Good morning! And a good morning it is up here in Whitby too; NO SCHOOL RUN, HOORAH! Half term has finally hit us, though we also seem to have missed out on the hurricane force winds last night, so to all of you reading this who were affected by the gales, I really do hope that you are safe and OK?
As is always the case first thing on a Monday morning, I'm kick starting our week with a very beautiful real wedding to inspire you. This one is bright and colourful and features an original 50's vintage gold wedding dress. It just felt so right to share this particular wedding in this cold, wet, late October morning with you – something to lift your spirits.
Film Production McKinley Rodgers
Jo and Paul tied the knot on 6th September at Hylands House in Chelmsford, Essex.
In my book, I talk about how the term 'vintage wedding' is simply a
descriptive term applied to evoke the style and aesthetic chosen by a
modern bride or couple, which reflect a major element of their wedding
day. And for me, an original or replica vintage dress is usually the
first qualifier of a 'vintage wedding'.
I think you could safely say, therefore, that Jo and Paul's wedding was a vintage inspired affair, and a very beautiful one at that.
Photography Copyright(c) 2013, McKinley Rodgers
"Paul and I are both keen on design
and fashion so it was important for us to make each decision about 'us'
rather than it being what is normally expected. I don’t think white was
included anywhere – which wasn't a conscious decision actually, but we
just both love bright and bold colour and use it in our house, so why
not our wedding."
"There wasn't a particular era we were going for, we
just picked things we loved! It was a bit of a miss match really – but
it reflected us as a couple which we felt was more important. We had a
Victorian Building, Paul had his 1960's style suits, my dress was
original 1950's and I had some floral and tea party elements – but
somehow it (almost!) came together and everyone seemed to love what we
I handmade more or less everything – the invites, favours,
table plans, which were all far from perfect but I had a great time doing
them and it made it personal to us."
"Paul and I met in a nightclub in Southend-on-Sea. At the
time I'd just split up from my boyfriend and was very 'anti-men' !, but somehow, after a few drinks, we ended up having a boogie
together; he took my business card and we met up for our first date on
For quite a while I wasn't convinced if Paul was
actually straight due to his ‘snake hip’ dance moves and great dress
sense (his words) so this kept me intrigued. However, six years, a
house, two cats and a lot of travelling later, Paul proposed on a beach
in Cuba on Christmas eve with my late Grandmother’s engagement ring. I truly wasn't expecting it which made it all the better.
engaged nineteen months before we got married which was plenty of time to plan
and save up."
day I found my dress I had seven appointments in London in other
shops. My maid of honour, John, who lives in Manchester, came to meet me
in London and then I got a message from Fur Coat No Knickers
saying they could fit me in. However our schedule was so tight,
accepting their appointment would mean cancelling the rest – which gut
instinct told me to do, so I did!"
"Before going to Fur Coat No Knickers,
I had tried on quite a few other dresses, and realised what I liked,
and what liked me. There are such beautiful dresses out there I was
getting worried I would never be able to decide. However, I felt
comfortable, valued and special at Fur Coat No Knickers
and the whole experience there was just exactly what I could have wished for."
love flowers – I love the way they look, the textures and the smells.
When our flowers arrived on the morning of the wedding I just couldn't
stop looking at them. Stephen, from Scent in Leigh-on-Sea, took on our
wedding with excitement. I collected a lot of jars, some recycled from a
friend’s wedding last year and he decorated our venue beautifully.
popped in with my 'wedding scrapbook' so he could understand what I was
looking for and he somehow managed to tie in the bridesmaids pink floral
dresses with the gold and red of the banqueting room – he is a genius!"
"My bridesmaid dresses were actually one of the first purchases I made. They were from Dorothy Perkins
but my very clever mum altered them to add a petticoat and a bright
pink ribbon belt. The gorgeous shocking pink bridesmaids shoes, called
Roxy, were from Rachel Simpson and an absolute bargain at £30 in the sale. For the girls who weren't too comfortable in heels so high I got theirs from BHS.
got the girls pearl necklaces and earrings from good old eBay!
They were actually long but I shortened them as I felt
they suited the dresses better. I also got my Maid of Honours’
personalised socks on ebay, as Paul did for his ushers and best man."
"I had quite a few people to transport to our venue from my home so I hired a couple of VW Campervans through Cool Classic Cars. These were great fun, albeit a little bit bouncy at times!"
made our save the dates, invites, menu boards, table plan and favours –
and I had a lovely time doing it too. They were far from perfect but
people really appreciated the handmade touch."
"We weren’t sure whether to have a top table or not, but for this
reason I am so glad we did. It was very surreal and unexpected to see
everyone having such a good time and we could watch it all happening in
front of us and we enjoyed every second. One of my best friends, Laura,
made us some props on sticks (moustaches, cat ears, pipes etc) which I
put on each table in a jar and these went down a storm and really helped
to relax the mood so people could enjoy themselves."
keeping with our Italian theme I made little limoncello
shots as favours. However – instead of taking them home, people drank them at the
wedding breakfast! It was quite a lively meal to say the least. I
ordered some glass bottles from eBay, then had stickers made which we
used on our Invites and Order of Service too, saying 'Paul and Jo's
wedding' and the date, then hand tied little ‘Drink Me’ labels onto each
It was very time consuming and a bit messy but they went so down
well, literally! I also made everyone's name cards in the form of a little
badge. I personalised each one and everyone absolutely loved them!
People wore them so people could see each others names which
helped to break the ice."
"Our photographers were McKinley Rodgers
– they were one of the first things we sourced as this was right at the
top of our priority bookings. I originally contacted another
photographer but she was not available and recommended husband and wife
team, Pen and Cam at McKinley-Rogers.
Booking these guys was one of the best decisions I've ever made!
From day one their communication and friendly nature was second to none.
We met up in London just to make sure we felt comfortable with them –
which we did straight away; it felt like meeting old friends; they 'got'
us and in fact it was Pen who recommended I go to FCNK to find a
specialise in natural photography rather than posed shots which was
exactly what we were looking for. After meeting up we booked them and
we had a 'Beloved' style engagement shoot about 6 months before our
wedding so we could get used to being photographed and also to get to
know Pen and Cam better. I would highly recommend doing this if you are
as nervous as we were! We got some great shots and it totally broke the
ice ready for them to be a part of our wedding day – where we hardly
noticed they were there – in a good way!
They have such an eye for
detail and capture such beautiful shots. Everyone has commented saying
they are the best photos (and video) they have ever seen and of course
I'd have to agree."
"Additionally they now offer a short film of your day,
which we also booked and I am SO glad we did (see our film at the end of this feature). We didn't feel comfortable
with a videographer and the normal films that are produced but their
short film of our wedding is just brilliant and so artfully done rather
than being awkward, and we have watched it about a zillion times
"The Fur Coat No Knickers
girls stock vintage wedding dresses and have just launched their
new 'Flaunt it ,so each vintage dress has been handpicked by the
founders, Emma and Laura. I tried on a few and saw my gold dress in the
window but instantly dismissed it – for a couple of reasons. Firstly
because was it was gold – and having blonde hair I just didn't think it
would suit me at all – and in my head I was always going to have a
The second was that it was a shorter length. I have quite an
issue with my ankles (or lack of!) so it wasn't really on the cards.
However, when Emma and Laura brought the dress out for me, I tried it on
and that was it! I knew she was the one – and I'm not usually the type
of girl to get emotional over an item of clothing! I just couldn't
believe this dress was around 60 years old and it was such beautiful
lace and fitted me like a glove. I felt honoured to be able to wear
it – it felt more like a work of art than a dress, so that's how I
chose it – or rather, that's how she chose me."
"I went back to Fur Coat No Knickers for
a couple of appointments as a petticoat was made especially for me
and the dress and a lot of love was given to her. Extra bones were added
to the top half and they made me a gold flower which was added where
the lace splits on one side of the dress. Nothing was too much trouble
and I'd highly recommend a visit (and a glass of bubbly!) It goes to
show that you need to try on things you automatically dismiss, and actually
having a short dress allowed me to dance the night away with ease, and
bounce on our bouncy castle as much as I pleased – both were highlights
of the day!
I can't thank the Fur Coat No Knickers
girls enough for breaking me out of my comfort zone. I did have a few
wobbles and moments of doubt, wondering whether I should be wearing a
long white dress which would probably have suited my complexion (and
ankles) more, but in the end, I loved that my dress was unique and
has history – I am still in awe of it, and I am really hoping I can wear
it again, one day."
"I chose the Rachel Simpson's
'Eva' as my shoes. I did have trouble figuring out what shoes to wear
as I found it difficult to match the gold in my dress, plus I am not a
usual heel wearer so I really needed them to be comfortable. The 'Eva's'
were comfortable and I managed to last until about 8pm when I changed
into my personalised pumps that Paul got me as a surprise – they were very
welcome indeed! Even though my shoes were visible, I did not want them
to take any attention away from the dress so these were perfect – plus I
can wear them again."
"I had the same trouble sourcing gold accessories as with my shoes. I came across Jo Barnes Vintage from a wedding featured on Love My Dress.
I left this quite late for lack of finding something suitable ,I
emailed Jo with a picture of my dress and she made me the beautiful
'Golden Gracie'. Jo was great to work with – she only had a short amount
of time left at work before her maternity leave but was keen to make me
something to go with my dress so I am eternally grateful to her for
squeezing me in! The band sat on my desk at work so I could look at it
all day – it is a lovely mix of bling, pearls and a hint of gold. It
made me feel like a princess and again I loved that it had come handmade from someone who is talented and loves her work. I was a bit
worried with my dress that because it was gold and short people wouldn’t
realise I was the bride and that I wouldn’t feel like one, so adding
this band and the veil made such a huge difference to the way I felt.
pearl bracelet was my Nan's – it was originally a necklace that I had
made into a pearl cuff. I loved wearing it and having a part of her with
me on the day as she would have loved to have been there and got stuck
in with making bits and pieces for it. My earrings were a gift from a friend who got married a week after me. I let her borrow my Golden Gracie hairband and, as a thank you, she kindly got me some earrings.
"Hylands Park is where the 'V Festival'
is held each year'. Before we got engaged, we would talk about if we
ever got married, where we would go and we have always had our hearts
set on Italy as we love the natural beauty, romance and of course the
food! However, when it came to the crunch, and after a lot of discussion,
we felt that it was more important to us that as many of our lovely
friends and family be able to attend our wedding day, and so we chose
to stay local.
The first venue we both looked at was Hylands House
– we booked it straight away as it just felt right. The house is
a council owned building and has lots of different rooms. Even though
most of the rooms are very regal and ornate the staff gave us the
freedom to decorate and use each room how we wanted.
We loved that even though we would spend the whole day and
evening there, we would use separate spaces to make the day more
interesting and break it up a little – which it definitely did. We were
concerned that you can't trust the great English weather so wanted to
make sure that if it did pour down all day, we would be ok inside."
"Originally I wasn’t going to have a veil, but when I tried one from Dream Veils with my dress
it instantly made me feel like a bride. I loved wearing it and only
took it off right near the end of the day – when else do you get to
wear one! I did find matching the colour hard work but managed to find a
close match online."
wanted his and his boys suits to match. First of all we were going
to hire suits due to cost but he couldn't find the 1960's style he was
searching for. Then he came across Atom Retro – an online shop selling
Mod/Retro clothing. We contacted them saying we were potentially going
to buy 4 and he kindly gave us a 20% discount! He chose the Ben Sherman
Camden fit in tonic teal and they all looked very sharp indeed. We got
each suit for around £120 which is about the price it was to hire them.
It goes to show, if you don't ask you don't get! It was nice for us to
be able to buy his best men and ushers suits they could keep and maybe
even use again one day."
dad gave me away which was a really nice thing to do and has given us
both some happy memories sharing that moment together. We had our
amazing pianist play during our ceremony. We had ‘Sweet Disposition’ by The
Temper Trap walking down the aisle and ‘Strings of Life by Derrick May
walking back after we got married, which was an uplifting house
version that put a smile on everyones faces."
wrote our own vows – and this was one of my favourite parts of the
whole day. I thought I would be so nervous standing up in front of
people but I just couldn't wait to say them – this really surprised me!
We felt we wanted to make promises that had meaning to us – even though
the standard ones are still really lovely, but I am very glad we made
the extra effort."
Jo's vows; 'You
are my best friend, my support and my greatest challenge. You have shown
me how to live life to the full and encourage me to be the best I can
be. I promise to stay by your side for whatever ups and
downs our adventure shall bring us. I will continue to laugh with you
and to grow old and even more mad with you. I vow to help you love life and pursue your dreams. I promise to love you for all that you are and all that you are yet to be.'
Paul's vows; 'I
never truly believed in love at first sight but 7 years ago, I knew it
was true. From the moment I met you, I knew we would be together and
today I get to confirm that commitment to you in front of all of our
friends and family. I promise to look after you, make up hilarious
songs, and come home on time. But most importantly I promise to be a loyal and loving husband, forever and always.'
had two readings; one by my mum and the other by a very close friend of
ours. My mum chose a reading from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by
Louis de Bernieres that she felt suited us as a couple. It's called 'Love is a Temporary Madness'.
second reading was a surprise – I asked our close friend, Luke, if he
would do us the honour and he wrote us a beautiful poem. I didn’t let
myself read it before, so hearing it at the ceremony was the first time I
heard it. No one, including Paul had any idea that we organised this –
and it was a highlight of the day."
"My favourite part of the day was the ceremony; I
could not have been happier in that moment which actually didn’t stop
all day. Our ceremony room was quite cosy and intimate and I could
really feel so much love in the room and everyone’s support and
involvement was touching and a feeling I hope I never forget.
Having everyone you know and love around you sharing that moment
is overwhelming and it made me realise just how lucky we are to
have such good friends and family and how glad I was that they were all
there. Even though marriage is essentially just about the two of you and your journey together in life, I believe it is also
important to have people around you both for support."
"The house is very ornate
so we didn’t need much decoration. However the evening reception was in a
newer room so we had more space to play with. The boys were putting
bunting up in the party room at 10am the morning of the wedding! It was
£1 for 10 metres and we had a lot left over from when we went to
Glastonbury so it had to be used and it helped to brighten up the room."
"Our venue allowed us to choose our own caterers, which was good but also a challenge. We found Justin at Lime Berry Catering
online and he was a pleasure to work with. It was quite hard as we
could choose anything we wanted for our menu! We narrowed it down
by having an Italian theme. We had antipasti to start and pizza for our
evening buffet – which was very welcomed after a few drinks!"
"Our wedding ‘breakfast’ was also a surprise top moment as I
thought it might be quite a quiet, civilised affair, but it turned out
to be quite the opposite! People were drinking their lemoncello shots under
the table and at one point the whole room (70 guests) was double
clapping to ‘Empire of the Sun’ (we made a special CD of our favourite
tracks to listen to for the meal, a lot of which had shared memories
with many people in the room) and also singing to ‘Over and Over’ by
wedding cake was made by three talented people – the top tier was a
lychee and rose sponge with pink butter icing made by my friend at work,
Ai Pheng; the second tier was made by my friend Richard, with help from
his friend (who happens to own her own chocolate shop – Cocoa Cabana)
which was a luxurious chocolate sponge with truffles and the third was
made by my lovely mum, this was an orange madeira cake covered with
They each made a tier each and then we put them on the cake stand
the morning of our wedding.
It meant so much to us that our friends
went to so much trouble and even though collectively they weren't the
most perfect cakes in the world, they had much more meaning and were
perfect in their own right. Plus they were all delicious! I just gave
them a rough colour palate and free reign to do what they thought best
and they turned out brilliantly."
"When it came down to the day, the weather was quite miserable
until around 5pm when we were eating our meal – then the sun starting
shining which really helped to lift everyones mood, even more so we
could enjoy some after dinner drinks, garden games and of course the
bouncy castle outside!"
"Paul is a dj and music
is really important to us, and the majority of
our friends as we share a love of going to gigs and clubs together. We
only booked Kings of Soul
a couple of months before our wedding but they were absolutely
outstanding. They are an 8 piece band and had everyone up dancing.
Afterwards we had a friend dj for us – we are very lucky to have such
We also had a pianist called David Woodcock who played
during our ceremony and then drinks after. We met David in a local bar and he isn't technically a wedding pianist – but he is so talented
and luckily agreed to play for us. I also hired some garden games,
including adult space hoppers and a bouncy castle! This was an absolute
hit – even after a 3 course meal!
There are so
many songs that Paul and I have some great memories to, but none of
the slow kind. We weren’t sure whether we were going to do a first
dance, but a few of our friends just said, "you only regret things
in life you don’t do" – and they were right in this instance, as we loved
it. We chose ‘Turn Me On’ by Norah Jones as we love the lyrics and it
is a beautiful track. We loved dancing to it and even though we were
worried about being on show with everyone around us, we didn’t even
notice anyone else and I’m so very glad we took our friends advice.
Words of Wedded Wisdom…
the grand scheme of things, I know favours, name cards and invites are
not that important (it is the ceremony itself that is the important bit
of course), however, essentially you are organising a big party where you
want everyone to have a good time and share happy memories with you on
I would recommend personalising as much as you can, from your
vows to your invites – even though we had quite a traditional venue, we
were allowed to put our stamp on it – people notice the details if you
make the extra effort and this doesn’t mean it costs more. It did take a
long time to make and personalise each name card/favour etc but it was
worth every second, plus I really enjoyed it."
"People were so touched and
we just wanted them to feel special and let them know we appreciate
them sharing our day with us.
I am lucky enough to have a lot of
talented friends and family to help and even though sometimes you may
get a more professional result from someone else, it really means more
that people are willing to spend the time and effort for you. People are
usually more than willing to help and feel honoured to be asked – so
don’t be afraid to utilise your friends talents!"
suppliers that you can see yourself, that understand
you and your wedding ‘vision’. I met some great, inspiring and talented
people on our wedding journey which was something I wasn’t really
expecting – in fact every ‘supplier’ we used I’d recommend. I had a
wedding scrap book I took round with me as there are so many different
ways to do things so this helped to narrow my ideas down.
Pinterest is a
great source of inspiration – the only drawback is there are too many
beautiful things on there so I found it difficult to make decisions!
On the day, spend as much time with your new husband as you can."
"Take time and mental pictures in your mind and try to just live in that
moment and soak in as much love and emotion around you as you can
together. It is such an overwhelming feeling having so many people there
for you – it is truly very humbling. We felt it was
important for people to relax and enjoy themselves so we added little
things like the bouncy castle, the props on the tables and the ‘photo
booth’ which really worked and meant people could enjoy themselves and
have lots of fun.
Perhaps one thing I would change, I wish I'd have taken some sleeping
tablets the night before! I went to bed after a couple of drinks at 10pm
to get in some well needed beauty sleep, and I was still wide awake at
3am – torture! I finally managed to doze off after I spoke to my husband
to be. I was contemplating drinking the liquid piriton I had bought for
our trip to Bali to make me drowsy! But even after only having a few
hours, all the adrenalin and happy hormones kicked in on the day so I
didn’t actually feel tired all day – maybe just a few yawns on the
journey to the venue."
"Finally, I'd like to share that Love My Dress was my main source of inspiration and even now I’m married I still love reading the features every day to see what new and creative ideas people come up with. When we first got engaged I bought a few wedding magazines then soon discovered wedding blogs, Love My Dress being my regular.
We didn't hire an
event planner as I loved the challenge and adventure of researching and
contacting different suppliers, and through blogs such as Love My Dress, I
found some wonderful and talented people which was a hidden highlight I
was not expecting when organising our wedding. It really goes to show
that there are so many talented and creative people out there and you
really don't need to go for the obvious option even though it may be
offered to you on a plate. It was important for us to 'click' with our
suppliers and each and every one made the whole experience a delight
from our caterers to our amazing photographers."
Love My Dress really transformed my ideas as it helped me to be brave and think outside the box. You can pick and choose what traditions you follow and tailor every detail to suit you – it is your day after all."
What a beautiful, beautiful day! Thanks from the bottom of our hearts Jo for saying such lovely kind words about Love My Dress – we hugely appreciate it and are thrilled that the blog was so helpful to you in planning your wedding – congratulations to you and Paul.
If you love this style of wedding photography as much as we do, take a moment to enjoy the McKinley Rodgers website – you can also see much more of McKinley Rodgers on Love My Dress. You might also want to explore other 1950s inspired and colourful style weddings too.
With much love,
Photography + Film – McKinley Rodgers
Venue – Hylands House
Brides Dress – Fur Coat No Knickers
Brides Veil – Dream Veils
Brides Shoes – Rachel Simpson
Brides Hair Accessories – Jo Barnes Vintage
Groom's Attire – Atom Retro + The Tie Bar
Bridesmaids Dresses – Dorothy Perkins + Rachel Simpson Shoes + New Look Hair Accessories
Florist – Scent
Cake – Cocoa Cabana
Cars/Transport – Cool Classic Cars
Entertainment – Kings of Soul
Rings – Annina Vogel + Jewellery Design Centre
Catering Company – Lime Berry Catering
Stationery – The bride
Hair and make-up Artist – Violet Belle Brides + Woo