A Self Portrait Dress + Bridesmaids in Blue for a Brighton Bandstand Wedding

We’re off to the seaside for today’s gorgeous wedding for an outdoor ceremony held at a lovingly restored Victorian bandstand overlooking the ocean, and I know you’re going to enjoy this as much as me.

If you’re looking for cool coastal wedding inspiration, look no further. Let’s meet our couple – Katie, a software project manager and Oliver, a civil engineer. They were married on the 21 July 2018 in a ceremony at Brighton Bandstand followed by drinks at The Meeting Place Cafe nearby – all just steps away from the beach, and an evening reception followed at Brighton College.

Images by Matt Penberthy Photography

“I grew up near Brighton and saw the bandstand being restored. As a couple we’ve spent a lot of time in Brighton together, and loved the idea of getting married in a such a beautiful setting, right on the seafront, that we can revisit again in a city that holds many great memories for us. We chose Brighton College as we wanted outside space and a venue we could make our own but still be within the city.”

Katie and Oliver used put their design talents to good use, using Canva to design their own wedding stationery, also providing guests with vintage style colour coded bus tickets to help stagger transportation effectively between the different venues. Katie’s dad has also worked in hotel and event management and so was able to give the couple helpful advice and support on how to bring together all the elements of their day.

The bridesmaids wore mint green dresses with glittery embroidery from ASOS with their own shoes and accessories, and flowers in their hair courtesy of florist Katherine Bly.

“We wanted to incorporate a Scottish & Irish wild coastal feel to the flowers to represent different sides of our families and our recent move to Edinburgh.”

For jewellery, Katie chose ear cuffs by Kenneth Jay Lane from Net-a-Porter and on her feet, platform sandals from Topshop. Martha from Fine to Fabulous styled Katie’s hair into tousled, beachy waves with the addition of a sparkling hair comb by LELET NY, and Kayleigh Baker Beauty took care of Katie’s gorgeous make-up.

I love Katie’s choice of gown, which she ordered online from Self Portrait, with alterations taken care of at Atelier Gold in Brighton. The combination of the 1960s inspired floral lace bodice with the long, flowing pleated crepe skirt.


“I loved the style, the high neck, heavy lace detail and pleated skirt with the slit. I tried on other more expensive options but this was the dress that felt most like something I would wear and not too bridal!…Atelier Gold…were great. I was even able to pick the dress up last-minute the afternoon before.”

A lovely lemon coloured vintage bus transported Katie and her party to Brighton Bandstand for the ceremony, hired from Seaford and District Motor Services. Katie’s dad accompanied her down the aisle, with music from Bon Iver – the song Holocene. 

We are obsessed with Katie’s gorgeous modern bridal headpiece by LELET NY

Katie and Oliver first met at a gig in London before becoming engaged on a trip with friends to Iceland in March 2017 – they were married 17 months later.

Oliver chose a smart grey three-piece suit from French Connection, which he teamed with a grey and white striped tie, whilst the groomsmen wore suits from Next.

Whilst exchanging their vows looking out over the beach, the couple also gave one another rings, which they had specially designed and made by Edinburgh-based jeweller Daniel Henderson.

“The one item we didn’t have to organise remotely and he was able to create a wedding band to suit the vintage engagement ring I have.”

“Straight after the ceremony the Trans Pride march took place on the seafront past the bandstand, people were shouting congratulations and cheering. We found out later that they parade had been held up by the police escort to not interrupt our wedding ceremony!”

We have the highly valued and incredibly talented Matt Penberthy to thank for these creative and contemporary images. I particularly love the framing of lots of these shots, especially around the bandstand in all its highly decorated Victorian neo-gothic glory, and the way Matt has made the most of the sublime coastal light.

“Matt made everyone feel at ease throughout the day and had an eye for the shots/photographs that perfectly captured the day and framed the locations beautifully. We loved Matt’s relaxed approach, he was was great at getting all the important shots and moments without intruding on any of them or making them feel staged.”

After the ceremony it was over to the cheery beachfront cafe, the Meeting Place for ice-cold fizz in the summer sunshine before the double-decker bus whisked them across the city to Brighton College to continue the celebrations, kicking off with lawn games in the college’s courtyard.

“We provided our guests with suncream, but there were a few red faces at the reception for making the time to play…the lawn games!”

Inside the college hall, venue stylists Not Your Average I Do did a brilliant job of transforming the space.

“We wanted the hall to feel really different for the evening reception from the wedding breakfast. To make use of the high ceiling we had festoon lighting, wrapped in foliage, with a foliage wheel centrepiece. In the day the hall was really light with a slightly rustic feel, and we turned the lights once the band started to transform it.”

“I wanted to complement the colour of the bandstand and the seafront and I was keen to have a constant colour theme throughout the day as we moved from venue to venue. Coincidentally Brighton College hall colour matched the seafront/bandstand colours, which helped.”

Round dining tables were decorated with fresh flowers, with tables named after music festivals the couple have attended over the years!

“We tried to sit friends and family based upon festivals they had been to with us or relevant to them.”

Favours were sweet treats picked up in Brighton and Edinburgh – rock and Scottish tablet, and everyone sat down to a wedding breakfast prepared by the team at Brighton College.

Dessert also doubled as Katie and Oliver’s wedding cake – a showstopping croquembouche made by Real Pattisserie, which guests helped themselves to after the main meal was over.

There was pizza courtesy of Community Oven, and the hall was lit with beautiful festoon lighting (I love that transformation from daytime florals to twinkling lights in the evening). Katie and Oliver took to the dance floor for their first dance, Be My Baby by The Ronettes followed by great live music from covers band The Revival.

As the balmy summer day came to a close, guests relaxed outside in deck chairs, and a fun Boomerang photobooth was set up, too.

“It was a great addition to a normal photobooth and was great waking up to see people’s creativity on Instagram the next day!”

Words of Wedded Wisdom

“It was really important to us that our guests had a great time at our day and we wanted the wedding to really feel like ours. Think about what you would like to do and not worry too much about what people expect.”

“Also don’t worry too much about deadlines, we left a lot of the smaller details to the last-minute and just make sure the important aspects and the ones that matter to you most are sorted. Finally, take the risk – we banked on having good weather for our ceremony, beach reception and open top bus to the reception venue. We had a vague back up plan but the risk paying off and being able to be on the bandstand and beach just completely made our day and we’re so pleased we did it!”

Congratulations Katie and Oliver, and thank you for this glimpse into your day, which encapsulates everything I love about a day at the British seaside. Many thanks also go to Matt Penberthy for these truly lovely images. You can view more of his work on our blog pages right here and more fun Brighton weddings here, too.

With love,


Credits & Thanks


Annabel View all Annabel's articles

Annabel is the founder of Love My Dress. She has a passion for photography, walking, yoga, nature, and loves to support talented artists and creative businesses. In 2013, she became a published author. Annabel lives in rural North Yorkshire with her husband and business partner Philip, their two daughters Eska and Leanora and menagerie of furry hounds. Annabel supports Philip in the running of the family flower farm at at Moonwind Flowers. She is also co-founder of What About Weddings.

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