Whimsical Seaside Wedding with Tea and Tennis: Pete & Leila

Christopher Currie Photography

September 5, 2013


Pete and Leila had a modest budget for their Southsea wedding, just £5000, but that didn’t stop them having the wedding of their dreams! After meeting Leila at The Blogcademy in London last January I already know what a resourceful and all-round fabulous babe she is, and so I’m thrilled to share this gorgeousness with you all today.

Leila wore a dress which she designed herself and had a local seamstress bring to life. Her headpiece was also home made. Pete’s outfit was from TK Maxx and the bridesmaid’s rocked vintage dresses. Pretty much all the décor was DIY and they even catered the event themselves (although the owners of the venue kindly offered to make the sandwiches on the day). This wedding really does prove that you can have the most amazing day without breaking the bank.


“My dress was definitely a bargain”. Leila began. “We totally saved money by me designing it myself and then asking a local seamstress to draw the pattern and make it. In total it only cost around £200! We really wanted to have afternoon tea as our wedding breakfast, as its kind of a tradition we have that whenever we go on a trip away together we treat ourselves to tea in a fancy hotel or quirky tea-room. We even named our tables with places we’ve had the best tea at. Delegating sandwich making to the owners of the venue meant there was no rushed bread-buttering on the morning, thank goodness. That simple choice, that might be ever so slightly more expensive than doing everything ourselves, was a really good idea and made the whole day less stressful.”


“Our wedding was definitely a reflection of everything we love”, she continued. “So perhaps our theme was a ‘wonderful, whimsical, seaside adventure, full of tea, tennis and some great tunes.’ Practically everything was DIY’d. From the dress to the décor, to the cake, to the stationery. Thing is, even if we had a big budget, we wouldn’t change a thing.”

“Something that our guests told us over and over is how enjoyable the day was, not just because it was quite quirky, but because it was so relaxed. There was a structure to the wedding, but it was so fun and participative thanks to our lovely guests. The thing we remember most (and something we are so glad the pictures show) is the sheer amount of laughter, hugs and happiness.”


The reception was held at Southsea Tennis Pavilion which had an incredible view of the ocean and made for some great photographs. “Because there is such a great seafront and our venues were both so close to the beach, we all wondered down to the shore before the reception for photos. It was great to see people merrily wandering over, getting ice creams from the van and popping into the quaint bars for a cheeky beverage.”


The reception venue was very non-traditional on purpose. We really didn’t want to have a hotel or barn wedding, and when we drove past the pavilion on the seafront in all its 1920s style glory, we knew we were smitten. At the time of booking it was almost empty inside and used as an occasional café serving mostly the tennis community from the courts surrounding it. In an odd way, that was perfect as it had a great layout and we could DIY away. The ceiling was our greatest accomplishment as it was the only thing to let down to an otherwise beautiful building. To cover it, we bought rolls of floristry ribbon in the colours of our wedding party and draped them alongside fairy lights. It took Pete and a friend hours, and several almost ‘sod it’ moments, but it was worth every frustrated moment.”


“There is absolutely nothing we would change about out wedding!” Leila concluded. “Before the day, we only had a single niggling worry, and that was to do with the clearing of the sit down afternoon tea and turning the space into dance hall. As we weren’t in a hotel with specific staff etc, and we were DIYing most of it, it meant that we would have to clear everything ourselves. We were worried our guests would think it was odd that they had to get stuck in clearing up, but our wedding party were fantastic at taking the lead on this,. In the end it turned out that no one minded helping at all, in fact people said it almost strangely added to the whole experience of the day!”