Category Archives: British Brides

A Rock n Roll London Wedding with Rockaoke!: Chris & Natalie

When photographer Annamarie Stepney slipped Chris & Natalie’s wedding my way, I just about squealed with joy. Not only was Natalie an avid Rock n Roll Bride reader throughout her wedding planning, but I could see a few little ideas that she’d gotten from my blog snuck in there – hello purple wedding dress and Butler & Wilson skull crown! “I fell absolutely head over heels for the Butler & Wilson skull crowns after seeing photos of Kat in one so I checked them out,” wrote the bride. “It was great as no one realised it was made up of skulls until they got close. I also wore it for my 30th birthday a month later.”

The wedding was held at Shoreditch House, London – a private members club which comes complete with a bowling alley. “Shoreditch House was the only venue we went to visit,” Natalie told me. “We knew it was the right place straight away. We loved the urban/warehouse feel to it and reminded us of New York where we had met. The bowling alley was an awesome addition too!”

Natalie found her incredible dress in a charity shop in Newbury – OMG talk about an amazing find! “I LOVE MY DRESS!” she squealed. “I had been on two wedding dress shopping trips and tried on a number 1950s style dresses. We were planning a party and I wanted a dress I wouldn’t have to worry about dancing in, bowling in and general stomping about in!”

“I then went and spent the weekend with my Mum in Newbury. The shop assistants were a wee bit bemused when I took my pewter, studded galore shoes out of the box. It kind of went something like this a few times – ‘Yes the dress has to match my shoes… yes these shoes… no, these shoes… no I am not going to buy other shoes…. sorry I seem to have got your dress stuck on the stud of my shoe!’ I tried on dress after dress in white, ivory, off white, antique gold, magnolia (that may be just a paint colour!?) and so on whilst my Mum cooed and ahhed I totally felt like a kid playing dress up! I have never dreamt of wearing a traditional white dress.”

“On the off-chance we popped into some local charity shops in my Mum’s town and as soon as we walked in I was in love with a dark purple dress. It was beautiful and I couldn’t believe it when I tried it on that it was perfect fit, never been worn and I knew my shoes would match perfectly (and rumoured to have been originally bought for a potential dress for Katie Price…although this may be rubbish). I was sold!”

The groom looked just as dapper in his Boland & Banks bespoke grey glen plaid suit, “I have to give Mark Banks a massive plug!” Chris wrote. “He was an absolute star and a true gent. He asks that you trust his judgement I’m really glad I did. He convinced me to go for the grey glen plaid patter over a more straight laced navy blue. He also give me the nod for the Oliver Sweeney shoes.”

Having a great big party for all their guests was really important to the couple, so instead of hiring a traditional band or DJ, they had Rockaoke! “Chris would make an excellent front man or guitarist!” Natalie laughed. “We used to go to rock karaoke at Arelene’s Grocery when we lived in New York. We had seen Rockaoke perform at festivals and in London and although we looked around for other bands we both really wanted to book them. The guests loved the band and so many people got up and sung. And we ended the night singing Motorhead together.”

“Music is a big part of our lives so it became a big feature,” the couple concluded. “From the table names, the place names – written on the discs from mini discs, with a band badge to suit each guest and a mini guitar. Rockaoke for our band and all the music throughout the day was chosen by Chris.”

“I guess we did things differently by doing exactly how we wanted and planned the day as if we were planning a party for our friends and family and not so much planning a wedding. This worked out perfectly as the wedding was all about us, the things we love and things that make our relationship special to us. Chris’ Dad wrote the reading that his Mum read during the ceremony – it was all about us and had people in hysterics! In fact we all spent the whole day in hysterics.”

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A DIY London Wedding & A Barefoot Bride: Hannah & Olly

Hannah & Olly were engaged at Bestival in the inflatable church, “Olly proposed to me at Bestival in the inflatable church following our annual Bestival wedding in front of all our friends dressed as unicorns, Mario, Luigi, Alien babies… ” Hannah wrote to me. “It was chucking it down as we strolled back to the main stage (engaged!) and The Wailers were playing. All of a sudden the sun came out and like from nowhere Olly handed me a Pina Colada in a pineapple! We spent the afternoon dancing to Chic and chinking our pineapples.”

From this unconventional proposal, it was clear that this couple were to have anything but a traditional wedding. As the groom explains, “We’re both very creative people and from the start of organising our wedding we wanted it to be different. Throughout it we used blogs, including Rock n Roll Bride, and we did it together. Myself and Hannah contributed equally and both did a lot of homework on details. The motto from the beginning was that it was to be a party, not a ceremony. With that in mind we kept thinking of the things that we loved from parties we have been to.”

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An Newly-Dead Zombie Shoot: Nicola & Colin

Happy Halloweeeeen mwaaaah hahaha!

I’ve got a couple of suitably spooky posts ready to scare you out of your wedding wits today, starting with this zombie ‘newly-dead’ shoot by wedding photographer Al Overdrive.

I’m sure most of you saw this Zombie Attack engagement that I feature back in August, but for this shoot it was the couple who actually zombied themselves up!

Nicola & Colin were married in 2010, and as a wedding gift, a number of their guests clubbed together and arranged for them to have a photo shoot with professional special effects make up artist Lucy Darkness and  Al Overdrive.

“We shot in East London, getting some funny looks off the public as it was a Saturday afternoon in the middle of the heatwave,” Al told me. “For the most part people were very positive and curious, and thought it was an awesome idea for a newly wed couple to have done as a wedding gift.”

“As you can see from the photos, the couple had a great time, and Lucy and I enjoyed working with them on this unique wedding gift. Nic says she ‘can’t wait to get ’em printed! Would love to hang them in fancy frames when we move into our own place soon’ now that is something I’d like to see.”

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A Personal Preston Court Wedding: Gideon & Dara

Gideon & Dara described their wedding as not really having a particular theme. What was important to them was that their wedding was full of love and that the whole day felt very personal.

The wedding was held at Preston Court in Kent (I love this venue, just check out the reception room with the carousel wall!) which the couple decorated with all manner of things which they had collected themselves. These included paper place mats from Anthropologie, table numbers from Dear Emma Stationary, pom poms from Paper Pom Poms, Mustaches and Lips on Sticks from Mister Mustache and many other props from Amazon and various fancy dress stores.

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A Fun-Filled London Wedding: Sarah & Rueben

Quite apart from the fact that Sarah & Rueben are utterly gorgeous and achingly cool, their wedding is definitely one of those that I wish I was at. The day was simple and perfectly reflected them – they even had Sarah’s lips and Rueben’s mustache as a recurring theme throughout the details. From the stationary to the jam jars, and from the photo booth props to their wedsite….the mustache ‘trend’ is always ultimately cooler when the groom rocks a real one too isn’t it?!

After a Buddhist ceremony at Taplow Court near Maidenhead and a portrait session around London, the reception was held at The Brentham Club in Ealing, West London. The bride wore a dress by Phase 8 and the groom looked dapper in his Topman suit, top hat and velvet bowtie from eBay.

I really love the wedding details, especially the ‘naked’ cake and the suitcase tableplan…

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A Quirky Afternoon Tea & Library Themed Wedding: Ney & Phil

Ney & Phil’s DIY wedding was loosely based around the theme of a books and libraries.

“We wanted a literary theme and thought using vintage books as invites would be a lovely idea,” Ney told me. “We met at University studying English Literature and just love books, in particular old Penguin classics. We found some companies that can make them for you, but they’re expensive so we decided to do them ourselves.”

“We spent weeks to-ing and fro-ing all the vintage bookstores on Charing Cross Road (they do great bargain deals like hardback books for a pound).  I sourced a template for library card sleeves online, used an embossed gold paper to make them and then slotted our wedding invites inside to complete the book.  As much as possible, we tied our book choices to our guests’ interests, e.g. a Portuguese travel guide for my Mum, classic English poems for friends who studied literature with us, and a Guide to British Birds for Phil’s old-charmer Dad.  I love the idea that the invites had a life after the wedding, and it’s great knowing that they’re sitting on our friends’ bookshelves as part of their collection.”

“I used websites like Rock n Roll Bride and many, many (OK, hundreds of) wedding blogs for ideas and inspiration.  We have quite a taste for old vintage things and are constantly rummaging around in markets so used these trips for inspiration on how to display things or what to buy.  Things like the idea of covering books with vintage-style wrapping paper for the centrepieces we got from passing an antique shop in Chelsea, for example.”

It was also really important to the couple to incorporate their different heritages and cultures and so the second part of their wedding theme was based around this. “Throughout the day, we tried to make sure that the wedding was representative of our families’ cultures,” the bride continued.

“Phil’s got an English/Australian background – hence we started the day with afternoon tea, but made sure there were little ethnic touches (like Portuguese custard tarts on the cake stands).  As for my side, the Angolan culture is very celebratory – we make lots of noise, eat lots of food and dance like crazy, so we ended the night with a great big knees-up.”

“One of our favourite moments on the day was after the first song (Jamie Lidell’s Another Day).  As soon as it finished, my Mum made the DJ play an old Brazilian love song we’d never heard before.  Our bemusement turned to wonder as she led my entire family – almost 50 of them! – in a serenade en masse as we danced the, er, second first dance.  What a wonderful memory!  Also memorable was my lovely husband taking secret Portuguese lessons for his wedding speech.  The family went wild!”

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