Category Archives: British Brides

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

This afternoon’s wedding is being split into two parts. I’m not usually a huge fan of the two-parter, but there’s just so much going on in Lucy & Vish’s  weekend-long wedding I did’t want anything to get overlooked! On Friday 28th October they had a Hindu wedding ceremony and reception, and then the following day, they had a catholic ceremony and another reception! First up, the Friday…

The day started with a ceremony at St Peter’s Hall, Manchester. “We always knew we would have a wedding of 2 parts as we wanted to honour both of our cultures and religions,” Lucy told me, “so we chose to have a traditional Hindu Blessing on the Friday followed by a Church wedding on the Saturday, an epic 2-day wedding!”

“The first problem we came up against was finding a venue that could cater for both an Indian wedding and a big party! We needed a space to hold the Indian ceremony and reception, which would let us bring in our own Indian caterers, there are very few places that actually offer this and the ones that did were very traditional, very expensive, Stately homes or big hotels and definitely not the sort of place we had in mind for our wedding! Initially I started looking at marquees, but again, this was a very expensive option and we had the small problem of no land to pitch a marquee! This led me to go down the route of more alternative venues such as village halls, theatres etc, which is how I came across St Peter’s Hall, a former church in the Ancoats area of Manchester City Centre which has recently undergone a huge restoration project by the North West Development Agency. We live in London but decided to get married up North as it was close to both our families, it was just by chance that we found this venue and we liked the idea of an urban city centre wedding as we are a city girl and boy at heart!”

“As soon as we stepped foot in St Peter’s, we both knew it was perfect for our wedding, we instantly fell in love with the space. Inside was still unfinished so it was a little rough around the edges, but we liked the contrast of the unfinished warehouse feel with the beautiful church interior and stained glass windows. It also had an east-facing altar, which was perfect for the Indian ceremony to be performed! In our eyes it really was the perfect venue, but sadly our dreams were almost shattered when we discovered that the building was not going to remain empty for long and that the new tenants were unlikely to be in a position to hire out the space when they moved in at the start of November.”

“The only option was to get married before the new tenants moved in, but this was at the start of May so it didn’t exactly give us a huge amount of time! Could we realistically organise a 2-day wedding in less than 6 months? Everyone thought we were mad, but we decided to just go for it, we have been together for 10 years so we figured that we didn’t need a long drawn-out engagement!  We chose the latest possible date in October which luckily also coincided with Diwali (Indian New Year) which also meant it was a good/auspicious time for a new marriage to take place!”

For the Indian wedding Lucy wore a traditional sari which was a gift from Vish’s parents, “The Indian tradition is that the groom’s family buy the bride’s outfit and the bride’s family buy the groom’s. Vish’s Mum and sister went on a mammoth shopping spree in India to buy all the wedding saris and outfits. Thankfully they have great taste and came back with the most beautiful outfits, I felt like a Bollywood princess, especially when I was carried down the aisle.”

“I was carried into the ceremony on a traditional wedding Doli by my Uncles, my Brother and my Best Man. We actually had this made by Kirti (Vish’s sister’s) builder, Kirti and I decorated it with Indian material and flower garlands. You can’t tell from the photo’s but I was absolutely terrified that they were going to drop me, Thankfully they did me proud and got me to the altar in one piece!”

“As the wedding was held during Diwali the Indian festival of light, we decided that the theme should be a celebration of Love & Light,” the bride concluded. “This actually worked well as both the ceremonies involved elements of light, from taking 7 sacred steps around the wedding fire to the catholic candle ceremony. To keep with the theme we filled the venue with candles, we had tea-lights in jam jars on all the tables and gave personalised candles from mdb weddings and events on Etsy to guests.  We also released fire-lanterns and ended the Friday night with a firework display – a Diwali and Indian wedding tradition.”

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A Black & White, Boutique Hotel Wedding: Abbi & Jools

After a cliff top proposal, Abbi & Jools, who met while working at the Cadbury factory, planned their 5* boutique wedding at The Hempel Hotel, London.

“Jools and I met 8 years ago, when we both started working for Cadbury. Clearly, having a Cadbury chocolate/sweetie bar at the wedding was obligatory!” Abbi explained. “We got engaged in Australia, on a cliff top on the Great Ocean Road, while sitting on a bench and eating some delicious cake. When Jools said ‘I’ve got a question to ask you’, I replied ‘Do you want the rest of my cake?’ Usually he would have jumped at the opportunity – but instead went down on one knee… to which I responded ‘oh my God oh my God oh my God… where shall I put the cake?’ I put it on the ground. It was fine. I ate it later.”

“Our wedding day was the best day of my life. I thought I would be nervous, and I was worried I would cry (I’m a bit of a blubber at other people’s weddings), but as soon as I started walking down the aisle with my Dad, I couldn’t wipe the grin off my face. I just wanted to throw my arms around Jools – but when I reached the front and tried to kiss him, he refused because we weren’t married yet! By the end of our wedding day, my face was aching with grinning so much. When we got our beautiful wedding photos back, you can see the exact expression I was pulling all day!”

“I’m not terribly creative, but I did a little bit of DIY,” Abbi continued. “I made all the name tags we used for place settings. My favourite wedding purchse may have been the heart-shaped hole punch I used before tying on the ribbons. At dinner, I went round pointing out the heart shaped holes to everyone. No one else had noticed. I did. They made me happy.”

“Jools and I have been lucky enough to be invited to a LOT of friends’ weddings – about 19 in the past few years.” she concluded. “I’ve been bridesmaid at 5, witness at 2, a reader at one, photographer at one… basically, we’re wedding pros! We’ve been to all different types – churches, castles, country houses, barns, hotels…but mostly fairly traditional. We just wanted ours to be a bit different – so we decided on a city chic, boutique hotel, slightly quirky feel. Basically, we just wanted it to be a really fun party with great food, great booze and great music!”

“Colour-scheme wise, I guess it was black and white with flashes of colour. The guests were all in black tie, the venue was fairly monochrome, the bridesmaids dresses were all different versions of the little black dress… and then there was my dress. The most fun dress in the world. God I love that dress. Clearly I couldn’t tell Jools about the dress beforehand, but I just knew it was perfect for the feel we were going for. The 50s style, the black and white…. Wearing it blew me away – and everyone else fell over themselves to say how much they loved it. I felt like a movie star. And it was great to dance and spin around in, unlike the more traditional, restrictive long dresses I tried on. Plus it gave me a genuine excuse (as if I needed one) to buy some Christian Louboutins… you could see my feet! I was nervous that my outfit would look too OTT, that Jools would fall about laughing when he saw me – but it was the best decision I ever made.”

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