Ali and Gem are both into the arts, so having their wedding at the groom’s place of work, The Royal Shakespeare Theatre was the perfect choice! They wanted a wedding that reflected both of them and avoided tradition and trends at all costs! The groom actually sent me the most amazing email while they were planning their wedding (which I couldn’t help but share!) so it really is a thrill to see how their wedding turned out!
“From the very start we were inspired by Rock n Roll Bride”, they began. “Through the blog we could see that we wouldn’t be chastised for having a wedding that didn’t fit or didn’t follow a specific structure or tradition. We didn’t want tradition and grey monkey suits, but we didn’t want to be drinking out of jam jars and buying hipster centrepieces from vintage car boots either. We didn’t want to think about what cake ‘suits our personality’ or what colour theme to go for, so we just took it all one step at a time and agreed on everything together.”
“The question we most found ourselves asking was ‘Why?’ – ‘why would we leave a sugared almond for our friends?’, we hate them (the almonds, not our friends), the guests hate them, why would we do that? Why would you have a three course meal? We’re real foodies but we wanted to spend our day talking to our guests not watching them, from the back of a room, suckling on an amuse bouche. Once you start asking ‘why?’, a lot of the parts of a wedding just seem kind of odd. We didn’t want to find ‘alternative’ options to the traditional aspects of a wedding, we just scrapped things we didn’t like.”
I try not to be biased, but sometimes I just can’t help but fall extra in love with a couple and their story. I’ve actually met Kirstin a few times (and she’s a blogcadette – holla!) so when she told me she’s met and married Ash within nine months (!) and that her mum and his dad were also married to each other, I couldn’t wait to share their story!
“Ash’s dad and my mum got married a few years ago and we’ve vaguely known each other since then”, she began. “We only just started really getting to know each other Christmas 2013 and we ended up falling in love and laughed more than we had ever done before. Ash proposed not long after that and we decided to elope in September 2014 on a romantic adventure together to our favourite place in the world: the USA.”
“We wanted to elope because there is something about it that is really romantic and exciting. However we didn’t want Elvis to marry us, or it to seem like a whirlwind. It needed to feel like a real wedding like we would have back home and not a ‘runway’ wedding.”
“We spent around $10,000 on the whole trip (around £6,500) because was wanted to spend money on the things we really wanted to have”, she continued. “We also wanted to have fun together. Plus, we would have spent way more if we’d got married in England! Ash bought the exact clothing he wanted and I picked a Badgley Mischka dress from Rent the Runway. Yes…I rented my dress and it was awesome! I never thought I would rent my wedding dress, I always turned my nose up at the thought of it, but really it was perfect! I had pre-ordered it months before and they sent me three different sizes of the same dress just in case. Rent the Runway is HUGE in the States I wish we had it in the UK.”
Dave and Eve were married on La Cuesta Ranch in San Luis Obispo, California. Growing up in New York, Eve’s dream was to have a wedding in a wide open space and completely removed from civilisation. La Cuesta Ranch gave them that and so much more!
“We loved our venue so much”, she wrote “Also, the famous Madonna Inn is only five minutes away. It’s where we had our rehearsal karaoke night, where our guests stayed and where we got ready the day of the wedding. We are big on kitsch and felt extremely at home amongst the style of the Madonna Inn.”
“The venue was the biggest expense of the wedding but being so picturesque meant we didn’t need much in terms of decorations”, she continued. “Our theme was rustic, yet elegant. We really wanted to compliment the nature all around us and so our colors were muted earth tones, and the flowers were all local wild flowers. Our décor was pretty understated. In terms of DIY we made our own seed packet favors and stationery. The garlands on the golf carts were made with fabric and twine. I also hand beaded the top of my dress, made the groomsmen ties and vests, and painted the sign outside of the barn. My mother made the bouquets and boutonnieres.”
Jody always wanted a steampunk themed wedding, but their theme really came to life when they booked their venue. It came complete with a funfair! “When it came to planning our wedding there were very few surprises for anyone who knew us”, Jody began. “I have never been one for anything traditional and after 12 years of catering weddings James did not want anything traditional either.”
“Our starting point was to find a venue so I listed every wedding venue in Shropshire, Cheshire and North Wales and started crossing them off if they did not fit our criteria of size, budget and quirkiness. We ended up with six venues that were slightly unusual and visited them all. The last one (which was my secretly favourite) was The Ironbridge Gorge Museums. They had so many choices of areas and rooms that we could use for the ceremony and for the reception. We went for The Covered Bays for the ceremony and wedding breakfast, and Blists Hill Victorian Town for the reception. The fact the latter has a fairground sealed the deal for James!”
“For me it was a no-brainer to have a Steampunk themed wedding,” she continued. “I am a huge fan of steampunk and a complete science fiction nerd, and we both love museums, so the idea of having a steampunk themed wedding at the home of the Industrial Revolution made me just a little bit excited! We actively encouraged all our guests to dress up and extended the dress code to cover Victorian and gothic for those who weren’t comfortable with going full steampunk. We also built up a list of people and companies providing costume hire, hat making and dress making services to pass on to everyone and links to websites for inspiration.”
For Roxane and Pierre, a relaxed homespun wedding was perfect. Their small ceremony was held at city hall, and they hosted the reception in the bride’s house. “Pierre and I met in Qatar, where we both work as airline pilots”, the bride began. “Everything happened very fast and after eight months together we decided to move in together. The only problem was that you are not allowed to live together without being married in Qatar so we decided to get married!”
“We organised everything in 6 months”, wrote the bride. “We wanted to do a picnic in a field very close to my house in Belgium, because it’s a place that I love and we both love nature. For that reason, everything had to be simple, especially as we both live so far away. Our priorities were having our families and close friends there, and lots of cheese, wine and champagne!”
Roxane wore two beautiful lace dresses, both super affordable. Her long sleeved ceremony dress was, unbelievably, from H&M and her reception one was from Lookbook Store. “I wanted a short dress that looked simple”, she said. “I found one in H&M that I liked, but at first it didn’t feel like ‘the one’, and then I found another one on Lookbook Store. I loved both of them and I didn’t know which one to wear so in the end I wore both!”
If you’re sad about the fact that your wedding day will be over in a flash, why not do what Mark and Alex did and have a two-day celebration?! They wanted both parts of their wedding to have their own unique personalities, so day one was a casual fancy dress festival party, and day two had a more glamorous, sparkly theme.
“We held our wedding over the August bank holiday”, began the bride, “with the fancy dress festival day on Saturday and the wedding on the Sunday. We hired Colehayes Park in Dartmoor for the whole week (oh yeah!) and over 25 family and friends stayed with us. We actually continued the celebrations until the following Friday. Greedy aren’t we?!”
“We always knew that we wanted to drag the wedding celebrations out for as long as possible, so finding a venue where we could stay and party for longer than a day was our pre-requisite in choosing where we were going to get married. Our plan was to always have a festival day and wedding day, we decided to have the festival day first so that all the guests could mingle and were familiar with each other before the wedding. This worked out really well and we had an 12pm curfew so that people were still fresh the next day!”
“The main thing we wanted was an incredibly relaxed, fun and friendly wedding”, she continued. “We’re not huge fans of serious, formal and traditional weddings as just not our style, and so wanted to go as far from that as we could while still ensuring we were getting legally married.”
“The festival day was an incredible, sunny day. The theme was Willy Wonka which meant that a lot of oompa loompas turned up! Mark went as Willy Wonka in lilac and purple suit, and I went as the golden ticket in a metallic sequin jumpsuit! Our friends made such an amazing effort with one group coming as confectionery – so we had the Milkybar kid, a Fried egg, a Fruit Salad, a Loveheart and Strawberry Shortcake. We had face paints, a lemonade stand where we served chilled cocktails. We also had someone dressed as a Jagermeister bottle, handing out shots of Jager!”