Category Archives: British Brides

Brighton Cinema Wedding: Vicky & Ted

With Ted proposing to Vicky at the Duke of York Picturehouse in Brighton, the wedding theme and location were pretty much a given. They are both huge movie buffs so it suited them perfectly.

Vicky explained, “The proposal was amazing and a huge surprise. It was 25th February 2011 (the day after my birthday) and we had the day off for food and fun. I knew Ted had a surprise up his sleeve, but it wasn’t unusual (we often surprise each other with treats on birthdays), so I didn’t suspect a proposal. We got to the Duke of York Picturehouse at about 12.30 and Ted told me to go straight upstairs without looking at what film was showing. I assumed this was going to be a random screening of a Marilyn Monroe movie or an 80s classic. The place was dead (it was a Friday afternoon, so nothing strange about that) and when we took our balcony seats I turned to Ted and joked ‘You haven’t booked the place out have you?’. He smiled awkwardly and fretted about me turning my phone off.”

“The trailer for Shaun of the Dead started, ‘Wow, cool, the original trailers… are we seeing something from 2004?’ I said. I was also thinking how funny it was, as it was the trailer to one of our favourite films. Then the When Harry Met Sally trailer came on ‘What are the chances!?’ I thought, ‘Both our favourite films as the trailers!’. Then the third trailer came… ‘hold on’, I said, ‘that’s Brighton… that’s our road… that’s our building…!’ Ted had made a film trailer which was a camera running down the street, him doing a movie voice saying ‘one man… one woman… half a decade…’ and at the end a Spiderman card on our front door opens to read ‘one question’. At which point Ted was down on one knee and ‘our song’ was playing. We came out to the bar and a bottle of champagne on ice. It was amazing, I was so surprised! The story of the engagement has made women cry, but men mostly growl ‘Cheers for raising the bar, Ted!’. All in all it was a pretty fantastic and very personal proposal, which is exactly what I had hoped for.”

So they were engaged, and the Duke of York Picturehouse was to be the venue for their ceremony. Of course the wedding had to have a movie theme, and before Vicky walked down the aisle, they played this trailer on the cinema screen (watch it, it’s brilliant!) Then, after the ceremony came the reception at The Hove Club.

“I love a wedding, but we had been to so many where the main difference was the colour of the bow on those annoying chair covers!” Vicky continued. “Ted and I discussed the fact that we really didn’t like the traditional wedding suits from Moss Bros etc. and were just not big on ‘standard’ wedding stuff. We had also been to a lot of weddings where the Cheeky Girls, the Macarena and various other dire tunes were gladly played out, so we were looking forward to the chance to have some good tunes for the dancefloor (don’t get me wrong, Footloose is one of my favourite dancing songs. There is a fine line between cheese and mouldy cheese!) So our starting point was already all about trying to avoid those dislikes, but then I discovered wedding blogs! Oh the joy! So most of the inspiration came from blogs like Rock n Roll Bride. Just being able to see other people doing amazing weddings that were about personal touches and fun, silly stuff inspired us. I saw someone serving cola with striping straws and decided I wanted bottled drinks with stripey straws… but went for Babycham… saw the heart bouquet on Rock n Roll Bride I think and stole it, but with a twist.. picking different fabrics and coming up with the idea of large hearts on sticks for the bridesmaids.”

“Although we wouldn’t like to think we had a ‘themed wedding’ it was blatantly a movie themed wedding, with a vintage edge. I love all the vintage weddings I see online (with lace, dainty things and hay bales etc), but I knew that Ted and I were definitely more… cartoon/comic book vintage than dainty vintage! So we wanted more colour and humour. When I stood outside the cinema with the bridesmaids on the red carpet, I felt so glamorous and happy, I thought we looked like we had stepped out of an Elvis film! Ted asked if I was disappointed he didn’t dress up as Elvis but I wasn’t! I loved his tweed suit – it really was ‘him’ and people said he looked like a matinee idol!”

To continue the movie theme, the couple had a friend photoshop their faces onto various movie posters for all the wedding stationery. “I have work friend who often creates crazy birthday cards for people at work, photoshopping their faces onto other people and things. I found the Bride and the Beast poster online and my friend made it into our invitation. When it came to the order of service and table names he had to do a mammoth photo session with us to get all the right angles etc, and bless him he worked very hard to get those all done in time.”

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An Eclectic, ‘Junk Shop’ Inspired Wedding: Penny & Martin

Being wedding photographers themselves, Penny & Martin wanted to have a wedding that was completely personal to them. With an intimate ceremony in the Scottish highlands and a quirky reception in a Brighton coffee shop, they achieve this in spades!

They had always wanted to get married outside and as this is currently still not legal in England they traveled all the way from Brighton to Scotland for their intimate (just the two of them!) ceremony at Kingairloch Highland Estate. “We wanted to be married somewhere beautiful, dramatic and remote – somewhere that was just ours!” Penny told me. “We got some recommendations from a friend who knows the highlands well, and fell in love with Kingairloch when we saw the photos. We hadn’t visited the estate beforehand, so we spent our first day at the cottage exploring its stunning surroundings, and found the perfect little spot for our ceremony.”

“We wanted to have an outdoor ceremony which isn’t legal in England. We had considered doing the legal bit in our jeans the day before putting on the main ceremony for our friends and family, perhaps in the woods, but we were uncomfortable with the idea of already being married. Scotland (and most of the rest of the world) is more relaxed on their marriage laws so we would be able to have a legally recognised, humanist ceremony wherever we liked… and well, the Scottish highlands are stunning! We were really concerned that our nerves would overpower all other emotions on the day if we were to stand up in front of an audience, so we made the decision to have our little ceremony all to ourselves.”

For the photographs they set up their own cameras to photograph the ceremony on a timer. “We just loved the idea of having our own little photo project and actually the photographs mean so much more knowing that we took them ourselves!” Penny continued. “Martin was super-clever in how he organised all the cameras on tripods hiding in every available patch of long grass, set to take photos every second during the ceremony and every few seconds during the ‘couple shots’! We have loads of pics of Martin running into the frame, bounding over rocks and streams!” They even shot a video (which neither of them had ever done before!) themselves which they then played to their guests at the reception. You can watch it here. “It was so wonderful to share the wedding video with our friends and family at the reception, watching their reactions- laughter and tears, all of which we would have missed had we been at the front worrying about getting our lines right!”

On returning to Brighton, the couple wanted a big party to celebrate with their friends and family. They chose the quirky Marwood Coffee Shop for its relaxed atmosphere. “We really didn’t want anything formal and we wanted it to be memorably quirky! The Marwood with their extensive collection of awesome tat combined with skip-dived furniture and peeling walls was perfect! Plus it isn’t actually a designated wedding venue so it was unique to us. Most importantly, they serve kick arse coffee and life changing cake!”

The venue didn’t need much decorating but the couple added a few DIY elements to personalise the space. These included paper flowers, a Choccywoccydoodah cake and twinkly light fabric garlands made from strips of reclaimed fabric (which they’d also brought to Scotland with them and tied it to a tree for their ceremony backdrop!)

“We also pegged little ‘wishes’ on ribbons tied to embroidery hoops and hung from the ceiling,” the bride explained. “On one side they read ‘It is usually customary for the guests to grant wishes for the bride and groom – we are turning that on it’s head! Pick a wish and keep it safe’ and the other had little wishes such as ‘find a pot of gold’, ‘find someone who makes your toes curl’ and ‘be visited by the stork’!”

Just like the venue, Penny wanted her wedding dress to be unique and to scream ‘her’. She found her perfect designer, Armour sans Anguish, on etsy. “I wanted something that was mine, a one off, designed for just me! I was gathering inspiration on etsy and toying with the idea of designing my own, when I came across the wonderfully talented Tawny from Armour sans Anguish who uses reclaimed fabric (girl after my own heart) to create one-of-a-kind garments to order. It was a bit of a risk ordering a dress for a designer in California without having any fittings or even seeing the colour of the fabrics in person (photos can be rather deceptive)! However it really paid off. A few tweaks from a local seamstress and it was just perfect!”

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A 3-day Wedding at a Rockstar’s Retreat: Holly & Karen

Ridge Farm, a working farm and ex-recording studio in Surrey, proved to be the perfect location for Holly & Karen’s May wedding. “What made our wedding Rock n Roll? Definitely the venue!” Holly told me. “Aside from being a beautiful farm that we fell in love with instantly, Ridge Farm is also a recording studio where so many of our musical heroes have recorded albums and stayed – so our wedding guests were partying in the very same place that Queen, Whitesnake, Muse, Roxy, Rush and many more have partied! We hired the farm for the entire long weekend – Karen is Irish and it’s Irish tradition to hold 3 day long weddings so we had a big meal on the Friday for family and friends then the wedding on the Saturday, followed by a pool party with live music and a hog roast for everyone on the Sunday. The farm sleeps 24 plus there is a camping field so all our hungover guests could just crawl out of bed on Sunday morning and stumble over to rejoin the party. By Sunday evening everyone was in the jacuzzi swigging prosecco from the bottle, even Karen’s mum!”

“We wanted to fit a lot into our 3 day wedding but we were also determined not to start married life with a ridiculous amount of debt so we decided to try and swap our skills as web designers with various wedding suppliers,” she continued. “I would definitely recommend doing this, Karen posted an ad on Gumtree and we had over 20 bands offer to play for free! We also had offers from florists, entertainers and videographers. We chose 4 of the bands and they played in a mini festival on the Sunday in return for either website help or just a few beers! The bands were all lovely and we’re planning to go and see some of them when they next play in London.”

“Our friends and family also helped out massively – our ceremony was conducted by a friend, she was even ordained especially for the occasion! My mum made over 90 metres of bunting, a friend made us origami cranes, my aunt made our cake, my dad, best woman and Karen’s sister made all of the cupcakes and canapes – which were all served on large slates provided by my brothers roofing firm.”

“Karen made a sweet table to keep the children happy, although it was the adults that ended up eating most of them! It was the adults that had the most fun with the space hoppers we had too! We also made a lemonade stand and our page boys, my little brother and Karen’s nephew, served homemade lemonade to guests on arrival. We made a huge batch of rum and elderflower punch for after the ceremony and the caterers topped up glasses using a watering can.”

“We didn’t really have a specific theme,” Holly responded when I asked about it, “we kind of just picked all things that we liked. We wanted our wedding to feel more like a big party or festival than a wedding so we kept everything relaxed and tried to avoid anything that we felt was too wedding-y. The most important thing to us was that everyone else had a good time, so big sharing platters of food, loads of rum and wine and lots of music were the main things we focussed on.”

As the venue played such a huge role in the look and feel of the wedding, the couple did have a slight musical theme with their table names being named after albums. “We named our tables after albums that had been recorded at the farm – and I made a table plan using old records with mini doilies covering the record label to show the table name/number. I also used some of the old records that had been recorded at the farm to make bowls for our sweet table – I put the records in the oven on a low heat and placed them on top of various bowls/containers with a tin of beans on top to weigh them down as they melted into the shape of the bowls.”

“For the table decorations, we scoured charity shops and car boot sales for old china cups and bowls, we then filled them all with wax and made them into candles for each table. We made vases from old glass bottles and jars that our friends saved for us, then decorated them with the fabric that was left from the bunting. We also used the leftover fabric to tie each persons cutlery together, to make table cloths and to attach name tags to the favours (personalised m&ms) and my Nan made aprons from it for the waiting staff to wear. Maybe our theme was leftover fabric! I also cut up strips of burlap fabric to make the table runners and scattered each table with butterflies punched from our invites, beads from broken necklaces and old badges. I loved styling our wedding so much that I’m considering starting up a wedding styling and catering company now!”

“We both dislike the term ‘civil partnership’ so we went with ‘Karen and Holly are becoming civilized…’ as the introduction on our invites,” Holly concluded. “Karen wrote our ceremony and it was conducted by our close friend in Ridge Farm’s beautiful orchard. Having a friend carry out the ceremony made it much less intimidating and really personal, Karen’s sister wrote an emotional poem that she read during the ceremony and another friend did a reading that included quotes on love/marriage from our flower girl and page boy.”

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An Elegant & Eclectic North London Wedding: Tommy & Emma

Tommy & Emma were married at Stoke Newington Town Hall, with a reception at the amazing The Roost in Dalston, London. Far from a traditional wedding venue, it often plays host to TV or film crews and provided a really unique and quirky setting for their celebration. “Our wedding was homemade & eclectic”, Emma explained “elegant with rough edges… a bit like us!”

“It was really important to us that our guests felt part of the day and felt included,” she continued. “Instead of place names we found photographs of everyone from our personal collection of people over the years. We hoped that this would also spark conversation between guests that might not know each other very well. We also wrote everyone letters to thank you for coming on the day and with a special memory of our time together. Before the ceremony we gave each guest a outline of the day, so that everyone knew what was happening and when people were going to eat/drink and dance!”

“It was also so important that everyone knew how much we appreciated them being there. We wanted our wedding to reflect us, but also how other people have shaped our lives along the way. We pretty much did everything ourselves (with the help of our family!) We had homemade jams, chutneys and lemon curd on the tables as favours. This was a real triumph as everyone loves a bit of homemade jam! We also spent the whole year collecting cups and saucers, plates, side plates for our wedding breakfast. We handmade the table plan to look like bunting. Also, as emotions often run high at weddings we decided to screen print our invitations directly onto lots of different beautifully embroidered cotton handkerchiefs that we had collected.”

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A Homemade Tipi Wedding in Wales: Nathan & Laura

When I get wedding submissions like Nathan & Laura’s I’m literally bursting at the seams to get them published. So sometimes I sneakily share a picture or two on my facebook page. The shot I shared of Nathan’s reaction when seeing his bride walking down the aisle totally encompassed this awesome wedding. And it would appear you guys loved it too – over 200 likes and I didn’t even show you the stunning bride! Well the wait is over my friends, I’m sure you’ll agree it was worth it and that his face was 100% justified. Just look at her!

After proposing with a ‘Laura will you marry me?’ tattoo (!) the couple got to planning their wedding for earlier this month. The celebration was held at Penybanc Farm, hosted by Welsh Green Weddings, and the relaxed vibe of the farm really set the tone for the whole day.

“We had a marquee which was put up by made by Roger, Simone and team at Welsh Green Weddings“, the couple explained. “We then added our own personal touches including bunting made by the Mother of the bride and hearts on line made by both our Mothers and the groom’s daughters. Our wishing tree was made by the Mother of the bride and the cake stand was made by Laura. We had individual homemade ‘plant pot’ cakes too. We had tea cups and saucers for favours which we collected from car boots and charity shops. The bridal bouquet was made out of of vintage buttons and featured items from both our grandmothers, Edelweiss (Austrian relatives) and the Father of the bride’s numbers from his police uniform. As Nathan proposed to Laura with a ‘Laura will you marry me?’ tattoo, we also had temporary tattoos as favours and both of us had our own ‘secret tattoos’ on the day.”

“Think about the kind of people you are and who you are going to invite” the couple advised when I asked them what influenced their wedding, “in our case we knew that around a third of the guests would be under 12, so a venue where children and their parents could feel relaxed and excited was important to us. Being true to your self is vital and having some sort of connection with the people running the venue as well as a faith in their professionalism helps enormously. For us, when we went to see Simone and Roger at Pennybanc we knew we were on the same wavelength.”

“A professional photographer is also totally worth the money” they continued. “The married couples we spoke to who hadn’t had one said it was their only regret from their own weddings. If you can, budget with them at the centre and book them early on. Nicola from Daffodil Waves Photography was amazing.”

“Don’t get too hung up on being original”, they concluded. “Wedding blogs and magazines are great to help you think about things and give inspiration, but they can also be intimidating and make you feel that your ideas are ‘old hat’. It ebbs and flows so don’t compete. We both like Elvis and vintage style so it was inevitably going to feature in the music and look of the day, but we didn’t want it to be to ‘themed’. We wanted to have a structure to the day but it also had to have enough flexibility in it to to deal with overruns and the unexpected…and we wanted unexpected things to happen!”

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A Mythical Gothic Anniversary Shoot: Emma & Owen

After their wedding Emma & Owen decided they wanted to do a shoot that really showed off their personalities and personal style. They hadn’t had any portraits taken at their wedding eight years ago, and so they contacted photographer Jess Petrie to ask if she’d like to shoot them.

Owen told us all about their relationship and why they wanted to do this shoot. “I met Emma when I was fifteen and we’ve been together ever since. It really was love at first sight – that’s probably the only way it could have worked as I was too shy to speak to her at the time! As a teenager with a paper round, I had to save up for an engagement ring; I picked a ring at a jewellers and went there every week to add to the down-payment on a tiny gold ring with two small diamonds holding a larger third in the middle. I’d literally go there some weeks with 82 pence in copper coins to add to the pot, but I paid it off eventually and took it home! We went to sixth form and then University together, Emma to study Fine Art Painting and me to study Film & Video Production. Nowadays, Emma is a successful portrait painter and I run a film production company and am about to direct my first feature film.”

“We got married just under eight years ago at Hedingham Castle in Essex, a Norman castle from the 11th Century. The wedding was brilliant, with an all-black dress code and we wrote our own vows. Being a film maker with a professional photographer for a father, most of my friends are pretty good at wielding a camera, so we didn’t hire a photographer for the day (we obviously didn’t know Jess then). I’d been to a few weddings where the photographer had made the whole day revolve around themselves which seemed to kill any romance or spontaneity in the couple; too much ‘Stand here! Move there! Now we need the Bride’s Mother and the Groom’s Father…’ for my liking when we just wanted a day to celebrate being in love. After the wedding we were sent discs from everyone and had just under 5,000 images to sift through which was great fun, if a little slow! One thing we realised afterwards was that although we’d documented the day thoroughly, it would have been nice to get a few shots which were just about ‘us’ rather than the event.  Hence booking in with Jess for this shoot.”

“Nowadays, wedding photographers seem to have evolved, thank goodness! I went to a wedding recently where the photographer got in a fight with the bride’s uncle over ordering people about too much, so it still happens and it’s not just me it bothers – but there is a new and wonderful trend for photographers like Jess. Essentially, it’s their job to be very subtle and just capture unguarded, natural moments where people are celebrating, laughing, crying and playing. If wedding photographers like Jess had been around in 2004 when we married, we’d have booked her!”

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