Category Archives: British Brides

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.”

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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 ÂŁ20! 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 ÂŁ20,000 we didn’t have on a luxury wedding package when we should be saving up for a house deposit.”

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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.”

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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!”

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A Relaxed Wedding Under Canvas: Gwen & Ali

Without wanting to start off this blog post by sounding inappropriate…How smokin’ hot does Gwen look her her Fairy Goth Mother corset and skirt combo? VERY is the answer to that. Have you seen her teeny tiny little waist!?

Anyway, enough perving…let’s get along with the formalities shall we?

Gwen & Ali wanted a unique and personal wedding, and to achieve this they chose to hire tents from Beautiful World Tents which they erected on the grounds of Knepp Castle in West Grinstead. “After looking online at lots of venues and land hire this place looked perfect,” Gwen told me. “This was actually the only venue we went to see and the decision was made! Woodland, a lake, less than an hour from Brighton where we live, full kitchen facilities and more importantly stunning! The other added benefit was free roaming animal, pigs, deer and much more besides. It was incredibly beautiful and also very reasonable on costs. We found the location through the tent company and added bonus this being their headquarters which meant no delivery costs to get the tents to the venue. On the land we had 2 giant hat tents joined together facing down to the lake. You hire the land and facilities for the whole weekend, really handy for set-up and take down.”

“Also essential to the day was we wanted a very special friend of ours to marry us. Being so important to us we asked our friend Steve to perform the ceremony. OK it wouldn’t be legal but having someone you love perform the ceremony has to be better than a stranger, the words were personal to us and spoke directly to us as people rather than the one size fits all traditional ceremony. So we decided to get married at Brighton registry office in the week and then throw a big party with our friends at the weekend. Having the wedding this way did mean we had 2 weddings to plan as we had to legally get married at the registry office. At first we were apprehensive that the registry office wedding would detract from the big day, but actually when it was all over to quickly we were delighted at the prospect of doing it all over again! It did mean 2 weddings, 2 dresses (which is no bad thing), 2 dinners etc! Double the work but 10 times the enjoyment.”

“Before we even thought about where or when to get married thought about food!” the bride continued. “Being massive foodies there was no other choice than a hog roast, this helped shape the plan for an outdoor wedding, somewhere beautiful in the countryside that was relaxed and inspiring.”

“I’m also personally not a fan of cake (I also appreciate that makes me a total freak in the eyes of the world!). Ice cream on the other hand is my favourite desert. So instead of a wedding cake we had an old fashioned ice cream bike with loads of tasty flavours and toppings. Desert was provided by a Sideshow Snacks, the beautifully decorated bike and decadent ice creams were the perfect way to end the meal.”

“We wanted something unique and special to us, something that really epitomised our characters and relationship,” Gwen concluded. “Not being traditional or religious we were really seeking a day that was truly of our making. Having not been to many weddings personally a lot of the normal wedding traditions have passed me by, which in a lovely way left the vision free of constraint. The plan was to create something quirky and original and totally unique to us. Most important of all was for it to be fun, stress free and a wonderful way to spend the day celebrating with friends and family.”

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A Two-Day Hindu & Catholic Wedding: Lucy & Vish {Part Two}

After the festivities of their Hindu ceremony, Lucy & Vish woke up on the Saturday morning ready to do it all again – this time in a Catholic church. The ceremony was held at St Patrick’s RC Church, Manchester, with the reception that followed back at St Peter’s Hall.

Their Catholic wedding has very British influences – from high tea to bingo! Lucy wore a vintage wedding dress from Elizabeth Avey. “I knew I wanted a vintage Betty Draper-esque dress, as the 50s is my style era! Elizabeth’s was my first stop, which was ideal as it was only up the road from where I live in Kentish Town. Although I didn’t find the dress straight away, Elizabeth knew exactly what I wanted and told me to return in a few weeks as she was due to get in more pieces. I’m so glad I went back as when I returned she pulled out THE dress, which was an original 50s number, fresh from LA! Although she needed a clean she was in pristine condition for her 60 years! It was originally a drop waist dress but the lovely ladies at Designer Alterations raised the waist to make it more prom style and lowered the neckline at the back, other than that she is exactly as she was the first time around!”

“I am obsessed with tea and cake, so my china tea-sets had to have a starring role, we had a tea-station serving masala chai, home-made cakes and Indian sweets on both days! We were able to supply all our own booze so we had a seemingly endless supply of Prosecco, which I drank from a tea-cup all night!  On the Saturday night, the wedding guests actually drank the bar dry twice which led to our caterers having to go out and buy more booze! This led to many, many drunken guests, which is exactly what we wanted.”

Apart from the flowers, we didn’t really need to do much to decorate the building as the space itself was so impressive. I did make a few meters of Bollywood bunting out of Indian sari material to hang and we used Indian flower garlands to decorate the tea and cake station. My Dad found the vintage typewriter in the garage and spruced it up so we could use it for a guest book. We hired the Neon Light from Neon Creations and Vish also bought a Carrom board, a Indian board-game crossed between drafts and pool which kept the kids entertained for the weekend!”

“Although all the details above were important, we tried not to get caught up in all of this,” Lucy concluded. “Quite a few things went wrong over the course of our wedding days, but tried not to let it get to us as they were only minor glitches that now make for funny wedding stories to be told in the future! The most important thing to us was that all our close friends and family were able to share in our special day(s)!, especially my Grandparents who are both in their 90s and we weren’t sure if they were going to be able to travel to Manchester or not. Thankfully both Nan & Grandad made it and were the guests of honour! We had the most amazing 2-days with all our favourite people so we couldn’t ask for more than that!”

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