With a budget of just £4000, Kirsty and Ben knew their wedding plans had to be different to the majority of the weddings that Ben, a musician in a function band, sees day in day out. They wanted to have their day in a beautiful setting, but kept their guest list small to limit the expense. The wedding was held on a Thursday and they had just 13 guests at the reception, and had everyone sat around one big table for the meal, just like they were hosting a family meal at home.
“Ben has seen first hand couples being dragged into the wedding industry machine and seeing replica impersonal weddings time and time again”, Kirsty said. “We wanted something that was 100% designed by us, that wasn’t going to break the bank, that felt intimate and relaxed. There was no particular colour or styling theme just colour!”
Paloma and Cole wanted a laid-back, typical New Orleans wedding. They both really love to travel, so wanted to have their wedding somewhere unique that they would want to plan a vacation to. Most of all they wanted to keep the day fun and to avoid the stuffiness of a traditional wedding.
“We had a quick, intimate ceremony with 50 guests in a small wedding chapel in the French Quarter”, the bride began. “The ceiling of the chapel was covered in hundreds of dollar bills, and there were giant cardboard cutouts of our dog Hunter’s face on either side of the altar (which was essential, since he was back at home, in Seattle, with a nanny). My best friend, Sierra, was my officiant, and Cole and I said our own vows — his were unbelievably sweet and heartfelt, and mine were, of course, an awkward stand-up routine. Afterwards, we pinned our own dollar bill to the ceiling of the chapel.”
“Immediately after our ceremony, we led a second-line parade through the French Quarter to our reception venue. The parade consisted of our friends and family pelting people with mardi gras beads, a brass band, and a police escort. It was a blast!”
Their reception was held at Brennan’s, a traditional New Orleans restaurant. They didn’t fuss with lots of extra details – there was no cake, their photographer made Paloma’s bouquet and they put together their own playlist of requests from their guests instead of hiring a band or DJ.
Like many of you reading this, Denver-based photographer Ashley and her fiance Jonathan have been forced to postpone their wedding due to the COVID-19 pandemic. When it came to telling their friends and family about their change of date, they decided to do a silly photo shoot with – what else? – bottles of Corona beer!
Ashley told us, “My fiancé and I had to postpone our wedding but we had to find humour where we can. These are our new ‘Save the New Date’ photos…When a wedding gets postponed, a Corona gets a lime!”
Looking for unique wedding entertainment inspiration? Here are some hot hacks that will help you make your wedding reception one to remember.
We’ve all bee there – the same cookie cutter wedding reception with a DJ or lacklustre band churning out the same cheesy tracks without tailoring it to the crowd or the couple in the slightest. As you’ve picked up Rock n Roll Bride magazine, I’d imagine that the chances are this is not what you have in mind for your own wedding. So, here are some fun and left-field wedding entertainment suggestions that you might not have thought of.
Book a throwback band
My 5ive-obsessed fiancé put me onto this idea when the boyband reformed as a trio and started performing at some retro festivals across the UK. Traditional wedding bands can be one of the costliest parts of a wedding day and the problem is, you’re likely to hear pretty predictable songs that have been doing the circuit on weddings that summer (and in some instances for the last decade!).
Instead, why not consider booking your favourite ‘past their prime’ pop act, or a lesser-known band that still goes out on tour? Go direct to the management to get the best price. It will still take a sizeable chunk of your budget (but so will a normal band) and the pay-off is something totally unusual, rarely seen at weddings and totally memorable. Follow it up with a set from your DJ that fits the vibe (hello 90s pop!) before leading into your wider playlist.
Mix in a DJ set from your favourite themed club night
Are there any club nights that you and your partner love going to? Consider having a music ‘theme’ for one portion of your DJ set, or look to book a DJ from that night. Whether it’s garage, power ballads or disco, it’s a great way to switch your music up during your reception.
As one of the co-founders of Hungry Heart, an all Bruce Springsteen club night (yes really!) I love it when the couple are really into every song they are hearing and ultimately, if the couple are on the dancefloor shout-singing to their favourite artists, it’s a sure-fire way to keep your dancefloor full and moving.
Can’t get enough of Beyonce/Britney/Cher/Tina Turner? Me too. OK, so booking the real deal is a multi-million pound affair, but a solo tribute act is a brilliant way to kick off the wedding entertainment, and a real party starter. This can also help alleviate budget stress – ultimately booking a solo act over a band reduces costs as the fee isn’t split between the group. Set aside some budget for some proper lighting for a real spectacle.
Get around venue noise curfews with your own silent disco
Noise curfews can be a big issue at venues, especially at city weddings with residential areas nearby. A great way to dodge the dilemma is with a silent disco; allocate an extra 90 minutes of dancing time by handing over headsets to your guests. The novelty will give them renewed energy after a day full of champagne and prosecco, and will keep them dancing to the early hours. Your DJ should be able to handle the logistics of this easily for you, or there are specific silent disco companies you can hire.
Getting married on October 31st, Rachael and Olly were always going to have a Halloween inspired day. In particular, they were influenced by Tim Burton and The Addams Family. Rachael chose her dress because it reminded her of something Dita Von Teese or Morticia Addams might wear, and Olly’s outfit, pieced together from various places, was reminiscent of something Gomez Addams might be seen in.
The Nightmare Before Christmas cake and all the flowers were made by friends and family members. For the invites and paper goods, they went DIY too, ordering little coffins and putting green chocolate zombie fingers with tags on for a Save the Date. The invites themselves were made to look like a Ouija board. “We saved a lot of money by doing these ourselves, plus who wouldn’t want to eat a zombie finger!?” Rachael said. “We also saved a lot with our friend Debbie doing the flowers and Aunty Chrissy making our dream wedding cake. They both did an amazing job. We also had constant help from our family buying trinkets and being absolute gems helping to decorate everything. We are so lucky to have their help, it meant a lot that everyone really got involved.”
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