special to us as we share a love for the 1960s series and Emma Peel is my heroine! Our guests loved it and said that it was so us!”
Brought together by a mutual love of the 1960s and mod culture, Nikki & Paul met at a 1960s themed club. “I was inspired by wedding blogs like Rock n Roll Bride that talk about weddings that are slightly left field”, began the bride. “I was inspired by weddings with bright colours (we had orange and electric blue with grey) and we wanted to make sure each part of the day was reflective of who we are. We also didn’t take anything too seriously – it was meant to be fun!”
The theme of the wedding was ‘Mod’ and quintessentially British with everything from the invites (designed as a 7in single), the groom’s gift from his bride (a 125 cc Vespa!) and the fact that the groom performed with his own band at the end of the night, adding to it. “My husband’s own mod band, made up of all the ushers and best men, played instead of a first dance and brought the house down. You can see that Paul is in his element and was born to be a front man. Playing his favourite music to all his friends and family on his wedding day was something just so special and it really shows in the photos.”