Category Archives: British Brides

Elise & Nick’s Laid Back, Homespun & Festival Style Wedding…With a Piano in the Woods!

“Is that a piano…in the woods?!” I asked photographer Emma Case,  a stunned look on my face. When the affirmative came back I literally let out a little squeal of exhilaration that I was going to get to share Elise & Nick’s wedding with you. Unbelievably, as the couple went with Emma to have their portraits done they came across this unusual yet fabulous prop just sat there. Now I know Miss Emma Case very well and I can just imagine the expletives of excitement that would have come out of her mouth when she laid eyes on that!

The festival style wedding took place at Middle Coombe Farm in Devon – a beautiful cob & thatch farmhouse and cider barn which sits in a sheltered valley surrounded by 200 acres of organic farmland and woodland. With help and support from their friends and family, the couple DIY and crafted their wedding to perfection, “What really blew us away was the amount of effort, love and support we got from all our friends and family,” they explained. “The whole wedding was a DIY affair and everyone pitched in. We made the canapés, and all the decorations. Hundreds of metres of bunting were made by Elise, our mums and Laura – one of our bridesmaids. The cake was made by Elise’s mum and Dad with the iced flowers created by a family friend. Nick’s brother Anthony made welcome and direction signs; their was a family rota for the bar, the girls made the groomsmen’s boutonnieres from greenery from the woods and friends arranged games and provided music and entertainment across the whole weekend.”

“Using Apples with little luggage tags tied to the stalks as the place settings seemed to go down well with guests and fitted the cider-barn setting nicely. We went to a pick-your-own the week of the wedding and hand-selected every fruit. We then asked guests to peg their named luggage tags to their glass so they could keep track of it and reduce the amount of washing up needed to be done throughout the day.”

Elsie wore a gorgeous original 1920’s vintage dress from The Vintage Wedding Dress Company, shoes from Office and pearls that were gifts from friends.

“We didn’t set out with a fixed theme or an intention to do things differently but there we certain elements that we knew we wanted to include from day one,” the couple concluded. “We wanted our wedding to be a relaxed, fun and home grown affair that reflected our values so we ended up with what can only be described as a village fête, tea party, festival shin-dig! The perfect way to celebrate our relationship! It was important to us that the wedding was as environmentally friendly as possible. Middle Coombe Farm was the perfect venue, with acres of organic farm and woodland to stroll through, a solar heated swimming pool to play in, and compost toilets. We used proper glass ware, cups and plates, eat locally sourced organic vegetarian food and drank local ale. Flowers were organically and locally grown and at night the tent and field were lit by solar lights and willow lanterns guests had made during the day.”

Guests were invited to camp over and over 40 of them did so. The field surrounding the venue, complete with druid’s circle, was where they could pitch their tents. This field also played host to the afternoon games and the evening campfire. With guest camping over, they were able to continue the celebrations onto Sunday, providing breakfast and a BBQ lunch for everyone.

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Emma & Morgan’s Wonderfully Sustainable & Crafty Welsh Wedding

Emma & Morgan’s Welsh wedding has really put a smile on my face today. Everything about the day was personal, was sustainable and was perfect for them. The couple got married at The Hive and Ice Cream parlour in Aberaeron. They actually had two ceremonies through the course for the day. Firstly a smaller and more personal ceremony at The Hive, joined by just close family and friends. Then, once they got to the reception, they had a second ceremony amongst all 120 of friends. Their DIY heavy reception was held in a marquee in “Charlie’s Field” that looked out across New Quay Harbour, Wales – the exact spot that Morgan had proposed!

Emma wore two dresses on the day and in keeping with their sustainable, salvaged and recycled vibe, both were vintage.  Dress number one was from Vintage Vixen, and the second she found on Etsy. Her shoes were a stunning pair of Louboutins, bought for her by her Mum as a special treat for the day! Emma kept her accessories to almost a minimum with her shoes and dresses stealing the show.

Locally sourced flowers, a cake made by the Mother & Aunt of the bride and fabulous and sustainable vintage and second hand finds really made their day unique and perfect for them. “As much as possible we wanted to have a sustainable approach to our wonderful day, but we don’t think that needs to be a conspicuous decision (highlighting to everyone how ‘green’ you are) or compromise your dreams for the day – luckily it meant salvage/reuse/vintage were more than firmly on the table!” the bride told me “As much as possible all our suppliers were local to the area, with the hope the money stayed in, and benefited, the local economy. Our invites were designed by my brother, the card from a UK paper mill specialising in post consumer recycled card and printed by a wonderful friend at her home. We spent a year collecting items from charity shops (people need to know about Oxfam’s online shop!) ebay, etsy and the odd overpriced vintage shop in the east end of London. The tea tins were from ebay – I quickly discovered it’s quite a competitive collectors interest in the UK, so old milk bottle and beer bottles as flower containers also made a great addition to the table centres – slightly less competitive than tea tins, but they too have their hard core followers on eBay!  Food was sourced locally by a local caterer (a delicious veggie buffet proving you can go without meat, but a Welsh, organically reared hog on the roast if you couldn’t resist!) and all our wine was from France minimising air miles on what was the biggest volume of alcohol on the day. Desserts were made by family and friends. We mini-mooned in Wales too, doing our best to support local businesses and independents.”

The week before the wedding Emma spent time with family and friends at a rented cottage nearby the reception venue where they crafted to their hearts content. They created most of the stunning decorations that filled the marquee –  from the brightly coloured felted hearts to the hanging pom poms. Emma’s Man of Honour and her Mum even patiently stitched the fabric coasters that were given as favours to each guest. Every detail was hand created by Emma, her family and friends.

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A Sunday Kind of Love – The Any Campaign

Photography Credit: Shelley Paulson Photography

When we were planning our wedding it came as a huge surprise to me to discover that in this country there are very strict rules about when and where you can tie the knot.

“Open air weddings are not permitted in England and Wales. The law states that a marriage ceremony venue must have a roof, be moored to its foundations, and licensed by the local registrar and that the ceremony must take place between 8am and 6pm.”

Photography Credit: Katherine O’Brien 

Could you imagine if this was the law in The States?! All these beautiful outdoor weddings would have never happened!

The Any Campaign is a fantastic cause, a postive result of which could change British weddings forever. So please please take 2 seconds to sign this petition. The goal is to get 1000 British ‘signatures’ and if they do, you never know, they may be well on the way to change this old fashioned and out-dated English law!

Photography Credit: Steep Street

You can see all of my favourite outdoor weddings right here. Inspirational!

Sophie & Jonny’s Burlesque Themed Rock n Roll Wedding

This is one of those posts that’s going to have a lot of photographs (hello, burlesque Rock n Roll wedding – there’s no way I could leave any out!) When photographer Marianne Taylor showed me a sneak peek of Sophie & Jonny’s wedding a few weeks ago, I knew straight away that they were right up my street…you’ll see why!

The couple got engaged in Paris on Sophie’s Birthday. “It was a dream come true,” the bride told me “Jonny had booked us into a plush Moulin Rouge themed hotel.  We sat on the steps of the Sacre Coeur and drank pink champagne and then he surprised me some more with tickets to the Moulin Rouge that night! I had no idea that he had not only secretly booked the trip but also tickets to The Moulin Rouge. My favourite film and as a burlesque fanatic, this was perfect. At the end of the show, on the red carpet, I was surprised with a box which I unwrapped to find a smaller box. Upon opening the small box and finding my Princess cut platinum ring (perfect!) he got down on one knee in front of everyone and asked me to marry him, to which I screamed and replied yes!”

The Paris proposal and Sophie’s love of all things 1940s and 50’s (she is a burlesque dancer herself) inspired the entire wedding which was a real DIY effort. She sourced the white ostrich feathers for a burlesque theme and the ‘Eiffel tower’ vases herself and set everything up for the reception. She also designed and made all the stationary and paper goods as well as helping out to make the cake. Instead of a guest book they dressed a vintage looking birdcage (found in a boutique shop) with feathers and pearls and had little black and white cards for people to write messages on and post them in the birdcage.

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A Lewis Carroll Gothic Wonderland Wedding

Amanda & Steph’s wedding is one of those that as soon as I saw a sneak peek on their photographer’s blog I immediately emailed asking (well…demanding!) that I be allowed to blog it! If this isn’t a perfect Rock n Roll wedding, well I don’t know what is! The couple loosely based their wedding around Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland – i.e. Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass. They loved the almost dark and sinister twist this theme gave their wedding.

“We took the mad-hatter’s tea party idea and the magic of the ‘eat me’ cakes and ‘drink me’ potions, and linked it to Carroll’s poem Jabberwocky,” the couple explained. “This nonsensical but menacing poem appeared on our order of the day, and provided the inspiration for our table names. We wanted the wedding to have a fun party atmosphere and not be too ‘themed’, so we combined a ‘bring a hat’ dress code with teapot centre-pieces and little bottles of alcoholic shots on the tables labeled ‘drink me’. We wanted it to feel darkly comic, fun and quirky, whilst still being an emotional and special day for us.”

The colour theme that ran throughout the day was a dark purple and the bride wore a stunning Ian Stuart sample dress which was a pale blue/grey silk with a dramatic deep purple bolero which she bought from Bonzie on. To this she added a fabulous hat that she made herself by stitching together various bits and pieces which she had collected – including feathers, fabric, pearl beads and netting. Finally she added purple ‘Mini Magic Floral’ Irregular Choice shoes which she bought from Schuh. “I bought my dress at a wedding fair in London for £1,400, which was half price . It was far too big, so I had a dress-maker take off about 3 inches either side until it fitted. It was made in a pale blue/grey silk. I was quite pleased to think that because it was a sample it was completely unique and no one else would ever have one like it. The dress wasn’t what I thought I’d ever go for at all – quite traditional really with a huge train, but the colour made it unusual, and I accessorized it in quite an unusual way. I love Victoriana, which it reminded me of, and in the end I thought ‘when am I going to get the chance to wear something like this again’ so I went for it. My accessories were chosen to be in keeping with the Victoriana feel of the dress, and the idea was to make the outfit appear less bridal and more edgy.”

Steph wore a custom made suit that actually ended up costing more than the bride’s dress! “He wanted to keep it casual (he’s hardly worn a suit in his life being an advertising designer, and usually goes to work in his shorts and a t-shirt), so he decided to go without a tie and just wear a simple white shirt,” Amanda explained. “However, having made my own hat, I decided he ought to have some exciting DIY head-gear as well (to fit in with our mad-hatter’s tea party, Lewis Carrol theme). I therefore bought a cheap black top hat on ebay (I think it was about £25) and then trimmed it with some purple fabric to match my outfit. As we are big fans of Tim Burton and Steph likes all things dark and scary, I decided to go a stage further and I made a small purple fabric skeleton in the style of ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ with odd buttons for eyes and attached it to the hat with a glue gun. I then used spray paint to make the hat seem a bit more old and battered, and flicked it with purple and blue paint on a tooth brush to give it a more punky look. He was very pleased luckily!”

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Candy Anthony, Cupcake Tattoos & Pink Converse Trainers

Some eagle-eyed and long-term readers may recognise Nicola, who’s ‘Do It Yourself’ wedding I featured way back in May 2009. Nicola decided that she wanted to rock her gorgeous Candy Anthony wedding dress just one more time, so got in touch with photographer Caroline to see what she thought. Luckily, when Caroline heard ‘Candy Anthony, cupcake tattoos and pink Converse trainers’ she was totally up for it and they planned this fun and fashionable shoot.

Caroline also persuaded Nicola to bring a few more outfit changes (does this girl just live in gorgeous 1950’s style dresses or what!?) and they were good to Rock n Roll!

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