WWW readers Tom and Rachel were married in June at an amazing 1930’s cinema, The Little Theatre Cinema, Bath. They wanted their wedding to be a relaxed, simple and colourful celebration.
“WWW was a real inspiration, particularly for all the DIY things people did. Not only did it give me inspiration but it also allowed me to set boundaries and identify what was important to us to have in the wedding. It is great to share ideas and know how people went about planning their weddings and I hope people take inspiration from mine and Tom’s day.”
Isn’t that amazing!! Thanks so much Rachel :-)
Everything they made or purchased for their wedding that wanted to be able to reuse again, such a wonderful ethos. Rachel went for a 1950s inspired dress from Vivien of Holloway with colour pop blue shoes and a 1950s style coat and bright umbrella finish off her gorgeous look. I love Tom’s Ben Sherman navy blue suit with floral Liberty shirt, he looks very dapper indeed.
I love that the music throughout the wedding were film soundtracks, a wonderful nod to the cinema ceremony location. The pie wedding breakfast is genius and the reception hall looks super beautiful kitted out with DIY details galore.
Thanks so much to the amazing Ellie Gillard for sharing her photographs with us today.
Names…. Tom and Rachel
Wedding Date…. 23 June 2012
The Proposal…. Tom: In September 2010, we discussed and agreed that we wanted to take the next step and get married. We chose an engagement ring from a North London jewellers later that month – we had to wait 6 weeks (or as Rachel says, SIX WEEKS!!!) before we could pick the ring up, which I did in November 2010.
I chose Friday 19th November to pop the question and cooked Rachel a special meal at home in Vauxhall. At an appropriate moment after dessert, I got down on one knee!
Rachel had been very impatient waiting for the ring, and I barely had the chance to get the words out before she answered yes… we quickly ensured that the champagne flowed!
The Vision for the day…. Relaxed, simple, colourful celebration. We didn’t want a day that felt too fussy, formal and constrained – we had children of all ages attending and we very much wanted them to feel a part of the day and relaxed too. We also wanted to have full flexibility on what we could do and which suppliers we could use. Our aim was that everything we made or purchased could be kept and reused again – we were fairly successful with this ethos.
The Planning process…. We ended up having 18 months to plan, as we had family and friends who needed to cross an ocean or two to attend. This is a blessing and hindrance – the more time you have, the more you can scour the internet for ideas and things to make and purchase. The hardest thing for us was to choose the venue; once we had done this, the rest fell into place.
Budget…. At first we significantly underestimated how much it would cost when you say the ‘W’ word… but we were really pleased when the wedding came in at £10,000 and as mentioned before, many things will be used again. Our biggest cost by far was the catering and we did limit the number of courses (for example our cake was the dessert) but we wouldn’t have changed a thing, it was worth every penny!
The Venue… Our search focused in the west of the country where the main choice was stately homes, with high hire costs and restrictions of use and choice of suppliers. We wanted something different and when we happened to come across The Little Theatre Cinema, Bath, it was love at first sight!
The 1930’s cinema is located in the centre of Bath, in a gorgeous courtyard, hidden away from the main streets.
We chose Screen 1 to get married in as it had a stage, so everyone could see us (this greatly pleased Tom) and as there were spot lights, this created a little bubble for Tom and I (which greatly pleased me, as I didn’t want to know 60 pair of eyes were looking at me!)
The next thing to do was to find a place for the reception. With Bath being such a small place, there wasn’t a huge amount of choice, at a reasonable price, so when we came across New Oriel Hall, Larkhall, we couldn’t believe our luck. Not only had we found a venue that matched our vision, but our money would go towards ensuring a village hall could remain open for the local community.
As parking is a no no in and around Bath, we decided that the only way we could have the wedding we wanted was to put on transport for everyone and for this there was only one choice, a big red Routmaster bus-a little nod to our life together in London.
The Dress + Accessories….. The dress was a 1950’s style sateen circle dress. The perfect shape for my curves and something I could wear again without it screaming wedding dress. The sateen fabric was soft with a high thread count, woven like satin but without the shine and draped amazingly!
With such a simple dress, it really allowed the accessories to shine. The very first accessory purchased was a pair of turquoise shoes with bright pink heels and trims with a pink accent jewel.
For my headpiece I wanted something that was vintage inspired but quite modern, crisp and clean – I was lucky enough to come across Monique who managed to interpret my vague description into something that is very me! A true talent!
Being allergic to flowers meant I needed to find something else – I was really taken with button bouquets but didn’t have the time to make one or the money to buy one. My mum suggested a corsage but I wasn’t taken with the silk flowers at all – too frilly. However, this sparked memories of a trip to Japan and the Kanzashi flowers they wear in their hair on their wedding days, and so I asked Monique if she could make me a corsage with this style of flowers. Again, she got it spot on!
Etsy became my new best friend-if you look hard, you can find what you are looking for. For me this was a turquoise and white Japanese glass bead necklace, a 1950’s vintage clutch bag, a turquoise belt and two brooches, one of which made its way to my headpiece.
As the months went on, it became clear that the British weather would be its usual changeable self, and so I went to purchase a 1950 style coat and a turquoise and pink umbrella to finish off my outfit.
Finding the dress…. This was easy, one shop – Vivien of Holloway, three dresses tried on and one chosen for purchase and all of this about two weeks after getting engaged. The dress cost me £80, and after my mum gave the dress a hand wash and a press, you wouldn’t have known that the dress was such a bargain.
Groom’s attire… It took Tom a lot longer to look at suits, and it took a trip to Liverpool and Debenhams in the New Year sales to get him to look. The first suit tried on was the one for Tom. The brief was to match the colours and be able to wear it again for work. Tom walked out with a slim fitting Ben Sherman navy blue with thin turquoise stripped suit.
This was paired with a Liberty shirt, a navy waistcoat and tie.
The Readings + Music…. As our ceremony was taking place in a cinema, we tried to make the most of this. We didn’t have any readings, but we did make our own short film about how we met and what got us to here, using powerpoint and dvd conversion software. Somehow we managed to keep this a surprise for everyone.
All the music we used was from film soundtracks. Guests arrived to PM Love Theme from Love Actually. The classic Pearl and Dean theme announced the beginning of our film, and the Romeo and Juliet Love Theme, from the 1968 film version, accompanied the film images. I walked down the aisle to La Valse d’Amélie from Amélie (my favourite film!) During signing the register we had It had to be you, from When Harry Met Sally, Higher and higher from Ghostbusters 2 and Lovely Day from 127 hours. We walked out to Love is in the Air from Strictly Ballroom.
Beautiful bridesmaids….. I didn’t have any bridesmaids, but I did have a best woman Jenn – someone to keep me calm! Jenn wore a gorgeous dress from Oasis. I saved Jenn from having to walk down the aisle before me (although she would have happily done that if I had asked!).
The Caterers… The catering can be the largest expense of the wedding. We knew we didn’t want the usual wedding food. So we looked at hog roasts and different style of buffets but somehow it just didn’t feel quite right for us. We both love pies, and we knew Pieminister were local to the area, so we decided to check out if they did weddings, which to our pleasant surprise they did. It then became a very easy decision-they just had to cater our wedding. Everyone loves a pie and it is a relaxed, hearty and homely meal, just what we wanted our wedding to be.
The Cake… We were lucky to have a friend of Tom’s family who had recently discovered their talent for cake making and offered to do our wedding cakes. We decided to go for brownies, mine and Tom’s favourite dessert! The top table had a large heart shaped brownie cake topped with ganache, chocolate shavings and fresh strawberries and raspberries, encased with chocolate cigarillos – delicious!
For the adult guests we had heart shaped brownies served with fresh fruit and coulis and our little guests had chocolate fairy cakes in pink or turquoise cases.
The choice of cake toppers are extensive nowadays and after many hours of searching (and drooling a little after paper figures) we plumped for an acrylic topper spelling out ‘DrMrs’ from an American seller on Etsy.
Your Photographer…. Our photographer was Ellie, and she was an absolute find! Ellie gave us an engagement shoot, which Tom and I used to capture memories of our first few dates. We turned three of these photos into film posters which were displayed at the cinema and we put a further two photos on to canvas, and put these on display in the hall.
Ellie was great. Really attentive and reassuring before the wedding, making sure she knew which photos we definitely wanted and what style of pictures we wanted-informal and that captured the day. Neither Tom nor I had any doubts that Ellie would be able to take and create amazing photos of our day. On the day, Ellie barely stopped to eat, and stayed until our first dance, even though we overran by at least an hour. We couldn’t have asked for anything more.
The Details + Decor…. When it came to decorating the cinema, we actually paid little attention to this really. We decided on white balloons in bunches of three but where these would be placed we left it to the cinema’s wedding planner Thomas to decide and he did an amazing job. The balloons lined the aisle, whilst battery operated tealights lined the stage (they work really well) and bay trees flanked the steps to the stage.
The hall was our main focus and Martha Stewart was a great inspiration for some ideas – the table scattering paper (paper lace hearts and butterflies in a variety of colours) and the table place name mats.
Paper lace bunting graced the upper regions of the hall, and wall hanging decorations around the edges-these were fragrant, so whilst we didn’t have any flowers, we were able to get some scent floating in the air.
For our seating plan, we purchased a photograph box and interspersed a seating card for each person in between photos of Tom and I and other family members’ wedding pictures.
Pinned to the front of the top table were canal boat crew badges, purchased from the museum I work in – I was Miss-Chief, Tom was General Dogsbody (at his own choice!). Jenn was pleased to be known as a Mutineer for the day.
For the table names we used the names of all the songs used during the ceremony and created a mini quiz for the adults to do (matching the song titles to the films). As we had 8 tables but only 7 songs, we chose an appropriate titled song from another film – You’re the Best from Karate Kid.
For the children we printed DIY colouring books (kindly supplied for free on line by other DIY brides) and packs of crayons and playing cards.
We printed, cut out and put together our own favour boxes (for the men and women we got another freebie from the internet; for the children we put together gingerbread houses – a design we bought online). We made our own no baking fudge – a Lorraine Pascale recipe. Delicious.
The Honeymoon…. We were lucky enough to be given the use of the family holiday home in Broadhaven, Pembrokeshire. Very much a home from home. We decided to take a low key break as the year had been very challenging for a number of reasons, and it was exactly what we needed and it didn’t require much organising either. We are now contemplating doing a big trip (hopefully around the world) next year.
Memorable moments… For Tom (as I wasn’t there!) one memorable moment was the reaction from our wedding guests to the film we made. I particularly enjoyed riding the bus through the steep hills of Bath. A complete surprise for both us, and one we will remember, was the showering of confetti in the cinema from the balcony as we walked out as husband and wife! Dancing at your own wedding is so much fun, and Tom and I were determined to do that. Our third song was You can Call me Al by Paul Simon, which got everyone on the dancefloor.
Advice for other couples… Ultimately ensure you enjoy the day, it really does go by quickly. It is so easy to get carried away and be slightly envious of all the things you could have had if you had a little more time/skill/money- but whatever you do, it will be great, because you have chosen it for yourself and that is all that matters. Tom and I were very lucky because we didn’t have demanding parents or friends but we did make the sensible approach of deciding what we wanted to do before telling anyone else-this way their influence and demands were more controlled. People just want reassurance that you have considered everything (although that is nigh on impossible and remember you can’t please everyone, so ensure you please yourself!)
Credit where credit is due…
Bus Hire: http://www.bathbuscompany.com/
Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/ (for various accessories and the cake topper)
Tom’s shirt: http://www.liberty.co.uk/
Folksy: http://folksy.com/ (for the children’s gingerbread house template)
Free children’s activity book: http://www.lovelyindeed.com/
Bunting and hanging wall decorations: http://www.dotcomgiftshop.com
Martha Stewart decorative hole punches: http://shop.marthastewart.com/
Wow wee, what a wonderful, colourful and quirky wedding.
Thanks so much to Tom and Rachel for sharing their story with us today XOXO Lou