By Louise Baltruschat Hollis
Photos by Anna Pumer Photography
What an awesome alternative goth wedding I have to share with you! It’s Lauren and Niki’s epic non-traditional day which is jammed-packed with personality.
Lauren and Niki’s wedding journey started with a proposal in Transylvania on Halloween, outside of the Black Church. Doesn’t that sound just amazing? From there they planned a day true to them with no table plan, no matching bridesmaid dresses or any kind of dress code.
Instead, they created a fun and relaxed day at The Unthank Arms pub in Norwich. They had simple decor to reduce waste teamed with gorgeous natural flowers. Then there were the amazing black outfits they both rocked. Oh and look out for cute cats! Stunning.
Anna Pumer Photography, thank you ever so much for sharing your amazing images with us.
We aren’t a typical couple, and we both knew if we were ever going to get married, we wouldn’t want to do things the way everyone else does and we like a lot of spooky stuff.
So Niki proposed to me on Halloween, in Transylvania, outside the church in Brasov called the Black Church (he had been planning to ask while we were at Bran Castle – Dracula’s Castle – but there were too many school children running around!).
He had bought an emergency ring the day before we left for our trip as the one he had chosen hadn’t arrived! We celebrated with beers in the local rock club.
We started with what we didn’t want – as we really had no idea what our wedding might look like, not really being wedding people – and worked from there to find what we did want!
We had no seating plan, no matching bridesmaids or dress code. We wanted a relaxed, fun atmosphere, but mostly we wanted it to be ‘us’, for people to have enjoyed coming and to have had a good time. We didn’t realise how much our guests would need a good time by the time our wedding day actually happened!
We did keep a record but after two cancellations and a venue change due to covid, we gave up! It was a low budget as far as weddings go.
We initially had a venue by the sea in Kent, but with the pandemic, our wedding got postponed, then cancelled, then rearranged.
Then we moved back to Norwich and discovered our lovely local pub The Unthank Arms did weddings. They said ‘yes’ to everything we asked, didn’t charge extras, didn’t question it when Niki tested the speakers with some Rob Zombie, and our organiser Libby was so amazing (she even wore black on our day!).
The food was great and the staff were beyond lovely and helpful. The beer garden welcomed dogs and inside was a traditional pub with local beers.
I knew I wanted a black dress, something I might wear again as I hate waste, and one of my best women found one online that was perfect.
I had Irregular Choice shoes, a Vide Noir corset belt and Bibian Blue lace bolero to add some drama. My godmother gave me a Victorian mourning bracelet and my necklace said ‘Til Death’ from Rune & Raven.
My hair and makeup were done by Demi Lock, who really made me feel comfortable as she’s an alternative chick herself and didn’t try to make me look like everyone else!
Niki wanted to be comfortable (and did not want to wear a suit). He wore black jean flares, black high-tops from EMP, a second-hand bolero tie with a silver buffalo skull clasp, a black shirt and a velvet jacket he had tailored by Hockerty. He had a touch of colour with bright yellow socks with cacti on them (which were also a reference to an in-joke between him and his band)!
The day before our ‘official’ ceremony we had a hand-fasting on a nearby beach, just Niki and I, our friend Row officiating, then went to the pub for pre-Big-Day drinks!
The following day we got married at the registry office in Norwich Castle, and everyone got on a Norwich City Tour bus afterwards to take us to the pub!
I made my entrance to Danny Elfman’s ‘Ice Dance’ from Edward Scissorhands, we walked out to Clutch’s ‘In Walks Barbarella’ which no one heard because everyone was cheering so loudly!
We booked Anna Pumer when we lived back in Kent, we wanted someone who would understand the kind of wedding we were having (and who loved cats). She was wonderful through all the lockdown cancellations and agreed to make the journey to Norwich when we moved! The photos were amazing, we were very glad to have decided to spend the money on a pro!
There was no theme really, just a natural vibe. The brides mum decorated the pub with her own greenery from Christmas decorations, electric candles and fairylights.
The garden had black and white paper decorations that could be used again. We didn’t have signs saying ‘welcome to our wedding’ etc as we didn’t want anything that would be single-use then thrown away.
We printed our own programs which had a quiz about us on them, and used our first wedding date’s beer-mat invitations as table decorations!
Flowers were a gift from our friend Philippa at P.S. Floristry – she made the bride’s bouquet as a flat coffin-style spray and a handful of buttonholes – and the table vases were donated to the pub afterwards.
Our cake was another gift from a friend – Carly at Agents of Cake – with black icing, lace trim and different flavours in each of the four tiers. A sculptor friend Nickie made mini versions of our two cats to sit on the cake.
We’re planning our trip to Mexico as we speak! We’re going to Mexico City for Day of the Dead celebrations and hopefully we’ll see some temples, haunted houses and bat caves. We also might squeeze in a beachside cocktail or two.
The night before we sent family to the wrong pub (twice!) and they had to be rescued by friends of ours they’d never met before as we tried to describe them over the phone (‘there should be a lady there with bright red hair, she’ll get you to the right place’!)
The tour bus was great fun, photos in the Plantation Gardens, the pets that joined us throughout the day. Also, every single speech made the groom cry, including his own. But one of our personal highlights was after the ceremony, when we snuck off to another local pub for a beer just the two of us, before heading to the reception to meet all our guests.
Do whatever you want, it’s your wedding and anyone who doesn’t like it doesn’t have to come! It will soon be clear who loves you and wants to celebrate you, rather than just expect an invitation.
Lauren and Niki, thank you both so much for sharing your alternative goth wedding story.
Credit where credit is due
Photographer Anna Pumer Photography
Venue & Food The Unthank Arms
Florist P.S. Floristry
Cake Agents of Cake
High Tops EMP
Lace Bolero Bibian Blue
Dress PinUp Girl Clothing
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