An Orla Kiely Bride for A Fuss Free Pub Wedding

orla kiely bride wedding dress

Sarah and Chris are my kind of couple, which i guess makes them a Whimsical Wonderland Weddings kind of couple ;-)

In all seriousness these two are cool… in every way.

Sarah and Chris were married in May at their local registry office followed by a reception at their friend’s pub the King Street Tavern. They wanted their day to be as relaxed and enjoyable as possible, without any stress or fuss, and they kept to a budget of £3000.

Sarah wears the cutest Orla Kiely ‘Big Bird’ dress, i adore her statement beehive too, she looks amazing. Chris went for a Topshop suit, with vintage accessories and i totally covet his look.

Thanks so very much to the amazing Simon J Coulson for sharing his incredible photography with us today.


Names…. Sarah and Chris

Wedding Date…. 5th May 2012

The Proposal…. On February 29th 2008 just after we’d collected the keys for the flat we had just bought together we went for dinner and got a bit tipsy…  due to it being leap year I (Sarah) semi-jokingly proposed, so the seed was planted, and then in 2011 we decided that 2012 was the year to be married.

The Vision for the day…. Just for it to be as relaxed and enjoyable as possible, and a lovely day with family and friends without the stress and fuss of a traditional style wedding.

The Planning process…. We both decided that it should be a registry office service for family only, followed by a party for both family and friends as a) we aren’t religious in any way so a church was out of the question, b) we both felt quite nervous about getting married in front of large amount of people and c) there wasn’t enough space for everyone at the registry office anyway! We booked the registry office first, and due to limited time slots on a Saturday decided on a 12pm service so that we could then have the reception straight after during the afternoon  / early evening.  This was in order to ensure friends and family who have young kids or live outside of Portsmouth (i.e. everyone on my side) could attend and then go home at a decent time to get the kids to bed / not have to be travelling until late / go back to hotels at their leisure.  We always had it in mind that we wanted to hire Chris’s friend Sam’s pub for our party, and luckily the pub is closed on Saturday afternoons after lunch so we went to see Sam and gave him our requirements and it all fell into place from there…

Budget…. approx. £3000 for the wedding / outfits / rings / décor and a further £2500 for the honeymoon.

The Venue… Portsmouth Registry Office followed by a party at the King Street Tavern in Southsea ( who closed at lunchtime that day especially for us.

The Dress + Accessories….. Orla Kiely sleeveless‘Big Bird’ dress, John Lewis ‘Mariette Corsage’ navy court shoes, Monsoon white angora shrug, ‘Judy’ necklace made by Elin Horgan (, silver hoop earrings and bespoke silver bark effect wedding rings made by Atelier in Ryde, Isle of Wight (  Hair done in a beehive style at Hair Ott in Portsmouth ( with vintage silver bird clips from Not On The High Street (

Finding the dress…. I really didn’t want a traditional style wedding dress and found a beautiful sleeveless Orla Kiely dress in teal silk wool with a ‘big bird’ style pattern just before Christmas 2011 on the Orla Kiely website.  That week, I found the same dress brand new in her size on Ebay listed at a quarter of the price that it was on the Orla Kiely website and managed to win the auction – such a stroke of luck!

Groom’s attire… Top Man heritage slim cut suit in brown, cream vintage shirt, striped vintage tie with fox tie pin and brown vintage Churcher shoes.

The Readings + Music…. Just your standard registry office vows.  The music was very important to us as we met through a mutual love of the band Cardiacs, so we chose the first and last tracks from an unreleased album by the Cardiacs offshoot Sea Nymphs, the first ‘new’ Cardiacs music we ever heard together when we met in 2006.

The Flowers… Sarah didn’t carry any flowers, but in the pub we had about 30 different sized vases (from Ikea) of purple, red, pink and white anemones, and orange, yellow, and white roses, which Sarah and her Mum had bought and arranged the day before.

The Cake… Large selection of cupcakes with a cute set of Sarah, Chris and Judy the dog peg doll cake toppers made by Knottingwood who Sarah found on Etsy (

Your Photographer…. Simon J Coulson ( – an old friend of Chris who gave us a bargain on the price and delivered some stunning photos.

The Details + Decor…. After the service and photos with the family at the registry office we went straight to the pub, where most of our friends had already arrived which was fab!  The pub is beautiful in itself, but the staff laid out the vases of flowers both inside the pub and in the back garden and they looked lovely. We had asked for Bucks Fizz and canapés to be served upon arrival; the canapes were gorgeous mini roast beef & horseradish yorkshire puddings, smoked salmon and crème fraiche blinis and chocolate dipped strawberries, olives, breadsticks, crisps, dips and sweets for the kids were laid out on the bar.  We had also put some money behind the bar for drinks so that sent everyone on their merry way following the Bucks Fizz, and food was served about an 1 ½ hours in – we had asked for an ‘afternoon tea’ style buffet so had sandwiches, cold meat and cheese platters, crackers, bread, quiches, salad, crisps etc laid out as well as the cupcakes. All food was handmade on the premises by the King Street Tavern.  Music-wise we selected a playlist of 1950’s tunes served up by our Spotify subscription via our iPad!

The Honeymoon…. 11 nights in Thailand, we left the day after the wedding and had 4 nights in Bangkok at the Shangri-La and 7 nights in Hua Hin at the Hyatt Regency.  In hindsight it was quite stressful preparing for both at the same time!

Memorable moments… Seeing everyone we love all together in the same place at the same time and talking to each other… normally you go to the pub and only know a couple of people there, it was a strange but amazing feeling to know everyone! Also everyone said that they had a great time because it was so relaxed and low key with no stress or fuss, just lots of people having a nice afternoon down the pub… so it would appear that we achieved what we had set out to! Also when our friends turned up with our dog Judy, it was like a rock star had entered the room, there was absolute chaos with kids everywhere trying to stroke and play with her whilst all she was bothered about was the buffet!

Advice for other couples… Stay focused on having the type of wedding you really want and don’t let anyone divert your attention from that.  Luckily we have got great families who didn’t dream of telling us what they thought we should do but we were very specific about exactly what we wanted.  We were also very firm on our requirements with the pub.  Also see where you can cut costs without compromising quality – the flowers and vases cost £60 which was a fraction of what it would have cost to get wedding flowers from the florist, and we also cut costs elsewhere which meant we could spend more on food / drink in the pub.  4 weeks on there is nothing I would have done differently, apart from to try and be more relaxed in the run up to the wedding…!

Credit where credit’s due…

Pub and food – King Street Tavern (

Photographer – Simon J Coulson (

Flowers – Commercial Road Market in Portsmouth for the roses and Ron White greengrocers in Southsea for the anemones, Ikea for the vases

Cake topper – Knottingwood (



Lessons to be learnt from Sarah and Chris’ wedding? you don’t need to worry about rain, you don’t need worry about details, you don’t need worry about traditions. I think this is just the type of day i want for G and I. Perfect.

Thanks so so much for sharing your beautiful day with us you two XOXO Lou


More from Louise Baltruschat Hollis

The WWW Intern Opportunity

  It’s almost WWW’s fifth birthday, I can’t even believe it. In...
Read More


  • This is what I love about http://www... so many wedding mags (and even some websites) push very fancy, expensive weddings and announce what things ‘should’ have and ‘should’ cost (often much more than the average bride can/needs to pay).

    Actually, what you NEED to make a wedding special is a loving couple, friends and family, and PERSONALITY. This wedding has that in bucketloads, and how lovely and refreshing it is to see!

  • Wow this looks perfect to me, its exactly what we’re doing, with a few extra little twists :D

  • aw thanks so much girls, @perdita that comment is so lovely :-)

    @Hayley your wedding is going to be amazing!!! :-)) xx

  • Wow, how totally and utterly refreshing – what a beautiful wedding full of all the right ingredients – a couple in love, family, friends and celebration. Who needs all the faff? More weddings like this please! LOVE! (PS Amazing dress!)

  • Hi everyone, thanks for all your kind words and especially thanks to you lovely Lou for featuring us and bigging up our wedding! We did have a really lovely time and so did our friends and family, which was really important to us. It seems like such a long time ago now (even though it’s not!!), but seeing the pics and comments on here has been fab! XXXXX

  • Absolutely perfect , the couple look so much in LOVE and thats what its all about . Now you have made me feel so at ease about our own wedding day and focus what matters most, family , wonderful friends .
    Have a wonderful life together xxx

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *