Two brides, two gorgeous dresses and two sides of bridesmaids! Ria and Nicky wanted a wedding that screamed ‘them’! That meant they threw caution to the wind, and tradition out of the window. “I’m friends with Nicky’s sister so we met on a few social occasions, such as parties, concerts and completing a London to Brighton race”, began Ria. “However we finally developed a fancy to each other when a group of us went to Proms in the Park in 2011. I was technically ‘straight’ at the point I met Nicky, so she had no idea I liked her! Since that night we have been inseparable and the rest as they say is history.”
“We wanted our wedding to be relaxed, fun, entertaining and as non-wedding(ey) as possible”, she continued. “It sounds silly saying that, but just because we wanted to get married, didn’t mean we had to sign up to all the traditional and the usual expected activities at a wedding. We basically wanted a massive party with our family and friends where we could all have fun, relax and just enjoy the day.”
Both brides wore dresses; Ria in a long, white number and Nicky rocking a shorter, red one. “Nicky wanted to wear a non-traditional red wedding dress and I went more traditional”, Ria continued. “We also had 10 bridesmaids between us! Being two feminine ladies challenged how it would all work together, so we steered away from dressing everyone in just one colour. We felt it wouldn’t work and wasn’t really us. Instead, our bridesmaids all wore a vintage style swing dress in different colours. We didn’t want bouquets and so we all had fresh gerberas in our hair instead. Nicky carried a parasol that was her mum’s. She had it at her own wedding over 40 years ago!”
Bella and Matt were married at Cowparsley, a wedding venue in Somerset. They wanted a relaxed, outdoorsy day with a festival feel, a picnic lunch and a meaningful ceremony.
“We searched for a long time for a venue that would give us free reign to do what we wanted, (at an affordable price!) and we had nearly given up when we discovered Cowparsley”, the bride began. “The whole day; ceremony and reception, was spent in their delightful farmhouse country garden. We had our ceremony in a lovely little orchard, saying our vows in front of a tree that we decorated with Mexican flag bunting, flower garlands, paper petal strings, and paper birds. We drank Pimms and played croquet and skittles on the neighbouring lawns, where we also relaxed on blankets for our picnic style feast. There was a lovely big antique canvas marquee, in which we danced in the evening, before sitting round the bonfire back in the orchard at the end of the night. Everything being in one place allowed everyone to kick off their heels and make themselves at home, rather than standing on ceremony. This informal atmosphere was very important to us.”
“We wanted to get married outside, under a tree, in the sunshine”, she continued. “Sadly, it is not currently possible to have a legal marriage service outdoors in England, so we went to a register office in the morning with Matt’s mum and my step-mum as witnesses. In and out in 20 minutes, no fuss. For what we considered the proper ceremony, that afternoon, with our family and friends, we considered hiring a Humanist minister, as we are not at all religious. However, we felt that it would be a little odd to have a stranger preside over such a personal event, especially as we had quite an intimate wedding, with just 70 of our closest friends and family. So we asked a close friend to be our celebrant. Esh is an actor, so very confident with public speaking. He has also shared a flat with us in the past, so knows us both very well, and has a unique insight into our relationship! He did a wonderful job, creating the relaxed, fun tone we wanted, and giving a brilliant speech in which he logically proved that our relationship was a good one, with reference to a theory by philosopher Bertrand Russell!”
Featuring this wedding is a little bit extra special for me because I actually went to school with the bride, Emma! When she told me she was getting married, and hosting it in their own back garden, I insisted that she submit it to me afterwards. I’m so thrilled that she did! Emma is now a florist and owns the Green Parlour in Pangbourne, so clearly this wedding was going to be full of beautiful blooms. Just look her her bouquet! Epic or what?!
Oh and they only spent £1000 on their wedding. UGH, SO AMAZING.
“We had been engaged for what seemed like forever (3 years to be precise) and during that time our lives changed so much, we became a family”, Emma told me. “Suddenly the whole idea of what we might want for our wedding shifted. It became about our space, our home and our garden. We wanted an amazing day but we also wanted to transform our back yard into a lasting memento of the day, something we can remember each year. We knew it had to be colourful, and unbeknown to Chris at this point the colour gold had to be included in as many places as possible!”
Nick and Tamar were married at Danby Castle in North Yorkshire. This was a DIY wedding and the bride even made her own dress! She wore it with a vintage kimono jacket in the evening. The groom’s sister made the cake and the bride and her bridesmaids arranged all the flowers.
“Our wedding was inspired by roses, Grace Kelly’s wedding dress, vintage cups of tea, floral prints, lace, mason jars, and the country side”, said Tamar. “We wanted to keep it as true to ourselves as possible. The most important thing for us was that our wedding represented our own personalities. If there is anything that shines in our character is that both are a mix of classic and modern. Nick has an amazing moustache (he even made his groomsmen grown moustaches for the wedding day!) and I’m a creative person and always try to express myself in any possible way (including my skin!) Another thing that made our wedding really special was that my brother played the ukelele and sang while I was walking down the aisle. ‘I can’t help falling in love with you’ by Elvis Presley.”
Rachel and Ally won their wedding photography though a contest hosted on this very wedding blog, so when Rachel excitedly emailed me with the resulting gorgeous photos, I couldn’t wait to post them! The wedding was held in Ally’s parent’s back garden in Surrey.
“When we first got engaged and I started to look at possible venues I got so downhearted that I abandoned the search for 18 months”, began the bride. “Every couple wants a wedding that represents them, and we were no different, but I felt everywhere I looked we either couldn’t afford or wouldn’t let us choose the things that were important to us. They all seemed to insist that you use their recommended suppliers. We are both laid back and wanted something that wouldn’t be stressful to organise.”
“Rather than start at what we wanted, we started at what we didn’t want and built from there. We didn’t want formality or to subscribe to tradition. I didn’t want a wedding dress and Ally didn’t want a morning suit. We wanted it to feel very natural and relaxed so cut out many of the usual parts that make up a wedding. I didn’t want to be a princess; the only thing I wanted to be on our wedding day was Mrs Jowett.”
Fiona and Mike wanted an outdoorsy, chilled out wedding that was as fun for their guests as it was for them! They went above and beyond to provide entertainment, drinks and food that everyone would enjoy. Having as much as possible locally sourced was also really important to them both.
“We wanted to have our wedding outside surrounded by the landscape that makes us both happy – the dramatic mountains, colours and trees of the Scottish Highlands”, explained the bride. “The wedding was also to be a celebration of time and place and locality. Using local, seasonal and sustainable food, drinks and materials as much as possible. To be true to ourselves by throwing our ideal summer party where all our guests felt valued and included.”
The wedding was held at Inshriach House in Aviemore, Scotland. “We live in Edinburgh but regularly take the 2.5 hour trip up the A9 to my family’s second home near Aveimore”, she continued.” We got engaged up there in the woods on Alvie Estate with Archie the dog beside us. So it seemed only right our wedding was the same!”
In terms of DIY, there was plenty! The groom, his brother and both Dads built the arch structure for the ceremony, which was then draped with flowers. The bride’s father also cut railway sleepers into blocks which they attached the menus too. All the signage was also homemade.