Vintage 78 Gramophone DJs and Champagne Served From A Caravan ~ A Relaxed Vintage Inspired Marquee Wedding…

Morning lovers :)  Well I have the joy of trying to get through to the tax office today – wish me luck!!! All I'm saying is thank goodness they have extended the deadline to 2nd Feb.  Anyway, ramblings over, let's look at the first real wedding I've got ready to feature this week – this time a darling little 'afternoon tea', English chintz style affair, where champagne was served from a caravan whilst the gramophone DJ's served up some vintage style entertainment for the newlyweds and guests at this lovely summertime marquee wedding.

Meet Andy and Claire, who tied the knot on 20th August last year with a ceremony at St Mary's Church in Ullenhall (near Henley in Arden in Warwickshire), followed by a marquee reception held in Claire's parents garden {how lucky!}. 

Claire told me that right from the off, they knew what kind of wedding they wanted to have, and that meant steering away from anything too formal…

"I have a real love of vintage fashion (as I'm naturally curvy so it suits me better!) and I love the 1940s and '50s.  I go to the Goodwood Revival every year with work and always come back even more inspired.

We definitely weren't purists in terms of choosing an 'era' and just used the 'vintage' theme loosely.  The family wedding photos (our grandparent's in wartime, and our parents in the early 1960s) were a real source of inspiration to us actually, and finished it all off beautifully…"

Love My Dress Wedding Blog – Photography Copyright (c) 2012, Chris Barber Photography

ClaireAndy-16web pale blue hydrangea

"The bridesmaids' dresses proved far, far trickier than my own wedding dress!  I knew that I wanted something vintage-looking, but just never saw anything in the shops that grabbed me and hated the idea of one of the guests turning up in the same dress if I bought something from the usual suspects on the high street. 

A year or so ago I'd had a beautiful vintage brocade dress made by Dig For Victory (who I'd stumbled across online), and so I contacted Eleanor to see what she might be able to do.  She made me two gorgeous prom dresses from a mauve vintage taffeta and a rose brocade which my 2 beautiful bridesmaids wore with net petticoats underneath (which they weren't so keen on at first, but I had to wrestle them out of at the end of the night!)…"

Pale blue bridesmaids dresses Pale blue bridesmaids dresses

"I knew that I wanted to go for an afternoon tea rather than a formal three course meal, and that I wanted to find some mis-matched crockery to give it a quirky vintage feel.  Whilst we were at the Designer Vintage Bridal Show,  we met Cheryl from Vintage Glamour Days and she was absolutely fabulous! 

Not only did she provide all of the crockery, vintage lace overlays for the tables, vintage champagne coupes and all of the gorgeous cake stands, but she also brought Audrey with her, a little pea-green vintage caravan which she served the champagne from when everyone arrived…"

Wedding caravan

"I met Karen and Gemma from Passion for Flowers again at the Designer Vintage Bridal Show in Birmingham and fell in love with the vintage-coloured roses they had on display in a candelabra.  We were finding that, despite not having a set colour theme for the day, things were naturally veering towards soft pinks, blues and greens and it all suddenly seemed to come together.

We decided on a mix of peppermint, sweet avalanche, ocean song, amnesia and vintage cream spray roses with delft blue hydrangea, blue agapanthus with eucalyptus parvi and garden herbs…"

Pale blue and pale pink wedding bouquets

"My sister in law (who is an absolute miracle with anything creative) made metres and metres of bunting for us which was strung up everywhere, so that added to the relaxed, vintage theme…."

Cloth bunting

Guests were entertained by the wonderful gramophone playing DJs, 'It's A Windup!'

ClaireAndy-48 ClaireAndy-61

"My bouquet carried the hydrangeas and roses too, and the local village florist, Judy, matched the reception flowers perfectly and put the most beautiful floral arch outside the church for us as well as some flowers on all of the windowsills.

Passion for Flowers also did us some fresh rose petals for the confetti, which was put in a basket in the porch of the church for everyone to grab a handful."


"Andy's much more creative then me and made the table plan by finding some beautiful vintage adverts which he then photoshopped to include the guests' names. We then put the original advert on the tables and it was a real talking point.  He also made a fabulous bar menu in the same way.

We weren’t sure what the weather was going to be like on the day, so we hedged our bets and put out a basket of umbrellas and a basket of flip flops (mainly for the dancefloor in case of sore feet from high heels all day).

I ought to also say a word about our invitations and orders of service, which were done beautifully by Bianca at Two For Joy Paper who I stumbled across on Folksy.  They were one of the first things that we got fixed in terms of the details and they set the tone for the rest of the planning as she has some lovely vintage options.  She was absolutely lovely to deal with (and a lot less expensive than some of the other options that I’d seen along the way)"



"I started off by being certain that I didn't want to have a 'corporate' feeling wedding.  It's what I do every day (with MUCH bigger budgets) and I really wanted to get away from a very formal, precise, match-the-cravats-to-the-cake-to-the-chair-sashes type of wedding.  Not that there's anything remotely wrong with that, it's just that I do 'formal' every day, and also it wouldn't have felt right for us – the one thing that a lot of the guests said after the wedding was that it was all very "us" and that makes me happy…."

ClaireAndy-44 ClaireAndy-51

Claire wore the beautiful Elizabeth Dress, a purchase from
The Bridal Boutique in Warwishire…

"I'm not really the sort of person who had envisaged what my wedding dress would look like since I was in the womb, so it was all rather uncharted territory for me and I have to admit that I was terrified that being a terminally indecisive person, that I wouldn't be able to find 'the one'! 

I knew that I wanted to go with a vintage-style dress rather than a more traditional style, and very quickly, from starting to look at blogs and magazines, realised that I was instinctively drawn to Jenny Packham's designs, and in particular, the Elizabeth dress.  I happened to be walking past the wedding dress shop in Henley in Arden and by chance spotted it hanging in the boutique so I made an appointment to go in.  It was the first dress I tried on, and after trying on only two others, knew that it was the one for me and that was that!  I never saw anything before or since that came close.  I'm almost disappointed that I never tried on some big meringue frocks just for the hell of it, but there really didn't seem any point after that…"


"I didn't want anything too complicated with my hair, I just wanted it straight and out of my face!  My lovely local hairdresser, Sarah, from Bella Capelli in Henley in Arden came to the house for the morning and did my hair for me, and also put up my bridesmaids' hair.  She also popped back late afternoon (as she was passing by) to take my veil out and tidy me up, which was lovely of her.Make-up was one of those things that I didn't really get my head around until relatively late.  I'm pretty cack-handed when it comes to make up and don't wear too much so again, I wanted to look like me (only ideally a much better version of me!).

I found Charlotte's details online and she came in the morning and did mine and the bridesmaids' make-up.  I was absolutely adamant that I wanted a very natural look and that's what Charlotte did at the trial for me.  I was pleased that I did, as it made me realised that the 'barely there' look was actually too natural and didn't last more than a couple of hours, so on the day she put a little more on which was the perfect balance…"

ClaireAndy-4web ClaireAndy-6web


ClaireAndy-13web ClaireAndy-14web


"I knew that I wanted my hair down, as I was determined to look like me on my wedding day and I'm really not a 'groomed up-do' kind of girl.  Again, I wanted something that went with the vintage style of the day, and fell in love with a Flo and Percy Madhatter comb, which gave me a bit of glamour when I took the veil out.

As a thank you gift I bought my bridesmaids a pair of earrings each from Queens and Bowl…"


ClaireAndy-20web ClaireAndy-21web

"The Church we got married at in in a village where my parents live and where I grew up.  As I'm an event manager, I use a lot of the local hotels and venues for work and so didn't want the wedding reception to feel like a busman's holiday and my mum and dad very kindly offered to let us hold the reception in a marquee in their gorgeous garden (and then proceeded to nearly kill themselves preparing everywhere for the big day!)…."

ClaireAndy-22web ClaireAndy-24web



"My dad, who beamed throughout the day (probably because he thought he was finally getting rid of me!) walked me down the aisle…"


"Andy really isn't the 'rented suit and cravat' type, and so decided that he'd rather invest in a really sharp suit for the wedding that he could then keep.  Both being fans of Mad Men, he wanted something early '60s in style (single-button, slim lapels etc) and bought a lovely dark blue tailored suit from Ted Baker.

The suit was a Kier single-breasted Pashion suit, which was worn with a black and blue Wasdale Floral Pashion tie, a slim-fit white shirt from Red Herring, and black leather shoes from Poste..."


"We met nine years ago when we worked together in television production, and instantly clicked and have been together ever since.Andy proposed on a family holiday in Normandy last May at the same moment that I was getting to the denouement of a gripping thriller before switching the light off for the night.  He brandished a digital image of a ring at me with the words "I've done this for you".

Knowing that he spends a lot of time on Photoshop, I responded "that's lovely darling, but I preferred the one where you made that big kitten destroy the Houses of Parliament", as I obviously hadn't twigged.  Once he'd explained, however, I happily accepted, and the chaos of wedding planning began…"

Hehehe! 😉




"Midland Red provided the vintage bus, the Bristol “Wheels Pioneer” that we used to take everyone from the church to the reception.  Since I work for Jaguar Cars, the Heritage team very kindly provided a vintage car as the bridal car for me…"




ClaireAndy-46 ClaireAndy-47



"For the place cards, I found some beautiful labels from Crafty Pagan Designs on Etsy which had a lovely text about Friendship on the back.  My dad used his beautiful hand writing to put the guests' names on…"



"Our main wedding breakfast was a champagne afternoon tea, so we figured that people would be a little 'caked out'.   We instead opted to have a 'cheese' cake with the barbeque later in the evening…"

ClaireAndy-85web ClaireAndy-54 

"We carried the vintage theme through, and so were delighted to come across Matt and Annabel from It's a Wind Up who came and set up their gramophone on the patio for the drinks reception as the weather was good enough to mingle outside.  It really set the tone for the afternoon and was a real talking point for guests.  They were fabulous to have with us, entertained the guests with a bit of dancing, and played Love and Marriage as we came into the marquee when everyone was seated.

The evening entertainment was a potentially tricky subject, as a friend of my brother's was due to DJ for us but had to pull out.  My mum had on hold a DJ "that does the village hall discos, dear, and he has his own lights and everything!" and considering that Andy and I take our music pretty seriously, it put the fear of God into me.  However at that late notice we didn't have too much choice.  So we spent an afternoon compiling a playlist and sent it to him with strict instructions not to deviate, only to hear absolutely nothing back from him.  After a shaky start of some background music including the Lighthouse Family and M People, as soon as the First Dance took place he did us absolutely proud and played everything weird or wonderful from our list…"

ClaireAndy-59we ClaireAndy-62

"I was in two minds about favours.  I didn’t want to spend a fortune on a load of expensive tat that nobody really wanted, just for the sake of it, but I was working away from home and couldn't get too creative making them myself and personal.  I was also worried that the marquee would look too sterile and white, so we bought a job lot of pastel coloured pashminas and hung them over the backs of the ladies' chairs as favours, as they were also something that they could wear if it was cool, sit on in the garden etc.  It also brightened up the marquee as it acted as decoration.  For the men we put out chocolate moustache lollies (and a few spare for any jealous ladies!) which we bought from Creightons Chocolaterie..."

ClaireAndy-57 ClaireAndy-63




"We agonised over our first dance song for some time – realising that songs that we love either aren't appropriate for a wedding (The Flaming Lips' Do You Realize was our first thought until we realised that the 3rd line is "do you realise that everyone you know, some day, will die" so we struck that off) or are just impossible to dance to (The Smashing Pumpkins "Today" for example).  We toyed with something ironic (The Smiths "You're the one for me, Fatty" was one I was keen on) but realised that we didn't really have the confidence to carry it off for the 3 minutes once the joke had worn off.

We ended up going back to one of our first thoughts, which was "Toothpaste Kisses" by The Maccabees.  Not only was it one of our favourite songs, but it was under 3 minutes long – result!  I actually find it ironic that some of the most lovely and romantic photos from the wedding are from that first dance, when all I remember is rotating awkwardly, talking about how excruciatingly embarrassed we were, and laughing at each other when we were in the spotlight!"


Words of Wedded Wisdom…

"I think that one of the keys is to try and take a step back from it all to put the day into perspective once in a while, as you can find that you're getting tearful and wound up over the most insignificant things.

The thing to keep in mind (which I have to admit I couldn't get my head around) is that it's absolutely true when people tell you that your guests are there to see you and enjoy the day with you – they really aren't going to judge you if you aren't a size 8 or if the home-made sloe gin favours don't have that raffia quite tied in a symmetrical bow absolutely right angles to the hand tended lavender plants….

Try and make the day about you – there aren't any rules and regulations that you have to follow if you don't want to – the key is that you're getting married surrounded by your families and friends and basically if you tick that box, it's job done.  If you don't feel inspired by favours, don't bother!  If you break out in a rash at the thought of the first dance, don't put yourself through it!  It's your day and that's what counts.

Oh, and the one everyone told us, but that we never got round to doing and wish that we had – on the day, take a step back from the hustle and bustle together and just soak everything in and commit it to memory.  The day goes so incredibly fast and I wish we'd snuck out and watched it all for a few moments to take it in.  It really was the best day of our lives."


Congratulations Claire and Andy on have a lovely day just exactly the way you wanted it 🙂

Thanks also to Birmingham based wedding photographer, Chris Barber for sharing these images today…

"Most of all we needed a photographer who could put us at ease (as we are NOT naturals in front of the camera) and get the best out of us.  From the first point of contact, Chris was friendly, enthusiastic and encouraging – exactly what we needed.  We're thrilled with the photos and were lucky to have been pointed in their direction."

I adore the English chintz, vintage styling that Claire and Andy went for and especially loved the touches of having champagne served from a caravan, courtesty of Vintage Glamour Days, and old gramophone records being played, thanks to Vintage 78 DJs – 'It's A Windup!".  Is anyone else going for something similar? I'd love to hear from you 🙂

Much love all,


Photographer – Chris Barber
Venue – Marquee in Brides' parents garden
Brides dress + veil – Elizabeth by Jenny Packham, via The Bridal Boutique {veil from same boutique}
Brides whoes – Rachel Simpson's Mimi shoes in white
Brides accessories – Flo and Percy
Groom – Dark blue tailored suit from Ted Baker + slim-fit white shirt from Red Herring + black leather shoes from Poste
Bridesmaids dresses – Dig For Victory + ASOS shoes
Caravan Hire – Vintage Glamour Days
Vintage Gramophone Hire – "It's A Windup!" Vintage 78 DJs
Flowers – Passion for Flowers
Cake + Catering – Aubrey Allen
Transport – MIdland Red + Jaguar Cars
Table Place Cards – Crafty Pagan Designs on Etsy
Makeup – Makeup by Charlotte
Catering – Aubrey Allen


Annabel View all Annabel's articles

Founder of Love My Dress. Passionate Podcaster and Editor. Annabel lives in rural North Yorkshire with her husband and business partner Philip, their two daughters and menagerie of furry hounds. She loves photography, meditation, walking, being outdoors and star gazing. She is fierce when it comes to championing talent within the wedding industry and when she's not working on Love My Dress, she supports her husband Philip in the running of the family's sustainable flower farm and floral design business, Moonwind Flowers. In 2013, she became a published author.