There was no doubt in my mind that I had to share this wedding with you. My heart skipped a beat as I clapped eyes on the beautiful Sarah and her stunning movie starlet-esque red wedding dress from The Couture Company and I flicked through Toast of Leeds‘ photographs holding my breath. What an utterly beeeeeeeautiful wedding.
“Our venue was Buckland Hall in the Brecon Beacons National Park, a country house in the Welsh mountains, that we could personalise and make our own for a long weekend”, Sarah began. “We had free reign of the house and grounds, which we decorated with family photos and personal belongings that we’ve collected during our time together. Sixty of our guests stayed on the night of our wedding and close family the night before. The ceremony was held in a room with views of rolling park land, the River Usk and snow capped mountains beyond.”
“We held a drinks reception immediately after the ceremony with vegan canapés, cherrytree Cola and cocktails we’d designed ourselves: Pimms #6 (made with fresh strawberry puree) and passionfruit mojitos (with organic fair-trade rum and sweetbird syrup). This was followed by a three-course sit down’vegan meal, with starter created by Steven (wild mushroom empanadas with fennel cream sauce).”
Before I even saw these photographs I knew I wanted to blog this wedding. Wedding photographer, Adam Lowe, described the event to me as ‘a mega super awesome gay punk dude wedding’ and I instantly knew it would be amazing… and oh boy how right I was!
Josh & Scott were married in October at 400 West Rich, a 100,000 sq foot warehouse in Columbus, Ohio. They did pretty much everything themselves and spent just $3000 making their wedding perfect. “We met through a gay social networking and just got to talking”, they began. “About three months later we were taking turns visiting each other and three months after that Josh moved to Columbus. Josh is a huge Disney fan and we planned a trip to Disney and Scotty ordered an engagement ring. He proposed to Josh in front of Cinderella’s Castle.”
“We wanted a very organically flowing wedding. The ceremony was short but personal with personal vows”, they continued. “The space we used for our wedding was an old factory that is being converted into artist studios. Being so DIY minded, it just made sense to use it and create a warm welcoming environment on our own. Being vegans and experiencing some bad catered vegan food options at weddings we knew we did not want to depend on a caterer to make the food. Instead we did it all ourselves with help of friends. We are talking 400 tamales, 100 ‘chicken’ wings, 300 cake pops… We also had the majority of our friends and wedding party involved in doing something to help out. We know people in bands, people who are DJs and bartenders. Everyone volunteered their time and took turns helping out and partying!”
Amber & Jo’s art gallery wedding was held in downtown LA. They kept things informal and low key, really wanted to focus on the ceremony and hoped to create a real community feel.
“We wanted our wedding to be a representation of the things that are important to us and that we love, so we put a lot of thought into the details of the wedding”, explained Amber. “We tried to create an experience for everyone that would be a memorable celebration of our love for each other and for our friends and family. Our venue, ArtShare, a non-profit that supports low income youth to get involved in the arts, was perfect in that it allowed us to support a great organization while also providing the perfect physical space. The venue is part warehouse (reminiscent of some of the great downtown LA parties we’ve been to); part art gallery, which created a lovely reception space; and part theater, where we had the ceremony. It also provided a great spot for photos, with the downtown LA skyline in the background and that uniquely LA combination of colorful murals, graffiti, historic buildings and palm trees.”
“For our ceremony, we didn’t want it to feel like a show or performance that our guests watched. Instead we wanted it to be more like a community gathering, where our friends and family showed their support for us and made a vow to continue to support us through any rocky times to come. Two of our best friends, a couple, officiated the wedding. We asked our guests to share with us their thoughts, wishes, advice, and hopes for us relating to love and commitment. It was a remarkable gift to us to get to hear from them. We wrote our own vows and kept things very simple.”
“We found plastic glowing orbs for the flower girls and ring bearer to line the aisles with before we walked down them. We had to search high and low for metal stands to put them on, as they came with stakes to be used in the ground outside but in the end my ever-resourceful dad helped us find table leg extensions, which he cut to be the right size. They went really well with the industrial, urban feel of the space. The orbs have since then been put to good use at parties and on group camping trips.”
Sarah & Carol had a destination wedding in Canada. With Sarah originally from Canada the pair, who now live in Brighton, wanted to fly back for the wedding. “We decided to be married in Sarnia because Carol is incredibly attached to her hometown and the beaches and water of Lake Huron (can you blame her?)”, wrote newlywed Carol. “At the time we booked the venue we thought we would both be living in Canada, so it seemed a natural choice. We chose Sarnia Riding Club as our venue so we could be right next to the water. We knew that whatever continent we decided to do the wedding on, a lot of people who wouldn’t be able to attend, we’re so pleased that so many people made it – and we’ve promised to dance with those who didn’t make it very soon.”
The couple didn’t want to spend a fortune on the wedding, and by doing a lot themselves and making clever choices they were able to keep their entire budget to under £4000. They were able to save money by buying dresses that weren’t ‘wedding dresses’ and by having their friend and professional photographer Alexa Clark Kent (yes really!) photograph the wedding as a gift. Alexa was also the ‘best woman’ so she really worked her butt off at this wedding!
After four years of dating, Andi & Brian were engaged while on a trip to Australia. Brian proposed while they were visiting Luna Park in Sydney, which is affectionately referred to as the ‘Coney Island of Australia’. So when it came to planning their wedding this was their starting point.
“We really wanted to have a wedding that was very fun and non-traditional, so we kept with a vintage Coney Island/sideshow theme”, explained the bride. “It was perfect for us. Having the right décor was key in making the vintage-y, Coney Island feel that we were hoping to accomplish. We were so lucky to work with great vendors who were excited to help, especially Obnoxious Antiques who we rented the vintage carnival and sideshow pieces from. They also provided the sideshow banners that were hanged throughout the venue. A friend even painted a custom sideshow banner of Brian, me and our dogs!”
“It was also important to us to have a vegan wedding”, Andi continued. “We worked with Miss Rachel’s Pantry. She and her people created a killer vegan menu for us that kept within our fun, Coney Island/carnival theme. The best vegan bakery on the planet, Vegan Treats, created our blue velvet tiered cake and both the popcorn box cakes which were all were decorated with gold-leaf popcorn.”
Alix & Shawn were married in the Natural History Museum Los Angeles, and it was this unusual venue choice that really shaped their day. “Our wedding was a combination of historical vintage and handmade, ” the bride told me. “The Museum set the stage to transport our guests to a different time and space altogether. They were surrounded by dinosaur bones, wild animal dioramas and a beautiful historic marble building.”
“We encouraged vintage attire and had a range of time periods from the 1920′s even up till the nineties. I had my dress made and based the design on a modernized frontier style with lots of ruffles and lace. Since it was pouring on the day, I also wore a black velvet cape I made long ago. All my bridesmaids wore black dressed of their choosing, with more ruffles and lace. The groomsmen stuck with the historical theme and wore long frock coats. Shawn also had his suit jacket custom made.”
“Since the museum itself is so beautiful, we went simple on the decor, using a combination of glass jars, succulents, vintage hardware and photographs. For invitations, I made little books filled with images animals from Victorian prints that told the story of Shawn and I. I also sewed little stuffed animals for all our guests as gifts. It took months, but was so satisfying to see how much people loved them. It felt so much more meaningful to give people something that I had really cared about rather than a little trinket they would just throw away.”
“Shawn and I are both vegan and it was really important to us to have a completely vegan wedding. Our caterer was awesome and made some really amazing dishes that were complimented on by many of our non-vegan guests. Also, I made 8 vegan cakes with help from some friends the day before the wedding. When I told people I was going to make the cakes myself, so many people, family included thought it was a crazy idea, but it was one of the most enjoyable parts of all the wedding preparations. Not to mention, all the cake was eaten, with many guest having 2 or 3 (or 5) slices. Keeping everything vegan also meant we had our clothes custom made so they weren’t made of silk or wool.”
“Our wedding was Rock n Roll because we just went all out. We didn’t hold anything back or worry about what people would think. We handcrafted everything to be the most fun we could think of an didn’t pay any mind to whether that was the way people thought it was supposed to be. It’s not that we ignored tradition, but we made tradition our own. We were married in front of taxidermied elephants! We got married and then had a mondo dance party. I think any wedding that ends with shirtless men dancing is pretty damn Rock n Roll.”