A campsite in Wales played host to Maria & Chris’ fabulous wedding. With the help of their friends & family the couple pulled a lot of the wedding together themselves. The flowers played a huge part in the styling of their day as Maria explained, “For the flowers I wanted it to look as though we had picked them all from the fields that morning and used whatever we had lying around to put them in. We had been collecting vintage china for some time and used the various jugs, bowls and cups & saucers for the flowers on the tables. The campsite also had some rustic enamel jugs that we used too. Some of these Flowers I had ordered from the florist (Peonies, Cornflower, Lavender, Margharites etc) but the rest my Mum, her neighbour and my Auntie’s had brought with them from their gardens! The Tipi was decorated with ribbon and Ivy from my Parent’s garden too.”
“All the table decorations were put together by my Chris’ Mum and one of my Bridesmaids,” the bride continued. “It was late Friday, the night before the wedding and it was flower chaos! In the end it was all hands on deck and friends and family were all stepping in to help. Chris’ Mum also made 60+ stunning little bead & wire dragonflies to sit in the table decorations. I also had three silver butterflies that were a pair of earrings and a pin that belonged to Chris’ Grandma. She sadly passed away two years ago and by having the butterflies in my bouquet it was my small way of having her near all day.”
“We also used bay leaves and white roses that my two Granddads (who are no longer with us) had grown, in the table decorations – so the flowers became a very personal thing!”
The relaxed wedding didn’t really have a specific ‘theme’, the couple just wanted to pull together all the things they loved for their day. “We have always loved retro, vintage and homemade – long before it became fashionable again! So our inspiration was really always around us – homemade items created by friends and family and secondhand items that had a second lease of life (we left the vintage china at Fforest Farm to be reused at other peoples weddings!) Our inspiration was also the wonderful Fforest Farm and the countryside surrounding it.”
The bride wore a stunning Cymbeline dress which the bought online. “I originally was going to hunt down a vintage dress and after trawling the internet had made a list of specialist shops to visit in London. Then was on the internet one evening at my parents when my said ‘try eBay for a dress’ – I said that I had given up looking but my mum was insistent and there waiting for me was my dress to be! So – I purchased my dress from a very lovely girl on eBay! She originally bought the dress from Paris and it was made by Cymbeline, my Mum took the top in slightly but other than that it was perfect in every way!”
Can I also just draw your attention to this cake!? It was made by the bride’s Mum and both she and the bride crocheted the flowers and cake topper. How cute?! “The knitted and crocheted flowers were my idea,” said Maria, “and my Mum added the Mice and the mini version of our dog Poppy! I crocheted a few of the flowers but my Mum knitted & Crocheted the majority – she’s far more talented than me!”
I fell in love with Rebecca & Morgan’s quirky wedding as soon as it landed in my inbox and I’m honoured and super excited to share it with you today…especially because they used some of my favourite suppliers (including Lisa Jane Photography and Vivien of Holloway) and well as some of the DIY project that I’ve posted on my blog. Yey!
Rebecca told me all about their fabulous wedding. “Morgan and I grew up only 8 miles apart and even went to the same secondary school; in fact he was in my sister’s year in school. However we didn’t meet each other until April 2009, believe it or not he sent me a facebook friendship request, we went for a date and a crazy year later I asked him to be my fiancé. I even commissioned a ring from the quirky designer Amber France as a surprise, he said yes (sigh of relief on my side). Our daughter Efa was born and things went on the back burner and then 7 months later on my birthday he gave me a beautiful blue opal ring, it was like a green light!”
“So we started chatting about our ideas and planning. We’re both artist so we knew our wedding would be different and would have to truly represent our characters and what we love in life. We had originally planned to have the wedding in 2013 and Morgan wanted to have it in North Wales where we’re from but things had been hard of late and I couldn’t justify spending all that money just on one day. We just had to make the difficult decision to leave London, which meant leaving all our friends and our way of life behind, so I suggested to Morgan let’s get married before we go. In the end London was where we met and where Efa was born and that was the start of our 7 weeks to plan a wedding.”
“We both wanted something fun, relaxed and most importantly something that was us. We choose our local Town hall for the ceremony and got married on a Friday. Morgan chose his local pub for the lunch, Pembury Tavern and I found The Royal Inn on the Park and rented the private room upstairs for the evening party. It was all based in the borough of Hackney where we use to live. We had a strict budget so DIY was a must but being creative types and having arty friends to get involved made it fun not a chore.”
“We did so many DIY decorations but our favourite projects were the recycled paper flowers that I got from Rock n Roll Bride. I made 57 of them and even used old vintage flower arranging books to make them. I also enjoyed making the felt flower button holes/brooches for the wedding party; I made Morgan a sunflower to match my bouquet. Plus the badges we gave as favours, Morgan and I spent hours making around 250 badges from vintage photography, anatomy, flower arranging books which Morgan uses for his art. He purchased a badge machine couple of months before for our etsy shop DyfalDonc and it just made sense to use it for the favours.”
“I knew I was never going to wear a traditional wedding dress, I never wear white or cream and I love colour, so I choose cobalt/royal blue. I spent hours searching on the internet for a dress and end up buying my shoes first from Irregular Choice, I was in love. With the 50’s style in my shoes I knew I had to find a dress to match and went to Vivien of Holloway. After trying on a couple of dresses, even one in ivory for my Mam but not liking any, my friend Nia found it hanging on the rack hidden between other dresses the only halter neck circle dress in blue, in my size. Happy days. She even bought it for me as my wedding present. I added French blue and royal blue petticoats underneath, made a forget-me-not felt brooch, bought a chiffon ivory bolero from Sew Cool Creations on ebay and vintage porcelain forget-me-not flower earrings at a bargain price of £2. To finish the look my friend Roxi who is also a burlesque dancer did my hair and make-up and created my wonderful headpiece.”
“We didn’t have a strict theme but we would say our wedding was 50’s, Sunflowers, Italian dinning, Badges, Vintage, Blue, Scrabble, Beer Mats, Cakes, Reggae, Welsh maps, Yorkshire puds, Curly Wurly’s, Moustaches, Retro, Bunting, Yellow, Ska and so much more.”
“The advice we would give to other bride and grooms-to-be that are planning a quick wedding on a strict budget is to make lots and lots of lists!! DIY is the way to go and get yourselves a good photographer. We’re so grateful to Kat that we found Lisa Jane Photography on Rock n Roll Bride; she’s a lovely person and a fantastic photographer. Thumbs up all round.”
“We had a brilliant time planning and organising and creating for the wedding, from the cake and sweet table, to searching for the vintage and retro fabrics for our bunting, to spending hours making our playlist for the evening party to designing our invitations. But at the end of the day it’s our friends and family that make it extra special so we just want to say thank you to them for sharing it with us.”
If you’re a blog addict like me you may have seen some of the following images from Emily & Stef’s incredible festival wedding around the interwebs already. Emily is a wedding photographer herself and so a lot of the suppliers they used for their wedding weekend were friends as well as being exceptionally talented wedding industry peeps!
After proposing to Stef, Emily set to work planning a unique and quirky wedding to suit them and their family. Being a wedding photographer herself Emily had seen a lot of things she didn’t want for her own big day. It was important to them to have a wedding that reflected them, was chilled out and laid-back and fun for all their guests. “We had a bright, colourful, happy wedding that was all tied together with buttons,” Emily began. “We have shot weddings together for the past 5 years and wanted to have something that didn’t feel like we were at work. We also wanted an environment that was going to work well for our three children and lots of other little ones who would be at the wedding (about 27!) We both love music and festivals, so we wanted a lovely big party where everyone could relax and have fun. Someone described it as a mini summer holiday. That was the vibe.”
“There was craft, games, cake decorating, a tuck shop, two DJ set-ups, BBQ breakfasts, a sushi brunch, a hog-roast, falafel, a BYO bar, face-painting and balloons. We also really wanted to get married outside and have a humanist ceremony (something important in our lives), so Billycan Camping offered a perfect space for that too. The dress-code for the wedding was ‘please wear whatever you want so that you are comfortable in a field for a weekend but please can all the guys wear a bow tie.’ And people did just that! It was fabulous!”
The couple were legally married on the Thursday before their wedding weekend. You can see more info, photos and a cute video of this day on Steve Gerrard’s and O & C Photography‘s blogs. They photographed this part of the wedding for them.
However the day the couple consider to be their actual wedding day took place at Billycan Camping in Sussex. Emily actually found this venue after seeing this wedding on Rock n Roll Bride! As the wedding had a festival vibe, the majority of the guests camped over the nights before and after the wedding, making the whole thing a big massive weekend celebration!
Emily wore a bespoke dress made with vintage cotton lace from 1976 (the year she was born!) by Mr Christian. In the evening and for the after-party she changed the underskirt and bow from white to bright pink. Stef wore a pink suit from Aubin and Wills, but he had no idea that Emily had planned to add some pink to her outfit in the evening. It just all worked out perfectly you could say!
Almost all of the wedding decor was DIY and they bought a lot of items (crockery, picnic baskets, jars, board games) from charity shops. Emily explains, “I made lots of things before the weekend from corsages and ribbon wands to ceremony programmes and the guest book. Then on the the Friday I showed a few guests how to make the big paper flowers hanging in the yurt and they spent Saturday morning making them. We had a craft area so all the guys could make a bow tie (I really wanted all the guys to wear a bow tie!) and the ladies could make a pretty hair accessory or a corsage. My friend Charis and I made everyone a pinwheel corsage from felt and a button. There will be lots of DIY inspiration on our new lifestyle site New Homely over the next few weeks.”
“We had a do-it-yourself wedding with friends and family giving a huge amount of their help instead of traditional wedding presents. This is exactly how we wanted it to be but it’s not for the faint hearted. You have to really want a wedding like this as it takes a huge amount of planning, logistics (we hired and organized everything ourselves from the hog roast company to the main yurt, even the generators, everything apart the cake table, which we hired from Billycan Camping.)”
“I definitely couldn’t have done it without the amazing help from Paige of Paige One Events and Charley of London Bride. Paige helped me so much with making phone calls and sending emails, creating timelines and spreadsheets (with a three children under 5 this was tricky for me to do all by myself!) Both Paige and Charley were amazing on the day making sure that everything ran smoothly and co-ordinating all my friends and family so that everyone could join in and help to create the weekend of our dreams without me having to worry about a thing.”
Their wedding was photographed by the fabulous Polly Alexandre, someone who’s work both Emily & Stef have admired for a long time. “We had a first look before the ceremony by a lake near Arundel Castle. Completely amazing and perfect walking up to meet my husband-to-be through long grass in my flip flops, tapping in him on the shoulder and him turning round and seeing me for the first time in my dress. Amazing and intimate. It gave us some really special time together that we knew we wouldn’t get later with our three young children and lots of family and friends. Polly photographed it beautifully and we also took the opportunity to do our couple portraits then too, so that after the ceremony we could just go with the flow.”
The couple also employed The Wedding Reporter to come and write their wedding story for them. If you want to read more about how the day went and what it was like to actually be there, then be sure to go and check out her report on her blog (part one and part two.)
“The theme I was going for was simple country vintage,” Clare told me. “Throughout the whole wedding process from getting engaged to the honeymoon (which was only 5 months!) we just stayed true to ourselves, we invited who we wanted (no relatives we haven’t seen for 10 years) no kids, only the people who mattered.”
“As for the style, again we stayed true to what we liked and what we felt comfortable with. I don’t particularly see us as Rock n Roll but I guess with our tattoos and such I can see why people might think that. We’re just us and there’s nothing we like more than cuddling up in front of a film with a cuppa and our cats and dog!”
The couple used their own camper van as their wedding day transport, and after the wedding travelled around the Lake District in it for their honeymoon. The couple also added DIY touches throughout their day including all the stationery and paper goods. “We hired bunting from a company called Beautiful Bunting,” continue Clare. “I bought antique bottles, wrapped them in a bit of lace and used them as little vases for the tables along with some parafin lanterns we had bought.”
I teased a photo of Emma in her amazing short short wedding dress on twitter as soon as photographer David McNeil sent over this wedding to me. Whoaaa, I literally had to share it with someone (well 12,000 someone’s) right away! I. Die.
“We got married in Bardsea (on the bay of Morecambe)” Emma told me. “It’s my parent’s village which is just such a gorgeous place near the moors and the beach. Even though we live in Camden and love it – we’re both down to earth and love being outdoors and away from the city, so it was a natural choice. We got married at Eden Lodge, on the outskirts of the village, which has recently been converted from a Edwardian home to a small, minimalist hotel in some AMAZING grounds. We got married in the hotel itself and then the reception was in a marquee in the grounds. It was the hotel’s first wedding and they were AMAZING. We can’t sing their praises enough. The staff were EXCEPTIONAL and really went above and beyond to make our day perfect.”
Emma’s amazing dress was a custom-made Suzanne Neville number. She explains, “I never thought Matt and I would get married. I knew we’d be together forever but we weren’t really the ‘marrying kind’. As soon as he proposed, I knew my dress would be something that reflected my character. I’m not a girly girl and I usually dress in biker boots and short skirts – so short was what I wanted. I wanted to feel like ME on the day not a BRIDE. I scooted through some websites looking for a short wedding dress and found one designed by Suzanne Neville. I fell in love but hunted for something cheaper that I loved as much. Anyway I didn’t. The dress was custom made for me at a crazy price. But it was the only one for me! I’ve been taking some millinery courses so I wanted to make something for me to wear. Obviously our wedding was near the royal wedding, so as a joke I designed and made a crown out of silk and fresh water pearls to wear. In the end I chickened out of wearing it as I was already so tall in my platforms but you can see me holding it in this photo.”
Now that I’m writing my final ever ‘Alice in Weddingland’ post I really don’t know where to start. I am now happily married and honeymooned, and it is the best feeling in the world. So I shall simply relive that amazing day with you, through this article, and hope that I can convey at least some of the magic that the day held for me. I hope you enjoy this final instalment: Alice in Weddingland got married!
We booked to stay in the hotel the reception was being held in for two nights, one night prior and then the wedding night itself. Our room was beyond gorgeous: champagne, chocolates and strawberries waiting for us on arrival, and a bed so big it took FIVE pillows to fill it up lengthways. There was also a lovely sofa, coffee table, and dressing table, which turned out just perfect for when Elbie arrived at 9.30am to do my hair and makeup. We had done a trial a few weeks earlier so we knew exactly what we were doing, and it took around two hours from start to finish. During this time Sassy from Assassynation Photography, Frank from Sassy n Frank videography and Andy from Cine8 all arrived and got to work filming my getting ready, and shooting my dress in all manner of positions around the hotel. When sassy disappeared with my dress I was of course a little nervous, but when I saw the pictures I knew it was all worth it! I put in a little ban – no photos or filming before my makeup had been done, because it had been an early morning for me, and a late night drinking with our friends the night before!
Although I didn’t have traditional bridesmaids, my two best friends Lois and Claire were with me the whole time while I was getting primped and preened from all angles. The helped me into my dress and garter, and even did up my shoes for me (I broke my foot three weeks before the wedding, so had to hobble around the whole day. Also, suddenly the gorgeous Irregular Choice red shoes Graham had purchased me as a present were so impractical I had to ditch them, and cram my swollen foot into a pair of red Ked plimsolls!)
Once I was all ready, and Graham had called me to say he was we set about orchestrating a lovely mini-shoot within the wedding day. Sassy had had the idea of photographing our first look (our reactions to seeing each other all dressed up for the first time) and thought where better to do this then in the reception room that had been dressed by our florist Miss Moles that morning? So, I limped up the spiral staircase that led to our ‘room in the sky’, and saw Graham standing by the window with his back to me. When Graham turned around it was such a special moment – he looked beyond adorable, and I knew then and there that I was making the best decision of my life by marrying him. We explored the room, taking in all the beautiful flowers, giant cupcakes, and sweetie buffet, as well as the photos from our engagement shoot that we had displayed on mini-easels around the place.
We then went to have our portraits taken. We decided to take these photos around the hotel. Lucky for us the hotel was filled with mirrored walls, chandeliers, and quirky old fashioned wooden phone booths so it made for a cute backdrop. It was so fun just messing around with Graham and our wonder team and it calmed me down quite a lot from the nerves I’d been feeling creep up on me all morning.
A couple of hours later it was time for me to go wait for my wedding car in our room, and Graham to lead the guests down the seafront to the Town Hall. I can honestly say, those ten minutes I was alone in our room were ten of the most surreal moments of my life. The beautiful magnitude of what was about to happened to me was really sinking in, and I was so excited I couldn’t contain it any longer. When my Step-Dad arrived at the door to take me to the car I knew I was ready to get married, and I couldn’t bloomin’ wait!
We arrived at the Town Hall around the same time as the guests, and it was lovely seeing our loved ones in all their finery, mingling and getting excited to share our special day with us. I made a beeline for Graham, and we headed into the building to have our pre-ceremony meeting with the Registrar. A short while later, it was time for us to enter the room via a side door, as all our guests were already seated. Regina Spektor ‘Us’ played as we walked through, and I remember seeing everyone’s expectant and animated faces as we took our seats at the front. It was a lovely feeling.
We opted for a simple and modern set of vows, and the ceremony lasted around twenty minutes. When it was time to leave, an unorganised sort of receiving line formed, with each guest personally greeting us as they left through the door. This moment was one of the highlights of my day, as it was so unexpected and meaningful. We didn’t plan it but it was so nice to say “Hi” to everyone. We only had 30 guests so it didn’t take very long.
As the guests exited the building they were greeted by Hannah from The Tea Set, who while we had been actually getting married had set up a red vintage ice cream trike just outside the door. This was a huge hit with the guests, and I cannot recommend her enough. It was quirky yet practical, as everyone likes a little light refreshment! Also it fit in perfectly with our seaside theme, so I just knew I had to have it!
Graham and I were driven back to the hotel, and the guests walked back along the seafront. As we walked through the rotating doors of the hotel we were met by the staff greeting us as ‘Mr and Mrs Clark’ and with two flutes full of champagne. Lovely! Our guests started filtering in then, so we directed them to the 8th floor, where our reception was being held. We commissioned Lucy Ledger to design an A2 poster board that we displayed on a giant easel to pop by the entrance to the Chartwell Room, to point guests in the right direction. Although I don’t see how they could have missed the entrance, and there was a vintage apple crate full of glasses of Pimms right by it!
We had a Pimms and canapé hour, whilst we mingled with the guests and enjoyed everyone’s reactions to the little touches we had put in to make the decoration unique to us. The sun then came out, so Kat made sure us girls and Graham hit the beach to have some outdoorsy photos taken. This part of the day was super fun, and the difference natural light makes in a photo is phenomenal. We then all headed back to the Hilton, for the wedding breakfast.
We opted for a seaside themes buffet, and I must say there was an insane amount of food. I think we got through little more then half of it! We didn’t have a seating plan, but we needn’t have worried as everyone found a seat next to whomever they were talking to, and it worked out perfectly. At the end of the meal Graham and I made a small toast/thank you speech each, and I must say Graham’s utterly trumped mine! We then opened presents, drank lots of champagne, and cut our giant cupcake! Another highlight for me was throwing my bouquet, as I had no idea how competitive the single girls at the wedding were going to be! The action shot photos of this single event are priceless!
We had to vacate the room by 9pm, so at around 8.30pm some guests left, and the rest moved downstairs to the hotel bar with us. Queue a LOT of drinking and stolen cigarette breaks, until at about midnight when the night came to a natural close. (Apart from Sassy and Kat, whom I later found out went out and hit up my favourite Brighton nightclub until 4 in the morning!!)
All in all, it was quite simply the best day of my life. But don’t let me mislead you into thinking that it all went perfectly…the registrar kept calling me Elizabeth during the the vows, I got chicken satay allll over my one-of-a-kind Joanne Fleming wedding dress, and Graham was such a bag of nerves the whole day he didn’t eat or drink a thing!
You learn though, and I want to stress to you all, that it is the imperfections that make your wedding personal and unique to you. If you wanted a generic, perfect white wedding then you probably wouldn’t be reading Rock n Roll Bride right now, and it’s important to keep that in mind.
Remember what the day really means: is it a party for a party’s sake, or is it a party to celebrate the commitment you have just made to the love of your life? By putting everything into perspective you can minimise and bridezilla tendencies, and have the best day of your life.
To all you lucky ladies (and men!) planning your wedding day – enjoy it! The day itself goes so quickly, so make sure you enjoy every part of the process, because it wont last forever. And finally, I’d like to say the biggest thank you of all to Mrs Rock n Roll Bride herself: my wedding would have been a million miles removed from the day that it turned out to be if it wasn’t for you. I hope you know how much you mean to Graham and myself.