Category Archives: Wedding

48 Couples Marry at Bestival in the Big Love Inflatable Church

Taking place on the Isle of Wight for the past 7 years, Bestival music festival has fast become sinimomous with crazy antics, fancy dress…oh and a big dollop of awesome music thrown in for good measure! Each year it also plays host to the Big Love Inflatable Church, where couples can go to tie the knot. This year wedding photographer Chris Cowley was there to catch all the action!

He explains, “A grand total of 48 weddings took place over the 3 day festival, Reverend’s ‘Nickerless’ and ‘Randy Johnson’ preformed ceremonies with the help of dishevelled bridesmaids, a mother in-law and a maid of dishonour.”

“Those wanting to get married booked up early on Friday to prepare themselves and their partner or partners, for a wedding they would never forget! Before the ceremony the bridesmaids dressed the groom and groomsmen in a variety of wedding dresses and suits of their choice. They then dressed the brides, who got to fulfil their fantasy of a semi traditional white wedding. When the groom, best man and any wedding crashers not in the bridal party were ready – they were taken to meet the Vicar who would be performing the ceremony.”

“In the meantime the “Pamper Posse” looked after hair, makeup, face painting and offered calming massages to the bridal party. Each bride was pampered and made to look stunning for their special moment as they were given away down the aisle of the Big Love Inflatable Church.”

“At this point, this is where the similarity to a traditional white English wedding ends and the uniqueness of a Big Love Inflatable Church begin! The ceremonies themselves were far from conventional! The Reverend’s took it in turns to conduct each service where anyone and everyone was welcome. The congregation packed tightly into the church with the bridesmaids kneeling below the Vicar. At the end of each very risqué service music played and the congregation danced in celebration whilst the bridesmaids encouraged everyone to create an archway for the couple to exit through under their arms.The wedding certificate was then signed outside the church, whilst the bridesmaids gathered the congregation together for one big wedding photo as the group shouted ‘BIG LOVE!’.”

“A wide variety of ceremonies took place over the weekend including numerous blessings, vow renewals (one only a week after the couple were legally married), civil partnerships and a stand-in wedding for a couple who couldn’t afford the one they initially planned.”

“Whilst every wedding was memorable for its own unique reason, a few in particular services stood out for me, including an Island group who have gotten married every year at the Big Love Inflatable Church for the last 7 years. A pirate wedding who were getting married for their 3rd time in a row (this time in the presence of their new-born daughter), another wedding who were led down the aisle by Edinburgh brass band ‘Horndog’ and the grand finale which was a special wedding for the Inflatable Church company director Tristram (a former Inflatable Church vicar) and his partner Sophie.”

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A Hardcore Wedding at a Private Residence: Jacob & Janelle

Jacob & Janelle were married at a private residence in Provincetown, MA. The groom being a singer in the punk/hardcore/metal band Converge, this was always going to be a bad ass wedding and they certainly didn’t disappoint.

The couple were keen to create a wedding that had ‘them’ stamped all over it and so provides all the visual direction for the decor themselves. this included The vintage test tube rack idea to hold flowers. “This was something we knew we wanted to use from our own home,” they explained. “The glass bottle used as center pieces on the tables were all found objects from our own backyard. We have been renovating our home for a number of years, and it’s been a huge part of our lives during that time.”

“Since they were all found during that process, it meant a lot to us to include them. The beakers were provided by the people at Mad Props, Boston. Everything was artfully assembled by Andrea Black for Ramblin’Rose. We executed everything ourselves with the help of friends and family”

Of course the music and entertainment was really important to this couple so instead of entrusting it to a “potential horriblesitcom-esque DJ disaster” (their words haha!) they compiled the playlist themselves. “We spent a few days and assembled a variety of playlists for certain times during the evening,” they continued. “It was an eclectic mix, but not too obscure.”

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A Surprise Superhero Themed Wedding: David & Jo

David & Jo had a superhero themed surprise wedding. What else can I really say but…awesome!

“Our inspiration was that we are both hugely devious and we wanted to have a really good laugh,” Jo wrote. “We decided early on to invite everyone to my 40th birthday party and the theme would be Superheroes…”

“…We just failed to tell them all that it would actually be a wedding reception and we would be the Super-Dupers and will have duped them all. We’ve been together just shy of 20 years and really nobody ever thought we’d take the leap. For some, it’s still quite a shock!”

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A Quintessentially English Country Garden Wedding: Liz & Blake

Liz moved to America from the UK where she met Blake while he was singing in a bar. After dating for a while he proposed while on holiday in Rome.

Although well-traveled, Liz wanted to have her wedding in her hometown of Brize Norton, in her parent’s back garden. She had to rely on her parents, sister and bridesmaids a lot for help during the planning,

“I arrived in the UK 3 days before the wedding and immediately had to go and meet our vicar, after that we had to fight the jet lag to start decorating the marquee,” Liz told me. “I didn’t realise how much stuff I  had collected over the year and when I saw it all piled up in my parent’s dining room I felt really overwhelmed by it all. Luckily my sister and bridesmaid were on hand to keep everything on track we knuckled down and started hanging and arranging.”

The wedding had a quintessential English feel. “I have always wanted to get married in Mum and Dad’s garden, Blake and I wanted our wedding to be casual, colourful and fun,” the bride continued. “I knew I wanted a vintage garden party feel to the wedding and I started collecting stuff. Mum and Dad were travelling around the UK picking up my eBay purchases. Dad would talk to me on the phone and say that his shed had been over taken with all my ‘junk’….”

“My mum has really green fingers so she started planting flowers to bloom in August. When my Mum and sister came over to NY for my hen party they went home with 2 huge suitcases full of stuff I had collected for the wedding – mason jars, oil lamps, vintage table cloths, vintage napkins, homemade bunting and of course my bird cages…”

“I love everything vintage, especially vintage jewelry, I started collecting vintage brooches initially to use as the escort cards. I found so many amazing enamel flower brooches that they inspired me to use them as my bouquet. It took quite a few attempts to get it to look good, but eventually what worked the best was treating each brooch as an individual flower. I attached florist wire to each brooch by simply twisting it around the pin. I didn’t want to ruin any of the brooches, all of them can be taken off the wire and worn as a brooch.”

“Once I had my bouquet together in a vase I arranged it and gathered them all up and selotaped them together. I then trimmed all the ends of wire so they were straight and bent the brooch flowers until I had an attractive bouquet with no holes. I then folded about a yard of 1” ribbon in a concertina pattern about 3” long and sewed it together at one end. I then attached this to the top of the wire stems, just below the flower heads and fluffed it out. I then took the rest of my ribbon and wound it around the rest of the wire stem attaching it with pearl dress pins. My Dad then put some mastic over the sharp ends of wire.”

Liz wore a vintage dress which she found in a shop in Cornwall. “I found it when I was out with Mum. Had no intention of buying a dress but I fell in love with it. My Mother in  law (Kim) then made me the bolero out of the fabric she cut off the bottom of the dress and shortened it. I turned out perfect, exactly what I wanted.”

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A South African Winter Wedding at A Private Game Reserve: Jaimi & Adrian

Jaimi & Adrian are wedding photographers themselves so when it came to planning their own big day the photography was obviously a very important part for them. “Adrian and I met through a photographic project he did back in 2008 and we fell in love,” Jaimi told me. “He asked me to marry him on a misty morning in October 2009 in the Drakensburg Kzn. We got married on January 10th, 2010 and had a small ceremony at Tala. We renewed our love for each other and had our wedding celebration on June the 24th this year at our special love place … Tala Private Game Reserve.”

“As Adrian has been in the wedding industry for over 12 years now as a wedding photographer. We really wanted our day to be ‘us’ and a bit more rocker than the weddings we shoot every weekend of the year. We took all the ‘stuff’ we loved and piled it onto one day – from the clothes we love, to the passion we have to the fun we wanted for our family. It turned out awesome, it was personal, full of love, non stressful and just super rocking.”

“We had the most intense African storm at about 2pm in the afternoon and we almost thought our shoot would be hindered but we had the most awesome day thereafter, the sky cleared and Sam (our photographer) literally shot us in one location rotating us in a 360 degrees.”

“Our whole playlist scared our DJ, David just a little, but he trusted us and played it anyway and Adrian (not a big dancer) and I (love dancing) ended up being the last couple on the dance floor. Our first dance song was ‘Monuments and Melodies’ by Incubus and everyone just stood around us and we attempted a dance. It was incredible – I felt like it was just us.”

“As mentioned earlier, this was a renewal of our love from a year and a bit back, and we loved every second. We are so glad we had a videographer  (Lauren & Andrew) and Sammi Babe did a super job of the photos. Everything was just an overwhelming blessing having the most important people either side of us and everyone we loved at our long single banquet dinner table. We chose our own wine for the evening and a shooter table. We also had a DIY photo booth that made the party start on a high note.”

“Our theme was all about being us,” the bride concluded. “Adrian and I got together under rough circumstances and got married just 4 days after deciding we wanted to. We just needed this. This solidarity with our family. It was evidence of our love for all to see. Being a winter wedding in South Africa we had a sort of vintage-autumn theme. I did not like the idea of flowers so we did black candles, different height and size crystal candle stands and real autumn leaves across the whole length of gold taffeta table cloths.”

Beautiful…and check out the video too!

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A Day of the Dead Art Gallery Wedding: Angie & Adam

Angie & Adam were married at Manchester Art Gallery, a fitting venue as the bride went to Manchester Metropolitan University to study art where she met her future husband. Angie wore a bespoke purple dress made for her by a friend who works in a theatre wardrobe department (currently with We Will Rock You!) They designed it together so Angie got just what she wanted.

The couple chose not to have bridesmaids or groomsmen. They entered their ceremony together. “We wanted to start as we mean to go on – together,” they explained. “We walked down the aisle holding hands and remained holding hands through the service. Also Angie’s a bit of a feminist and didn’t want to be given away.”

The reception had  Mexican/Day of the Dead Festival theme. They continued, “We wanted a colourful festival feel that would make the day fun for all our guests.  Also, we’re both creative people who like to get our hands dirty – so making the decorations was a must for us! Angie’s final exhibition for her art degree was also based around Mexican folk art and the day of the dead festival.”

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