Category Archives: British Brides

Emma & Pete’s “Enchantment Under the Sea Dance” & A Big Fat Surprise Wedding

I honestly don’t know where to begin describing Emma & Pete’s wedding to you all. From the reaction to just the sneak peek post (epic) that I put up last week, I know pretty much the whole of blog-land has been eagerly awaiting to see this wedding too and so I’m pretty flipping honoured that not only was I invited (and let into the secret that it was a surprise wedding!) but that Emma & Pete have allowed me to share it with you all. I have the best job in the world.

So, in January I got a call from my friend Emma Case. Emma & Pete have been engaged for like…forever…since before we even met in fact, but still hadn’t made any plans for actually getting married. I guess that with Emma being a ridiculously busy and successful wedding photographer, all their weekends were always booked up with other people’s weddings! Also, the fact that Emma has quickly become so well known for shooting the raddest Rock n Roll weddings out there, the couple said they almost felt a bit of pressure to make sure their wedding was as ‘cool’ as the weddings they shot…as well as being different. No pressure then!

Anyway as I was saying, Emma called me at the beginning of the year to discuss her 30th birthday plans. She was having a big party on the 19th March and I had had had to be there. “Of course I’m there, I wouldn’t miss it for anything!” I replied. “Good,” Emma said, “cos me and Pete are gonna get MARRIED…and it’s gonna be a SURPRISE!”

Oh. my. God…

“Me and Pete had been happily engaged for about 3 years…” Emma told me this week, “but any time we talked about getting married we ended up arguing… we knew that we wanted something that reflected us but we’d start talking about who to invite, table plans etc and we were quickly getting fed up… the question ‘Why are we doing it if it’s such hard work?’ usually stopped any further discussion. Also we were shooting amazing and creative weddings pretty much every week so all of our concentration was on other people’s days… which was great but it meant that it was quite hard deciding on how ‘we’ wanted to do it… and without copying all of my couples who have flippin’ fantastic weddings!”

“In January a good friend of ours Anthony came round and we chatted about my 30th birthday party… Anthony joked that we could get married in the afternoon and have a party on the night… we all joked about it even mentioning a 50’s prom theme based on the ‘Enchantment Under the Sea Dance’ from Back to the Future and then when Anthony left we started to talk about it seriously and we weren’t arguing! But we wanted it to be a surprise. We get asked when we’re getting married a lot and people would then say how amazing it’s gonna be (because of all the gorgeous weddings we luckily get to shoot) so I started to feel a bit of pressure. I also didn’t want to be going on about ‘our’ wedding all the time… I kind of just wanted to get on with it without the fuss… a little bit like being behind the camera I suppose…”

Emma & Pete are one of those enviably and naturally awesome couples and I have to say I wouldn’t have expected anything less from them. Emma’s ‘birthday party’ was a 50’s ‘enchantment under the sea dance’ prom theme and guests were ask to come in their vintage finest…which we all did of course. Both Emma & I wore dresses from our favourite vintage dress shop, Fur Coat No Knickers (Em also wore a blue prom dress to keep the fact that it was a wedding secret, which she found at The Wedding Club in Birmingham.)

Halfway through the evening Emma disappeared and went to get changed into her wedding dress. Their friend Joe stood on the stage and asked us all to split onto either side of the room (making an ‘aisle.’) He then informed the confused crowd that we had all been brought to the party under false pretences. ‘Hide & Seek’ by Imogen Heap kicked in. Pete stepped on stage and 3 girls carrying bouquets walked down the aisle followed by a very nervous but excited looking Emma with her dad.

It was an incredible moment.

People were whooping and cheering and in front of me I could hear a gaggle of girls screaming “NO WAAAAY!” Our friend Chris turned to me and mouthed “OI! Did you know?!” and finally I was allowed to share that I’d been in on the secret the whole time!

Once the cheering had died down Joe informed us all that Emma & Pete had gone to the registry office earlier in the day and got hitched, followed by a canal boat lunch/reception with their family. They now wanted to say their vows, which they wrote themselves, in front of all of us. The short ceremony was beautiful.

Emma cried.

Pete cried.

I cried.

All my friends around me cried.

The couple danced to ‘Home’ by Edward Sharpe & The Magic Zeros and we all joined in. I ran to hug the couple as soon as I could (and Pete squeezed me so hard that one of my straps broke on my dress…he was THAT excited!) We danced like loons and I spent waaay too much time in the photo booth.

At 11pm taxis came to pick us up and the hardcore partiers headed to a nightclub in the city centre where we drank until 3am and sang karaoke (badly…) The night was rounded off by 6 off us in a curry house at 4am…I’m not sure who’s brilliant idea that was but it was kind of the perfect way to end a totally Rock n Roll night.

(More photo booth photos after the ‘jump’ – in the gallery. If you have the opportunity to do a photo booth at your own wedding that do it! It was HILARIOUS!)

Emma & Pete wanted to do their wedding their way. They didn’t want the ‘industry pressure’ of having the coolest or most out there wedding (yes there can be pressure even if you don’t want a traditional wedding!) Yet in getting married in the way they did, they inadvertently organised the coolest wedding of them all.

To Emma & Pete – seriously guys, words can’t express how happy I am for you. You are perfect for each other and I love you so bloody much.

Be sure to watch this short 16mm film by Cine8 too (with sound). I’ve already watched it about 5 times. I love our happy dance at the end!

Continue reading

Leah & Peter’s Red + Black Rockabilly Wedding

Leah & Peter had a red & black themed rockabilly wedding. They kept the fact that they had got married earlier in the day a surprise from a lot of their guests but made sure all the most important people were in attendance…including their two (very well dressed!) pugs.

“We were never officially engaged (Peter bought my my black pug Ziggy instead of an engagement ring!) we just always knew we would get married and with both of us turning 30 in June 2010 was as good a reason as any,” Leah told me. !We never wanted to be the kind of people who let the real reason for getting married to be overshadowed by stressing about table placings etc so we focused on what would make us have a good time at the party and turned the tables so people were leaving with things that we had bought!”

“We spent a lot of our budget on the sweet buffet/ice cream sundae bar and also put 125 little bottles of shots on the tables (Peter hand painted them with different designs) and had free champagne and cardboard cadillacs on the tables filled with all kinds of things like bubbles, lipglosses, toys, games, sunglasses, badges, mirrors, mexican jumping beans. We also made 100 cd’s of songs that we liked and we called it “Cats, Pugs and Rock n Roll!” We also had a lot of 1950’s pictures and we let everyone take them away with them. Someone even got the cardboard Marilyn Monroe cut-out, we just wanted everyone to have a good time.”

“When we made the announcement that we got married, most people were very happy for us and some asked us what we wanted for a wedding present and our response was (the same to the people) who knew about the wedding “nothing”, we’ve been together a long time, we have our own house, we don’t need anything, we just wanted to have a really good party and celebrate our way plus people will always remember it. We didn’t want people to get hung up on the wedding details or pay a lot of money out. All we wanted to do was get married our way and luckily we had my family who were slightly bemused but very accepting and some good friends who were sworn to secrecy about the day time but really helped! It was a real team effort and we got out of it what we put in! Planning a wedding doesn’t have to be hard and there are no rules that you “must” follow! My best advice is to go for what you both love!”

Continue reading

Amanda & David’s Stonehenge Handfasting Wedding

Photographer Penny McKinley-Rodgers told me about Amanda & David’s Stonehenge handfasting wedding when I met her a few weeks ago. Quite apart from the location, one of the main things that really made me fall in love with this wedding was that the couple got married at 8am and had an actual wedding breakfast – pancakes and all! I am so excited to share this one with you today because Amanda & David really did do things their own way, making them perfect for Rock n Roll Bride!

“Our wedding was incredibly informal but was honestly the nicest most relaxed and meaningful wedding” the bride told me. “We also only invited 20 people, who were all our nearest and dearest and that made it utterly special. We both wish we could bottle the day and go back and live it again whenever we wanted as it finished too soon.”

Stonehenge was our wedding venue. We had been visiting it (in the normal way) in the first year we’d been going out (2009) and had commented that it would be the best place ever to get married – if you could. Then, looking it up in the car park on our phone, we discovered that you actually could do a handfasting there – which pretty much sorted out that decision well in advance.  The theory being that if you got married at Stonehenge, the universe was pretty much likely to pay attention and the ceremony was definitely likely to work in full. We wrote out own handfasting ceremony to make it really personal. Our wedding breakfast was at Fairlawn House Hotel in Amesbury, who were incredibly helpful and lovely. Their cellar venue was decorated with fairy lights and they put out all our tablecloths and vases of flowers for us.”

“The wooden swords are martial arts training swords, but were bought off eBay to stand in for metal ones. The reason is that it is an old anglo-saxon tradition where the groom hands over his ancestral sword to the bride so she can use it to protect her new assets, herself and any children they have; in return she gives him either a new blade or her ancestral blade so he can protect himself and them. The antique sabre was a gift from David’s best man, and a really nice inclusion as this provided a proper sword even though neither of us have ancestral swords (although we do now!). The keys were bought on eBay and are symbolic of the sharing of property and possessions, and by giving them to me it symbolised that nothing was hidden any more and that everything that was his is now open to me. I also see it as symbolic of me becoming head of our new family and household”

Continue reading

Alison & Tim’s Barbican Wedding

Alison & Tim were married in January at the conservatory in The Barbican, one of London’s most iconic arts centres. It was a cool mixture of vintage and modern, reflected perfectly by what the couple wore and their dramatic venue. Alison looked beautiful in a Peter Langner dress, a pill-box hat by Jane Taylor Millinery and Emmy shoes. Tim and his best man both wore classic Cording’s green tweed suits.

The venue is famous for it’s 1960’s architecture which provided their photographer Rik Pennington with some great locations for the portraits. The venue for the wedding service was the palm conservatory at the top of the Barbican – another beautiful space – and one you certainly wouldn’t expect to find in the middle of London. The conservatory plays home to palm trees, ferns, running water and even exotic birds!

After the service the couple headed further into the palm house for portraits. “We wanted to capture the unique atmosphere of the venue,” photographer Rik told me. “It’s not every day that you feel like you’re in the depths of an exotic jungle in the middle of London! From there we headed out onto the sky walkways around the Barbican to get some cool shots using the strong lines and geometry of the architecture. We loved the blue lighting under one of the walkways and set up a few shots which couldn’t have been more of a contrast from the conservatory.”

The reception took place in the garden room which has the dramatic backdrop of the conservatory on one side and the illuminated tower blocks of The Barbican on the other.

Continue reading

A Sneak Peek – Emma & Pete got Married…and it was AWESOME!

Photography Credit: Steve Gerrard

It’s a bit unconventional for me to do two posts on a Sunday, but I just had to pop by and share a few sneak peeks of where I was last night.

Emma & Pete got married!

Photography Credit: Steve Gerrard

The whole wedding was a surprise. We were invited under false pretences as it was also Emma’s 30th Birthday (although I actually already knew it was happening…and it was so hard to keep it a secret!)

Halfway through the night, the couple disappeared, got changed (Emma into a stunning vintage dress from Fur Coat No Knickers) and got married right in front of us. I cried like an actual baby.

I can’t wait to see the rest of the professional photos from Steve Gerrard & Joanna Brown, but for now, camera phone sneakage…

Continue reading

Annette & Chris’ Fancy Dress Victorian Circus Themed Wedding

Annette & Chris had a fancy dress/steampunk themed wedding in Liverpool. The bride wore a corset purchased from Corsets UK and a skirt from MTCoffinzUnderground on Etsy. “My dress wasn’t technically a ‘dress’ as it was a Corset and a separate skirt,” the bride told me. “I bought the white and black steel boned corset for around £60 and the skirt, which was described as a ‘Victorian Lace Gothic Ball Gown’, cost around £100.” She also wore Victorian-style black ankle boots which she hired from a fancy dress shop! Chris hired his unique outfit from a fancy dress shop too.

“The groom came up with the whole idea of a Victorian Circus themed wedding,” explained Annette. “We’re not ‘average’ kind of people and didn’t want to settle on an ‘average’ wedding, so it had to be fancy dress! Although we took our vows to each other seriously, we don’t believe a wedding should be a completely serious affair. It’s a great excuse to get dressed up and have a massive party with all of your friends and family, which is what we did! I think that’s what makes us so Rock n Roll. Everyone said it was the best wedding they’ve ever been to, including their own!”

Continue reading