Leopard Print and Tattoo Inspired Wedding

Hayley Savage Photography

April 21, 2015

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They never wanted a big, extravagant wedding. In fact Jade didn’t think she’d ever get married at all! “I never pictured myself as the marrying type and it was a bolt out of the blue when Aaron asked me!” she laughed.

So they wanted something decidedly intimate for their March nuptials. They were married at Southampton Registry Office, and after a meal with just a few guests, hosted a large after party at The Talking Heads, a live music venue in the city.

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“We already had a daughter, Aurora, and we both felt that being married would really cement us as a proper family”, she continued. “Because I had never pictured being a bride, I had no real expectations or specific plans in mind. I think this made it a whole lot less stressful when it came to the planning. It was a very organic process, evolving naturally as we came up with more ideas and discussed our likes and dislikes. The theme wasn’t planned but our mutual love of leopard print came across pretty strongly with lots of little features. Our budget was small, just £3000, but we saw this as an exciting challenge rather than an obstacle and it didn’t stop us from having the DIY, intimate, personal wedding we were after. We both knew we didn’t want to spend a fortune and that cost wouldn’t detract from how beautiful it could be.”

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The whole wedding was one big DIY project with the couple making pretty much everything themselves. “We went down this route for a variety of reasons”, Jade said, “but namely because of a constricted budget and wedding vendors not offering the look we were opting for. Our wedding breakfast was held at one of our favourite restaurants called Coco Rio. They specialise in African cuisine and the restaurant itself is decked out in leopard print, zebra print and palm trees so it was perfect!”

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“Aaron is a tattoo artist by trade and wanted to add a unique touch to the day by designing place mats for everyone. I sourced a vintage fox toned paper on Etsy and Aaron went to work creating a Love is All You Need design. For the name tags I found a bulk box of safari toys on eBay which I won for a couple of pounds. I sprayed them gold and used luggage tags with alphabet stamps to create the names. They looked absolutely fantastic and everyone kept them to take home! We allocated animals based on the guests personality, for example – my dad was given the gorilla and my sister and her family had the lion, lioness and three cubs!”

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“Our table centrepieces were very understated which is what I wanted, and were made using simple tissue paper to form lovely, creamy peonies. For the evening reception I used small tables for 2/4/6 people to give it a real cabaret feel. I made leopard print table cloths, and each table featured a wood slice (supplied by a tree surgeon guest) moss, and French masonry jars I picked up at a antiques fair. Each jar with filled with micro LED warm yellow lights, moss and mini mushrooms to give it a majestic, forest feel. I wanted the décor to compliment the dark, grungy nature of the venue.”

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“Overall I think the day really exceeded our expectations”, she concluded. “It was a very relaxed affair, and having an intimate ceremony and wedding breakfast really took the pressure off the day. I honestly don’t think there is anything we would do differently, and I would always encourage people to do what is right for them as a couple and not be influenced by other people and their expectations.”

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