DIY, Real Weddings, Vintage
A Fun Red Vintage Circus London Wedding

Vintage Circus Wedding


WWW readers Sarah and Scott married on the 2nd November 2013 and held their reception at Jacksons Lane, a dance studio in London. They begun their day with the sweetest first look at the striking St Pancras train station, I so love the images from this touching moment.

Sarah and Scott had a vision of a vintage circus for their wedding; with a fun red colour scheme they had bunting, tickets, popping candy, straws and clown noses. Sarah opted for a brooch bouquet she made herself instead of flowers and there was a bake off for guests.

Scott wore a grey three piece suit with red tie, while Sarah chose a tea length polka dot dress with red sash. Gorgeous.

Thanks so much to the utterly brilliant Buckinghamshire Wedding Photographer Miki Photography for sharing his photographs with us.


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The Proposal… On a number 38 bus (Sarah’s favourite bus route, she’s a bus head!) on Jubilee weekend.

The Vision for the day… Lots of fun, lots of colour and a celebration with friends and family.

The Planning process… A great deal of planning was done using blogs, magazines and pinterest. It’s fair to say that Scott found this frustrating as I seemed to spend a great deal musing and browsing web sites without actually taking any action. It took a while to decide on a theme, however once we agreed on vintage circus the day began to take shape.

The Venue… A lot of research was undertaken online (how did people plan weddings pre internet?) and whilst we found a few venues that were within our budget they weren’t right as we had something quite specific in mind. We wanted a venue with character, that wasn’t too formal or clinical. When we found Jacksons Lane we knew it was the one, and after one visit we were sold.

Jacksons Lane is a theatre/dance studio, we hired a gorgeous studio with huge arch windows, mirrors everywhere and fantastic beams through which gave it a village hall feeling. Perfect for a party with friends.

The Dress + Accessories… When we started planning our wedding I was overweight and the thought of visiting wedding dress shops filled me with dread after hearing so many horror stories about bridal stores and snooty assistances so I made up my mind to have a dress made to measure. I’d picked up a flier for handmade dresses at my hairdressers for Brighton based seamstress “Ohmyhoney”, unfortunately I left it quite late (as I wanted to lose as much weight as possible before ordering the dress) and she had run out of lacing for the dress I had in mind. I would highly recommend her dresses, even though I didn’t order one as they are beautiful. At this point I was slightly at a loss as I hadn’t really planned beyond this point so I had to ask friends on the FB group Quirky British Brides for help. One of the lovely ladies had her dress made by Pixie Pockets (a NZ based seamstress on etsy), so I got in touch and chose a dress style she already had on her site adding sleeves (as it was a winter wedding). Contrary to most brides I was probably a bit too relaxed in picking my dress and didn’t place the order until August (which would have made a standard wedding shop assistant blanch!), and had to ask Pixie to prioritise the dress (which she did). Despite the first dress going missing at sea she made managed to make a second dress and express it over! As an apology she included matching polka dot fabric which I used for the bouquet so it all worked out OK in the end.

I already had some red polka dot shoes, so there was my something old. I had planned to make a veil, however all the best plans in the world it didn’t happen. So in place of the veil I had a handmade love heart pinned into the back of my hair. The heart was made by Dolly Cool who specialises in rockabilly accessories, which went really well with my mini bee hive (channelling my inner Pricilla/June Cash). I also wore a re-conditioned rhinestone necklace customised with tiny skulls from Halo Jones which was a present from my husband.

I have an amazing hair stylist (Emma Rae at Rockalily Cuts) and couldn’t imagine using anyone else. We had a couple of trial sessions until we found the perfect style to complement my dress and I was really pleased with my hair on the day.

I’m not really a “girly” girl, and am slightly clueless when it comes to make up. My original plan was to have a makeover at Mac, buy supplies and try to recreate the look on the day. Melissa at Mac (Spitalfields) did such an amazing job that I didn’t hesitate to book her when she offered to do my make up on the day.  It did mean that I had to rush from the hair salon to the store, however it kept my mind off stressing out and it was lovely to spend the morning with fabulously creative gals.

Groom’s Attire… We decided to hire the groom and grooms men’s outfits and this wasn’t as easy as we’d imagined. On our first trip to the store the boys chose tails and cravats, which lead to a bit of a  a bridezilla moment as I decided the outfits were too “Downton Abbey” for a city wedding. The poor groom had to go back to the hire store with the best man and find a different outfit. The boys did well and looked very handsome on the day.

The Readings + Music… This was all the groom’s choice and was a huge surprise to me. He spent hours looking for the right reading, something that we hadn’t heard before yet something that summed up our relationship. After a great deal of research he found “Be my Homer” by CJ Munn which was read by his sister Danielle.

Along with the reading he chose Rose of my Heart by Jonny Cash for the entrance music (we’re both JC fans, and it is a beautiful song.)

As we were having a registry office service any reading or music had to be non-religious. We wanted a song that had meaning to us so we chose the “Rainbow Connection” which is a song from the Muppets. It’s fair to say that the reaction was it was a bit mixed, for those who knew the song they sang their hearts out (lead by the groom was sang with great gusto!) and for those who didn’t know the song it proved to be highly amusing.

Beautiful bridesmaids… I have too many friends and family to choose a couple of special friends so opted to have a brides mate instead. I met Jak a couple of years ago and he is just fabulous. He’s organised, creative and can rally the forces in times of a crisis. After having a minor melt down in August having attended the wedding of a friend and realising we were way of course for a November wedding he swooped into help with an armful of planners, post it notes and highlighter pens. The melt down was soon forgotten and he got us on track. Not only is he the perfect planner, he also helped friends organise a memorable hen weekend in Brighton and was on standby of any crisis no matter how big or small. On the day or the wedding he arranged for a small army of friends to help decorate the reception hall and it was just fabulous. I honestly believe we could not have had the wedding we wanted without his help.

The Flowers… We opted not to have flowers (I’m not a massive fan), the groom and grooms party had a button hole made by a local florist who included some thistle for the bride’s Dad as he’s a Scotsman. We also picked up some lovely paper flowers on free cycle which had been used in another wedding and had been made by the bride’s mother and mother’s friends. These were used to decorate tables and the stairwell.

In place of a bridal bouquet I made a brooch bouquet made up of brooches collected from eBay. It was certainly a project of blood sweat and tears. Having googled several different instructions how to create the bouquet it took several attempts and amazon orders as I ordered the wrong size oasis, (my first was the size of a football!!) before I got it right. The oasis was covered in fabric from my dress and covered in brooches. I couldn’t get the stem right, luckily Dad was able to help and created a polka dot hem (fitting in with the red and white colouring of the day.) He took great pride in telling many ladies how he had helped make my bouquet!

The Cake… My fabulous friend Faye Heffernan made the cake, it was a triple layer cake of my favourite cakes – Red Velvet, Victoria Sponge and lemon sponge. I’d found what I hope was a simple design online and she was able to replicate the cake. She topped the cake with a pair of red buses which she personalised with the route number of the bus we got engaged on and a wee outfit (which we’ve kept as a keepsake.)

As well as having a main cake we also had a cake buffet made up of cakes made by the guests. There was an incentive as people were encouraged to vote for their favourite cakes. Despite some guests trying to bribe for votes we were able to decide on four winners, however in the excitement of the evening we forgot to announce the winners! We’ve since sent out all the prizes, so hopefully our oversight has been forgiven.

Your Photographer… The photos speak for themselves really. We found Miki through a wedding blog and loved his style of photography. He manages to capture people naturally bringing the best out of people. We first met Miki in June for our engagement shoot, and he really put us at ease through the whole process. We couldn’t have asked for a nicer, more genuine and talented guy than Miki to capture our day.

The Details + Decor… The theme was vintage circus, and whilst the venue was stunning we wanted to add our own personal touch. The tables were decorated with red and white straws, clown noses sourced on line, fake moustaches, fortune telling fish, bubbles and packets of fizzy sweets which went down a storm (there’s still an inner child in all of us who loves a treat!). The table decorations and wall decorations were the result of many hours of arts and crafts I had with my girlfriends. Another friend (Donna Cook) made metres and metres of bunting in line with the colour scheme and will always be our Mary Berry of Bunting.  The power of friendship certainly helped realise all the small details which made the day so special.

A couple of weeks before I hit upon the idea to hire a peep board, and found an amazing artist online who created a circus theme board specifically for the day. The guests had a great time taking photos of themselves and it was a big hit.

The Honeymoon… Vegas baby! We’re massive UFC fans, and had been trying to find the perfect location for our honeymoon. When the UFC announced it would hold a 20th anniversary fight in November we knew straight away where we wanted to spend our honeymoon. Guests generously contributed to our honeymoon fund making it a trip to remember.

Memorable Moments… First look, as we got married late in the afternoon we hadn’t allowed much time for photos so suggested to Miki that we do a first look session. It’s fair to say we were both so nervous just before we saw each other however Miki really captured the moment so well. The photos taken at the hotel (we were staying at the St Pancras Grand) after the wedding are beautiful and it’s lovely to have something to remind of us of the day.

We both loved the last few songs at the end of the evening. Whilst we hired an amazing band The Blue Arrows who had everyone dancing all night we also asked every guest to provide a song that would make them dance.  As a result we now have an amazing play list of songs which have meaning to some many of our friends. Towards the end of the night there was a small hardcore group of party animals left pogoing about and sharing wine from bottles. It was a great way to end our day singing and dancing like loons with fantastic friends.

Advice for Other Couples… Don’t sweat the small stuff. Two days before I had planned to bake brownies as favours (hugely unrealistic given we had so many other more important tasks to finish, like the table plan, speeches, setting up the venue!) Once I accepted I wouldn’t be able to do everything it seemed like a trivial thing to worry about. Also, if you need help ask. We have an amazing group of friends who dug deep and helped whenever called upon. We couldn’t have had such a special day without them, and it’s something we’ll never forget.

Credit Where Credit is Due…

Photography | Miki Photography

Florist | Meades 

Dress | Pixie Pocket 

Hair accessories | Dolly Cool

Peep board

Hair | Rockalily 

Make up | Mac (Melissa@Spitalfields)

Band | Blue Arrows

Stationery design | Nasty Devoid Our friend Dave Stoney has an amazing ability to take an idea and bring it to life and created all our wedding stationery. I asked for a vintage wedding theme and he worked his magic. He created fabulous Save the Date cards, invitations and beautiful order of service which our print company commented on being so colourful and very “us”.


Such a fun day, and didn’t they just have the most amazing décor at the reception?

Thanks so very much to Sarah and Scott for sharing their wedding story with us here today XOXO Lou


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  1. 15.04.2014 at 9:38 am
    Sarah says:
    These are particularly lush. What a great theme and they pulled it off so well! I love the staircase shots. Simply wonderful!
  2. 15.04.2014 at 11:33 am
    jared papertwinweddings says:
    Such beautiful photography throughout, I don't know if you could fit much more red in there!
  3. 15.04.2014 at 6:07 pm
    Jonathan Brown (Browns Photography) says:
    What a gorgeous wedding - and great photography too. Just love it when brides punch the air!
  4. 15.04.2014 at 9:52 pm
    Jordanna Marston says:
    Yum - St Pancras one of my fave buildings ever! Defo my fave in London! Cute dress and lovely work Mick x
  5. 17.04.2014 at 10:24 am
    Lou Whimsicalwonderlandweddings says:
    Thanks so much for your lovely comments everyone :-) xx


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