When Theo & Lisa started an online campaign to get Craig David to perform at their August wedding, they never really thought they’d pull it off. But if you don’t ask you don’t get and all that…and with the help of their YouTube video that went viral, Mr David did in fact show up to the wedding and perform to their astonished guests! ”We met in Oceana nightclub”, began Theo. “Lisa thought I really had the movement of a dancer! Craig David’s music brought us together and having him there at the wedding was literally a dream come true.”
“Our wedding was inspired by everything we love”, continued Lisa. “Music, fashion, friends and family. It really was a giant party. We didn’t want anyone to pay for anything apart from their travel there. For us, this was a party to celebrate everything our incredible friends and family have done for us over the years. We had a free bar which was one of the best things we did. The wedding was held in my dad’s back garden and we also had a camping village at the bottom of the garden where 90% of our guests camped-including myself and Theo! We sent a ‘tent tag’ with our invites, and asked everyone to deliver a tent to our house one week before the wedding. We then put them all up so they were ready for everyone when they arrived!”
A colourful country fête wedding with a 1950s flair? What’s not to love in Steph & Dale’s wedding?! The day took place in Essex, kicking off at St Giles Church with the reception at Pledgdon Barn.
This wedding was a real DIY love affair and a project of passion. The couple made as much as possible including (deep breath) the bunting (both triangle and heart shaped), their stationery and all the paper goods, cocktail stirrers from laser cut card, the cake flags, the acrylic cake toppers, the wooden signs, the blackboards, the paper hearts for decorating the tables, the bridesmaids earrings, the buttonholes, the bow ties for their dogs and the cupcakes!
“I really wanted most things to be handmade because I like to be creative, plus this allowed things to be personal to us and also it can keep costs down”, Steph explained. “The bunting and stationary took the longest to make. If anyone says that bunting is quick then they would be lying!! The amount of man hours it took to make 200m of bunting was ridiculous!! I was still making up until a couple of days before but it turned the barn from something ordinary to something really special and it was definitely worth all the blood, sweat and tears.”
I’m not an expert of the history of weddings, but when you think about it, many wedding traditions are really quite odd. A tiered cake, putting your best friends in ill-fitting in matching dresses, an awkward dance in front of everyone you know, throwing a bouquet of flowers at people’s heads… odd.
So I was presently surprised to receive Kelly & Toby’s wedding from their photographer Joanna Millington and see that it had none of that. In fact isn’t this the perfect example of what weddings should really be about? A ceremony declaring your intention to be together forever followed by a celebratory gathering with your nearest and dearest? So so awesome.
The day started with a ceremony at Islington town hall, followed by a stroll and casual drinks at the Drapers Arms, and concluded with an intimate dinner for 14 at The Wapping Project.
“We didn’t want to spend a fortune on the wedding and really tried to keep costs a minimum without spending a lot on unnecessary paraphernalia”, began the bride. “We kept it intimate and stripped it way back and put more money into different areas – namely a big bar tab and really great food. We also split the event into two days (we had a party on the second day for 70 people which wasn’t photographed) which helped reduce costs as it meant we didn’t have to put on dinner for 70 people (which would inevitably have ended up a bit naff on that scale).”
Wedding bloggers like to throw phrases like ‘laid back’, ‘low key’ and ‘budget-friendly’ around like their going out of fashion. But when it comes to a wedding like Kit & Caz’s, which took place in a youth hostel in the Peak District, there really are no other words. Their wedding was beautiful, utterly personal and a true reflection of the way they celebrate their love. No mess, no fuss, no pomp and circumstance and no pointless traditions. Oh no, this wedding was unpretentiousness personified. I love it.
The homemade wedding was held at YHA Ilam Hall in August. “Kit & Caz’s celebration was the stuff my photographic dreams are made of”, wrote wedding photographer Anna Hardy, “breathtakingly beautiful and totally individual and unique, with the most down-to-earth, warm, funny, interesting, loving, welcoming people… and of course, a couple who both shine and melt every time they look at each other.”
Unique wedding venues can be hard to come across in the UK, but Fiona & Jonny weren’t going to take that lying down. They knew they wanted a memorable space for their union and so selected Victoria Baths in Manchester. “Victoria Baths is an Edwardian swimming baths (which is no longer used as baths, now a restoration project and arts/community venue)”, wrote Fiona. “It was originally three big pools. Two of them remain and are empty – we got married in the deep end of the biggest one and had our reception on top of the other! It was boarded over with a sprung dance floor in the fifties (my granddad used to teach ballroom dancing in that room). The remaining smaller pool and the rest of building, which is pretty vast, was left for people to wander around and explore.”
“The venue played a huge part in our thinking. We found Victoria Baths quite quickly. We knew straight away we didn’t want the ‘Bronze package’ at a conveyor belt wedding venue so we looked at locations used for other stuff – filming, fashion, music, fairs etc – places with a bit of character or history and where we wouldn’t be restricted or forced to use ‘their people’ for our food, bar and so on. Neither of us wanted to blow stupid money either. Lots of our friends have had wonderful, really personal and brilliantly happy DIY-style weddings so we were definitely inspired by them too.”
Marrying her sweetheart in August of last year, newlywed Claire told me all about their Glaswegian wedding. “Whilst on paper our wedding wasn’t overtly Rock n Roll, our journey to get down the aisle definitely offers a slightly offbeat tale. Namely because in the two years leading up to our nuptials we collectively lost ten stone between us – the equivalent of 20ish new-born babies, a Saint Bernard dog, or Britney Spears. The toughest journey of my life, losing 70% of our collective weight drop, I lived, breathed and blogged the whole shebang, and whilst I still have a few more pounds to shift, that I made it down the aisle in the most beautiful dress I’ve ever seen, no longer morbidly obese, is the proudest moment of my life so far.”
“Another not so insignificant part of the proceedings was applying to be the next Rock n Roll Bride intern, and attending the first ever School of Rock (n Roll Bride). And whilst I didn’t win the internship, or even continue blogging, both made life that little bit more lovely, in no small part thanks to the network of remarkable women I had the pleasure of meeting either virtually or in person throughout each experience.”
Claire & Tom were married at Glasgow Art Club which proved to be the perfect venue to host their eclectic ideas. “Our humanist ceremony was our most treasured moment”, Claire explained. “Hugely personal, with poignant readings from three very special people to us, self-penned vows, tears a-hoy and impromptu hilarity which we shared with 70 of our most favourite people, it couldn’t have been more ‘us’.”