Nautical Punk Rock Festival Wedding

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Jess and Dan were married in a big top tent, in a field in Nympsfield, Gloucestershire. Their wedding theme was ‘rockabilly ska-punk festival’ as they were inspired by their love of punk-rock, 50s style, Polaroid photography, leopard print, tattoo culture, music and festivals.

In tattoo culture an anchor means ‘something or a person that grounds you’ so their stationery was also based upon this idea, and their wedding rings had anchors printed on them. For a festival name they decided on ‘Tie The Knot Festival’ which linked their festival idea with the nautical feel from the anchor.

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“We really went to town with the punk rock and festival elements by making line-up posters, stage time sheets and having security at the entrance to the field dishing out wristbands to guests as they arrived,” explained Jess. “We also had a festival logo designed which, as well as being on all the wedding stationery and the website, was made into patches by a friend and sewn onto denim jackets for me and Dan to wear later in the evening. We even had a version of it tattooed on our wrists in the run up to the wedding! We really focused on ‘brand consistency’ to help make it seem like a real festival and drum up excitement for our guests in the lead up.”

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“We wanted an intimate ceremony that was also quick! We’re not religious and didn’t want to write our own vows, as we wouldn’t have felt comfortable saying very personal vows in front of lots of people. We were keen to get the soundtrack was right though! We walked in together to Such Great Heights by Iron & Wine, picked some of our favourite acoustic punk rock songs for when our guests were waiting, and for while we signed the register, and we left the room to a cover of I only want to be with you by Me First and the Gimme Gimmes.”

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“We had a vintage big red bus take us all from the registry office to the field, followed by a meal with our closest friends and family. The food was all vegan, locally sourced and organic (where possible). We had Thai in the daytime and burritos from a food van in the evening.”

“Our ‘evening’ reception started at 4pm when we opened up the party to more guests to make it feel more like a festival. We had a 50s style dress code and really enjoyed seeing our guest’s outfits. The boys wore braces and bow ties and there were lots of swing and wiggle dresses from the girls! Everyone looked gorgeous.”

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They also wanted to make their wedding as eco-friendly as possible. “The festival was run on solar energy”, she continued, “and from the field we could see Ecotricity’s first wind turbine, which we loved as we both work at Ecotricity. All of the cups, cutlery and plates were from sustainable sources and recycled afterwards. The bar even stocked organic spirits, and served some of our favourite cocktails.”

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The weather wasn’t ideal, but they really didn’t care, in fact it almost made their festival more authentic! “It rained almost all day!” Jess laughed. “The weather forecast had fluctuated between rain, sun and storms in the weeks running up to the wedding so we had prepared for rain. We hired in big red umbrellas and made space for the outdoor games inside. It didn’t ruin anything and we always knew it was a risk with the type of outdoor wedding we were planning, and there was nothing we could do but roll with it! It made for some great moody pictures, my hair ‘dropped’ quite early on and it was very windy, but our photographer Sassy pointed out it was very Rock n Roll! If anything, the rain brought people together more. Sassy and Katie (our second photographer) did a fantastic job keeping an eye on the weather and even gave me a blanket to keep warm – they truly rocked it and kept our spirits up. Typical weather for a festival in England! It’s also said that a ‘wet knot’ is harder to untie and this was mentioned on our day due to the weather, which was in keeping with our theme too!”

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“For DIY projects one of my bridesmaids and I made all of our table flowers out of fabric (leopard print, polka dot and navy blue anchor print fabric), as well as 30 strands of matching bunting. The flowers were a huge hit as by the time the party got going guests had taken them out of their jam jar vases and started wearing them! Dan and I also made the wooden signs, built the website ourselves, and designed the save the dates, invites and line-up posters with help from Dan’s cousin Sam.”

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They only booked bands that they’d seen live at gigs or festivals and their invites were festival style gig tickets! They even made a festival website where their guests could RSVP and find out about the bands, food and dress code. “Our biggest expense was the music as we had three bands, a DJ, the PA set up and all the festival infrastructure. It was definitely worth it though: we both even ended up crowd surfing when Thrill Collins played the Dirty Dancing classic, Time of my Life. It was the first time either of us had crowd surfed, so it felt really special! There was also a fair bit of skanking during the headline set by New Town Kings.”

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“The best thing about planning our wedding was defying wedding norms and doing things our way. Not many wedding traditions fitted into our day and we got some puzzled looks during the run up when describing what we were, or weren’t having, but everybody loved it once they saw it all come together and thought it was very ‘us’!”

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“Our advice to future brides and grooms is to write a ‘day of’ plan and circulate to all suppliers, bridesmaids and groomsmen so they can help better. Use experienced professionals for key jobs: I ended up having to find a hairdresser and make-up artist last minute as I originally tried to save money by going with people I knew, but closer to the date realised I’d taken too big a risk when a trial fell through. It was very stressful and could’ve easily been avoided. Also, start a budget spreadsheet as soon as you can to help keep you on track financially and, if you can, have a ‘day of co-ordinator’ to help things run smoother on the day and to stop you worrying!”

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