Category Archives: Wedding

A Queensland Library Wedding: Shaun & Kate

The State Library of Queensland proved to be the perfect wedding venue for bookworms Shaun & Kate.

“We chose the State Library as we both really loved the space and as Shaun and I met over text books it seemed appropriate”, Kate told me. “We incorporated book, paper and typographical elements where we could but tried to not go overboard with the theme. I like a bit a kitsch but there was a strict anti baby’s breath policy!”

“I guess we did things a little differently,” she continued. “Firstly we ‘snuck off’ to the registry the day before the wedding to legally get married (although the sneaking didn’t work very well as we had about 50 witnesses). Saying our vows in front of our friends and family was more important to us than the legal or religious aspects and as we both disagree with the current definition of marriage in Australia, we decided that we didn’t want a celebrant or minister as part of the the ‘ceremony’. My brother performed the duties and we wrote the ceremony and vows ourselves so had lots of freedom in this regard.”

Their largely handmade and DIY wedding was a real group effort, with the couple calling on others for help where they could. “I spent lot of time and effort on the details and until the night I wasn’t sure if they would be noticed. I felt the handmade details and small elements really unified the evening and I received so many compliments and comments that I feel it was definitely worth doing. I really relied on the skills and talents of my friends and family. Most of the elements were DIY. Initially I had trouble asking for help but once I started people were delighted to help and were genuinely happy to be involved. Even local cafes were collecting bottles and jars for us, they were delighted to help too.”

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An Eclectic, ‘Junk Shop’ Inspired Wedding: Penny & Martin

Being wedding photographers themselves, Penny & Martin wanted to have a wedding that was completely personal to them. With an intimate ceremony in the Scottish highlands and a quirky reception in a Brighton coffee shop, they achieve this in spades!

They had always wanted to get married outside and as this is currently still not legal in England they traveled all the way from Brighton to Scotland for their intimate (just the two of them!) ceremony at Kingairloch Highland Estate. “We wanted to be married somewhere beautiful, dramatic and remote – somewhere that was just ours!” Penny told me. “We got some recommendations from a friend who knows the highlands well, and fell in love with Kingairloch when we saw the photos. We hadn’t visited the estate beforehand, so we spent our first day at the cottage exploring its stunning surroundings, and found the perfect little spot for our ceremony.”

“We wanted to have an outdoor ceremony which isn’t legal in England. We had considered doing the legal bit in our jeans the day before putting on the main ceremony for our friends and family, perhaps in the woods, but we were uncomfortable with the idea of already being married. Scotland (and most of the rest of the world) is more relaxed on their marriage laws so we would be able to have a legally recognised, humanist ceremony wherever we liked… and well, the Scottish highlands are stunning! We were really concerned that our nerves would overpower all other emotions on the day if we were to stand up in front of an audience, so we made the decision to have our little ceremony all to ourselves.”

For the photographs they set up their own cameras to photograph the ceremony on a timer. “We just loved the idea of having our own little photo project and actually the photographs mean so much more knowing that we took them ourselves!” Penny continued. “Martin was super-clever in how he organised all the cameras on tripods hiding in every available patch of long grass, set to take photos every second during the ceremony and every few seconds during the ‘couple shots’! We have loads of pics of Martin running into the frame, bounding over rocks and streams!” They even shot a video (which neither of them had ever done before!) themselves which they then played to their guests at the reception. You can watch it here. “It was so wonderful to share the wedding video with our friends and family at the reception, watching their reactions- laughter and tears, all of which we would have missed had we been at the front worrying about getting our lines right!”

On returning to Brighton, the couple wanted a big party to celebrate with their friends and family. They chose the quirky Marwood Coffee Shop for its relaxed atmosphere. “We really didn’t want anything formal and we wanted it to be memorably quirky! The Marwood with their extensive collection of awesome tat combined with skip-dived furniture and peeling walls was perfect! Plus it isn’t actually a designated wedding venue so it was unique to us. Most importantly, they serve kick arse coffee and life changing cake!”

The venue didn’t need much decorating but the couple added a few DIY elements to personalise the space. These included paper flowers, a Choccywoccydoodah cake and twinkly light fabric garlands made from strips of reclaimed fabric (which they’d also brought to Scotland with them and tied it to a tree for their ceremony backdrop!)

“We also pegged little ‘wishes’ on ribbons tied to embroidery hoops and hung from the ceiling,” the bride explained. “On one side they read ‘It is usually customary for the guests to grant wishes for the bride and groom – we are turning that on it’s head! Pick a wish and keep it safe’ and the other had little wishes such as ‘find a pot of gold’, ‘find someone who makes your toes curl’ and ‘be visited by the stork’!”

Just like the venue, Penny wanted her wedding dress to be unique and to scream ‘her’. She found her perfect designer, Armour sans Anguish, on etsy. “I wanted something that was mine, a one off, designed for just me! I was gathering inspiration on etsy and toying with the idea of designing my own, when I came across the wonderfully talented Tawny from Armour sans Anguish who uses reclaimed fabric (girl after my own heart) to create one-of-a-kind garments to order. It was a bit of a risk ordering a dress for a designer in California without having any fittings or even seeing the colour of the fabrics in person (photos can be rather deceptive)! However it really paid off. A few tweaks from a local seamstress and it was just perfect!”

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‘Rock Steady Reggae’ – A Colourful Outdoor Wedding: Nicole & John

Nicole & John’s colourful wedding was held at Church Point Manor Historic Bed & Breakfast on Virginia Beach. They wanted a bright celebration that reflected them and their personalities, and looking at the adorable photographs by Echard Wheeler, I think they certainly achieved that!

“We wanted a wedding that reflected us, not some generic wedding magazine with lots of frills and pastels,” the bride told me “and we’re creative so we knew we could make it happen, make it look good and make it fun for everyone. We wanted colors, food, photography, music and details that we loved, no matter how loud or unconventional it was. You don’t have to follow the traditional advice, if it’s something you like then do it, it’ll all work out in the end. Remember, you’re not creating a wedding for guest approval, they know you and love you and are coming to your wedding to celebrate you, so be YOU. Create a wedding that you look back on and say ‘we loved it’.”

“Be specific with your budget allocations,” the couple advise. “It’s OK to splurge on something that is meaningful to you if you can find creative and resourceful ways to complete your other details. It never hurts to ask for help from friends and family. They usually want to help – you just have to ask!”

“I would describe our theme as ‘Rock Steady Reggae’,” Nicole concluded. “Fresh fruits including watermelons, pineapple, oranges, bananas, mangoes, and grapes were our edible centerpieces, and we offered them to guests at the end of the celebration along with a paper grocery bag. We also had lemonade on each table to quench the thirst, and the best red velvet and white cake made by our family friend Cathy Cole. We ended the night with a live show by Jackmove.”

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A 3-day Wedding at a Rockstar’s Retreat: Holly & Karen

Ridge Farm, a working farm and ex-recording studio in Surrey, proved to be the perfect location for Holly & Karen’s May wedding. “What made our wedding Rock n Roll? Definitely the venue!” Holly told me. “Aside from being a beautiful farm that we fell in love with instantly, Ridge Farm is also a recording studio where so many of our musical heroes have recorded albums and stayed – so our wedding guests were partying in the very same place that Queen, Whitesnake, Muse, Roxy, Rush and many more have partied! We hired the farm for the entire long weekend – Karen is Irish and it’s Irish tradition to hold 3 day long weddings so we had a big meal on the Friday for family and friends then the wedding on the Saturday, followed by a pool party with live music and a hog roast for everyone on the Sunday. The farm sleeps 24 plus there is a camping field so all our hungover guests could just crawl out of bed on Sunday morning and stumble over to rejoin the party. By Sunday evening everyone was in the jacuzzi swigging prosecco from the bottle, even Karen’s mum!”

“We wanted to fit a lot into our 3 day wedding but we were also determined not to start married life with a ridiculous amount of debt so we decided to try and swap our skills as web designers with various wedding suppliers,” she continued. “I would definitely recommend doing this, Karen posted an ad on Gumtree and we had over 20 bands offer to play for free! We also had offers from florists, entertainers and videographers. We chose 4 of the bands and they played in a mini festival on the Sunday in return for either website help or just a few beers! The bands were all lovely and we’re planning to go and see some of them when they next play in London.”

“Our friends and family also helped out massively – our ceremony was conducted by a friend, she was even ordained especially for the occasion! My mum made over 90 metres of bunting, a friend made us origami cranes, my aunt made our cake, my dad, best woman and Karen’s sister made all of the cupcakes and canapes – which were all served on large slates provided by my brothers roofing firm.”

“Karen made a sweet table to keep the children happy, although it was the adults that ended up eating most of them! It was the adults that had the most fun with the space hoppers we had too! We also made a lemonade stand and our page boys, my little brother and Karen’s nephew, served homemade lemonade to guests on arrival. We made a huge batch of rum and elderflower punch for after the ceremony and the caterers topped up glasses using a watering can.”

“We didn’t really have a specific theme,” Holly responded when I asked about it, “we kind of just picked all things that we liked. We wanted our wedding to feel more like a big party or festival than a wedding so we kept everything relaxed and tried to avoid anything that we felt was too wedding-y. The most important thing to us was that everyone else had a good time, so big sharing platters of food, loads of rum and wine and lots of music were the main things we focussed on.”

As the venue played such a huge role in the look and feel of the wedding, the couple did have a slight musical theme with their table names being named after albums. “We named our tables after albums that had been recorded at the farm – and I made a table plan using old records with mini doilies covering the record label to show the table name/number. I also used some of the old records that had been recorded at the farm to make bowls for our sweet table – I put the records in the oven on a low heat and placed them on top of various bowls/containers with a tin of beans on top to weigh them down as they melted into the shape of the bowls.”

“For the table decorations, we scoured charity shops and car boot sales for old china cups and bowls, we then filled them all with wax and made them into candles for each table. We made vases from old glass bottles and jars that our friends saved for us, then decorated them with the fabric that was left from the bunting. We also used the leftover fabric to tie each persons cutlery together, to make table cloths and to attach name tags to the favours (personalised m&ms) and my Nan made aprons from it for the waiting staff to wear. Maybe our theme was leftover fabric! I also cut up strips of burlap fabric to make the table runners and scattered each table with butterflies punched from our invites, beads from broken necklaces and old badges. I loved styling our wedding so much that I’m considering starting up a wedding styling and catering company now!”

“We both dislike the term ‘civil partnership’ so we went with ‘Karen and Holly are becoming civilized…’ as the introduction on our invites,” Holly concluded. “Karen wrote our ceremony and it was conducted by our close friend in Ridge Farm’s beautiful orchard. Having a friend carry out the ceremony made it much less intimidating and really personal, Karen’s sister wrote an emotional poem that she read during the ceremony and another friend did a reading that included quotes on love/marriage from our flower girl and page boy.”

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A Waterside Wedding in Rio de Janeiro: Adriana & Daniel

For their November wedding, Adriana & Daniel were keen to inject as much of both their cultures (Brazilian & British) into the day as possible. The event was held at Iate Clube de Búzios, a yacht club in Rio de Janeiro. The bride designed her own dress and used handmade lace from Renda Renascença with the help of dressmaker Inês Uemura.

“Sometimes you shoot a wedding that is so amazing, that it is only when you look back on your images and film that you can actually even remember what happened,” wedding photographer Maria of Studio 1208 told me. “The whole thing is so effortless, yet it moves like a beautiful old steam locomotive, thundering past you and carrying you away into some distant land.”

“Daniel & Adriana’s wedding was spectacular, yet it was never over the top or dressy. It somehow managed to harness two cultures perfectly, and ride them along the Brazilian sun coast to a carnival by the beach. The wedding was in a tiny white and blue church, packed to the rafters, people hanging in the doors and windows, just trying to get a glimpse. The live soundtrack to the day was provided by a great composer and accordion player, Dave Thomas, whose music is featured in our film. As if that wasn’t enough, at some point in the night, an incredible Brazilian live band started to play and Samba dancers appeared in a swirl of luminous colors and shining beads, encouraging even the tamest of spectators to do a little limbo.”

“To top it all off, best man, Michael, introduced his ‘pièce de résistance’ – a video message from a guest who unfortunately could not be at the wedding. It was none other Mr. Snoop Dog himself personally telling the happy couple, ‘From big Snoop Dogg, congratulations on your wedding. Stay down, stay with each other.  Two lovers together forever.  Believe dat.’ Believe that indeed!”

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A Brazilian Restaurant Wedding: Rebecca & Gabriel

Rebecca & Gabriel’s Canadian wedding took place in November. Toronto City Hall hosted their ceremony, and they selected Caju Restaurant for a low key and casual reception. Gabriel is from Brazil so the cuisine of the restaurant provided a nod to his family and heritage.

“Gabriel and I met online, and deleted our dating profiles after our first date,” Rebecca told me. “We moved in together after a month of dating and knew we were going to get married. We both just knew we had finally met the right one, and something about the way we worked together just made complete sense! He is from Brazil, living in Canada and I moved to Toronto to meet people. None of Gabriel’s family was able to come to Canada for our wedding, so we had our small 30 guest reception at an authentic Brazilian Restaurant so we would at least incorporate Brazil through the amazing food.”

“On the day of the wedding Gabriel drove his scooter for 45 minutes to get our big red balloon. It was the only ‘task’ I had given him to take care of, and to get it home from where he found it he tied it to the back of his scooter and drove it back home! It is currently still with air in it (barely!) in our house. We loved that red balloon! He also forgot his wedding ring on the day of the wedding, and had to zip home on his scooter, and battle rush hour gridlocked traffic to get to City Hall on time!”

The bride opted for a short white dress from Fashion Crimes instead of a traditional wedding dress, and with it she teamed a vintage fur wrap and a homemade headpiece. “I made my own birdcage veil, very simply from a website I found online”, the bride continued. “I decorated all of our floral mason jars with mismatched lace and fabric (from my own personal stash!) I made drink straw banners and cupcake bunting and hand stamped our envelopes, made our invitations, and of course made all of my own flowers! I’ve been a florist for over 10 years, so it was very important to me to do that.”

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