Category Archives: British Brides

A Christmas Meets Halloween Wedding: Holly & Gareth

Holly & Gareth were married in late November and so had a kind of Christmas meets Halloween themed wedding. “Originally I quite liked the idea of a festival-y vibe wedding but Gareth’s not very outdoorsy and I’m not keen on hot weather so a winter wedding it was!” Holly explained. “We were also on a budget so an out of season wedding also worked in our favour! My sister described our theme as, ‘What do you get if you cross Christmas and Halloween?!'”

“Mainly though we wanted things to be very personal, the tables were named after couples from our families and we used their wedding photos as table settings. We collected lots of vintage glases for the tealights from family members as well as car boot sales. My brooch bouqet included all 4 of ‘something old, something new…’ with brooches donated by family and friends, who were all really pleased to be included in something so integral to the wedding.”

The couple were married at Cave Castle Hotel. “I knew absolutely nothing about weddings and when Gareth proposed to me (in the kitchen, me with a plastic buzz lightyear plate in my hand!) so I imediately started to google venues in the area,” Holly continued. “I found Cave Castle and just thought it would be a no go, and way out of our league. However my sister worked near it and one day when we were randomly visiting her we decided to just pop in. We then didn’t look anywhere else! I’d always had my heart set on the Givenchy dress that Audrey Hepburn wore in Funny Face, and I nearly had a copy drawn up to be made. However in the end I didn’t want to risk ending up with a dress that I’d not tried on. I found dress shopping probably the hardest part of organising the wedding, finding one with sleeves was impossible, but again after months of searching I found it – it was actually then first one I tried on and I went back to it”

“Both of us were very set on what and how we wanted things to be for our wedding. Unfortunately we came across many ‘local’ wedding suppliers who verged on downright rude about some of our choices. However we stuck to our guns and ended up with a day we were extremely happy with.”

Continue reading

A Colourful DIY Wedding: Rhian & Toan

My favourite wedding photographs are those with happy smiling faces in them. The ones that when I look at them, I hazard a guess that people’s faces were aching at the end of the day from grinning so much. Now obviously most weddings are full of joy and smiles, but I think Rhian & Toan might win the ‘most smiley’ prize. Big cheesy grins all round!

“We absolutely love our wedding photos, and genuinely couldn’t be happier with them,” begin Rhian. “We had a very tight budget for everything, but photography was the one thing I wouldn’t skimp on the quality. I love it so much in my day to day life I knew the value of getting good ones done for the big day. When I saw Shell de Mar’s portfolio I could see straight away that she has a beautiful eye for detail and lots of talent. We like to think that we found an excellent photographer who happened to do weddings, rather than a ‘wedding photographer’.”

The wedding was held in a marquee in Toan’s parent’s back garden. The couple DIY’ed pretty much all of their wedding decor – and doesn’t it all look amazing?! Rhian told me all about it,

“On the tables we had plain white tablecloths, the flowers were all put together by me, after a big trip to New Covent Garden flower market on the Thursday morning before our wedding. We chose them all, mostly white with a flash of yellow from the craspedia – to offset all the colour in the marquee. My sister spray painted the bottles of champagne (or cava) that we celebrated our engagement with in the company of various friends with white paint and we used these as candle holders, the corks were used to hold up the tablenames and my bridesmaids helped make some homemade candles in teeny sherry glasses (left over from my cake stand venture, see below!) to dot around the table.”

“The table names were photos of various London streets that mean a lot to us, largely in and around Camden. The table plan was displayed on an old door we found in Toan’s dad’s woodshed. The cake table was decorated using some fabric of my Mum’s, plates and cake stands I already had and a sign saying ‘sweet nothings’ from Banter Banner. Our guest book was made by us, using brown card (with questions like ‘what should we do for our 10 year anniversary?’ and ‘do you have any advice?’ and a photo album. We popped it all in an old school desk (again found in Toan’s parents’ magical shed) and surrounded it with random bits of wood found in the woodshed which we covered in old photos of us and all the guests. We put homemade rectangular bunting round the edges of the marquee with giant multicoloured tissue paper pom poms hung from the ceiling.”

“We also had a little tent off to the side with the bar in. We decorated this to look like an old fashioned pub, using pictures I found in a charity shop (and some of Toan’s Mum’s pictures and various paraphernalia. We used my sister’s old sofa, a chair another sister found on the street, plus one donated by a friend and a £5 coffee table for the furniture. Toan stencilled a sign saying ’Ravenscroft Arms’ and the pub opened for business for its first and only rather epic night. Outside we had more bunting, hay bales, signs dotted and a menu sign for the BBQ using a stencil and a piece of aluminium I found in Toan’s garden. We also used jam jars of candles and flowers and some paper bags to hold candles in dotted around. We even had an old Triumph that Toan’s parents’ had in the garage that his Dad cleaned up for us wheeled out and set up, with a skittle alley borrowed from someone else in the village!”

“We served drinks on top of ice piled into a trough that was used when Toan’s sister had a pony! We borrowed trestle tables from the village hall too. We made confetti cones out of magazine front covers and confetti was the excess tissue from the pom pom making. On our way back to the party, instead of being formally announced or anything like that our friends formed a little corridor and we walked down into the field while they all whooped and chucked confetti at us, which was amazing!”

Phew, I feel exhausted just reading that extensive list of DIY tasks! It was worth all the effort though guys, your wedding looks amazing!

“Our inspiration just came from being on a tight budget, necessity is the mother of all invention after all – and also from just wanting to have a good old celebration with our favourite people,” Rhian concluded. “We wanted it to be bright and colourful and full of positive energy. Neither of us believe in chucking money at things without thinking about it, everything you do should be done with passion. I looked on Rock n Roll Bride on pretty much a daily basis, as I loved reading everyone’s stories (lets be honest Toan also had a good nosey) – and also on those days when people said things like ‘what do you mean you don’t have a colour scheme?’, ‘your dress is from a market?’ or ‘what are you doing for your favours?’ having a quick check on the website reminded me to stay true to what I believed in and that the best celebrations were for those who did what they loved.”

Continue reading

A Help Yourself, Village Fete Wedding in Cornwall: Rosalie & Fergus

Rosalie & Fergus had a sweet homespun wedding in Cornwall. “The whole ethos was to get all our creative friends and family together for a two week holiday in Cornwall,” the bride explained. “The deal was, that they spent the first week, sewing, making, cooking, baking and generally doing anything and everything – then we had a massive great wedding/party which continued for the rest of the week. I don’t think they feel used, it was a great vibe and a really chilled way to organise a wedding.”

“The records that we used as table numbers was a very last minute decision, we found a box of singles in a charity shop in Wadebridge (nearest town) and then made them into lollipop type sticks using our favourite musicians and some red and white tape! I had always wanted a sort of help yourself village fete type affair, so we made little flags for all the food and people helped themselves. The vintage crockery was the star of the show, having just started by business, The Crockery Cupboard, it was hot topic and really brought the whole reception to life, and because of all the colour, no-one noticed the drab marquee we were sat in!”

“We lit the garden with hundreds of jam jars filled with a little sand and a tealight, so easy cheap and looks so pretty when it’s dark,” Rosalie continued. “Also, the cake table was a massive success, we had lots of different cakes to choose from, all on beautiful cake stands to cater for everyone and people could have a cuppa and a slice of cake at any point as it was there for the whole reception, which made people feel at home and looked really pretty too with all the vintage cups adorning the tables. We didn’t spend a fortune on flowers because we had a beautiful assortment of vintage vases that only needed a few stems but dotted around everywhere gave the illusion of lots of flowers.”

Continue reading

A ‘Make Do & Mend’ Wedding: Rosie & James

I actually saw Rosie & James’ wedding in the archives of Adam, of Viva Wedding Photography‘s, own blog. I dropped him a line to say I was sure another wedding blogger must have featured it when he first published the photos, but just on the off-chance…and to my utter surprise he said they hadn’t! I have to say, I was thrilled. This wedding has a serious amount of cuteness. The wedding may have taken place in 2009, but it’s still hella inspirational!

The laid-back wedding was held in West Hill Hall, Brighton. “They’re a funny little village hall, in the middle of the city,” Rosie told me. “They put on riot grrrl shows and underground music events in between yoga classes and coffee mornings. They didn’t have a licence to hold the ceremony but we persuaded them to apply for one so that we could do the whole event in one venue. We paid for the license ourselves, but it was still cheaper than hiring a proper wedding venue, and the hall hold onto the licence for 3 years so hopefully lots of other people can have cheap weddings there too.”

The couple wanted to do things on a budget and the bride wore a dress which she’d bought 10 years prior for just £20! Her headpiece was a battered Victorian orange blossom headpiece from eBay, which she re-gilded, covered with antique milliner’s flowers and attached a Victorian tambour lace veil to it. “I had a secondhand 70s dress that I’d never worn. My look has never been groomed and minimal so I embellished it by sewing on as much extra stuff as I could – we called it Bridal Buckaroo. There was loads of Victorian and Edwardian lace and antique enamelled buttons from eBay. It was held together with safety pins inside because I didn’t have time to finish it. In my head it was going to be an amazing confection of perfect seams and antique silk but I was so busy making bunting and tablecloths that I didn’t start the dress until a few days before the wedding so it looks a bit rough round the edges. I also made Edwardian silk underwear out of old bits of lace and trimmed it with antique ombre ribbon rosettes, and repaired a broken Victorian corset. I was still sewing it altogether an hour before the wedding.”

The wedding party also wore homemade and thrifted outfits. The bride’s niece had an Edwardian white lawn dress with crocheted lace panels from eBay and the adult bridesmaids had homemade cotton dresses which the bride made, “They weren’t my best work!” she laughed.

DIY was also a huge part of the wedding – from the cake, made by a friend, and the flowers collected the morning of the wedding from a local flower stall, the couple managed to pull off a lot themselves. They also made their own stationery, the inspiration of which was an old piece of sheet music called ‘Wedding Of The Rose’ that Rosie found in Oxfam then scanned and made the invites from the pattern.

The catering was helped along by friends and family as well. They asked everyone to bring their favourite picnic food to share instead of gifts. “We had an incredible buffet with vintage china, we had so much leftover food that we took it on our honeymoon and had sausage rolls and cakes every day for lunch. We barely had chance to eat anything at the wedding but the leftovers were great!”

To decorate the hall, the couple spent months trawling eBay, charity shops and jumble sales. “We collected net curtains, fake flowers, old sheets and bits of china and cutlery,” Rosie continued. “We dyed the sheets for tablecloths, made patchwork net curtain drapes to disguise the less attractive corners of the hall, did tacky flower arrangements in old Royal Wedding mugs and I handmade 400m of bunting from old clothes and scraps of fabric.”

“I also wanted to find a way to use lots of bits of old ribbon and haberdashery my Granny had given me, so really my inspiration came from finding strange old things and working out how to incorporate them. I had Charles Dickens’ Miss Havisham at the back of my mind – the dusty, rotten lace and cobwebs (probably a bit of my teen goth resurfacing). Almost everything we used at the wedding was secondhand. Someone else got married with our wedding rings, and someone else had worn my veil and used the cake knife. I really like the idea of stuff having a life and a story before it comes to you.”

“We didn’t care about making sure our table confetti matched the hired Rolls Royce, we just wanted an old-school wedding in the village hall, with loads to drink and plenty of foolishness. We both love car boot sales and charity shops, and I’ve always made my own clothes and things out of secondhand tat. I don’t believe in buying something new when you can make it yourself, or get a more interesting version secondhand. Loads of the stuff we used was past its best, and it was nice to resurrect it and give it a new purpose. Also, on a practical level, we thought it would be madness to spend £20,000 we didn’t have on a luxury wedding package when we should be saving up for a house deposit.”

Continue reading

A Colourful Barn Wedding: Paul & Hayley

Paul & Hayley planned their wedding in just four months! They were engaged in July and wanted a winter wedding but the didn’t want to have to wait a whole year…so a speedy engagement it was! They were married in November at Vauxhall Farm in Suffolk.

“We decided that we wanted to decorate the reception ourselves and bring in caterers so Vauxhall Farm was perfect, ” Hayley told me. “It was essentially a big empty barn in the middle of some fields! Our thoughts for the venue styling was lots of colour and lots and lots of fairy lights!! We found lots of vases and lanterns and filled them with fairy lights and strung more lights across the ceiling as well. Our table names were pubs that we love. So we painted the inside of photo frames with chalkboard paint and wrote the names on there, we then gave our guests chalk so that they could wipe off the table name and have some fun!! Someone said that our tables looked like children’s party!”

The couple were lucky enough to have loads of talented friends to call upon to help them with various parts of their wedding. “The band at the church was made up of very talented friends,” Hayley continued. “Paul’s friend Dave Webster is a professional musician so he sang whilst we signed the register, which was beautiful. A friend of my parents made us a 3 tired Carrot cake, with dinosaurs on top! It was so yummy. Another friend did the flowers for us. I wanted a wild, small posy with a mixture of the flowers that my bridesmaids had in theirs (each bridesmaid had a different bouquet to match their outfit!) Our DJ was an old family friend, who actually also did the disco at my parent’s wedding 29 years ago. He was great, the dance floor was literally packed all night!”

Even their amazing wedding photographers o&c Photography, we’re friends of the bride beforehand. “I’ve known Charis for years and the o&c Photography blog has always been a guilty pleasure of mine. I always knew that if I ever got married I’d want these guys to capture the day. So when we got engaged before anything was booked we checked their availability! We couldn’t of asked for more perfect photos, they capture our amazing day perfectly. We had so much fun climbing over stiles and running in fields, it didn’t really feel like we were having our pictures taken. They also appear to have spoken to lots people during the day, as so many of our guests have mentioned how lovely they are.”

“We were so blessed by people’s generosity, from giving time to help decorate and make invites, to putting up guests, doing flowers, cake etc. We had a lot of fun making and preparing so much ourselves, it made the day so much more personal. One of my favourite bits was our table plan. We painted a board in chalk board paint and then stuck pegs on it; which held a piece of card with the names of those at the table. It looked really cool! We also asked women to consider wearing hats of fascinators. I LOVE it when I see people wearing them at weddings and therefore wanted lots of people to be wearing them at ours. I think there were only a handful of people that didn’t wear anything in their hair in the end, it made me very happy!”

“If you’ve got the time and energy, do as much as you can yourself!” Hayley concluded. “One fun idea we had was to do with bottles on tables. We’ve been to so many wedding were everyone on the table likes red wine, but nobody white, or nobody is drinking the soft drinks, but they’re still there! So we decided to paint pegs, and use it as bottle currency! Each table had 5 pegs which they could swap for any bottle during the night. People loved it, and it also got people talking on tables were they might not have known each other.”

Continue reading

A Laid Back, New Age, Irish Wedding: Britta & Oscar

When I grow up I want to be as cool as Britta & Oscar please. They not only  got married at their own home in Dunmanway, Ireland but they put the whole wedding together themselves including building their own marquee!

“We built the structure with ash poles and tied tarpaulin to the poles with zip ties and lots of rope,” Britta explained.” It would not have been possible without the help of our friends especially Will Dukes who pretty much did most of the hard work as Oscar had broken his leg a few weeks before the wedding…. convenient you might say!”

“Oscar wove some willow ‘chandeliers’ which we wrapped in fairy lights and hung to the structure,” she continued. “We were hoping to sew our own bunting but then we found some beautiful bunting at a stall in Waterford which were made from recycled saris. They were perfect. ”

“The food was made by us and our wonderful friends and family. Oscar’s Father gave us a present of a wild boar to cook for the wedding as we planed to have a pig on the spit. The pig was far to big for it to be done on the spit so our best man cooked it on the barbecue instead.”

The most important thing to the couple was that their wedding was fun for their guests and that there was no pressure to conform just because it was a wedding. “Our inspiration came from many different sources. We were engaged for 2 years so had alot of time to search for ideas,” Britta said.

“We mostly just gathered bits and bobs together as we found things from shops and stalls, there was no real theme or color scheme we just wanted to have lots of colour and be surrounded by what we found beautiful. As we started to plan the wedding we found ourselves saying oh we MUST do this and we MUST do that until we asked ourselves why…why did we have to do all those things? There are so many rules one must follow when getting married and we decided to break them all.”

The bride wore a Novia d’Art dress which she bought from Oxfam Bridal, and her groom donned a Social Suicide jacket and a shirt from Brown Thomas. “Our theme was just to have a relaxing, comfortable, non formal day. We had no colour scheme for our bridesmaids or groomsmen, nor did we have a dress code for our guests. Our number one priority was for everybody to feel comfortable and enjoy the day!”

Continue reading