Woodstock Meets The Great Gatsby.

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This morning we’ve got something a little different. Occasionally we might share what we call an “extended wedding”, this is essentially where we feature twice as many images and double the detail of the planning aspect as we perhaps normally would.

This laid-back luxe affair simply had too many unique and inspirational ideas not to include, plus Ellie’s write up is hilarious, the truth is I found it too difficult to edit.

I love a tassel, from a fashion perspective this is usually restricted to a suede bag or cowboy boot. However, Ellie’s bridal gown which is pretty much covered in the swishy is spectacular, the movement demonstrated in the photographs is unreal.

You may not be able to find time whilst at work to read the whole post but I suggest you come back later this evening with a cup of tea (or glass of wine) and take a second look. I promise it will be worth it.

A Great Gatsby Woodstock themed wedding at Stanford Hall with a bridal gown from Blackburn Bridal Couture_0032 A Great Gatsby Woodstock themed wedding at Stanford Hall with a bridal gown from Blackburn Bridal Couture_0033A Great Gatsby Woodstock themed wedding at Stanford Hall with a bridal gown from Blackburn Bridal Couture_0034A Great Gatsby Woodstock themed wedding at Stanford Hall with a bridal gown from Blackburn Bridal Couture_0035A Great Gatsby Woodstock themed wedding at Stanford Hall with a bridal gown from Blackburn Bridal Couture_0036A Great Gatsby Woodstock themed wedding at Stanford Hall with a bridal gown from Blackburn Bridal Couture_0037A Great Gatsby Woodstock themed wedding at Stanford Hall with a bridal gown from Blackburn Bridal Couture_0038

Ellie The Bride: We got married on the 25th August 2013 at Stanford Hall, a huge grandiose but totally unpretentious house set in acres of beautiful land in Lutterworth. Our celebrations were spread out over a long bank holiday weekend.

We got very la de dah and used the Hall as a ‘casual’ backdrop but most of the celebrations, including the ceremony, took place in a traditional 1930’s Speigeltent.

The tent came all the way from Belgium and was constructed up by 8 burly brothers (they have had the tent as their family business for years) and who set it up in the huge sweeping grounds by the lake.

We wanted a laidback-luxe, Woodstock meets The Great Gatsby vibe and for everyone just to have a stupid amount of fun.

Oh man, the dress! Despite my best efforts to remain super chilled about being a bride, there is a moment when you have to stop fooling yourself and accept that you have fallen deeply into certain, inescapable cliches. For me, it was my new found addiction to wedding blogs, Pinterest and Don’t Tell The Bride. Extensive research into these subjects (Nights in. Lap top. With wine.) led me to certain discoveries…

Firstly, I am never going to be able to afford an Elie Saab Gown. End of. Look elsewhere, forthwith. Also, if like me, you are someone who never imagined themselves as a bride, you may not know what you do want, but you definitely know what you DON’T want.

There is an overwhelming amount of choice out there but fashion is fickle and moves fast. Remember how Shoreditch used to be the epicentre of cool but now it seems just over crowded with men dressed like Where’s Wally, drinking out of mason jars on street corners? Occasionally disturbing the odd passerby by threatening to play their banjo? Well, I think that’s sort of what’s happened to the ‘cool, alternative’ wedding idea too. Words such as hip, vintage and boho are so commonplace now that the mere mention of them induce endless eye rolls.

So, how DO you find something genuinely unique?

With this in mind I took myself off to Blackburn Bridal Couture in Blackheath, and I discovered a treasure trove for brides looking for something that leans far away from that boring, traditional urgh.

Mandi and the team there were simply amazing. She showed me a long drapey cream dress, covered head to toe in tassels, and encouraged me to try it on telling me “It’s unusual, but I just have a feeling you might like it”.
 
On first glance it was quite simple and demure with a 30s art deco twist but then when you moved in it, it suddenly came to life turning in to a perfect festival-love-rave-dancefloor dress!

I loved so many of Clinton’s designs but he said no one had ever ordered the Ava before as it’s a bit out there. He made sure it was exactly how I wanted it. We tweaked and tinkered with it by lowering the back and extending the train and adding even more tassels.
Elie Saab was a distant memory. This dress was immense.

I wanted to offset the dress by pimping it up with an elaborate head piece, but it seemed everything I found in London looked very ‘ weird beauty pageants and tiaras’ –  urgh.

Luckily I was working in New York at the time and I stumbled upon Stone Fox Bride who answered all of my prayers. A lush hippy-luxe, no bullshit bridal hub smack bang in the middle of Manhattan.

There I met the gorgeous owner and founder of SFB Molly Guy who asked me what I really wanted, and what the vibe of my wedding would be. I explained to Molly: think Stevie Nicks and a Summer of Love Tour. She totally got it. She then assigned me to a designer, the astonishingly brilliant Rawan Rahini and together we set about creating my head piece from scratch: a silk chiffon veil with five foot train and silk flowers and feathers complete with draping tassels to tie in with the dress. Lush.

I wore a bunch of rings in all different sizes in rose-gold and silver as well as my vintage engagement ring, which is quite frankly so bloody beautiful I had to name it – Elizabeth Taylor to be exact, or ‘Liz’ for short.

To complete the look I found a beautiful Cream fringed shawl as a wrap for the evening from the gorgeous Frederica Bruno, a London based designer who collects vintage pieces.

A Great Gatsby Woodstock themed wedding at Stanford Hall with a bridal gown from Blackburn Bridal Couture_0039A Great Gatsby Woodstock themed wedding at Stanford Hall with a bridal gown from Blackburn Bridal Couture_0040A Great Gatsby Woodstock themed wedding at Stanford Hall with a bridal gown from Blackburn Bridal Couture_0041A Great Gatsby Woodstock themed wedding at Stanford Hall with a bridal gown from Blackburn Bridal Couture_0042A Great Gatsby Woodstock themed wedding at Stanford Hall with a bridal gown from Blackburn Bridal Couture_0043A Great Gatsby Woodstock themed wedding at Stanford Hall with a bridal gown from Blackburn Bridal Couture_0044A Great Gatsby Woodstock themed wedding at Stanford Hall with a bridal gown from Blackburn Bridal Couture_0045A Great Gatsby Woodstock themed wedding at Stanford Hall with a bridal gown from Blackburn Bridal Couture_0046

Ellie The Bride Continued: I remember finding myself in Selfridges shoe department almost catatonic with excitement at the prospect of throwing money in the face of Jimmy Choo and crying “It’s my right to be extravagant on my wedding day! Give me your finest pair!”

But, as I tried on a fancy pair of nude skyscraper heels, three simple truths hit home:

1. I’m pretty tall lady already. I wanted to lower my chances of towering over my new husband or indeed, whacking my head on top of the tent as I walked in. I was planning on wearing my hair ‘big’ after all. 

2. Tall girls plus tall shoes plus big hair and what do you get? Ru Paul’s Drag Race. Fierce, sure. But the wrong source of inspiration on this PARTICULAR occasion.

3. The size of the platform on the shoes made me look like a lap dancer. There, I said it.

I mean I knew there would be dancing until dawn (quite possibly on the tables but not, you know, TABLE dancing) so whatever I chose had to have endurance as well as glamour.

In the end the good old High street saved the day. I found a perfect pair of vintage-esque T-bars in a faded sparkle from Roland Cartier for Dune. They totally did the trick.

A handy friend, the uber-talented Paul Furness from Paul and Olive arranged all the flowers, buttoner’s and posies for day. It was simple, chic and understated in a wild green colour, creams and white. As well as adorning the entire bridal party, the flowers also laced the tent for the ceremony and the tables for dinner. Beautiful!

On my side I had two Men Of Honour, four bridesmaids and three flower girls. Finding their outfits was the most stress free part of the organising. By some strange stroke of luck we stumbled upon 4 black 70’s style fringed smock dresses in Topshop in an identical material to my wedding dress. The girls loved them, it was meant to be! We completed their look with a grey and black rose flower headband which we flipped back to front to give more of a hippy-punky garland look.

They looked hot and all got a snog that night. Just for the record.

My Best Men (or Men of Honour as we called them) pulled in some favours and were in matching Burberry with heart embossed ties and the flowers girls kitted out in good old Monsoon and were too adorable for words.

Trevor looked amazing! He wore a bespoke Spencer Hart suit in an airforce blue colour and deep caramel tan brogues from Brenson.

Pen and Cam Mckinley-Rodgers our photographers are quite simply AWESOME and total, total dudes. Having seen the calibre and quality of their work on their website I was confident their photographs would be amazing, but their presence and spirit on the actual day took it to the next level.

Our mates really rallied around to make our wedding day happen in the most spectacular way. A lot of our mates are the most incredible musicians and singers who very generously ROCKED a set until the early hours of the morning.

Dan Gillespie-Sells and the boys from The Feeling, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Sinead and The Dawnbreakers took to the stage and floored us with wave after wave of hit’s, covers, medleys, mash ups, pop, rock, classic and new.

Creating the wedding we wanted meant doing everything ourselves and calling upon our friends and family to chip in, in their own unique and wonderful ways.

Three days before the wedding day, a gang of us went to the venue to set up. We sat in the Speigel tent surviving on little sleep, a lot of laughter, red wine and great tunes booming out from our ipods. We holed ourselves up inside working furiously away under the guide of our utterly wonderful, stupendously talented designer, and dear friend Ryan Frost who style the entire event. 

Paper Pom-poms and fairy lights hung from branches that were suspended all around the tent, entwined with small origami cranes and maple leafs (representing our heritage – my father is Japanese, and Trevor’s mother is Canadian).

We painstakingly spent hours threading each item by hand, cutting ribbons, gluing feathers, spraying glitter…it looked amazing.
Ryan had spent months and months trawling around London’s flea markets, vintage shops and Ebay and had collaborated an incredible collection of dazzling decorations, furniture pieces, candlabras, ribbons, balloons and every other beautiful trinket you could imagine which, when combined together, created an explosion of gloriousness, a complete wonderland.

Any person getting married should have a Ryan Frost.


Mckinley-Rodgers Venue Stanford Hall | Brides Gown Blackburn Bridal Couture | Veil Stone Fox Bride | Shawl Frederica Bruno | Bridesmaids Topshop | Groom Spencer Hart | Catering Jackie Filmer | Flowers Paul and Olive

Author: Charlotte O’Shea
Purveyor of short shorts. Make-up junkie. Hopes to grow old disgracefully.
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