A Bride in Eliza Jane Howell for her Hampshire Vineyard Wedding full of 90’s Retro Toys, Bridesmaids with Floral Hoops and a Ceremony led by Grandma

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Who amongst you had the joy of owning a troll or two when you were little? If you’re a child of the 90s, this incredibly and just exceptionally fun and beautiful wedding is going to take you on a trip down memory lane. Also, any excuse for us to add to our 1990’s vintage pages!

Today’s couple added a quirky twist to their outdoor vineyard wedding by adding in elements of their childhood bedrooms and shared interests to create a lively, super-personal celebration that represented them through and through.Three Choirs Vineyards, Shedfield in Hampshire was the glorious location for website designer Ciara and electrician Jack’s outdoor blessing and wedding reception on 26 October 2018.

Photography by Nicola Streader + Follow

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“I’m not particularly girly and Jack isn’t the type of guy who would just let me get on with the wedding. The reason we get on so well is because of all the things we have in common; space, Lego, 90s toys, travel and sausage dogs. We soon began to realise that the best theme for our wedding would be, well, us.”

The bridesmaids look totally gorgeous in luxe, velvet Infinity gowns in emerald green velvet dresses from Valdenize on Etsy, which are the perfect canvas for their divine floral hoops of foliage and roses. Created by Lisa from Lily Lupin Floral Design.

Jack and Ciara found photographer Nicola Streader, whose colourful, modern styled suited the couple’s own approach to their day so well. I love the vivid colours and movement that she’s captured, all from a discreet, fly-on-the-wall perspective.

“Probably the best piece of advice I was ever given was from my mum: find the right photographer because after the wedding is over, your dress is packed away, you’ve eaten the food, you’ve drunk the wine, your flowers will wilt, but your photos, your photos will last forever.”

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“Nicola was recommended to me through a friend at work. She had photographed her children and mentioned she also did weddings so I should check her out and I didn’t look back. Nicola is literally like that best friend you want to get drunk with and you don’t care if you snort in front of her.”

“She made my awkwardness look sensational and just completely captured us as people. When I suggested having a beer in a pub with our dogs as an engagement shoot she was down from the get-go and found the most perfect place. Nicola is the photographer you want and need. She’s a photographer for life, not just for weddings.”

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With its puddle train, symmetrical beading and gorgeous low-cut, I think Ciara looks sensational, especially with the added drama of her Hollywood-esque waves and strong red lip, a look created by Helen Andrew. She chose Art Deco earrings from Etsy and also commissioned Breige King to design a simple, super-personal necklace made from her grandmother’s wedding ring.

Embellished, gold bock-heeled sandals from Aldo and Tom Ford Velvet Orchid scent completed her gorgeous, unique look.

“My dad wears Tom Ford so it seemed only right to find my own version for the wedding day.”

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I’m sure you’re going to recognise so many of the 90s elements woven throughout this day (and very likely pinch a few ideas for your own celebrations too) but Ciara also took an era-inspired approach to her choice of gown. I’m delighted to hear that the bride discovered her dress designer through our Little Book Wedding Directory.

Her slinky, beaded, Art Deco-inspired gown from Eliza Jane Howell fits like a dream, looks so sexy and I love the vintage twist.

Dress by Eliza Jane Howell + Follow

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And isn’t the soft cream a gorgeous match for her blonde locks? She found it at Ava Louise Bridal Wear in Southampton.

“I love ‘The Great Gatsby’ by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Daisy Buchanan has always been my dream wedding scenario. Eliza Jane Howell dresses are a walking, talking Great Gatsby showdown. When I saw the ‘Zenith’ dress, I fell in love.”

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Florist Lily Lupin Floral Design also put together Ciara’s magnificent bouquet of seasonal foliage and lush roses tied with a trailing, azure blue ribbon.

“We had met a handful of times in and around Southsea and she manages to create the most beautiful, laid-back. boho floral arrangements. She also makes her own dyed silk ribbons and fabrics which is just the cherry on top.”

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After getting ready with her bridesmaids, Ciara hopped into a zesty red 1959 Ford Zephyr Convertible from Hitch-a-Lift to travel to the Vineyards.

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For a totally cool groom look, Jack headed to Moss Bros for his slim-fitting burgundy suit. He wore it open-necked with Dr. Martens in tan leather, a Liberty London pocket square and a slick pair of Ray Ban sunglasses.

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Drawn to the Vineyards’ autumnal beauty, the couple made their ceremony as unique to them as possible and were even married by Ciara’s grandma. With plenty of wild and free seasonal blooms, I think you’ve going to love their free-spirited, totally individual approach to their nuptials.

“The best way to describe our wedding style would be our childhood bedrooms + Jack + Ciara = our wedding.”

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Ciara and Jack were legally married the day before the celebration at their local registry office with just their parents in attendance, but Three Choirs Vineyards was an incredible setting for a free-spirited wedding ceremony in the open. Following the ceremony, the party moved into the splendid Old Winery for dinner and dancing. Looking at these sunny photos who would know it was late October?

“I would have got married in Las Vegas but Jack wasn’t so keen! We knew we didn’t want a standard ‘out of the box’ wedding. I’m from Dublin so everyone thought it would be a wedding back home (including me) but we soon found ourselves drawn to quirky greenhouses and venues in London. Logistically, though, we knew that probably wouldn’t work out.”

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“We actually stumbled across our venue accidentally! We weren’t even looking for it and boom, out of nowhere there it was. On a beautiful autumn day in October 2016 Jack and I wondered in (uninvited) to this breathtaking vineyard. We must have driven past this place a million times but never actually knew what it was. We looked at each other and knew straight away that this was the place. In turn it was going to have to be an October wedding because I couldn’t get that day we found it out of my mind.”

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Ciara had the joy of planning her day herself, over two years following their engagement on 5 October 2016.

“I actually ruined our initial proposal. We were on a road trip through LA, Las Vegas and San Francisco. First stop LA. I was so jet-lagged when we landed but Jack wanted to go straight to Santa Monica pier and on the Ferris wheel. I was in the worst mood ever and begged to go to the Cheesecake Factory for a burger the size of my head and then to bed. He reluctantly agreed which annoyed me more.”

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“The next day we were both up super early so I suggested we go to the Griffiths Observatory so I could get some photos of the sunrise and the Hollywood sign before it got too busy. I had never seen Jack so happy about anything I suggested! Off we set and we got right to the front of the Observatory looking out over LA.”

“Jack handed me a little leather notebook to read. It was my birthday in a few days and I assumed this was his cute way of giving me my gift. When we first met, Jack gave me a similar leather notebook filled back-to-back with all the reasons he liked me and asked me to be his girlfriend on the last page. I was flicking through all these new, hand-written notes about how he loves my tantrums and more poor tea-making skills.”

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“Then I finally got to the last page… ‘Will you marry me?’. I looked up and Jack was down on one knee with a box containing the most beautiful, yellow diamond ring I had ever seen. I swore at him before saying ‘Yes’ and lunging at him.”

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“And that is how I accidentally set up my own proposal. Jack admitted later I had ruined his first attempt on Santa Monica Ferris wheel and he was worried I would punch him instead of saying yes. Rule 101 – don’t ever try to propose to a girl when she’s jet-lagged.”

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“One of my favourite moments was walking down the stairs to meet my mum and dad. The look on their faces is something I will never forget.”

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The late October weather was so unbelievably fine the couple could wed outside. The aisle was created from a carpet of Persian rugs, with the wooden gazebo beautifully adorned with a deep red macramé backdrop and more of those sensational floral displays. The scene for the day had been set through bespoke stationery from Hollyhock Lane.

“Nikki from The Toast supplied the majority of our rugs, games, candle sticks and rustic doors. Amy from Lo & Behold Bespoke supplied even more rugs (I have a problem) and did all of the on-the-day styling and set up.”

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The bride was escorted along the outdoor aisle by her father, as ‘A Case Of You’ by her favourite singer Joni Mitchell played. Jack and Ciara had asked the bride’s grandad to lead their blessing but sadly he was too ill to attend the wedding.

“We wanted our actual ceremony to be personal so for that we asked my grandad if he would do us the honour of being our celebrant and marry us both in front of our friends and family on the day. Unfortunately, he fell ill a few weeks before our wedding day and, much to his heartbreak, couldn’t make our wedding let alone conduct the ceremony. Grandma came to the rescue though and conducted our ceremony like a queen. We managed to get a life-size cut-out of Grandad to the wedding to take his place. He was on the dance floor all night long.”

Although her grandma led the ceremony, the vows were created by Ciara’s epic grandad.

“We gave the vows over to my grandad and told him he may do what he wished but the only thing we asked to be included was a nod to our flamboyant sausage dogs and annual Eurovision parties.” 

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For extra personality, Jack’s brother performed a version of John Cooper Clarke’s poem ‘I Wanna Be Yours’ and their friend Kate also did a reading.

“This is one of mine and Jacks’ favourites. He cleverly amended some of the word to incorporate Jack’s love of vintage ‘Star Wars’ toys and our two little sausage dogs. Luke and his wife Carley gave us the most beautiful framed of print of this poem as a wedding present.”

“Our close friend Kate read the lyrics of Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Everybody’s Free To Wear Sunscreen’. It sums life up well so was the perfect accompaniment to our wedding.”

Instead of a wedding band, Jack got a tattoo instead whilst the bride chose a more traditional ring.

“My ring was a bespoke commission by local Southsea jewellery designer Charlotte Cornelius. It’s made up of colourful precious stones and one particularly amazing grey diamond that looks like the moon. Every gem and diamond has a story to tell.”

“Jack actually got a tattoo for his wedding ring, a tattoo of Saturn because it has a ring around it (a geeky pun but it’s hilarious). A few years ago, he took me to Houston to the Johnson Space Centre where we saw the Saturn 5 in real life. On the day, Jack used my grandad’s ring which my brother gave to him as a wedding gift.”

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After Jack and Ciara had exchanged their rings and vows, their beloved sausage dogs made an appearance for these wonderfully fun portrait shots.

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The couple had made a huge effort to keep their guests entertained with garden games, a coconut shy and a portrait machine from Paper Bear Lane. All the fun was captured on film by Jack’s dad and his Go-Pro.

“He probably caught every bad angle known to man and we did have to pause the wedding speeches whilst he changed the battery over.”

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I really do think that some of you will love to borrow a few of Jack and Ciara’s styling ideas; they put so much thought into dressing The Old Winery and the dining tables, using candlesticks, flowers and lots of 90s tapes and toys.

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“Where to even start? We used loads of our old toys for decor, from My Little Ponies to Jack’s WWF figures. These were displayed all over the place and on the tables.”

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“We used old VHS tapes as table numbers (cleverly put together by one of our stylists, Lo & Behold), we hired Persian rugs to fill the venue and an old coconut shy.”

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“For wedding favours we bought everyone a cassette tape of their favourite bands. We used these as name places and bought loads of old cassette players and placed them on the tables so people could play them. We then did little Lego boxes full of Jack’s favourite sweets and made the kids their own personal gift bags full of goodies.”

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Wedding food came courtesy of Wild Gastro whilst the richly-coloured cake, with its seasonal flowers and fruits and cute macramé topper, was a Jemima Cakes creation.

“Harriet creates cakes based around you and your style. We didn’t know what our cake was going to look like until the day which is even more exciting. Creating one of a kind creations that taste incredible… what more could you want? She moulded our sausage dogs out of chocolate as well.”

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The guests chatted and ate to music from the couple’s close friend Luke Ramshaw.

“Luke sang and played guitar during our reception – a shout out for his cover of ‘Totos Africa’ which he dedicated to me. It was insanely good.”

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Later in the night, Ciara and Jack celebrated with a first dance to Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Landslide’ before dancing the night away to music from The Wedding DJ, Jethro Meyer.

“The Wedding DJ is South African with the best taste in music. Stevie Nicks is my idol and Fleetwood Mac has been a huge part of our relationship. As a wedding present to myself I bought tickets to see them on the morning of our wedding.”

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Words of Wedded Wisdom

“My biggest piece of advice is something I ended up repeating over and over again – there are no rules when it comes to a wedding. We are so lucky to be getting married in a time where we are free to do our own thing and I think this is still something our parents and parents’ parents are coming to terms with. There is no right or wrong, there’s just the two of you, getting married, how you want.”

“I wouldn’t change a single moment but if I could have one wish it would be to attend my own wedding as a guest. You have to love your own wedding, it’s a given, but I would genuinely love to know what it was like to attend my own wedding with no expectations as to what would happen. It would be amazing to know what that felt like.”

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Jack and Ciara, I have literally spent hours drinking in these beautiful photographs which show you both looking so happy. I have fallen head over heels for the beautifully warm colours that you used throughout your day, and I love those personal elements which are so reminiscent of my own childhood. How special for you too that your ceremony was led by your grandma. Thank you and congratulations to you both, and many thanks of course to your photographer Nicola Streader.

Ele xx

Credits & Thanks

Eleanor Crossland

Eleanor Crossland View all Eleanor's articles

Ele lives in the Lincolnshire countryside, close to the beautiful coast. A qualified Pilates teacher, she loves fitness, yoga, Pilates and has a healthy addiction to baking, writing and travel.