We have a seaside treat for you lovely folks this morning. Mandy and David’s outdoors affair on the Dorset coastline is an absolute stunner from start to finish. My Favourite things from this vintage seaside themed wedding are the old school ice-cream bike, the creative home made stationery and those cliff top deck chairs… Especially the shot of the happy bride and groom holding hands and reclining.
A perfect keepsake from the ever skilful photographer Mister Phill
Is there one place in the world where you feel completely at home?
Somewhere that calms you, completes you, nourishes you and restores you. Somewhere that inspires you and takes your breath away – even at its worse.
For me, this place is the sea.
It doesn’t matter where in the world it is, once those crashing waves are within my sight everything is ok again. Life reclaims its perspective and I can honestly say that I’m truly happy. I’m even getting a little bit emotional writing about it.
Shame that I live in the landlocked Midlands then…
A huge part of me wishes that I’d planned a nautically inspired wedding and I’m always slightly envious of those brides who have chosen to have their nuptials by or on the water.
It always looks so romantic doesn’t it.
Perhaps you’re a seaside bride, or maybe you or your beau are in the Navy and want to reflect this in your celebrations but aren’t sure where to start.
Below is a collection of some of the most beautiful maritime images to help you on your way.
And if anyone has a boat full of drinks at their wedding I want to be the FIRST to know!
Aye Aye Sailor
Hosting a nautically inspired wedding does not mean that your other half must therefore don a full sailor suit complete with kitbag and cap.
Although I would like to see that please.
I would also like to see more grooms half submerged in water and smouldering at the camera.
Ahem….. back to the topic in hand.
Maritime grooms and ushers look best in clean lines, close-fitting suits and modest cuts. Keeping things simple is the key to preventing this look from becoming farcical. If I had to sum the look up in one word then I’d say it was ‘preppy’ but with a modern twist.
Ok that was 6 but I’m allowed a little bit of creative licence, aren’t I?
Striped fabric and brass buttons really epitomise this look best, as do deck shoes, rolled up trousers, navy blues and seersucker materials. A smart bow-tie finishes a maritime ensemble off nicely too. Try to mix colours up; the best nautical grooms include at least two or three shades in their outfit with the usual suspects being blues, creams and tans topped off with a splash of peach.
It’s also worth thinking outside the box for buttonholes. Using shells, nautical crests, fishermen’s knots as well as seeds and grasses more commonly found at home in the sand dunes is a perfect way of pulling this theme together.
Message In A Bottle
If there’s one thing that gets me more excited than a posy of beautiful blooms then it’s a well executed stationery suite.
If you think about it, this is the first impression that your guests will have of your wedding day – a sneak peek if you will – so relish this opportunity and really go for it.
The beauty of a nautical scheme is that there are so many motifs to play with. Ships, anchors, twine, ropes, knots, flags and compasses – I could go on and on. And you don’t have to limit yourself simply printing these symbols either.
Why not have flags made for guests so they can wave you down the aisle or pull the different components of your invitations together with an actual fisherman’s knot.
I am in love with the idea of giving each guest a compass as a favour – it’s sweet, relevant and still has a purpose after the event has taken place. And how amazing is the oar guestbook – I love how this can be displayed pride of place in the home once the wedding is over as a constant reminder of the day.
Continuing a ‘look’, regardless of what it may be, through all of your stationery i.e. from invites, menus, order of service and table names really helps to strengthen the theme as well as putting smiles on the faces of your nearest and dearest as they discover these quirky touches.
Dressing your maids to suit a seaside event follows much of the same lines as that of grooms and ushers. Let stripes and greeny-blue hues be your guide.
Silky blue and cream stripes are reminiscent of the sea and the foamy frothiness on top of choppy waves. Accessorise the look with jewellery in golden tones – the two anchor bracelets below are simply the tip of the iceberg of nautically inspired accessories that are available to buy.
Choosing blousey white flowers such as hydrangeas will also ensure that darker hues pop for maximum effect.
I love classic, bold, navy stripes but these pretty girls in green pleats show how easy it is to reinvent this traditional theme in a modern way.
Don’t they just ooze effortless cool.
If your wedding is a more casual affair, I’d suggest opting for a shorter style dress with sleeves. Perhaps you’d like your maids in something a little less obvious? Finishing bouquets with a ream of stripy ribbon can be a perfectly subtle nod to such a theme. If in doubt add a pair of shades and a straw hat for that finishing touch.
Lastly I want to look like the bride at the bottom of all these images. Doesn’t she look like a real life mermaid washed up on the shore…
At The Captain’s Table
As much of the inspiration shows here, tablescape settings tend to be soft, elegant affairs with muted palettes of blues, browns, whites and greens. Peaches and blousey pinks are the perfect accent colours to boot.
This look takes much of its inspiration from its natural environment – driftwood centerpieces, coral and shells, lanterns, grasses and wildflowers all feature heavily. Table settings should be windswept and worn. Don’t fight the landscape and light, embrace it.
A really effective tablescape manages to reflect the wedding day theme in the flower centerpieces too. I love the idea of grouping masses of thick white blooms, such as dahlias and hydrangeas, in large galvanized buckets as a way of creating centerpieces that are reminiscent of the choppy sea.
If the traditional blue and white stripes leave you cold why not think about using stripes in other ways. Choosing ribbon bands of different colours and in various thicknesses still cleverly hints at a nautical theme without being conventional.
This last moodboard demonstrates how simple it is for you to capture the perfect beachside essence by choosing and clustering key props at your event.
Think oars, kitbags, knotted ropes and bleached driftwood.
Time to put on your creative hats boys and girls and bring your bartering skills out to play.
Whenever I’m trying to create a certain look or theme for a photoshoot or an event, I pull all of my inspiration together into one place. This helps me focus my thoughts so that I can determine what it is that is really needed to make a look work, what is likely to be expensive and those pieces that I can recreate for myself that won’t induce a call from a red-faced bank manager.
This is also a great way of prioritising where to spend those precious pennies when your budget is limited.
Larger items like boats, oars and anchors can be pricey. I’d suggest looking on eBay as there is always a bargain to be had, as well as down your local car boot. You just never know what you can find.
Some props are easy to recreate at home. Filling old jars and hurricane vases full of sand and pebbles or knotting nautical ribbon onto cocktail stirrer screams seaside chic without hurting your pocket. Plus it’s a great way to get your nearest and dearest involved in the big day.
Never underestimate the aesthetic value of candles – they don’t have to be expensive and they always look amazing, whatever your theme may be.
Lastly finer details, such as compasses and anchors in this case, aren’t always essential but they do take things to the next level. I’d recommend purchasing items like these once you’ve analysed how much you’ve spent and whether there’s room for anything more.
So what do you think?
Are you suddenly inspired to include some nautical motifs in your big day?
Perhaps you’ll have mermaids rather than bridesmaids and handsome sailors for ushers instead…
And does anyone else try to get their sea ‘fix’ by buying bucketloads of the Sea Salt and Kelp handwash from Waitrose?
No? Just me then…
Let us know your thoughts by sending a message in a bottle folks …or if it’s easier then in the comments box below.
It must be the time of year, but right now, all I can think about is escaping to the sun. Relaxing, forgetting it all… so when Jon and Angela of Janda Photography sent us in this engagement shoot, it was right up my street! And the perfect thing to prepare you for the weekend this Friday afternoon.
We pass this Caribbean style beach house every morning when walking the dog, and were waiting for the right opportunity to feature it in an engagement portrait shoot. The weather was perfect (in April!), James and Vicky are gorgeous, so it was time to make Bognor look like Barbados!
All captured within half a mile of Janda Photography HQ, the shoot followed our usual modus operandi – A relaxed wander around, chatting, getting to know each other and looking for interesting locations (the bluebell shots were taken on a roundabout). All images are initially directed, but then we see what happens (Vicky nearly fell asleep, relaxing in the sun by the beach house). Wedding in 3 weeks time on a beautiful tropical island. The Isle of Wight. 😉
Ahem! Good-looking couple alert!
I’m having a real moment over these images. That blue sky. That blue sea. The waves, the colours, the way they’re looking at each other… I could go on all day!
And more than that, I’m loving the variety of styles (and detail sucker that I am,) all the close up shots of the surroundings. It really paints a picture of the day.
Thank you to Jon and Angela for sending them in… and anyone wanting to look this good frolicking on the beach with their beloved should definately check them out.
Janda Photography are Rock My Wedding Sponsors however all engagement shoots (and real weddings) are chosen on individual merit and no part of this feature is sponsored.
Sometimes from the afternoon all the way until the next morning is just too long to wait for more real wedding pretty isn’t it?
Well lovelies, I sincerely hope it’s not been too much of a trauma as Kirsty and Finlay’s Big Day part two is well worth the wait. Delicious capture-every-gorgeous-moment photography and a whole heap of D.I.Y ideas for you to be inspired by.
Tuesday mornings don’t come much better than this people.
* oh and don’t miss Kirsty’s last piece of very important advice, both hilarious and GENIUS.
The Prettiest Blooms
The fabulous Angela of Catkins Floral Design in North Berwick made four luscious bouquets for my bridesmaids and me. I wanted the bridesmaids to each have a different bouquet to represent their individual styles and also to avoid everything looking too matchy-matchy. One had pink peony roses, one had white sweet pea and the third had a big “pouff” ( RMW’s Charlotte’s word!!) of greeny-pink hydrangea.
My bouquet was mixture of each of their bouquets, plus a few extras – I had pink scented David Austin ‘Rosalind’ roses (to match the peonies), sweet pea, hydrangea, rosemary (my mum’s name), wax flower and more. As well as looking divine, the bouquet smelled A-MAZ-ING – I spent the day thrusting it under people’s noses and ordering them to smell it. In fact, it was so gorgeous that there was actually a fight when it came to catching it that ended with one of my friends smuggling it home inside her jacket!
For the flower girls, instead of fresh flowers (which I thought they would probably destroy within two minutes) they each carried a lovely little heart made of dried rosebuds that I found online from Fentons of Kent.
As for the boys, it’s traditional in Scotland to use thistles but I wanted something a bit different so Fin had a pink David Austin rose to match my bouquet, his best man had a cream one and the Ushers all had cream spray roses.
I wanted a casual, just-picked style for the table flowers (partly inspired by the DIY flowers in the Country Garden Gorgeous wedding on RMW) so I decided, having had a Saturday job in a florist when I was at school, that this was something I wanted to tackle myself. I bought a job lot of little cream buckets from ebay and a couple of weeks before the wedding ordered wholesale flowers from Flowers4Florists. I chose deep pink and cream roses, pale pink spray roses, pink lisianthus, September flower and greenery. They were delivered bang on time, so fresh and fantastic quality. The day before the wedding, Fin’s mum and sister, my cousin and I spent a lovely peaceful morning arranging 30 little buckets of flowers. It was a moment of calm in an otherwise hectic week and I loved the way they turned out. We ended up giving buckets of flowers to female guests as they were leaving and took the rest up to a local nursing home so that they could be enjoyed after the wedding was over. For the top table, we put pink peonies in the teacups from my Nana’s wedding china.
The church didn’t need much decoration. I took a jug belonging to my mum and a couple of tall cream jugs I found in a charity shop and filled them with lisianthus, pink delphinium, September flower and white gladioli (a secret reference to Fin’s favourite band, The Smiths, who were known for wandering around with gladioli hanging out their back pockets), all from Flowers4Florists. We moved the jugs from the church to the golf club after the ceremony.
The Heart And Soul
Our photographers were the spectacular Lillian and Leonard – I cannot praise Cara and Nye enough. From the day we got engaged I was checking out photographers on wedding blogs but all the ones I loved were based in England or America – there didn’t seem to be any in Scotland. Not only are their photographs stunningly beautiful but they also capture the heart and soul of the day – I was soooo desperate for them to shoot our wedding.
I assumed that wedding photography as moving and imaginative as theirs would definitely be out of our league, but they were more than happy to work within our budget and, thanks to a wonderfully generous wedding gift from my aunt and uncle, we were able to book them and never looked back. They were completely unobtrusive but somehow caught the most amazing moments – they are truly talented.
To decorate the tables, Fin’s granny made table runners for us with fabric I found on ebay, and as well as the buckets of flowers we had glass jam jars (collected by friends and family) filled with sand from the beach and long-lasting tealights, and decorated with different coloured ribbons. I also made our own LOVE letters to decorate the mantelpiece behind the top table, using fabric scraps and wooden blocks made for me by a carpenter friend.
To continue the vintage travel theme, I used an old vintage suitcase made by my great-granddad as a card box, and lined it with old family wedding photos and Fin’s granddad’s travel rug (they were very close so this had special meaning for him). Instead of a guest book, we bought a big set of vintage postcards and asked each guest to write us a message and leave it in the suitcase. We read these on honeymoon and they were brilliant, ranging from heartfelt advice on married life to hilarious drunken ramblings.
My Dad’s a RMW Rockstar!
We had a piper called Fraser Preston who played before and after the ceremony and piped us into the reception – a family friend had won his services as a prize in a cancer charity auction and kindly donated it to us. My friend Holly sang a beautiful version of the Edith Piaf song Hymne à l’amour as we signed the register (I’m a sucker for tragic love songs, preferably in French).
It was really important to us that our reception was above all an awesome party for all of our friends and family. In Scotland, it’s often thought of as traditional to have a ceilidh (Scottish country dancing) but that can be fairly exhausting, especially for non-Scots (we had a big American contingent), so we decided we wanted a complete mix of hits old and new with a few ceilidh dances thrown in for good measure.
My dad is actually a musician and plays in a wedding band*, so as soon as we set the date his job was to make sure the rest of the band were free to play at the wedding (and find a stand-in for himself, obviously). Unfortunately he forgot to tell the singer, who promptly booked a trip to Australia on the date of the wedding. Cue panic! However, a replacement was found and it was indeed an awesome party, with the dance floor packed all night long.
The highlight for me though was when members of my family took to the stage. My dad and his friends did a few numbers and ended up leading the guests in a mass kazoo instrumental, and my brother was coaxed into giving a highly energetic rendition of 90s school disco favourite “No Limits” on his guitar – it was pretty special.
* Random fact – he also plays in Fat Sam’s Jazz Band, which graced RMW’s pages last year – I actually couldn’t believe he got on RMW before I did!
A Relaxed Reception
The reception was held at the Glen Golf Club, North Berwick. It’s about 30 seconds away from my parents’ house and has amazing views across the Firth of Forth. We were also lucky enough to have dry(ish) weather on the day which meant we could have Pimms and prosecco on the beach between the ceremony and reception. We really wanted the day to have a relaxed, fun atmosphere and to focus on the people and places that were important to us, rather than something straight off a wedding assembly line.
The Golf Club staff were amazing – unlike some wedding venues that churn out several weddings a week, they hold very few weddings so they really gave us star treatment and went above and beyond the call of duty, staying up until 1am the night before to ensure everything was set up perfectly and even later on the night of the wedding trying to get us all to leave!
Sweet Treats And Dirty Dancing
Not long after we got engaged, my mum announced that (a) she was making our cake and (b) it was going to be a three-tier square fruit cake with ivory royal icing. So that was an easy decision! The cake was made with lots of love and lots of brandy, and thanks to the icing expertise of her friend Wendy it looked (and tasted) perfect. To add my own little touch to it, I ordered a customised Lego bride and groom from ebay for our cake topper, to which I added a teeny veil to match my own. My aunt also made a yummy chocolate cake a couple of days before the wedding for those who didn’t like fruit cake.
Our first dance song was Moon River. It’s classic, sweet but not too mushy and relatively easy to dance to (or so we hoped). It was also once covered by Morrissey (Fin’s favourite singer – remember the gladioli?) so that got the double thumbs up from him.
Fin’s not the most confident dancer – we don’t even mention the tango lessons we tried a few years ago – so my mum surprised us with dance lessons from Felicity Drever Learn 2 Wedding Dance, who choreographed a routine for us. It definitely gave us both more confidence and made sure we weren’t just shuffling awkwardly on the dance floor. The climax was the now-notorious “butt lift”, which we have reprised on popular demand on more than one occasion since!
Close To The Heart
Instead of favours, we gave each guest a little thank you note explaining that we had donated to two charities on their behalf and why we had chosen those particular charities. The first was a fantastic Scottish charity called bfriends (part of Children 1st), through which Fin volunteers as a befriender to a young person from a difficult background.
My mum is currently undergoing treatment for breast cancer so our second charity was Cancer Research UK. These two charities are close to our hearts so we wanted to contribute a small part of our budget to them. We also ended up giving away some of the table centrepieces and I’m pretty sure a lot of people pilfered their kazoos!
The Most Important Things
We didn’t have a huge budget for the wedding so if I couldn’t make something myself, I scoured the internet for bargains. Etsy and ebay were amazing resources for everything from accessories to decorations to bridesmaids’ dresses to wedding party gifts – a little bit of effort and research led to so many amazing finds and inspiration. We were also incredibly blessed to have so many talented and generous friends and family who contributed to every single part of the day – we could never have pulled it off without them.
For me, the most important thing about wedding planning is just to be thoughtful in your decisions. It’s dangerously easy to get sucked into all the “shoulds” and “supposed tos” and before you know it you’ve spent a fortune on a wedding that says nothing about you. From the invitations to the ceremony to the location, every decision we made was grounded in what was meaningful and important to us – our family, our friends, our ethics and aesthetics. I tried to think of myself as a person first and a bride second – if we wouldn’t choose something in our normal lives, we didn’t want it at our wedding (cheesy monogrammed paperweight favours anyone?).
The best advice we were given before the wedding came from Fin’s dad, who performed our ceremony. He told us to really try to be “present” as we said our vows. You can’t help but get caught up in the whirlwind of the day and everything flashes past so quickly, but for those few moments, we forgot about everyone else and just focused on each other and the promises we were making. Already the memory of the day is beginning to fade into a slideshow of fleeting moments and images and emotions, but the vows are still clear in my mind; trembly voices, sweaty palms and all.
Finally – and this is absolutely essential – under no circumstances splash out on nice new wedding underwear and just assume it will fit you. Running around the house trying to find a clean pair of knickers an hour before your wedding is not the ideal start to the day. All I can say is thank God Cara deleted those pictures.
Ok so I think we’ve established that I love an engagement shoot. Especially when the couple involved really throw their personalities and unique style into the whole proceedings and it is captured beautifully on camera…
A while back I received an email from very excited bride-to-be Olivia who couldn’t wait to share the beachy Brighton imagery of her and her fiance Max:
I’m a long time RMW fan and have really relied on your fabulous website to help me with my wedding plans – my partner, Max, and I moved over to the UK from NZ a year ago and we’re planning our wedding to take place in London this December. Having only been in the country for about a year and having no idea about anything wedding related means that RMW has been such a life saver! We’ve gotten a number of suppliers and so many ideas thanks to the website :).
Anyway, my fiancé and I had our pre-wedding shoot a while ago with our amazing photographer Aneta Mak, who we found through RMW!! We wondered whether you guys might be interested in featuring some of the photos from it?”
Um Hello….. Do I like cake?!
Think candy floss kisses and the sweetest sugar coated dreams.
Think the prettiest parasols and the most delectable dresses.
Think a cresendo of crashing waves and a stormy shaded sea.
Because this is what this is folks.
Olivia: We found our photographer, Aneta Mak, after we saw a wedding she photographed that was featured on Rock My Wedding. Her photographs were just stunning and absolutely what we were looking for. After meeting Aneta for hot chocolates and cookies (yum!) and seeing how genuinely enthusiastic she was about her work we were completely certain she was the photographer for us.
Our wedding is taking place this December in central London. Max and I moved to London from New Zealand about a year ago and we have a lot of family and friends coming over from home for the wedding. This is part of the reason we decided to have it at a gorgeous 18th century town house – it’s like nothing you’d ever find in New Zealand and, as a long-standing fan of period dramas (I just coerced Max into sitting through the whole 5 hours of BBC Pride and Prejudice (he didn’t complain all that much – talk about devotion!)), it’s a dream come true for me!
So for our engagement shoot we wanted to do something completely different i.e. outside, bright, colourful, fun, silly and in the sun (not that the wedding won’t be colourful and fun too)! After I explained our vision to Aneta she suggested going out to Brighton. Neither Max nor I had been there before and we loved the idea of going somewhere new for it. We both enjoy travelling and visiting new places and given we’ve just left everything behind in New Zealand for a new adventure it seemed kind of appropriate. We also used to live in Wellington and didn’t realise just how much we’d missed having the sea around us until that day.
In the end the weather didn’t exactly comply with our plans – the rain clouds got more and more threatening as the day went on. But we had so much fun working our way from the pier and then along the beach taking photos as we went (with a brief interlude for a costume change midway through!). It all worked out perfectly and I think some of the images from later in the day, when the sky is more moody, are my favourite.
Aside from getting an amazing set of images we both learnt so much from doing the engagement shoot. I was more than a bit nervous in front of the camera to start off with, but Aneta was great at relaxing us and giving us just the right amount of direction when we weren’t sure what to do. We both think it will be a lot easier being photographed at the wedding now which really takes the pressure off!
I mean really, how much in love are those two?
Seriously – I can’t WAIT to see the Big Day.
And if that has put you in the mood for all things retro beach inspired then you have so got to come along to Rock My Wedding tomorrow, we have one giant British seaside extravaganza of a wedding.
You guys will be loving it.
Big Candy Kissed Love
Aneta Mak is a Rock My Wedding Sponsor but all engagement shoots are chosen on individual merit and no part of this post is sponsored.