Her offbeat partner: Wayne, Residential Caretaker & Landscape Gardener
Location & date of wedding: Southwark Registry Office (ceremony) & Le Piaf (reception) on September 5th, 2008 in London, England
What made our wedding offbeat: The one single thing that really made our wedding offbeat (aside from the bride and groom) was the guests. We were very particular about who we invited. We only invited people who we were very fond of and who primarily (regardless of how they look) think outside of the box.
Most of our friends and colleagues live an alternative lifestyle. We had the reception at a very small cozy restaurant which allowed the guests to mingle and everyone got along really well. We had a cocktail and canapes hour where we played lounge music and then the restaurant put on a dinner buffet that they staggered throughout the night. There was no sit down dinner and no designated seats and no order to the evening… everything just sort of unfolded in a perfectly organic way.
Another thing that made our wedding very offbeat was the music. We hired a popular DJ who runs a bunch of Rockabilly and Psychobilly clubs in London. We gave him our playlist which consisted of old punk, rockabilly, psychobilly, ska, old school goth, some obscure 80s stuff, as well as oldies from the 50s and some big band swing.
Absolutely NO ONE complained about the music…in fact we got so many guests complimenting us on our music, saying how much they dread 'conventional' wedding music. Doing something different is refreshing and the guests will thank you for it!
I was also adamant about keeping it simple and as waste-free as possible. I used all local vendors ONLY and I made all the dresses and headpieces as well as the invitations, save the date cards and thank you cards… plus I made all the decorations myself which were made from either paper or glass and were recycled after we used them. The balloons were not released into the sky and will be recycled.
Even the leftover food didn't go to waste. We sent leftover cupcakes home with guests and put leftover food from the buffet in our fridge and ate it the next two days for dinner! We didn't have a honeymoon. Instead we went to see the X-Ray Spex the next night and then The Stray Cats a few nights after that. We just stayed home and enjoyed being newly married… and not having to work!
Our biggest challenge: Besides sticking to our budget (which was impossible and I gave up in the end) we had two big challenges. The first was the guest list. Wayne and I insisted that the day be relaxed and fun and because the wedding was so small and intimate we only wanted sincere well-wishers to be there with us. This meant that some family and friends had to be excluded. It caused a lot of problems and people tried very hard to change our minds but we stuck to our guns and the results were well worth it. Our wedding was full of seriously loved-up guests… it was lovely!
I also had some problems with the restaurant where we had the reception. It's a perfect place and they do excellent food, but because they have never done a wedding before they didn't really know what to do. I had to work REALLY hard to get them to do exactly what I wanted. I was constantly chasing them up and I even had to write up my own contract and physically go there and have them sign it. I even had to design my own buffet menu (which was fun) and micro-manage everything down to making sure the bathrooms were clean and stocked up. They provided such an amazing spread of food and the service was impeccable though… so it was worth it.
My favorite moment: It was a very emotional ceremony and I remember a room full of big tough punk guys all sniffling into tissues. Wayne cried during the ceremony as well which was very moving.
And the car… oh my gawd… the car. We had a 1951 cherry red Cadillac… her name was Candy. It was amazing driving through the grotty, musty old London streets in this huge, bright, happy, American bomb of a car. We stood out like sore thumbs… everyone was staring at us… it was brilliant!
My offbeat advice: Consider having your reception at a restaurant or gastro-pub. It's a really good way to save money because they usually don't charge you a hire fee for the venue. They make money on the food and booze for your guests and will often close the entire restaurant for you. The food is way better coming from a restaurant as well. I always find that weddings that are held at 'typical' wedding places like hotels or castles etc. have such average/blah food and you pay an absolute fortune for it.
Choose a restaurant that has really cool decor, then you won't have to spend a fortune on flowers and fluff to decorate your reception. The restaurant where we had ours is like an art gallery… the walls are encrusted with paintings and it has lovely wood floors and antique French doors leading outside. We only needed a few balloons and ribbons to spruce it up a bit. It was that simple.
Also…have a cupcake tower! You won't have to pay the venue extra to cut the cake into portions for you, your guests can help themselves and you can easily store (or give away) any leftovers. Also and more importantly, you don't need to be a pro to make cupcakes… anyone can do them, whereas NOT everyone can make a decent wedding cake. If you can't afford a wedding cake make some cupcakes and hire or rent a stand (or buy one on Ebay). It's so easy and inexpensive and they look cool as well! Yum… I wish I had some cupcakes right now!
Enough talk — show me that wedding porn: Click on the picture below to see pictures from Gina Lee & Wayne's Rockabilly 1950s London Love-Fest Wedding!