Author Archives: Erin Balfour

Relaxed DIY Warehouse Wedding

Sarah and Jamie had a summer wedding that they described as “Retro with bright colours and lots of food!” The inspiration for the theme came from their love of music, art and food, most of which was provided by family members because they wanted to keep the budget low. Plus food made with love for your best day is always going to add a really special something to proceedings, right?

The couple married at Hull Guildhall, with the reception at music venue warehouse, Früit. The bride said, “From the start of our wedding planning, the venue was always going to be our main priority, and we have always known that we wanted it to be held at Früit. We picked a date they had available and planned the rest around that. We felt that the relaxed décor (and the incredibly lovely venue manager, Chris), was perfect for us to add bits to and make it our own. As we already loved the venue as it was, we kept things simple. The ceiling was decorated with paper lanterns and fairy lights. The table decorations consisted of hessian cloth and glass jars and bottles collected from family and friends, into which we placed wild flowers from Bloom & Wild. The bouquets came with crazy miniature pineapples!”

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Eclectic Wes Anderson Pop Punk Wedding Planned in Three Months

There’s a bit of everything in this Sheffield city wedding: Elegant dresses, gritty graffiti couple shots, dapper gents and pretty, giant pastel-coloured pom poms thrown like confetti! It’s one of those perfect examples of when a couple has a wedding that represents the spirit of them.

Lou and Neil met just six months before they married, on Tinder! “Neil tells everyone we met through work… which is kind of half true”, laughed the bride. “We worked on the same road as each other for a couple of years, then eventually, we swiped right and that was that! We chatted for a while, had a first date on a Tuesday, second date on the Thursday and then didn’t have another night apart from each other until the night before our wedding just over 6 months later. It’s now just over a year since our first date, we’re married and we opened our first business together in May. It’s been a crazy whirlwind but I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

The wedding was in February at The Cutlers Hall in Sheffield. The bride said, “It was probably the fifth or sixth venue we had seen, and when we walked in I felt like I was walking straight into Wes Anderson’s The Royal Tenenbaums. We immediately knew it was the one for us. I always wanted to be a Tenenbaum.”

Lou said of the styling that, “It was a very pop punk wedding. We came down the aisle as Mr and Mrs Tomlinson to Blink 182! All of our tables were our favourite bands’ names instead of numbers. Trying to explain to my 93-year-old grandad why he’s sitting at ‘Alkaline Trio’ was tricky.”

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Sabina Kelley’s Glamorous Island Wedding in Thailand

Pale sands, black outfits, and at night the fire dancers come out – there’s drama and beauty throughout the entire day with this gorgeous destination wedding.

After being a very long distance couple (one from Las Vegas and the other the Gold Coast in Australia!), pin up model Sabina and Nixx married on Phi Phi Island Village Beach Resort, Thailand, at the height of summer this year. Their wedding colours were black, grey and white. Sabina said,”We both wore all black and wanted our wedding to be a beach wedding. To be classy and ‘our style’, but fun and laid back too, with just our closest friends and family.”

Sabina’s dress, which is one of the most perfect examples of a black wedding dress I’ve ever seen, was a black silk 1950s Charles James style vintage dress that was tailored by Venita Drennen to have a lower back and make it have more of a 1940s look. Worn with a stunning ballet-length black veil, Louboutin heels, and her grandma’s 1950s earrings, the bride was utterly arresting against the beachy backdrop.

The dress was not without its problems, however, as finding it was “The most difficult thing ever!” Sabina explained. “I had so much pressure on me to have such an incredible dress. I met with couture wedding dress designers all over Australia, and I could not see myself spending $20,000 or more on a dress I would never wear again. I tried on ‘normal’ wedding dresses and they all looked dumb on me and didn’t fit right, and I knew I did not want to have a dress that anyone could get. Then I was getting told by everyone that I could not do black on the beach, so I kept changing my mind if I was going to do it or not. I finally came to the conclusion of buying the vintage gown, and having Venita completely recreate it into my dream wedding dress.”

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DIY Lord of the Rings Wedding in Italy

Being literature lovers and self-confessed huge nerds, the second they decided to get married Veronica and Marco knew the wedding theme would be Lord of The Rings.

Doing most things themselves meant that the budget for their Italian wedding was kept to just €4000. “We only had six months to plan and actually make everything, and we did it all by ourselves!” explained Veronica. “The theme itself was particular, and quite difficult to accomplish without being kitsch or exaggerated, but we think we achieved it.”

The ceremony itself was a non-religious version of the pagan ritual of handfasting. The bride said, “We did some research, searched for a lot of different versions of the cermony, then pulled them together, choosing our favourite parts and writing new ones. The outcome was so heartfelt and personal it still brings tears to our eyes when we read it. We made the guests participate by toasting to us together and even answering a couple questions. Greta and Dario, two of our long time best friends, each had a speech for and about us.”

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A Glastonbury Handfasting & A Las Vegas Elopement

Gaia and Calum didn’t just have one awesome wedding, they had two! The first was at their beloved Glastonbury in the gorgeous tipi field, and the second in Las Vegas at A Wedding Chapel: Two very Rock n Roll places!

Everything was a romantic whirlwind and the couple just went with the flow. The bride said, “We didn’t have a theme, we just wanted to have something special in our favourite place (Glastonbury), and an elopement adventure! We’d been engaged for a year and a half, together for six, and we just decided we didn’t want to wait any longer to be married. It was very last minute – we only started planning it in February and we got married in July!”

It must have felt like one long summer party as the ceremonies were only about ten days apart. Gaia planned the Glastonbury ceremony and Calum was on Las Vegas duty.

The bride said of the planning, “With Glastonbury, we were trying to do it as cheaply as possibly as we had spent most of our money on the Las Vegas wedding. The Glastonbury ceremony was quite last minute as we didn’t know if we would have re-sale tickets until the end of April! We had to wait until we knew for sure to make arrangements, so we really only had two months to organise it. We spent around £350 in total on this, not including the festival tickets. With Las Vegas, it cost £5000 including rings, flights, 5* hotel, hire car, ceremony, photographer, dress, suit, flowers, eight nights’ stay and a holiday!”

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Planning Your Wedding with Hidden Disabilities in Mind

For Erin Balfour, a mum of two children who both have Neurological conditions, attending events such as weddings can be a huge challenge. If you, or any of your guests, have any hidden disabilities, here are some things for you to consider

As a mum of two children who both have what’s known as ‘hidden disabilities’, attending even family gatherings, never mind weddings, is a huge challenge. My husband and I usually spend the whole time anticipating or soothing their sensory overloads and missing the event, or sometimes if it’s all too much we simply have to leave early.

What is a hidden disability, you might be asking, and why would that happen? We’re all familiar with disabilities where equipment such as a wheelchair or hearing aids makes it clear that someone needs additional support, but what about when there are no obvious pointers like these to suggest that someone might be struggling?

Neurological conditions like autism spectrum disorders, ADHD, sensory processing disorders, and a whole host of ‘syndromes without a name’, don’t always come with support aids (although lots do). Many of them come with ‘invisible’ characteristics such as being overwhelmed by noises, smells, and lights. This can be really challenging and actually impossible to cope with in a noisy, busy, ‘neurotypical’ world. We are beginning to accommodate the needs of those with these disabilities – we have quiet hours in shops, and autism-friendly performances in theatres and cinemas where the house lights aren’t totally off and the volume is lower – but we still have a long way to go.

Now a wedding day, with its hustle and bustle, and a high likelihood of having extended periods of waiting and milling about, can be extremely difficult for those with the type of disability described above, and for their carers (especially if we’re talking about children). A very common characteristic is the need for a clear and rigid routine with no deviation from what’s been decided. The consequence of this not happening usually leads to what’s known as a meltdown – and no this is not a tantrum, but rather the end result of building pressure inside a person because they’re unable to process or cope any longer with the unexpected and the overwhelming. It can cause them actual physical pain. Imagine you’re in a room with twenty televisions on, ten radios, five people asking you questions, lights flashing, perfumes being sprayed, and you can’t distinguish between any of them, nor filter them out. You would want to collapse and scream! A crude analogy, perhaps, but it goes a little way to explain exactly how overwhelming things can become for those with sensory processing difficulties.

The good news is that there are measures you can take to smooth the way as much as possible on a busy wedding day so that everyone has the best shot at enjoying themselves. It’s all about anticipating needs and accommodating them where you can.

Here are a few things you can do to make it easier for neurodiverse guests and those with complex needs to attend your wedding.

BEFORE THE WEDDING DAY

Provide your guest with the order of the day in advance so that they know what will be happening where and when.

This could include the seating plans, the order of service, the menu, and even itinerary information from the planner. If there’s nothing on the menu that they can cope with, consider asking them what they would like and asking the venue to accommodate this. If the caterers know in good time, there’s no reason why this can’t happen. Remember, some may have a carer with them who isn’t their ‘plus one’, so make sure there are enough seats and meals!

Using the web to do a little research on the type of disability your guest has is invaluable.

A school mum friend of mine did some reading around autism so that she could advise her daughter on what my son would need and also what he would find unhelpful. That totally touched my heart, and has really helped him. A little knowledge goes a heck of long way.

You could also just ask your guest directly what things they might find difficult so that you can either think of an alternative or understand why they might not be able to be present during certain parts of the day.

Help guests to research the venue.

If it’s a church, maybe arrange to go on a few short visits with them to get to know the place. Churches, especially older ones, might have funny acoustics, so it’s best to know that in advance so they know to definitely pack the noise-cancelling ear defenders!

In fact, with any venue it’s a good idea for them to get to know where everything is and familiarise themselves on a more relaxed day with no pressure. Does it have adequate changing facilities if they have continence issues? A place for wheelchairs and other big equipment?

Also has the venue got WIFI so they can access their calming apps and familiar programmes on a tablet? If not, consider getting a portable WIFI hub from your phone network provider.

Speak to the manager in advance to request a quiet area for in case things get too much on the day. A place your guest can go to come down from overwhelm and to reset in their own time before heading back into things. This will be their absolute lifeline.

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