Category Archives: British Brides

Hannah & Tom’s Shabby Chic, English Charm Wedding

Hannah & Tom’s shabby chic, English country garden wedding had so many adorable details that I simply couldn’t turn down the opportunity to feature it. I love how the term ‘Rock n Roll’ can be applied to so many different styles of weddings don’t you? ‘Rock n Roll’ is an all encompassing love of expressing yourself and your individual quirks though your wedding (well, and real life too!) Anyway, mini-morning lecture over, let’s get on with sharing all these beautiful touches shall we?

“Getting married was obviously something I have hoped to happen but I was not ones of these girls who had the whole day planned,” bride Hannah told me. “So when Tom and I got engaged we both knew 2 things… 1st we didn’t want a long engagement, after 11 years together what is the point of waiting? And the 2nd thing was we wanted a relaxed wedding! I then started to build the ideas in my head of what I envisaged the day to look like and Tom and our parents didn’t get it at first, so I started a mood book, it became my bible.”

“I entitled it “English Charm” when people asked what my theme was, I replied with ‘rustic, relaxed and the thrown together look’. 
 We had viewed quite a few country houses and golf clubs but I just hated the fact you were just on a conveyer belt of weddings, stuck in one room. We wanted our own stamp and personality to come though in our wedding, which is then why we decided to go fro the marquee option! As it was spring I loved the idea of having loads of our own flowers around which is a great/relatively cheap way of having the impact of colour.”

“We had talked about hiring in the vintage crockery, then we found a few bits in charity shops and decided that it might be just as cheap to buy it all ourselves and Tom and I and my Mum loved buying all the bits and pieces, we went to car boots, charity shops, relatives cupboards and we then come across this Aladdin’s cave of vintage crockery in south Wales were we ended up buying a lot of our bits from. I then sourced all the fabric for the floral runners, which Tom’s mum made up for us.”

“I didn’t enjoy the whole wedding dress shopping experience at all, I thought I would as I love clothes and fashion but there was nothing I liked around, they were all to safe and same looking. I decided to keep my eye on eBay and Tom was actually sat next to me when I was bidding on my dress (although he was completely unaware of this fact!)  I found this vintage dress on there and brought it for just £40. I then decided because it was a bit tatty around the edge to have the exact dress re-made after choosing my own lace, pearls etc by my dad’s Cousin who is a dressmaker. When I walked into that church and I heard gasps and murmurs of “wow” I knew I had definitely got the right dress. I also loved the fact it had a split up the front so was perfect for dancing in the evening.”

“When we went out to quote for the catering of the wedding, we had a very clear idea on what food we wanted, for starter we had a picnic hamper per table with cold meats, pork pie, scotch eggs, pickled onions, gherkins, rustic breads and much more. This just got every one on the tables talking. For main course we went for a traditional British food – local bangers and a colcannon mash which went down a treat with everyone. For the desserts we wanted people to be able to get up and have a wonder around before they sat again for another hour or so for the speeches and due to Tom being a tree surgeon we thought it would be a nice idea to use tree trunks as cake stands and it worked brilliantly. It all felt very rustic with the summer berry parabola, lemon tart and chocolate brownies. The catering team really exceeded our expectations and did such a fantastic job.”

“We have had so many comments from friends and family since all saying the same thing, what a relaxed and unique wedding to remember which was exactly the wedding I wanted, we couldn’t have asked for much more.”

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That 70’s Show – A Retro Flower-Child Bridal Shoot

The 1970’s are well and truly BACK. I don’t know about you but I’m seeing the styling of this decade everywhere at the moment – from the rails of the high street to the lookbooks of the high end. Even kitsch 70’s décor is back in vogue (apparently…not sure about the whole avocado bathroom thing making a comeback …)

So needless to say, I didn’t expect it to be long until someone brought this iconic styling into a bridal shoot. Photographer Catherine of Lily & Frank Photography and florist Steph from Fairy Nuff Flowers worked together to bring this concept together.

They set out their goals from the outset as they were keen to make this shoot stand out from the crowd. They wanted the flowers to take centre stage to the styling, to echo the ‘flower-child’ movement of the 70’s I’d suppose, so they make a conscious decision not to use any jewellery or hair accessories on the models. They were also very keen to make it a retro style, rather than the oh-s0-popular vintage styling of the moment – therefore bold pops of colour and strong statement pieces moved to the forefront. Finally, an obvious British feel was imperative as was a vibe of laid-back, fun and alternative-ness.

“We were both inspired by the 70s look and feel and wanted to incorporate the 2011 fashion trend of antique lace and crochet,” photographer Catherine told me. “We also wanted the styling to be very simple, no jewelery only flowers as the accessories. Having fresh flowers in the hair, daisy chains and also keeping the models bare foot for most of the garden shoot.”

“We later transferred the models to a beautiful yellow rapeseed oil field and had some odd props, a lampshade, birdcage filled with gypsophila, suitcase, mirror and just had some fun with the colours, location and the collection of props (pretty much all from mine and my sister’s homes.) We wanted to show that simple styling can be just as beautiful if not more so, also great for smaller budgets.”

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A Modern Retro, Bowling Alley Shoot

Today’s shoot is one that celebrates all thing British-ness but without a blatant ‘jumping on the royal wedding bandwagon.’ Thank goodness for these guys and their original take on what it means to be British.

“With the royal wedding drawing so much attention around the world to good Ol’ Blighty, I wanted to showcase a quirkier side of England!” stylist and wedding planner Mary of Forever & Ever Events told me.  “So I teamed up photographer, Aneta Mak, who specializes in shooting on film, designer Delphine Manivet, milliner Edwina Ibbotson and Bloomsbury Lanes Bowing Alley for an inspirational shoot that celebrated what I consider truly British: high-end meets retro.”

The team chose the Bloomsbury area of London, a location already famed for the Bloomsbury Group (literary giants Virginia Woolf, E.M. Forster, Ruskin, to name but a few) because they wanted to show the area in a the modern light that it has become in the last several years – young and hip, with many hidden gardens and squares and of course the vintage bowling lanes. They wanted to ‘marry’ the the literary with the modern and the retro, so asked Abbey at House of Sugalily to create “book” invitations that were a nod to the literary heritage with iconic British symbols and retro bowling references.  The colours of the bowling alley even reflected the colors of the Union Jack, which they also echoed in the place cards designed by modern calligrapher Dear Darling Calligraphy.

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Charlotte & Chris’ Bush Hall, Gig Wedding

Charlotte is the genius and super lovely lady behind Restoration Cake – my favourite cake maker – FACT. She is also someone I consider to be a friend so when she told me she was marrying Chris in March I was so excited. Unfortunately I was unable to attend as it fell on the same day as Emma Case’s wedding, but luckily for me (and you!) Charlotte was still really excited to let me share her day with on my blog…and before you ask, yes she did make her own cake!

The couple threw themselves wholeheartedly into planning their big day and groom Chris was particularly enthusiastic. Charlotte made me laugh when she would tell me that throughout their planning Chris would constantly email her links to things he liked on Rock n Roll Bride!

Charlotte & Chris were never going to have a traditional wedding. Both really into music, a gig wedding at the iconic Bush Hall in London was the perfect idea for them! “We had known for ages that we wanted to get married but could never quite figure out how to do it in a way that was right for us,” Charlotte told me.”We knew that we did not want the whole traditional nine yards but could not reconcile the idea of a Vegas elopement leaving behind all of our family and friends. In the Summer of 2010, we went to a gig at Bush Hall and fell in love with the venue. We decided that our Wedding would be a gig, with our friends’ bands playing, and a massive party. We booked the venue before we told anyone that we had decided to get married!”

“We met at a gig and regularly go to gigs. We seek out new bands and listen to all kinds of music from past and present. Music had to be a central part of our day. We decided that a DJ would not allow us the control that we wanted over the music so we spent the 5 months leading up to the Wedding working on a killer playlist. The playlist was even divided into sections to fit around our 4 performers of the evening. We even arranged a separate playlist to be played 15mins before the venue was due to close, so that we could ensure that Lovecats by The Cure and God Gave Rock n Roll To You by KISS were our final songs of the night.”

They had a number of performers at their monster wedding gig including electric cellist Jo Quail, singer Evi Vine, burlesque dancer Vicky Butterfly and The Mark Gamble Band (Charlotte’s Dad’s band!) “People were probably a bit sceptical about the Father of the bride’s band performing but he really was outstanding,” the bride continued. “The setlist was classic rock and blues. Loads of guests danced. Dad was even joined on stage by his sister, my auntie Angela, who he used to be in a band with when they were teenagers! As a part of Dad’s set, he played my favourite song from my childhood… Postman Pat, with the latter verses rewritten especially along the lines of ‘Mr. White has a brand new wife’. He also read out messages from all of our favourite rock stars, with their best wishes and apologies for not being there.”

“Then I got up on stage with Dad and we sang Crossroads together. It meant the world to me to perform with my Dad. I also play bass guitar so I played the next two tracks – I’ll Stand By You by The Pretenders, which perfectly expresses everything that I would have said in my bride’s speech were I more eloquent, and Bad Romance by Lady Gaga, which I performed in a raw rock style.”

“I don’t get stage fright but I found it much easier to relax if I just focused on Chris. After all, I was singing to him and seeing him smiling at me let me know that the show was going OK! Lots of my friends have not known me as a musician – as I left my last band around 5 years ago – so lots of people were quite shocked. Chris knew that I was going to do the Gaga track but the other two songs were a surprise for him too.”

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A Black & White Checked Couture Gown

There were two things that I loved as soon as I saw this shoot – the model’s gorgeous red hair and that dress! Very Vivienne Westwood inspired on both counts…and we all know how much I adore a bit of Vivienne.

The shoot was set up to promote dress designer Nicki Hill‘s new range of bridal gowns. Based in Southampton UK, Nicki is famed her stunning couture gowns. Dresses like this one are made to order and created in her own studio.

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A Super Cool Britanna Shoot

So the big day is tomorrow. As I’ve said previously, I’m not doing a huge homage to the royal wedding on the blog (there’s enough royal wedding fever elsewhere thank you very much!) however this shoot, inspired by the event, really caught my eye this week. I love it for it’s slight sex pistols/1970’s punk edge. Cool Britannia indeed!

The shoot took place in Regent’s Park, London last week. Bride Noelle hand made her vintage-inspired floaty dress. “We decided to do this cherish the dress shoot with a Great British theme, just in time to celebrate the royal wedding,” photographer Rebecca told me. “We also tied in a fairytale them as the royal wedding is set to be a true British fairytale. Noelle also brought along her pet Pug percy for the shoot, who was just adorable and loved rolling around on the British flag.”

No matter what your thoughts on the wedding tomorrow, I hope you’ll enjoy this stylish shoot…

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