We know that there is a lot of love for the kilt out there in the RMW community, so todays offering of pretty should certainly satisfy. We also have some really ace paper goods and some wicked DIY table names.
Carmel and Adrian married last summer in Scotland on a farm half an hour outside of Edinburgh with a lakeside ceremony and a barn reception.
Carmel The Bride: I got my dress from David Fielden at the HQ in South Kensington. Although everyone told me that part of wedding dress shopping was to try on lots of different styles first, I knew what I wanted and what would suit me as I’m short and petite but I do have curves so I knew I needed something slinky and simple enough to not drown me. I looked at designers with that kind of style and started with David Fielden.
The cut of his slinkier dresses is unique to any others that I tried on in that they were an A-line cut with a slight fishtail, and suited me much more than the ‘straight down’ styles. When I tried it on David Fielden was actually in the store, which I didn’t realise until he came up to me and said: “Yes, that one.”
Tiny Treasure Trove
I got my veil and tiara from Luella’s boudoir in Wimbledon, a tiny treasure trove of vintage and handmade accessories that’s worth the trek! I knew I wanted a simple veil with a lace trim to complement the lace on the dress, and after trying on lots of pieces I went for a clasp in my hair as it really ‘lifted’ the simplicity of the dress and gave it a bit of glam. I was able to ask for a bespoke option to add lace and pearls to the clasp.
The shoes were the biggest faff of the whole wedding! As I got married outside I knew I couldn’t go for satin so I looked for aaaaaages before falling in love with a pair of brand new red louboutin patent heels at a vintage fair for just over £100. I couldn’t believe my luck, they were in my size and looked fabulous! But when I tried them on with the dress they were a bit too red, I felt I looked like noddy! I was unsuccessful in finding a subtle non-satin pair so finally found a satin pair from a wedding shop in Bristol, but again, they looked really weird with the dress. So, not wanting to tell Adrian that I was about to buy a third pair I quickly bought some cheap plain satin shoes online 2 weeks before the wedding. What I didn’t realise was that they were being made in Hong Kong from scratch!
I worked right up until 2 days before the wedding and the shoes arrived at the office 2 hours after I left. A colleague had to pick them up the next day, drive them to a friend’s house who happened to get the early train on the wedding day, who then met my Dad at the coach collection point, who then ran back to the B&B to give them to me – 15 minutes before I got in the taxi to the venue! When I opened the box I just started laughing – they had sent the wrong pair of shoes – kitten heel with a massive diamante heart! Somehow the B&B owner managed to rip the hearts off and I put the shoes on literally as I was leaving! It made me a bit sad to be so midget-like in all the photos – I really had planned to wear sky scrapers! At least it meant that I kept them on all day!
Big & Bouncy
I did my own make-up on the day as I’m hoping to train as a make-up artist at some point and felt it would be a good way to cut costs. I went for a trial with two of my favourite make-up brands: Bobbi Brown and Laura Mercier. I found that adding a few individual false lashes made the look a bit more ‘special’.
I found deciding what to do with my hair quite hard, and wasn’t that happy with it on the day because I wanted it all big and bouncy, but perhaps my hair just isn’t destined to be that way! Nina at Bride to Be did my hair for me.
I wanted Red Roses
Whilst planning my wedding I went from being a passive admirer of a nice bouquet of flowers to looking up floristry courses I enjoyed it so much! For some reason I decided that I wanted red roses before I knew anything about the wedding. I don’t know why, but I’m just drawn to the intense red colour. As we got married outside on a farm I wanted the flowers to look striking but natural, and so I moved away from a traditional bouquet structure. I searched for a while to find a florist in Scotland who did the rustic/wild style that I wanted, and I finally found wonderful Sophie at I Heart Flowers through Rock My Weddings supplier directory – The Love Lust List. Sophie totally got my idea and was happy to let me come up with some ideas, so we created the bouquets and buttonholes with a mixture of red, purple and white flowers with lots of greenery to give them a handpicked feel. The flowers we used were spray roses, nigella, gyposphillia, allium, lavender, eucalyptus, thistles and olive leaves.
I made the display flowers for the aisle and tables myself, ordering the same flowers as used in my bouquet and arranging them in teapots and jam jars that I decorated with ribbon and lace.
The bit I was most happy with, however, was the archway – with the lake being such a beautiful backdrop, I felt an archway for Adrian and I to say our vows under would ‘frame’ the scene perfectly. We bought a cheap self-assembly frame, some florist’s foam and got a big group of friends to help us attach flowers to the whole thing. When I saw it in place as I walked down the aisle it took my breath away – I can’t believe we managed to make it look like that!
Mix & Match
We knew early on that we didn’t want to hire traditional, formal wedding party outfits, so we mixed and matched things a bit. My two younger sisters were my bridesmaids and we managed to find some floaty red dresses from Debenhams that weren’t too formal. We decided that even though we weren’t hiring suits for the wedding party, we still wanted them to wear something to ‘tie’ them together, so we bought red kilt ties. Adrian then chose a dark blue suit to go with this. As a last-minute decision he also chose to rent kilts for his two ushers in homage to the Scottish location. I was given the dress for Lily, my niece and flower girl, and we puffed it up by putting a frilly tutu underneath that I picked up at the vintage wedding fair, and I bought a piece of red material to tie around it.
Adrian and his best man had their suits made at King & Allen, a fabulous tailor we found out about from another wedding on Rock my Wedding – they are based in London and do fittings in the upstairs of various pubs. By having no overheads and getting the initial suit made abroad, you get a £2000 suit for around £600.
Adrian didn’t enjoy the accessories shopping trip, but I convinced him to wear his suit to Selfridges so that we could pick the right shoes and shirt, as finding the right shoes to go with a blue suit is trickier than it looks! He went for some brown brogues from Paul Smith and a crisp white shirt from Pink. I gave him some map cufflinks on the day from Ellie Ellie at notonthehighstreet.com with the location of where we met and where we got married on each one respectively.
Fun, Natural & Stylish
Oh, we just love our photographers! I started researching photographers in Scotland and made a list of a few to meet on our first trip up in Edinburgh, but the week before I was browsing the photographer list on Rock My Wedding (as you do) and fell in love with the photography of Pen and Cam (McKinley-Rodgers). I was looking for a natural, reportage style photographer and what I loved about Pen and Cam’s shots were that they were not only beautiful, but every single one made the weddings look fun, natural and stylish with not a cheesy shot in sight! The fact that there were two of them, they were prepared to travel to Scotland and they offered a photobooth and a pre-wedding shoot as part of the package sold it for me. So on a whim we booked them before even heading up to Scotland without meeting them, and we are so happy we did.
We went to Hampstead Heath for the ‘beloved shoot’ which was a great way to get to know them and the way they take photos. I loved the day, but Adrian found the whole posing-for-photos-whilst-hugging-on-a-log scenario pretty awkward. Let’s just say this isn’t one for the men, but is completely worth it. We got a great photo of me giving him a piggy back that even Adrian quite likes!
For the photo booth I bought some red velvet, made some bunting out of map paper (a huge theme of the wedding) and sought props from friends and the drama department at school. I also got the DT department to make some hand-held signs that I painted with blackboard paint for people to write on. The photobooth photos make us laugh every time we look at them!
Adrian’s Aunt Susan is fantastic baker and she made the cake for us. We didn’t want anything too traditional, so we used rough palette white icing on each of the three tiers and we covered it in dried lavender, olive leaves and rosemary. We went for layers of chocolate, lemon and marble cake and they were de-licious! I spent ages painting two wooden dolls I bought off Etsy to look just like Adrian and I to put on top!
The entertainment was really important to us and I spent about a year trying to find the right bands. Again, we didn’t want to go down the traditional wedding band route so I looked at South American bands as my Dad is a percussionist and I’ve been brought up around Afro-Brazilian and Latin American music. After an agonising search I finally found a 5-piece salsa band called Mojito through Warble Entertainment. Most of the musicians were from Cuba and taught us some salsa steps during their set. It was amazing watching all of our guests dancing salsa! For the ceremony we were outside and there was no PA system, so we needed to find something that was loud enough to be heard across the wind and my friend suggested uillean pipes – much softer than bagpipes – think the Braveheart soundtrack! I found a renowned player in Scotland who happened to play with a Celtic duo called ‘Gold Ring Duo’. With Adrian being from Northern Ireland and the wedding being in Scotland, the Celtic jigs played between them on the pipes, tin whistle, harp and bouzouki fitted the atmosphere perfectly. We also had a singer and guitar duo to perform background music whilst we ate, but the most memorable entertainment of the evening was performed by my Dad!
At the end of the Father-of-the-Bride speech my Dad switched from a hand-held microphone to a hands-free Britney styled one and told everyone that under each table was a bag full of plastic coloured tubes, or ‘boomwhackers’. Each colour and plays a different note when hit against something. My Dad then proceeded to choreograph a musical sensation amongst all of the guests, with me playing the beat on a bin! Many of our guests still tell us that this was the highlight of the wedding. My Dad, Adrian Wiggins uses the boomwhackers as part of his percussion-based team-building company and is now taking the boomwhacker interactive workshop to other weddings across the country – if you’re looking for unique and affordable entertainment that all of your guests can get involved in, do check out his website www.bigbeat.biz
Higher & Higher
Adrian and I don’t really have a song, but the one we would consider to best fit this category is either ‘Where the streets have no name’ and ‘I still haven’t found what I’m looking for’ by U2, which aren’t exactly wedding appropriate songs! Adrian is not a dancer so was dreading the first dance – we even considered not doing it but this displeased a lot of people! The song we went for came on the radio one night and made me dance around my kitchen with a massive smile on my face, was upbeat and not cheesy so we went with it – Higher and Higher by Jackie Wilson. I tried many a time to get Adrian to come to a salsa class with me or a private dance lesson but he succeeded in avoiding it. 3 days before the wedding we were heading to bed at about 3am on the day before Adrian drove up to Scotland with all the supplies. I suddenly realised that we hadn’t even tried dancing to the first dance song so I quickly put it on his iPhone and we danced around the bedroom in our PJs, laughing our heads off with me telling Adrian ‘stop using your knees so much’.
As I decided to make almost the entirety of the wedding by hand, the favours were included in that! I originally wanted to make jam but after seeing it done so many times and always wanting to be a bit different I chose to make ‘dulce de leche’ (a toffee flavoured condensed milk sweet sauce from Latin America) instead. This fitted with the Latin American theme (we met in Peru, we had a salsa band and my Dad did a percussion set) and was really really yummy. What seemed like a simple process of buying and filling jam jars with boiled condensed milk became a week-long nightmare of trying to pour a sticky, molten liquid into 110 tiny jars. My friend Polly came to stay with my for a week before the wedding to help with the last-minute craft projects, and even this nearly sent her packing! It was worth it though – they went down well and is something I haven’t seen done before.
Not Girly Or Cheesy
Planning the general décor for the wedding was where I really found my groove – I enjoyed it so much that I’m currently planning my own event and wedding styling business! First of all I wanted a theme that was rustic, stylish but not girly or cheesy. I went with travel and maps because Adrian and I met travelling and Adrian has more than a normal fetish for maps. I designed the wedding invites to be made up of a letterpressed invite on Kraft paper, a luggage tag with key information and a postcard with a fill-in-the-gap/madlibs style rsvp to encourage creative responses from our guests. I outsourced the printing and letterpressing to Phylecia Letterpress Boutique used travel style stamps on the postcards and lined the envelopes with map paper I found after scouring second-hand bookshops for map paper. I even went a bit nuts and designed a hand-drawn, pop-up map of Edinburgh on which I highlighted accommodation and our favourite cafés and bars! You can see more of the wedding stationery on the Phylecia website here.
The travel/map theme continued in the orders of service which I designed to look like a luggage tag covered in map paper, and which my graphic designer uncle Joss designed the inserts for.
We filled the barn and the trees with pom poms and asked my friend Catrin who runs Calon, a company who sell items made with vintage fabric, to make the bunting . We placed flowers in jars all over the place and paper wheels on the barn walls. Instead of a sit-down dessert we had a sweet and buffet table which was the length of the barn! As well as friends and family, Lovecrumbs provided the cakes along with the scones we ate after the ceremony by the lake. They even made me some wheat-free red velvet cupcakes as I’m wheat intolerant.
Fun, Personal & Creative
I think what made our wedding unique was something which Adrian I discussed right when we first got engaged – that we wanted our wedding to be fun, personal and creative. I had most fun thinking up different ways to get everyone feeling involved in the wedding day, here are my favourites:
- When all the guests got onto the coach to be taken to the venue they were each handed a flapjack wrapped in a crossword we made about ourselves with a mini pencil.
- Instead of a traditional seating plan which shows who is sitting where, I made a more interactive version! I found and printed a photo of each guest’s face and stuck it to an (airmail) envelope which was suspended from a log I found in Hampstead heath by a ribbon and bulldog clip. The result looked like a weird contemporary art installation rather than a seating plan, and there were a lot of raised eyebrows from the staff when we started suspending a big log from the barn roof! Above the log was a sign saying “find your face to find your place” – once you found the envelope with your face on it you opened it to find a photo of a location – you then had to go and find your table by matching it with the photo.
- Inside the envelope each guest had a hand-made badge with their name/nickname on it.
- Each table had a pinboard on an easel with the country photo and a photo of each person sitting on the table.
- Each place setting was a blank paper frame that guests could doodle inside – each table had a tin can sprayed white filled with pens and pencils. We have some great and some worrying doodles to fill our photo album with!
- Each table had a ‘fun bucket’ on it which not only included sweets, playdo, fortune telling fish, handmade paper fortune tellers, but also a fun get-to-know you activity: an envelope containing an interesting/funny statement about each person on the table – everyone had to guess who it belonged to and sparked some interesting conversations!
- The boomwhacker drumming session.
- We served Mojitos whilst the salsa band ‘Mojito’ placed and each had a red straw with a black moustache attached – it made for great photos!
- We had a humanist ceremony which meant that we could choose any songs and readings we wanted – we had a Dr. Seuss reading read by 5 friends and a choir assembled last-minute to sing ‘Happy Together’ with the guests.
Adrian and I spent about a year planning the wedding and I would do it all again in a heartbeat – soon I hope to do so for other brides!
Dress: David Fielden
Florals: I Heart Flowers
Accessories: Luella’s boudoir
Hair: Bride to Be
Salsa Band: Mojito
Cakes & Scones: Lovecrumbs
Printing: Phylecia Letterpress Boutique
When I first saw the photographs of the “Boomwhackers” I thought that perhaps Carmel and Adrian had hired some kind of futuristic Morris Dancing troupe to provide the evening entertainment… But to be honest the boomwhaking team building drum percusssion thing sounds even more fun than Morris Dancers from Mars.
fun, personal and creative – that is what Carmel and Adrian set out to achieve, and I’m proud to say that with a little bit of help from RMW that is exactly what did.