Classic Vintage Street Party DIY Wedding

Classic Vintage Street Party Wedding

This afternoon’s wedding is oh so special, full of love, personal touches and fun!

I so love an old fashioned inspired ‘do’, which is exactly what WWW readers Rosie and Sean decided to have for when they married on the 5th July 2014.

With a vision of a classic vintage street party, you can just imagine how epic their homespun reception was.  DIY blooms, floral bridesmaid frocks, a 1950s inspired dress perfect for twirling and festoon lights were just a few of my favourite parts of this wedding.

Thanks goes to I Love Stories Photography for providing these wonderful images.


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THE PROPOSAL | After Sean asking me to marry him on about a weekly basis for about a year before in the end we just decided together the time was right and we were going to go for it. Maybe not the most romantic, but it is how we approached the whole wedding (and marriage so far!) as a partnership and a joint venture….

THE VISION | One of the reasons I think we decided the time was right was I had thought of a place for our reception that felt totally right for us, which was the 1920s church hall around the corner from our house. It now a vibrant community centre and we walk past every day with our dog on the way to the park. We loved the idea of it been close to home in Old Trafford, the area where we love living and where so many of our friends live too.

After that the original vision in my head was classic vintage street party – long tables with white cloths and wild flowers, bunting, vintage china. It just felt completely right for the venue. Then we threw in a Neil Young covers band, lots of friends DJing… we wanted a proper party.

THE PLANNING PROCESS | We had about five months which seemed likes ages to us, but shocked quite a few of our friends and colleagues. It was a bit hectic at times to pull it all together but I think we both love a challenge. It also made us make decisions and stick to them – something I am not always great at.

THE VENUE | Once we had our reception venue we started to look at where we would actually get married. We wanted somewhere special but would fit with the reception and decided on Ordsal Hall in Salford. It’s an amazing Tudor hall with beautiful lavender gardens and the ceremonies are conducted in the main hall which is just spectacular. It was restored a few years ago and is a museum too – so the guests could look round after the ceremony and drinks were served in the kitchen which looks like a Tudor kitchen. It is also meant to be haunted by a white lady – the night after our wedding there was a ghost hunt on!

THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | My dress was by Lou Lou Bridal from Look Darling on the Wirral- it’s very early 50s glam; tea length and a very full skirt. It has a lace overcoat which buttons down the front and a wide belt. I wore the lace overcoat for the ceremony and wedding breakfast and then took it off to reveal the satin, strapless dress at night. I loved the two different looks in one and it was so much fun to wear.

I was pretty minimal with my accessories. Rachel Simpson ivory peep toes shoes, and a short veil – both to keep with the 50s style of my dress. I didn’t wear any jewellery, just some pearl hair pins. Then I got an ivory belt with a bit of sparkle for my evening look.

The hair became a very important part of the styling of the wedding. My hair dresser Justin, who works out of Bannatynes Salon and Spa in Manchester, has been doing mine and my Bridesmaid Naomi’s hair for about 8 years. He came to my house and did our hair on the morning, he knows me and Naomi very well and created the most amazing vintage dos for us all. He made each of the bridesmaids and me a unique style, but they all fitted together perfectly.

Our make-up was done my the very talented Emmalene who finished off our vintage look. She did a brilliant trial for me, and spent loads of time with me really listening to what the style and theme of the wedding was going to be.

FINDING THE DRESS | I was pretty naive about buying a wedding dress, and left myself very little time with our five month planning time. Once I started looking into it I realised I had left myself very little leeway if I wanted to order a traditional dress. I spent a weekend visiting a few dress shops and then decided. I thought I would like and suit a vintage or 1950s dress so I didn’t do any traditional dress shops – I went to a couple of vintage suppliers and Look Darling which is a beautiful home studio on The Wirral. Elaine there sells short and tea-length vintage style dresses. I originally wanted a short (cocktail-length dress) but in the end my dress felt just perfect. I think it was the way it was two looks in one, and the belt that sealed it. It is unusual and Naomi my bridesmaid described it as having ‘bite’ – the belt gave it attitude.

And thankfully in the end I managed to sneak in just inside the 10 weeks ordering period…phew!

I did have a few dress wobbles – was it the right decision? would I still like it when it arrived? Should I have gone for the vintage 1920s style dress I saw? etc etc… I know this is partially my personality and always second guessing my decisions, but I imagine it could be even worse if you order further in advance and have longer to ponder on your choice. Anyway I am so glad I stuck with my decision because as soon as I had picked up the dress I knew it was the right choice and my original instinct was correct.

The final thing to say on my dress is it was altered by the brilliantly talented Amina at Stockport Wedding Services. She made it fit like a glove and is just generally brilliant. She also supplied my sparkly belt for the evening.

GROOM’S ATTIRE | Sean took about five times as long as me to pick his suit and accessories. After many hours of internet searching, visits to the shops, trying on hundreds of suits, he eventually went for a blue Hugo Boss two piece with a faint check. He said Paul Newman would never wear a waistcoat so neither was he – not sure if that is actually true, but that was his reasoning! His shirt, tie and pocket square were from Reiss and his shoes were tan Grenson Derby shoes which are very beautiful shoes.

THE READINGS & MUSIC | I walked down the Aisle to Into My Arms by Nick Cave, which we think is just the most romantic song. We signed the register to Sea of Love by Cat Power, In The Aeroplane Over the Sea by Neutral Milk Hotel and The Book of Love by The Magnetic Fields. We walked out to Something Changed by Pulp.

Our readings were one of the most special parts of the day. My brother James and Sean’s sister Toni gave our readings and were our witnesses. James read I Do Not Love You by Pablo Neruda, which he delivered with such emotion. Then Toni gave a reading Sean had written about us. It was inspired by something I said in a conversations about why we were looking forward to been married and our relationship … it is called Threads and is all of the invisible strands that bind us together.

BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | I had four bridesmaids my sister Eleanor, my friend I grew up with Sarah, my best friend from my university days (and beyond) Isobel and Naomi who I have know since my Masters course and now lives round the corner from me.

They wore Vivien’s of Holloway full skirted circle dresses – two in bright pink, two in bright blue florals. They looked ace – so vintage and fun and colourful! I also had Sarah’s daughter Ella as my flower girl.

Isobel gave a speech and was the compare for the speeches and the reception – she is an amazing public speaker and it was really important to me to have a female voice present in the speeches.

Ella ended up doing an impromptu performance at the end of the speeches. She sang ‘We Danced in the Morning’ acapella, she is an amazing singer and got a standing ovation and made lots of people cry.

THE FLOWERS | The flowers ended up been an epic venture by myself and my bridesmaid Naomi. We decided to do them ourselves. I collected and decorated jam jars with the help of friends, borrowed and sourced vintage jugs from car boots and even attempted to grow my own flowers. OK so the growing was not very successful (although I had tons of sweet peas… just a month after the wedding). Instead we went to a wholesalers and for £200 got more flowers than we knew what to do with. We did our own bouquets for me and the bridesmaids which I am still very proud of, plus loads of jam jars of flowers for the tables and big arrangements in jugs for the hall. Naomi even made a flower decoration for her baby daughter’s buggy. My grandma turned up too and got involved with the flower arranging marathon. Me and Naomi loved it so much we are now doing a floristry evening class… and have since learnt we made our button holes completely incorrectly!

THE CAKE | We had a bake off, plus my Aunty Sarah made us a traditional wedding cake (which was a total surprise). Lots of friends and family brought lovely things they had made and we hired cake stands to dish them out on.

YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | Our photographer Lynda is a friend of a friend and is relatively new to wedding photography, although has been working as a professional photographer for a long time. As soon as we spoke on the phone I knew she would get what we wanted and our style. She came and did a practice couples shot with us in the local park and around the venue. I think both me and Sean were a little nervous but she made us feel completely at ease and we loved doing the shoot. The photos she took on that day are absolutely brilliant – they completely capture us as a couple… So I knew she was going to do an excellent job with the wedding and we couldn’t have been happier with the results.

We are absolutely thrilled and so proud of the wedding photos – they are beautiful. I love loads of them but especially the shots of the ceremony. Lynda really captured the emotion of it.

Lynda also works as a documentary photographer and her experience shows – she was very subtle on the day and captured lots of unposed shots, some of which are very special such as the dancing photos. She was a pleasure to have around and was up for giving anything a go to get a great photo – such as climbing the church tower at the reception venue and shooting out of her car driving behind the wedding car!

THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | As well as the vintage china and flowers in the reception venue, we also did lots of other finishing touches – on the whole things we made ourselves or friends helped with. Sean’s sister Toni made meters and meters of bunting, Joel our Best Man is a technician and sourced all of the sounds and light equipment including lots of festoon lighting (which I had become obsessed with in the run up!). Joel and Sean made blackboards, we sourced paper cups and straws, made the name place cards …. we really got into the detail.

Sean also designed all of the wedding stationery himself, from the invitations (Neil Young themed) and thank you cards. He also designed the seating plan. We picked penguin books we like for the table names and bought the books to use on the tables. We then picked out funny or romantic quotes to use of the seating plan design.

THE HONEYMOON | We are going on a delayed big honeymoon to Malaysia and Thailand in January, so we had a short break after the wedding which in the end was incredibly special. We stayed in a yurt in the Black Mountains in Wales. It was the only guest accommodation on the farm it was located on so was very secluded and the yurt was beautiful and handmade by the family who own it. The weather was very hot that week so we swam in the stream, went for walks with our dog and sat out under the stars… it was perfect.

MEMORABLE MOMENTS | The ceremony was my favourite part of the day – it was so special and romantic and there was an amazing feeling in the hall. I had thought so much about the reception it kind of took me by surprise a bit. Aside from that just having all of our friends and families there, celebrating and dancing was amazing. I also loved travelling in the open top Lagonda with Sean after the ceremony, in beautiful sunshine with my veil flying out behind me.

ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Apart from the typical advice about making sure you take it all in because it passes so quickly I would also say it’s brilliant to hand-make things for your wedding and do it yourself as it makes it so special and personal. But I think we slightly underestimated the amount of work involved in the run up and to get the reception venue as we wanted it. So I guess my advice would be to ask for help and support as much as possible and allow enough time to also relax and rest in the run up.


Photography | Lynda –

Ceremony venue | Ordsall Hall 

Dress supplier | Look Darling

Dress alterations | Stockport Wedding Services 

Make Up | Emmalene


Wow. How fab did the Church hall look?! Gorgeous.

Thanks so so much to Rosie and Sean for sharing their amazing story, its been such a pleasure to share your day :-) XOXO Lou

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