Clare and Stuart didn’t want a big wedding. In fact they wanted their wedding to be so small that they went to Belfast City Hall for their ceremony with just 10 witnesses! Still wanting an awesome celebration with their loved ones though, they held this colourful party the following day at Brookhall Barn in Lisburn.
Clare explained, “We knew what we didn’t want – no white dress, no bridesmaids, no church, no rings, no walking down the aisle, no giving away, no big ceremony, no speeches, no first dance, no hotel reception, no florist arrangements. None of that stuff was ‘us’. Once we found the right venue, somewhere where we could do our own thing and where some of our friends could stay, everything else fell into place.”
You might think that there’s nothing more traditional in English weddings than a country garden setting, but Abby and Hoi’s big day was anything but quaint! They took the traditional elements and turned them on their head. From the bride’s short polka dot dress and purple hair, to the Hello Kitty cake and the vintage ice cream cart for dessert, this was a wedding that was quintessentially ‘them’.
“The inspiration for out wedding was to tell the story of how we met”, began the bride. “As well as to share the memories we have made with our family and friends. Some of the props we used were personally belongings from my granddad. We used his seeder plant boxes and Wellington boots to put flowers in.”
They were married in Cornwall, and Molly and Kelly were keen that the location be celebrated in their day. They held their reception in the gardens of Polpier House and had one long table set up for all their guests to sit at. Don’t you just love that?!
“With the majority of our family and friends travelling all the way from North America to attend, we were determined to make this as unique and memorable of an occasion as possible”, explained the bride. “We also wanted to retain a certain element of intimacy and elegance to our day.”
“Upon discovering that the dates of the wedding aligned with Mevagissey’s annual feast week, rather than shy away we decided to embrace the festival and fully integrate it into our day’s festivities. This included participating in the carnival procession and making a dedication for the magnificent fireworks display, which the wedding venue provided VIP seats for!”
Two brides, two gorgeous dresses and two sides of bridesmaids! Ria and Nicky wanted a wedding that screamed ‘them’! That meant they threw caution to the wind, and tradition out of the window. “I’m friends with Nicky’s sister so we met on a few social occasions, such as parties, concerts and completing a London to Brighton race”, began Ria. “However we finally developed a fancy to each other when a group of us went to Proms in the Park in 2011. I was technically ‘straight’ at the point I met Nicky, so she had no idea I liked her! Since that night we have been inseparable and the rest as they say is history.”
“We wanted our wedding to be relaxed, fun, entertaining and as non-wedding(ey) as possible”, she continued. “It sounds silly saying that, but just because we wanted to get married, didn’t mean we had to sign up to all the traditional and the usual expected activities at a wedding. We basically wanted a massive party with our family and friends where we could all have fun, relax and just enjoy the day.”
Both brides wore dresses; Ria in a long, white number and Nicky rocking a shorter, red one. “Nicky wanted to wear a non-traditional red wedding dress and I went more traditional”, Ria continued. “We also had 10 bridesmaids between us! Being two feminine ladies challenged how it would all work together, so we steered away from dressing everyone in just one colour. We felt it wouldn’t work and wasn’t really us. Instead, our bridesmaids all wore a vintage style swing dress in different colours. We didn’t want bouquets and so we all had fresh gerberas in our hair instead. Nicky carried a parasol that was her mum’s. She had it at her own wedding over 40 years ago!”
Bella and Matt were married at Cowparsley, a wedding venue in Somerset. They wanted a relaxed, outdoorsy day with a festival feel, a picnic lunch and a meaningful ceremony.
“We searched for a long time for a venue that would give us free reign to do what we wanted, (at an affordable price!) and we had nearly given up when we discovered Cowparsley”, the bride began. “The whole day; ceremony and reception, was spent in their delightful farmhouse country garden. We had our ceremony in a lovely little orchard, saying our vows in front of a tree that we decorated with Mexican flag bunting, flower garlands, paper petal strings, and paper birds. We drank Pimms and played croquet and skittles on the neighbouring lawns, where we also relaxed on blankets for our picnic style feast. There was a lovely big antique canvas marquee, in which we danced in the evening, before sitting round the bonfire back in the orchard at the end of the night. Everything being in one place allowed everyone to kick off their heels and make themselves at home, rather than standing on ceremony. This informal atmosphere was very important to us.”
“We wanted to get married outside, under a tree, in the sunshine”, she continued. “Sadly, it is not currently possible to have a legal marriage service outdoors in England, so we went to a register office in the morning with Matt’s mum and my step-mum as witnesses. In and out in 20 minutes, no fuss. For what we considered the proper ceremony, that afternoon, with our family and friends, we considered hiring a Humanist minister, as we are not at all religious. However, we felt that it would be a little odd to have a stranger preside over such a personal event, especially as we had quite an intimate wedding, with just 70 of our closest friends and family. So we asked a close friend to be our celebrant. Esh is an actor, so very confident with public speaking. He has also shared a flat with us in the past, so knows us both very well, and has a unique insight into our relationship! He did a wonderful job, creating the relaxed, fun tone we wanted, and giving a brilliant speech in which he logically proved that our relationship was a good one, with reference to a theory by philosopher Bertrand Russell!”
Nick and Tamar were married at Danby Castle in North Yorkshire. This was a DIY wedding and the bride even made her own dress! She wore it with a vintage kimono jacket in the evening. The groom’s sister made the cake and the bride and her bridesmaids arranged all the flowers.
“Our wedding was inspired by roses, Grace Kelly’s wedding dress, vintage cups of tea, floral prints, lace, mason jars, and the country side”, said Tamar. “We wanted to keep it as true to ourselves as possible. The most important thing for us was that our wedding represented our own personalities. If there is anything that shines in our character is that both are a mix of classic and modern. Nick has an amazing moustache (he even made his groomsmen grown moustaches for the wedding day!) and I’m a creative person and always try to express myself in any possible way (including my skin!) Another thing that made our wedding really special was that my brother played the ukelele and sang while I was walking down the aisle. ‘I can’t help falling in love with you’ by Elvis Presley.”