There is nothing I love more than a wedding which is chock full of personality. It just shows off a couple and their lives together to a T, what better way to begin a marriage?
WWW readers Kirsty and Stephen tied the knot on the 17th September 2016 at Riverdale Barn in Northern Ireland. Relaxed, fun and alternative was the plan, and the theme they settled on? Lego. Yep, pretty darn cool right? Lego featured heavily, from an awesome Lego styled cake, to Lego mini figures and Lego for guests to play with on the tables. It looked like a riot of colour and playfulness in equal measure.
There were of course other lovely elements to their day too. With portraits at the Ulster Aviation Society for example, where Stephen volunteers, the images are just brilliant. There were gorgeous happy Sunflowers throughout, pretty maids in blue and gents in relaxed attire. Kirsty went for a short frock and fell for LouLou Bridal‘s ‘Alice’, which looked amazing on her.
Thanks to Honey and the Moon Photography for sharing these epic shots with us.
THE PROPOSAL | It was February 15th not 14th and we were enjoying a sunny but cold day in South Belfast. We were revisiting some of our old Uni haunts (we had both met at Queens University), the library at Queens, the Ulster Museum, Sinnamon on Stranmillis and the Botanic Gardens. Then as we sat on a bench in the Quad behind the main Stephen got down on one knee and popped the question. It was the perfect end to the perfect day.
THE VISION | Relaxed, Fun and Alternative – that was our plan. We wanted our guests to relax and enjoy the day with us, we definitely wanted to have fun and we wanted our personalities to shine through. We decided early on not to look at hotels. We wanted somewhere uniquely us, somewhere a little different. We looked at lots of colours, places and themes such as music or airplanes and then one day on of us said jokingly “What about Lego?” and it just ticked all the boxes.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | It’s so daunting planning a wedding but it is so much fun once you get going. The first thing we decided on was the mid-September date. So we had 16 months from proposal to the big day. It’s funny how fast the time does go but luckily my maid of honour, Sara, had got married about a year before us so was really helpful in the early planning stages. She gave us some great advice keep a “Wedding Spread Sheet” and enjoy the planning and build up as the day goes so fast. We quickly got a list together of all the things we would need to consider and started working through them one by one. Most of the time we agreed…
BUDGET | We didn’t fix an exact budget, but rather shopped around to see if we were getting good value with each of our choices. We kept a close eye on the spend as we selected the various suppliers, decorations etc. to make sure we weren’t going over the top! We chose to make all of the stationery and a lot of the decorations ourselves, saving money and adding to the personalisation of the day itself.
THE VENUE | We had looked at a few venues before deciding to visit Riverdale Barn after hearing about it from friends. We fell in love with it immediately. The setting was perfect; two barns – one for dinner and dancing the other for the ceremony and lounging complete with an ‘oldie world’ bar. The grounds where amazing; a large duck pond, stepping stones (I was already picturing wedding pictures), a water wheel and secluded walks to escape the buzz. Even on a damp grey December morning it looked gorgeous. Riverdale Barn was ideally placed for visiting family as it wasn’t far from Belfast but it felt like you were in a world of your own.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | Bridal Dress: Lou Lou “Alice” with a sweetheart neckline – Divinity Bridal Lisburn.
Bridal Shoes: Debenhams.
Bridesmaid dresses: Alfred Sung – Divinity Bridal Lisburn.
Earrings: Lego studs from Etsy.
FINDING THE DRESS | To suit our theme I wanted something fun and relaxed for both myself and the bridesmaids. After trying on a few gowns I knew a long dress was not what I wanted. I preferred something that I could dance the night away in without standing on. It had to be tea length – I loved the designs of House of Mooshki but I knew it would totally blow our budget. Then I found Divinity Bridal in Lisburn and they had an amazing stock of LouLou dresses! The girls at divinity were so helpful and it didn’t take long to find “the one”. They even arranged to have it made with a sweetheart neckline instead of the standard straight cut. I was able to take advantage of Divinity’s bridal package and get the bridesmaid dresses there too.
GROOM’S ATTIRE | In keeping with the casual theme (and because Stephen hates wearing ties!) we chose to go “tieless”. We wanted to have Donegal tweed for the waistcoat and jacket, as that is where Stephen is from, however it turned out to be much more expensive than expected. Thankfully we found a smashing jacket and waistcoat combo in White Stuff that looked the part without breaking the bank. Only Stephen wore a jacket the rest of the grooms party just had waistcoats. The dads wanted to go for a more traditional look so we got them ties in the same colour as the bridesmaid dresses from Dessy. To add a flash of colour to the waistcoats and Stephens jacket we added pocket squares again in same colour as the bridesmaid dresses from Dessy and buttonholes complete with Lego figures!
Some people were surprised about the grooms party not wearing ties but we felt it was more important to be comfortable than to be traditional.
The shirts, jacket and waistcoats came from White Stuff, trousers from Next and shoes from Clarks.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | We again mixed traditional and modern ideas, using Corinthians 13: 4-16 for the first reading (read by my sister-in-law Katheryn) but opting for a passage from Philip Pullman’s The Amber Spyglass (a favourite of both of us) for the second, read by our friend David. For music, I walked down the aisle to ‘Pachelbel’s Cannon’ and we stuck with traditional hymns, all played beautifully by Alyson McDowell. For our exit, we had requested a piano rendition of Ash’s ‘Shining Light,’ which was also our first dance. Alyson hadn’t played the song before and enjoyed the challenge of adapting it for piano. Her version of the song was the perfect music to leave the ceremony to.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | We had two amazing bridesmaids, my friend Sara and Stephen’s sister Gráinne. They looked absolutely stunning in their Alfred Sung dresses. They were fantastic help in planning the day and on the day itself I could not have asked for more.
THE FLOWERS | The flowers were stunning – Joanne from Cottage Country Crafts was so inspirational when it came to the design of the bouquets, button holes and all those finishing floral touches that pulled the décor together. I knew I wanted sunflowers for the bridal bouquet but apart from that, flowers aren’t my thing, and I didn’t know where to start. After explaining to Joanne what our theme the creative spirit just came over her. She paired the sunflowers with blue thistle and soft cream rose for the bouquets. The buttonholes were a real talking point on the day, with Lego figures, along with the bridesmaid hair pieces and the venue flowers (which she dotted with Lego bricks). I would definitely recommend Cottage Country Crafts to anyone looking for a creative and excellent florist.
THE CAKE | Stephen’s brother Martin had spotted a Lego themed wedding cake on the internet and showed it to us. It was a real statement piece with real Lego bricks and figures adding a splash of colour to traditional white cake. Stephen’s mum Evelyn agreed to bake the cake and after a few trials came up with an amazing three tier (chocolate biscuit, lemon and chocolate sponge) cake complete with Lego builders and bakers! For the cake topper, my brother William made awesome clay models of us complete with our dogs, my shotgun and the steering wheel of my car (which Stephen had recently ‘bumped’!). I keep telling my brother that he should make cake toppers for a living as it adds a lovely personal touch, really bringing out our interests and personalities.
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | We came across Honey and the Moon while browsing the Quirky Wedding Book and loved their style. They’re able to take amazing and unique portrait photos while also capturing excellent casual shots throughout the day. They also have a knack for shooting in some unique locations (we particularly enjoyed shots of a bride and groom around the Titanic Quarter in Belfast) which was ideal for us as we had decided to have our portrait pictures taken at the Ulster Aviation Society. Stephen volunteers there with a team of aircraft enthusiasts who spend their weekends restoring old aeroplanes. The hangars made for an alternative photoshoot venue and Jess and Carolyn worked wonders with the lightning and backgrounds to create an amazing set of wedding photos. We couldn’t be happier with the result!
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | Sticking with the Lego theme we found you could make a simple heart shape form two bricks so ordered a huge batch of them in red from Bricklink.com. We used these hearts as the centrepiece of all our stationery; Save the Dates, Invites, Orders of Service etc. We also bulk-bought Lego mini figures to serve as name tags, and favours, for every guest. For the top table we custom made figures for each person, which they got to take home and keep! For the centrepiece to each table we placed a Kilner Jar of random Lego bricks, hoping that guests would actually play with them! We were delighted when a competition broke out between two tables over who could build the biggest tower! The flowers from the ceremony were also moved into the dining room to complete the décor. The ability of the guests to play with the decorations made the dinner feel very relaxed and fun and everyone had a great time (except maybe the waiting staff who had to battle through scattered Lego to get the food served!)
THE HONEYMOON | This is the point when we are supposed to say – we went for 2 weeks to the sun, but that wouldn’t be us. Instead we opted for a 5 day city break in Berlin with two days in a tropical rain forest paradise. We had the best of both worlds sight-seeing in Berlin and relaxing in the climate controlled Tropic Island Resort, 50min outside of the city, complete with spa, sun, sea, lagoon and ballooning! You really need to check this place out although 2 days would be the perfect break there.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | Wedding Rings. We came across Ember Jewellery in the Quirky Wedding Book and loved the idea of making our own rings. After speaking to Cyril to price the rings we decided to go for it! He booked us in for Valentine’s Day and we spent an awesome morning crafting our own rings followed by dinner out in Belfast that night which was included. Cyril was extremely helpful and easy to work with and it was great to add a whole new experience into our wedding planning. It also allowed us to personalise our rings; I opted to add both out birthstones to mine and it came out perfect!
Minister Fred Cowan. Our minister, Fred Cowan, delivered a hilarious but also very personal ceremony. Our guests laughed and cried the whole way through the service. Fred has also married our friends Sara (who was maid of honour) and Dan the eyar before, making his service even more personal.
Stephen playing with our wedding band. ‘Hidden Agenda’ were recommended by Stephen’s drum tutor Alan (who also plays for them!) and after going to see them play in Cutters Wharf in Belfast we booked them for the wedding. We gave them free reign to play what they wanted after ‘Shining Light’ for our first dance. They played an excellent set of songs you’d rarely hear at a wedding and all our friends loved them. Stephen joined them on the drums for a couple of songs, the highlight being “Teenage Kicks”!
Dessert! Old Barn Catering Company catered for our wedding and although all the food was fantastic the Ferro Roche Crème Brulee needs its own mention. I couldn’t thank Old Barn enough, they were so attentive from when we booked them right up to the wedding dinner and evening BBQ. They were fantastic and I would definitely recommend them for weddings.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Be yourselves and don’t feel any pressure to follow ‘tradition.’ There are a huge variety of wedding suppliers from unique venues, cars, music etc. so take the time to find the suppliers that feel right for you. We mixed traditional wedding ideas with our own ideas and personalities and had a fantastic day we’ll never forget. Also enjoy it all from the planning to the day itself it goes so quick and try not to worry about it too much just have fun!
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photographers | Honey and the Moon Photography
Venue | Riverdale Barn
Minister | Reverend Fred Cowan – [email protected]
Rings | Ember Jewellery
Catering | Old Barn
Suits | White Stuff
Dresses | Divinity Bridal, Lisburn
Music | Alyson McDowell
Flowers | Cottage Crafts & Flowers
Cars | Unity Wedding Cars
Hair | Vintage Rocks
Make up | Emma Hanna
Such a fun-loving, happy celebration.
Many thanks to Kirsty and Stephen for sharing their amazing nuptials here today xo Lou