If a simple, emotional and beautiful wedding is what you’re after, then let me introduce you to Pieter and Noortje. Married in the Botanical Gardens in Nijmegen, The Netherlands, their wedding had a natural, organic and bohemian vibe. Their reception was held at De Waard van Kekerdom, a bar in Kekerdom, where they had a simple meal followed by an after party!
“We tried to make our wedding as personal as possible, with our own camper, a choir of 30 family members in the church and the band from the cafe where we met each other”, explained the bride. “We had our ceremony in a garden and afterwards had a simple but delicious meal at a not too fancy but very cosy restaurant. We didn’t want anything to be too cliché, we just tried to make it simple but very personal. A lot of our retro bohemian hippie kind of taste came through too, as well as our love for nature and being outside.”
When I saw Elisha & Russell’s wedding I knew they’d made the perfect choice in their photographer Joanna Brown. If you follow Joanna on twitter you’ll know that she loves her garden and grows her own veg, so the fact that this wedding was held on Magdalen Farm on the Dorset/Somerset border…well she must have been in her element! “The staff of The Magdalen Project at Magdalen Farm are amazing and even joined us on the dance floor and around the campfire at the end of the evening,” the newlyweds told me. “We loved that our wedding was helping to support the Wessex Foundation who encourage active learning in and about the outdoors.”
“I have a background in informal education with young people,” continued Elisha, “and Russ set up www.rocknrolladventures.com to encourage people to spend time in the outdoors which has evolved to organise activity and educational travel for schools and colleges as well as training camps and other holidays. We hope to provide a quality of service and a similar conviction shown by the staff at Magdalen. We found they really did walk the talk as they claim to do which meant excellent, tasty fresh local food and a friendly and happy staff team. And a deliciously relaxed weekend wedding for us in a beautiful place!”
The bride wore a two dresses – the first which she bought from ASOS and customised by adding some crochet lace hand-sewn by Great-Grandmother. “My Auntie Margaret is a creative wizard and offered to make a dress to my design as she had done for my cousin and bridesmaid Siobhan,” explained the bride. “Looking around for ideas of shapes and materials I found this dress on ASOS that the catwalk video showed to have a great flowing skirt that I thought would be a lot of fun on the dance floor! I showed it to my Aunt and described the changes I hoped to make. She found some lovely cotton, crocheted lace in her textiles cupboard which her grandmother had made and said we could use it. She used natural tea-dye to bring it to the same colour as the dress which was reshaped.”
The bride’s second dress came from Damsel in a Dress. “Closer to the wedding I was worrying that I might prefer to wear something more sophisticated (than my usual style!) for the ceremony and while looking for bridesmaid dresses on John Lewis website found the Damsel in a Dress dress – very different to anything else I’d seen and within budget! So the two dress wedding was decided. I felt sleek walking up the aisle in the Damsel in a Dress number and had a lot of fun skanking to the ska band and cosying up round the campfire until early hours in my free flowing skirt of my ASOS dress.”
It was the little and fun touches that made this wedding brilliant. For example, after the ceremony they had the Street Heat Samba Band to entertain their guests and playing late into the night were Skar Wars. The couple asked a number of their guests to make a cake instead of having a traditional wedding cake and they were helped by their friends and family with making and displaying the reception decor.
“We didn’t really identify a theme,” concluded Elisha, “other than we knew we wanted to create an informal event with as much time outside as possible. You could say our theme was evolving! I grew up loving the Dorset countryside and felt closest to my family when there, where our time spent together was focused on getting muddy in streams or eating picnics on the beach. Russ had enjoyed similar times with his family and it was his determination not to feel part of a ‘wedding machine’ of many, more formal venues, but focus on finding somewhere that we wanted to spend time with family and friends to celebrate our happiness and excitement for the future. We felt very lucky to find that in the venue and staff of Magdalen Farm.”
Joli & Gary eloped in San Francisco. They had planned to have a big wedding party afterwards with their friends and family at a biker bar in Palm Springs, but then Joli got pregnant and everything changed. So 7 months pregant, the couple had a kick ass celebration in the backyard of their Los Angeles home. They described their party as a celebration of ”Love, Freedom, Wild, Raw, Family, FUN, Village, Community!” and that’s exactly what it was.
The couple’s friends and family all pitched in to organise the fabulous event, “My Mom and I made the centerpieces from thrift store found bowls and succulent plants from Cactus Ranch,” Joli told me. We had a photo booth made by Gary’s Brother, at the party and so people were asked to leave the bride and groom photos of them. Gary and his Dad (and sometimes my Dad and Gary’s Brothers and best friends) did all the lighting, built a mounted video screen, re-seeded all the lawns, planted flowers and herbs in every available receptacle including Gary’s old Doc Martens, laid walking stones, and built a dance floor on our deck for the event complete with moving disco ball!”
Their friend and photographer Jonas Seaman had similarly amazing things to say about this awesome wedding when he initially emailed me. ”Their backyard wedding party was pure balls out celebration. Joli was decked out in a beautiful white cotton hippy dress with a furry sleeveless coat, a peacock feather in her hair, feather earrings, and what I believe was a cross-section of a tree branch dangling from her necklace. Although part of the time she had moccasin boots on, she also spent a good amount of time barefoot with henna designed feet. Barefoot and pregnant.”
“They had a tented dance floor and full bar. They put up hand painted signs pointing to the backyard. They had flowers in a pair of combat boots. They had flowers coming out of old wine bottles and cactus plants for table settings. Even their daughter Charlie’s Barbie Dolls were out partying in a little Jacuzzi. The atmosphere was so fun, so unconventional, and so full of real unfiltered love.”
Carly & John’s wedding had a laid back and simple vibe. It was important to them to keep their day genuine, and all their planning and thematic ideas really came about organically. The ceremony took place in Edogawa Japanese Gardens, East Gosford, Australia.
“We didn’t really have a theme, everything kinda just happened organically with us making decisions about venues, outfits and decorations as they came up,” Carly explained. “In the end it was a blend of colour, asian themes with a Rock n Roll twist. The wedding fully represented us as a couple. The ceremony was completely hand crafted for us by our celebrant Sarah Tolmie (love and life inspirations). Instead of the traditional ceremony Sarah started the ceremony with acknowledging aboriginals as the the traditional custodians of the land where we were married, followed by her sharing our story of how we met and how our love grew. She then read out why both of us love the other to our guests, and then instead of vows we used askings that would be the foundations of marriage and how we would strive to behave through out it.”
“Our reception was at Lizottes Restaurant, which is a local dinner/music venue,” the bride continued. “It was perfect for us, relaxed but still quite quirky and funky. I didn’t need to decorate the place too much as it already had awesome artworks on the walls. We just added handmade table runners from this really cool asian styled material. No white table cloths for us! We used Lucky beer bottles as the vases and a friend of mine who is a florist created a bunch of native Australian flowers. All the flowers were native australian plants/flowers and even included gum drops. I wanted ther flowers to be natural and bright looking and definately wanted to steer clear of white roses.”
Carly wore a dress by Chrissy Wai-Ching, an offbeat designer from Seattle. Carly was able to help with the design process and Chrissy even made John’s tie to match.
Established in 2004 by graphic designers Jennifer Tatham and Alan Henderson, Night Owl Paper Goods is a company dedicated to creating handmade letterpress cards and eco-chic wooden goodies in a style they like to call ‘modern yet folksy.’ ”We are very fortunate to have created a company and product line that combines everything we love,” they told me. “Design + printing + writing + paper + wood + nature + the environment + friends + family. What a hoot!”
Each piece is custom printed on sustainably-harvested birch wood. The envelopes they use are recycled and contain 30-100% post-consumer waste and all their products are handmade in USA. So, whether you’re taking steps towards creating a green wedding or you’re looking to set yourself apart from the crowd, nothing makes a statement like real wood wedding stationery. Their products are quite simply perfect for the eco-conscious Rock n Roll Bride!
“At Night Owl Paper Goods we offer a large selection of wedding invitations, save the dates, reply cards, reception pieces, guest gifts and more, all created from eco-friendly, sustainably-harvested birch wood”, they continue. “From modern to vintage to woodlands to tropical, we offer a breadth of styles and designs to help you express your unique personality and wedding theme. You can view all of our selections and information in the Wedding Suites category of our online stationery shop.”
Kirsten and David’s beautifully folky, Cape Town wedding is the pure essence of why I love my Rock n Roll Brides. Pretty much their whole wedding was crafted from either second-hand or vintage items, and the majority of the details were hand-made. They had home-made pie instead of a wedding cake and they put together all the centrepieces and flowers (bouquets & bridesmaid’s headbands) themselves. “We pretty much made all the decor, even the tablecloths and runners,” Kirsten told me. “We had so many friends helping us the month before and went a bit overboard with ideas, but it was so much fun! We also made sure (almost completely) that we had finished everything we wanted to do before the last week so that we could spend some good time with all our friends, and made it a big celebration.”
Kirsten wore a second-hand dress that a friend gave her with leather Oxfords on her feet. All of the jewellery she wore was found at various markets and antique stores. For David’s outfit, he went and picked out his own material at a fabric shop with his friends and then they all drove to Mexico (David is from San Diego) and found a cheap tailor to make his suit! “Of course he left this to the week before he moved to South Africa,” Kirsten laughed, “so he only got to see if it fit him the week of the wedding! Mexicans can tailor good!”
The bucking of tradition didn’t stop there. The couple decided to leave the floor open to speeches, to make the whole process more of an organic one. “It was so nice as the wedding felt so spontaneous,” Kirsten said. “We had the oldest man there singing to us, and the youngest man (9) said the next speech.” Finally, instead of a traditional exit, the couple left on a tandem, “little tricky in a wedding dress but was really fun!” said the bride.