Tag Archives: Thrift

A DIY Country Wedding: Jacob & Sarah

Jacob & Sarah had a DIY country wedding at Harmony Museum, PA.

“Together with our community of friends, we pretty much made everything on our own because we wanted our wedding day to represent who we are,” Sarah told me. “Having the wedding ceremony and reception take place in a non traditional atmosphere also helped to sort of describe where we were coming from, a subculture scene of punk music and tattoos. One of the most important things that we wanted to come from our wedding day was to have a celebration with the people who we love the most. We have a very close group of friends that we respect and hold close and we wanted them to feel like it wasn’t just ‘Jake and Sarah’s Day’ but rather a party for all of us. Immediately after the ceremony, which was fairly short, there was just a big party.”

“For the centerpieces we collected bottles that we found on the railroad tracks and in the woods all around Pittsburgh,” she continued. “Above one of the tracks that run through South Side there was what appeared to be the remains of an old bottling plant, and there we found probably close to 100 very neat old bottles. After many soaks in the bath tub I tied pieces of fabric and ribbons around the bottles to dress them up a little. So, our centerpieces were free!”

Sarah wore a handmade dress by I see You Brightly on etsy with vintage shoes. Her headpiece was handmade by a friend and her jewellery was made for her by Jacob.

Instead of a cake they had a dessert table filled with pie, cookies and other treats bought by their guests.

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Roo’s Favourite Finds: Fabulous Favours

Photography Credit: Caroline Tran via Ruffled Blog

As the rest of you Rock n Roll Brides will be aware, there are certain age-old wedding traditions that we love and want to uphold, whereas others leave us looking a bit glassy-eyed. The beauty of the contemporary wedding is that we’re free to do away with the stuff that doesn’t make sense to us pretty much without question – for us, I naturally just assumed that we’d be forsaking the wedding favour.

Now, I’ve only been to three weddings in my time and I received a wedding favour at just one of them – so you’ll forgive me for thinking that there was no real “meaning” or general substance to the idea. In fact, the tradition apparently dates back to as early as the 16th century, when wedding guests were given what is known as a bonbonniere – a small trinket box that held sugar cubes/confectionary. Sugar was then somewhat of a luxury, and to give it as a gift was indicatory of the bride and groom’s wealthy standing. As time went on and sugar became more of an affordable commodity, the tradition became popular with lower classes of bridal parties – and the rest, as they say, is history.

Although I am a traditionalist in lots of ways, there’s something about this that doesn’t really appeal to me. In my defence, for any hard-core favour enthusiasts, it’s only because I’ve seen some truly tacky examples. Moreover, I felt like a lot of the ones I saw were highly impersonal, and I don’t know why. That was until I saw Alix’s handmade stuffed animal favours:

Photography Credit: Photo Pink, full wedding on Rock n Roll Bride here

These incredibly thoughtful, endlessly original gifts got my brain into gear and we figured that favours could be something we’d get on board with. Now, having quite hectic work/university schedules, I was pretty certain that we wouldn’t be able to create something as bespoke as Alix’s stuffed animals – so what could we come up with that had the perfect balance of creativity, personality (as in, personal to us), and manageability?

When I first moved to Brighton, my parents bought me a set of mini cactus plants. They’ve come with me everywhere, from home to home, and before we decided to get a kitten, I think they were pretty much our adopted children. There’s just something so aesthetically pleasing and comforting about cacti – not to mention that the cactus flower symbolizes a heart burning with love (or so the world wide web tells me). All in all, you could say we’re pretty attached to our mini cacti family, so when our pesky kitten kept knocking them out of their simple plastic pots, I decided to take action and find them some new housing. As ever, I was able to rely on my friendly neighbourhood charity shops:

Pair of eggcups, £1.50 from PDSA

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Roo’s Favourite Finds: The Tattered, The Broken & The Not So Shiny…Plus How to Haggle

This month, the fabulous Roo shares her ideas on what to do with less-than-perfect charity shop finds. I love love love her diy fix-up ideas so much and I know you guys will too.

Over to you Miss Roo…

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Now, even after seeing what treasures can be found if you look hard enough in the right places, you would be forgiven for presuming the following formula:

 Charity shops = tat

… Because, quite frankly, quite a lot of the time it’s proven to be true. Whether you’re a tried & true charity shop scavenger or a recent disciple following this series, you’re sure to have had a “dud” run, and that can be disheartening. When you’re perusing for the fun of it it’s not so bad, but if you’re committed to the cause for the sake of your wedding it’s easy to get blindsided by the dud run and head home feeling dejected. This month I’d like to focus on spotting the potential in otherwise “useless” items: the tattered, the broken, and the not so shiny.

On the whole, I would identify myself as someone who is creative, with an active imagination – yet despite being able to conceive of good ideas, I often find myself falling short when it comes to executing them, due to a distinct lack of “know-how”. This, among a menagerie of other reasons, is why the Internet is such a useful tool to have at our palms. Blogs such as Tokketok and Mermag boast incredible tutorials that take everyday items and transport them into the world of the fantastical – widening the scope of possibilities for objects that we’d otherwise overlook, or “make do with” – like these beautiful monogrammed glasses, just when you thought plain ones would suffice.

Photography Credit: Merrilee Liddiard, full tutorial at Mermag

Many online tutorials are a breeze (almost so simple that you wonder, why didn’t I think of that!?) and some are a little more intermediate, but a task that is too tasking for one person is less tasking when halved – which is where your bridesmaids, groomsmen, parents, children or betrothed can come in handy. Some of my most favourite weddings featured on wedding blogs everywhere are the ones where I read the words “everyone chipped in!” because really, there’s nothing more celebratory and wonderful than everyone you love claiming a share of your big day. So, if you’re reading this and thinking but I’m the kind of person who glues their fingers together, do not despair. Bear with me, and I promise by the time you reach the end of this post, your creative lusts will be hooting.

Over the past couple of months we’ve tried terrariums and collected clothes, and this month I had the bright idea of looking at turning “trash” into treasure.

Photography Credit: Ramsey Amaoot

Now since I can tell that you’re wondering, I’ll tell you: the thought came to me following two separate, poetic incidences. Lamb and I have been on the hunt for furniture for our room over the past couple of weeks, so my charity shop trawling has extended to charity furniture shops. We’re fortunate enough to live next door to a YMCA furniture store, and regularly keep our beady eye out on the street outside for their delivery van. The only downside is that our obsession with second-hand furniture shopping has lead to us trawling the Internet for new places to leaf through, and this has been a little too time consuming when trying to juggle work/university on the side… oops!

Unfortunately, our search for more furniture shops run by charities has proved a little fruitless in and around our local area – despite this, we’ve managed to find some really wonderful flea markets dotted around Brighton, and this month I’d like to shift our attention to flea markets as well as charity shops as great sources for all manner of wedding paraphernalia. As usual, we’ll take a look at my favourite finds of the past month, and leaf through some tips I’ve jotted down along the way.

My secondary source of inspiration for this post was the stumbling across an absolutely phenomenal tutorial by Jason Hull. Remember how I said in my last wedding-y post that Pinterest was an outrageously effective way of finding and documenting ideas and inspo? If you didn’t believe it before, then I pray you believe it now – Pinterest boasts a whole host of “pins” dedicated purely to tutorials, focusing on everything from hair/make-up to homemade fashions; from home décor to party favours. It was whilst simply perusing the people I was following that I found the most delightful thing… vintage camera nightlights.

Photography Credit: Jason Hull

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Roo’s Favourite Finds: Finding Clothing Bargains in Charity Shops/Thrift Stores

This month, resident charity shopping guru/icon Roo is talking all about finding clothing gems in charity, thrift and vintage stores. Enjoy darlings!

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The last time we spoke, I was floating on the high of a relatively warm autumn down here in Brighton (I’m not kidding; I went swimming in the sea at the end of October). I’m sad to report that the temperature tables have now rightfully turned, and as a result I’ve been honing my beady eye in on stocking up my winter wardrobe to accommodate for these chillier months.

Now, apart from being a little bit skint a lot of the time, it’s also worth considering that I have a Mother who is a dab hand with a needle and thread. This has meant that I’ve grown up understanding the value of clothes – I won’t breach onto designer territory just now, because that’s a whole different kettle of fish – but I will say that nine times out of ten I’ll step into a popular high street store and be blown away by the lack of quality for the relatively extortionate price tag. On more than one occasion I have been the victim of inexplicably frayed edges, missing buttons, and ripped seams, and altogether I find it quite disheartening. That said, I do like to buy my key pieces – jeans, plain t-shirts, jumpers, etc – from high street stores, because we can all wear these things differently. If I am ever conscious of looking like a clone, I would much rather go for second-hand.

‘Second-hand’ can cover two areas; charity/thrift shops, or ‘vintage’ shops. I am also acutely aware of value for money when it comes to these two areas of retail, obviously through being a bit of a thrifting fiend, and having a sister who owned her own vintage clothing business. I’ve seen more warehouses than I can count; inspected wholesale bundles a-plenty and generally sifted through the crap, and I’m always on to a rip-off. This time around, I’m going to share with you my best new purchases of the recent month, and as ever compile a list of do’s, don’ts, how to’s and why’s, so that you might find your own good quality bargains. We’re going to focus primarily on charity shops, of course, but I’ll also be indicating where tips can seep into the vintage business too, since I feel the line between the two business sectors are blurring.

Finding what you’re looking for

As per your household/decorative items, it’s advisable to work out what you want before you leave the house. Are you going somewhere? Is it a formal do? Fancy dress? Do you need to be weather-conscious (i.e. cardigans vs sun dresses?) It’s worth being aware that charity shops (and vintage shops) set themselves out differently, so knowing what you have in mind is paramount. I’ve never worked out what my merchandising preference is, so I’ll roll with my gut and say that it’s dependant on what I’m looking for. If I know I want a new dress but I don’t mind what colour it is, then I’ll prefer shops that set themselves out by category; dresses, coats, jackets, jeans & trousers, shorts & skirts, and so on. That means that I can look through all the dresses they have at once, and compare my options easily.

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Roo’s Favourite Finds: Terrariums

Roo is pretty awesome you know. So she called me last week with an idea for a blog post which I loved so much I asked if she’d like to make it a monthly addition to the blog. Which I’m pleased to report she did.

As a bit of a charity shop/thrifting fiend, Roo’s idea was to share some of her favourite charity shop finds as well as showing you how she is using said finds in her wedding. These posts are going to be the perfect antidote to a wedding industry that tries to convince you that you have to spend a bomb to have a beautiful wedding. All you really need is a little imagination and not a lot of cash. Hurrah!

I just know you guys are gonna love this…

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When I say I love charity shops, it is purely with conviction and entirely without shame. I don’t know when it started, but I do know that having a very vintage-savvy mother helped in launching the love affair. My first charity shop-owned item was bought for me by her; a pair of calf-high, low-heeled tan boots costing just £3, from a very unknown shop in our suburb that supported the local Christian community. I wore those boots with everything, all the time; eventually, I wore those boots until they literally caved in on themselves. I don’t think I could say that those boots got me addicted, but seeing my mum come home with vintage suitcases full of antique lace and fabric samples certainly stirred my interest. I’m twenty-four now, and the stirring continues – dizzying, you might think, maybe even nauseous, but I’ve never stopped loving or being excited by it. I’m so pleased to share my best finds of these upcoming, pre-wedding months with you – not to mention a few “how-to” guides on finding your own dream buys. But first, a little prequel…

When I was twenty years old, going on twenty-one, I lived in Exeter for a brief period and fell in love with an antique shop called Otto Retro. I spent hours haggling with the owner (or, more accurately, she spent hours haggling with me – she would never let me pay full price for anything) and I ended up furnishing half my bedroom with some truly amazing pieces – take, for example, this desk and chair set – complete with globe, Anglepoise lamp, bird cage (plus mechanical birds) – all for £120.

With each visit, my interest in antiquing was sent skyrocketing, but after I peaked, I started to feel like I wasn’t getting enough out of it. Antique shops as a rule are independent stores, and I will never stop supporting independent stores and their respective owners, but I started to draw the conclusion that I would be far more satisfied supporting a larger/wider demographic – i.e. the target groups of charitable foundations. I am totally supportive of independent sellers and would choose them over the high street 80% of the time, but I can’t shirk the pure and simple fact that for me, nothing beats the feel-good ethic of charity-shop-shopping (charity shopping? I’ve never worked out the right phrase).

I was once described by a friend as “bargain-bin chic”, mostly because every time someone complimented me on my new jumper/shoes/handbag I’d say “oh, this old thing? It’s only from Scope”. Only? Only!? The charity shop veteran that I am today is disgusted by my conduct, because as you will learn (if you don’t know already) it is highly rude to be so dismissive of a good piece of tat.

I’ve always been overly fond of homeware – china, blankets, lamps, houseplants, and so on, etc, etc, and recently my thrifting focus has shifted from threads to trinkets. I do still look for clothes, but since we started planning our wedding I’ve become horrendously obsessed with picking up bits and bobs that we can use as table decorations. One of my very most favourite weddings featured here ever is Alix & Shawn’s Natural History Museum Wedding; for so many reasons, but the most relevant to our topic right now were their terrarium table decorations.

Photography credit: Liesl from Photo Pink NYC

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Debs & Richie’s Budget Friendly, Crafty & Vintage Wedding

When photographer Emma Case emails me with “eeek’s!” and “wooohoo’s!” when talking about her latest wedding I stand by and prepare myself for greatness. I am SO EXCITED to share Debs & Richie’s wedding on my blog as not only did I blog their fabulous engagement session just before Christmas, but they used Rock n Roll Bride as inspiration for their awesome vintage wedding.

“When Richie & I got engaged we did not have a clue what we wanted our wedding to be like, all we knew was that we wanted it quite small, with only close family and friends, good food, good music, and wanted it to reflect on us as a couple as much as possible.  Our budget was small and we began to panic! How are we going to manage to create a wedding on such a small budget, that’s when I turned to the Internet and found a number of wedding blogs (Rock n Roll Bride was one of the first) that gave me loads of inspiration on how different weddings can be, and how much of your own personality you can add to your special day!  I became obsessed with the blogging world, I had bookmarked hundreds of images made folders upon folders and my inspiration began to expand.”

The couple’s budget was small but they totally rocked it! By being creative, by DIYing everything, thrifting and visiting charity shops, they were able to craft the vintage wedding of their dreams!”Having a small budget I knew that alot of the work would have to be done by myself and with a little help from friends and family,” continued the bride. “So I began my journey of crafting everyday, I would craft on the underground, in work on lunch breaks, as soon as I came home from work, my weekends off, visits to friends and family, my whole world became the wedding.  Being in a creative job there are loads of talented people, and I had people in my work making my wedding cake, the invites and arranging my wedding bouquet.  I also used my work colleagues contacts to get the flowers cheaply at the market for then me and my sister to arrange them late into the night before the wedding.”

“We wanted our day to be as relaxed as possible (this isn’t always easy and does not happen when you have a small adorable son though!!)” she continued. “We wanted the decorations and small touches to reflect our love for vintage, we love vintage clothes, vintage furniture, vintage accessories.  I love the beauty and history behind old items, I love that they have a story behind them.  That someone has loved these objects and that they are getting passed along to make new memories, in this case our memories for our wedding day.”

“For my degree show I studied photography for my last part of my final and photographed tea cups, I had a small collection started and I love the beauty of the china tea cup and how they were all different!  So I was on a mission to collect as many as I could, as these would be my favours by melting wax into them and making them into sweet candles for guests to take away.  Everything was hand crafted by myself from the favours, to the felt love heart badges guest wore, to the pom poms and flower garlands that hung in the hall.”

Debs loved collecting all the little bits and pieces in the run up to their wedding. Her vision was an eclectic mis-matched one, with the reception tables full of items they had collected themselves.

Debs wore a vintage dress which she found in a charity shop for just £15! She even got to meet the original owner of the gown and she her wedding photographs! What a magical moment that must have been!

She explained, “Having 6 months left before the big day I had still no clue what I wanted my dress to be like, all I knew was that I wanted it to be different and my favourite word again Vintage!!! Someone had told me about a small charity shop in Govan (Glasgow), which is not renowned for being lets say…. stylish, but I knew with an older generation, there would be a few treasures in the shop.  The shop was called Magpie’s Nest which was a prefect name for me! I was amazed by the selection and quickly filled my bags with teacups, I got talking to the lady behind the counter and asked if she specialises in wedding dresses or knew any places as there were a few wedding dresses hanging up! We got talking and she went into the back and came out shortly holding a beautiful dress, I knew that this was the one that I was getting married in!  It was tiny and asked to try it on, in a small bathroom I squeezed it on and to my disappointment I could not get the back up, but I knew that I wanted it and thought there must be a way to get this dress to fit.  It was elegant, long shelves for the winter and was simple so I could accessorise.  My beautiful dress came to the grand total of £15 and as she packed it away in a Farmfoods bag, I skipped down the road with the biggest smile on my face, greeted by Richie saying what’s in the Farmfoods bag? and I said “my wedding dress!!!”

“I really would like to give a big thanks to Sarah from Magpie’s Nest in Glasgow without her help, I would not have been able to get as much as what I got for the wedding. I went nearly every week to her shop and there were times when I got to go into the back of the Charity shop to the ‘unseen’ and rummage until my heart was content.  Sarah does a brilliant job for her charity and believes in pricing the goods that come into the shop fairly (not west-end prices), so locals can afford to buy and therefore helping to regenerate the local community.  She also knew the woman who handed in the wedding dress and arranged for me to meet up with her. She told me the story behind the dress, that she bought the dress in Watt Brothers in town for 9 Shillings!”

The dress was altered by Dragonfly Dress Design. She added a petticoat (for showing off the Vivienne Westwood shoes of course!) “She specialises in vintage dresses,” Debs told me, “and through her whole  time in the dress business has only ever once came across a dress like mine!  It is a very rare dress from the late 1940’s but with a 1950’s style, as it was very simple and classic.  I also came across dragonfly through Rock n Roll Bride, again a big thank you for helping me source what is so close to home that I would never have known about.”

The ceremony took place at Park Circus in the West End of Glasgow, with the reception being held at Cail Bruich Restaurant in Bridge of Weir. The restaurant not only had a gorgeous scenic view, but vintage and retro touches throughout which perfectly matched their theme.

Finally, Debs & Richie found the fabulous Emma Case through her first ever feature on Rock n Roll Bride. Long time readers of the blog will remember this gorgeous ‘Second Time Lucky’ wedding that I posted back in October 2009 – the first time I was introduced to her work. Who could have known back then that we would become such good friends!? Aww I love blogland!

“I saw this wedding on Rock n Roll Bride whilst researching the wedding and I bookmarked it. I thought that’s the style I want my wedding photographer to have relaxed, capturing a beautiful moment and everyone looking so happy and comfortable.  I bookmarked the photograph that I loved and was in awe with it, but thought nothing of it! (the one with the bride running) I went into work and my friend knew I was looking for an alternative photographer and gave me the name Emma Case to check out.  I went home and I was amazed that the photograph which I loved, was taken by the talented Emma Case, I knew I had to have her and contacted her straight away.  Emma got back and said that the date we were originally planned getting married on, was booked! Arrragh, so without speaking to Richie I took a risk and I asked what dates were available, and the 4th of December was what Emma came back with…That was the date I was going for, so I could get my prefect photographer, and can I just say she is prefect.  Richie and myself are in love with Emma and Pete, they made us feel so comfortable and relaxed…Our budget was so small, but the one thing we were willing to spend the most money on, was a photographer.  It’s so important to have magical photographs that capture your special day, and capture all your hard work.  I cannot say enough nice things about Emma and her talent and how much more special she has made our wedding day and memories.”

Serious love for Debs & Richie over here!

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