“We live in a South Philly row home with a garage that houses our bicycles and Aaron’s home-brewing equipment in lieu of a car,” bride Leigh began. “We knew as soon as we were engaged that we’d ride our tandem bike, acquired from craigslist a few years back, into our reception entrance. We kept the bike theme going with a tandem bike cake topper, a Ketubah that was designed for us especially by Chris Soria, and hotel gift bags and DIY thank you notes with tandem bike stamps.”
“For the beer part of our wedding theme Aaron brewed 45 gallons of beer in 5 different styles (He is now setting up his own home brewing company called Franklin Heights Brewing). Our centerpieces used various-sized jars which we collected, filled with wheat and barley (the barley was purchased from Barry’s Homebrew Supply in South Philly), and our florist incorporated wheat into our bouquets and corsages. Aaron grows hops in the backyard that went into his boutonniere and was on display at the bar. We had almost no beer left at the rest of the night – a testament to his talents!”
Leigh’s love of polka dots also crept into the wedding theme in terms of their invitations, her Belle Couture dress and a lot of the other 100% DIY paper details which were put together by the couple and their friends and family at their ‘crafting parties.’ The DIY and community effort didn’t end there though, with Leigh’s necklace being a hand-made gift from a friend and the photo booth which was set up by another friend. Some of their talented musician friends performed a couple songs, all of which was captured on video by several other friends and family who volunteered their hand-held video recorders.
Emma & Morgan’s Welsh wedding has really put a smile on my face today. Everything about the day was personal, was sustainable and was perfect for them. The couple got married at The Hive and Ice Cream parlour in Aberaeron. They actually had two ceremonies through the course for the day. Firstly a smaller and more personal ceremony at The Hive, joined by just close family and friends. Then, once they got to the reception, they had a second ceremony amongst all 120 of friends. Their DIY heavy reception was held in a marquee in “Charlie’s Field” that looked out across New Quay Harbour, Wales – the exact spot that Morgan had proposed!
Emma wore two dresses on the day and in keeping with their sustainable, salvaged and recycled vibe, both were vintage. Dress number one was from Vintage Vixen, and the second she found on Etsy. Her shoes were a stunning pair of Louboutins, bought for her by her Mum as a special treat for the day! Emma kept her accessories to almost a minimum with her shoes and dresses stealing the show.
Locally sourced flowers, a cake made by the Mother & Aunt of the bride and fabulous and sustainable vintage and second hand finds really made their day unique and perfect for them. “As much as possible we wanted to have a sustainable approach to our wonderful day, but we don’t think that needs to be a conspicuous decision (highlighting to everyone how ‘green’ you are) or compromise your dreams for the day – luckily it meant salvage/reuse/vintage were more than firmly on the table!” the bride told me “As much as possible all our suppliers were local to the area, with the hope the money stayed in, and benefited, the local economy. Our invites were designed by my brother, the card from a UK paper mill specialising in post consumer recycled card and printed by a wonderful friend at her home. We spent a year collecting items from charity shops (people need to know about Oxfam’s online shop!) ebay, etsy and the odd overpriced vintage shop in the east end of London. The tea tins were from ebay – I quickly discovered it’s quite a competitive collectors interest in the UK, so old milk bottle and beer bottles as flower containers also made a great addition to the table centres – slightly less competitive than tea tins, but they too have their hard core followers on eBay! Food was sourced locally by a local caterer (a delicious veggie buffet proving you can go without meat, but a Welsh, organically reared hog on the roast if you couldn’t resist!) and all our wine was from France minimising air miles on what was the biggest volume of alcohol on the day. Desserts were made by family and friends. We mini-mooned in Wales too, doing our best to support local businesses and independents.”
The week before the wedding Emma spent time with family and friends at a rented cottage nearby the reception venue where they crafted to their hearts content. They created most of the stunning decorations that filled the marquee – from the brightly coloured felted hearts to the hanging pom poms. Emma’s Man of Honour and her Mum even patiently stitched the fabric coasters that were given as favours to each guest. Every detail was hand created by Emma, her family and friends.
Amanda & Steph’s wedding is one of those that as soon as I saw a sneak peek on their photographer’s blog I immediately emailed asking (well…demanding!) that I be allowed to blog it! If this isn’t a perfect Rock n Roll wedding, well I don’t know what is! The couple loosely based their wedding around Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland – i.e. Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass. They loved the almost dark and sinister twist this theme gave their wedding.
“We took the mad-hatter’s tea party idea and the magic of the ‘eat me’ cakes and ‘drink me’ potions, and linked it to Carroll’s poem Jabberwocky,” the couple explained. “This nonsensical but menacing poem appeared on our order of the day, and provided the inspiration for our table names. We wanted the wedding to have a fun party atmosphere and not be too ‘themed’, so we combined a ‘bring a hat’ dress code with teapot centre-pieces and little bottles of alcoholic shots on the tables labeled ‘drink me’. We wanted it to feel darkly comic, fun and quirky, whilst still being an emotional and special day for us.”
The colour theme that ran throughout the day was a dark purple and the bride wore a stunning Ian Stuart sample dress which was a pale blue/grey silk with a dramatic deep purple bolero which she bought from Bonzie on. To this she added a fabulous hat that she made herself by stitching together various bits and pieces which she had collected – including feathers, fabric, pearl beads and netting. Finally she added purple ‘Mini Magic Floral’ Irregular Choice shoes which she bought from Schuh. “I bought my dress at a wedding fair in London for £1,400, which was half price . It was far too big, so I had a dress-maker take off about 3 inches either side until it fitted. It was made in a pale blue/grey silk. I was quite pleased to think that because it was a sample it was completely unique and no one else would ever have one like it. The dress wasn’t what I thought I’d ever go for at all – quite traditional really with a huge train, but the colour made it unusual, and I accessorized it in quite an unusual way. I love Victoriana, which it reminded me of, and in the end I thought ‘when am I going to get the chance to wear something like this again’ so I went for it. My accessories were chosen to be in keeping with the Victoriana feel of the dress, and the idea was to make the outfit appear less bridal and more edgy.”
Steph wore a custom made suit that actually ended up costing more than the bride’s dress! “He wanted to keep it casual (he’s hardly worn a suit in his life being an advertising designer, and usually goes to work in his shorts and a t-shirt), so he decided to go without a tie and just wear a simple white shirt,” Amanda explained. “However, having made my own hat, I decided he ought to have some exciting DIY head-gear as well (to fit in with our mad-hatter’s tea party, Lewis Carrol theme). I therefore bought a cheap black top hat on ebay (I think it was about £25) and then trimmed it with some purple fabric to match my outfit. As we are big fans of Tim Burton and Steph likes all things dark and scary, I decided to go a stage further and I made a small purple fabric skeleton in the style of ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ with odd buttons for eyes and attached it to the hat with a glue gun. I then used spray paint to make the hat seem a bit more old and battered, and flicked it with purple and blue paint on a tooth brush to give it a more punky look. He was very pleased luckily!”