Sian and Neil’s wedding featured all the things they love: Tequila, their dogs and the importance they put on their relationship. With a groom that always said he never wanted to get married, when he finally surprised his bride and asked her to be his wife, they knew the only way they were going to do it was entirely on their own terms. That meant ignoring tradition wherever possible.
They were hitched in June at Bysshe Court Barn in Surrey, and because they had their legal register office ceremony a few days before, they had complete freedom when it came to the day. “At the legal wedding we just had my little brother and Neil’s sister as our two witnesses”, Sian explained. “It was very low key and we went for coffee afterwards. We didn’t recognise this as our wedding day, we did it so that it gave us the freedom to do our actual wedding day exactly how we wanted it. We didn’t have to follow any rules or tradition. Therefor we found a celebrant to perform our ceremony in front of all our friends and family on our big day.”
Julz and Andy almost cancelled their wedding… until they discovered Rock n Roll Bride (!!) Planned in just six months, the couple wanted a day that played homage to the art deco styling of their venue and the season in which they said their ‘I dos’. The bride told us, “The magazine pretty much saved me while I was wedding planning. I almost cancelled the wedding so I could grow my hair and lose weight. I couldn’t find any brides at all that looked like me… until your mag came into my life so thank you!”
They were married in October at Leith Theatre in Edinburgh, an old art deco theatre. Although it was undergoing a massive renovation and development, it was very easy to dress because it was already is stunning. “I come from a creative background so found it really easy to dream up a ‘vision’ of how I wanted the place to look”, explained Julz. “I wanted flowers, food, disco and autumn rolled into one.”
When Bryony fell pregnant quicker than planned, they ditched their grand plans for a huge, three-day circus inspired festival wedding, with a huge budget and decided to just focus on what really mattered. The bride wore a £35 dress from ASOS and their reception was at their local Chinese restaurant – no decor, no cake, no fuss.
“I had our son a week after we got married”, Bryony explained. “We didn’t really have a theme, we just wanted it as simple and stress-free as possible. It was just about making promises in front of a few people we love. We were so laid back and chilled about the whole thing. We left everything until last minute, only had a handful of guests and had a non-traditional evening – it was perfect!”
Shot at Riola San Gabriel in Alcolecha near Alicante in Spain, this editorial is sure to inspire you if you want something more on the opulent, or over-the-top side for your own big day. The team behind it were inspired by the extravagance of Gucci’s shoots when they put this one together.
The location also helped them set the tone of the imagery, particularly the pictures and statues throughout the venue.
Everyone wants to have a unique wedding day that reflects their identity, after all, there are few occasions where you can be as deliciously indulgent as you want (making your friends do literally anything your heart desires, mwahaha).
But as the planning process can take its toll and every well-meaning family member and previous bride puts in their two pence worth, it can get harder and harder to stand strong in your ideas of YOUR perfect day. Not to mention the trad bridal magazine (thank god for Rock n Roll Bride!) spouting ‘advice’ which just doesn’t feel like you. It’s all too easy to get up to the big day and feel like you’ve sacrificed every weird and wonderful personal detail that you wanted.
Yup, being yourself and planning a big day that is authentically yours, well, it can take huge balls. The first step in cultivating an ‘I matter and my opinion matters’ attitude is to realise that it’s not selfish to put yourself first. In fact, you are the most important person in your life (sorry not sorry, life partner). We also all need to re-frame what exactly putting yourself first looks like and realise that self-love not just ‘nice to have’ but a vital necessity. Self-love is often marketed in a way that’s cringey, touchy-feely and maybe even self-indulgent.
But in reality – it takes a punk ass attitude. Let me explain why. Sadly, like a lot of good things, the phrase has been co-opted by diet culture, women’s magazines and Instagram wellness accounts. So, it’s easy to bundle the whole concept of self-love with green smoothies, gym-worthy abs, overpriced yoga classes and out of reach wellness retreats.
There’s a lot of articles out there that link self-love with self-improvement and this often leaves us all feeling guilty for not achieving it. Be mindful of anyone talking about self-love while also selling you something which is telling you that you’re not good enough as you are.
As a society, we spend too long treating the symptoms of the (dis)stress in our lives. For example, you’re feeling totally overwhelmed by your DIY wedding decoration planning (the symptom is stress), so you book a massage to feel relaxed. This is a temporary ‘cure’ and in my opinion this is self-care. This is where self-love and self-care are different. Self-love It isn’t about any nice activity which you choose to do, or not do.
Now don’t get me wrong, self-care is awesome and important but a massage isn’t going to sort out the root cause of your problem e.g. the huge, overwhelming feeling of DIYing chair ribbons. Doom.
So this is a shoot, not a real wedding, but if you’re planning to elope then I’m sure you’ll find some inspiration in these images. Put together by Arkansas photographer Laura Power, she wanted to create something different to all the more traditional weddings she sees day in day out.
“Traditional weddings are still the upmost popular thing here in Arkansas”, she writes. “I wanted to bring in elements that you wouldn’t normally see on the side of a mountain. Being from the Midwest typically means a black tux, a white ballgown and weddings held in barns. The inspiration behind this shoot was to give Arkansas a fresh modern take on intimate weddings and elopements. Specifically the hand-embellished pearl cape, short slip dress and gold booties paired with the fringe leather vintage vest.”