Category Archives: Guest Posts

Alternative Wedding Songs For Loved-Up Weirdos

Lame wedding music gives us the sads. It’s not easy to find love songs that stand out from typical lovey-dovey wedding crap. If it’s not teeth-rotting candy, it’s done-to-death repeats from internet wedding song lists. If you’ve got an allergy to clichéd wedding songs, you’ll find the antidote here. Startling as it may seem, there are plenty of interesting wedding songs if you know where to look. We’ve put together a list of quirky, alternative and authentic songs for daring lovers. It’s taken some intensive research and lot of late night wine and dancing, but it was worth it.

We hope you enjoy folks, and there’s a spotify playlist to make your life easier.

QUIRKY, CUTESY LOVE

Let’s start with the cutest indie movie in existence, Juno. On the soundtrack you’ll find a humble folk ditty called All I Want Is You, and we’re definitely not talking about U2. Barry Louis Polisar writes children’s music, and he almost didn’t release this song on his 1977 album. But we’re so glad he did, and so glad Juno’s director stumbled upon it and used it in the film’s opening credits. It makes a perfect upbeat recessional, and also happens to sound great played on a banjo.

If you’re a Lou Reed fan, Perfect Day would be a likely wedding choice. It’s a great song, but it’s been done to death. For something a little quirkier and lesser known, try The Velvet Underground’s  I’m Sticking With You. First recorded in 1969, it’s a cutesy and childlike duet with a retro tinge.

And while we’re on the topic of all things innocent, husband and wife duo The White Stripes offer this perfect lullaby, We’re Going To Be Friends. Feel like you’ve heard it before? That’s because it featured in the opening credits of Napoleon Dynamite. It’s just over 2 minutes of childhood, sweetheart folk, perfect for a non-traditional first dance.

If you’re after something with a bit more country twang, Truckstop Honeymoon have the answer. All heart and no bull, their song Johnny & June spells out a forever plan. Not only the good times, but the hard times, and how we’re gonna sort ‘em out like Johnny Cash & June Carter. Cash was famously quoted on his six-word summary of paradise being “This morning, with her, having coffee.” And that’s a kind of love worth celebrating.

It’s girly, cutesy and quirky to the max. How is it even possible this song hasn’t been slathered all over an Apple ad yet? Thank goodness it hasn’t, because this number is wedding-perfecto, and there’s a good chance you won’t hear it at your besties wedding. Adorable weirdo Tessa Violet is a Youtube vlogger and songwriter, and this gorgeous admission of love entitled Just Right couldn’t be sweeter. I mean, for gawd’s sake, it’s even played on a ukulele!

But if you’re more dark quirky than cutesy pop, you might want to check out indie folk band The Mountain Goats. Their song Love Love Love walks through a dark, confronting case history of love’s mysterious manifestations. Lead singer John Darnielle explained in an interview “love can eat a path through everything… it will destroy a lot of things on the way to its own objective”. This song is a message “in the hopes of undoing a lot of what I perceive as terrible damage in the way people talk about this–love is this benign, comfortable force. It’s not that. It’s wild, you know?”

YOU DON’T HAVE TO SAY YOU LOVE ME

I wuv woo schmoopy bear. Ew. Take your gross love fest elsewhere, right? Not all of us want to shout gushy sentiments from the rooftops. In fact, some of us are ‘anti-lovers’. Which makes it challenging to find a wedding song when you’re marrying the person you… ahem, “love”. Beck has the solution for you. Bring some playfulness to the unconventional wedding with Think I’m In Love; for couples who are down with ‘together forever’, but aren’t so sure they’re ready for the big L word. Ha!

Fellow mermaids, rejoice! For here is your siren love song. Laura Marling doesn’t sing with her heart on her sleeve. She has said in interviews, she doesn’t make her music to be known. The shy, introverted and private amongst us can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that the most romantic of wedding songs can be a simple sea shanty like Crawled Out Of The Sea. Lyrically, it’s nothing more than the glorious building repetition of the words “You crawled out of the sea, straight into my arms..” but oh, is it divine…

What if you want to tell your sweetheart you love the pants off them without using the L word? M Ward knows what you mean, and he’s found the perfect way of saying it (without saying it). Never Had Nobody Like You clearly expresses fondness, but holds back on the over-the-top sentiments. Nicely done and nostalgic vibed.

Do you even need to mention the topic of love? We say nay! Thanks to The Sures, an indie surf pop band from Sydney, Australia, your wedding song can be love-free. It can be a melodic explosion of sunshine, sea, waves of lulling reverb and fuzzy guitars. The Sun brings a 1950s style, Beach Boys vibe. And you might remember it from that glorious slow-mo moment on Broad City when Abbi meets Jeremy in the hall..

Sparse, echoing and feminine, Flatlands is a masterpiece of non-verbal romance. Chelsea Wolfe blends dark, doomy folk with delicate phrasing and enchanting vocals. A serious choice without overstepping the mark on lovey lyrics. And what’s even better, Mark Lanegan has covered it. Both are on the accompanying playlist. And there’s no reason you can’t have your wedding band serenade you with a harmony-rich duet version.

Speaking of great male/female vocals, we can’t go past the perfect blend of Josh Homme and PJ Harvey on Make It Wit Chu. This sexy number first appeared on The Desert Sessions, where Homme gathered his rockstar mates to make sweet, sweet recordings. It was later rerecorded as Queens Of The Stone Age. Both versions are pretty similar, so we’ve picked the original for your playlist, because PJ Harvey on backing vocals. ‘Nuff said.

Continue reading

The Last Five Years in LGBTQ Wedding Planning

Photo: Megan Melia

To celebrate Pride Month in the US, Kate Schaefer, founder and editor of the fantastic LGBTQ wedding planning resource, H&H Weddings, is here to discuss how she’s seen LGBTQ planning change over her past five years in the industry.

The year was 2012. I was a 20-something-year-old intern, sitting at my desk in Brooklyn, essentially rolling my eyes at the Huffington Post piece I was reading. This bride-to-be was venting about how she, as a lesbian, had no resources for planning her wedding. “This is nuts”, I thought. And then I started doing some research because, let’s be honest, I wasn’t actually doing anything else.

As it turns out, the only part about the situation that was nuts was the fact that the bride-to-be was 100% right. The only same-sex/LGBTQ+ wedding resources looked like they had been designed in 1992. I decided to change that.

At the time, my knowledge of weddings was based off of the three or so episodes of Say Yes To The Dress that I had seen. I didn’t know what I was doing, but I was determined to get something going. LGBTQ+ folks deserved a beautiful, useful blog where they could go to see themselves, not just a straight wedding blog that occasionally featured a Ken & Ken/Barbie & Barbie-like couple.

Since 2012, I’ve seen many changes in the LGBTQ+ wedding space. People (on all parts of the spectrum) are choosing to make their ceremonies more and more personal. Five years ago, it often felt like a couple was just taking the hetero wedding mold and plugging themselves into the equation, which meant that, frequently, one member of the couple ended up being labelled the ‘bride’ and the other the ‘groom’ despite the fact that that (obviously) wasn’t the case.

The ceremony

We’ve featured hundreds of weddings on H&H Weddings and we’ve seen couples walk with each other down aisles, we’ve seen circular ceremony set ups, we’ve seen couples walk down aisles, simultaneously, towards each other. One of my favourite ever ceremonies we shared was Zoe & Lil’s outdoor ceremony. They set up a circle around them so that, while they said their vows, they were surrounded by friends and family!

 We’ve seen people dance and cry and laugh while walking down the aisle. We’ve seen people write their own vows and even sing their vows. The long and the short of it? Do whatever the fuck you want. It’s your wedding. No one knows your love like you, why not express it how it feels best?

The wedding party

We have also seen big changes in wedding party set ups. We’ve shared weddings with huge wedding parties and no wedding parties. We have seen wedding parties made up of all gender identities (straight couples, take note on this one! Why would a bride’s brother stand on her husband’s side of the wedding party?!)

The outfits

One of my favourite ways that couples get creative these days is attire! I used to feel like I saw a lot of uncomfortable brides in dresses because that’s what they felt like they were supposed to do. It was as if you had to options as a bride: 1. Wear a dress or 2. Wear an ill-fitting Men’s Warehouse suit that was frumpy.

Now, there are a ton of suiting companies that cater to people of all gender identities and expressions such as Bindle & Keep, Kipper Clothiers, Duchess Clothiers and Sharpe Suiting (just to name a few!). Another favourite of ours is House of Ollichon. They do wedding attire without a single dress in sight! Such a breath of fresh air! As well, couples are wearing a plethora of colours, jumpsuits, rompers, suiting combinations, shorts, dresses, skirts, really, whatever makes them feel their best, which is exactly what we like to see.

Photo: Rachelle Derouin Photography

Continue reading

Planning a Wedding with Accessibility in Mind

Disability Rights Wedding Editorial

Preparing for one of the biggest days of your life can be as testing as it can be exciting, what with the multitude of things to think about. If you’re not organising the venue, you’re dreaming up your wedding invitations. If you’re not debating a dress with your mother, you’re talking your groom-to-be’s best man down from any eccentric goings on.

Additional accessibility needs can then add to your list of things to consider. Whether it’s you, your partner, or even some of your guests that require additional accessibility or mobility aids, making sure your wedding is suited to the needs of those attending is a must, to really make the most of the special day.

While accessibility has become a hot topic of conversation recently, there are still a number of locations and venues associated with weddings, that fail to provide enough accessible options to make your day as comfortable for everyone as possible. As such, mobility aid providers, Ability Superstore, have provided a few words of wisdom to help you plan your wedding with accessibility in mind.

Save the dates will come in handy

You’re engaged! Congratulations! There aren’t many occasions that make you feel as giddy as you do when your other half pops the question. Now, while you might think that sending a few save the date cards are just to let your nearest and dearest know when you plan on getting wed, you could in fact use it to find out about any accessibility needs.

Even if you don’t require any additional accessibility yourself, you might find that some of your guests might. With this in mind, create your guest list filled with those closest to you, and start filling in those ‘save the date’ cards. If you’re having your cards designed, you could add in a section that asks your guests if they have any accessibility needs. That way, you’re prepared well in advance, before the official invitations go out and before you have decided on your venue.

Don’t forget the plus ones! You don’t want to plan your wedding knowing that your guests don’t require any accessibility needs, only to the discover that their plus ones might. All it takes is asking your guests to think about their plus ones, too, when responding to your ‘save the date’ card.

Disability Rights Wedding Editorial

The various locations are key

Now that you know of any accessibility requirements both for the two of you and your guests, you can begin dreaming of your perfect wedding venue.

If you had any venues in mind beforehand, begin by doing a quick internet search to discover if they cater for accessibility. Bear in mind that if you’re looking to book an older venue, their accessibility might not be as obvious, so it’s always a good idea to get in touch with the venue to discuss your needs.

Reception venues and hotels

Think about reception locations, too. If you are planning on having a church wedding, for example, the chances are you will be throwing your reception in another venue nearby. As well as discussing the venue’s accessibility, you should also consider the distance between the wedding venue and the reception, as well as if there are any local taxis or car companies available to hire, should you or your guests need driving between the two.

Nearby hotels are well worth looking into, as well as their accessibility. Ideally, you would hope to find a hotel that meets your needs close by, but if not, transport may be required, especially after a night of dancing and celebrating!

Hen and stag dos

How about your hen and stag do? If you and/or your groom require extra accessibility when it comes to your ‘last night of freedom’, you don’t want to show up at the venue only to find they don’t cater to you or your guests’ needs. The same goes for your hen or stag do as it does the wedding venues; think about where you want to have it, and make the call to find out if they can provide the accessibility you need.

If you’re worried a night on the town isn’t going to be enjoyable, think about alternative ways to throw a party! From a weekend in a lodge to afternoon tea, a spa day to adrenaline fuelled activities, there’s plenty of ways to make the most of it without the worry of accessibility.

Top Tip: If you’ve spoken to managers of venues over the phone, don’t just take their word for it. Once they’ve said they can provide additional accessibility, book in a time to go and visit the venue, where they can show you what they can offer. You don’t want to be assured into thinking everything will be ok on the day, only to show up with little accessibility available.

Disability Rights Wedding Editorial

Continue reading

Spend the Day Together

spend the day together (10)

Hey you, loved-up-engaged-planning-my-wedding you, can I have a word please? I hope all your planning is going well and that you are gearing up for the day of your dreams. Me? I’m a wedding photographer and I have been for many years now. And here’s a funny thing that after all this time, I’ve only just realised. Like, it’s hit me smack in the face like a wet kipper, realised.

NOBODY TELLS YOU TO SPEND THE DAY TOGETHER

And you know what? Unless you make a concerted effort to, then chances are you simply won’t. Think about weddings: Most couples spend the entire morning apart, they come together for the ceremony (you won’t actually remember much of this bit) then as soon as the confetti has been chucked, you will be talking to the people you know and your lover will be talking to all the people they know. Then apart from your portrait session, chances are you won’t come together again until it’s time to sit for dinner.

Take a good look at most of the weddings on Rock n Roll Bride over over and over again the images with the couple actually together are portraits and formal moments. Cake cutting, speeches, first dance.

Now why do I care? Well, because as a wedding photographer this is the conversation I’m probably going to have with you:

“We love your photography, it’s really natural looking. We hate being in photos, so don’t want to do lots of posing. It would be great if you could just capture us in little moments over the day.”

spend the day together (1)

I love a challenge but natural and little moments is pretty tough when your couple are on opposite sides of the room or the only significant time they are together is the obvious ‘wedding moments’. I feel like I’m always doing my best to orchestrate ‘natural’. In your couple session, I’m actually hoping to catch those little seconds in between when you think you are being shot, when you are lost in a giggle or just finally looking your favourite person in the face without 100 guests trying to congratulate you. I’m thinking I will get natural when we are walking back from the couple session and you are relaxed as you think formal photos are done with. I’m stalking you all day, camera poised ready but more often than not, I won’t get another shot with you both in it until you are sat at the dinner table.

Once I really thought about it, I began to wonder, is there anything I can do to make a difference?

I shot a wedding last Saturday and I knew that the couple felt super awkward at their engagement shoot. So in the morning I explained to my very lovely bride that if she wanted lots of natural photos to consciously spend the day together with her husband. I told her to make sure they walked together from the ceremony venue to the reception, that they worked the drinks reception together talking to both of your friends and families, that they didn’t just do a first dance together, they did a few. I told them spend the day together to be present through it all.

spend the day together (7)

Continue reading

Whose Wedding is it, Anyway? Managing Meddling Family Members!

Whose Wedding is it, Anyway Managing Meddling Family Members (2)

Weddings and juggling family politics seems to go hand in hand. So much so that may be feeling like wedding planning is more of an exercise in negotiating family dynamics than a celebration of love. But don’t worry, Rock n Roll Bride is here to help!

You’ve set the date of your wedding and you’ve already decided that it’s not going to be a traditional affair. Your wedding is going to be special, out of the ordinary, something that you’re both going to be proud of. You’ve decided on the theme and it’s all going so well: you and your fiancé agree on all the things you want and you’re kind of wondering what all those brides before you were making such a fuss about. This is fun and easy!

But then something unpleasant happens. It’s like when your smoke alarm goes off when you thought nothing untoward was happening on the stove. Suddenly, everyone has an opinion on your choices and obstacles like anxious bridesmaids and meddling mothers get in the way. In expressing their ideas, they seem determined to destroy yours. Sometimes it’s just the sighs and silent shakes of the head which can crush you even further.

I remember the strained words we had over our wedding song. You would not believe that a three-minute bunch of crotchets and semibreves could cause such a rift. Mum laid the back of her hand across her forehead, much like a Renaissance figurine, “You can’t have THAT song!” she cried, “for heaven’s sake, it’s a wedding!”

You might think I was planning to play a funeral march, or the Hokey Cokey. Dear Lord, no. I wanted Queen, I Want to Break Free‘ I don’t think my mum got the irony.

Whose Wedding is it, Anyway Managing Meddling Family Members (12)

Continue reading

30 First Dance Song Ideas for Alternative Weddings

30 First Dance Song Ideas for Alternative Weddings (4)

Call me a hopeless romantic, but I bloody love a first dance. Maybe it’s the music geek in me, but I just love the idea of getting to share the music you love with everyone. If you don’t already have a special song chosen then it’s the perfect excuse to look for ideas, immerse yourself in lots of lovely music and find a new song that will mean the world to you both for years to come. These are some of my very favourite love songs which could be perfect for a first dance (or any point during your wedding really!) whether you want to jump around together or do the old cling-and-sway…. from Indie to a bit of Northern Soul, absolute classics to lesser-known tracks. Oh, and the theme tune to Father Ted.

I’ve created a Spotify plylist including all these songs too – you’re welcome! I’d love to know your first dance choices in the comments.

You You You You You – The 6ths
“Who has made my dreams come true and turned my grey skies blue?

Simple Song – The Shins
“Love’s such a delicate thing that we do,
With nothing to prove, Which I never knew”

Archie, Marry Me – Alvvays
“So, honey, take me by the hand and we can sign some papers
Forget the invitations, floral arrangements and bread makers”

Everywhere – Fleetwood Mac
“Oh I, I want to be with you everywhere”

30 First Dance Song Ideas for Alternative Weddings (1)

The Book of Love – The Magnetic Fields
“But I, I love it when you read to me,
And you can read me anything”

The Lovecats – The Cure
“We’re so wonderfully wonderfully wonderfully Wonderfully pretty!
Oh you know that I’d do anything for you “

In My Life – The Beatles
“But of all these friends and lovers, there is no one compares with you
And these memories lose their meaning when I think of love as something new”

Stay Young, Go Dancing – Deathcab for Cutie
“Through Autumn’s advancing, we’ll stay young, go dancing”

You’re My Best Friend – Queen
“You’re my sunshine and I want you to know that my feelings are true… I really love you”

You Are The Light (By Which I Travel Into This And That) – Jens Lekman
“Why would anyone need a map or a compass? It’s so beautiful to be guided by you”

30 First Dance Song Ideas for Alternative Weddings (3)

Songs of Love – The Divine Comedy
“So sing while you have time, let the song shine down from above… And fill you with songs of love”

There Is A Light That Never Goes Out – The Smiths
“And if a double-decker bus crashes into us…To die by your side is such a heavenly way to die”

You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman – Aretha Franklin
“Before the day I met you, life was so unkind and you’re the key to my peace of mind”

Fire In My Heart – Super Furry Animals
“You’ve got needles and pins and the seven deadly sins, Still I’ve got a fire in my heart for you”

First Day of My Life – Bright Eyes
“Yours was the first face that I saw
I think I was blind before I met you”

Baby I’m Yours – The Arctic Monkeys
“Yours until the poets run out of rhyme…In other words, until the end of time”

Do I Love You (Indeed I Do) – Frank Wilson
“As long as there is life in me, your happiness is guaranteed… I’ll fill your heart with ecstasy, forever darling”

If You Find Yourself Caught In Love – Belle and Sebastian
“Someone to take your life beyond, Another TV ‘I Love 1999′”

30 First Dance Song Ideas for Alternative Weddings (5)

Continue reading