Category Archives: British Brides

An Organic Farm Wedding: Elisha & Russell

When I saw Elisha & Russell’s wedding I knew they’d made the perfect choice in their photographer Joanna Brown. If you follow Joanna on twitter you’ll know that she loves her garden and grows her own veg, so the fact that this wedding was held on Magdalen Farm on the Dorset/Somerset border…well she must have been in her element! “The staff of The Magdalen Project at Magdalen Farm are amazing and even joined us on the dance floor and around the campfire at the end of the evening,” the newlyweds told me. “We loved that our wedding was helping to support the Wessex Foundation who encourage active learning in and about the outdoors.”

“I have a background in informal education with young people,” continued Elisha, “and Russ set up www.rocknrolladventures.com to encourage people to spend time in the outdoors which has evolved to organise activity and educational travel for schools and colleges as well as training camps and other holidays. We hope to provide a quality of service and a similar conviction shown by the staff at Magdalen.  We found they really did walk the talk as they claim to do which meant excellent, tasty fresh local food and a friendly and happy staff team. And a deliciously relaxed weekend wedding for us in a beautiful place!”

The bride wore a two dresses – the first which she bought from ASOS and customised by adding some crochet lace hand-sewn by Great-Grandmother. “My Auntie Margaret is a creative wizard and offered to make a dress to my design as she had done for my cousin and bridesmaid Siobhan,” explained the bride. “Looking around for ideas of shapes and materials I found this dress on ASOS that the catwalk video showed to have a great flowing skirt that I thought would be a lot of fun on the dance floor!  I showed it to my Aunt and described the changes I hoped to make.  She found some lovely cotton, crocheted lace in her textiles cupboard which her grandmother had made and said we could use it.  She used natural tea-dye to bring it to the same colour as the dress which was reshaped.”

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The bride’s second dress came from Damsel in a Dress. “Closer to the wedding I was worrying that I might prefer to wear something more sophisticated (than my usual style!) for the ceremony and while looking for bridesmaid dresses on John Lewis website found the Damsel in a Dress dress – very different to anything else I’d seen and within budget! So the two dress wedding was decided.  I felt sleek walking up the aisle in the Damsel in a Dress number and had a lot of fun skanking to the ska band and cosying up round the campfire until early hours in my free flowing skirt of my ASOS dress.”

It was the little and fun touches that made this wedding brilliant. For example, after the ceremony they had the Street Heat Samba Band to entertain their guests and playing late into the night were Skar Wars. The couple asked a number of their guests to make a cake instead of having a traditional wedding cake and they were helped by their friends and family with making and displaying the reception decor.

“We didn’t really identify a theme,” concluded Elisha, “other than we knew we wanted to create an informal event with as much time outside as possible. You could say our theme was evolving! I grew up loving the Dorset countryside and felt closest to my family when there, where our time spent together was focused on getting muddy in streams or eating picnics on the beach.  Russ had enjoyed similar times with his family and it was his determination not to feel part of a ‘wedding machine’ of many, more formal venues, but focus on finding somewhere that we wanted to spend time with family and friends to celebrate our happiness and excitement for the future.  We felt very lucky to find that in the venue and staff of Magdalen Farm.”

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A Laid-Back Beach Wedding at Camber Sands: Fiona & Rob

Fiona & Rob were hitched right by the beach at The Gallivant in Camber Sands (formally called The Place). The style of the beautiful hotel suited their beach theme perfectly. “I was quite keen for it not to look too wedding’y – or formal or too orchestrated” newlywed Fiona told me.

“We didn’t consciously go with a theme but it kind of happened!  We live on a beach and both my husband and I are kitesurfers so it had to feature strongly and in the end it made it easier to have a focus shaping our creative decisions!  I think always try and make stuff, not only to save money but to make it more personal and make your loved ones feel involved.”

“Many of the homemade elements were made with thanks to my Mum who worked hard on all this stuff. We made our own table displays.  We bought glass bowls from Argos and filled them with stones, seaweed and shells form our local beach. We all now have one in our houses as nice ornaments!  We made shell garlands, buying large shells from a seaside tourist shop and drilling holes in them to then thread onto thick string. These were hung up around the venue – adding to the beach theme!”

“Finally, we collected large pebbles from our local beach, wrote names on them using liquid craft pens and used them as place names.  We also put together kids packs including a colouring book, plastic bangles & bucket and spade.  Rather than having ‘favours’ we had big bowls of hairdo and love heart sweets dotted around.”

The bright sunflowers were also really important to the couple as they added some sunshine to their day, “It was all about sunflowers being my favourite flower and perfect for a sunny beach wedding,” Fiona said. “My parents and in-laws all grew some in their gardens over the summer which we used as extras in a few ceramic jugs and vases around the venue (which were all bought from Ikea.)  We then ordered a few tall glass displays from brilliant flower shop in Rye near to the venue called Cafe Des Fleurs. They also provided smaller sunflowers to put in small glass vases on the tables (bought from Ikea again), the little flowers for my hair & the button holes and finally my absolutely beautiful bouquet. We all had sunflowers in our houses for weeks afterwards!  The little flower girls also had baskets of yellow petals which they spread down the aisle as I walked in – very cute!”

The bride wore an informal tunic style dress from Phillip Lim. “I always imagined my wedding style to be a bit 60’s hippy love child – no idea why…I literally searched online for ‘short cream tunic dress’ and found it! The lace just made it look more delicate and special although I had to have a new under layer made as the previous one was a bit see through! I was nervous about the length but it wasn’t a church wedding and I am so happy I went with it as it looks awesome with our venue and theme.”

The couple certainly didn’t take themselves or their wedding too seriously which was reflected in the fact that after dinner they had organised a salsa class as entertainment for their guests! “It was very funny, not everyone loved it but we did which is the main thing!” continued Fiona. “We also asked my husband’s brother and wife to sing ‘All I Want is You’ by Barry Louis Polisar during our ceremony to a backing track, placing a song sheet on everyone seats to join in.  It was funny as they’re not professional singers (!) but its small things like this that make it way more personal and much less formal than a reading.”

The next day all the guests were invited back for a celebration BBQ on the beach.

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An Informal Picnic Wedding with a Touch of Vintage: Michelle & Jodie

Being a wedding planner herself, newlywed Michelle knew exactly what she wanted for her British Summertime wedding to Jodie. In the 18 months of their engagement she spent hours crafting and painstakingly putting together their  vintage and craft themed day. “I wouldn’t change a thing!” she explained. “We had so much fun planning the day, we did everything from choosing the playlists to writing our vows and designing the picnic menus.”

“Being a planner I wanted to make sure our wedding was different from all the weddings I’ve been involved with, ensuring that the day reflected us and our love of all things vintage.  The first thing for me was that the day needed to be informal, a family event. I remembered having big family picnic in the park when I was little and how happy everyone was, laughing, drink and playing games in the sunshine, and that was the feeling I wanted our guests to have. Jodie introduced me to Babycham a few years ago and since then it’s become one of our favourite tipples, so it was only right that we have a Babycham reception complete with original Babycham saucers and mini bottles with cute stripy straws.”

“Our wedding breakfast was a yummy picnic, with sweet course of afternoon tea cakes and goodies,” she continued. “I’d collected over 500 pieces of vintage china, which we used at the tea. All the produce was sourced from local farm shops and suppliers, and then put into beautiful vintage hampers that I had collected over the years. Each hamper was finished off with a flower arrangement in a vintage tin and a table name (all were places close to our hearts) in the style of vintage beer mats.”

“The evening was all about having fun, with a vintage ice cream trailer, personalised with Mr & Mrs Miles, retro sweeties in ornate jars, a swing out carousel and vintage board games.  The guest book was a type writer, where we asked guests to type us a message and hand it on the wishing tree (a hat stand lovingly decorated by Jodie). We hung pictures of Jodie and I from our engagement shoot in Bath, to bring some of his home town to the wedding.”

“The car park had homemade flags of our home towns too. There are so many more details that I loved, the for your tears of joy vintage hankies that I collected and people help themselves to at the ceremony (lucky really as it was such a tear-jerker), the lace jars, face frames, haybale covers with vintage fabric collected from markets, the floral arrangements in birdcages, lanterns and vintage tins, the paper pom poms and lanterns that hung between the barn and stretch tent…. there’s just too much to mention.”

The majority of Michelle & Jodie’s wedding was homemade by the pair – from the decoupage pegs, to the paper pom poms and face frames.

Gorgeous huh?

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An Outdoor Ceremony & A Summer Fete Themed Wedding: Emily & Oliver

Emily & Oliver were legally married at Brighton Town Hall with only their immediate family in attendance. Then two days later they celebrated with all their friends & family Ridge Farm in Surrey. They started the day with an outdoor ceremony (not currently legal in England, hence the register office ceremony.)

“I first went to Ridge Farm a couple of years earlier to a music festival called Firegathering organised by a friend of my sister, they had got married there themselves,” Emily told me. “It came to mind as a venue to look round and when I took Oli he feel in love at first sight.  A big advantage was we could have the venue for 4 days!  We have always enjoyed the day after a wedding as the much as the wedding day itself, all ice has been well and truly broken and its just fab to carry on the party when you have all your loved ones together.”

Ridge Farm has 11 bedrooms, plenty of land to camp on, a huge bonfire site (great for late night chats), there is a pool house which is covered for the wedding breakfast and then uncovered the following day so that we could have a very informal BBQ and pool party.  The venue has amazing rock history and used to have a studio on site, the walls in the house are covered with albums that have been recorded there – artists include Sade, Ozzy Osbourne, James, Pearl Jam, Roxy Music etc.”

“The Ridge Farm ceremony was performed by Peter at Light on Life,” Emily continued. “We knew that Ridge Farm was the venue for us and they do not have a license to perform legally binding marriages, we didn’t want to spend the day traipsing round the countryside, so decided to have a very intimate ‘legal’ wedding with immediate family and a ceremony in the Orchard all our guests could enjoy.”

“Peter wrote a bespoke ceremony for us and ran with all my partner’s crazy ideas such as parents making and exchanging family flags/pennants during the ceremony.  We hired some fete style games such as a coconut shy and splat the rat for people to enjoy/mingle round over the two days – it was Peter’s idea to cut a red ribbon after the ceremony to declare the ‘fete’ open.”

The festival and fete theme of the wedding was brought together by some subtle and cute details. These included bunting from Beautiful Bunting, a tent from The Arabian Tent Company and fete games hired from Carousel Events.

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A Handmade Campsite Wedding: Maria & Chris

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.”

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“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.”

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“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!”

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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!”

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A Quirky, 1950’s & DIY London Wedding: Rebecca & Morgan

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.”

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