David Bowie Jazz Festival Wedding with Seven Venues!

Jack Knight Photography

December 30, 2016


Jess and Dan got married in Manchester in July. They met in Brighton Pavilion Gardens, where Dan also proposed, in 2009. A major reason for them getting married was due to Dan being diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2015. “We’d been talking about getting married for a few years already” said Dan, “but a big life threatening illness does wonders for making you do things more promptly. On hearing the news of my illness, Jess asked me (still in my hospital bed) if we should get married. I said ‘of fucking course’ and the rest is history.”


Their wedding was inspired by love, music, colour, joy and bees (!) so they decided their theme should be ‘colourful, fun and Bowie’. “David Bowie is our hero so we had to include him in there” explained Dan. “We’re also huge fans of garish and clashing colours, so we asked our guests to adhere to a colour scheme of turquoise, orange and purple. It turned out amazing!”


Rather than seeing each other for the first time walking down the aisle, the couple decided to meet in Stevenson Square where a memorial piece of David Bowie was spray painted. “It was so lovely to share this moment of absolute joy with each other and our closest family and friends before our vows so we both could be really emotional and silly” said Jess, “it also really helped with the pre-ceremony nerves!”


They wanted the day to have a party/festival feel to it so they had all their guests start the day in Manchester Jazz Festival square. “We did our speeches at the foot of one of the monuments with not just our wedding guests as an audience but quite a lot of members of the public too” said Jess, “it was great fun! We also did a wedding parade through the centre of town carrying colourful bunting on sticks, with a sound system playing David Bowie.”


The couple didn’t want to spend a lot of money on their wedding (their budget was £3000) so made a most of the main elements themselves. “We made our wedding rings, bunting, order of service, special wedding badges, flowers and did all our own hair and make up” said Jess. “Doing things yourself is the best way to keep your costs down and make the day so much more personalised. My mum spent a full year getting bits and bobs from charity shops – anything turquoise, orange, purple or bee related!”


They also saved money on their venue. “We originally had a different venue booked that was quite expensive. However, after the year we’d had we decided to try and downsize our day. Luckily we discovered that Manchester Jazz Festival was happening on the date we had set. It’s also free entry and right outside the registry office. We contacted Mick Waterfield, producer of the festival, to see if they would be OK with us dragging 80 extremely colourful guests through their festival. He was so accommodating and generally brilliant to deal with. He even reserved some tables and seating for us. We then started looking at what events were happening on the evening of the wedding. There happened to be an awesome funk band playing at one of our favourite Manchester venues ‘Matt & Phreds’. Again, we contacted Claire the venue manager who was great and really helpful allowing us to book tables for our guests. It all worked out perfectly and rather than just having two locations for our wedding (ceremony and reception) we ended up with seven!”


Although they made them themselves, their wedding rings turned out to be their biggest expense. “We decided to make each other’s wedding rings” said Dan. “For my ring, Jess smelted down the gold from a chain that my now departed Nan gave me and an old ring from my Dad. The rings have so much more personal value to us knowing that we made them and especially knowing that I’ll always carry my Nan and my Dad with me for the rest of my life.”


“Our advice to other couples is to approach local festivals and events. Ultimately, you’re offering to bring in a load of people who are prepared to spend a lot of money on food and drink – that’s a pretty good bargaining chip! And don’t forget why you are getting married in the first place: to celebrate the love you have for each other and have a massive party!”