Kelly and Benjamin knew what they wanted for their wedding right from the start. They wanted an informal day with a festival vibe and lots and lots of colour! “The inspiration for our wedding was just ‘let’s be ourselves'”, Kelly said. “We’ve been to so many weddings over the years that all feel the same; a lot of people try and have this fancy formal affair when it really doesn’t reflect who they are as people.”
“As soon as we started planning, the main focus was that we wanted a relaxed and informal atmosphere. We were adamant we didn’t want a fancy sit down meal instead we wanted a party atmosphere with everyone tucking into burgers and sausages. Everyone that we spoke to after our wedding spoke so fondly of the day and how relaxed and fun it was. There was so much laughter from start to finish, exactly like we wanted. Our budget was just £8000 and we only really spent money on the things that guests enjoy at weddings – the venue, good food and the music!”
I’m totally obsessed with the spectacular location of Holly and Tom’s informal Welsh wedding. They were married in the lighthouse at Nash Point, on the coast of Vale of Glamorgan in South Wales. They chose the location because it was so naturally beautiful.
“We drew inspiration from our gorgeous surroundings, the beautiful beach and the stunning coastline”, said Holly. “Tom used to be a keen surfer so we instantly knew that we wanted the wedding to take place near the sea. We were so lucky that Nash Point has a breath-taking view. The fact that the lighthouse is the only working lighthouse in the country licensed for weddings sealed the deal.”
“We didn’t want anything too formal so I spent hours scouring Pinterest for casual wedding ideas”, she continued. “The first thing we wanted is for the wedding to be like one big party, like a festival, so we hired tipis and set them up in the field next to the lighthouse for our reception. The farmer we hired the field from also let us borrow his hay bales which made for great decoration and seating. We wanted to have a sweet table, a popcorn bar and s’more kits for our guests which we made ourselves the night before the wedding. The finishing touch had to be fairy lights and bunting because let’s be honest they make absolutely anything look pretty and magical!”
Lucy and Sean were married at Fazeley Studios in Birmingham. A bright, white and modern interior, this venue was the perfect backdrop for them to put their own colourful stamp on.
“We’re both music lovers and our favourite bands influenced the table decorations and the music that shaped the day”, Lucy began. “There was nothing too formal or traditional, no pastels and no cutesy bridesmaid dresses! Whilst many venues do a lot of the work for you with their set wedding packages, Fazeley Studios let us run wild and create our perfect day.”
“I would describe our wedding theme as bright, fresh, bursting with clashing rainbow colours and a dose of rock n roll”, she continued. “We had gigantic helium balloons with brightly coloured ribbon lining the aisle – until one of them exploded just before the ceremony! It gave those already gathered a shock and it was a good job I didn’t hear it – I’m terrified of balloons popping! We decided to have them lining the room for the meal instead of in the centre of the tables after that!”
Cherry and Marco had a pagan wedding at Furtho Manor Farm near Milton Keynes. The bride’s grandmother officiated the ceremony.
“All we really knew was that we wanted a handfasting ceremony and we wanted it outside”, began the bride. “We also wanted it to be personal and fun. The rest kind of just fell in to place. We love Mexican food, we love ice cream, and we love being outdoors – turns out so did all of our guests! We didn’t do a lot of the traditional wedding stuff, after the ceremony we just had a big party. It was awesome.”
“We didn’t consciously have a theme either, we just wanted to make the place look magical. I suppose it was sort of rainbow festival-y in a way, not sure how that happened, but it did! You won’t find colours anywhere in my wardrobe but our wedding was super colourful!”
“We also DIYed loads! Pretty much all of our décor was homemade or bought from Etsy. My bridesmaids were brilliant and we had a couple of really funny afternoons making paper pinwheels and other hilarious Pinterest bits. The day before the wedding we had a production line going of us six girls and Marco, all cutting and folding fabric to make covers for 60 hay bales. It was mental and I haven’t laughed so hard in ages. I highly recommend DIY’ing your wedding, it’s way more fun.”
Ollie and Emma ran away to Vegas to be married. The British couple wanted to do things completely on their own terms so that meant no guests and no fancy formality. They had a party for their friends and family back in the UK when they returned.
“We really wanted to escape and let off some steam after originally planning a very sensible wedding!”, the couple told me. “Vegas seemed the perfect playground and being free of guests meant we were able to do things exactly as we wanted. There was no pressure to please anyone other than ourselves.”
Zack and May’s wedding was a weekend-long affair. They invited their friends and family to stay with them at the venue from Friday-Sunday and everyone pitched in to help.
“We wanted to have a mini-festival where everyone was part of the event, rather than turning up to a stage-managed thing”, the groom told me. “Most people stayed on-site in rooms or treehouses. Everyone came up on the Friday to help decorate the venue, and we had the Proper Pizza Company, who built two brick pizza ovens in the courtyard, to feed the helpers. Everyone contributed to the day, and many stayed until Monday. Instead of presents we asked the guests to bring a couple of bottles and a dessert or some cheese for after the meal. On Sunday we woke up early and cooked a huge roast for everyone who stayed over.”
The wedding was held at West Lexham Manor in Norfolk. “We heard about the venue through a friend”, he continued. “We were able to do lots of DIY and make them place our own. We had custom printed table runners with cartoons us done by friends and pom pom sheep name holders with top hats. The tables were identified by posters of our top five favourite films and the ceiling was decorated with dried flowers, red and white paper lanterns and giant tissue-paper flowers. We also had strings of lights and lots of flowers in vases to teapots. Our plates and cutlery were made from naturally fallen materials like banana leaves. We got them from Little Cherry.”