Retro Bowls Club Wedding with the Bride in Black: Agnes & Liam

Philippa James Photography

November 20, 2013

Agnes and Liam’s Balham Bowls Club wedding was full of budget-friendly DIY details. “We did everything we could to not have a theme – if we liked something, we used it, regardless if it went with anything else or not!” the bride began. “We said from the outset that we wanted everything to be a joint decision, and Liam to be as involved as me in our choices.”

“We wanted our wedding to be an excuse to get all of our favourite people in the world together in the same room, without everyone feeling like they had to be on their best behaviour. We made an active decision to do things that we wanted to do, regardless of whether they were the done thing or not, so I walked down the aisle to the theme to Carry On Loving, and we walked out to the theme from Raiders of the Lost Ark (making it seem suitably epic).”

Agnes had a friend make her wedding dress and it only cost her £80! “My decision to wear black was pretty easy – it suits me, and I’ve never worn white in my life – and I wanted a dress I could wear again if I wanted to which also encompassed old fashioned Hollywood glamour without seeming like fancy dress. I got a corset from What Katie Did but I found it hard to find a classic vintage-style dress that would fit my proportions and that – most importantly – I actually liked. My best friend trained in textiles at Wimbledon School of Art. After a night of moaning about frocks in the pub, she volunteered to make it for me. Our style inspiration was Bette Davis, and I now have a one-of-a-kind dress that I can wear again and again!”

“My Nan had an old suitcase full of fabric used to make my Mum’s dresses in the early 60s”, she continued when I asked about their DIY projects. “Me and my two step-daughters made 50 metres of bunting from it (Mum and my Aunt spent most of the evening exclaiming ‘hang on, isn’t that my old dress!?’).”

“The table decorations for dinner were our favourite letters found on Letters of Note, with each table named after the sender – including Bob Monkhouse, Ronald Reagan, Johnny Cash and Richard Burton. Some of them made our guests get quite teary. The decorations for the evening were old family photos – both sides were hugely helpful in digging out wedding photos of our great-great grandparents – in old frames scavenged from charity shops.”

“Instead of splashing out on expensive cars, Mum and I got the tube and the 93 bus to the venue, to a lot of curious looks, and after the ceremony we all hopped on the tube to Balham, which was brilliant fun (and got some great photos too).”