Nicola and Scott were never overly bothered about having a wedding, having been together for 13 years before they decided to do it, but they came around to the idea because they wanted a big party! “We wanted all of our loved ones together for a celebration but were happy to keep the ceremony a more private occasion,” Nicola told us.
With that in mind, they ditched most wedding day traditions like cake cutting, first dance, seating plans and favours. “We were able to create the same kind of atmosphere you would get at a standalone wedding venue in a pub, on a much smaller budget, by picking a stylish location that didn’t require lavish décor, and spending most of the budget on food and drink, because we all know these are the most important elements to a good knee’s up!”
“We also wanted somewhere our whole spectrum of friends and family would enjoy – people with tiny babies, people travelling from afar, people who wanted to party, and people who wanted to sit and talk to family they hadn’t connected with for ages.”
Their perfect low-key venue was found in the form of The Button Factory, Birmingham, a relaxed, alternative pub set across two floors in the heart of the artistic Jewellery Quarter. Guests were invited with gig tickets, and provided festival-style wristbands on entry, to set the tone for a relaxed and entertaining day.
A non-traditional wedding celebration required non-traditional attire, and Nicola fell for the first dress she tried on! “The Couture Company was the first place I went to, and I bought the first dress I tried on – I consider myself very lucky!” Nicola laughed. Her dress set a very loose red and black theme for the day, with some skulls thrown in for good measure. In lieu of flowers, they decorated the venue with silly photos of their guests. “They provided lots of entertainment through the day with guests hunting for photos of themselves – a great talking point and ice breaker.”
Their ceremony, held a month before at Birmingham Registry Office, was a personal affair with the couple’s siblings and two friends as witnesses. “The sun was shining and we did a pub crawl across Birmingham after the ceremony. It was perfect. No photographer, no special dress or speeches. We saved all that for the party!”
In spite of their reception being entirely unconventional and without a ceremony, they chose to have speeches from the father of the bride, the groom, the ladies of honour and the best man. “These really gelled the guests together and brought more structure to the day – as well as entertainment!” The only prop they needed was copious amounts of booze, handing out fizz all day and shots into the evening. Their friend, a seasoned local rock DJ, kept everyone partying until the early hours.
“A friend described a wedding as like being a rock star for the day, and that’s really how it is,” concluded Nicola. “If people have good food, and the drinks are flowing, the day will be fun for your guests and in turn you’ll have a ball too. Even though you know it already, you appreciate even more just how amazing your friends and family are. Ultimately they made the day.”
“My one piece of advice for future couples would be to put some time aside for photos, even if you’re not overly fussed about having formal photos. We weren’t keen on the idea of leaving our own party for an hour to go have official photos, but in hindsight we’re very grateful that our photographer persuaded us to spend a little time on the family and couple photos – as we absolutely treasure them now. And pace yourself on the drinking!”