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A Colourful Country Garden Fete Wedding: Tom & Jenny

The DIY wedding of Tom & Jenny took place in Kent in July. After a church ceremony, their low key reception was held in Tom’s parent’s back garden.

The bride wore a short wedding dress from Yours Truly Bridal Shop in Maidstone which cost her just £180 with a gorgeous headpiece was by a Rock n Roll Bride favourite, Crown & Glory. Alongside her lucky bridesmaids, she wore Vivienne Westwood/Melissa Lady Dragon shoes and instead of bouquets they all carried a single giant faux flower stem, bought from Hobbycraft costing just £2 each!

“We tied the knot in our local parish church and had a wonderful DIY reception in a marquee on the lawn of Tom’s childhood home”, began Jenny. “Our theme was of a country garden party or fete so we had pétanque, jenga, croquet and a coconut shy that Tom and his best man Nick made for me in secret! We also wanted to make the garden decor a bit of a surprise for our guests, so we had loads of garden gnomes and pink flamingos dotted around that we had collected. In fact of of my favourite parts of the wedding was seeing people continually surprised and excited and commenting about all the little things we had spent so long thinking about and planning for. Whilst it was our day, we wanted to give our friends and family from over the years a great knees up, and seeing all our efforts come off was very humbling. There was no colour theme at all, the brief was simply: ‘colourful!’ And, as can be seen from our bunting, the more mismatched the better!”

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A Retro Red Wedding at The Picturedrome: Jo & Lal

Jo & Lal worked together but only realised they both liked each other when at a 1940s themed work party at The Picturedrome, Northampton. When they were engaged 6 months later they decided that having their wedding at this same venue would be pretty cool. There wedding theme also happened to suit the surroundings perfectly.

“The emphasis on our wedding was inclusion of all our friends who contributed massively” Jo told me. “From the registrar to the DJ, the favours and the cakes, we had out friends involved as much as possible. The emphasis of our wedding was not to spend ridiculous amounts of money but to create a fun and relaxed day, which reflected our personalities. We did not allow ourselves at any point to become influenced by other people’s opinions. What we really set out to achieve was a fun day for all! Our budget, although limited, did not prevent us in anyway from having exactly the kind of day we wanted.”

Jo wore a short 50s style tulle wedding dress with a dramatic red sash from Brides of Wellingborough and bright red shoes to match.

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A Village Hall, DIY & A Beautiful Bride with Dreadlocks: Gavin & Hollie

I don’t see enough brides with dreadlocks. Where are you hiding my dreadlock wielding readers?! My sister and her boyfriend have them (his are down past his waist!) and I find them very intriguing and totally beautiful…

So you can imagine my exuberance when Gavin & Hollie’s wedding landed on my lap. “My good friends Gav and Hol got married in April”, wrote wedding photographer Anna Clarke. “They are a beautiful and too-cool-for-school couple who had a yellow and green wedding. They did everything themselves including all the printed stuff, going to the flower market to get the flowers, decorating the village hall etc etc. I just love all the colours and Hollie’s dreads piled into a big beehive. Her shoes are amaze-balls too…”

I was hooked.

After a church ceremony, which included a Love Actually style choir/congregation flash mob of Bjork’s ‘All is Full of Love’, the wedding reception was held at Maxstoke Village Hall. “We were a bit unsure what we wanted when we first started thinking about venues”, began Hollie. “We knew we wanted something that wasn’t run of the mill and we could make personal to us, but that was about it. Therefore we started out with our only stipulations being that we wanted ale to be served as Gavin is a big ale drinker, and that we wanted a barbecue. We quickly realised many of the venues we liked were either way over budget, or very inflexible. That’s when we considered alternatives and taking a more DIY approach. After considering a few local village halls, we settled on Maxstoke due to its rustic charm, beautiful views, and friendly, accommodating staff. We were pretty much able to do whatever we wanted with it. The two ales on tap at the bar may have played a slight role in this decision for one of us.”

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A Boho & Rock n Roll Fusion Wedding: Ioan & Anona

The Welsh wedding of Ioan & Anona was planned with everyone in mind – themselves, their friends and their families. It was important to them that their wedding would be an enjoyable day for everyone in attendance. “On one hand we wanted quite a traditional wedding that would keep the parents happy but also one that both our friends and ourselves would feel bore our own individual stamp,” the groom told me. “I play guitar in a hardcore punk / rock band and am obsessed with old 70s riff heavy rock and classic album art so I was really keen to ramp up those kind of aesthetics. Anona’s mother was quite keen on a ‘spring flower’ theme and whilst initially I worried those two influences would clash spectacularly I think in the end it all came together and balanced each other nicely.”

“Although we were both keen to stylize the wedding to some degree, the bottom line for us was that we just wanted to have all our friends and family nearby and really enjoy the day for what it was, a celebration of our love and commitment to each other. I think ultimately that really came across and whilst there were traditional elements it was by no means stuffy and the little personal touches really shone through.”

With the groom being in a band it was obvious that music would play a big part in their day. “I was determined to get a proper rockabilly band that could really tear it up!” he continued. “Wild went down a storm and both the youngsters and the oldies were going crazy for it. It was important to me that the band be really tight and professional and as far removed from the kind of bands I’d been involved with as possible!!! The playlists that we spent hours crafting went down really well and it was such a thrill to see people enjoying themselves and dancing all night long.”

“My friend Sian did both our cakes and we were just absolutely blown away by her sponge, chocolate and icing creations”, he continued. “She made a really elegant cake with pretty flowers for the day and a totally rocking cake for the evening. The life size chocolate skull was a complete surprise and it really cemented our rock n roll evening theme. I’m not really one for playing up to the camera but I couldn’t resist going ape with the cake knife and inflicting some dramatic damage during our ‘cutting of the cake’ ceremony!”

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An Alice Wedding in Australia: Stew & Ali

The Australian wedding of Stew & Ali was held at Leaning Church Vineyard in Tasmania. “We knew even before we were engaged that we wanted to be married in a vineyard,” Ali told me. “We love to visit the amazing vineyards in our area of Tasmania, which is famous for its Pinot Noir. We’re known for our somewhat overzealous love of said Pinot Noir….So a vineyard screamed Stew and Ali. We chose Leaning Church because of its rustic charm, hills full of vines, a quaint little lake, long yellow grass and absolutely fabulous wedding coordinator!”

The bride wore a bespoke dress and Lady Dragon shoes by Vivienne Westwood/Melissa. “I wanted my dress to be whimsical and flirty and Alice inspired,” she continued. “My princess style dress had a blue petticoat and underskirt and a layer of blue tulle over the ivory skirt, so it shimmered blue in the sunlight. The bow around my waist was pure Alice. The shoes were the very first thing I bought, before we’d looked at any venues or decided on any sort of theme! It was so hard not to wear them before the wedding!!”

Ali’s headpiece was a mini top hat by Two Back Flats. “Well how could you have an Alice wedding without a top hat?” I contacted Jasika at Two Back Flats to see if she could customise her bridal top hat for me. I bought the vintage style mad hatter brooch from etsy and then sent that to Jas, who then put it all together with a gorgeous blue ribbon. I used a blue French net in birdcage style.”

Her bridesmaids wore blue, but were asked to pick any blue dress they liked. They also each carried a polaroid photo with a ‘glimpse’ of Ali down the aisle, which they handed to Stew when they got to the end. “It was a fun way to tease Stew (who didn’t know what I was wearing) and for the girls to have a chance to hug him and say something to him before the ceremony.”

Their reception was decorated to reflect the Alice in Wonderland theme. “I actually contacted Kat of Rock n Roll Bride late in 2011 to ask about lighting ideas. The result was glass jar ‘chandeliers’ with LED tealights inside, created by my Ma, as well as a wall of hanging glass jar lanterns in between teacups and doily flowers. We used books, teacups and silver jugs, sheet music and tiny white rabbits were gathered from op-shops and markets. All the flowers were handmade by Ma, and extra little details were purchased from etsy. My favourite stores were Black Baroque who did the Wonderland prints for the table ‘numbers’ (each table was a different character), and Windrosie who made the paper clocks and photobooth props. My Best Girl Sarah gave me the White Rabbit lamp as our wedding gift, which was a perfect addition.”

“Instead of a seating chart or escort cards, each guest received their own copy of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. I covered each book with blue fabric, glued brown paper to the spine and then wrote the guests’ names on them and our wedding date. Inside was a handmade bookmark that told the guest which table they were seated at. At the ceremony were handkerchiefs tied with ribbon and a card that read ‘You ought to be ashamed, a great girl like you, to go on crying this way… Stop it at once!’. We also had personalised water bottles with our logo from Brewtopia.”

Hearing about a couple’s inspiration is often my favourite part of the wedding stories I’m sent – especially when they say Rock n Roll Bride helped them (brownie points all round!) “Our inspiration was clearly the Alice story,” Ali concluded. “I re-read the book about 10 times during the planning…And of course, Rock n Roll Bride was the first web page I opened every morning to get my fix of wedding prettiness. I got a lot of inspiration from the real weddings that Kat features.”

“We saw our wedding as a huge party, and the best chance I’d get to create my own whimsical wonderland. We had our own touches in our vows (Stew’s were made entirely of lyrics from cheesy love songs…) and we included a bit in our ceremony acknowledging our support for equality of marriage. We also asked our guests to write three words they would use to describe us in their RSVPs, which I put together into a coherent story that made up part of our ceremony as well.”

“I think we’re Rock n Roll simply because we did what we wanted, not what we were ‘supposed’ to do. My aunt and uncle brought a mad hatter costume along with them – he’s the crazy looking guy with the tiny teacup in the photos. My cousin rolled her eyes and said ‘it’s a wedding, not a party’. But I disagree; it was a party, at which we happened to get married. And to us, it was the best party ever.”

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A Country Vintage, Festival Inspired Wedding: Nichola & Jay

I’m loving the fact that the gorgeous country vintage/ festival-inspired wedding of Nichola & Jay is brightening up Monday morning on my blog! Talk about heading into a brand new week with some gusto!

The August wedding was held at New House Organic Farm in Derbyshire. The farm is not a wedding venue (the couple were legally married at the resister office after their handfasting ceremony in the field) but they chose it to host their celebration here because it’s a place that’s very special to them. Their theme was chosen to not only compliment the farm setting, but because they love Glastonbury music festival – they met there and were engaged there (not in the same year!)

“We spend a lot of our time camping during the summer months and the farm is our quick getaway place,” Nichola told me. “We’ve spent many happy weekends there and I always imaged getting married to Jay in the top field looking over the most amazing views of the Derbyshire countryside. We wrote to the farmer (a proper handwritten letter!) asking if we could hire the field for our wedding. Being a farmer and very busy he didn’t get right back to us. I looked at many other venues but none matched my idea of our farm. Eventually Jay called him and asked the question… He agreed although I don’t think he quite understood why we wanted a bare field when he’s surrounded by traditional wedding venues!”

The bride wore a genuine vintage wedding dress which she bought from The Vintage Wedding Fair, a fair that travels all around the UK. “I love vintage clothes, I literally have over a hundred vintage dresses and we regularly go to vintage fairs,” the bride continued. “That being said I didn’t think I wanted a vintage dress for my wedding but I did the usual bridal places and got more fed up with each dress I tried on. Nobody understood my style or what I wanted. We’d planned to visit The Vintage Wedding Fair for a look round and immediately I realised I had been kidding myself and I wanted a vintage dress. I tried on a couple and then found my dress. It was the dress I had in my mind, I went to the fitting room (a room full of other vintage brides…very different to the bridal shop experience) and the dress fit perfectly. I couldn’t wipe the smile from my face. A friend’s aunty did a couple of little alterations but it was always perfect.”

To compliment their countryside festival theme, the couple decorated the field and their marquee with bunting, vintage crockery and even vintage floral napkins and wooden cutlery tied in brown string. They managed to find many items in charity shops, car boot fairs and even in their local pound shop. “Never underestimate the local pound shop,” Nichola laughed, “we found little windmills, seeds, rainbow umbrellas (luckily not needed) and hooks for the aisle etc!”

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