Tag Archives: bunting

An Urban & Eclectic Community Wedding: Stevie & Nick

Stevie & Nick’s eclectic city wedding took place in Mile End, East London. The bride described the day to me as “eclectic retro community chic,” with so many of their friends and family pitching in to help. “So many people said ‘that’s how weddings used to be’ and ‘this is how it should be, family and friends mucking in’. It meant a lot to us that this was how we did it – it wouldn’t have happened without all of the support we received.”

The wedding day started with the ceremony at Bromley Public Hall and concluded with a rockin’ party reception at The Victoria Pub, “Old man pub heaven” as the bride described it! “They’d never hosted a wedding before, but we were there for a jumble sale and afternoon pint and fell in love with the place,” she explained. “We started chatting to Jo and Martin, the amazing couple who own the pub with their son Alfie and couldn’t believe how genuinely excited they were by it. It made me realise that experience of weddings only gets you so far – real passion and enthusiasm was a lot more important in the end. When we wanted to bring in our own flowers, cakes and decorations – including nailing things to the wall – they were all for it!”

Stevie wore a short wedding dress which she bought on lightinthebox.com. “I know this website received mixed reviews, but it was the only place which had the style I wanted for the budget I had,” she explained honestly. “It worked for me and I would recommend it to anyone how has an eye for a bargain. Visiting weddings shops didn’t even enter the equation! I found this far less stressful. I didn’t try on any dresses or partake in the crazy wedding industry world for a second – people thought I was really weird for wanting to avoid the meringue monstrosity outlets.”

The couple brought their own cake, flowers and decor items and dressed their reception themselves (well with help from a friend on the morning of the wedding). This way, they were able to have the pub exactly as they wanted for a fraction of the price. “Our cake was made by my food-obsessed bridesmaid and usher. They were mini Victoria sponges filled with lemon curd (Nick’s favourite) with a big cake topped with little handmade versions of us. They came on vintage cake stands and looked amazing. Who needs 14 tier fruit cakes? No one eats it and it costs a fortune. These were made with real love and every one got eaten. Our 1950’s waitresses handed them round to the guests at their seats like a little (drunken) tea party!”

“We also bought all the flowers wholesale from Covent Garden Flower Market the day before the wedding (at 5am. Ouch.) Two of my incredible bridesmaids then spent the entire day putting them together. Everything was a surprise for me – including my bouquet. For a control freak like me, it was amazing. I only found out later that 3 bouquets had got stuck to the back of the fridge they were stored in, meaning lots of emergency flower re-arranging on the morning! I didn’t even notice!”

“The rest of the reception decor and props came from Deptford Market, every charity shop in Essex and Kent, eBay and our house. We were engaged for 18 months and we spent the whole time collecting little bits here and there. The whole family was involved. My sister put together the most amazing candy buffet using cut glass cake stands, jars and vases from my home. My childhood friend made 20 metres of blue and white bunting to go across the garden and Nick used our collection of second hand photo frames to put together a little photography exhibition of photos since we met. The gingham tablecloths were made by my Mum and we all sat around making our birds nest favours the day before the wedding.”

“No one in my family does big weddings,”Stevie concluded. “They either elope, or live quite happily without getting hitched. I had no family pressure so we were really able to do what felt right. Both of us were brought up going to jumble sales, hunting for bargains and being suspicious of anything which demanded a whole heap of money. I guess what made it different was that the idea of ‘impossible’ didn’t exist. We had a London wedding with 70 all day guests, 30 more in the evening, 7 bridesmaids and 7 ushers, beautiful food, drink and decoration all for around £7000. If we wanted something, we made it happen. It was really hard sometimes but we knew it was what we wanted.”

“Being Rock n Roll for me was about ignoring the ‘advice’ we read in magazines and pig headedly carrying on! No one believed me that a Victorian pub could be transformed into a sit down dining reception venue, but I knew it could. You can have the wedding you want on the budget you have, it just takes a lot of love and support from everyone around you and anything is possible.”

This is all just so utterly gorgeous! And did you spy Stevie’s nails? LOVE!

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A Farm & Festival Wedding: Roisin & Paul

Roisin & Paul’s Somerset wedding makes me ache for those long Summer days again. The Apple Orchard at Brook Farm played host to their August nuptials – a celebration of love, life and all things good. The couple opted for a humanist ceremony led by Alison Orchard, “She was so crucial to the success of the ceremony, which was such an emotional and wonderful experience,” the bride told me. “I think lots of people thought it might have a been a hippy-dippy, tree-hugging, fingers down-your-throat service, but instead found it was a lovely and romantic experience. We wrote our vows and kept them quite similar to the traditional ones. We sang, ‘A little Help from My Freinds’ by the Beatles and I cried all the way through it.”

After the moving ceremony, came cocktails and games on the lawn and in the marquees hired from Abbas Marquees, “This was very much a DIY wedding,” Roisin continued. “All of my friends and family got involved which made it a lovely and personal wedding, along with being quite a lot cheaper. We picked stones from the beach for name places and brought ‘Brighton rock’ as favours. I also made lots of little clay hearts.”

“Our theme was, ‘Festival’ which was fitting as the site of the farm is less than a mile from the Glastonbury Festival site. My bridesmaids and the Best Man were incredible. It was quite an organizational feat and they took it totally on board. In fact we had a ‘hand-over’ on the Thursday evening. They then became in-charge and only came to me if they really needed to. This made me be able to really enjoy the day and not worry about all the details that had been prepared.”

“My sister organsied games in the field of ‘Welly Wanging’ and ‘scissors, paper stone’. It was one of the highlights of the wedding! It was a really relaxed affair, full of love, romance and fun. People dressed how they wanted to and children were very much allowed to run around and have loads of fun. At my hen-do, the girls hired a hoola hooping instructor and we learnt a routine that we performed at the wedding. Everyone loved playing with the hoola hoops and it added to the festival feel.”

“My favourite ‘home-made’ bits were the clay hearts that we made and put in the orchard. We just bought heart shaped biscuit cutters, rolled out the clay and hung them from the trees using ribbon. It made the ceremony feel so magical.”

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A Pretty Vintage Islington Wedding: Cecilia & Robert

Cecilia & Robert’s pretty London wedding took place at Union Chapel and Union Hall, Islington.

“At first we had to decide where to have our wedding as I’m from Italy and Robert London,” Cecilia wrote to me. “We soon realised that London was the perfect place, as it’s where we’ve chosen to live and where we definitely wanted to start our life as a family. We started looking at a few venues, but they all looked a bit impersonal and soulless to us, we definitely wanted somewhere that would have a meaning for us and our relationship. And so that’s how we “stumbled” upon the Union Chapel. Rob had been there several times to see gigs, and we had been together to see a very special acoustic performance by Editors. Many people think it’s not an actual church, but it actually is – and it made perfect sense to us to get married there!”

“We were also delighted to find out that – apart from the main auditorium – they have several spaces for hire that can be used for all sorts of events. The Upper Hall fitted the bill perfectly, as it’s a completely blank canvas that we would be able to personalize according to our own taste.”

Cecilia wore a vintage dress from Fur Coat No Knickers. “Being only 5 ft 1’ and quite curvy, I was dreading the idea of going wedding dress shopping as I knew what is available in ‘traditional’ wedding dress shops simply wouldn’t look good on me and would undoubtedly knock my confidence. Then one day in a shop just off Brick Lane I saw a beautiful prom-style short dress and that’s when I knew that would be the style I would go for. But it wasn’t until I went to the National Wedding Show at Earl’s Court and discovered Fur Coat No Knickers that the whole ‘vintage’ thing started to incredibly appeal to me, so I went to see the fabulous Laura & Emma about 9 months before the wedding. Laura insisted we had ‘a little play’ and she picked a dress for me to try on first. As soon as I saw myself in the mirror I went ‘oh my god!!!’– I simply couldn’t believe how amazing it made me look!. I also picked a stunning necklace from FCNK, which complemented the pearl earrings my mum gave me for my 31st birthday.”

“We had quite a few DIY projects that we completed thanks to the invaluable help of our friends and family”, the bride continued when I asked about their reception details. “We did our wedding invites ourselves, Rob designed the London skyline that became a sort of ‘fil rouge’ throughout our wedding, and created the actual invites around it. We also handmade our jam jar wedding favours and the little sugar almonds bows. Rob’s brilliant sister Anne (who also made my hair on the day!) and her husband Kevin made most of the plum and peach jam, whereas the jars were provided by my mum, who works for a glassware manufacturer. Anne and Kevin also made the spiced apple and onion chutney that was served together with our cheese cake!”

“We were on a tight budget so we knew we could not afford a traditional seated meal for all our 80 guests. This, combined with the vintage feel we wanted to give to our wedding after I chose my dress (and, I admit it, my love of cakes), convinced us we should go for a traditional English afternoon tea party. After all the cakes and sweet treats, we thought that having a traditional wedding cake would not make any sense. That together with Rob’s absolute love for cheese convinced us that we had to go for a cheese cake! We purchased the cheeses (Cornish Yarg, Stichelton, Italian Caciotta, Coeur Neufchatel and Crottin de Chavignol) from the fantastic La Fromagerie in Highbury – a real treasure trove for all cheese lovers!! The cake was decorated with cherry tomatoes on the vine and black grapes, and was served with our homemade chutney and artisan bread sticks.”

“I have to say,” concluded the bride, “that although we put all our efforts into organizing this wedding while being on a budget, trawling all the wedding blogs out there and trying to do as many things as possible ourselves, we couldn’t have done anything without all the amazing suppliers we met along the way, who really surpassed themselves on the actual day.”

“Although the months of planning were quite stressful, we were very absolutely over the moon with the result, because we managed to stay true to ourselves and incorporate all the things that really mattered for us in our day. We wanted our guests to experience something personal and different, and we wanted those who had travelled across Europe to be there to really feel it was worth it – and their happy faces were the best reward for us! So my advice to those planning their wedding now is just this – be true to yourself and do things with your heart!”

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A Simple DIY Wedding: Tara & Oleg

Tara & Oleg were married at Wentworth Falls School of Arts, NSW, Australia. The bride wore a beautiful 1950’s debutante gown made of white taffeta with black flocked trim which she found on eBay!

“They met at Acting College in Sydney and have been together for the last 6 years,” their wedding photographer Jemima Richards told me. “The easiest way to describe these two as madly in love. Their wedding was a really beautiful reflection of that. The entire wedding had a distinct DIY theme, but with all of their personality in every single element. Oleg is from Croatia, so his family members made the special journey over, with his two sisters travelling from opposite ends of the planet just to be there. As a wedding gift, Tara also flew in Oleg’s very best friend from London as a surprise!”

“The ceremony was simple and in the small and intimate events hall at the School of Arts,” she continued. “Tara had handmade 150 large paper pom-poms to decorate both the reception and ceremony with as opposed to flowers. She even disclosed that she spent a back breaking 5 hours the night before the wedding ‘poofing’ and hanging every single one.”

“Each guest was presented with a personalised program for the wedding which included a personal and individual message from the bride and groom in the back. The couple read their own vows (or in the case of Oleg, spoke straight from the heart) and their celebrant even recited the Dr Seuss poem ‘Oh! the places you’ll go’ (which was super relevant and very sweet). The ceremony was brief, but very sincere and heartfelt.”

“The couple opted not to have any formal portraits taken of themselves with their best man and maid of honour, and instead went straight into the reception which was held in the adjoining theatre of the School of Arts. The lack of formal photos was made up for by the addition of a photobooth, which the couple described as ‘a way to give a gift to each guest’.Tara and Oleg wanted their reception to be all about their guests, while still having the same amount of personality as the ceremony.”

“Guests were treated to a self serve lolly bar with suggestions written on playing cards by the wedding party, lots of dancing, and their gorgeous Cowboys and Indians themed wedding cupcakes. The entire night was a party to celebrate their getting hitched and there was not a single moment where there was a lack of love in the air or someone being bored.”

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A Beautiful Handmade French Wedding: Sophie & Julien

Sophie & Julien’s family-central wedding was held in the Cote d’Or region of Burgandy, France, in a house build by Sophie’s Grandfather. The ceremony took place at the local town hall and the reception at the family home.

“The wedding was from start to finish a family affair,” Sophie explained. “The house was spruced up for the occasion with my Mother being the driving force behind all the sanding, painting, repairing etc.  Julien’s Mother came out to help as well as my Sisters, Cousins, Brother’s in Law etc!  My Sisters and I spent months looking up ideas and images on various blogs with all details being put to parents, friends etc.  The lanterns came from a friend of mine in Montreal who does decoration for cinema.  She had to create a wedding scene so I bought them off her and added them to the suitcases of various family members who were in Canada visiting to take to France.”

“Our biggest motivator was that the wedding would be fun, elegant relaxed as well,” the bride continued. “We wanted the atmosphere to be happy, friendly and warm – like our families!  Having the reception at my family home in Burgundy was very special…the house was built by my great, great Grandfather and so it is steeped in family memories.”

“The decoration was all hand-made and here are some of the things we did…My Sisters sewed metres and metres of bunting and collected bits of lace which they used to decorate the pear tree under which we got married. My Dad and Julien’s good friend put up all the lighting and lanterns, my close friend and my Brother’s in Law created wreaths and put up hundreds of fairy lights in the trees. We washed and wired loads of jam jars which were hung from trees as candle lanterns.”

“Julien and I designed the invitations and place cards which we had screen-printed in Montreal. Julien’s parents made endless trips to supermarkets, cheese shops, stations, DIY shops to get weird and wonderful provisions, we collected old doilies, lacy tablecloths which we set up on outside tables and chairs for general lounging and smoking. My Sister and her boyfriend helped us find some old frames in which we added some old maps as backing board to our hand-written table plans, they then hung them outside from the arbour we have in the garden – they looked amazing!”

“We bought over mini packets of almonds cooked in maple syrup as favours. My friend and my Step-Mum weeded the driveway, made countless cups of coffee and tea as well as litres of Kir made with local cassis. My Mum made about 12 quiches and other goodies for our next-day brunch and she also made tweaks to my wedding dress, made the vintage lace into a shawl, hand-knitted a alpaca shawl for when it got cold and generally was a superstar! I think I have gone on long enough, needless to say it was a massive group project and it all went without a flaw!”

Sophie’s dress was Custom Designed with Canadian Designer Véronique Miljkovitch. “I knew from the beginning that I wanted a dress that was different and initially I was sure I would find a vintage dress. I found my dress almost accidentally – my Mother was in Montreal visiting me for a couple of weeks and Julien managed to get her to take me to a local designer who is a friend of a friend.  The idea was that I would unknowingly pick out a dress for my birthday present…little did he know that on this surprise shopping trip, I ended up finding my wedding dress!”

“I tried on a dress that was beautiful and my Mother and I instantly could imagine it as a wedding dress.  We asked Véronique the designer whether she would be interested in custom-making it in off-white with a few tweaks here and there and she agreed!  From then on it was a series of secret visits, fabric hunts, fittings. Véronique’s dress was perfect and incidentally has a vintage feel to it!  I decided not to go with a veil but I completed the look with a piece of vintage lace around my shoulders (I found it in a second-hand shop with my Mother in Montreal during another visit a year later!) and shoes that I already had by Mine de Rien.  My beautiful jewellery was created by my sister Dominique with gold chain, non-dyed sapphires and quartz.”

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A Village Fete Meets Tattoo Parlour Wedding: Jess & David

Jess & David were married in All Saints Church in Kirby and they had their reception in the bride’s parent’s back garden. Jess wore a Candy Anthony Dress, Upper Street shoes (which she designed herself) and Vivienne Westwood jewellery. The lucky couple had Shell De Mar there to capture their day.

“We met at school and had been together 12 years when David proposed at sunrise on the beach in Mexico,” Jess told me. “Initially I’d been reluctant to get out of bed so early but something told me it might be worth it…and it was!”

“We always knew we wanted to get married in Pocklington, the small Yorkshire town where my parents live and where the school at which we met is. But finding a venue was a big problem as everything just felt too formal and wedding-y. In the end, it made perfect sense to do it in my parents garden as we had the space and freedom to do everything exactly as we wanted. We felt really strongly that if we were going to have all the people around us that we cared most about, we didn’t want to be standing on ceremony. That was one of the reasons we put our table in the middle of the room, because we didn’t want that us and them separation.”

“I knew immediately I wanted a 50’s style dress and as soon as I clapped eyes on Candy Anthony’s dresses it was love at first sight. The polka dots were just perfect and the red sash was brought everything together. I was worried that David would be disappointed that I hadn’t gone more traditional but the look on his face when I walked down the aisle told me I had nothing to worry about. The right shoes were proving extremely difficult to find and it was my Mum who eventually found Upper Street’s website. I designed exactly what I wanted and six weeks later they arrived and couldn’t have been more perfect.”

“My biggest thing throughout the planning was that I didn’t want to settle just because something was easier and I spent many hours trawling websites for ideas on how to do things,” the bride continued. “There were times, I think, when my Mum struggled with the idea that it wasn’t going to be a traditional, fluffy, sugar coated wedding, but she soon got what I had in mind and was amazing in helping everything come together. We couldn’t have done it without my Mum and Dad.”

“In the end the theme was a celebration of all things kitsch – or village fete meets Rock n Roll tattoo parlour as one of our guests described it. The biggest compliment at the end of the day was the number of people telling us how the whole wedding was totally ‘us’.”

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