This wedding totally made my heart sing, because these gorgeous newly-weds created a wedding all about them. The result? A colourful, dinosaur filled, rockin’ wedding party extravaganza. It was epic.
WWW readers Lauren and Peter were hitched on the 2nd of September 2016, and they held a blessing in the stunning Kirkstall Abbey ruins before hosting a reception at The Faversham in Leeds. With a background in DJing (Peter was an indie & rock DJ and they DJ’d at Glastonbury together last year) music was at the heart of their day and they asked their favourite DJs to do sets until 3am. With 300 guests in the evening you can only imagine just how memorable their evening festivities were. Back to the day time celebrations and there isn’t much not to love about their day.
Colourful blooms including a divine rainbow bouquet complete with pom pom garland, really stamped their personality. Then there was the multicoloured décor in the marquee, think pin-wheels, streamers, lanterns and glitter covered dinosaurs for good measure. The cake may just be the best thing I’ve ever seen. Layers of delicious sponge, covered with drip icing, meringues, flowers and of course… a dino topper. Awesome!
Huge thanks today goes to Bloom Weddings for sharing these vibrant images with us.
THE PROPOSAL | Peter asked Lauren if she’d like to go for an adventure on the 4th of July, we often jump into the car and go off for mini roadtrips so Lauren wasn’t suspicious. Peter suggested going to Lancaster for the day as neither of us had been there before and perhaps we could stop off at the seaside on the way.
The weather was beautiful, we ate hot dogs on the beach and rifled through the charity shops in Morecambe looking for records then headed over to Lancaster where we pulled up at Williamson Park. We walked through the park and approached a beautiful building called The Ashton Memorial, Ashton was Lauren’s maiden name. A few moments later Peter sneaked off into the woods (Lauren later found out this was because he was making a very quick call to her Dad), when he returned he got down on one knee, pulled out his late mother’s diamond and sapphire engagement ring and proposed, Lauren immediately said yes.
We then drove back to Leeds and went out for dinner at Shears Yard and cocktails on Call Lane with some of our best friends to celebrate.
THE VISION | Neither of us are very traditional people, we love music and going to festivals all over the world (Peter spent his entire twenties as a full time indie & rock DJ, we also DJ-ed together as a couple this year at Glastonbury as residents in a bar) so we knew that it was important to us that music and a party atmosphere played a big part in our day. We considered a festival themed wedding but knew quite a few people who had already done that so we started to look for other inspiration. Lauren is a bit of a design obsessive and works for a creative agency so she had very clear ideas very early on that she wanted the wedding to be bright and colourful with black and white stripes and shiny gold accents to pull all of the colours together. Apart from that we didn’t really have a theme as such until Lauren’s mum kept insisting that we needed one to pull it all together…. we tried suggesting that the theme was “music and typography and colour and stripes and gold sparkly things thrown into a big indie disco clubnight” but she wasn’t buying it… so we said that if we had to have a theme, then it was going to be dinosaurs, it started off as a bit of a joke but soon dinosaurs started cropping up all over our prep and we loved it.
As we knew that music was going to be such a big part of our day we asked our favourite DJs from our favourite club nights to be our wedding DJs and take it in turn to do sets, this meant that the dance floor was full all the way through to 3am.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | We’re not very organised, but luckily Lauren’s mum is incredibly so. She kept us on track nudging us on pulling everything together, picking up all of the boring admin bits that we kept putting off and generally being an all round amazing wedding planning superstar – if it hadn’t have been for Lauren’s mum there probably wouldn’t have been basic things like chairs at our wedding because we were too busy trying to figure out what the music selection should be.
For our invitations Lauren designed a gatefold vinyl record sleeve on Photoshop and we had it printed by a company who make records. Then we trawled charity shops for classic love/wedding related songs on 7 inch for each person ranging from Good Vibrations by The Beach Boys to White Wedding by Billy Idol.
THE VENUE | We initially found it very hard to find a venue, it was really important to us that we didn’t have the reception somewhere where they’d turn on the lights and kick everybody out at midnight, we wanted to throw the best party ever and we couldn’t do that with an early curfew so automatically that ruled out the majority of hotels and places that would let you pop up a marquee. Secondly we knew that our guestlist was going to be rather substantial, our day do guestlist stood at 130 and our evening guestlist was getting close to 300, so we needed somewhere big. We’d heard that The Faversham, a gig venue and nightclub in Leeds that we both used to go to when we were at uni had recently been renovated to become a blank canvas event space with a 4am license so we went to check it out, it was perfect, they even said that they could make us a Mexican Street Food Feast (our favourite) instead of a traditional sit down dinner.
Next we needed to figure out where to have the ceremony, we started driving around places near The Faversham trying to find somewhere and a few hours later we found ourselves in the beautiful ruins at Kirkstall Abbey. We popped into the visitors centre and asked if it was possible to have a blessing in the ruins, they said that they didn’t do a lot of weddings but that we could hire the ruins out and do what we wanted in there as long as we didn’t damage anything. It was perfect! At first our families were a little concerned that the ruins didn’t have a roof and started asking us what would happen if it rained? We realised that even in the rain, Kirkstall Abbey was what we’d been looking for, it felt so much more like “us” than a room in a hotel, so we responded with “we’ll all get wet” and booked it. We then asked the vicar from Peter’s high school in Warwick if he’d be willing to come and perform our blessing and were delighted when he agreed to drive up for it.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | Lauren studied fashion design at university so originally she’d wanted one of her course mates to make her a strapless off white wedding dress that would look like it had been dip dyed in gold sequins from the bottom upwards with sequin embellishment. She was set on it. Her mum and grandma were heartbroken at the concept of not being able to go wedding dress shopping so she agreed to go with them just to try a few on for fun… then she fell in love with the very first dress that she tried on, a fitted cream lace dress with large tulle godets at the bottom to create a fishtail effect from The Swanky Bride in Kirkburton, Huddersfield. A few days later they went back with her made of honour and bought it.
The shoes were sparkly gold Banjo shoes from the Irregular Choice store in Covent Garden.
The veil was cathedral length silk with custom beaded bracelets sewn onto the sides to keep it in place on the day instead of flying off into the wind if the weather was bad.
The headband was gold plate and pearl from The Swanky Bride.
Lauren’s something old and blue was a vintage sapphire and gold bracelet which was a wedding gift from Peter.
Both wedding rings were hand made by Dion Smith Jewellers.
GROOM’S ATTIRE | Peter’s suit and shoes were from Paul Smith. His watch and dinosaur patterned socks were also from Paul Smith and both a wedding gift from Lauren. The ties and pocket squares were from Amazon.
Handmade Sweet Designs made a picture brooch of Peter’s mother to hang from his boutonnière as a way to honour her at our wedding.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | The main reading was an original poem called Dinosaur Love by the poet Harry Baker who we had seen perform at Bestival a few times, we loved the poem so much that we asked emailed Harry (who we’d never previously spoken to) to ask if he’d be willing to come and perform it at our wedding, luckily he said yes, this was definitely one of the highlights of our day.
We also had an excerpt from 1 Corinthians 13 as a reading in the ceremony.
The bridesmaids walked down the aisle to Anyone Else But You by The Moldy Peaches from the album that we’d listened to on our road trip, the day we got engaged.
Lauren and her Dad walked down the aisle to Toothpaste Kisses by The Maccabees.
And we walked back up the aisle together to Purple Rain by Prince.
Our first dance was a combination of two of our favourite artists, an edit of Slow Show by The National (for Lauren) mixed into I Would Die 4 U by Prince (for Peter).
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | We had five bridesmaids (Anna (MOH), Katie, Charlotte, Charlotte & Louise), Lauren sent each of them a banner made of multi-coloured letters that said each of the girl’s names and “be my bridemaid?”.
It was really important to us that the girls were comfy and as they’re all different shapes and sizes, we didn’t want to force them all into the same dress when it might not suit them so we just set a brief that they could wear whatever they wanted as long as it was all sequins. The dresses that they chose were from Monsoon, Misguided, Jaques Vert & Etsy. Their cat handbags were from ASOS, Make Up by Mac at Harvey Nichols and hair by Rebel Pin Up in Leeds.
The Flower Girl’s dress was by John Rocha at Debenhams and our page boy’s dinosaur costume was handmade by his grandma.
THE FLOWERS | We found it hard to find a florist that we clicked with, we wanted big messy multi-coloured beautiful blooms that looked like they’d been scooped up and wrapped in ribbons, when we tried to explain this to a few different florists we were met with responses like “why?” which is definitely not how you get somebodies business. Lauren’s mum found a company called Flowerworks based in Pontefract and we went to go see her, she was the first person who seemed excited by our ideas and started pulling together pictures of beautiful and unusual colourful flowers and pom poms. She didn’t even flinch when we told her that we wanted her to work tiny little plastic dinosaurs into the men’s flowers. On the day the flowers were even better than we could have imagined. She made the bouquets, corsages, flowers for the Abbey and a fairy wand with flowers in it for our flower girl.
At The Faversham Lauren’s Mum and Grandma made the table flowers for the meal and set them out in gold vases we’d found at Country Baskets.
THE CAKE | Again, we knew that we didn’t want a traditional cake, neither of us really like fruit cake and the idea of a plain white iced cake seemed like it wouldn’t really fit in with our colourful party.
Lauren found Sugarcrush of Leeds on Facebook and we went to visit her, we gave her a brief that Lauren had pulled together in huge detail (so much so that she was mocked mercilessly by her colleagues when they saw it) called “Lauren & Peter’s Semi Naked, Rainbow, Dinosaur Dribble Cake” and instead of running away screaming she got very exited and started adding bigger better ideas to our own.
In the end we settled for one tier of Salted Caramel cake, one tier of Peanut Butter & Jelly Cake and one tier of Oreo cake. Each tier had three layers. The cake was half covered with frosting to give it a “semi naked” effect and then dribbled with a chocolate fudge drip. The cake was then decorated with mini meringues, colourful geometric shapes made of modelling chocolate, sprinkles, flowers and two dinosaurs on top in bride and groom outfits made by Lauren’s mum. It tasted just as good as it looked!
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | We really, really wanted photographers that worked beautifully with colour and shot in a documentary style. As soon as we found Bloom Wedding’s Facebook page we knew we’d found who we were looking for. We met up with them for a chat and clicked right away. We’re both a little socially awkward when we’re aware that somebody is taking a picture of us so we arranged to have an engagement shoot first at the seaside in Scarborough to get used to the cameras which was worth every penny and really helped us feel more comfortable in front of the camera on this big day. We couldn’t have asked for any more from Chris and Anii, they were perfect and we’re so happy that we picked them, even more so when we got over 1000 beautiful pictures back from them.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | We made our own mimosa bar at the Abbey with a range of juices, fruits and purees to pop in prosecco. Luckily there wasn’t a corkage charge at the Abbey so we were able to do whatever we wanted here.
We made the table runners out of fabric from Ikea cut to size with pinking shears to stop it from fraying.
The place settings were little rubber dinosaur toys, sprayed with gold spray paint and then dipped in glitter. We made each dinosaur a hand stamped name tag and tied it around each one of their necks.
Our table names were after records that played a big part in our relationship, we popped each record in a sleeve and placed it on a stand on each table.
We bought a load of paper lanterns and fans from Amazon and eBay, which took about 4 hours to put up the day before, but were completely worth it.
We also bought a lot of clear balloons and stuffed them with confetti and foil, made crepe paper tails and filled them with helium to fill up the ceiling of the reception venue.
We decorated our DJ booth with huge gold balloons from Hobbycraft, gold foil curtains from eBay and strips of multi-coloured crepe paper from Country Baskets.
Instead of a traditional dessert table we bought 15 dozen Krispy Kreme donuts and sprinkled them with edible gold glitter, we also made a sweet cart and hired an ice cream cart.
We wanted to make sure that people were constantly entertained at the wedding so we hired some large garden games (connect four and giant jenga) and an inflatable bouncy castle meets Twister board that went down really well with adults and children alike.
THE HONEYMOON | For the first night of our honeymoon we jumped on the train to London and went to The Gallery at Sketch in Mayfair, which is a restaurant we’d always wanted to go to, both for the beautiful décor and the current David Shrigley exhibit.
The next day we flew to Zurich and caught the scenic train across Switzerland to Zermatt, a beautiful village at the foot of The Matterhorn that doesn’t allow any cars at all into the village. We stayed at The Omnia, an amazing five star spa hotel and spent five days relaxing in the mountains eating delicious Swiss food like raclette and fondu.
After our stay in Zermatt we flew to Berlin. (We really wanted to make Berlin a part of our honeymoon as that’s where we fell in love. We’d met on the dating app Tinder and after two amazing dates Peter asked Lauren if she’d go with him to Berlin to see John Grant at The Berghain for our third date). We spent a few days in the city visiting art galleries and admiring the incredible graffiti, then we went to the music festival Lollapalooza Berlin.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | Peter said that the wedding really hit him when he was waiting for me to walk down the aisle and the song When I Go by Slow Club came on the sound system, the lyrics are about asking your best friend to marry you so you can grow old together and it was very much a “Oh, we’re really getting married” kind of moment.
We’d forgotten to choose a song to walk back up the aisle to as we were going to have a drinks reception inside the Abbey straight after the service we hadn’t really thought about “walking out” of the ceremony area. So as soon as the service had finished Peter called over to our Master Of Ceremonies to “just play anything” which filled Lauren with absolute dread because she thought that Dom would play some highly inappropriate hip hop track for a joke… luckily he popped Purple Rain by Prince on which was perfect.
Seeing our incredibly cute page boy for the first time in his little dinosaur costume was amazing! He looked absolutely adorable.
Having Harry Baker perform Dinosaur Love, especially the bit where he roared really loudly in the middle of the poem, we don’t think anybody was expecting something like that and it made everybody laugh.
Dancing for most of the evening with all of our friends to all of our favourite songs, being played by our favourite DJs. It really felt like we’d fallen through a portal to a 2006 indie disco which was exactly what we’d wanted.
The Best Men’s speech was a game where they made everybody stand up, then read a series of statements about Peter and you had to put your hands up if you thought they were true, if you got the answer wrong then you had to sit down until only one person was left.
When Peter called out my brother in the speech for nearly stopping our entire relationship before it had even begun because when I matched with Peter on Tinder my brother said that he thought he had a girlfriend, so I stopped talking to Peter for a few weeks until he proved otherwise.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Our biggest piece of advice is to do your wedding your way, there will be a lot of friends, family and suppliers who develop very strong opinions about what you should and shouldn’t have at your wedding, especially if you’re not looking to have a super traditional day but don’t let them ruin your vision. Your wedding should be a celebration of everything that you are as a couple and if that’s not a church (with a roof) or a bouquet of uniform roses or a package deal reception then don’t do that. People that really care about you will still show up and have an amazing time and the people that want to make it about them don’t have to come or be involved at all.
Also try make a conscious effort to check in with each other regularly at the wedding, hours went by when we didn’t see each other because we were both so busy talking to all of our favourite people who’d made a lot of effort to be there and dancing with everybody that we kept missing each other.
And finally invest in a great photographer, your photos are one of the only things that you keep forever from your wedding day so don’t try to cut corners on them, great photos are worth every penny. We’re so happy that we prioritised photography in our budget rather than trying to get the absolute cheapest deal and compromise on quality.
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photography | Bloom Weddings
Dress, veil and headband | The Swanky Bride
Lauren’s shoes | Irregular Choice
Pete’s suit and shoes | Paul Smith
Flowers | Flowerworks
Cake | Sugarcrush
Ceremony | Kirkstall Abbey
Reception | The Faversham
Venue set up | Rhubarb & Ginger
Balloons | Toot Sweet
Bridesmaids Cat Bags | ASOS
Flowergirl Dress | John Rocha
Spoken Word Performer | Harry Baker
Page Boy’s Dinosaur Costumer | Handmade by his grandma
Venue Decorations such as gold pom pom trees, willow hearts, ribbon chair backs, dinosaur place settings, dj booth decor and table runners | All handmade by Karen Thewliss, Shane Thewliss and Maureen Fawcett
Stationery | All designed by The Bride
Lauren and Peter, I cannot thank you both enough for sharing your amazing wedding with us here at WWW xo Lou