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A Very London Wedding: Naomi & Chris

I was hanging out at Fur Coat No Knickers a few weeks ago catching up on my vintage fashion/wedding industry-based gossip, when in breezed an excited girl who had just got married in one of their beautiful wedding dresses. Naomi had popped back in to show Laura & Emma some of her wedding photos and as soon as I heard the words ‘wedding photos’ I immediately jumped out from behind the dresses to have a nosy myself (Poor Naomi, I must have given her a heart attack…turns out she was a regular reader of this little wedding blog throughout her planning!)

Anyway I loved the photos Naomi showed us on her phone, so when I received the submission from her photographer Sarah Lauren I was thrilled that I would be able to share them with you too!

Naomi married Chris in London on 1st October. After getting ready at the gorgeous Charlotte Street Hotel, Naomi and her bridal party hopped in a London black cab to Islington town hall for the ceremony. Following the marriage service, the newlyweds and their guests all jumped into a red London bus, which they hired from Routemaster Hire, and headed to 6 Fitzroy Square for their beautiful reception.

“October 1st was freakishly one of the hottest days of the year. The atmosphere in Fitzrovia was animated with London nightlife,” Naomi told me, “We tried to keep our wedding theme fun-loving, relaxed and really styled to our personalities; we had moustaches on sticks for the wedding guests to play with. We also gave them fortune–teller fish as favours. I handmade the cake toppers and Chris stayed true to his comic book roots and wore crazy Spiderman cufflinks which I bought him!”

“We love our hometown London and there was a definite London theme throughout with the Routemaster bus, the central venues and the cosmopolitan wedding party. Even though it was a very London-esque wedding, we had family and friends visiting from the USA, Australia and even the Scottish Highlands! We felt so flattered that our guests travel from far and wide to witness our special day.”

6 Fitzroy Square is literally down the road from the Charlotte Street Hotel where we were staying, so after the evening do at Fitzroy Square we thought it would be lovely to take a walk with close friends (those hardcore few!) back to the hotel for a chilled out drinks after-party. We stayed up til past 3.30am!”

The couple also had Frank Miller of Sassy n Frank to video their day…

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A Vintage Nautical Wedding: Liz & Tom

Liz & Tom injected a subtle nautical theme into their October wedding. “In our first few years as a couple I used to call Tom the one-armed fish man,” Liz laughed. “Our venue was The Bull Hotel in Bridport, a harbour market town, and we both want a scrimshaw anchor tattoo (haven’t done it yet but the plan is to have one for Christmas). So we flooded our wedding with vintage nautical touches and plenty of rum. Rock n Roll Bride was the only wedding blog that I read as I planned my wedding. It was from reading what other Rock n Roll Brides had done for their big day that we had the confidence to go our own way.”

Liz wore her Aunt’s 1950’s Nottingham lace wedding dress which she had customised by Laura & Emma at the fabulous Fur Coat No Knickers. “A year before we got engaged my Auntie Hannah gave me her 1950’s Nottingham lace wedding dress that she’d worn at her wedding in 1959 and my Mum also wore to her and Dad’s wedding in 1964,” Liz wrote. “She said she’d never need it again and ‘you never know, you might wear it one day if you ever get married.’ A year later, on holiday in Vancouver and the day after my birthday we did get engaged. So I took the dress to Emma and Laura a to work their magic on it. It is Nottingham lace over a very pale pink netting so even though I’m not particularly a ‘pink’ kinda girl I decided to embrace the colour and Laura and Emma added the pink silk sash.”

As the couple have attended many weddings in the past, they knew that the ones they enjoyed most were those that were relaxed, informal and more about the couple than the ‘need’ to do a wedding in a certain way. Liz continued, “As soon as it came to planning ours we were adamant we wanted a day that felt like a big party – relaxed, informal, fun…with great food! The Bull was our hotel bolt-hole. A boutique shabby vintage vibe of a place with great food, lovely staff and the type of attitude we loved – relaxed, informal but excellent in everything. From booking The Bull, the rest of our wedding fell into place.”

“From the start of our relationship as teenagers we’ve filled our lives with antiques and vintage finds so it was to all things old we turned to ensure we had the touches that friends and family would recognise as being very ‘us’. As a lot of our guests were staying at the hotel with us we booked it for the whole weekend and invited everyone to The Stable at The Bull for pizza, pie and cider on the Friday night. The Friday shindig had everyone relaxed and talking to each other so that when Saturday afternoon came they all felt like old friends.”

“Without bridesmaids, a best man, a cake to cut and lots of formal photos we concentrated on giving our guests plenty to drink, delicious food to eat, and personal touches to ensure they felt relaxed and at ease. Whilst we weren’t originally planning speeches my oldest friend Katie said a few words about me, Tom (a man of very few words) gave a beautiful speech thanking our friends and family who had come together to make our day possible, and finally Tom’s mum unexpectedly stood up and raised a toast to my dear departed Dad and Uncle. Everyone then hit the bar and the dancefloor to drink and boogie till the early hours. In our guest book that we read on honeymoon so many people commented on how it had been the most relaxed, fun and personal wedding they’d ever been to.”

“To us Rock n Roll is about going your own way. Not being tied to convention or rule. We did have touches of wedding tradition – a white dress, wedding favours, speeches – but overall we concentrated on making a day that was true to us.”

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A Vintage Festival Wedding…in the Rain!: Natasha & Charlie

Natasha & Charlie are the kind of couple that wedding photographers dream of – creative, unique in their inspiration and totally in love. The bride told me all about their vintage festival wedding. It may have rained for their outdoor ceremony, but it certainly didn’t damper their spirits!

“Even though I had prayed for months for sun on our wedding day, it still rained! I thought that this would ruin the day as everything we had planned involved being outside – including the ceremony. Just before we were due to go down, the wedding organiser at Maunsel House said that it was raining and tried to convince me to move everything inside. But I couldn’t bare the thought of not getting married under the beautiful bandstand as this had been my dream from the start – so I made everyone stand outside with umbrellas! It actually turned out really well and everybody loved it – the pictures of everyone with umbrellas looked great as well!”

“Even though we are from London we both knew that we wanted to celebrate our big day somewhere further afield,” the bride continued. “We are also huge music festival fans so the idea of a festival-style, open air wedding was really appealing for us. We saw about 5 places before we finally settled on Maunsel House. With a licensed bandstand set in the grounds for wedding ceremonies and a roofed Pergola for outside dining, it totally fitted the bill for our outdoorsy festival theme.”

“We really wanted the wedding styling to reflect our personalities and our love of vintage things, so we began trawling car boot sales for trinkets and props to start creating the look.” Natasha continued. “As an alternative to the standard marquee uplighting, we bought loads of cheap old lampshades in different colours and shapes to hang from the centre of our marquee. We lit some with bulbs and others with fairy lights creating a vintage living room effect.”

“I also found a beautiful 1950’s record player on eBay which we set up in the main hall playing ‘The Sound of Music’ soundtrack to guests as they arrived. Instead of a table and traditional guestbook, we hired an old 1920’s bureau from The Little Wedding Helper and put a typewriter on there with a typed welcome letter to our guests. Kirsten, our wedding helper styled it beautifully with our vintage books and telephone as well as some flowers and luggage tags for our guests to write messages to us.”

“We used old scrabble sets to create our table names which were all based on the different festivals we had been to over the years and the walkways were adorned with hundreds of metres of vintage style bunting made by myself, my mum and my mother-in-law. We also made satin bows from the left-over bunting material to decorate the wedding cake (a delicious cake of cheese!) and little jars of home-made chutney for our wedding favours. My mother-in-law sketched a lovely drawing of the garden bandstand (where we had the ceremony) for the cover of our Order of Service booklets and we included poems and readings, as well as the words to our our Elton John and Kiki Dee Sing-a-long.”

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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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‘Rock n Robin’: A1950’s Christmas Shoot for the BBC

I know what you’re thinking…Christmas stuff already woman?! Well just hear me out would ya?*

I’ve known wedding photographer Ashton Jean-Pierre ever since we both went to Emma Case’s wedding back in March. I don’t think we managed to talk on the night, but after the event I saw some of his incredible photos (that he just took on his iPhone!) on facebook and so I got in contact to ask if I could share some of them on my blog. He said yes and we’ve chatted online ever since.

Ashton is deaf which makes no difference at all when communicating online, but when he asked if Gareth & I would like to do a mini shoot with him I was a teeny tiny bit nervous on how we would get on in ‘real life’. However I needn’t have worried. Ashton is so expressive and animated that it’s actually pretty easy to have a conversation. Although I didn’t know any sign language before we met, we were easily able to chat by gesturing and using a good old fashioned pen and paper to write things down when my feeble attempts and signing prompted confused expressions all round.

This is definitely one of my fave shots from the whole shoot…how cool does Gareth look?

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