This is a perfectly fitting wedding to be celebrating our birthday week with… Charlotte and I have a couple of cheesy phrases we like to come back to in times of need, and erm, well, really when we don’t need them at all but it’s just funny and I think they are particularly true today. ‘Innovate, don’t imitate’ (as we like to say) and your wedding will be what you truly want and completely reflective of you as a couple.
This wedding has it all for me, DIY a plenty, a nothing short of brilliant groom totally rocking a bow tie, (who has also been good enough to include his thoughts on their wedding planning) and one of the most obviously ‘all-about-them’ themes running through this wedding that I have ever clapped eyes on.
It’s a treat. Big thanks go to Lily and Frank Photography for allowing us to share the images.
Dunstan and I (Kelli) got married 24 July 2010 in Cambridge, England. The wedding ceremony was held at Emmanuel United Reformed Church, which we attended while studying there. We held the reception and dinner at King’s College Cambridge, where I was a student (Dunstan was at St. John’s and we got some lovely pre-wedding photos in the grounds of his college).
I did my own makeup, most of which came from MAC. I went in for a consultation and bought some new stuff, so it wasn’t cheap, but it does last and it’s a great feeling to put on my ‘wedding’ makeup just to go to work. Also, there’s a level of sanity that comes when you do your own makeup – you know what you want to look like and you have control on the day. There are great tutorials for bridal makeup on YouTube. Go have a look, see what you like, then buy some cheap makeup and play around. If you find something you really like, go buy the nice stuff.
My hair – I found a picture of a vintage hairstyle that I took into the salon with me on the day. I didn’t have the time or the patience for a pre-wedding hair appointment. I was the first bridal hair up Zoe Psyllou (at Inspirations by Dipa, Mill Road, Cambridge) had done and she was fantastic, very flexible and happy to try something new. It was so nice to work with someone who was flexible (and also who didn’t cost a fortune!). I paid for my bridesmaids hair appointments so we were all there together on the morning. It was really fun.
Dunstan: Hair up is more practical for dancing. A lot of pins had to come out afterwards!
I made my headband myself out of a belt buckle and pearl beads sewn onto satin ribbon. It was inspired by the very fine work of Jennifer Behr. I love her pieces, but couldn’t afford it on our budget. I got my bandeau birdcage veil from the excellent Pishposhes, an etsy-seller (Maura) based in Chicago.
One Dress and One Father of the Bride
My dad watched Father of the Bride shortly after we got engaged and called me at the end saying he wanted me to be happy and so he bought my dress for me. It was from Pronovias and the bolero jacket was made by a seamstress in Michigan, where we were living for the year before our wedding.
I didn’t want a strapless dress because they pull so tight under the arms that by the end of the night, women tend to look like they’re being squeezed out of them. After trying a few of my ‘favourite’ dresses (that weren’t terribly flattering as it turned out) the woman at Pronovias in London suggested I try something completely different from what I said I wanted. I had an open mind and the moment I saw myself in the mirror I knew it was the right dress even though it didn’t have any of the features I thought I wanted –it was strapless, and had no lace, but it looked great on me and still had the vintage/architectural feel I liked.
It also was cut in such a way that I never had that squeezing problem and I’m not a small girl. Basically, it was a matter of trusting my own instincts and those of the people who make this their business. I also didn’t agree to take the dress that day; it was and is important that I have time to consider the options.
Dunstan: I had no part in the buying of the dress – I knew Kelli would have her own ideas. I didn’t see it until she came down the aisle and it was lovely! It was not the only vintage-inspired element of the wedding; I even proposed to her in an art-deco restaurant in Glasgow.
Beg, Borrowed or Vintage
My engagement ring was all my husband’s doing – he picked it out without any help from me (although he did consult with my mum and she tried to get me to help her, to no avail). It’s perfect. Our wedding bands were from Juhas & Sullivan, a local jeweller in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
My other jewelry/accessories were all inherited or handmade…
I borrowed earrings from my mum. My necklace was a graduation gift from my ‘adopted’ mother – the woman who welcomed me into her family as a first year student at Uni, living 2000 miles away from home. My purse belonged to my grandmother and she gave it to me years ago to keep for my wedding.
Shoes were the hardest thing to find because I had a specific colour in mind and they also had to be comfortable – there was no way I was going to spend my wedding day walking around barefoot because my feet hurt (I did finally take them off during the last 15 minutes of dancing because it was easier to move and jump around without them on – I also ended up tying layers of my dress around my waist so I could keep dancing!) I ended up with this beautiful pair from Frye that were the right colour, comfortable and again had a vintage feel to them. I tried to make sure I bought things that weren’t so ‘weddingy’ that I couldn’t repurpose them. I now wear these all the time.
Dunstan: The shoes were the colour Americans call ‘teal’, i.e. dark blue-green. This matched the cloth flowers worn by the groomsmen, as well as one of the colours on the save-the-date cards, invitations, wedding ceremony programmes and dinner seating chart. The other colours were cream and dark red, plus some yellow here and there.
Chic and Simple
I’ve been a bridesmaid enough times to not wish even the slightest discomfort on my closest friends so I asked them all to choose a black, knee-length dress of their choice for the wedding. We also wanted the groomsmen to be comfortable so we also told them to wear a black suit and a white shirt. Partly this was also to keep costs down because people were travelling from the US or just finishing uni.
As a gift to my bridesmaids, I gave them all matching fascinators and clutch bags (we were all travelling abroad after the wedding and wouldn’t get to enjoy bouquets so I didn’t want them to go to waste). The guys all got REAL silk bowties (and an impromptu lesson in tying them!).
Dunstan: Impromptu is right. We had to teach ourselves from an online guide. The photographer got a great series of pictures of this!
Rat Pack Charm
My husband is tall and very slim so it’s always difficult to find a suit that fits him correctly, especially in the rental and off-the-rack market. It was important to me that he felt good, so after some research (recommended by the blog East Side Bride) we ordered a custom-made suit for him from a wonderful company called Indochino. They have fantastic videos to show you exactly how to measure for your suit and then you send in the details online and get the suit about 5 weeks later. They offer a great guarantee – including reimbursement if you have to get it tailored, or an easy return policy. We didn’t need any of that, though, because the suit (and custom shirt) fit beautifully. It was slightly more costly than a rental but about the price of a normal suit and now he can wear it a lot! He also got to customize it with a racy red lining!
Dunstan: The suit fit perfectly and was very comfortable. I also liked being able to leave the bow tie undone after dinner for dancing – it’s the sleazy Rat Pack look!
Loving the male input here – thanks Dunstan!
Just wait for part 2, so much personality and history packed in.