Category Archives: British Brides

A Wedding on a Budget with Portraits in IKEA: Janet & Dave

I’m rather partial to IKEA… I know it’s not the fanciest of home stores, but whenever I persuade Gareth that we need a trip there (I’m sure we’re due another one soon) I feel like a proper grown up. I can actually afford the stuff (like who decided £2000 was standard for a table and chairs? pah John Lewis, PAH!) and it makes me feel all educated buying things with Swedish names. Plus their items are always pretty… even if not always functional – “why yes Gareth I do need that cardboard deer head to put on my office wall…” And don’t even get me started on the kids department. I just wish the pink chest of drawers came in adult size…

So when wedding photographer and all round cool dude Chris Barber sent me Janet & Dave’s wedding I was excited. Not just because of Dave’s Rock n Roll stylings but because they chose the Coventry Ikea as the location for their wedding day portrait sesh. GENIUS! Oh and they spent just £4000 on their day. I’m IN AWE.

“We had our daughter in January 2011 and that gave me a serious itch to be married”, Janet began. “Dave proposed on Christmas morning 2011 with my Granny’s wedding band. He had a calendar printed with a photo of our daughter from each month last year, and on December 25th 2012 he had written ‘anniversary of our engagement’, which is when he nervously popped the question!”

The couple were married in July at Coventry Registry Office, and their reception was held at Varsity Warwick, a local student bar with delicious food. “We were originally planning a bigger and more expensive wedding for September 2013. It was the wedding we had talked about before we were engaged, and before we had our daughter. It would have been a wonderful day, but something about it just wasn’t sitting right with us. We hadn’t booked anything yet, despite having found the venue we wanted already, so we changed our mind. I had been looking at options for having a small ceremony and then a meal for close family and friends, but even the costs for that seemed astronomical for what you would get, and none of the restaurants were ‘us’ or had any meaning to us as a couple. Then Dave jokingly said ‘why don’t we get married at Varsity?’ – our favourite place to go for a meal, a somewhat quirky student pub in Coventry with an amazing menu. Unbeknownst to him, I made some enquiries and spoke to the super lovely manager, Rachel, who was so excited to have us there for our wedding reception. It wasn’t something they had ever done before, although they have parties there all the time, but they pulled out all the stops for us. They really went the extra mile, putting up all of our decorations for us and setting everything up beautifully (after my very helpful instructions of “here is a box of stuff, please make it all look pretty”).”

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A Backyard Beach Wedding Planned in Three Weeks: Nellie & Matt

Nellie & Matt planned their Whistable wedding in just three short weeks. They wanted something small, something personal and something relaxed. They found the amazing Beacon House, right on the beach, for their ceremony and were able to use the back garden of the bride’s brother’s holiday cottage for the reception.

“Serendipity and our amazingly supportive family and friends brought our wedding together in just 3 weeks,” the bride began. “Matt and I had been engaged for 3 years, neither of us are planners but we had a clear idea of the kind of wedding we wanted, a relaxed, seaside celebration centred around our close friends, family, good food and drink. But every option we explored in Cambridge and Brighton, our two home cities, in one way or another tied us into expensive packages, so we put off the wedding and skipped to the baby.”

“A year after our son Ted was born Matt was offered his dream job in the USA, the prospect of leaving our life in the UK brought into focus the importance of celebrating our love and commitment to our new little family. With a little over a month before we were due to leave we thought lets just see if we can do this, finding our dream venue on our very first internet search and them having an available date seemed like fate. Indeed fate struck again on the day when the predicated storms were replaced by sunshine. We decided on Whitstable because my brother lives there with his family and we were planning on visiting them that week anyway. When we saw Beacon House we fell love with it immediately. It is small and personal and is in the most idyllic location, overlooking the sea. It feels secluded and private. Getting married outside to the soundtrack of the sea was a dream and my most special memory of the day. Having the freedom to spill out from the garden to the beach afterwards was perfect for our wedding party’s large brood of children; Beacon House is everything we’d tried and failed to find in Brighton.”

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A Homemade Glaswegian Wedding: Eileen & Peter

Eileen & Peter were married at Glasgow University Union. They had a tiny budget, but with the help of wedding blogs sharing affordable and DIY options, they were able to plan the wedding of their dreams.

“We really just wanted to have a fun wedding that meant something to us personally rather than just doing things because you are supposed to”, explained Eileen. “I was really inspired by blogs like Rock n Roll Bride that showed how you can have a wedding anyway you want. We had to explain our decisions a bit more than most to some people who didn’t get it but I knew it would all come together in the end. Things like not having a religious ceremony. This upset our families to begin with but they later realised that they had pestered us for so long to get married that any way we wanted was fine just as long as we did it! So we had a small intimate ceremony filled with songs and poetry we love and lovely romantic things we had said about each other. Then we just wanted to have a big fun party to celebrate with all our extended friends and family. We didn’t set out to be ‘Rock n Roll’ but we definitely ended up that way. Ha ha!”

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A Rainbow Wedding inspired by their Living Room: Ruth & Alex

I think green is a totally underrated bridal colour. We see brides in white, red, even black, quite often, but rarely in green – and doesn’t Ruth show us how wrong this is? She looks incredible! “I remember looking at photos of my Gran in her wedding dress from 1960 which was blue with a pink petticoat and telling myself that I was going to wear my favourite colour when I got married too”, Ruth began, “and so the green dress was born. My something old was my Gran’s actual pink underskirt from her wedding dress.”

“Finding a green dress was hard work though. At first I tried on bridesmaid dresses but I never really felt myself or special enough. I was also being pushed into trying on white dresses by everyone but I didn’t recognise myself. I’m a total tomboy at heart and the concept of being feminine for the day felt alien to me. I still don’t understand the concept of feeling like a princess on your wedding day. The most important thing was to feel like me. I found Vivien of Holloway online after looking at the adverts on Rock n Roll Bride. After three trips trying on various Vivien of Holloway dresses, I ended up ordering from a limited run of only 4 (!) plain green circle dresses. I love the fact that I can and will be able to wear my dress again and that I’m only one of 4 people to have bought it!”

Oh but the colour doesn’t stop there, even the boys got in on the action – I’m totally dying over those rainbow ties from Me and Matilda on etsy. I guess you can see where this is going… Ruth & Alex had a rainbow wedding – woohoo my favourite!

The wedding was held at Keele University, where the couple both studied and met. “We met each other whilst at Uni,” Ruth explained. “It turned out that we were at the same socials as freshers without meeting each other but we had a mutual friend. The year after we both applied for private halls (back in the day everyone lived on campus in their 1st and 3rd years) and were put together in the same flat as we shared an interest Guiding and Scouting. It seemed only right that we would start our married life back at Keele just as we had started our adult lives back there too.”

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A Glamorous Wedding with a Gothic Twist: Shep & Sarah

Shep & Sarah were married at Ettington Park Hotel, an elegant 4-star venue just outside Stratford Upon Avon. With its tranquil location and beautiful architecture it proved to be the perfect place for their glamorous and slightly gothic wedding. The exterior of the hotel was actually used as the setting for the 1963 film The Haunting.

“Neither of us liked the idea of an ‘off the shelf’ wedding, so although our wedding was small we wanted to look after the details that meant something to us”, explained Sarah. “These included the music and the decorations for the reception. I really enjoyed making the wedding stationery despite my totally uncharacteristic swearing at the printer! Shep is a classically trained guitarist and so he wrote and recorded the music played before and after the wedding ceremony itself. We also both chose the all the music for the reception.”

The celebrations started the day before the wedding with many of the family staying over at the hotel. “We stayed at the hotel the night before the wedding. Shep and I had separate suites and we had a private evening meal in the family chapel with our closest family who also stayed before the big day.”

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A Movie Themed Wedding: Amy & Phil

After knowing each other for 16 years the couple were keen to walk down the aisle as soon as Phil proposed! So after just a 6 month engagement, the couple were wed in a movie themed wedding in July. The bride wore a custom made dress and yes… her bridesmaids wore dresses made of Star Wars fabric!!

“Rock n Roll Bride was the site we kept looking at when we got engaged, and we especially loved the retro weddings – cassette tapes, dayglow, lego & zombies”, wrote the bride. “It took us a while to figure out our theme but in the end we went for a movie theme. We wanted it to be fun, a big party for everyone involved. Having George Clooney there (as a cardboard cut out) was awesome. Collecting all the objects to build our theme was really fun, and getting all the right people on board was really important. We’re so happy our photographer Mick was there to capture everything as he totally got the theme. I framed photos of Phil and I alongside photos of Hollywood couples (I was gutted I had to lose my Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes one!) and my dad surprised us with his on-theme Star Wars tie! One of our readings was a poem from the film Before Sunrise, I walked down the aisle to the score from Shopgirl and our exit music was the Jurassic Park theme!”

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