Category Archives: British Brides

Rock n Roll Bride Prize Winners – Ashley & Ray’s Old School Glamour Wedding

The eagle-eyed amongst you might remember Ashley & Ray. Ashley was the lucky Rock n Roll Bride reader that won all that lovely booty for filling out my reader’s survey over the Summer. Needless to say I was pretty excited to then see how it was all used in their wedding!

The couple were married in January and had their photographs taken by friend of the blog Kim Hawkins. The venue they chose was The Mayfair Hotel in London and their theme was old school glamour. Ashley was keen to tell me all about their big day and I’m thrilled to share it all with you here – especially as a lot of the suppliers they used are my friends!

“I suppose what made us Rock n Roll was that we had to think on our feet. There are no rules for civil partnerships; there’s no tradition and no etiquette to follow. It sounds liberating but it can also leave you a bit ‘at sea’. We wanted it to be an occasion but the last thing we wanted was to end up mirroring a ‘straight wedding’. With gay weddings there is such a risk of turning one person into the bride and one into the groom and then just applying all the rules of weddings thereafter. No thanks. I was always going to wear a dress and Ray was always going to wear a suit but we both got our walk down the aisle and neither of us wore white. We also wanted it to be about more than me and Ray committing ourselves to each other. I have an 11 year old daughter, Edie. Marrying me means that Ray also makes a commitment to Edie and we wanted that reflected in our day. After Ray and I had made our promises to each other the registrar asked Edie to come forward. Ray promised to love, encourage and care for Edie and gave her a charm bracelet with a charm representing each of those promises on it. It was a beautiful way of saying that not only were we committing ourselves to each other as a couple but that we were all committing ourselves to this new family. People cried. I cried.”

“In terms of the style of the day we decided what we really wanted was a ball. We both LOVE getting dressed up and going to black tie dos. We love the formality and the glamour and we loved the idea of giving our friends the opportunity to dress up to the nines and spend the evening in the type of hotel most of us would never get to go to. We wanted old school glamour with a bit of old library thrown in.  We also wanted to make sure there were a few elephants around. Years ago I asked Ray out for dinner by sending her a note and a small plastic elephant in a jiffy bag to her work. She was a journalist on an online news site at the time and her editor thought she was being stalked and was going to call the police. From then on we found that wherever we went there was always an elephant somewhere. I found a bag of 10 tiny grey elephants on ebay and we scattered them about the tables for people to find.”

“We actually had TWO wedding days. We wanted a huge posh wedding but the budget wouldn’t allow it so we had a medium sized posh wedding in London and then a week later we had a massive party at The Kursaal in Southend with live music and a DJ. We had to make sure all the flowers and decorations would last the week in between and cart them all back from London in our Ford Fiesta so we could use them again. I also had to bake another 120 cupcakes!”

“So how do you get a fancy dan wedding that looks like it cost an absolute fortune without spending a fortune? You call in the favours and you DIY like mad. That’s how!  We splurged on the things that were most important to us: The venue and food, The clothes, the photos and the music. Having won the amazing Rock n Roll Bride giveaway it was an absolute Godsend to have a whole pile of beautiful things that we could use for the wedding.””We gave the pearl and marcasite necklace from The Vintage Sparkle Company to my Mum and gave earrings from Chain of Daisies to Ray’s Mum and Alfie our bridesmaid. All the female ushers got cupcake soaps from Naturally Made Soaps and I wore the Silver Sixpence in her Shoe garter and Luella’s Boudoir knickers under my frock! We used the Lucy Ledger Designs ‘Rock and Romance’ caption board in our engagement shoot and I wore the stunning Rachel Simpson shoes and the Victorian Bridal Mini Top Hat by Two Back Flats  on my hen do. We are using all the thank you cards as well to thank people for their gifts to our honeymoon fund.”

“Everything else was DIY; The invites, orders of service, menus, the orchid table centres, the cakes, the decorations, everything. I am also an utter control freak so I HAD to do all the DIY myself. I got a 1929 German typewriter for the guest book off ebay for £13 which delighted me no end.  Everyone thought I was mad. ‘So do you get to relax before this wedding or do you just scrape the icing sugar out from under your nails and walk down the aisle?’ As it turned out doing almost everything ourselves was indeed chaotic. We were so rushed on the day I didn’t even have time for a bath. I had to have a stand up wash on my own wedding day! It was worth it though. Friends helped out and decorated cheese and laid out ikea vases with candles in and stuck silk orchids back onto willow sticks with double sided sticky tape and it all looked like perfection to the naked eye! Never mind that we had to pile it all back into a Ford Fiesta and drive it back to Essex ourselves afterwards.”

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A Vintage Valentine’s, Rock the Frock

I’d like to start this Friday off with a little confession…I have been officially RUBBISH at keeping up to date with my Photography Friday posts. For the last 2 or 3 weeks I’ve missed it, mainly because I’ve been a little bit on the busy side and have been happy to leave all the picture-taking to the professionals! I ain’t gonna beat myself up about it…however these posts may be a bit thinner on the ground that I would have liked. If you knew what I had in the pipeline over the next few months I think you’d forgive me. I say the word ‘epic’ a lot right? Well the stuff I have planned is gonna be EPIC on a whole other level!

Anyway, I’ve kind of hijacked this post a bit there…the actual reason for this article is to share a gorgeous new bridal shoot sent in by the fabulous Gemma Williams Photography (who I was lucky enough to meet at The Designer Vintage Bridal Show.)

“This was a ‘Vintage Valentines’ Rock The Frock shoot, with a castle and cupcake!” Gemma told me. “I had photographed Alex’s wedding back in September, and she had a gorgeous vintage-style dress to change into for the evening – short so that she could dance properly! The dress had been a fabulous find on Ebay. Alex was really excited when I suggested we do a ‘Rock The Frock’, giving her the chance to wear it again. We decided to go for a quirky vintage theme that was a little bit different and a lot of fun, inspired by the amazing Rock n Roll Bride!”

“We did the shoot on Valentines weekend, so we had beautiful roses from Posies and a heart-cupcake from Emily Rose Cakes for our props. I styled the shoot with other vintage items from my collection including bunting, a tea-set, and a fur jacket. The ‘story’ I wanted to tell was the bride arriving at the castle to stay for her fairytale wedding, stopping for a picnic by the lake on the way, and then having adventures exploring the castle rooms as she awaits her knight in shining armour!”

“Huge thanks to the local suppliers who let me borrow items for the shoot.  Biggest thanks to top Herefordshire wedding venue Hampton Court Castle for letting us have this gorgeous location, and to Alex for totally rocking her frock. Alex and I had loads of fun doing the shoot, and Alex loves her pictures! A ‘Rock The Frock’ is a great excuse to wear your wedding dress again and jazz it up with cool & quirky styling and props, so I’d definitely recommend it!”

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“The Pirate & The Stripper got Married” – Ed & Torie’s Quirky London Wedding

When Ed & Torie’s beautiful wedding landed in my inbox last week, I was immediately drawn to the bride’s beautiful ensemble – in particular her stunning vintage dress from my favourite girls, Fur Coat No Knickers. The couple were married in November at The  Trafalgar Tavern, Greenwich, London and Torie was keen to tell me all about their quirky and fabulous wedding day,
“On November 20th 2010 I got to marry my best friend, my pirate, Ed. Ed and I met 4 and a half years ago through his workmate / my flatmate at a pirate fancy dress party at our house – hence the nickname. Ed turned up, breathed fire (seriously) and then mysteriously left. As it turned out his appendix had burst and he went home and then to A&E. After recovering we got in touch and the rest, as they say is history.”

“Ed and I got engaged at the edge of the grand canyon (aaww) a couple of days after an American friend of mine got married in Phoenix on Feb 2nd 2010 (a year ago today). Little did I know it but after a ‘couple’ of beverages Ed spent the end of her wedding telling our friends he was going to propose, luckily I was too drunk to notice and so when he produced a HUGE Swarovski crystal surrounded by snakes from his backpack I was suitably dumbfounded. From that moment we promised each other that we’d do it like us. I would look like the best me I could be not like an idendikit bride, we would send invites that we loved, we would do it in a cool venue, we would not dance to Abba but we would dance – complete with knee slides and ties around foreheads.”

“So the plan was, find a great venue and take it from there. We found The  Trafalgar Tavern in London, a pub with a fabulous upstairs area with lots of gold chairs, chandeliers and red velvet curtains, we both have cabaret sidelines (he as a compere, escapologist and fire artist, me as a burlesque stripper) so the wiff of the stage made us fall for the Trafalgar, it had the ‘us’ factor.”

“We also decided early on that we would like to give each other a present. Some of our married friends had given each other jewellery, we decided to give each other tattoos. For years Ed has wanted a full sleeve of a phoenix (the fire thing …) and I’ve wanted something large and floral on the base of my back.  After a painful month or two I now own 2 large chrysanthemums covering my lower back and Ed, well Ed has a pretty fabulous arm, both done by Rodrigo Souto, he’s a fabulous artist and I’m so glad we decided to do it, although it turns out I don’t like getting my spine tattooed much.”

“For us it was important that our wedding was perfect for ‘us’. That meant a wedding that was a little bit Rock n Roll. It started with the invitations which I cross stitched and framed, they were then beautifully designed into invites and RSVP cards by a friend and we asked our guests to nominate songs they’d like to dance to from which Ed made probably the most eclectic wedding playlist ever which promoted much hilarity, dancing, ties round heads and knee slides on the dance floor.”

“Finding my dress was eventually but not always lovely, my Mum is an amazing seamstress and we intended to find something she could copy but I just couldn’t find anything I liked or that worked on my 4ft 10 frame. Then I found Fur Coat No Knickers, I know Kat, you already love those girls, but seriously they made me feel like a star and I cannot thank them enough for pulling me out of the ‘I’m never going to look like me on my wedding day’ panic. I tried on white but it didn’t work and then I fell for this printed number which they added a halter strap too, made smaller (result), made me bound edged petticoats and a floral hair piece to match and made me a little bolero too –it was too hot in the pub to wear the bolero but I reckon without the head piece and with the bolero I might just get away with wearing the dress to a party so that’s the silver lining. Luckily my Mum loved it too and instead of making my dress made me a fabulous black coat to wear over it as outside was distinctly less toasty warm than inside the pub.”

The couple DIY’ed the majority of their wedding décor – from the flowers which they collected from the flower market at 6am; to the candelabras, table centres and large displays that Torie and her army of helpers put together the day before; to the bouquet and buttonholes that they made the morning of the wedding. “My family kept me calm and panic free (sort of),” continued the bride. “I loved it so much that I have finally set up the business I’ve been promising to own for years, Victoria & Florence, flowers and cakes for every occasion.  World domination (or at least the flower market) here I come.”

“It was such a wonderful day and our friends and family helped so much with emotional support, glasses of wine when needed, order of service folding and generally being fabulous”, Torie concluded.  “All together it was exactly what we had wanted; a day where we looked like us and felt like us and where our friends and family could celebrate our love and have a good party. Getting married is great but being married is better and if it was a little bit Rock n Roll, all the better.”

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Peri & Ryan’s Snow-Drama Wedding!

Spring may be on it’s way (apparently!) but I’m still lusting over the prettiness of snowy winter weddings…although would you believe, there was actually some snow in parts of the UK this weekend!? Ridiculous.

There was quite a bit of  snow-induced drama surrounding Peri & Ryan’s wedding. The ceremony was supposed to start at 3pm, but due to the weather the bride didn’t arrive until 5pm. Also, a lot of guests couldn’t make the day for the same reason and after the ceremony they couldn’t physically get from the church to their reception because of the snow dump and road closures. However a lovely local pub opened their doors to the couple and provided an impromptu reception to remember! I have to say, from these gorgeous shots by Shell de Mar I’d like to think they made the best of it (and I personally LOVE the pub venue – what great ‘art’ on the walls!)

“I can’t really say I am really a quirky person because I’m not but I have always liked to be a bit different in the way I dress,” explained the bride. “Nothing to crazy but just not like most of my friends, I don’t do brands and If I like something I will wear it! I love all things vintage and always have done! When we were planning I had originally wanted a vintage bunting, candy floss, ice cream type wedding in May but Ryan bless him couldn’t get his head around it so when he said how about a winter I thought it sounded lovely. However I still really wanted all the polka dot and vintage feel to it, so instead of doing the traditional long dress and winter colours we went for red and white colours.”

“Our centrepieces were red and white xmas baubles with led lights going through them with polka dot doilies on the tables and silver baubles as place name holders. Sadly no one got to see any of that due to the snow but it look stunning and transformed the room. Ryan’s Mother had made a 3 tier polka dot wedding cake that no one saw either, but we did enjoy it after the wedding!  We had chosen Delilah the Beetle to transport us because we own a 1970’s green 1300 Beetle ourselves, but is at the moment being lovingly restored by Ryan so we knew that we had to have one as our wedding car. However again it don’t turn out like (in the end we were transported in a Land Rover! The good news is that we get to use him again for our Summer blessing! Similarly the lovely vicar and the church where we were married will also perform a blessing for us later this year…so in the end I’ll get to have the summer bunting, candy floss, village hall wedding I wanted in the first place!”

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Jennie & Mark’s Country Casual Wedding

Jennie & Mark’s country casual wedding took place at St. Andrew’s Church, Prestwold and Quorn Village Hall in Leicestershire in January. Jennie found her perfect dress at a boutique that was closing down so she got it for a great price.

The couple gave their guests the loose dress code of  ‘country casual’ for the men and ‘tea dresses’ for the ladies. I’ve heard both sides of the story when it comes to asking guests to dress to fit a theme, but I do think the overall result is quite a beautiful one!

The majority of the reception décor was a DIY effort. Jennie had spent the week before decorating with birdcages, wild flowers, chinese lanterns, paper chains, handmade cushions and vintage knick-knacks which she’d collected herself (Jennie is now hiring out her beautiful collection to other brides, if you are interested in hiring any of the items for your own wedding, be sure to drop Jennie an email to jennie.preece@monsterenergy.com)

The day was a windy one (it was January after all!)  so guests were treated to a warming hot chocolate on arrival at the hall. The couple served a hog roast in lieu of a traditional wedding breakfast and instead of dessert, everyone was asked to bake a cake to share! They even had a ‘Judge the Cake’ competition to finish the meal off! After the speeches and cake judging there was an enormous game of ‘Pass the Parcel’ among the 80 guests before the evenings entertainment kicked off with Leicester based Rock n Roll group ‘Daddy Longlegs’.

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Jazelyn & Darren’s Modern Vintage London Wedding

Jazelyn & Darren’s modern vintage wedding took place in London in November. Their inspiration came from the fact that they are a young city couple, who somehow fell in love in London through chance.  “He’s originally from Nottingham, England and I’m from the other side of the pond in Seattle, WA USA,” explained Jazelyn. “Our invitations had a London skyline and the top of it read: “Northern Lad and West Coast Lady”. Darren bought my engagement ring from Bentley and Skinner. And it’s a beautiful old-cut platinum solitaire from the 1920’s. Very vintage and unique. So that really was the start. We wanted a wedding that was very “us”. We planned it ourselves, down to every detail. Even the guest book… We wrote down personal questions on index cards and had friends answer them (ex: where do you see us in 10 years? what’s your favorite memory of us?) We wanted a mix of vintage and modern, mix of British and American, because that is us!”

The wedding day started at Chelsea Old Town Hall to sign their legal papers, they then moved to their religious ceremony at our Kingdom Hall off of Westbourne Grove. The reception was held at The Commander Porterhouse and Oyster Bar.

“I had two dresses,” continued the bride. “My first dress, a short Oscar De La Renta inspired dress (custom made by a seamstress I know) was used for our registry appointment and a photo shoot with Lauren straight after. And then I changed into my long dress for our religious wedding and reception. The long dress was made from 2 vintage dresses (circa 1920’s) I had bought on a trip back home to Seattle, WA USA from a charity shop. I brought them back to London and had my amazing seamstress put them together!”

“I wanted a really sweet fur cape or jacket and looked everywhere. I found such a sweet vintage fox cape in the Portobello Market (just around the corner from our house), for such a bargain! And I still wear it when we go out sometimes! It’s gorgeous. I found amazing Jimmy Choo (super sparkly) shoes that were perfect and just what I had been looking for for months (and my amazing fiancé bought them for me!). Can you believe it was actually HIS idea to go into Jimmy Choo to look? haha! Good man. But I wore my trusty uggs while tromping around the street hailing cabs.”