Category Archives: British Brides

Sarah & Chris’ Handcrafted Tipi Wedding

Sarah & Chris got married at Croft Castle, Herefordshire followed by a Tipi reception in Sarah’s Father’s field. I have a serious wedding crush on this ‘venue’!

The whole wedding was a locally-sourced and handcrafted affair as this was very important to the couple. The tipi was decorated top to toe by Sarah and her Mother (her Mum is the lady wearing the fabulous handmade patchwork coat!) “We wanted our wedding to have a handcrafted feel and it was important that our friends and families were as involved as they could be” Sarah explained. “My inspiration for the feel of the day came from that, from getting those peoples input and spending time with them. My mother made the amazing patchwork coat that you can see her wearing, from thousands of small squares of lovely fabric, and she announced just after we got engaged that she was going to turn it into a quilt for our first baby after the wedding – this pretty much encapsulates the feel I wanted of the wedding.”

“I wanted to make as much as I could myself and took immense pleasure in spending hours stitching and crafting, using old family photos or random things picked up over the years to make everything as unique as it could be – it was so important to me that it all came, well, from the heart. Is that too cheesy? I don’t care, it was my wedding day and I loved every second of it.”

The flowers were all picked from the surrounding fields and local gardens (with permission of course!) and the bride made the bunting and 100 pots of jam! The linens and lace table runners were all found at local charity, antique and vintage shops and Chris built the campfire which everyone gathered round at the end of the night.

The bride made all the stationary and paper goods from the invites – which were little books made from wallpaper and hand stitched together, to the  save the dates, the table plan – which was made with ribbon and luggage labels and service sheets – which were hand printed and hand stitched. Sarah has since decided to start her own wedding stationary company and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with. This is some seriously gorgeous and creative stuff!

Another thing that was really important to the couple was charity. After dinner, they held an auction to raise funds for ZAMCOG. They included included art from the brides art gallery www.blackrat.com, a hamper from Scotland and a dance with the bride. For their honeymoon, the pair plan to cycle across Africa, also in aid of this charity.

“For our not so romantic honeymoon we plan to cycle across Africa, from coast to coast – starting on the East coast of Tanzania, biking through Malawi, Zambia, Botswana and ending on the West coast of Namibia,” Sarah told me. “This covers about 5,000 km and we aim to do it in 30 days. Given that we haven’t done much cycling before (not counting the 12 minutes it takes me to get to work, and the 12 minutes it takes to get back) this could be quite a challenge!”

“Chris and I are fundraising for a school in Zambia that provides education, care and shelter for orphans, street kids and other vulnerable children. Through a stable and caring environment Shitima school aims to build a self sustaining route for children to create a better future for themselves and their community. There are at present 230 children in the school and it costs approximately £300 a year to feed, clothe and educate a child. The charity that funds the school also runs a feeding programme at a nearby drop in centre for street kids. The website explains it all in full but in short its a wonderful place where children are cared for and given new opportunities. We are aiming to raise £25,000 to contribute towards new facilities that would mean that the school could take on more pupils and which would also create more jobs within the local community.”

If anyone wants to donate to help Sarah & Chris, their charity site is: http://www.justgiving.com/africacoast2coast

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Vintage Charm – A London Engagement

The inspiration for Caroline & Ian’s engagement session was Caroline’s gorgeous Vivien of Holloway dress. “‘I’d worn it for my brother’s wedding in California a couple of weeks before,” Caroline explained. “It was such a wonderful outfit to wear that it was the obvious choice when I came to select an outfit for the shoot, and that set the whole style. I also wanted a deliberate contrast to the style of our wedding.”

To match up with Caroline’s style, photographer Julia Boggio was more than thrilled to accessorise Ian. Julia is a massive fan of all things vintage and has a studio full of props perfect for vintage styling (I know – I’ve had the treatment myself!)

Caroline & Ian’s wedding is going to be published in Cosmopolitan Bride magazine here in the UK very soon!

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Jim & Katy’s DIY-Fabulous Whimsical Beach Themed Wedding

I hosted a very special offer from Willow Tree Photography a while ago for free wedding photography to any lucky 2010 couples who maybe hadn’t planned to, or couldn’t afford a professional photographer. While I got a bit of stick on certain photography forums (apparently I was encouraging newbie photographers to undercut the market…well, anyone who read the post I published on Saturday will know this is certainly not the case!) I am over the moon that through running this very special offer I, and photographer Kathryn, were able to offer some awesome couples without the budget to spend on photography, the chance to have professional wedding photographs.

One of the first couples who took up this amazing offer were Jim & Katy. The pair had a whimsical seaside theme which started with an intimate ceremony at Harbour Community Church, Folkestone. “The wedding happened in our local church, its very near the harbour of our little town, its quaint but village-hall like (with a sloping floor) it helped to inspire the bunting and seaside/village fete theme”, the bride told me. “As we and our guests were outside the church after the ceremony doing the photos, a crack team of our friends re-arranged the church into a buffet for the reception, the chairs were moved from rows into circles and it was a very informal reception but with amazing food prepared by members of the church.”

“The church was decorated in hundreds of metres of bunting that was around the front and back of the church, ran down the aisle and spilled out to the rails outside, making everything look very happy and inviting. We then had an evening party downstairs at a local bar, informal, good atmosphere.”

The bride wore a custom made dress, which she had designed and created especially for her by a local seamstress. To this she added those amazing and awesomely bright Irregular Choice shoes (she also had white pumps from Schuh for the evening.)

The couple, who are both recent art graduates didn’t have much money to spend and so DIY-ed a lot of their wedding – the flowers, all the decor, the favours, the buttonholes, the cupcakes – everything was made by the couple or their friends and family members.

Katy concludes,
“Our inspiration was based on three things…

1. wanting an honest reflection of ourselves and the aesthetic
preferences that are likely to hallmark our marriage, not the packaged
ideal of a modern ‘wedding’.

2. We didn’t have much money.

3. The venue, we let that dictate somewhat. it wasn’t the prettiest
building but had charm that we used our theme and decoration to bring
out. We wanted to get married there because it is our local church and
so it was an emotional choice.”

“We knew we had this village hall-like building and we were right by the sea. Also we love bunting, so to ignore our actual surroundings would be absurd. My recommendation to anyone trying to think of a theme is to not only be true to yourselves but also to the architecture and geography of where you are getting married. That way everything will gel and fit, plus that location will become even more strongly associated with your special day.”

“We also new that lots of our friends have toddlers and we didn’t want to exclude them. We felt that our theme allowed everyone to be able to enjoy the day and have fun.”

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Sarah & James’ Rockin’ Rockabilly Wedding

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Sarah & James’ 1950’s rockabilly wedding was inspired by Sarah’s Grandparents who got married on September 12th 1953. “We wanted to get married as close to this date as we possibly could, hence the choice of 11th September 2010,” Sarah told me.  “My Grandparents celebrated their 57th Wedding anniversary the day after our wedding – the rose tattoo’s on my feet (by Sam Ricketts) have their names ‘Alice’ and ‘Mervyn’ in recognition of how special they are to me.”

“We were keen for the day to reflect our personalities,” continued the bride. “We chose a civil ceremony which was held at Pittville Pump Room, a Grade one listed building, as it is a big part of Cheltenham’s history, pumping the famous ‘spa water’ to the town (and it makes for some pretty awesome pictures!)  There was a ‘swallow’ theme running throughout (as I have swallow tattoos on my stomach) – As James is a Graphic Designer, he designed all of the wedding stationary for us – from invites, to place settings.  As wedding favours we decided on plectrums (which we ordered from the internet) as James is a guitarist, with the ‘swallow’ design and our names and the date on the back.”

“There was also a colour theme of red, black and white running throughout the day (as these are our favourite colours!) Rather than ‘table names’ we identified the tables with movie stars and singers from the era. From Marilyn Monroe, to Audrey Hepburn and Frank Sinatra.”

Sarah wore a ivory 1950’s style swing dress from Vivien of Holloway (her bridesmaid’s wore the same dresses in black or polkadots) and the new Vivienne Westwood Melissa shoes (eeek cherries!) Her hair was done in a rockabilly style, adorned with Diablo Jo’s handmade rockabilly accessories.

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The Good Life – An English Countryside Engagement

Getting down n dirty at their allotment was the name of the game for Vonney, Tristan and Boo’s (the dog) pre-wedding shoot. A reflection of how they live their lives on a daily basis, photographer Caroline was keen to bring this realism into their session.

“When I first came up with the idea to include the pre-wedding shoot into my wedding package I knew that I didn’t want to offer my couples the standard posed pictures in front of yet another garage wall, holding a vintage camera etc,” Caroline explains. “I believe that we ‘normal’ people aren’t models. If we are told to do something, to stand in a way that we don’t usually stand it doesn’t look natural, does it?! And I also don’t think that this tells me much about the couple themselves and I came to the conclusion that I wanted my clients personalities to shine through in every pre-wedding shoot picture.”

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Joan & Tim’s Musical English Country Garden Wedding

Oh I have yet another fabulous British wedding for you to le swoon over today. Joan & Tim’s English country garden theme was sure as hell given a Rock n Roll twist with the infusion of some seriously rad and personal touches. Not least of all, Joan’s incredible dress (actually a corset, skirt, bustle & train) from designer Jane Bourvis. It was all Vintage Couture. Jane was actually the designer behind Carrie Bradshaw’s famous ‘green seafoam ballerina dress’ that she wore in the final episode of Sex and the City (photo here) “Her shop is a wedding wonderland with vintage dresses and corsets dangling above you so you don’t know where to look at first,” Joan explained. “It was the first dress I tried on and within 5 minutes I knew that I wanted it.”

The bride made all the decorations, invites, place cards, table names, pom poms (from a Martha Stewart tutorial), and the seating plan by herself. ” We transformed the village hall, which was very much a black canvas, into a really beautiful room using the cream & caramel colour scheme which we got from my dress. We also carted around lots of picture frames, candelarbras and engagement congratulation cards from home to dot around the hall and make it more homely and personal to us. ”

They had tipi’s and campfires and everyone camped for 2 nights. They set up makeshift portable showers for everyone – complete with posh toiletries! In the toilets they put photos from the hen and stag (bachelor & bachelorette) parties!

“We both love music so we added this to the wedding with table names being famous duets. Our table place cards were our faces super imposed into duets and we had “Rockaoke” our band so that our guests could live the dream for a night and get up and belt out some tunes with a live band. All the music throughout the day was chosen really carefully by us….we had Irish music in the church for ceremony to go village old (robin hood) feel of church, we walked out to O’Carolan’s concerto which is an irish jig. The reception music was a mixture of reggae/brazilian beats etc – feel good holiday music and it did briefly coax the sun out for us!!Music during dinner was 40’s and 50’s feel good music which we knew parents and their friends and grandparents (who sadly are no longer with us) would love. The dancing playlist after the Rockaoke was a compilation of requests from our guests.”

Be sure to check out their fab music themed engagement session here too!

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