As you are probably already blissfully aware, it is Retro Week here at Rock My Wedding. To celebrate we have teamed up with lomography.com and we are giving a whole bunch of lomography cameras and goodies away to lucky commentors on every single post this week.
Our real weddings this week all have bags of retro elements and inspiration and today’s vintage-esque shindig is no exception.
We have a buttercream vintage-inspired dress from the bridal arm of Anthropologie, currently one of Charlottes most favourite sites on the inter web, bhldn.com. Matched perfectly with some beautiful crochet gloves, which although I know herald from a decade long before the 80’s still make me think a teeny-tiny bit of Madonna…
Maybe I’ve got retro on the brain…
Also, having read Natalies report I was reassured to find out that I wasn’t the only kid who collected novelty shaped rubbers in the 1980’s… Random fact of the day peeps.
The classic imagery laid out before your eyes is all by supertog team McKinley-Rodgers Photography. Enjoy.
The Cobbled Streets Of Chester.
Jez and I have been together for a long time, and once he had popped the question and I had said ‘YES’ we didn’t want to hang around so we were married just three months later! We wanted to celebrate in the city where we live and where we met and we had decided that Chester Town Hall was the perfect setting for our civil ceremony, but refurbishments meant that we had to do it this summer or wait almost a year – so we just went for it. The ceremony was wonderful – really easy going and personal. After an initial ‘moment’ when my dad, my bridesmaids and I walked into the room, I couldn’t stop smiling – nay grinning – like a Cheshire Cat. We took a risk in writing our own poem for one of our readings and my brother – who read it – had initially described it as ‘a bit left field’, but because everyone there knew us, they got it, and it went down a real treat.
For our reception, we all wandered through the cobbled streets of Chester to the beautiful Guildhall – the former parish church of the city – where we had a very tasty informal late afternoon tea of little sandwiches, crisps and scones which our amazing deli-owning friend Chris put on for us, followed by lots of mingling, dancing and catching up within the beautiful setting of the Guildhall. Pie, mash, gravy and peas were served for a good northern supper later.
My dress is the ‘Fondant Tea Dress’ from Beholden by Anthropologie – with a name like that who wouldn’t want it? I loved it the moment I saw it online, and when it arrived just a few days after I was delighted – in fact could just have eaten it! I had been trying to find a vintage dress but time was running out, and I found that most bridal boutiques asked for far more time than I had to play with. My dress was a mix of a beautiful vintage inspired shape, made with fabrics and techniques that I already adored. The buttercream silk felt so light, the delicate sheen of it contrasted beautifully with the tiny tulle frills and ric-rac detailing, and the pin tucks gave the dress a naive twist.
A Time Gone By.
I chose accessories from Beholden too. I just fell in love with the crochet ‘unabashedly’ gloves that are presented with the Fondant tea dress online. They really are from a time gone by, and complement the dress perfectly. After a couple of emails backwards and forwards with bhldn.com stylists I also decided on the ‘Bow-Topped’ bolero as it was made with the same buttercream silk as my dress, and I felt it would balance out the look. It fitted perfectly and was exactly what I had been looking for without even knowing it. When I started to research mid-century looks I saw a lot of shorter veils. The unconventionality of the dress meant that my veil needed to be a bit different too so I decided on a birdcage veil. I like to make things – I knit, crochet and sew (a little) – and I had my mum’s cream veil that I thought I could use as the basis for my own creation. A quick search on the internet threw up a few different ‘how to’ guides so away I went. A £2.50 haberdashery spend and a few hours of head scratching, needle threading, 70s lace flower and ric-rac positioning later, and my very own creation was born. I also had my something old into the bargain.
I knew that I wanted my shoes to stand out because of the length of my dress. Making a statement with my tootsies was surprisingly difficult. I wanted a mid-heel height, comfort and style. Apparently, these three things don’t come together all that often. Three purchases and two returns later, I had my perfect pair – my Vivienne Westwood Anglomania Lady Dragon shoes. They were the perfect height, the perfect colours and better still, they smelt AMAZING. It was like a nostalgia trip into my novelty rubber collecting 1980s childhood!
Sort Of Wavy, Sort Of Curly.
I was completely open about what to do with my hair and in fact didn’t even think about it much until the Wednesday before we got married. My hair length was quite restricting – in a not short, not long kind of way (that would be mid-length then), so I just let the people at my regular hairdressers, Essensuals in Chester, play around. They curled it, tied it up, took it down, put it up again in a different way, and then when they took it down for me to leave, there it was! A sort of wavy, sort of curly, down do which was a little bit different but still very much me. That was that. I did my make up myself. I just kept it simple and comfortable as I wanted to feel myself but spent a bit longer getting my foundation right using a primer beneath it and a translucent powder over it to keep it in place. My one new item was a gorgeoups lippy from Mac called Lady Bug (ooh I do love a good lipstick name).
I intitially wanted to do all of the flowers myself. Bad idea! I tried to make a buttonhole for Jez a couple of weeks before but after one hour it had drooped hideously. If I couldn’t make a buttonhole work there was no way I was going to attempt a bouquet on my wedding day. We were so pleased with our final decision. We bought five large boxes of freshly cut British flowers from the fabulous wigglywigglers.co.uk and filled decorated jam jars for the table decorations. My mum and I had put the jam jars together a couple of weeks before armed with titbits of ribbon I never throw away, buttons, some lace I found at a vintage fair and a glue gun.
The bouquets and buttonholes were created by a local florist. The ladies at Snapdragon listened to my very open brief (just a week before the wedding I might add), – ‘just gathered’, British blooms, no particular colour scheme – showed me a picture of an edible bouquet which also had herbs in, which I loved the idea of, and then created the pretty, simple bouquets and buttonhoples wrapped in lace and ric-rac that I’d provided them with. I’d specified very little really, but I was absolutely delighted with the results.
A Little Help From Our Friends.
Getting married at such short notice, and wanting to play by our own rules, we decided to ask a few people to help out in the bridal party, but wear what they felt comfortable in. This worked really well for our wedding. Everyone felt comfortable, looked great and complemented each other beautifully! Their buttonholes and bouquets distinguished them very nicely so that people knew whom they could ask for help and directions.
Charcoal And Pale Green.
Jez found his wedding suit in John Lewis’s own range. It was charcoal grey with a little bit of a rock ‘n’ roll satin trim around the collar and pockets. He loved it, felt comforatable in it and better still, will defintately wear it again! He wore it with a beautiful shirt from a local outfitters in Chester – G:Rooms – and a pale green tie. He looked just perfect. Perfectly Jez. To top it all off was his unique and priceless smile. He smelt pretty good too in his ‘Midnight in Paris’ scent. I caught myself leaning in towards him a few times during the ceremony just to get a little sniff.
A Late Booking.
When we finally decided to have a photographer, we knew the kind of style we were looking for. We were keen that our photos would capture our day through lenses that were sympathetic to our own vision of our day. McKinley-Rodgers Photography seemed to have the perfect style for us. Their gorgeous website and online portfolio enticed me and what we found were photographers who had just the right tone for us.
Penny’s charming emails and telephone conversation convinced us that we had made the perfect choice. We weren’t even able to meet before the wedding as it was such a late booking – literally a few weeks! – but Pen was just superb on the day. Easy going, intuitive, discreet and just generally lovely.
Although Jez is a BIG cake fan, we decided not to have a wedding cake. Instead we invited our friends and families to bring a cake to the table for everyone to enjoy. It worked great. We had allsorts of beautiful cakes that people just devoured. We were going to cut one of them in trad style, but in the end, we lost track of time, and nobody noticed anyway!
Hey Mr DJ.
Jez is very much a music fan – so much so, that the line ‘a CD a day is good for us. it is not ridiculous’ found it’s way into the poem in our wedding ceremony! He bought some software – ‘Djay’ for his Mac – taught himself, then taught our friend Mike, and away they went. Hours of playlist building, software learning, tea drinking, PA and light hiring. Good music, good friends and good (and some not so good) dancing – a perfect mix!
God Only Knows.
Our first dance was to the Beach Boys’ ‘God Only Knows’. It’s a perfect old classic which we just love. The lyrics are so lovely and singable. I thought I’d be really worried about it, but in the end we really enjoyed our moment.
When we eventually decided we would have favours it was purely based on what I accidentally found browsing the web. Paper hearts? Embedded with the seeds of wild flowers? YES please!! The hearts looked really pretty, and hopefully, people will be planting them as we speak so they can continue to enjoy them.
Our reception venue is such a beautiful grand building in itself, with stone archways and a cavernous vaulted ceiling, that there wasn’t a lot that we could possibly do to make it more beautiful! However, a few of our fabulous friends and family came along the night before and transformed the white linen covered tables into pretty, understated pieces of art adorned with vintage mismatching crocks borrowed from a fabulous friend, tea lights, borrowed from another fabulous friend, and decorated jam jars filled with a higgledy-piggledy assortment of freshly picked British blooms.
With the seed paper hearts in the cups the tables were complete. We adorned the edges of the room with just a little bunting – again borrowed from generous pals – and the room was complete. Just lovely. Very pleasing.
A Cello Bass Bride.
One of my favourite things about our day was performing in our very own little concert! Jez plays guitar and is in an on-off band with our great friend Mike. Befittingly they’re called ‘Things That Never Happen’! They had played a few songs at Mike’s wedding a few years ago – including ‘Just Like Heaven’ by The Cure. They decided to re-form for this occasion, and how befitting in true rock ‘n’roll style to do a response in the form of ‘Friday I’m In Love’ also by The Cure – after all, it was Friday and we were in love.
I wasn’t happy in the sidelines providing tea, so I suggested that I play a bassline on my cello which I started to learn last year. It was a challenge as I’m certainly no virtuoso, but I thought it would be fun and worth it in the long run. It was SOOOOO brilliant doing it. I didn’t dare look up at our friends and family in case I missed a note or got a giggle fit, but I think they all enjoyed it judging from the applause! I think it was a real glimpse into us and our world – particularly for people who we don’t see all that often.
Beg And Borrow.
Three months is not a long time to prepare for a wedding, but it’s definitely achievable and I would advise anyone who wants to and can do it to go for it. We chose the things that were really important to us to get right – the venues, the ethos and the people – and everything else we were pretty easy about, spending where necessary but also very happy to beg and borrow, craft and thrift. When our photographers asked us to describe our wedding in three words, we replied with ‘our own rules’. And that would be my advice for any betrothed couple.
We didn’t have a massive budget, or lots of preconceptions about what we wanted our day to be like, so we just hatched our outline plan and things unfolded as we went along. We worked it all out together. If you stay true to your own rules, work together and don’t get too stressed, then your individuality and personalities will shine through. And when you look back on that day, how it will make you smile!
Venue Chester Guildhall
Shoes Vivienne Westwood
Photography McKinley-Rodgers Photography
We bloody love The Cure at RMW, infact Charlotte and I can often be found jumping about to the sounds of Friday I’m In Love when really we should be doing something more sensible like writing a post.
I think we may have touched on every single decade in retro week with this beaut of a wedding! – share your favourite part of Natalie and Jez’s day with us in the comments box and just like every post this week, you could win a stupidly cool retro camera or notebook from lomography.com.
Spread the retro love peeps… even though it’s Wednesday not Friday.