This is one of those posts that’s going to have a lot of photographs (hello, burlesque Rock n Roll wedding – there’s no way I could leave any out!) When photographer Marianne Taylor showed me a sneak peek of Sophie & Jonny’s wedding a few weeks ago, I knew straight away that they were right up my street…you’ll see why!
The couple got engaged in Paris on Sophie’s Birthday. “It was a dream come true,” the bride told me “Jonny had booked us into a plush Moulin Rouge themed hotel. We sat on the steps of the Sacre Coeur and drank pink champagne and then he surprised me some more with tickets to the Moulin Rouge that night! I had no idea that he had not only secretly booked the trip but also tickets to The Moulin Rouge. My favourite film and as a burlesque fanatic, this was perfect. At the end of the show, on the red carpet, I was surprised with a box which I unwrapped to find a smaller box. Upon opening the small box and finding my Princess cut platinum ring (perfect!) he got down on one knee in front of everyone and asked me to marry him, to which I screamed and replied yes!”
The Paris proposal and Sophie’s love of all things 1940s and 50’s (she is a burlesque dancer herself) inspired the entire wedding which was a real DIY effort. She sourced the white ostrich feathers for a burlesque theme and the ‘Eiffel tower’ vases herself and set everything up for the reception. She also designed and made all the stationary and paper goods as well as helping out to make the cake. Instead of a guest book they dressed a vintage looking birdcage (found in a boutique shop) with feathers and pearls and had little black and white cards for people to write messages on and post them in the birdcage.
Amanda & Steph’s wedding is one of those that as soon as I saw a sneak peek on their photographer’s blog I immediately emailed asking (well…demanding!) that I be allowed to blog it! If this isn’t a perfect Rock n Roll wedding, well I don’t know what is! The couple loosely based their wedding around Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland – i.e. Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass. They loved the almost dark and sinister twist this theme gave their wedding.
“We took the mad-hatter’s tea party idea and the magic of the ‘eat me’ cakes and ‘drink me’ potions, and linked it to Carroll’s poem Jabberwocky,” the couple explained. “This nonsensical but menacing poem appeared on our order of the day, and provided the inspiration for our table names. We wanted the wedding to have a fun party atmosphere and not be too ‘themed’, so we combined a ‘bring a hat’ dress code with teapot centre-pieces and little bottles of alcoholic shots on the tables labeled ‘drink me’. We wanted it to feel darkly comic, fun and quirky, whilst still being an emotional and special day for us.”
The colour theme that ran throughout the day was a dark purple and the bride wore a stunning Ian Stuart sample dress which was a pale blue/grey silk with a dramatic deep purple bolero which she bought from Bonzie on. To this she added a fabulous hat that she made herself by stitching together various bits and pieces which she had collected – including feathers, fabric, pearl beads and netting. Finally she added purple ‘Mini Magic Floral’ Irregular Choice shoes which she bought from Schuh. “I bought my dress at a wedding fair in London for £1,400, which was half price . It was far too big, so I had a dress-maker take off about 3 inches either side until it fitted. It was made in a pale blue/grey silk. I was quite pleased to think that because it was a sample it was completely unique and no one else would ever have one like it. The dress wasn’t what I thought I’d ever go for at all – quite traditional really with a huge train, but the colour made it unusual, and I accessorized it in quite an unusual way. I love Victoriana, which it reminded me of, and in the end I thought ‘when am I going to get the chance to wear something like this again’ so I went for it. My accessories were chosen to be in keeping with the Victoriana feel of the dress, and the idea was to make the outfit appear less bridal and more edgy.”
Steph wore a custom made suit that actually ended up costing more than the bride’s dress! “He wanted to keep it casual (he’s hardly worn a suit in his life being an advertising designer, and usually goes to work in his shorts and a t-shirt), so he decided to go without a tie and just wear a simple white shirt,” Amanda explained. “However, having made my own hat, I decided he ought to have some exciting DIY head-gear as well (to fit in with our mad-hatter’s tea party, Lewis Carrol theme). I therefore bought a cheap black top hat on ebay (I think it was about £25) and then trimmed it with some purple fabric to match my outfit. As we are big fans of Tim Burton and Steph likes all things dark and scary, I decided to go a stage further and I made a small purple fabric skeleton in the style of ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ with odd buttons for eyes and attached it to the hat with a glue gun. I then used spray paint to make the hat seem a bit more old and battered, and flicked it with purple and blue paint on a tooth brush to give it a more punky look. He was very pleased luckily!”
Some eagle-eyed and long-term readers may recognise Nicola, who’s ‘Do It Yourself’ wedding I featured way back in May 2009. Nicola decided that she wanted to rock her gorgeous Candy Anthony wedding dress just one more time, so got in touch with photographer Caroline to see what she thought. Luckily, when Caroline heard ‘Candy Anthony, cupcake tattoos and pink Converse trainers’ she was totally up for it and they planned this fun and fashionable shoot.
Caroline also persuaded Nicola to bring a few more outfit changes (does this girl just live in gorgeous 1950’s style dresses or what!?) and they were good to Rock n Roll!
With a desire to capture the small, intimate and personal moments of a wedding day in the most beautiful way, McKinley-Rodgers Photography, are surely one to consider for your wedding day photography.
“I have been a romantic all my life, and I have always believed in the fairytale,” photographer Pen says. “After kissing MANY frogs, I was lucky enough to find my prince 9 years ago, and snapped him up pronto (after only 4 months). We actually had a very small and informal wedding, with just my mother and father as witnesses, but it was perfect for us. My only regret however, is not having a photographer. My mother took our pictures, and she took a lot of them, most of which are really lovely and do capture the day beautifully. But, if I could do it all again…”
“That was a real impetus for doing what we do now. We want to offer a service, a product, which we would have wanted. What we provide is informal, intimate, creative, and affordable. Weddings can be such expensive (and sometimes stressful) affairs, but it’s also the most important day of your life; We want our bride and grooms to feel they can have what they want without cutting corners and have one less thing to worry about.”
Jill & Neil’s wedding is vintage “Englishness” in every sense of the word. The whole day – from Jill’s floral Fur Coat No Knickers vintage gown, to the London bus that transported them and personalised vintage postcards used as invitations and then re-used as the table-plan – was an authentic representation of the theme they loved so much. “We took vintage inspiration from our own families, finding old frames in charity shops for lots of photographs of our parents, grandparents and great-grandparent’s weddings,” they told me. “These filled the fireplaces of the Lodge and meant we were surrounded by reminders of our ancestors as well as being beautiful pictures.”
“Also, to entertain our guests on our bus trip we had a picture quiz to guess who the couples in the old photos were – with the answers on the back of the original at the venue. These were in bags made by a charity from recycled newspapers from The India Shop and we also included bus related gifts to keep the children amused – mostly from the London Transport Museum, and old fashioned sweets and goodies. On the tables we used luggage labels from the Post Office for place names, which my nieces helped stamp with butterflies and tied to mini jars filled with old fashioned sweets from Hope and Greenwood.”
The day also had a lot of very personal and emotion feelings behind it. As Jill had been previously widowed, the couple knew that is would be a particularly emotional day so wanted to make it extra special and beautiful. The service itself was very important to them as they had actually met at the Cathedral where they chose to marry.
Taking inspiration from music festivals and garden parties, April & Alex wanted to create a laid back, personal wedding. They loved creating a lot of the details themselves and really wanted to make something that not only reflected them but was fun for their guests.
The bride made all the wedding stationary herself – from the invitations to the luggage tags. “I designed the postcard sized invitations on photoshop, lined the envelopes with floral paper and stamped the backs with an old fashioned address stamp,” she explained. “The orders of service were hand stamped, bound with a sewn spine and decorated with mismatched fabric hearts. We stuck to kraft paper and the same font to pull everything together. I didn’t like the idea of picking one colour as a ‘theme’ but stuck to hot and dusky pink, peach and greens as my colour palate. The confetti packets were a project from Martha Stewart and made by sewing together tracing paper and a handstamped label. For the table plan I stretched some floral fabric over a wooden frame and pinned everyone’s names on hand stamped parcel tags in alphabetical order, each with their table number. I painted cheap frames from Ikea backed with fabric for the table numbers and the place settings were also hand stamped parcel labels. I used inexpensive different sizes glass cosmetic bottles bought online to use as vases.”