Fiona & Sean's 1950s strawberries 'n' cream wedding

December 14 |

_MG_3411

The offbeat bride: Fiona, local government support officer (Tribe member)

Her offbeat partner: Sean, social housing options manager

Location & date of wedding: The Riding School, Hatfield House, Hertfordshire, UK — August 1, 2009

What made our wedding offbeat: We arrived at the venue in a 1959 pink Cadillac convertible. A good friend of ours was riding ahead on my Dad's old Harley, which was our way of representing my Dad who died four years ago. Our friend had put in such a lot of work on the bike to have it ready for the big day. It was nice and LOUD for our arrival at the quaint English stately home venue! _MG_3348

I really like 1950s retro glamour and rock and roll style so that was definitely featured.

My custom-made dress and fascinator (featuring red plastic hearts) were both made by my friend Marta. The three gorgeous bridesmaids were in different-colored polkadot dresses.

_MG_6841My brother walked me down the aisle to Johnny Cash. Friends of ours played traditional Irish music for the champagne reception.

Tables were named after our old haunts (mostly pubs/clubs in London) such as The Dublin Castle, The Electric Ballroom, The Ace Cafe, and The 100 Club.

My mum (a headteacher who also sings in a band!), Auntie (aka Decca Records' sixties pop sensation Truly Smith!) and cousin (a perfomance artist) sang special songs to us after the speeches. The rockabilly band, The Brick Lane Boogie Boys, played for the evening reception.

We had a wild after-party at a hotel, where we took over the piano and partied until they shut the bar at 5am.

_MG_3422Our biggest challenge: My one-woman struggle to organize everything and everyone over the past few months while Sean was working extremely long hours. I dealt with this by nagging Sean a lot, crying on the phone to my mum, escaping for a glass of wine at my bridesmaid's house, and then getting on with sorting everything out myself!

_MG_3408My favorite moment: Grabbing a glass of pink champagne and whisking my brand new husband off straight after the ceremony for a ride around the grounds of the venue in the pink cadillac for a perfect, private moment together and a chance to take it all in before heading back to the party.

My advice for offbeat brides: When dealing with the venue/caterers/anyone, really question everything you're not sure about and make your own suggestions that aren't on the usual list.

Work out what the key things are that are really important to you and make sure they are perfect. For me this was the band for the reception and my dress and shoes. Other things I wasn't so bothered about, like table centerpieces and menus, I just put together myself at the last minute and they were fine — not amazing, but perfectly fine.

_MG_3301If you know exactly what kind of dress you want and it isn't a typical style and, especially if you are a woman with plenty of curves like me, then find a good local dressmaker and have it custom made.

Don't even enter a standard wedding dress shop if you can possibly help it. Be cautious about attending wedding fairs — a balloon sculptor cornered me at one of those fairs and tried to convince me that my wedding would be lacking without his services. But on the other hand I met my dressmaker at one of those fairs too and she was a star.

Do a budget spreadsheet right from the beginning of the planning process, not half way through like me. I saved a lot of money by not having chair covers or canapes and no-one even noticed.

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!



  1. It was so lovely to see inside our dream venue and brilliant to have some great links to UK wedding services. Those shoes!! Gorgeous x

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  2. I am in love with those shoes, and have been ever since I first saw them. Were they comfortable? Horrible but worth it? So-so?

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    • Pretty comfy shoes but slight problem – when I wore them with the silky tights the sling back part of the shoe kept slipping down which was a bit annoying. Still worth it for me though cos they are my dream cartoon shoe.

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  3. You know, every time I think I'm OVER wanting those damn Vivienne Westwoods, I see them on OBB again and am filled with "OOOH! WANT!" I'm starting to think you guys do it on purpose. ;)

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  4. i freaking love Vivienne Westwood & Melissa shoes! this whole wedding made me squee. and the dress! oh! you're really making me want to go custom…

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  5. Your advice to other off-beat brides about questioning vendors is spot on…although I would also add that if they are not asking you lots of questions, then you have reason to be wary of them.

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  6. Oh my lord, most gorgeous wedding ever! Those bridesmaid are the most amazing ever!

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  7. Love your bridesmaid's dresses! My sister wore the red with black polka dots and black tulle for her high school senior prom (in the States). I was so jealous that I didn't think of that as well. Vivien of Holloway is perfect for curvy, large-chested women.

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  8. I truly mean this when I say it is the first time it's ever looked like the bridesmaids really loved their dresses. Your group looked fabulous and the wedding looked like so much fun! :)

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    • ah, that's so nice to hear and it's true, they really did. It was really important for me that they felt fab as well as looked gorgeous :D Thank heavens for those Vivien of Holloway dresses!

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  9. This has got to be the best name of all the weddings that have been one this site! So cute. I loved the dress btw!

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  10. I love the VoH dresses! Those are the exact dresses my ladies ordered for my wedding! So cute! Love what you did. :D

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  11. Loving the 50s style! The dresses, shoes, flowers, car, touching memory of the brides father with the motorbike, perfect LOL x

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  12. Love, love, LOVE. I'd always thought a dressmaker would be so pricey, but from everything I'm hearing, that's just not the case. Love the tea length, love the venue, love it all!

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  13. The pink cadillac is just awesome! Forget white cars for weddings. The polka dot dresses were phenomenal! I love your wedding!

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