A Relaxed & Alternative Brighton Wedding

brighton royal pavillion wedding

Katie and Brad wanted their wedding to be focused on their love of Brighton, they chose to marry at the iconic Royal Pavilion followed by an early wedding party at The Hove Club.

Keeping to their Brighton feel day, they sourced their suppliers locally through google, blogs and word of mouth. They wanted their day to feel alternative, with the only flowers being the lovely memory rose bouquet for Katie, as they had vegetable centerpieces and fun heart balloons for the pretty maids who also wore floral dresses.

Katie had a vintage inspired look, with a lace dress, vintage fur shrug, vintage gloves and a lovely birdcage veil. Brad decided to have a custom made three piece suit with dashing green accessories. Amazing.

Thanks so much to the fabulous Emma Lucy for sharing her photographs with us today.

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The Proposal… Was a total surprise! We took our lovely 1978 MG sports car away for a spa weekend at Baliffscourt in Climping and after a romantic meal Brad had ordered my favourite bubbles and got down on one knee (yes, he did ask for my Dads blessing!)

The Vision for the Day… Relaxed, alternative and British! We wanted to try and source everything in/around Brighton as we live in and love Brighton (Brad is born and bred Brighton). It seemed the natural choice to marry in our home city.

We went back to the things that Brad and I loved and our mutual interest/roots (i.e. live music – so seemed logical to have a band rather than a non descript DJ and we’re proud of our heritage so the venues had a true British feeling about them – as did the food.

The Planning Process… I only looked at a few blogs, avoided magazines and went by word of mouth for everything other than our photographer, Emma, who I came across on a Google search. We fell in love with the Royal Pavilion as soon as we stepped in the ceremony room and also loved the grand, masculine feeling of the Hove Club…..it strangely felt very homely and welcoming.

The Venue… We had the wedding breakfast at the Royal Pavilion after our ceremony and then had a wedding party from 4.30 pm at The Hove Club. We hired a vintage bus to take our guests from the Pavilion to the Hove Club. Our pictures were taken in the Lanes around the Pavilion, in the vintage bus we hired and also on Church Road in Hove amongst the traffic! I got ready at home in our flat in Seven Dials and Brad got ready at the Lansdowne Hotel and Spa hotel as we booked to stay there on our wedding night.

The Dress + Accessories… http://www.whiteleafbridal.com in Brighton – ticked all the boxes of local designer/dress maker, lace, vintage feel, relaxed, accommodating and fairly priced. I just love my dress and want to wear it again! It’s totally different from what I thought I was going to have but I just loved it and felt amazing in it. I’d bought my fur stole a year before from Tramp http://www.trampvintageclothing.com and never wore it! It was an ‘I just had to have purchase’ that I got long before I even knew I was getting married. Once we planned an autumnal wedding I knew I had to wear it so it went to every dress shop with me.

My gloves and bag were a last minute purchase from Bobby and Dandy on Blatchington Road and for original 1940’s were in great condition. My ‘bird cage’ was made especially for me from the same shop as my dress. I struggled to find the right feathers so ended up getting some on line and adding them the morning of the wedding.

I’m not a heels kinda gal so seemed pointless going crazy. I went to trusty old Dorothy Perkins as they had some shoes that matched the colour of my dress. (I didn’t want satin/shiny wedding shoes and leather was too heavy so suede was the perfect solution)

Finding the Dress… I felt a little under pressure as we were getting married within 6 months of being engaged and a lot of the shops kept advising me to be quick in case of ordering and fittings etc. However! I went to 4 different shops before I found ‘the one’ and like most brides ended up going for something entirely different than I thought I’d have! Originally I wanted a 50’s prom style dress but I’m not a ‘heel’s girl so once trying them on realised it might not work. Once I had tried on a full length dress there was no going back……. I recommend trying on every shape and style you can find even the ones you think will look terrible, as you might be surprised.

Groom’s Attire… Brad had his suit made at Hugo Morris in Brighton http://www.hugo-morris.com as it’s something he’s always wanted to do so our wedding was the perfect excuse! He went for a really classic style and I was only involved in helping to choose the colour. It inspired me to buy him his wedding gift – an old pocket watch which I had engraved. It looked awesome! He bought his own tie and pocket hanky as wanted to stick with Green as the colour. His shoes were also custom made.

The Readings + Music… My eldest niece read ‘The wedding blessing’ before our vows and then our friend read ‘Captain Corelli’s Mandolin’ after our vows. Both are pretty common but we wanted two to break up the service and loved the sentiment behind each of them.

We found the music pretty tough to crack because we both have such a varied taste. We do have ‘a song’ but didn’t want to use it as Brad thinks it’s been overplayed since the Olympics. So! I had the idea (whilst in Miami) that rat pack would sound nice as background music in the Pavilion whilst we were eating and from there we chose ‘Somewhere beyond the sea’ for the music I walked into for the ceremony. For our first dance we loved the simplicity of ‘I’ve got you under my skin’ by Frank Sinatra and it stuck!

Brad and I both love live music and as its one of our passions it seemed natural to bring a band in rather than a DJ for the evening party. We searched a few websites but nothing really caught our eye. Then my parents mentioned that they’d seen a good band at their local pub in Plumpton Green so we went to watch them one night and liked what we saw/heard. I contacted Russ (who deals with the bookings for the group) who was flexible, helpful, reliable and friendly and knows his stuff! We stuck with their suggested set list as it was a mixture of old and new and we weren’t disappointed. They rocked the party and were great at getting people up and dancing and having a blast- so many of our guests commented on how much they enjoyed them.

Beautiful Bridesmaids… I knew that I wanted something different for the girls to wear as everyone has different body shapes. Different styles suit different people and I wanted them to be comfortable but ‘uniformed’. I found Suzi through one of my Bridesmaids as she’s just started out making dresses for other people. After only the first few minutes of meeting and looking at different images she knew just the sort of look I was aiming for and we met up a few weeks later to look for fabric. I had no idea what to look for so her guidance was a godsend. I think we were lucky to find some gorgeous fabric in Brighton Sewing shop that the girls also loved. I had to order in slightly more from the sister shop in Chichester but it was obviously meant to be! I had no idea how they would turn out and didn’t really have a plan B so I put my trust in the fact that it was going to work and that Suzi is a fantastic dress maker! We had a lot of people comment on how refreshing it was to see Bridesmaids in something different that suited them all, I was really pleased with them and thought they all looked fab. It was also a fairly inexpensive way of doing things which helped the budget!

I bought the belts separately on line (Jane Norman- 1st thing that came up on Google search for wine coloured belts) and the shoes were also from…Dorothy Perkins (of course!) as none of them wanted mega high heels. I’d given the girls some earrings I’d got from Etsy as part of their thank you gifts so they all wore the same style (flowers) but in different colours.

The Flowers… Brad doesn’t like flowers so I had a challenge on my hands! I’d already had a random idea for the bridesmaids to carry heart shaped helium balloons and I had my heart set on memory lane roses for me in a small posy so it was really the decision around what to put on the tables for the breakfast that we needed help with. Miss Mole’s was recommended to me by our friend who made our cake and she was the only florist we contacted. On my 1st meeting there I knew she was the right person for the job and didn’t want to look anywhere else! I probably should have compared some quotes with other places but once you know you know and Barbara was amazing at overcoming the ‘no flowers policy’ and coming up with other fantastic ideas. In the end we settled on vegetables! She sourced some blue pumpkins for me to look at that matched the colour of the walls in the Pavilion and we looked over various ornamental cabbages and hydrangeas and came up with the perfect look that thankfully Brad loved- we even ended up using the newly named ‘minikins’ for our favours/place names. It was all very seasonal and British!

The Cake… Our AMAZING cake was designed and made by our very talented friend Elle. We were stuck on ideas and gave her a brief of simply British and Chocolate. She knows how patriotic I am and also our love for our cat and Brad’s love for chocolate. The cake was a total surprise on the day and it was utterly beautiful! Not only did Tommy (our cat) feature but once you’d cut open the top tier it revealed red, white and blue layers of sponge inside. Brilliant! To top it off it tasted incredible.

Your Photographer… Emma Lucy the best girl for the job! Fact. Brad and I both agreed that we didn’t want a ‘traditional wedding photographer’ but someone who was more creative and alternative at capturing the day for us. We absolutely adored our engagement shots so had high hopes for our wedding day- Emma was great fun to be around and made us feel so relaxed. The perfect recipe for great pictures! The pictures were everything we’d hoped for and a whole lot more, they captured the world of ‘us’ so perfectly. So many of our friends and family have commented on how amazing our pictures are and how Emma just slotted into the day.

The Details + Decor… We didn’t have any decorations in the rooms other than the table arrangements (the pumpkins/cabbages etc). We added tea lights to them in Hove Club once it started to get dark. The balloons from the bridesmaids lingered in the rooms we were in and it was enough to state that there was a celebration (plus it was a handy way of finding them!) The Pavilion is detailed enough inside and the Hove Club is very masculine/traditional and didn’t need any enhancing. However, as we provided sparklers outside (we weren’t allowed fireworks) we dressed the garden in coloured paper lanterns which looked fab and romantic when it got dark early: We really wanted to avoid the whole ‘structure’ of a traditional day and scrap the idea of the ‘reception’ so we had a wedding party instead that started at 4.30 pm and had guests waiting to greet us at Hove Club when we’d finished at the Pavilion. We wanted them to be as much a part of the day as the people who had seen us take our vows…. At The Hove Club we had an early buffet at 7.30pm, sparklers in the garden, a photo booth (best money we have ever spent and the pics still have us in stitches now) and then the band came on at 9pm. At about 10.30pm we served up Marmite on toast.

The Honeymoon… We are fortunate to have very generous friends/family and had the most amazingly epic trip! As I work for a tour operator we were also very spoilt. We flew into Cape Town, spent 7 nights driving through and staying in the vineyards and across the ‘garden route’. Then we flew up to Sabi Sands for 3 nights to a private game reserve and from there we flew onto Mauritius for 8 nights. Incredible!!

Memorable Moments… So many! From seeing my Dad’s face for the first time he saw me in my dress (still makes me well up now!), to seeing Brad in the ceremony room and walking so fast into the room because I couldn’t wait to see him. We were also married by my old boss Fanny Bradbury. She’d only just qualified as a registrar and we were her 4th ceremony. The girls were going to keep it a surprise but thought I might freak out when I saw her in the room so I was told the week of the wedding that she was conducting it. I’ve know her for about 10 years and being married by someone who knows you well is just magic, it made it so much more special and personal……. and how could we forget the fire alarm during the wedding breakfast in the Pavilion!? Every brides worst nightmare, but I guess there are only so many things you can control. Thankfully even though we had to go outside for 40 mins it didn’t totally ruin the day, it just meant we had far drunker guests as we ate an hour later than planned.

Advice for Other Couples… Don’t get caught up in the ‘norm’ – you can afford to get creative. Trust your gut instinct as 1st impressions of suppliers really do count. I know it’s hard but also remember you have to draw a line somewhere and it really is your day, real friends and family will understand that.

Credit Where Credit is Due…

http://www.emmalucyphotography.com/ – Number one Photogrpher and all round top lass

http://www.retro-me.co.uk – Photo booth company

http://www.whiteleafbridal.com – wedding dress shop/designer/maker

http://www.trampvintageclothing.com – vintage shop (Fur shrug)

http://www.prettypout.co.uk – wedding hair and make up

http://www.hugo-morris.com – Grooms suit

http://www.grainsofgold.com/contact – wedding rings (Mine had to be made to order to fit around my unusual engagement ring)

http://helloisittea.blogspot.com – cake maker extraordinaire

http://www.missmolesfloweremporium.co.uk – best florist in the world (loves vegetables too)

http://replicaradio.co.uk – good time old school band!

www.4printanddesign.co.uk – made the stickers for the invites (old postcards), table plans and menus etc

http://www.paladinsclassiccars.co.uk – hired a Morris Minor to take me to the Royal Pavilion

http://www.pavilioncoaches.com – Vintage bus to take guests from Pavilion to Hove Club

www.hanginglanterns.co.uk – provided the lanterns for the garden in the evening

Just wonderful. I so love the idea of an early evening reception for guests. Thanks so much to Katie and Brad for sharing their lovely wedding with us today XOXO Lou

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  • Love Brighton Pavillion. Love the balloons. Love the night shots out on the road. Fab.

  • what a beautiful wedding! where are your balloons from? x

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