Tag Archives: UK

The Rock n Roll Bride Venue Guide – London

I get loads of emails from you lot asking me advice on all manner of wedding planning related matters and while I’m easily able to reel off a long list of fantastic photographers I know or recommend some awesome dress companies, when it comes to wedding venues…well I’m as clueless as you are!

We had a massive drama with our wedding venue (they cancelled three months before our wedding day – but that’s a story for another time!) so needless to say finding the perfect venue for your Rock n Roll wedding is not my speciality! However luckily for me (and you!) I know someone who knows all about the very best and coolest venues in the country. I asked my good friend Mary Herrington of Forever & Ever Events if she’d be able to start up a feature for me, showcasing some of her favourite and most Rock n Roll wedding venues all over the country, First up London…

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I can’t tell you how cool I felt when Mrs. Rock n Roll herself approached me about guest blogging on the topic of Rock n Roll venues in London.  Seriously felt like I had gotten the official seal of cool approval.  My mind started racing through the mental rolodex, considering all the many amazing venues in my books, and I realized that I needed to stop and think about what makes something Rock n Roll. As you all know, a Rock n Roll Bride wedding can be punk rock, hip hop, down home, urban chic, tattooed, but at the same time, Rock n Roll Bride is also about beautiful weddings –every single featured wedding is full of jaw-dropping photography, romance, high style and just the pretty.  And that’s just it: what makes everybody stop and take note is the fact that every single one is different and unique.  So rather than assume that all of you want the same kind of venue that evokes rustic elements or architectural design or a space you can DIY, I knew the best way to approach this mammoth task was to think of unique qualities about each venue that stand out, that will get guests talking, that will be awesome for a rock band, or a jazz band, or a venue that will provide the outdoors indoors, or exude laid back cool, or that will give you a wicked setting rife with kick ass photo ops. It was clear I needed to give you a wide range in both style, size and economy, but all of which have something extra-ordinary.

Without further ado, here is a list of 10 wedding reception venues that should satisfy your different Rock n Roll sensibilities.

1.  Shoreditch Town Hall

You can’t get more Rock n Roll than Shoreditch.  Right off the bustle of Old Street, the Town Hall, while situated in the thick of uber hipsterdom, does not attempt to be trendy.  Far from it, the building’s interior harks back to Edwardian times, with gilt-edged walls, stained glass windows as well as an orchestral bay, all preserved in its historic state. However, staying true to Shoreditch’s alternative energy, the motto speaks quietly to the venue’s Rock n Roll spirit: “More Light, More Power”, a motto etched on its crest and in the stained glass windows (check out the photos of me in the venue below!).  The main Assembly Hall has its own elevated and built-in stage, perfect for your wedding band and holds 350 comfortably for a dinner and dance set-up, while, for smaller weddings, the Council Chamber downstairs can hold 80+ comfortably for dinner and dance.  Licensed for civil ceremonies, it is also entirely flexible – no on-site caterers or furniture, so you are free to bring in whatever and whoever you want.  Hire charges range from £3,000-4,000 + VAT.  And the most Rock n Roll of all: readers with any Forever & Ever wedding planning service will get a 10% discount on hiring Shoreditch Town Hall on bookings made prior to 1st February 2011.  For more details on this special offer, contact me directly at info@foreverandeverevents.com and make sure to refer to Rock n Roll Bride.

Shoreditch Town Hall, 380 Old Street, EC1V 9LT, 0207 739 6176.

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The Good Life – An English Countryside Engagement

Getting down n dirty at their allotment was the name of the game for Vonney, Tristan and Boo’s (the dog) pre-wedding shoot. A reflection of how they live their lives on a daily basis, photographer Caroline was keen to bring this realism into their session.

“When I first came up with the idea to include the pre-wedding shoot into my wedding package I knew that I didn’t want to offer my couples the standard posed pictures in front of yet another garage wall, holding a vintage camera etc,” Caroline explains. “I believe that we ‘normal’ people aren’t models. If we are told to do something, to stand in a way that we don’t usually stand it doesn’t look natural, does it?! And I also don’t think that this tells me much about the couple themselves and I came to the conclusion that I wanted my clients personalities to shine through in every pre-wedding shoot picture.”

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Joan & Tim’s Musical English Country Garden Wedding

Oh I have yet another fabulous British wedding for you to le swoon over today. Joan & Tim’s English country garden theme was sure as hell given a Rock n Roll twist with the infusion of some seriously rad and personal touches. Not least of all, Joan’s incredible dress (actually a corset, skirt, bustle & train) from designer Jane Bourvis. It was all Vintage Couture. Jane was actually the designer behind Carrie Bradshaw’s famous ‘green seafoam ballerina dress’ that she wore in the final episode of Sex and the City (photo here) “Her shop is a wedding wonderland with vintage dresses and corsets dangling above you so you don’t know where to look at first,” Joan explained. “It was the first dress I tried on and within 5 minutes I knew that I wanted it.”

The bride made all the decorations, invites, place cards, table names, pom poms (from a Martha Stewart tutorial), and the seating plan by herself. ” We transformed the village hall, which was very much a black canvas, into a really beautiful room using the cream & caramel colour scheme which we got from my dress. We also carted around lots of picture frames, candelarbras and engagement congratulation cards from home to dot around the hall and make it more homely and personal to us. ”

They had tipi’s and campfires and everyone camped for 2 nights. They set up makeshift portable showers for everyone – complete with posh toiletries! In the toilets they put photos from the hen and stag (bachelor & bachelorette) parties!

“We both love music so we added this to the wedding with table names being famous duets. Our table place cards were our faces super imposed into duets and we had “Rockaoke” our band so that our guests could live the dream for a night and get up and belt out some tunes with a live band. All the music throughout the day was chosen really carefully by us….we had Irish music in the church for ceremony to go village old (robin hood) feel of church, we walked out to O’Carolan’s concerto which is an irish jig. The reception music was a mixture of reggae/brazilian beats etc – feel good holiday music and it did briefly coax the sun out for us!!Music during dinner was 40’s and 50’s feel good music which we knew parents and their friends and grandparents (who sadly are no longer with us) would love. The dancing playlist after the Rockaoke was a compilation of requests from our guests.”

Be sure to check out their fab music themed engagement session here too!

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Rachel & Daniel’s Modern Vintage Wedding… With Special Guest – The Pope!

Rachel & Daniel got married at The Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, a modern building that gave their vintage styled wedding an unusual twist. The bride wore a gorgeous dress from Rock n Roll Bride favourite Fur Coat No Knickers. To keep things personal, they made their own cake (“It looked fine as long as it wasn’t in a strong light!” the bride laughed. “The ribbons were held in place by satay skewers – all we could find the night before we delivered it to the venue!”)

The day got off to a stressful start (to say the least!) when The Pope decided it would be a nice day to come and visit the UK (first visit since 1982 and the first *state* visit since Henry VIII!) so as you can imagine London was pretty much gridlocked! However apart from the meal being served a little late and a bit of a nightmare getting to the venue it all turned out perfectly in the end. “Daniel plus his best man, his girlfriend and Jo (our photographer) had to traipse across the west end, through an anti-Pope demo, while I had to trek across St James’s Park in my dress and shoes!” the bride recounted. “Unbelievably, we both got there in time for our ceremony, which was conducted to the sound of police helicopters overhead. The Pope’s visit itself made for quite a unique event – the venue were great and let us move our meal back by 30 minutes so we could all watch the Pope go past from the balconies. Daniel’s mum also managed to get interviewed by the News of the World newspaper who were keen to find out why she was all dressed up!”

Well that’s certainly a story to tell the Grandkids!

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Louisa & Rob’s Music & Car Festival Wedding

“We knew our wedding was going to be slightly different but I guess thats what you get when you try to incorporate cars, music and food, emphasising the feasting and dancing with friends and family rather than the actual ceremony” began bride Louisa. “We both have an affinity with old cars, cars that have been around a while and have a tale to tell so we had no problem finding a wedding car – I had the perfect excuse to use my hotrod, a 1928 Model A Ford. Not wanting to leave his cars out of the fun, Rob decided we should include a mini car show where he and our friends could park up their old cars and in some cases, their beds for the night.”

Yep, that’s right – Louisa & Rob’s guests were invited to their homespun music and car festival wedding complete with the invitation to camp over afterwards. The wedding was a combination of a registry office ceremony, a tea party at the bride’s Grandmother’s house and finally a massive celebration in two yurts, set up in the bride’s Dad’s field.

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Elise & Nick’s Laid Back, Homespun & Festival Style Wedding…With a Piano in the Woods!

“Is that a piano…in the woods?!” I asked photographer Emma Case,  a stunned look on my face. When the affirmative came back I literally let out a little squeal of exhilaration that I was going to get to share Elise & Nick’s wedding with you. Unbelievably, as the couple went with Emma to have their portraits done they came across this unusual yet fabulous prop just sat there. Now I know Miss Emma Case very well and I can just imagine the expletives of excitement that would have come out of her mouth when she laid eyes on that!

The festival style wedding took place at Middle Coombe Farm in Devon – a beautiful cob & thatch farmhouse and cider barn which sits in a sheltered valley surrounded by 200 acres of organic farmland and woodland. With help and support from their friends and family, the couple DIY and crafted their wedding to perfection, “What really blew us away was the amount of effort, love and support we got from all our friends and family,” they explained. “The whole wedding was a DIY affair and everyone pitched in. We made the canapés, and all the decorations. Hundreds of metres of bunting were made by Elise, our mums and Laura – one of our bridesmaids. The cake was made by Elise’s mum and Dad with the iced flowers created by a family friend. Nick’s brother Anthony made welcome and direction signs; their was a family rota for the bar, the girls made the groomsmen’s boutonnieres from greenery from the woods and friends arranged games and provided music and entertainment across the whole weekend.”

“Using Apples with little luggage tags tied to the stalks as the place settings seemed to go down well with guests and fitted the cider-barn setting nicely. We went to a pick-your-own the week of the wedding and hand-selected every fruit. We then asked guests to peg their named luggage tags to their glass so they could keep track of it and reduce the amount of washing up needed to be done throughout the day.”

Elsie wore a gorgeous original 1920’s vintage dress from The Vintage Wedding Dress Company, shoes from Office and pearls that were gifts from friends.

“We didn’t set out with a fixed theme or an intention to do things differently but there we certain elements that we knew we wanted to include from day one,” the couple concluded. “We wanted our wedding to be a relaxed, fun and home grown affair that reflected our values so we ended up with what can only be described as a village fête, tea party, festival shin-dig! The perfect way to celebrate our relationship! It was important to us that the wedding was as environmentally friendly as possible. Middle Coombe Farm was the perfect venue, with acres of organic farm and woodland to stroll through, a solar heated swimming pool to play in, and compost toilets. We used proper glass ware, cups and plates, eat locally sourced organic vegetarian food and drank local ale. Flowers were organically and locally grown and at night the tent and field were lit by solar lights and willow lanterns guests had made during the day.”

Guests were invited to camp over and over 40 of them did so. The field surrounding the venue, complete with druid’s circle, was where they could pitch their tents. This field also played host to the afternoon games and the evening campfire. With guest camping over, they were able to continue the celebrations onto Sunday, providing breakfast and a BBQ lunch for everyone.

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