Category Archives: British Brides

Jo & Oli’s East End Knees Up!

When I asked Jo & Oli to descrive their wedding, they simply called it an “East End knees up!” I love that and think the description cetainly matches the party vibe of their wedding photographs from Rosie Parsons.

“We knew that we didn’t want a hotel reception (we couldn’t have afforded one anyway!) because we wanted to put our stamp on our day: we wanted it to be really about what we like: tea and cake; Rock n Roll; dancing and cocktails!” Jo explained. “I dragged my Mum around every hall in the East End of London before deciding on St Peters in Bethnal Green. It had so much character whilst being a blank canvas at the same time. It was really important to me to get married in the East End as I grew up in Stepney and we now live in Bow. The hall was within walking distance of the hall and traffic was quite bad along Valance Road that day so Oli and I got to ride to the hall in our Morris Minor and chat to our guests as they walked along!”

The ceremony was a very special party of the day and took place at St Anne’s Roman Catholic Church. “Oli isn’t Catholic so it was really important to me to make sure that the ceremony was as relaxed as possible while still being prayerful,” Jo explained. “I’ve know Father Tony for a while and knew that he would be able to put Oli at ease as well as perform a ceremony that would be personal and meaningful. Father Tony sat us facing our guests which made the ceremony more intimate and something we could really share with out family and friends. The ceremony was perfect and Rosie really captured our happiness as we left the church. We decided not to spend money on decorating the church due to our budget and the fact that it’s such a beautiful church, so full of character.”

“A lot of what we achieved was due to the help of family and friends, everything from the bridesmaid’s dresses made by Oli’s mum to the flowers by my bridesmaid’s mum to the catering and cocktails by my dad’s friends at Drinks Fusion. The search for the perfect dress was the most fun part of the whole preparation. I knew that I wanted a short dress because I wanted to be on the dancefloor all night: I’m really clumsy too so just knew that I would tear a long dress. As it turns out I somehow managed to slightly tear the scalloping at the bottom anyway – Oli’s mum to the rescue! I went to Melanie Potro with a specific idea about what I wanted and I couldn’t have been more thrilled with my dress. Going to see Melanie for fittings was so much fun. It’s so exciting seeing your dress being made from scratch, choosing the silk and lace and making the decisions. Melanie even out a little blue bow on my petticoat!”

“Oli and I love to go for afternoon tea (you can’t beat the Dorchester!) and thought that it would suit the hall which had an art deco feel. The vintage china was amazing – our caterer Jason spent a lot of time searching for the best in terms of quality and price – and was a real talking point with our guests as they arrived.”

“Oli and I had our own table which we felt was a bit different, although our nieces pulled up their chairs and joined us! The table names were made up of the record sleeves of our favourite singers and we had our favourite 50’s music playing throughout the afternoon tea. In the evening we had a huge buffet that quickly became the talking point of the evening as was the cocktail bar. Our guests drank over 400 cocktails!”

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Steve & Shelley’s Post-War Britain, DIY Wedding

Steve & Shelley’s Isle of Wight wedding had a post-war vintage and DIY theme. The couple were keen not to spend a fortune on their day and the theme really evolved quite naturally and organically from this idea. “We were conscious we did not want to spend a fortune on our wedding and the theme of ‘Post-War Britain’ fitted in nicely with our DIY wedding,” the bride told me. “Everything was done on a budget, a lot sourced from eBay, friends and family helped to make bunting and paper chain hearts for decorating the reception venue.  Our favours were Thorntons chocolates wrapped in brown wrapping paper with blue butchers twine (eBay again) and a parcel tag attached with the guests name as a place card. I handmade the invitations which were a shimmery Union Jack postcard style with the invitation wording as a telegram, on the invitation we requested that guests attend in their interpretation of post-war Britain dress, and gladly the majority of guests did so!”

“The Orders of Service were also handmade, inspired by the ‘Keep Calm & Carry On’ poster campaigns from World War Two.  We had a simple non-religious service which included a reading from “The Velveteen Rabbit” by Margery Williams.  The chapel was simple and perfect for our day, and we were the first wedding there in four years! We exited the chapel to a church organ version of Frank Sinatra’s Love & Marriage.”

“We had martini glass style table centrepieces (from eBay again) on the tables at the reception, filled with white and red roses.” Shelley continued. ” We decided on table names rather than numbers and chose British personalities from the 40’s & 50’s including Elizabeth Taylor (the ‘top table’), Vera Lynn, Diana Dors, Winston Churchill & Norman Wisdom!  For the table plan I used a Union Jack flag bought from Sainsbury’s (around the time of the Royal Wedding, we were lucky that everywhere was selling all things Union Jack!) mounted onto card, with the relevant personality’s photos next to the guests seated at each table.  We also had ration card style menu’s on the tables.  Upon arrival at the reception venue and throughout the meal, we had Glenn Miller Band playing in the background. The evening buffet consisted of a candy buffet of traditional sweets, and a british ‘afternoon tea’ – scones, jam & cream, sausages on union jack sticks and sandwiches.”

“We didn’t want a traditional wedding. Steve loves his classic cars and I love the 40’s and 50’s fashion, so we went for Post-War Britain, an era where things were very much do-it-yourself and on a budget and the fashion was beautiful and women really looked like women!  In all, we spent just over £2000 on our wedding, and we managed this because we hunted high and low for the best deals and friends and family helped wherever they could.  No one seems to believe us when we tell them what we spent – but believe me it really can be done – it just takes a lot of time to source the bargains.  Plus, Rock n Roll Bride was a big source of inspiration and ideas!”

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Marcus & Simone’s Laid Back, Country Vintage Wedding

Marcus & Simone used some of my favourite wedding suppliers for their barn wedding in Gloucestershire, including Joanna Brown for photography, Fur Coat No Knickers for the dress and Severin of The Hepburn Collection for the bride’s hair. I love this! “I got a little frustrated at how little choice there is when it comes to creating an individual wedding, especially as I didn’t have that long to plan it (5 months),” the bride told me. “I found it easier to not refer to magazines and traditional wedding websites and preferred to take inspiration from Etsy.com, blogs such as Rock n Roll Bride and to go with my own ideas. I think it’s easy to get sucked into the wedding machine and things can become too fussy. My ethos was to try and keep it classic, stylish and simple.”

The laid back day started with the ceremony taking place outside in the glade of Cripps Barn. The bride didn’t actually realise the ceremony was taking place outside until she arrived in the morning! They were really lucky that it stopped raining just at the right time.

“We both work in Television and I laughed when Marcus told me that he had hired a Art Director and Lighting Director to help set up on the day as we had a relatively small, uncomplicated wedding. But both of them proved invaluable. We had festoon lights hung in the trees and around the outdoor fire pit. Sally Lock, the Art Director, provided gorgeous finishing touches inside and dressed outside with hurricane lamps and hanging pieces in the trees, taking all the stress off me on the day and giving it an extra special edge.”

“I was also desperate to track down a huge heart lighting piece that I had once seen at the Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club in London. However, during my search for it I stumbled across something even better: Giant (human size) light bulb letters. These were originally designed for a shop window display but are now hired out for events – they provided a great backdrop for pictures….even though our guests tried their best to move them around so they read S&M instead!”

“I always knew I was going to get a vintage dress and my wedding dress was actually the first wedding dress that I had ever tried on: I instantly fell in love with it.  It originally had straps but the ladies at FCNK told me that they could amend it to make a strapless dress and fit boning into the bodice to give it a little more structure. They encouraged me to go and try on a few more dresses so that I could be sure that I wasn’t making a snap decision. I tried on a handful of dresses at a high end designer sample sale but everything felt very generic and nothing came close to being as unique as my vintage dress. We’re not sure of the original date of the dress but think it dates from the 1950’s.”

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Lou & Chris’ Simple & Family-Central Vintage Wedding

What’s this? Another awesome wedding from my photographer buddy Assassynation? Yep that’s right people, Sassy (aka Assassynation) really does get some of the very best wedding around…and the most awesome thing is many of them are Rock n Roll Bride readers so I get to then share them with you all afterwards. Yeey.

Lou & Chris had a simple wedding in London…and by simple I mean no fuss, no drama – just an awesome and super stylist day! They were married at Stoke Newington Town Hall, London which they followed up with a reception at The Londesborough pub, also in Stoke Newington.

“Our dream wedding was just a handful of family and close friends and a quiet registry office service,” the bride told me. “In all honesty, I was terrified of walking down the aisle and hated the idea of speeches. But we both have big families so, when we wrote down our list of essential guests, we realised that a small wedding was simply not an option. Instead, we decided to make it as personal as possible. We both work in magazines but were intimidated by the ideas in a lot of wedding magazines – we simply didn’t have the budget or the inclination to have a big swanky bash. Thankfully, I found Rock n Roll Bride just in the nick of time and realised that it was fine to do things differently – big relief!”

“We’re not religious so didn’t want to marry in a church and we didn’t fancy a hotel either,” Lou continued. “We looked at loads of venues in London and Yorkshire, where I’m from, from barns to restaurants to even an art gallery. Then we found the perfect place five minutes from where we lived. Stoke Newington Town Hall had recently been renovated and, every time we walked past and saw the grand pillars and art deco details, we’d both smile. When we had a wander around inside, we were equally blown away by it. We struck gold when we found the reception venue, The Londesborough – a gastro pub just down the road. Neither of us were interested in formalities or stuffiness and didn’t buy into the whole ‘princess for a day’ thing – we just wanted the whole day to be full of meaning for us and for it to be fun for our guests. Thankfully, the pub’s owners, Patrick and Greg Wright, were on our wavelength and happily allowed us to adorn the pub with homemade bunting and flower arrangements.”

“We tried to use local suppliers. Chris designed our invites and we used a local printer. The florist was also just down the road from our flat. We also had the idea of using old books as place settings as they’d double as favours and give people something to talk about at the meal. I had a romantic notion about DIY-ing and envisaged myself wafting around serenely, creating all these wonderful little bits. It was actually bloody hard work and I spent many weekends hunched over my sewing machine making metres of bunting and matching cushions. Thankfully, my sister helped out with sewing but I had to buy some extra in – the Mr and Mrs Smith bunting and the outdoor stuff was all bought in a panic the week before the wedding, as well as some extra cushions from Primark.”

“We made all the table names and also the place settings which we made by by writing names on parcel tags, putting them on raffia and then wrapping the raffia around the books. We got books from second hand book shops as well as purging my dad and gran’s book collections and we got a load of racy romance novels from the library – they were being sold off for 20p a book. We spent £20 max on the place settings and nearly all of them were taken home so they were definitely a success! We also saved money by using jam jars instead of buying vases for the reception flowers and dressed them up by wrapping raffia around them. Simple but really pretty.”

Lou went to my favourite dress shop for her vintage wedding dress, Fur Coat No Knickers in London. She explained, “When it came to my outfit, I always knew that I didn’t want a long dress. When I walked into FCNK, I completely fell in love – both with the dresses and with Laura and Emma, who run the shop. They are both so talented. At first, I’d thought that I’d go with a prom style dress but then I tried on a long fifties number and they showed me how they could transform it into a wiggle dress complete with a sash and funky ‘Priscilla Presley- style short veil. At every fitting I felt so comfortable in it and, on the wedding day, I even felt confident enough to make a speech.” Lou teamed her dress with shoes from Rachel Simpson and jewellery which was a gift from her Gran.

The photography was also really important to the couple, and I’m so excited that they picked one of my favourite ladies to shoot the day for them. “With the photography, it was important to us that the pictures captured the essence of the day and Sassy of Assassynation did not disappoint. She is such a calm person and she caught some really special moments, as well as all the fun bits, the decoration details and creating some really stylish shots too. We also had a little film produced by Frank Millar, which he set to our wedding music, and which makes us laugh and cry in equal measures. Everyone said how hard working and easy to get along with both Sassy and Frank were. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them.”

“Lots of people said that it was a very relaxed, fun wedding and I think that’s because we stayed true to ourselves and tried not to care what anyone thought,” concluded Lou. “On the day, the things that I’d worried about were my favourite part – walking down the aisle towards Chris was amazing and the ceremony was truly the happiest time of my life. Close friends did readings and my sister’s boyfriend Ian performed ‘It Must be Love’ by Labi Siffre. It was just perfect and really uplifting and I’m so glad that we followed our hearts. Our families and friends were amazing with helping us out. My mum organised the reception flowers – she brought down loads of flowers from her garden and did the arrangements the afternoon before the wedding, with help from Chris’ mum. And our families also helped us decorate the pub on Friday afternoon. Chris and his brother were out in pouring rain, putting up fairy lights in the garden, while the mums did the flowers and me, my dad, sister, auntie, my new sister in law Laura and one of our best mates clambered over chairs to pin up the bunting.”

“To me, that summed up the whole wedding – it was about two families joining together and it was really, really special. Not everything went according to plan – our shoes got trashed and we have a sneaking suspicion that no one remembered to turn on the fairy lights in the garden but we were having too much fun dancing to care! Our wedding day was messy and imperfect but it was real and so much fun and we wouldn’t have had it any other way.”

Yey!! This wedding makes me so happy. Don’t forget to check out the video too…wow.

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Regula & Bruno’s Creative, Spooky & Wonderful Wedding (Part One)

Regula & Bruno rock my world”…that’s how photographer Assassynation introduced me to this bad ass couple when she sent me their wedding. The pair are from Belgium but wanted to be married in England. Their ceremony day was followed by a tea party reception and spooky photo shoot in an abandoned fairground (!) in their home country a few weeks later. Luckily for us all, this second part took place just last weekend and believe me, I’m going to be featuring it just as soon as the photos are ready!

But for now, it’s all about the ceremony…

“Bruno and I met in the most romantic way… he drew me a portrait and left it for me to find,” Regula wrote, introducing their story to me. “I still don’t know what it was but the drawing just captured me, it moved me deeply. A few months later we met for the first time and the rest is history.”

“We always said if we got married it would be for us and not for something or someone else. We wanted it to be totally us and real, not something you pick out of a catalogue. Eloping was always our dream. We were together for 5 years when Bruno popped the question on a dramatic cliff in Cornwall June 2010. It was perfect.”

“We chose to get married in England and not Belgium,” the bride continued. “I’ve been on countless family holidays to England when I was a child and absolutely loved it. In fact, when I was a toddler I had one wish ‘to go to England’. We have a nursery rhyme in Belgium that tells the story of black and white swans protecting England, England being a small Island surrounded by a great wall with a door with a big padlock. But no one could enter because the key of the padlock was broken …Years later I found out that the song was about heaven and not England! But nevertheless I was captivated by it for many, many years!”

“When Bruno and I first went to visit the UK together I was excited to say the least to find out he actually loved it too! We found our home away from home in Rye, East Sussex. So when Bruno mentioned us marrying in Rye I was completely over the moon! It felt so right, so us. We tailored the ceremony completely to our needs and were allowed to bring in as much personal touches as we wanted. This would have been impossible in Belgium. Our wedding rings were held by a silver apple Bruno gave to me when we were together for a month, apples have special meaning to us, apart from being my favourite fruit. When we were together for a week I got a real red apple, after a month I got a silver one. Mind you, I’m still waiting for the gold one! The ceremony was intimate and emotional. We only had a few people there that day.”

“Many people have found us strange, always wearing black, collecting strange antiques, comics and constantly working on stuff together. We both are creative people, being graphic designers by profession and Bruno being an illustrator in the evenings. I’m a food blogger in the evening, that is when I’m not being Bruno’s muse. Being creative is the most important thing in our lives, we both enjoy creating things. Every year for Christmas we make a special Christmas card, this takes weeks of brainstorming and hours to make and we love it. Designing our wedding invitation therefore was the biggest challenge of all time. We had fun with it, putting all that we are in it. Some things were clear to most and some things were hidden and for us to know.  We’ve spent months making and designing everything, constantly challenging each other with new ideas.”

“We wanted to customize all of our wedding, Bruno’s suit was bespoke and I secretly had them add the red stitching on his buttonhole to match my red dress. I had two dresses in the end. I had a lace off-white vintage 50’s dress because I had a doll’s dress just like it when was a child and always wanted a dress just like it to get married in. So I searched all over the internet and the vintage shops of London for it.  I found it but it didn’t get altered in time so I had to have a back up. If I had to choose a new dress I didn’t want it to be white and I chose red, being my favourite colour. I made a drawing of how I wanted the dress to look and decided to go with Candy Anthony. I added the tulle overlay and had them alter it to match the drawing I made. The quality of their work and finish is outstanding. Being a perfectionist this was very important to me! But in the end I had two dresses, so I wore the vintage one for our wedding dinner that night.  Our wedding rings were made by Edward Williams, a real pirate and the most friendly guy in Cornwall. I can’t believe how many lovely people we met in the UK, organizing our wedding.”

“After the wedding ceremony we went to the pub for a pint, just what we wanted after our wedding. The town crier made sure we got there in one piece although I’m sure we knew the way better than he did after we saw him secretly drinking his pocket flask. He was such a nice fellow, when we past the old church he stopped and told us that he and his wife got married there over 60 years ago and are still happily so. You could see he loved weddings!”

“When we finished our pint, we went off to do some pictures with my lovely friend Sassy from Assassynation and Frank from Sassy ‘n’ Frank was doing our video. We had such good fun, the weather wasn’t very pleasant at times but they made us forget all about that. It started to rain heavily when it was time for a cream tea, a perfect way to end the day. With a scone in your piehole and a tea in your hand.The next day we left for our Honeymoon to lovely Cornwall.”

Don’t Regula’s words just transport you there with them? Just you wait until you see the rest of the photos and of course the AAAAMAZING video from Sassy ‘n’ Frank. Spooky and wonderful – the perfect way to showcase this epic wedding. Have you ever seen anything so cool?

…Oh and hello? can we all just die a little bit over the fact that Regula carried red balloons instead of a floral bouquet!? Love this!
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Anne-Marie & Jonny’s Ad Hoc, Budget & Vintage Wedding

Anne-Marie met Jonny at a gig 5 years ago, “I was 35 and old enough to know better. He was 23 and had no excuse,” laughed the bride. “Within a year we’d shacked up together and had our first child, with a second one following 19 months later. We got engaged on New Year’s Eve 2010 (lots of fireworks!) and married on my 40th birthday and it was better than any present could ever be.”

The couple planned their wedding on a shoestring, making as many beautiful details themselves as they could. They also had a lot of help from their friends and families. “We wanted to get married in the same way we live our lives, e.g. low-fi, low-budget, and surrounded by lots of lovely, creative friends and family,” Anne-Marie continued. “Everyone collaborated to make the day happen: my friend Frances made the cakes for the champagne reception at my house, my friend Sam made yards of bunting, my sister Lisa made the ‘AMP & JOHNNY’ sign and the little swallows and fabric baubles that decorated the hall for the party, lots of people DJed and my friend Soshanna made the most exquisite sugar-flower-strewn, three-tier wedding cake I’ve ever seen.”

Their day was casual and perfect for them, “We didn’t really have a theme: in fact we barely thought about it until we realised it was less than a month away. It was then a mad dash to arrange everything. The invites (coming from the US) were held up at UK customs and didn’t arrive until a week before the big day! For the reception I wanted a village hall feel, with lots of bunting and a cake display, but that was the only bit that was planned. Otherwise it was just… ad hoc vintage.”

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