A colourful country fête wedding with a 1950s flair? What’s not to love in Steph & Dale’s wedding?! The day took place in Essex, kicking off at St Giles Church with the reception at Pledgdon Barn.
This wedding was a real DIY love affair and a project of passion. The couple made as much as possible including (deep breath) the bunting (both triangle and heart shaped), their stationery and all the paper goods, cocktail stirrers from laser cut card, the cake flags, the acrylic cake toppers, the wooden signs, the blackboards, the paper hearts for decorating the tables, the bridesmaids earrings, the buttonholes, the bow ties for their dogs and the cupcakes!
“I really wanted most things to be handmade because I like to be creative, plus this allowed things to be personal to us and also it can keep costs down”, Steph explained. “The bunting and stationary took the longest to make. If anyone says that bunting is quick then they would be lying!! The amount of man hours it took to make 200m of bunting was ridiculous!! I was still making up until a couple of days before but it turned the barn from something ordinary to something really special and it was definitely worth all the blood, sweat and tears.”
I’m not an expert of the history of weddings, but when you think about it, many wedding traditions are really quite odd. A tiered cake, putting your best friends in ill-fitting in matching dresses, an awkward dance in front of everyone you know, throwing a bouquet of flowers at people’s heads… odd.
So I was presently surprised to receive Kelly & Toby’s wedding from their photographer Joanna Millington and see that it had none of that. In fact isn’t this the perfect example of what weddings should really be about? A ceremony declaring your intention to be together forever followed by a celebratory gathering with your nearest and dearest? So so awesome.
The day started with a ceremony at Islington town hall, followed by a stroll and casual drinks at the Drapers Arms, and concluded with an intimate dinner for 14 at The Wapping Project.
“We didn’t want to spend a fortune on the wedding and really tried to keep costs a minimum without spending a lot on unnecessary paraphernalia”, began the bride. “We kept it intimate and stripped it way back and put more money into different areas – namely a big bar tab and really great food. We also split the event into two days (we had a party on the second day for 70 people which wasn’t photographed) which helped reduce costs as it meant we didn’t have to put on dinner for 70 people (which would inevitably have ended up a bit naff on that scale).”
This shoot, inspired by both vintage and vinyl elements was pulled together by wedding photographer Sarah Gormley. “I wanted to create a wedding shoot that would be relevant for passionate musicians on a tight wedding budget, so this vintage vinyl shoot features an array of DIY touches”, she writes. “For a guest book, we used silver sharpie pens on vinyl records, framed to make hangable mementos for the happy couple. We also took small black-rimmed DVDs and printed stickers for their center to make handmade vinyl-themed table number signs. As decoration for the bride and groom, we hung 3×3 black and white photos on an all-black clothesline.”
So what do you think? Would you ever had vintage records as part of your wedding decor? I love that although this shoot is described as having vintage elements, there’s also some bang up to date modern touches with the strong black & whit colour palate, and the model’s deep red lip. I approve!
With a lifelong appreciation for classic vintage styling, a beautifully restored 1935 jazz club was clearly the perfect setting for Rebecca & Scott’s Detroit wedding.
“When we found Cliff Bells we knew we had to get married there”, wrote the bride. “When choosing decor items, we were also careful careful to choose things that complimented the vintage vibe of the venue. We didn’t want the décor to be too loud or overwhelming. My original design inspiration was the redesigned F. Scott Fitzgerald book covers by Coralie Bickford-Smith.”
“The largest DIY project we took on for the wedding was building the chuppah”, she continued. “We were incredibly lucky to have the help of my husband’s talented father for this project. In the center of the chuppah we hung mason jars with candles inside them. My goal was to make it look like we were getting married under the stars in the dark venue. We decided to make all of our wedding favors ourselves. Two nights before the wedding we made 300 bottles of ginger and strawberry simple syrup in our little apartment kitchen. It took about 12 hours, and our apartment smelled like sugar for weeks afterwards, but it felt great to give our guest something we truly put a lot of love in! Another (simple) DIY project we did was creating a custom drink menu for our wedding with drinks and quotes from 1930s era cocktail books.”
Unique wedding venues can be hard to come across in the UK, but Fiona & Jonny weren’t going to take that lying down. They knew they wanted a memorable space for their union and so selected Victoria Baths in Manchester. “Victoria Baths is an Edwardian swimming baths (which is no longer used as baths, now a restoration project and arts/community venue)”, wrote Fiona. “It was originally three big pools. Two of them remain and are empty – we got married in the deep end of the biggest one and had our reception on top of the other! It was boarded over with a sprung dance floor in the fifties (my granddad used to teach ballroom dancing in that room). The remaining smaller pool and the rest of building, which is pretty vast, was left for people to wander around and explore.”
“The venue played a huge part in our thinking. We found Victoria Baths quite quickly. We knew straight away we didn’t want the ‘Bronze package’ at a conveyor belt wedding venue so we looked at locations used for other stuff – filming, fashion, music, fairs etc – places with a bit of character or history and where we wouldn’t be restricted or forced to use ‘their people’ for our food, bar and so on. Neither of us wanted to blow stupid money either. Lots of our friends have had wonderful, really personal and brilliantly happy DIY-style weddings so we were definitely inspired by them too.”
The New Jersey wedding of Lauren & Justin took place in October and had a vintage gothic theme. Red, black and white were the colours of choice and everything, although mostly handmade by the bride and her mother, had a really elegant twist.
“My mother and I planned this entire wedding ourselves” wrote Lauren. “We had help here and there from my father, husband and even my mother in law. I think I should also mention I work six days a week so all planning was crammed into my only day off.. Sundays… and the little bit of time after work if I had energy!”
“My inspiration was to have some awesome traditions of a wedding, with my crazy twist of life added to it. Our theme was classy and twisted, crazy and beautiful! I wanted to wedding to be beautiful and classy and yet crazy and different like me and my husband. We did dark dresses, intense red accents and creepy Nightmare Before Christmas music that was covered by an orchestra. I wanted my dress to showcase all of my beautiful tattoos. I pretty much wanted a vintage inspired gothic traditional wedding and that’s what I got.”
“We handmade our wedding invitations and our card box which was one of those big fake looking books that you can buy from craft stores. I printed some of our gorgeous engagement photos onto sticker paper and customized our box to look like the story of our beginning. The back of the book even had a picture of us walking away from the camera.”