Category Archives: British Brides

Jonathan & Zoe’s Wedding Festival

For their ‘Wedstival’ (wedding festival!), Jonathan & Zoe threw traditions completely out of the window and planned the wedding that they wanted.

As the bride told me, “Having been together for a (very!) long time we really wanted to steer away from a traditional wedding and do something that completely reflected us as a couple – we love the outdoor life, our Airedale terriers, our family and music festivals. Thus we came up with the idea of our “Wedstival” – a weekend that saw pretty much all 150 guests camping at the farm (in a mix of tents, VW campers, caravans and even a 36 foot luxury RV!!).”

“We took massive inspiration from our amazing venue, York Maze. It meant we could literally have everyone and their dog there! The kids enjoyed two adventure playgrounds, an animal farm, a jumping pillow and go kart track. All eleven dogs had their own special dog park and to top it all off we had a three table casino and the most amazing live band!”

“Guests were welcome to wear whatever they wanted, so long as they brought a pair of wellies to enter the Best Wellie competition!” Zoe continued. “We lavished attention on the guests to make sure they were more than suitably fed and watered and entertained – we provided a drinks reception with barrels of West Country cider (few early casualties – would perhaps recommend other brides rethink serving free 8% cider at 2 in the afternoon!!) and jugs of Pimms, lashings of canapés including fish and chips on a stick, a posh BBQ dinner, sweet station, cheese tower (complete with imported heart shaped brie) followed by a traditional pie and pie evening and topped off with a full Yorkshire breakfast on Sunday morning.”

The festival theme was pulled together with a lot of hard work and a DIY details. They included, “The vinyl Save the Dates; invitations of gig style poster and tickets; guest passes issued to all attendees detailing the running order, site map etc; my customised wedding wellies; seating plan of vinyl records, table centrepieces of vinyl records and kids wellies filled with flowers, place name of customised beer mat with menu choice reminder to reverse; individual gift bags based on age of child (30 in total!). We even published our own “Wedstival Times” newspaper complete with personalised crossword to keep guests occupied while waiting for the bride to turn up!” Zoe explained. “We even made banners and lawn signs for things like the Beer Barn and the Dog Park, and set up portable showers for the guests complete with hospitality baskets and a toiletry gift set for each camper.”

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Laura & Rob’s Bowling Alley Wedding

Laura & Rob were married at The Bloomsbury Hotel, London and had their reception in The Kingpin Suite at Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes, London. The wedding was unintentionally a day of two halves, and the bride even wore two dresses for each event.

She explains, “As soon as we started planning the wedding, I had already set an agenda – no white, no normal wedding dress. It just so happened that the dress that made me cry like a baby was in Berketex Brides and was ivory! Even though I didn’t want to wear a ‘normal’ dress, I still bought wedding magazines and hoped that I would find something super in there. Out of about 15 magazines, I had dogeared the page of only one dress, but forgot about it. After trying on about 6 dresses, the lady said what about this one – I put it on and couldn’t stop crying – it was the one from the magazine.”

“I still think it was a different dress; it’s got a vintage feel and I loved the lacy train as I had never seen it on any other dresses that didn’t cost a fortune. But with the reception in a bowling alley I was worried that it was really impractical. So I trotted off to Vivien of Holloway, found a fabulous white lace 50’s style number and bought a pink poof to go underneath.”

After their ceremony the couple were transported to Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes in a pink taxi. “Rob had bought the girls tickets to a show (which was awful) the day before the wedding, but it did mean that when we left the hotel to go to Soho we found our ideal wedding transport right outside the door; a pink cab!” Laura continued. “There are only 2 in the world and it was it was a complete surprise. Gee (the taxi driver) didn’t normally work on Sundays but she was an absolute star and came and ferried us and all of our guests to the Kingpin Suite.”

The guests were treated to a laid back reception complete with bowling, dancing and transfer tattoos. “Rob and I always said that we didn’t want a conventional reception, we wanted people to be able to do what they wanted and not feel like their only options were sitting down or dancing. The Kingpin Suite at Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes was the only reception venue we saw, we knew we loved it straight away. We didn’t need to add any decor, so we made sure we had personal touches around the space. Our favourites were the ‘Pimp Your Drink’ stand, where people could add umbrellas, mermaids, giraffes and spangly straws to their drinks, and our Tattoo Parlour, a book of tattoo transfers so people could get inked for the night with The Cattoo (that’s right – a cat tattoo), The Hello Sailor and others. And Rob was inspired to get the Hello Sailor (anchor) tattoo as a permanent reminder of the day 2 days after the wedding.”

“For our favours we decided to give our guests little jars of sweets, and rather than buying them we decided to make them ourselves. A successful trip to Ikea (not Rob’s idea!) meant we bought the jars at 6 for £2, meaning our favours turned out to be a total bargain. To give the jars our own special twist we decorated the lids with Japanese scrap booking tape. Our place cards doubled as part of the favour too; we chose some of our favourite books, Twilight, Microserfs and P.S. I love you, and cut out passages to make into name tags.”

“The amazing thing about the reception is that we are still finding out what people got up to – tales of man-love duets in the karaoke room, serious table football tournaments and harassing the servers for slices of the 26″ pizzas! Everyone had their own experience of the night and that makes us happy.”

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Barbara & Mark’s MC Motors Wedding

Barbara & Mark were married in one of the coolest venues I’ve seen in a long time – MC Motors in Castle Gibson, East London. The couple were keen to make their wedding all about them and what they love, and so they spent money on the things they valued (namely the awesome venue, The Wedding Smashers (DJ’s) and Barbara’s Candy Anthony dress) and ignored the things they didn’t.

“A friend bought me a wedding magazine when I got engaged in December. I opened it up one night and never looked at it again – or any other mag for that matter,” Barbara told me. “I just wanted it to be a proper knees up with lots of music, booze and all our favourite people. Some things we spent money on – like the venue – other things, we just didn’t feel as strongly about – like having the perfect cake or millions of flowers. We just didn’t want to have to follow any rules – and did things exactly as we wanted.”

Barbara’s bridesmaid’s wore beautiful yellow dresses which the bride made herself. With each girl having very different looks (and one being pregnant!) it was important that the style suited them all. The 60’s inspired pattern of the dresses worked beautifully and the polka dot & yellow fabric was both playful and flattering.

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Laura & Rich’s Eco-Friendly & DIY Two-Day Wedding Celebration

Laura & Rich’s classic English themed wedding had some super quirky and personal touches. The couple were legally married at Merton Register Office, London and a few days later had an outdoor blessing ceremony and their reception at Tilford Institute, Surrey. “People were confused as to why we had two days, but why not?” Laura told me. “I wore my dress twice. I was driven in a posh car twice. The first day with my dad, nervous; the second with my new husband, brimming with excitement at seeing my friends! I’d recommend spreading out the love to anyone.”

The bride wore a second hand dress which she found in Oxfam, which she customised with some fabric flowers. “My dress was donated by a recently widowed man,” Laura told me. “It had been his wife’s wedding dress many moons ago. I’ve always loved charity shops and so it was only natural for me to find my perfect wedding dress in one too! On the day of our register office ceremony, I walked in the door and the registrar choked on her words. She stood in shock as apparently she had worn something very similar on her wedding day in 1959. Her marriage was still going strong and she wished us as much happiness as she had had. It was a very special moment for both of us. I found a green satin flower sash to go accessorise the dress from ProjectU on Etsy.”

The DIY elements really made this wedding stand out, and kept the day super personal. Laura continued, “I don’t know if Rich or myself are particularly Rock n Roll (in fact, he wouldn’t let me have a live band, thinking it was too try-hardy ‘cool’) but we just did our days how we wanted.  Putting together a DIY wedding was stressful though, don’t get me wrong. But we could not believe how generous friends and family were with their time and energy. My mum and Rich’s mum did all the food: good, heart portions of homemade curry, chilli and fishpie. The ‘waitresses’ were all neighbours who donated their time to make sure the booze didn’t run dry and the plates were cleared away. Richard’s Mums are Buddhists and so our outdoor ceremony was influence by that and also humanism.”

“I made all the table decorations in the months leading up to the big day. I read online somewhere that pretty wallpaper was a cheap way of doing table runners so the buffet tables had those. Elsewhere, I found a garish 1970’s flower print duvet set in a Red Cross charity shop and so simply cut that into two pieces and draped them in diagonals over the cake tables. I was surprised at how good it looked! Then, I use the two pillowcases to make a matching runner for another table. If you cut the pillowcases open into a strip and sew them together, they end up long enough for a top table!”

“For the daffodil pots I collected jam jars and clear bottles for months and then glued strips of lace, hessian and ribbon to them. I collected lavender from my neighbours’ gardens to dry and then drop in to the bottles. I found some even brighter 70’s fabric that I used for the backdrop to our photobooth. Nice.

I bought muslin bags online from Papermoon on Etsy and then filled them with mini eggs as part of the favours (it was the week before Easter). I also made heart-shaped bird seed feeders with veggie gelatine & silicone cake tins, putting them in cornstarch plastic bags (trying to be eco-friendly!)”

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Charlotte & Kevin’s Atmospheric Edinburgh Wedding

Charlotte & Kevin were married at The Caves in Edinburgh – a challenging venue for any photographer (it’s very dark!) but photographer Bryony Claire certainly rocked this one and the couple ended up with some fantastic images of their special day.

Charlotte explained, “Kev & I have been together for 8 years now. We went to The Caves for a night out and when quite by chance we heard it was a wedding venue so we booked for 8 months later before he even got a chance to propose! The Caves is a truly magical place and it felt so right to have our whole wedding there. We had a Humanist wedding ceremony that was filled with love and laughter and believe that the whole atmosphere and venue suited us and out relationship. I think quite a few people were shocked at my choice of dress, but hey, if you’re getting married, do it your own way! I’ve always been a bit of the beaten track, I’m sure a few of my friends and family would have been disappointed had I turned up in a traditional white gown!”

“The inspiration for the day really just came from what we are about, fun, sense of humour, great music, good food and a party atmosphere. We wanted people to just kick back relax and share our special day with us, and I think we achieved that! And the Photobooth is beyond genius! What a laugh!  The images from the day really capture the spirit of The Caves and the spirit of our relationship. So many images of us smiling, laughing and enjoying each other.”

Charlotte’s dress was from Enchanted Dreams on eBay and was the first dress she fell in love with. She saw it on another wedding blog and knew she had to have it! The dress was handmade for her within 4 weeks and so Charlotte didn’t even bother venturing into traditional bridal shops. To her outfit she added Iron Fist Zombie Stompers (note: did you know you can get 15% off your purchases at Iron Fist by simply quoting ‘RocknRoll’ at the checkout?!)

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Aimee & Ben’s Heavily Tattooed, Handfasting Vow Renewal

Bride Aimee and photographer Naomi Kenton connected through Rock n Roll Bride. They both got talking via facebook about some weddings they’d both seen and liked on the blog and so after getting to know each other well in this informal way,  Naomi shot her vow renewal to Ben.

Can we also just please stop for one minute and share some love for Aimee & Ben’s ink?! Seriously…wow. “Tattoos are a big part of both our lives as Ben is a tattooist,” explained Aimee, “and we are both really into all things rockabilly, hot rods and VW lovers so that’s what we wanted for the day.  We are just ourselves and we do things the way we want and are happy as a result.”

The handfasting ceremony was held at Tutbury Castle in Staffordshire in April. “We wanted to celebrate our relationship and our two children, so we decided to renew our vows – we chose a handfasting as it was a lot more personal to us and was performed by a good friend Caroline Johnson.”

“I made the flowers myself and also used Jack Daniels bottles as decoration on the buffet table,” Aimee continued. ” I gave all the guests a favour bag that we got a couple of ‘meet & greet’ girls to hand out – which were white paper bags lined with tissue paper, in each I put a little spell bag, some heart bath fizzers for the women and skull shaped soaps for the men.  For the children I gave duck shape bath fizzers and rhubarb & custard soaps.”

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