More than 100,000 get married in Vegas every single year. There is something quite magical about getting away from it all and eloping on your own terms! That’s exactly what photographer Bethan wanted when she and her husband John decided to renew their vows. They wanted to have the day just for them and the only person they brought with them was their wedding photographer, Lisa Jane.
The couple met at 18, when they were both at the same university and have been together ever since. “That first year of university, and every year that has passed since, has been pretty damn awesome”, Bethan told me. “In fact 16 years of adventures and good times have passed and John and I live one of those sickly true love story things but neither of us are embarrassed to shout about it.”
“Our 16th anniversary might seem like an odd year to celebrate in style but the truth be told the year before that been just a little crazy. Renovating our house, putting our heart and souls into our business and just about managing to remind our friends and family that we existed, so we didn’t get a chance to do much at all that year. We had a wonderful wedding six years ago, a brilliant day filled with loved ones and partying, but it passed so quickly. I wouldn’t change a thing about our actual wedding day, and I am from a very close family, but when we decided to renew our vows, we thought it would be fitting for it to just be us. No distractions, no worrying of people were having a good time, just all about me and my boy and our love for each other. It felt a little self indulgent at first but sometimes there is nothing wrong with a little selfishness and celebrating how much you blooming love each other.”
Nicole and Caio’s Brazilian wedding was a huge explosion of colour and fun. They planned the entire thing themselves, inspired by 1950s Rock n Roll and rainbows!
“Our wedding theme was vintage rock”, began the bride. “All the decorations and stationery were handmade by the groom. Our main colours were lilac, blue, green, orange and pink and our bridesmaids and groomsmen all had outfits based on one of the five colours. On the tables we had bottles and homemade lampshades as decorations, we had a wall with photos of us growing up on, and we had a Gibson guitar with our wedding logo on it.”
There’s something ever so special about a retro themed wedding. The timelessness yet quirkiness always lights me up! Alex and Sean clearly feel the same because they had a gorgeous throwback bash in October at Whalton Village Hall.
“Sean and I fell in love via our mutual love of music and vinyl records, in particular sixties blues and soul”, began the bride. “Our theme was to re-create an early sixties feel, which inspired the registry office followed by village hall party instead of one fixed venue. We also had a vintage powder blue Mercedes that took us between the venues. The sixties was in my heart when I chose my dress and jacket, and also with the bridesmaids’ pillar box red, post Rock n Roll era dresses.”
“The Beatles All You Need is Love was a common theme throughout, and made whole by the 6ft LOVE lights illuminating our venue. The lighting was actually our biggest single expense and the LOVE letters caused quite a debate when we were discussing budgets. However, when it came together on the day, Sean agreed they were worth the extra pennies! We also had festoon lighting which were controlled on a dimmer, to no only give us a retro feel to the hall but allowed us to set the mood. If I was giving any advice to other DIY couples I would definitely say to keep lighting in mind when creating your venue. No bride wants pictures under bright artificial light, and it can turn the most basic of venues beautiful under low lighting.”
Kristina and Marijus were married for just €3750 in Lithuania. After a registry office ceremony they had an understated reception at Plieno Paukštis, a small restaurant in the old town of Vilnius.
“Since our wedding budget was virtually non-existent, at first we were planning to do a very small, modest wedding”, explained the bride. “But as we went along, we decided to add a bit of a ‘kick’ to this very important day. We both like antique and retro stuff so after short consideration we decided that a theme for our wedding has to be jazz (or 1920s and 30s art deco).”
The bride wore a dress by Ghost with Rachel Simpson shoes and a headpiece which she designed herself. “Perhaps the one thing that sets our wedding apart from the norm is the fact that we were able to blend old with a new”, she continued. “Our transport for example was a true museum piece. The only operational 1930 DODGE Brothers 6 Sedan in Lithuania. It has been displayed in a Museum for 17 years and only recently bought by a local collector who decided to put this beauty back on the road.”
Dani and Mark mat three years ago at Balham Bowls Club in south London. So when it came to choosing a venue for their October wedding, nowhere else could have been more perfect! “The night we met I was quite hungover and was out for a friend’s birthday, Mark was out for some drinks with his friend (and best man) Paul. Depending on who tells the story, I apparently gave Mark ‘the eye’ as he walked into the pub, which prompted him to start talking to me later in the evening, OR (my version) I don’t remember looking at Mark as he came in and wondered why he was staring at me all night. Either way, he bought me a rum and coke and we were inseparable ever since.”
“The idea behind our wedding was that we really just wanted a big party with all our friends. In a way it was easier knowing what we didn’t want (chair covers, fruit cake, pastel colours), which helped us find what we did want – lots of bright colours and for everyone to have a really good (boozy) time!”
“One of my biggest worries about the wedding was that I would just cry the whole way through the ceremony, not get any words out and generally look disgusting”, she said. “In the car on the way my bridesmaids Googled ‘techniques to stop crying’ and discovered that apparently if you recite song lyrics it can help. We ended up singing Bon Jovi ‘Living on a Prayer’ at the top of our voices all the way to the ceremony – I think the driver thought we were drunk! And I managed not to cry through the ceremony (mostly)! We were actually both quite surprised at how much we loved the ceremony part, even all the photos outside beautiful Wandsworth Town Hall. Walking into the reception to cheers from our friends and family was pretty amazing too. It was really overwhelming to see everyone in there!”
Maria and Graeme wanted their wedding to reflect what was most important to them – family and having fun. They also wanted their day to have minimal fuss and stress and planned the whole thing in just eight weeks!
“Although we got engaged on NYE 2011, and had a lot of ideas, they all fell by the wayside last year when my brother died suddenly”, Maria explained. “He would have played a very big role on our special day, and it was very hard coming to terms with him not being with us. However in August last year, we decided to just go for it. We saw the venue on August 17th, and were married there on October 18th!”
The wedding took place at The Tithe Barn at Symondsbury Estate. “We managed to do tons of DIY in that time”, she continued. “We made the button bouquets, cake, buttonholes, spray painted bottles for the flowers, place cards, table plan, order of the day, and music playlists. We had a lot of help from our very brilliant and talented friends too. I loved making my own bouquet and it also saved us money. Not only did it feel like a massive achievement, but it was lovely to carry something so special and unique. We collected buttons from friends and family (including some from my late brother) as well as lots of pink ones from eBay!”