After attending many formal and traditional weddings, Kirenia & Matt decided that they wanted something different for their own. They wanted be themselves – to have fun and dance all night long rather than having a fancy sit-down wedding. They both love rock music and dancing and so wanted to reflect this in their day.
Kirenia found her perfect dress 3 years before the wedding at Belinda’s Designs Couture in South Beach. They had to postpone the wedding when Kirenia fell pregnant with their daughter but even after all that time, she knew that was only one dress for her.
Alejandro & Aurelie’s wedding was a small one – tiny in fact. They were wed at Hammersmith & Fulham Registry Office with just a few close friends in attendance. They didn’t have a reception but instead will be having a big family party back home in Switzerland later this year.
Aurelie’s wedding day look was inspired by artist Frida Kahlo. She wore a vintage dress from Paper Dress Vintage and flowers in her hair from H & M. Aurelie is an artist (check out her exploding jewellery!) and so made her tourquise earrings herself from a pair of turquoise stones that Alejandro had bought her from Porobello Road Market.
Chris & Courtenay had a “Book Nerd/Steampunk /Pirate/Sci-Fi” themed wedding which was held on The Hawaiian Chieftain, a historical replica of a 1880’s trading ship. “We really wanted the wedding to reflect who we were, and a celebration of what we loved about each other,” the couple told me. “We wanted to be able to have a killer party with our closest friends and family and not compromise our tastes and values. Our venue came complete with cannons (which they fired off for us in celebration!) The double edge of this was a headcount of under 40, which was great to us, but some people just assumed they would be invited who were acquaintances and we had to explain this wasn’t an everyone in the world kind-of affair.”
Courtenay wore a custom dress from Dark Garden Corsetry and shoes from Fluevog. “The Dress is a combination of Victorian and Indian influences, made out of silk dupioni in lavender/gold and a wedding sari from an Indian bridal store in Berkeley,” the bride continued. “I knew that a dress from a traditional bridal store was never going to feel right. Mostly because of all the beautiful dresses available at those places they were never going to fit my curvy 5’2” short waist-ed frame. Autumn at Dark Garden was able to perfectly capture and create my personality and vision into an awe inspiring corset and bustle skirted wedding dress.”
In keeping with their theme, the whole wedding party and a lot of the guests dressed the part too. The groom wore a suit inspired by the movies Firefly and Stardust made by Laurie Tavan at Daze of Laur. He even added a firearm and sword! The bridesmaid’s outfits were also from Dark Garden and the groomsmen wore outfits hired from Costumes on Haight, San Francisco. “Almost everyone who attended got dressed up to the nines and looked fantastic,” Courtenay explained. “My father went out of his way to get a 1890s cowboy style outfit with beaver felt hat and classic oil cloth duster, he was so handsome. My sister got a beautiful Dark Garden corset, and my niece and nephews got into the act with pirate/Victorian style costumes. For the first hour and a half people kept coming up to me just in awe of how beautiful it was that day, mid 70s and sunny, it was truly magical.”
“I think the most Rock n Roll thing was us, how we approached the whole day with humor and a little literary wit,” the bride concluded. “If the wedding had to be a musical genre I would call it folk-punk, or Steam-folk. We set out to have an amazing day and it turned out better that you could ever imagine. We wanted to live the quote “Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.” Because it was about us, not a huge affair with doves and dollar dances and stuff being thrown about, we were determined to avoid bad DJs, crazy relatives we’d never met before, flower girls, ring bearers, punch fountains, ballrooms, chicken or steak entrees, towering confections or bored guests who couldn’t wait to leave. There were casualties of this of course, hurt feelings, traditionalists, and others, but at the end of the day it was about Chris and Courtenay celebrating their lives together, be happy for them or not that’s all there is.”
Michelle & Deborah’s touching ceremony was one of the main reasons I wanted to share their wedding with you all today. Quite apart from all the beautiful and individual details the couple put into their day, the readings and poems that they selected for their ceremony made this wedding really special and signified their relationship perfectly.
“FROM GOODRIDGE V DEPT OF HEALTH (Mass. 2003): Marriage is a vital social institution. The exclusive commitment of two individuals to each other nurtures love and mutual support; it brings stability to our society. Without question, civil marriage enhances the “welfare of the community.” It is a “social institution of the highest importance.” Civil marriage is at once a deeply personal commitment to another human being and a highly public celebration of the ideals of mutuality, companionship, intimacy, fidelity, and family… Because it fulfils yearnings for security, safe haven, and connection that express our common humanity, civil marriage is an esteemed institution, and the decision whether and whom to marry is among life’s momentous acts of self-definition….It is undoubtedly for these concrete reasons, as well as for its intimately personal significance, that civil marriage has long been termed a ‘civil right’.”
“We just really liked the definitions of marriage,” Michelle explained. “Again, we chose our readings because they all held a significance in what marriage should be regardless of legal status (strong and steadfast, childlike at times, a basic human right, always honest, the beauty of partnership).”
The couple had been lucky enough to spend some time in Paris so chose a Romantic Parisian theme for their wedding. The croquembouche (cake) was a nod to their love of French culture and flamboyant presentation. They even cut it with the traditional sword.
“They choose the perfect location – the elegant Astin Mansion – they also did the table flowers and catering,” photographer Katherine O’Brien continued. “Michelle said that Deborah thought that spending money on bouquets was silly when they just die a few days after so she told her she could make her a bouquet that would never wilt and thus her fabric/book flower project began. She got the newspaper flowers Etsy and mixed with her own. They also used Etsy for their bridal party gifts – each attendant got a cool vintage pinup flask and the cute cloth love birds were from The Girl in Yellow. The main wedding cake looked like a stack of books from Shakespeare to the Merry Wives of Windsor.
“Instead of favors for their guests the couple made a donation to the Pride Community Center. It is their area’s first LGBT community gathering place and is providing a much needed resource to youth and adults in our area. At first they thought they we were going to donate to the Human Rights Campaign, but realized it was more important to give locally, and see their donation help within their own community.”
This beautiful, vintage-inspired wedding came about after Lucy proposed to Andy on a trip to London. “I took Andy away to Tower Bridge London, to stay in a 5 star hotel on Valentines Day 2010,” the bride told me. “He kept saying,’You’re not going to propose are you?’. I said ‘No of course not, don’t be silly’. Then as we were walking back to the hotel under the bridge by the dolphin statue, I placed a ring box shaped like an orange in his hand. He looked at it and said ‘What’s this?’ with a scared look on his face. And I said ‘Open it’, then ‘Will you marry me?’. The colour drained from his face, I cried, he said ‘Oh, I was planning to propose to you, and I started saving for a ring, and what is everyone going to say?’ I just said, ‘Look, I have saved you the bother of saving your money for months and months. Let do this our way’.”
“I mainly wanted to show him that it wasn’t about the expensive ring, and massive gesture, and the big hype. It was about having something nice on my finger that suited me and that reminded me of our lovely weekend, that didn’t cost us the earth, and took years to pay back, and that we loved each other and wanted to get married, rather than all the focus being about the finger furniture and the ‘Oh, how did he propose?’ Everyone is different, and, we did it our way.”
This tone of ‘let’s do it our way’ really did continue into their wedding. They wanted to create something themselves that was laid back but detail heavy.
“We wanted to use our creative skills to decorate the venue and ourselves,” continued Lucy. “We didn’t have much money, so we utilised our friends and families offers of help, and had a very laid back and love filled wedding. Everyone lent a hand when we needed it, on the run up and on the day.”
“I am very much in to vintage styles, and we wanted that to shine through. I wore an original 1930’s handmade vintage dress which I bought from eBay for just £60. We had a slight nautical theme, which was shown more in the colours, red white and blue, with a splash of yellow to brighten it up. We had found objects, like shells and driftwood to decorate our wedding breakfast tables mixed with fairy lights & candles which created a lovely cosy winter atmosphere.”
“We were adament that we needed to stick to our budget of just a few thousand pounds, we had no option but to stick to it. We used lots of hand-me-down objects, second hand things, freebies, we used eBay a hell of a lot for supplies like linen, tissue paper and the lanterns and the balloon lights etc. We certainly wanted to put our own stamp on our wedding. We didn’t want our day to be like everyone elses, we wanted people to come away going ‘Well, that wedding was different’.”
“I am very laid back, and I wanted to banish that stuffy and posh feeling of weddings. I was very adament that I wanted everyone to relax, feel the love, lend a hand, and have a great weekend away. There were no rules, if you wanted to bring your own booze, then do so. If you want to take the mike and rap to Dizzy Rascal (which my crazy friends did) then go ahead. If you want to go to the beach and run naked in to the sea (which someone else did!) then go ahead.”
I honestly don’t know where to begin describing Emma & Pete’s wedding to you all. From the reaction to just the sneak peek post (epic) that I put up last week, I know pretty much the whole of blog-land has been eagerly awaiting to see this wedding too and so I’m pretty flipping honoured that not only was I invited (and let into the secret that it was a surprise wedding!) but that Emma & Pete have allowed me to share it with you all. I have the best job in the world.
So, in January I got a call from my friend Emma Case. Emma & Pete have been engaged for like…forever…since before we even met in fact, but still hadn’t made any plans for actually getting married. I guess that with Emma being a ridiculously busy and successful wedding photographer, all their weekends were always booked up with other people’s weddings! Also, the fact that Emma has quickly become so well known for shooting the raddest Rock n Roll weddings out there, the couple said they almost felt a bit of pressure to make sure their wedding was as ‘cool’ as the weddings they shot…as well as being different. No pressure then!
Anyway as I was saying, Emma called me at the beginning of the year to discuss her 30th birthday plans. She was having a big party on the 19th March and I had had had to be there. “Of course I’m there, I wouldn’t miss it for anything!” I replied. “Good,” Emma said, “cos me and Pete are gonna get MARRIED…and it’s gonna be a SURPRISE!”
Oh. my. God…
“Me and Pete had been happily engaged for about 3 years…” Emma told me this week, “but any time we talked about getting married we ended up arguing… we knew that we wanted something that reflected us but we’d start talking about who to invite, table plans etc and we were quickly getting fed up… the question ‘Why are we doing it if it’s such hard work?’ usually stopped any further discussion. Also we were shooting amazing and creative weddings pretty much every week so all of our concentration was on other people’s days… which was great but it meant that it was quite hard deciding on how ‘we’ wanted to do it… and without copying all of my couples who have flippin’ fantastic weddings!”
“In January a good friend of ours Anthony came round and we chatted about my 30th birthday party… Anthony joked that we could get married in the afternoon and have a party on the night… we all joked about it even mentioning a 50’s prom theme based on the ‘Enchantment Under the Sea Dance’ from Back to the Future and then when Anthony left we started to talk about it seriously and we weren’t arguing! But we wanted it to be a surprise. We get asked when we’re getting married a lot and people would then say how amazing it’s gonna be (because of all the gorgeous weddings we luckily get to shoot) so I started to feel a bit of pressure. I also didn’t want to be going on about ‘our’ wedding all the time… I kind of just wanted to get on with it without the fuss… a little bit like being behind the camera I suppose…”
Emma & Pete are one of those enviably and naturally awesome couples and I have to say I wouldn’t have expected anything less from them. Emma’s ‘birthday party’ was a 50’s ‘enchantment under the sea dance’ prom theme and guests were ask to come in their vintage finest…which we all did of course. Both Emma & I wore dresses from our favourite vintage dress shop, Fur Coat No Knickers (Em also wore a blue prom dress to keep the fact that it was a wedding secret, which she found at The Wedding Club in Birmingham.)
Halfway through the evening Emma disappeared and went to get changed into her wedding dress. Their friend Joe stood on the stage and asked us all to split onto either side of the room (making an ‘aisle.’) He then informed the confused crowd that we had all been brought to the party under false pretences. ‘Hide & Seek’ by Imogen Heap kicked in. Pete stepped on stage and 3 girls carrying bouquets walked down the aisle followed by a very nervous but excited looking Emma with her dad.
It was an incredible moment.
People were whooping and cheering and in front of me I could hear a gaggle of girls screaming “NO WAAAAY!” Our friend Chris turned to me and mouthed “OI! Did you know?!” and finally I was allowed to share that I’d been in on the secret the whole time!
Once the cheering had died down Joe informed us all that Emma & Pete had gone to the registry office earlier in the day and got hitched, followed by a canal boat lunch/reception with their family. They now wanted to say their vows, which they wrote themselves, in front of all of us. The short ceremony was beautiful.
All my friends around me cried.
The couple danced to ‘Home’ by Edward Sharpe & The Magic Zeros and we all joined in. I ran to hug the couple as soon as I could (and Pete squeezed me so hard that one of my straps broke on my dress…he was THAT excited!) We danced like loons and I spent waaay too much time in the photo booth.
At 11pm taxis came to pick us up and the hardcore partiers headed to a nightclub in the city centre where we drank until 3am and sang karaoke (badly…) The night was rounded off by 6 off us in a curry house at 4am…I’m not sure who’s brilliant idea that was but it was kind of the perfect way to end a totally Rock n Roll night.
(More photo booth photos after the ‘jump’ – in the gallery. If you have the opportunity to do a photo booth at your own wedding that do it! It was HILARIOUS!)
Emma & Pete wanted to do their wedding their way. They didn’t want the ‘industry pressure’ of having the coolest or most out there wedding (yes there can be pressure even if you don’t want a traditional wedding!) Yet in getting married in the way they did, they inadvertently organised the coolest wedding of them all.
To Emma & Pete – seriously guys, words can’t express how happy I am for you. You are perfect for each other and I love you so bloody much.
Be sure to watch this short 16mm film by Cine8 too (with sound). I’ve already watched it about 5 times. I love our happy dance at the end!