Category Archives: British Brides

A Magical New Year’s Eve Wedding: Danyelle & Daniel

Danyelle & Daniel were married on New Year’s Eve in Islington Town Hall, North London. They picked this day for their wedding because the bride’s great grandparents were married on Christmas Eve before her great grandfather has to go off to fight in World War II and they felt it would be nice to have their special day around the same time of year, in memory of them.

“There is something a bit magical about that time of year, and since they had the best innings I can imagine for a married couple I was also hoping some of their luck might be rubbed off onto us,” Dannyelle told me. “Also, Christmas time is a lot easier for those travelling from Australia (where Dannyelle is from) in terms of holiday so it worked well for my parents and grandmother.”

The bride wanted a vintage dress but thought it was a lost cause as she is a curvy girl and vintage dresses are usually teeny tiny. That was of course until she discovered Fur Coat No Knickers. “I was really starting to fret about the whole vintage wedding dress issue, especially as I am quite curvy, until I stumbled across Laura and Emma at Fur Coat No Knickers. As soon as I walked in to the shop I knew that if I couldn’t find my dress there, it wasn’t too be found. Thankfully we found a beautiful, floor length, almost grecian looking number from America, which the girls shortened, added a petticoat to with navy blue detailing, added a velvet sash and some floaty shoulder wraps and we were on out way,”

“My friend Gaby made my headpiece, my shoes were from Office which I had dyed to match the exact navy of Dan’s blazer and my sash, and my bouquet was made from foam roses, small pearls and crystals and peacock feathers. I found my 1950’s jewellery online through Chic and Unique (thank god for the internet!). I also found a vintage fur stole in a boutique in Angel and added a peacock feather brooch to it to tie it into my outfit.”

The reception was held on the top floor of a beautiful old pub called the Queens Head in Angel. The bride’s friends & Mum decorated it on the day of the wedding, “I couldn’t believe how beautiful it looked when we walked in,” she said. “As we had somehow randomly ended up a with a navy blue and white colour scheme, Daniel and I had gone trekking round the markets in east London for crockery, glass ware and containers to fulfil our ‘kitschy afternoon tea’ feel.”

“We also bought in loads of old fashioned sweets that we had found in Selfridges including sugared mice and bought giant blue and white whirlypops as wedding favours for the guests. I found some sweet love bunting, and photo prop moustaches online which went down a storm. As we like to bake cupcakes for our friends and family we decided that was the way to go  – we used Crumbs and Doilies and speared these with custom flags we had made up by a seller on etsy. Although we didn’t go all out on some of the details like loads of couples do, we knew we were going to have the issue of lugging all the stuff across London on NYE so planned smart!”

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Bohemian England Meets Mexican Fiesta: Francesca & Iain

This time last week I blogged a wedding at the beautiful Fforest Farm Campsite in Wales. I loved the location so much that when Francesca & Iain sent me their wedding at the same venue I didn’t hesitate to want to share it too! I think it really interesting to see two different weddings at the same place actually and to see how different a venue can look with a different couple’s aesthetic and vision stamped on it.

Francesca described her wedding theme to me as “Bohemian England meets Mexican Fiesta.” I just love how they brought this out with ideas such as the decorations from Lisa Piercy, the paper goods by Thunderwing Press and the amazing screenprinted napkins personalised by Leonie Flower. I’m also swit-swooing over the flower garland head wreaths worn by Francesca and her bridesmaids. This is a wedding trend that I hope doesn’t go away any time soon. I love it!

“We knew early on that we wanted to make a weekend of it, not just a day, and we couldn’t have found a better venue – in the middle of the Welsh countryside,” the bride explained. “Within an hour of people arriving they were tobogganing down hills in push-carts and sinking the local ale in our on-site pub. We had the whole place to ourselves and it felt really magical – the trees lit with fairy lights and big communal brunches and campfires.”

“We wanted an unforgettable experience that everyone could be part of, and so many people helped with decorating, flower arranging – even bringing and cooking me a special bridal champagne breakfast on the outdoor stove whilst I got ready. It was important to us that things be personal and that as many friends be involved as possible in bringing our vision together.”

Check out the beautiful video, made for the couple by Francesca’s brother…

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An Organic Farm Wedding: Elisha & Russell

When I saw Elisha & Russell’s wedding I knew they’d made the perfect choice in their photographer Joanna Brown. If you follow Joanna on twitter you’ll know that she loves her garden and grows her own veg, so the fact that this wedding was held on Magdalen Farm on the Dorset/Somerset border…well she must have been in her element! “The staff of The Magdalen Project at Magdalen Farm are amazing and even joined us on the dance floor and around the campfire at the end of the evening,” the newlyweds told me. “We loved that our wedding was helping to support the Wessex Foundation who encourage active learning in and about the outdoors.”

“I have a background in informal education with young people,” continued Elisha, “and Russ set up www.rocknrolladventures.com to encourage people to spend time in the outdoors which has evolved to organise activity and educational travel for schools and colleges as well as training camps and other holidays. We hope to provide a quality of service and a similar conviction shown by the staff at Magdalen.  We found they really did walk the talk as they claim to do which meant excellent, tasty fresh local food and a friendly and happy staff team. And a deliciously relaxed weekend wedding for us in a beautiful place!”

The bride wore a two dresses – the first which she bought from ASOS and customised by adding some crochet lace hand-sewn by Great-Grandmother. “My Auntie Margaret is a creative wizard and offered to make a dress to my design as she had done for my cousin and bridesmaid Siobhan,” explained the bride. “Looking around for ideas of shapes and materials I found this dress on ASOS that the catwalk video showed to have a great flowing skirt that I thought would be a lot of fun on the dance floor!  I showed it to my Aunt and described the changes I hoped to make.  She found some lovely cotton, crocheted lace in her textiles cupboard which her grandmother had made and said we could use it.  She used natural tea-dye to bring it to the same colour as the dress which was reshaped.”

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The bride’s second dress came from Damsel in a Dress. “Closer to the wedding I was worrying that I might prefer to wear something more sophisticated (than my usual style!) for the ceremony and while looking for bridesmaid dresses on John Lewis website found the Damsel in a Dress dress – very different to anything else I’d seen and within budget! So the two dress wedding was decided.  I felt sleek walking up the aisle in the Damsel in a Dress number and had a lot of fun skanking to the ska band and cosying up round the campfire until early hours in my free flowing skirt of my ASOS dress.”

It was the little and fun touches that made this wedding brilliant. For example, after the ceremony they had the Street Heat Samba Band to entertain their guests and playing late into the night were Skar Wars. The couple asked a number of their guests to make a cake instead of having a traditional wedding cake and they were helped by their friends and family with making and displaying the reception decor.

“We didn’t really identify a theme,” concluded Elisha, “other than we knew we wanted to create an informal event with as much time outside as possible. You could say our theme was evolving! I grew up loving the Dorset countryside and felt closest to my family when there, where our time spent together was focused on getting muddy in streams or eating picnics on the beach.  Russ had enjoyed similar times with his family and it was his determination not to feel part of a ‘wedding machine’ of many, more formal venues, but focus on finding somewhere that we wanted to spend time with family and friends to celebrate our happiness and excitement for the future.  We felt very lucky to find that in the venue and staff of Magdalen Farm.”

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A Laid-Back Beach Wedding at Camber Sands: Fiona & Rob

Fiona & Rob were hitched right by the beach at The Gallivant in Camber Sands (formally called The Place). The style of the beautiful hotel suited their beach theme perfectly. “I was quite keen for it not to look too wedding’y – or formal or too orchestrated” newlywed Fiona told me.

“We didn’t consciously go with a theme but it kind of happened!  We live on a beach and both my husband and I are kitesurfers so it had to feature strongly and in the end it made it easier to have a focus shaping our creative decisions!  I think always try and make stuff, not only to save money but to make it more personal and make your loved ones feel involved.”

“Many of the homemade elements were made with thanks to my Mum who worked hard on all this stuff. We made our own table displays.  We bought glass bowls from Argos and filled them with stones, seaweed and shells form our local beach. We all now have one in our houses as nice ornaments!  We made shell garlands, buying large shells from a seaside tourist shop and drilling holes in them to then thread onto thick string. These were hung up around the venue – adding to the beach theme!”

“Finally, we collected large pebbles from our local beach, wrote names on them using liquid craft pens and used them as place names.  We also put together kids packs including a colouring book, plastic bangles & bucket and spade.  Rather than having ‘favours’ we had big bowls of hairdo and love heart sweets dotted around.”

The bright sunflowers were also really important to the couple as they added some sunshine to their day, “It was all about sunflowers being my favourite flower and perfect for a sunny beach wedding,” Fiona said. “My parents and in-laws all grew some in their gardens over the summer which we used as extras in a few ceramic jugs and vases around the venue (which were all bought from Ikea.)  We then ordered a few tall glass displays from brilliant flower shop in Rye near to the venue called Cafe Des Fleurs. They also provided smaller sunflowers to put in small glass vases on the tables (bought from Ikea again), the little flowers for my hair & the button holes and finally my absolutely beautiful bouquet. We all had sunflowers in our houses for weeks afterwards!  The little flower girls also had baskets of yellow petals which they spread down the aisle as I walked in – very cute!”

The bride wore an informal tunic style dress from Phillip Lim. “I always imagined my wedding style to be a bit 60’s hippy love child – no idea why…I literally searched online for ‘short cream tunic dress’ and found it! The lace just made it look more delicate and special although I had to have a new under layer made as the previous one was a bit see through! I was nervous about the length but it wasn’t a church wedding and I am so happy I went with it as it looks awesome with our venue and theme.”

The couple certainly didn’t take themselves or their wedding too seriously which was reflected in the fact that after dinner they had organised a salsa class as entertainment for their guests! “It was very funny, not everyone loved it but we did which is the main thing!” continued Fiona. “We also asked my husband’s brother and wife to sing ‘All I Want is You’ by Barry Louis Polisar during our ceremony to a backing track, placing a song sheet on everyone seats to join in.  It was funny as they’re not professional singers (!) but its small things like this that make it way more personal and much less formal than a reading.”

The next day all the guests were invited back for a celebration BBQ on the beach.

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An Informal Picnic Wedding with a Touch of Vintage: Michelle & Jodie

Being a wedding planner herself, newlywed Michelle knew exactly what she wanted for her British Summertime wedding to Jodie. In the 18 months of their engagement she spent hours crafting and painstakingly putting together their  vintage and craft themed day. “I wouldn’t change a thing!” she explained. “We had so much fun planning the day, we did everything from choosing the playlists to writing our vows and designing the picnic menus.”

“Being a planner I wanted to make sure our wedding was different from all the weddings I’ve been involved with, ensuring that the day reflected us and our love of all things vintage.  The first thing for me was that the day needed to be informal, a family event. I remembered having big family picnic in the park when I was little and how happy everyone was, laughing, drink and playing games in the sunshine, and that was the feeling I wanted our guests to have. Jodie introduced me to Babycham a few years ago and since then it’s become one of our favourite tipples, so it was only right that we have a Babycham reception complete with original Babycham saucers and mini bottles with cute stripy straws.”

“Our wedding breakfast was a yummy picnic, with sweet course of afternoon tea cakes and goodies,” she continued. “I’d collected over 500 pieces of vintage china, which we used at the tea. All the produce was sourced from local farm shops and suppliers, and then put into beautiful vintage hampers that I had collected over the years. Each hamper was finished off with a flower arrangement in a vintage tin and a table name (all were places close to our hearts) in the style of vintage beer mats.”

“The evening was all about having fun, with a vintage ice cream trailer, personalised with Mr & Mrs Miles, retro sweeties in ornate jars, a swing out carousel and vintage board games.  The guest book was a type writer, where we asked guests to type us a message and hand it on the wishing tree (a hat stand lovingly decorated by Jodie). We hung pictures of Jodie and I from our engagement shoot in Bath, to bring some of his home town to the wedding.”

“The car park had homemade flags of our home towns too. There are so many more details that I loved, the for your tears of joy vintage hankies that I collected and people help themselves to at the ceremony (lucky really as it was such a tear-jerker), the lace jars, face frames, haybale covers with vintage fabric collected from markets, the floral arrangements in birdcages, lanterns and vintage tins, the paper pom poms and lanterns that hung between the barn and stretch tent…. there’s just too much to mention.”

The majority of Michelle & Jodie’s wedding was homemade by the pair – from the decoupage pegs, to the paper pom poms and face frames.

Gorgeous huh?

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An Outdoor Ceremony & A Summer Fete Themed Wedding: Emily & Oliver

Emily & Oliver were legally married at Brighton Town Hall with only their immediate family in attendance. Then two days later they celebrated with all their friends & family Ridge Farm in Surrey. They started the day with an outdoor ceremony (not currently legal in England, hence the register office ceremony.)

“I first went to Ridge Farm a couple of years earlier to a music festival called Firegathering organised by a friend of my sister, they had got married there themselves,” Emily told me. “It came to mind as a venue to look round and when I took Oli he feel in love at first sight.  A big advantage was we could have the venue for 4 days!  We have always enjoyed the day after a wedding as the much as the wedding day itself, all ice has been well and truly broken and its just fab to carry on the party when you have all your loved ones together.”

Ridge Farm has 11 bedrooms, plenty of land to camp on, a huge bonfire site (great for late night chats), there is a pool house which is covered for the wedding breakfast and then uncovered the following day so that we could have a very informal BBQ and pool party.  The venue has amazing rock history and used to have a studio on site, the walls in the house are covered with albums that have been recorded there – artists include Sade, Ozzy Osbourne, James, Pearl Jam, Roxy Music etc.”

“The Ridge Farm ceremony was performed by Peter at Light on Life,” Emily continued. “We knew that Ridge Farm was the venue for us and they do not have a license to perform legally binding marriages, we didn’t want to spend the day traipsing round the countryside, so decided to have a very intimate ‘legal’ wedding with immediate family and a ceremony in the Orchard all our guests could enjoy.”

“Peter wrote a bespoke ceremony for us and ran with all my partner’s crazy ideas such as parents making and exchanging family flags/pennants during the ceremony.  We hired some fete style games such as a coconut shy and splat the rat for people to enjoy/mingle round over the two days – it was Peter’s idea to cut a red ribbon after the ceremony to declare the ‘fete’ open.”

The festival and fete theme of the wedding was brought together by some subtle and cute details. These included bunting from Beautiful Bunting, a tent from The Arabian Tent Company and fete games hired from Carousel Events.

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