Hello lovely ones! Our second wedding today is the fun, playful and laughter-filled wedding of Victoria and Ryan, who married in February this year at Abbeywood Estate, Cheshire. And it’s all beautifully captured on camera by the massively talented (and joyfully named) Mr Sleeve.
Vicky, a mental health nurse, and Ryan, a team manger working in international banking, wanted a fun-filled celebration that reflected their personalities, essentially “a party but with extra bits to make sure it still felt like our wedding day!”. They also wanted to incorporate a special ceremony conducted by Vicky’s father – such a lovely idea.
“We chose Abbeywood after looking at what felt like millions of different venues. Our original idea was an outside space with a barn and lots of champagne, but this fizzled out due to the lack of British sunshine coupled with the lack of barns! When we met Heather, the incredible wedding planner at the venue, we were sold. It’s family run, relaxed but super organised, with amazing food and lots of outside space. Most importantly, we both felt happy as soon as we walked in.”
“Ryan and I met through a close friend. He had come up to university in Lancaster from London and lived with my friend Nicola in halls. I was away at university in Manchester but used to come home during the holidays. I met Ryan on a night out but, as he was only 18 and I was 22, I thought he was a tad young (although after copious amounts of wine we did snog!).
We’d decided to meet on one of the reading corners to exchange books, and when Ryan passed me his I opened it to reveal a 1930’s vintage pearl! He got down on one knee (in front of a now gathering crowd) and asked me to marry him. I squealed yes and, still in shock, we ran to the nearest café bar for tequila! We married 17 months later.”
I love the 1950’s silhouette of Vicky’s dress – that amazing skirt really comes into its own on the dancefloor – and the way she accessorized it with little lace gloves and a bow in her hair.
“My dress was my dress was by Agnes Bridal, bought from Belles Bridal Boutique in Liverpool. I wanted a dress that didn’t look like any other dress I had seen and that I wouldn’t fidget with on the day. I loved my dress straight away and the tulle polka-dot overlay made it look very different.”
“I wore a pair of vintage diamond earrings from my mother-in-law and a vintage gold necklace fastened under my dress from my Nana. My best friend and maid of honour made me a tulle bow which I wore underneath a bun on the back of my head. My shoes were silver slingbacks from Dune.”
“Our photographer was Steve ‘Mr Sleeve’ Longbottom. Steve was recommended to us by Ryan’s sister, Alex, who was also my bridesmaid. I’d told her I hated any form of ‘styled bridal photography’ and that I wanted it to be natural and to capture Ryan and I having an amazing time with our guests! Steve was fabulous from the first time we met. He was relaxed, knew his stuff, and wasn’t pushy or cringey. We fell in love with him (as did the majority of our guests!). And as a bonus. our pictures are amazing!”
I concur Vicky – so much so that I got distracted for a good 20 minutes browsing the other photos on his site!
When Annabel asked me to write this feature, I started, as always, by reading through the information sent in to Love My Dress by Frocks In A Box and finding out as much as I could about their (fabulous) service. Then, I admit, I had to take a break because the words ‘dressing up’ brought back so many memories that I had to go and rummage through old photos for a few hours. I’m now back at my desk, smiling happily, reminiscing joyfully and wanting so much to find an excuse to book Frocks In A Box myself to play grown-up dress-up at the earliest possible opportunity.
I’m so happy to be able to introduce you to Frocks In A Box and owner Abbie because I hope we all never grow too old to enjoy ourselves…
Frocks In A Box is the perfectly girlie polar opposite to hen party dressing up that only requires a plastic tiara and a flammable veil. Instead, Abbie, who admits she’s utterly addicted to dresses and dressing up, has created a unique service that supplies brilliant surprise boxes full of vintage goodness straight to you. Think American diner deluxe with polka dots, full skirts and all those evocative accessories that just scream 50s & 60s brilliance and you’ll already be imagining yourself dressing up with your friends.
“I want to recreate the magic of the dressing up boxes we had as children,” says Abbie. “Frocks In A Box isn’t a dress hire company, this is about rediscovering the happy child in all of us who doesn’t care about celebrity and magazine definitions of beauty. All she needs is a pretty dress, some sparkly accessories and her best friends to feel like the most beautiful person in the world.”
Abbie’s dressing up boxes (that are actually vintage suitcases or trunks) are delivered to you complete with dresses made by the super talented Oh My Honey, accessories and almost everything you need to look and feel fabulous on your glamorous hen night. They are the perfect solution if you’re wondering how to achieve a vintage look at a reasonable cost – no buying of an expensive dress that you might only wear once and no wearing a cheap vaguely vintage dress that might make your bank manager happy but won’t make you feel fantastic.
“When I was organising vintage theme hen parties, I’d often get asked for clothes recommendations,” says Abbie. “I thought how nice it would be for everyone to be able to hire a box of dresses for hen parties – they’d be able to get the look they wanted without extortionate expense and waste.”
For those of you who didn’t check in yesterday afternoon, we shared this sweet Camden pub wedding with a bride rocking an original 60′s vintage wedding dress - and which featured some lovely wedding ideas (wavy wants instead of confetti anyone?). This morning, it’s all about this very glamorous and stylish 1920s jazz aged inspired affair held at Iscoyd Park on 31 May this year, when Marketing Manager Jo-Ann married James, who works in professional football.
I think Jo-Ann looks absolutely knock-out in these images and I adore her glamorous style - born in the wrong era maybe? I’m also 100% behind her determination to pull off her ‘vintage’ vision, despite being criticised for having this vision in the first place. It’s such a shame that overuse of the term and misunderstanding of the true concept of a ‘vintage wedding’ has been so shamefully trashed over the past few years. But those with a genuine love and appreciation for the styles, fashions and aesthetic of a beautiful bygone era will see through all that nonsense – just like we do, and just like Jo-Ann did. And just look what she did!
“We wanted a sophisticated old Hollywood glamour feel. I have always been inspired by the jazz age of the 1920s and 1930s and really wanted to evoke the oh-so-chic speakeasy vibe. But with ‘vintage’ weddings a hijacked trend all of its own I found myself defending my ‘vintage’ wedding to anyone who showed a casual interest. This included a florist who told me ‘you’re not the only person who thinks she’s quirky’, when I dared to suggest I might like ‘something unstructured’ other than agree with the traditional, boring bleugh. But with a genuine ardour for all things vintage that far exceeds a stolen phase, it became important, no essential, to have a day that reflected us as a couple. But as much as I longed for the elegant and inimitable we also just wanted to have fun!”
“James and I met through work. James was working at Everton at the time, and as I’m a big Everton fan it was the perfect excuse for us to get to know each other! And as our wedding invite said ‘a year (and lots of Everton games) later, they got together.’
Fittingly for the eventual style of the day we got engaged against the backdrop of the spirit of the roaring twenties, in a boutique Art Deco hotel in Greenwich Village, New York. The aesthetic of Art Deco with a hint of relaxed boho style for the day was born right there and then! We were engaged for just under a year, and it was a whirlwind year of pre-destined obsessions with wedding blogs (which does not go away after you get married!), a new financial commitment to wedding magazines, of course endless episodes of ‘Don’t tell the bride’, and excel spreadsheet heaven!”
“We got married at the beautiful Iscoyd Park on the Cheshire Shropshire border. Venue hunting was probably the most stressful part of the entire planning process. Mainly due to the fact I hadn’t had it picked out since I was 12, I didn’t have a Pinterest board for it (OMG!), and really it could have been anything – a beach, a field, a castle?!
It took a marquee pushing, chair cover wielding venue manager; who inadvertently thought James (my future husband) was my Dad (and was quickly crossed off the list); to make us re-focus on what was actually important to us. As soon as we saw Iscoyd Park I realised it was everything I hadn’t known I wanted. The perfect mix of glamour and opulence but equally a totally unpretentious family home. I didn’t just want to get married there I wanted to live there!”
“We had a three tier rose covered cake from Marks & Spencer. I can’t remember the last time I ate cake at a wedding but cue undeniable Bride-zilla moment. A nonsensical, insane, amount of time was spent searching for ‘the perfect’ cake topper. I kid you not! Me, laptop, wine and a very accepting husband to be. However endless hours trawling the interweb, with all the eBay stars to prove it, did lead me to find some wonderful frills and titivations on Etsy – a smorgasbord of vintage wedding suppliers! Ergo, my cake topper was handmade in Vancouver by Jolie en Rose.
“I was totally aware that the bridesmaid dresses were very much my own strange sartorial preference (I am pretty gutted I didn’t have one made for myself!) so I wanted the girls to wear whatever style and colour shoes they wanted to feel fabulous! The power of the shoe!
I had seven bridesmaids, and two flower girls. Second to the venue hunting my only other indecision was with the bridesmaid’s dresses. There is an overwhelming amount of choice, even for what is expected to be a ‘bridesmaid’s dress’, where do you start for seven uber-cool, individual, yet loyally ‘happy to wear whatever you want us to’ chicks!?
I wasn’t going to be able to afford 7 Leluxe 1920s beaded gowns (sorry girls!), so where to go next? Googling ‘vintage’ , ‘alternative’ ‘NON BRIDESMAID BRIDESMAID DRESSES’ which are now as commonplace as anything conventional I was in a state of apathy; when my mum found an independent dress-maker (not as expensive as you would think) to make a Mrs Depew tiered once-piece 1920s pattern that I bought online for £4.50 that was the prefect fringed All-That-Jazz dress. Hurrah!”
“Inspired by the 1920s headpieces featured in the film ‘Singing in the Rain’ my headpiece was ‘Kelly’ by Ivory Tuesday also at The Case of The Curious Bride. Melanie is wonderful and makes some magnificently lavish stand out head pieces including giant fabric bows, and ostrich feathers, so I nicknamed my more tame choice an ‘understated statement’. It had beautiful detailing of tiny silver glass seed beads, a mother-of-pearl flower centre, and a gathered spotty birdcage veil. Delish!
I was sold and didn’t look anywhere else. I wore it the day after the wedding to open our cards and presents and would wear it every day or just to do the dishes in if I could get away with it! The tear shaped base which was very light green also set the colour palette for the bridesmaid’s dresses and the groomsmen’s tie’s early on. Result!“
“Maybe it was luck, maybe it was fate or maybe I knew ‘The Case of The Curious Bride’ would have just the thing for me but the first dress I tried on was THE dress. Of course I had to try on a whole bunch of others just to be sure! But nothing came close – even the long admired Jenny Packham. When you know, you just know!”
“Giulia and Sophia from On Love and Photography are quite simply bloody brilliant. Angels with cameras… and fine art degrees! We couldn’t stop smiling and they have captured the happiness and laughter of the day in the most perfect way – even the tears of joy during the very emotional speeches!
From the moment we met for a ‘consultation’ and ended up yakking on way past the cappuccinos and pastries were gone we knew we wanted them at our wedding! I am eternally grateful. The photos speak for themselves.”
I know I’ve said this before but I really do love a pub wedding. (I’m also totally biased because that’s what I had too!) There is a feeling that everyone can immediately relax upon walking through the doors, the atmosphere is intimate and cozy and it’s the perfect environment for laid back celebrations. Natasha and Pete chose The Prince Albert pub in Camden for their reception, filling it with their favourite people, lots of gorgeous flowers and piles of delicious food. Photographed by the supremely talented Laura Babb, this wedding will is sweet, simple and full of happiness. Enjoy!
Natasha, a media planner, and Pete, a voiceover artist, were married on 16th November 2013 in a ceremony held at Burgh House, Hampstead, before piling all their guests onto a Routemaster double decker bus bound for the pub reception.
“Pete and I met about 6 years ago when we were put on the same team for a rounders match at work. We won (yay!) and at the drinks afterwards we got into a heated debate about 90’s music. In the early days of our relationship I taught Pete to play blackjack and we spent a lot of time in beer gardens playing cards. The first Christmas present he ever bought me was a snazzy deck of gold playing cards.
On 27th December, exactly 1500 days since the start of our relationship, Pete called me to the living room saying he had to show me something. There, on our coffee table and surrounded by loads of candles, were four of the gold playing cards with the words ‘Will You Marry Me?’ taped to them. We were engaged for just under a year.”
The couple’s wedding photographs are really rather special. Laura Babb has a real talent for capturing group shots and for putting a lovely artistic twist on the classic ‘newlywed’ vignette.
“We saw some shots that Laura had taken featured on a couple of wedding blogs. We loved how everyone looked so relaxed in the pictures. Along with the traditional shots, she’d taken some unusual ones that looked amazing. When we met up with Laura and saw some more of her beautiful work, we just had a great feeling about her. The pictures we now have are everything we wanted and more. There isn’t a single one that we don’t cherish and honestly having her as our photographer was one of the best choices we made.”
Natasha definitely had the right idea when it came to choosing her dress, it sounds like it was such a fun process for her and her maids!
“I didn’t really start looking for dresses until we had found the venue, but I had a lot of fun trying on dresses just for the hell of it. I have some amazing pictures of myself in a dress that can only be described as a reject from Dynasty. It had shoulder pads and everything!
Having found the venue and taking all I had learned from my dressing-for-laughs experience, I knew that I didn’t want a full on gown or anything that I couldn’t frolic in. I lined up some appointments at bridal boutiques and thought I would try on a couple of vintage ones just to rule them out. No matter how beautiful the dresses were in the traditional bridal boutiques, nothing really dinged my dong. It was then that my maids of honour and I visited Fur Coat, No Knickers. I loved every dress I tried on and suddenly my problem wasn’t whether I’d find a dress, it was choosing just one.”
“We didn’t really have favours as such but we did make ribbon wands instead of having confetti. You can buy them online but it worked out a little cheaper to make them at home.”
“Fur Coat, No Knickers is such a special and gorgeous place. The owners, Laura and Emma, are just so lovely, super helpful and creative. They take gorgeous vintage dresses and make them feel like they’ve only ever been made for you. It’s almost as if the dresses choose their wearers.
The dress I eventually chose was from the 60’s, made from Organza with a little lace jacket. Laura and Emma painstakingly altered it to fit my size and style. We dropped the neck line, brought in the waste and shortened the sleeves. It was a lot of work but in all honesty was such a pleasure to visit their shop and have them work their magic. It felt like I was having a dress made just for me.”
“The bouquets and button holes were made by Scarlet & Violet. I had roses and….I don’t actually know the types of flowers. All I know is that I loved them. I didn’t want anything too structured and the ladies at Scarlet and Violet were really helpful.”
“Pete’s parents own their own design and print business, Bollington Printshop - and specialise in bespoke wedding stationary, so we had absolutely no problems getting Pete’s ideas printed. Our invites were vintage-looking telegrams accompanied by booklets called “So You’ve Been Invited to a Wedding: Your Guide to Wedding Day Survival”, which included directions, hotel suggestions and a finish-the-picture drawing that our guests completed and hung in a large frame we brought from Ebay.
They also printed out personalised bunting that we stapled to parcel string.”
A very good morning to you Monday lovelies – I’m feeling so positive today after a beautiful week celebrating this, and ahead of another crazy week that will see me speaking at this workshop in Iceland hosted by the incredible Nordica Photography - though I have to also admit, the nerves are now kicking in!
“There was no one thing that I could pick out as an influence really – above all I wanted the day to be fun. I went a bit wedding crazy during the planning process and spent what felt like every night pinning on Pinterest, reading wedding blogs and googling like a fiend. We didn’t have a theme as such. I gravitate towards bright bold colours, but I couldn’t narrow down which I liked best so I decided to try and keep the wedding ‘colourful’ with bright pink, green, turquoise, purple, yellow, and some gold accents.”
“Chris and I met through mutual friends in our last year of university. We bumped into each other a few times over the next 4 or 5 years, not knowing that we were from the same home town. Then on Boxing Day 2004, whilst both home for Christmas, we bumped into each other again, felt a spark and our first date followed two weeks later. Our criteria were pretty broad, we wanted a single venue for the day with a late licence. We both love a late night (I went to a lot of all night raves in my teens!) so it was important to us that we could carry on the party into the small hours.
We got engaged at Easter 2013 whilst on a lovely break in Cornwall with our son Theo. We had had a lovely few days and as we took a stroll on the beach one morning, Chris got down to write a message in the sand ‘Daddy loves Mummy’ and then he asked me to be his wife. We were engaged for around 15 months before our wedding day.
We also wanted a venue that had outside space and somewhere that felt a bit ‘different’. We loved the cool, informal vibe at Eight, it is the sort of place that we would enjoy hanging out at in our ‘real’ lives so for us it was the perfect place to host our celebration.”
“When we got engaged, we had no idea what sort of a venue to choose and researched lots of different sorts of venues, from a sailing club to a converted warehouse.
“My dress was the ‘Elizbeth’ design by Eliza Jane Howell, which I bought as a sample at Morgan Davies Bridal in Islington. Before the day that I went wedding dress shopping I had no idea at all what I wanted. I decided just to spend a day trying on different styles at 4 different shops with the intention of narrowing down what I liked, but definitely not buying. I think I tried on around 40 dresses! I found my dress in the first shop.
I loved the elegant shape – sort of Grecian, contemporary and vintage at the same time. And the beading was amazing. The dress was about to go into the sample sale, and the feeling I got when I realised someone else might snap it up convinced me I had to have it, so I popped back to the shop and bought it a few days later!”
“All three dresses were bought online from forherandforhim.com - again, I discovered this supplier via Love My Dress®. We were all a bit hesitant about buying online but Forherandforhim.com got great reviews and had a great range of dresses so we took the plunge and we were not disappointed. Style wise, I asked the bridesmaids to choose their own as I wanted them to be happy and completely comfortable in what they were wearing.
“We also gave our guests sunglasses I sourced from Amazon.com, again taking advantage of our New York connection. These were great fun and I’m really glad the guests got involved and wore them. Our venue provided the menu cards.”
“I decided against floral decorations in the venue to try and keep the budget down. I had initially been thinking about I would make the bouquets for myself and the bridesmaids but about six weeks before the day, I decided not to give myself the additional pressure. Hattie at That Flower Shop was a saviour.
I know nothing about flowers and gave her a very open brief, but having seen her work online I felt confident that the bouquets would be fab and they were, I loved them.”
“Our photographer was Nabeel from Nabeel’s Camera. I can’t praise him enough! He was like a super helpful extra wedding guest. For example, when one of the balloon tails came loose and the balloon floated away Nabeel came to the rescue and reattached it. We spoke to a few photographers but we both felt straight away that Nabeel was the right photographer for us. He was incredibly easy to get along with, listened and understood what we wanted and his work is stunning.”