Category Archives: British Brides

A Rustic-Glam French Wedding: Daniel & Caroline

Daniel & Caroline were married in Chateau Puits es Pratx in Ginestas, in the south-west of France. The gorgeous surroundings provided the perfect backdrop to their rustic wedding.

“The Chateau is only a few miles from Dan’s dad’s house in a nearby town, so it is an area of France we have visited often and know well,” the bride told me. “We knew from the off that we wanted our friends to help us celebrate our wedding in this beautiful place and the Chateau fitted our requirements perfectly – cottages on site, and a self-contained venue for a long weekend of fun! We wanted the weekend to feel like a party in a stunning venue, with good company, great food and endless wine. Simple!”

“I worked closely with the team at the Chateau to organise the day. We met her twice, but most of the planning was done my email – the food, the flowers, the decor, everything. My theme was French rustic-glam and I sent her mood boards of my inspiration, details of what I was making and collecting, and she used her talents to pull it all together. As it was a celebration for our friends and family as much as ourselves, we wanted them to be part of weekend as much as possible. Our friend Hilary is a broadcast journalist and acted as the celebrant, which was very special. Other friends did readings and we made everyone sing a rendition of Stand By Me.”

“Our only near-disaster was the wedding tree, which formed the central part of the ceremony. I’d had it printed in England before we left, but didn’t realise it had been damaged until about three hours before the ceremony. Luckily our coordinator has a degree in Fine Art, immediately picked up her pencils and drew the most beautiful tree as a replacement. I was very, very touched. The tree was framed and placed on an easel for the ceremony, pencils attached with lace. We put our thumbprints on the tree during the ceremony, as did our parents, with the guests adding theirs during the course of the day.”

It was important to the couple that their friends and family were as involved as possible with their day. “My mum stitched a swag of fabric for the arch we married under, which was fastened with bunches of flowers and a chandelier I bought on eBay,” Caroline continued. “Vintage paper parasols – again, sourced on eBay and flea markets – were provided for the guests. I drew the chandelier for the Order of Service cards which were designed and printed by my twin sister, Kelly.”

“When I walked into the courtyard for the wedding meal I was blown away by how beautiful it looked. The team at the Chateau had made it look incredible. Jugs and glass bottles filled with flowers sat on each table, and the lighting was stunning. There were candelabras hanging from the trees, fairy lights woven through the branches and Chinese lanterns strung high above the tables. I drew a lot of my inspiration for the table decor from the local area, and I was keen to use mini-blackboards, like in the markets. I found some pretty fabric-trimmed ones from Gisela Graham which were placed on mini-easels for the table numbers. Ironically, the French soap favours were bought at my favourite shop, RE in Corbridge, and not at the local market in France as planned! They too perfect to resist.”

Food and wine was a big part of the weekend so the couple decided to provide two meals on the wedding day. “The first was a pre-wedding picnic which was held in the garden at the Chateau. We brought charity-shop sourced blankets from the UK and bought picnic baskets from the local market in Olonzac which were filled with home-made quiche, cheese muffins and salads, served with wine spritzers and jugs of beer. The parasols were put to good use by lounging guests as it was very hot in the midday sun. Other guests played boules and splashed in the pool. It was everything we had imagined – good friends having a good time together.”

“The wedding meal was a buffet spread of suckling pig followed by a ‘buffet of desserts’ presented on vintage cake stands and mini blackboards I bought from a little shop in Seahouses, Northumberland.”

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An Origami Wedding: Ceri & Terry

Ceri & Terry didn’t really plan to have a theme for their November wedding, however once they started with the origami they found it hard to stop! Ceri told me all about their beautiful wedding, “When we first started planning the wedding, we were determined to do our best to be relaxed about the whole thing. We decided that, if we could find the right venue then even if everything else went wrong, we’d be ok – we could turn up in jeans and order pizza, if necessary, as long as we could get all our loved ones in the right place. After a couple of months of looking, we found it: Great Wilbraham Hall Barn. It was perfect – big enough for our guests, fairly isolated, licensed for weddings (we wanted everything in the same place), ideal for the winter months with lots of warmth and character, and within 30 minutes drive of Terry’s grandparents.”

“A few weeks after we had booked, we got the call – the barn had burnt down. Ah. So, onto plan B. We saw the marquee which was put up in place of the barn, and liked it – it was light and airy, and still had all the things about the location that we had loved initially. The only problem was that, whereas the barn was full of its own character, the marquee would definitely need decorating. We spent a lot of time going for walks and kicking ideas about, until I remembered the Senbazuru – an ancient Japanese legend promises that anyone who folds a thousand origami cranes will be granted a wish. It is a traditional wedding gift, or something done together by the prospective husband and wife to prepare them for married life together – it does take a lot of time and patience. I love origami, but Terry had to learn – which he did, and the next few months were spent folding cranes together in the evenings. We also went on to fold tiny cranes for all the place cards, and decided to carry the theme through, picking origami animals to be our table names and I even folded my own origami bouquet.”

The couple spent months collecting different types of paper for all the origami – from comic book patterns (Terry is a big fan) to headed paper from their work! “It was really exciting getting the paper for the cranes,” Ceri continued. “Every time we got a new batch in we’d sit and fold one of every colour just to see what they looked like!”

“The thing which we found most difficult about planning a wedding was the assumption from other people that things would always be done a certain way,” the bride concluded. “We wanted to start from scratch and do things because they felt right, rather than just because they were traditional. Our two best friends are guys, so no bridesmaids, but two best men. Because the marquee wasn’t licensed for weddings, we were legally married in a very small, very quick ceremony in the billiard room, and then had a public ceremony in front of all our guests, so we personally adapted both ceremonies to make them right. Neither of us were particularly interested in wedding flowers – so we didn’t have them, using flower-pots filled with Love Hearts to stand our origami animals up in in the centre of each table.”

“Also, music is really important to both of us, so we chose the songs that make us think of each other for background music throughout the reception, and picked a complete set-list for the DJ so we were sure that every song was one that we would want to dance to! Looking back on the day, it feels like every bit of it was very much ‘us’ – we didn’t have a wedding, we had our wedding. That’s what made us Rock n Roll.”

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A Vintage Festival Wedding…in the Rain!: Natasha & Charlie

Natasha & Charlie are the kind of couple that wedding photographers dream of – creative, unique in their inspiration and totally in love. The bride told me all about their vintage festival wedding. It may have rained for their outdoor ceremony, but it certainly didn’t damper their spirits!

“Even though I had prayed for months for sun on our wedding day, it still rained! I thought that this would ruin the day as everything we had planned involved being outside – including the ceremony. Just before we were due to go down, the wedding organiser at Maunsel House said that it was raining and tried to convince me to move everything inside. But I couldn’t bare the thought of not getting married under the beautiful bandstand as this had been my dream from the start – so I made everyone stand outside with umbrellas! It actually turned out really well and everybody loved it – the pictures of everyone with umbrellas looked great as well!”

“Even though we are from London we both knew that we wanted to celebrate our big day somewhere further afield,” the bride continued. “We are also huge music festival fans so the idea of a festival-style, open air wedding was really appealing for us. We saw about 5 places before we finally settled on Maunsel House. With a licensed bandstand set in the grounds for wedding ceremonies and a roofed Pergola for outside dining, it totally fitted the bill for our outdoorsy festival theme.”

“We really wanted the wedding styling to reflect our personalities and our love of vintage things, so we began trawling car boot sales for trinkets and props to start creating the look.” Natasha continued. “As an alternative to the standard marquee uplighting, we bought loads of cheap old lampshades in different colours and shapes to hang from the centre of our marquee. We lit some with bulbs and others with fairy lights creating a vintage living room effect.”

“I also found a beautiful 1950’s record player on eBay which we set up in the main hall playing ‘The Sound of Music’ soundtrack to guests as they arrived. Instead of a table and traditional guestbook, we hired an old 1920’s bureau from The Little Wedding Helper and put a typewriter on there with a typed welcome letter to our guests. Kirsten, our wedding helper styled it beautifully with our vintage books and telephone as well as some flowers and luggage tags for our guests to write messages to us.”

“We used old scrabble sets to create our table names which were all based on the different festivals we had been to over the years and the walkways were adorned with hundreds of metres of vintage style bunting made by myself, my mum and my mother-in-law. We also made satin bows from the left-over bunting material to decorate the wedding cake (a delicious cake of cheese!) and little jars of home-made chutney for our wedding favours. My mother-in-law sketched a lovely drawing of the garden bandstand (where we had the ceremony) for the cover of our Order of Service booklets and we included poems and readings, as well as the words to our our Elton John and Kiki Dee Sing-a-long.”

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A Rolling Stones Rock n Roll Circus: Nicola & David

Nicola & David were married on Halloween weekend in The Hospitium in York (England’s most haunted city apparently!) The venue is in the middle of the Museum Gardens and in the shadow of the ruins of St. Mary’s Abbey. The unusual setting was the perfect backdrop for their Rolling Stone Circus wedding.

Nicola explained, “We’re both massive Rolling Stones fans so we wanted to have the same type of feel as The Rolling Stones Rock n Roll Circus. Slightly carnival like with a serious nod to music. We drew the line at stilt walkers, jugglers and such, though I did very much want a peacock and an elephant. Surprisingly there are no ‘hire a peacock’ websites. Even less chance with the elephant.”

“We’re both also 60’s fans in that we love the music, films, fashion and whole esthetic of the 60’s. The 60’s had to feature pretty heavily without getting into the shark infested territories that are 60’s fancy dress and theme type ideas. Our clothes, house and furnishings, books, music and films are mostly 60’s so we’re not the weekend warriors that could get away with hiring the local scooter club to park up outside the venue for the day. We ensured that all the music would have something like an obscure garage or psych track for us and then a Motown or 60’s pop track for the family. We even threw in a bit of 90’s Britpop for the old school mates. We also put together a two hour DVD of 60’s film, adverts, music, dance, fashion and telly clips. If the guests didn’t like the sounds, there was definitely something for them to see there.”

“I have always loved Eastern esthetic from Indian to Moroccan to Oriental,” the bride continued. “We knew that it somehow had to play a part in the day, especially since it got a serious introduction to the Western World in the late 60’s. There were bits of it everywhere from the beading pattern on my dress to the table runners, to the stationery, to some of the music and visuals and definitely the belly dancers! Also, since the wedding was going to be in late October and we both love the Autumn we wanted to somehow incorporate our love of rich vibrant bold colour into the wedding.”

Both the bride & groom 100% looked the part for their impeccably themed wedding. Nicola wore a wedding dress which she had made by House of Mooshki (“I looked at hundreds of vintage dresses and some were stunning but asking to find a later 60’s ode to Hammer Horror/Celtic/Grecian/Medieval/Indian hybrid in ivory and gold that fit me was literally impossible”) and a headpiece by Lindsay Fleming Couture (“it was a slightly medieval looking circlet type thingie from with flowers threaded through. Sorry, just can’t use the word tiara. It conjures up all sorts of Katie Price images. Then I need a valium.”) The groom wore a suit made by George Lilley of Kristoffers in Leeds, inspired by a suit worn by Brian Jones in a Rolling Stones picture book.

The reception was styled and decorated by the couple themselves. They wanted it to totally be their vision. “We did everything. We sourced every idea we had, researched where to get stuff and the best options and gathered the lot ourselves. Our garage now looks like a car boot sale on acid.”

“In the ceremony room which was red, purple and gold we simply found four different types of tea light holders on eBay and we put them everywhere there was space. We found purple and gold cushion covers also on eBay which went perfectly with the red cushion covers already in the venue on the window ledges. In the reception room we had Indian silk table runners with psychedelic patterns on them in the ten different colours. Also from an Indian seller on eBay. We had black wire lantern/candle holders with a coloured candle in the centre and we had the same type of smaller hanging lantern/tea light holders on stands as our favours. We wanted people to be able to take something home, put it in their house and maybe think of us when they lit the candle in it. We also had psychedelic and retro patterned chocolate initials in the guests’ first initial rather than ours.”

The most important thing to the couple was that they had their wedding for them and that they ignored the things that they were informed they should do because it was a wedding. “We met with an amount of resistance from people when we told them some of our ideas,” the bride concluded. “Firstly, this was David’s day as much as it was mine. It was OUR wedding, not just my day. We decided that David would walk down the aisle to a song he chose. His groomsman, then his best man, then his parents and then David all walked down the aisle to ‘Change Is Now’ by The Byrds. It was then my turn. As the Stones ‘She’s a Rainbow’ came on, I walked down with my TWO Dad’s (who high fived each other!) after my bridesmaid, my best friend and my Mum (who was my maid of honour). I don’t know who makes the so called rules about how things are done, but I wasn’t very interested in abiding by them.”

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A Pretty Vintage Islington Wedding: Cecilia & Robert

Cecilia & Robert’s pretty London wedding took place at Union Chapel and Union Hall, Islington.

“At first we had to decide where to have our wedding as I’m from Italy and Robert London,” Cecilia wrote to me. “We soon realised that London was the perfect place, as it’s where we’ve chosen to live and where we definitely wanted to start our life as a family. We started looking at a few venues, but they all looked a bit impersonal and soulless to us, we definitely wanted somewhere that would have a meaning for us and our relationship. And so that’s how we “stumbled” upon the Union Chapel. Rob had been there several times to see gigs, and we had been together to see a very special acoustic performance by Editors. Many people think it’s not an actual church, but it actually is – and it made perfect sense to us to get married there!”

“We were also delighted to find out that – apart from the main auditorium – they have several spaces for hire that can be used for all sorts of events. The Upper Hall fitted the bill perfectly, as it’s a completely blank canvas that we would be able to personalize according to our own taste.”

Cecilia wore a vintage dress from Fur Coat No Knickers. “Being only 5 ft 1’ and quite curvy, I was dreading the idea of going wedding dress shopping as I knew what is available in ‘traditional’ wedding dress shops simply wouldn’t look good on me and would undoubtedly knock my confidence. Then one day in a shop just off Brick Lane I saw a beautiful prom-style short dress and that’s when I knew that would be the style I would go for. But it wasn’t until I went to the National Wedding Show at Earl’s Court and discovered Fur Coat No Knickers that the whole ‘vintage’ thing started to incredibly appeal to me, so I went to see the fabulous Laura & Emma about 9 months before the wedding. Laura insisted we had ‘a little play’ and she picked a dress for me to try on first. As soon as I saw myself in the mirror I went ‘oh my god!!!’– I simply couldn’t believe how amazing it made me look!. I also picked a stunning necklace from FCNK, which complemented the pearl earrings my mum gave me for my 31st birthday.”

“We had quite a few DIY projects that we completed thanks to the invaluable help of our friends and family”, the bride continued when I asked about their reception details. “We did our wedding invites ourselves, Rob designed the London skyline that became a sort of ‘fil rouge’ throughout our wedding, and created the actual invites around it. We also handmade our jam jar wedding favours and the little sugar almonds bows. Rob’s brilliant sister Anne (who also made my hair on the day!) and her husband Kevin made most of the plum and peach jam, whereas the jars were provided by my mum, who works for a glassware manufacturer. Anne and Kevin also made the spiced apple and onion chutney that was served together with our cheese cake!”

“We were on a tight budget so we knew we could not afford a traditional seated meal for all our 80 guests. This, combined with the vintage feel we wanted to give to our wedding after I chose my dress (and, I admit it, my love of cakes), convinced us we should go for a traditional English afternoon tea party. After all the cakes and sweet treats, we thought that having a traditional wedding cake would not make any sense. That together with Rob’s absolute love for cheese convinced us that we had to go for a cheese cake! We purchased the cheeses (Cornish Yarg, Stichelton, Italian Caciotta, Coeur Neufchatel and Crottin de Chavignol) from the fantastic La Fromagerie in Highbury – a real treasure trove for all cheese lovers!! The cake was decorated with cherry tomatoes on the vine and black grapes, and was served with our homemade chutney and artisan bread sticks.”

“I have to say,” concluded the bride, “that although we put all our efforts into organizing this wedding while being on a budget, trawling all the wedding blogs out there and trying to do as many things as possible ourselves, we couldn’t have done anything without all the amazing suppliers we met along the way, who really surpassed themselves on the actual day.”

“Although the months of planning were quite stressful, we were very absolutely over the moon with the result, because we managed to stay true to ourselves and incorporate all the things that really mattered for us in our day. We wanted our guests to experience something personal and different, and we wanted those who had travelled across Europe to be there to really feel it was worth it – and their happy faces were the best reward for us! So my advice to those planning their wedding now is just this – be true to yourself and do things with your heart!”

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A Food Fight Engagement Shoot: Kim & Phil

Kim & Phil were the lucky couple who won an engagement and video shoot with AssassynationSassy n Frank and  Elbie Van Eeden. Their idea for a crazy shoot was a food fight as Kim explained in her entry,

“We got engaged on 1st April 2011, yes you heard right, April Fool’s Day, and with this in mind we would like to continue our personalities and character traits in an engagement shoot. The theme I see is a food fight, with bright and colourful food such as cupcakes, hotdogs, condiments (almost American food style) between myself and my fiancé.”

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“We could be dressed in black so the bright colours would show up. I’d like some bright colour extensions in my hair (it’s brown at the moment) and bright make up to create a bold look.”

I’m thrilled to share the results with you today. Aren’t these two totally brave!? This is one messy shoot and I love it!

The video by Sassy n Frank which the couple will use as their Save The Date for their Vegas wedding is just genius…

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