Category Archives: Wedding

A Relaxed Wedding Under Canvas: Gwen & Ali

Without wanting to start off this blog post by sounding inappropriate…How smokin’ hot does Gwen look her her Fairy Goth Mother corset and skirt combo? VERY is the answer to that. Have you seen her teeny tiny little waist!?

Anyway, enough perving…let’s get along with the formalities shall we?

Gwen & Ali wanted a unique and personal wedding, and to achieve this they chose to hire tents from Beautiful World Tents which they erected on the grounds of Knepp Castle in West Grinstead. “After looking online at lots of venues and land hire this place looked perfect,” Gwen told me. “This was actually the only venue we went to see and the decision was made! Woodland, a lake, less than an hour from Brighton where we live, full kitchen facilities and more importantly stunning! The other added benefit was free roaming animal, pigs, deer and much more besides. It was incredibly beautiful and also very reasonable on costs. We found the location through the tent company and added bonus this being their headquarters which meant no delivery costs to get the tents to the venue. On the land we had 2 giant hat tents joined together facing down to the lake. You hire the land and facilities for the whole weekend, really handy for set-up and take down.”

“Also essential to the day was we wanted a very special friend of ours to marry us. Being so important to us we asked our friend Steve to perform the ceremony. OK it wouldn’t be legal but having someone you love perform the ceremony has to be better than a stranger, the words were personal to us and spoke directly to us as people rather than the one size fits all traditional ceremony. So we decided to get married at Brighton registry office in the week and then throw a big party with our friends at the weekend. Having the wedding this way did mean we had 2 weddings to plan as we had to legally get married at the registry office. At first we were apprehensive that the registry office wedding would detract from the big day, but actually when it was all over to quickly we were delighted at the prospect of doing it all over again! It did mean 2 weddings, 2 dresses (which is no bad thing), 2 dinners etc! Double the work but 10 times the enjoyment.”

“Before we even thought about where or when to get married thought about food!” the bride continued. “Being massive foodies there was no other choice than a hog roast, this helped shape the plan for an outdoor wedding, somewhere beautiful in the countryside that was relaxed and inspiring.”

“I’m also personally not a fan of cake (I also appreciate that makes me a total freak in the eyes of the world!). Ice cream on the other hand is my favourite desert. So instead of a wedding cake we had an old fashioned ice cream bike with loads of tasty flavours and toppings. Desert was provided by a Sideshow Snacks, the beautifully decorated bike and decadent ice creams were the perfect way to end the meal.”

“We wanted something unique and special to us, something that really epitomised our characters and relationship,” Gwen concluded. “Not being traditional or religious we were really seeking a day that was truly of our making. Having not been to many weddings personally a lot of the normal wedding traditions have passed me by, which in a lovely way left the vision free of constraint. The plan was to create something quirky and original and totally unique to us. Most important of all was for it to be fun, stress free and a wonderful way to spend the day celebrating with friends and family.”

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A Two-Day Hindu & Catholic Wedding: Lucy & Vish {Part Two}

After the festivities of their Hindu ceremony, Lucy & Vish woke up on the Saturday morning ready to do it all again – this time in a Catholic church. The ceremony was held at St Patrick’s RC Church, Manchester, with the reception that followed back at St Peter’s Hall.

Their Catholic wedding has very British influences – from high tea to bingo! Lucy wore a vintage wedding dress from Elizabeth Avey. “I knew I wanted a vintage Betty Draper-esque dress, as the 50s is my style era! Elizabeth’s was my first stop, which was ideal as it was only up the road from where I live in Kentish Town. Although I didn’t find the dress straight away, Elizabeth knew exactly what I wanted and told me to return in a few weeks as she was due to get in more pieces. I’m so glad I went back as when I returned she pulled out THE dress, which was an original 50s number, fresh from LA! Although she needed a clean she was in pristine condition for her 60 years! It was originally a drop waist dress but the lovely ladies at Designer Alterations raised the waist to make it more prom style and lowered the neckline at the back, other than that she is exactly as she was the first time around!”

“I am obsessed with tea and cake, so my china tea-sets had to have a starring role, we had a tea-station serving masala chai, home-made cakes and Indian sweets on both days! We were able to supply all our own booze so we had a seemingly endless supply of Prosecco, which I drank from a tea-cup all night!  On the Saturday night, the wedding guests actually drank the bar dry twice which led to our caterers having to go out and buy more booze! This led to many, many drunken guests, which is exactly what we wanted.”

Apart from the flowers, we didn’t really need to do much to decorate the building as the space itself was so impressive. I did make a few meters of Bollywood bunting out of Indian sari material to hang and we used Indian flower garlands to decorate the tea and cake station. My Dad found the vintage typewriter in the garage and spruced it up so we could use it for a guest book. We hired the Neon Light from Neon Creations and Vish also bought a Carrom board, a Indian board-game crossed between drafts and pool which kept the kids entertained for the weekend!”

“Although all the details above were important, we tried not to get caught up in all of this,” Lucy concluded. “Quite a few things went wrong over the course of our wedding days, but tried not to let it get to us as they were only minor glitches that now make for funny wedding stories to be told in the future! The most important thing to us was that all our close friends and family were able to share in our special day(s)!, especially my Grandparents who are both in their 90s and we weren’t sure if they were going to be able to travel to Manchester or not. Thankfully both Nan & Grandad made it and were the guests of honour! We had the most amazing 2-days with all our favourite people so we couldn’t ask for more than that!”

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A Two-Day Hindu & Catholic Wedding: Lucy & Vish {Part One}

This afternoon’s wedding is being split into two parts. I’m not usually a huge fan of the two-parter, but there’s just so much going on in Lucy & Vish’s  weekend-long wedding I did’t want anything to get overlooked! On Friday 28th October they had a Hindu wedding ceremony and reception, and then the following day, they had a catholic ceremony and another reception! First up, the Friday…

The day started with a ceremony at St Peter’s Hall, Manchester. “We always knew we would have a wedding of 2 parts as we wanted to honour both of our cultures and religions,” Lucy told me, “so we chose to have a traditional Hindu Blessing on the Friday followed by a Church wedding on the Saturday, an epic 2-day wedding!”

“The first problem we came up against was finding a venue that could cater for both an Indian wedding and a big party! We needed a space to hold the Indian ceremony and reception, which would let us bring in our own Indian caterers, there are very few places that actually offer this and the ones that did were very traditional, very expensive, Stately homes or big hotels and definitely not the sort of place we had in mind for our wedding! Initially I started looking at marquees, but again, this was a very expensive option and we had the small problem of no land to pitch a marquee! This led me to go down the route of more alternative venues such as village halls, theatres etc, which is how I came across St Peter’s Hall, a former church in the Ancoats area of Manchester City Centre which has recently undergone a huge restoration project by the North West Development Agency. We live in London but decided to get married up North as it was close to both our families, it was just by chance that we found this venue and we liked the idea of an urban city centre wedding as we are a city girl and boy at heart!”

“As soon as we stepped foot in St Peter’s, we both knew it was perfect for our wedding, we instantly fell in love with the space. Inside was still unfinished so it was a little rough around the edges, but we liked the contrast of the unfinished warehouse feel with the beautiful church interior and stained glass windows. It also had an east-facing altar, which was perfect for the Indian ceremony to be performed! In our eyes it really was the perfect venue, but sadly our dreams were almost shattered when we discovered that the building was not going to remain empty for long and that the new tenants were unlikely to be in a position to hire out the space when they moved in at the start of November.”

“The only option was to get married before the new tenants moved in, but this was at the start of May so it didn’t exactly give us a huge amount of time! Could we realistically organise a 2-day wedding in less than 6 months? Everyone thought we were mad, but we decided to just go for it, we have been together for 10 years so we figured that we didn’t need a long drawn-out engagement!  We chose the latest possible date in October which luckily also coincided with Diwali (Indian New Year) which also meant it was a good/auspicious time for a new marriage to take place!”

For the Indian wedding Lucy wore a traditional sari which was a gift from Vish’s parents, “The Indian tradition is that the groom’s family buy the bride’s outfit and the bride’s family buy the groom’s. Vish’s Mum and sister went on a mammoth shopping spree in India to buy all the wedding saris and outfits. Thankfully they have great taste and came back with the most beautiful outfits, I felt like a Bollywood princess, especially when I was carried down the aisle.”

“I was carried into the ceremony on a traditional wedding Doli by my Uncles, my Brother and my Best Man. We actually had this made by Kirti (Vish’s sister’s) builder, Kirti and I decorated it with Indian material and flower garlands. You can’t tell from the photo’s but I was absolutely terrified that they were going to drop me, Thankfully they did me proud and got me to the altar in one piece!”

“As the wedding was held during Diwali the Indian festival of light, we decided that the theme should be a celebration of Love & Light,” the bride concluded. “This actually worked well as both the ceremonies involved elements of light, from taking 7 sacred steps around the wedding fire to the catholic candle ceremony. To keep with the theme we filled the venue with candles, we had tea-lights in jam jars on all the tables and gave personalised candles from mdb weddings and events on Etsy to guests.  We also released fire-lanterns and ended the Friday night with a firework display – a Diwali and Indian wedding tradition.”

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A Simple & Homely Wedding in Milan: Roberto & Cherie

Italian Roberto & Chinese Cherie planned their Milan wedding from other sides of the world, “Until 2 months before the wedding, we had lived in 2 different countries (Hong Kong and UK) for 16 months, ” Cherie told me. “I had taken a sabbatical to spend time with my family in Hong Kong and the majority of our ideas exchange and planning was done on email or Skype. We found the organising super boring, couldn’t wait to party on the day!”

The couple met in London and so filmed their Save the Date video in the city, and they actually ended up having two weddings (the Italian one pictured and another in Hpng Kong) so it really was a multicultural, multinational affair!

“We decided on some values for our weddings, they were ‘simple’, ‘vintage’, ‘homely’ and most of all ‘fun’, the bride continued. “Our rule-of-thumb was, ‘if nobody would remember it in 2-3 years time, then don’t sweat over it.’ Therefore things like flowers, decorations and cake were at the bottom of our list of importance. We were so overwhelmed by the number of friends and families that flew over to Italy just for us so we wanted to make the whole weekend super fun. They were at the top of our priority list!”

“What you remember from an event is usually the atmosphere, special moments and people that you spend time with, so we made sure it was very relaxed with plenty of time and opportunity to mingle, created some crazy signature moments e.g. our pretentious celebrity red carpet type entrance to the reception in Muse’s ‘Feeling Good’ and got everyone to sing a few songs before dancing!  The rock star personalities were all coming out!”

“However simplicity does take effort,” she concluded. “It is often easier to just do what the world says you should do for weddings, e.g. the bride’s name must come first, the cake must look amazing, you have to do an impeccable first dance etc.  But there is no such thing as you ‘should’ or you ‘must’!  If it’s not important, produces minimal impact or easily forgotten, just scrap it. That’s what we did. Traditions can be changed so focus on a few things that matter to you and make them memorable.”

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A Black & White, Boutique Hotel Wedding: Abbi & Jools

After a cliff top proposal, Abbi & Jools, who met while working at the Cadbury factory, planned their 5* boutique wedding at The Hempel Hotel, London.

“Jools and I met 8 years ago, when we both started working for Cadbury. Clearly, having a Cadbury chocolate/sweetie bar at the wedding was obligatory!” Abbi explained. “We got engaged in Australia, on a cliff top on the Great Ocean Road, while sitting on a bench and eating some delicious cake. When Jools said ‘I’ve got a question to ask you’, I replied ‘Do you want the rest of my cake?’ Usually he would have jumped at the opportunity – but instead went down on one knee… to which I responded ‘oh my God oh my God oh my God… where shall I put the cake?’ I put it on the ground. It was fine. I ate it later.”

“Our wedding day was the best day of my life. I thought I would be nervous, and I was worried I would cry (I’m a bit of a blubber at other people’s weddings), but as soon as I started walking down the aisle with my Dad, I couldn’t wipe the grin off my face. I just wanted to throw my arms around Jools – but when I reached the front and tried to kiss him, he refused because we weren’t married yet! By the end of our wedding day, my face was aching with grinning so much. When we got our beautiful wedding photos back, you can see the exact expression I was pulling all day!”

“I’m not terribly creative, but I did a little bit of DIY,” Abbi continued. “I made all the name tags we used for place settings. My favourite wedding purchse may have been the heart-shaped hole punch I used before tying on the ribbons. At dinner, I went round pointing out the heart shaped holes to everyone. No one else had noticed. I did. They made me happy.”

“Jools and I have been lucky enough to be invited to a LOT of friends’ weddings – about 19 in the past few years.” she concluded. “I’ve been bridesmaid at 5, witness at 2, a reader at one, photographer at one… basically, we’re wedding pros! We’ve been to all different types – churches, castles, country houses, barns, hotels…but mostly fairly traditional. We just wanted ours to be a bit different – so we decided on a city chic, boutique hotel, slightly quirky feel. Basically, we just wanted it to be a really fun party with great food, great booze and great music!”

“Colour-scheme wise, I guess it was black and white with flashes of colour. The guests were all in black tie, the venue was fairly monochrome, the bridesmaids dresses were all different versions of the little black dress… and then there was my dress. The most fun dress in the world. God I love that dress. Clearly I couldn’t tell Jools about the dress beforehand, but I just knew it was perfect for the feel we were going for. The 50s style, the black and white…. Wearing it blew me away – and everyone else fell over themselves to say how much they loved it. I felt like a movie star. And it was great to dance and spin around in, unlike the more traditional, restrictive long dresses I tried on. Plus it gave me a genuine excuse (as if I needed one) to buy some Christian Louboutins… you could see my feet! I was nervous that my outfit would look too OTT, that Jools would fall about laughing when he saw me – but it was the best decision I ever made.”

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A Shamanic Wedding Ceremony in Guatemala: Daniela & Mark

How utterly beautiful is today’s real wedding? This is the kind of wedding that makes my heart sing – no fuss, no details, no over-the-top-bridezilla-stresses – just the most important thing…love.

The bride, Daniela, told me all about their special day. “There were only the two of us at the ceremony, the lady who married us, the lady who owned the land and our photographer. The ceremony itself lasted about 1.5 hrs and consisted of several parts: lighting the fire, being cleansed with special leaves and incense, hearing the 20 nahuales of the Mayan Calendar being read out, telling each other our love and exchanging our rings, being wrapped in a green shawl which represented Gaia. We began and ended the ceremony with chocolate, a block of which was also burned in the fire. Chocolate is sacred in Mayan culture.”

“We chose to get married in Guatemala as we got engaged there last year and it’s our favourite country. Neither of us knew much about Mayan beliefs, but after doing some research we decided to tie the knot in a Mayan fire ceremony because we felt like we should honour the traditions of our chosen wedding location. Organising everything was extremely easy – we found our photographer via Tripadvisor and our shaman, the amazing Aum Rak , via a quick Google search. She then got us in touch with Terri, the owner of a local hotel in Lake Atitlan who offered us to get married on her land.”

“I knew that I wanted to wear a vintage (or vintage-looking) dress and briefly considered one by BHLDN, but it would have been almost criminal to shove such an expensive dress into my backpack for 3 weeks (we were travelling through Mexico and other locations in Guatemala before the wedding). So I chose a Gunne Sax dress instead, which I could just roll up and carry around with me without it getting creased. As for shoes, they had to be Swedish clogs!”

“Some might think we’re bonkers for getting married in this way,” she concluded, “but our parents fully understood, and for us it couldn’t have been more perfect or more emotional and meaningful (I was crying so much throughout the ceremony!). We had such a relaxed, blissful day as we didn’t have to worry about anything. No guests, no reception, no cake, no make-up or hair appointments… It was completely stress-free! Afterwards we had our honeymoon in the middle of the jungle in Honduras!”

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