the ultimate DIY wedding in Brighton | uk wedding blog

facebook-profile-picture By Phoebe

Good morning all! When Hannah emailed in her wedding I had a quick scroll through the images and sent her back a ‘yes please’. It wasn’t until she filled out the questionnaire that I learnt so many amazing elements went in to this wedding. From Hannah making her own dress and veil, to Michael making the wedding cake (he is a chocolatier for ChoccyWoccyDoDah!). Adore the dahlias, and the venue is just breathtaking, they worked hard turning it in to such a incredible space. What a wedding. Have a lovely Thursday. It’s December tomorrow!!

photography | Anna Southgate 

After visiting 5 shops I finally admitted that I just needed to make my own, I am a fashion designer and found that even the few dresses I really liked needed a few tweaks to make me truly happy in them. It was quite a challenge to keep hidden in our tiny 1 bed flat but I designed and handed beaded my dress and managed to keep it hidden from Mike. I kept my shoes simple with a classic kurt ginger sandal, I wanted the dress to be the focal point of my outfit, I spent so long on it I didn’t want the shoes to steal the show!!

Brides hair accessories/veil: Initially I had wanted a full length veil but really didn’t want to cover up the back details of the dress as this was my favourite, and when looking for hair accessories I struggled to find anything that complemented the dress. So I sourced lots of trinkets and metal bits and pieces that had similar motifs to the beading on my dress and made it on a 2 hour train to a work a meeting!

I don’t normally wear much make up and Mike was terrified of not recognising me. On top of that I struggled to find a make up artist in budget that didn’t cake me in makeup. So after many tutorials and help from a wonderful and knowledgable friend I decided to do it myself and haven’t regretted this once!

The perfume:  I was after something light clean and fresh to remind me of the big day and brought an & other stories own brand perfume of orange blossoms and coriander (a lot nicer than it sounds) but actually ended up wearing my go to Gucci Bamboo to keep it very me and familiar.

Bridesmaids – I don’t have any sisters but I am lucky enough to have 5 of the best friends in the world! Sammi, Jess, Jenny, Billie and Stacy – technically my sister in law but my friend first and foremost. Most of us have been a tight group for years and I couldn’t imagine getting ready for my big day with out them! Jenny and Stacy where technically newer members of the group but now its like they have all always known each other, tbh I think its one of the nicest things to come from the wedding. Our most important people meeting each other and making new and lasting friendships. 

The bridesmaid dresses where very kindly made by my work, I wanted the dresses to express my girls – most which aren’t particularly girly and rarely wear colour. But are beautiful, sexy sassy girls and I felt the best way to do this was put them all in Navy wrap dresses which they all looked incredible in!! Accessories and shoes they all provided themselves, which helped them all still look like and express their individual selves. However one bridesmaid stole the accessories crown by wearing a gorgeous pair of Marc Jacobs shoes generously purchased for her as a gift from her girlfriend!!!

 The Spire

My favourite moment by far was our ceremony and seeing Mikes face as I walked down the aisle. It was so much better than I could of ever imagined!! Initially I really didn’t understand why our celebrant needed to meet us as much as she did and was concerned it was going to be too ‘hippy’ but she managed to deliver the most heartfelt  and fun ceremony I have been to (I am biased I know!) We also had 2 readings by my best friends – Love Monkey by Edward Monkton and He’s Not Perfect by Bob Marley. When we said our vows Mike delivered them with such sincerity and love I was completely blown away, and its a moment I will never forget. It probably helps that we wrote our vows together so they felt very personal.

Mike is one of the bespoke chocolatiers from Choccywoccydoodah so when they generously gave us a bespoke cake as our wedding present I requested it was Mike that made it – everyone would only ask and tbf I had made my own dress so it only seemed fair!! The crows where a note to his Step dad who sadly passed away a few years before, and the flowers and the foliage are just in ref to the day. We were also told about the lovely symbolism of ivy (the entertaining of lives) The cake got such a good reception, I am so proud of him all the time and it was so lovely to share with our loved ones his ridiculous talent!!

All provided by Harry Says Stationery, we didn’t want any kind of ‘theme’ but just for them to be creative and show our arty sides, Mike was against flowers so we agreed on a  painterly texture. We actually had to have 2 sets of invites as we lost our first venue 6 months before the big day! The initial invite also include a hand drawn map of the local area.

From the start we didn’t want a run of the mill wedding, we both really like disused and run down buildings – I might be mad but have always thought theres something beautiful in the decay and the way the wild flowers and weeds take a building back. This was what we wanted to achieve within the Spire, which is a disused non religious church. We spent a lot of our decoration budget on battery powered wax candles (which we managed to resell after) and plants for the terrarium’s. The ivy probably had the most impact and this was kindly donated and hacked down by friends and family, Mike and I spent most of the week before clambering around in various neighbours gardens hacking down huge bushes of it, and I wouldn’t of had it any other way.

All the food for the day was provide by Space + Thyme. Again they had only done a few weddings before but a lot of other events and where just branching into that field. However it is run by a lovely couple who run one of our favourite local pubs so we had complete trust in them. They were so incredible on the day guests are still talking about them!! We had a mix of canapés to accommodate mine and Mikes completely different tastes in food, – chicken dippers for mike and more ‘foodie’ options for me. We then had these incredible anti past platters to start, followed by bbq mains and burritos for the evening. Luckily we were allowed to supply our own bar, bulk buying all the basics from Aldi, whilst Space + Thyme provided the staff and a keg or 5 of a lovely local Pilsner lager. 

One of my bridesmaids maid this extra special by cooking up some really amazing purees for the prosecco bar and some lethal cocktails – all in the colours of the Teenage Mutant Nija Turtles (this was what Mike referred to his groomsmen as and actually gave them turtles masks as a present!)

By this point our budget was pretty much non-existent and I wanted some kind of game on the tables (as well as the place names and a favour) I had seen some cootie catcher place names on line and thought they where super cute, but Mike took this one step further and realised we could turn this into a game ‘someone on this table’ – it then included facts or a short story about someone at the table and the other guests had to try and guess who it was. It was hilarious watching each table erupt with laughter or gasps as they had to explain what had been written!!

For someone who in day to day life really isn’t fussed about clothes Mike had some very strong ideas for his look – initially threatening to grow out his then very short hair if I wouldn’t agree to his idea of a suit in the style of the Joker. Thankfully this backfired and mikes new gorgeous curls are actually his signature look and I love them!! We did find a great middle ground though with a lovely super 100 bright blue slim 3 piece suit from Moss Bros, pale jacquard slid cotton shirt from a pop up boutique in Brighton, a pale pink paisley bow tie and what definitely made the look was his beautiful 2 tone leather brogues. Also from Amazon!!! I finished the whole look off by getting him a double skeleton pocket watch and having it engraved as a wedding day present. Its the same as a wrist watch he brought me for my 21st birthday. He still insists its his favourite ever gift and wears it to every other wedding now. 

Groomsmen: were all Mikes colourful best friends and his step brother, wore the same fit suit from Moss Bros in a grey with pale pink slim ties from asos and white shirts.

I wanted to keep the flowers quite neutral, but with lots and lots of foliage with the main feature flower being the Cafe Au Lait Dahlia, my late grandad used to grow them and I just obsessed with them. We had terrariums with succulents in as centre pieces – I am just obsessed with them and thought they added a nice modern twist. Bridal bouquets, buttons holes, corsages and internal arrangements draped over the wall by the alter by Caitlin at Bloom Bar who is just wonderful and completely understood what we wanted and made it even better!!

Anna Southgate

I really can’t recommend Anna enough and rave about her to anyone that will listen. Aside from being a stunning photographer she is just such a lovely person and wonderful to have around in those sensitive moments, like when you are getting ready. She is so un-intrusive and so warm, she really cares and I think that comes through in her photos.

Determined to make the most of it we had a mini moon, to Malta and a proper honeymoon to Bali. We asked our guests for contributions towards them as memories are the most important thing for us and these contributions made things extra extra special

Upon the guests arrival and during the canapés we had Joss Peach playing hip hop, soul and reggae on the piano – whilst dressed as Rowlf from the muppets. He plays locally and always makes Mike and I smile. We aren’t from Brighton originally, we moved from Essex about 7 years ago but really wanted the be married in Brighton as its a very important place to us. With this we also wanted to share as much of Brighton as we could, and this was a little bit of our Brighton. For the evening Space + Thyme, our events and catering team, provided and incredible dj who managed to accommodate all of the music we wanted whilst dressing to fit the role of being in a church and dressing as a priest!

Our first dance was to Cream by Prince, which I realise is really quite in appropriate, but its one of the songs we  come home and dance around the living room to after a night out together, so it just felt right for us!

Make sure your wedding reflects you both and you don’t just do things because you are caught up in the hype or for other people, hopefully you are only doing this ones so no regrets, take this risk, and definitely plan as much in the pub as possible – its a lot more fun and less stressful!! 

Also if you have researched them thoroughly and trust them, I would really recommend trying to cash in on new suppliers and contacts. It really helped us keep everything in budget and luckily they were all people with lots of experience and talent but they were just branching into new fields. And lastly, enjoy it! yeah it will be stressful, yeah there will probably be tears (both happy and stressful, maybe even sad) but this is supposed to be the most magical day of your relationship so don’t let the stresses and little things. People loose their minds of the meer mention of a wedding (and sometimes not even the Bride!!) Just remember the most important thing is your partner and you and the day you are going to share together.

Where did you find inspiration? Everywhere!! Blogs, instagram, pinterest, fashion shoots, general stuff we liked? we are both creative people so just tried to immerse ourselves in it. We also visited the alternative wedding fair on Brick Lane which was brilliant!!

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