Beth & Patrick's homemade English wedding

February 20 |
Moody Marriage - Mr and Mrs Moody
Photos by David Micheal Photography

The Offbeat Bride: Beth, Operations Manager and Corsetière

Her offbeat partner: Patrick, Firmware Developer

Date and location of wedding: Layer Marney Tower, Essex, UK — October 13, 2012

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: Patrick and I got engaged and knew we wanted to get married straight away. We also knew we didn't have a huge amount of money, and we had a huge number of family and friends. We were trying to achieve a grand English wedding on a small budget. Initially we wanted a simple registry office wedding and a party in a tent in a field, but my maid of honor was working on the London Olympics and wouldn't be available to even come to my wedding until the end of September 2012. I knew I couldn't get married without her, so we put it off until October.

Moody Marriage - Beautiful Location

Changeable weather in the UK means outdoor venues aren't really much of an option, particularly in October, and with nearly 100 guests for the ceremony and another 100 coming in the evening we needed somewhere big! We both grew up in Essex and knew we wanted to get married somewhere close to "home." We wanted everything in our wedding to be significant or have a reason to be there, including the venue. I'd been to Layer Marney as a little girl to visit craft fairs, and when we went to view it for the wedding we knew it was just perfect for us: full of history and beautiful.

Moody Marriage - Homemade table settings for Mr and Mrs Moody

Fortunately, making the wedding as personal as we could, having a smaller budget, and including a lot of guests were priorities that all worked well together for us. Most of our wedding was handmade by me or my bridesmaids, and with an autumn theme, many of the decorations could be found in our local woodland.

Moody Marriage - Motobike Cake topper!

My Maid of Honor made the wedding cheesecake (we love cheesecake!) and cake topper (little replicas of Patrick and me on a miniature version of his motorbike!), the invitations, the table plan, and the menus. I decided to make my own wedding dress, and all the boys' waistcoats, the bouquets, the flower girls' dresses, as well as the bunting, the centerpieces, place cards, and other bits and bobs.

Moody Marriage - Homemade Bunting

Tell us about the ceremony: As Patrick as I are both Agnostic, we went for a non-religious civil ceremony. We'd wanted to keep it as traditional as possible with the wording as we felt it sounded more "official" but we didn't want it to feel too long, either.

Moody Marriage - The Boys!

Moody Marriage - The Bride and her Maids

We'd asked one of my bridesmaids, Niki, to do the reading. She had known Patrick and me as a couple best as we'd lived in her house together for a little while. She'd sent us a selection of readings she thought was appropriate and we picked "Our Great Adventure" by Pamela Dugdale. It's short but very sweet. She almost cried when she was reading it. The feeling of love we got at that moment was pretty epic!

Moody Marriage - The Happy Couple in their homemade bridal attire

Our biggest challenge: Honestly I think my biggest challenge was my wedding dress. I'd known for a long time that if I was ever to get married I'd want to have my gown made. I'm an odd shape, and I've always struggled with getting things to fit me correctly, and I had such a clear idea of what I wanted in my head that I couldn't find it in a store. When it came down to it though I decided to make it myself. I'd been learning from friends how to make corsets and was becoming quite confident (in retrospect perhaps overly so at that point) and so decided to do it myself!

Moody Marriage - Homemade Wedding Dress

Moody Marriage - Homemade wedding dress

Talk about biting off more than you can chew! Well, there was blood, sweat and tears, quite literally. I ended up taking an entire week off the day job just so I could concentrate and get it finished. And there were moments when I just wanted to throw the whole thing in the bin and go and buy a cheap white dress from a charity shop and forget the whole sorry mess, but my bridesmaids and Patrick were so supportive and it was all worth it. I got a custom-made wedding gown for a fraction of the price, it was exactly what I wanted, and I've honestly never been so proud of myself. Even better: it has now given me the confidence to start my own corsetry and bridal-wear business.

Moody Marriage - Rustic Autumn Leaf flowers, with fathers signet ring

My favorite moment: There were so many moments… One of the most meaningful moments to me was the moment I showed my mother my bouquet. My father died when I was 14, but I still wanted to make sure he walked down the aisle with me, so I'd tied his signet ring into the middle of my bouquet. When mum saw it her face just lit up.

Moody Marriage

Seeing my two little nieces all dressed up in their flower girls dresses. They behaved beautifully on the day, and looked adorable. I'll never forget the way they were on that day. They grow up so fast!

Moody Marriage - The Happy Couple

My dress meant a huge amount to me, too. I'd poured my heart and soul into making the thing and Patrick's face when he saw me walk down the aisle, and him whispering in my ear that I looked beautiful was a little private moment in front of everyone. I almost broke into tears right there before we'd even started the ceremony!

Moody Marriage

Patrick placing the wedding ring on my finger — I can't really put into words how I felt at the moment but it was very significant. I knew it was the start of something big!

Moody Marriage - Cheeky flower girl and her pressent

My funniest moment: There were so many funny moments… My brothers speech as "giver-away" was really very good, and Patrick's Dad said a few words too which had the place in stitches. I can barely remember what was actually said, but I remember laughing, a lot. There was a purple top hat getting passed around that had randomly turned up with one of the guests, and some pretty epic Dad dancing. It all seems so much of a blur now, but there was so much laughter.

Moody Marriage

My advice for Offbeat Brides: Concentrate on what's personal to you and stay away from the gimmicks (unless that's what your going for). It's all too easy to fall into a "category" of wedding, and you can end up with something that looks like it was put together by someone who isn't you.

Moody Marriage - The Guest Book finger print tree

Also Pinterest is absolutely brilliant, and now that they do private boards it's even better. It's great not only for inspiration, but also for keeping on top of your ideas and much more environment-friendly than printing reams and reams out. Be inspired by what's around you. You really don't need to spend a fortune on table centerpieces and bouquets! Simple is often better.

Moody Marriage - Bride and Groom, sporting homemade wedding dress and waistcoat

And get the people who know you best involved. You know that if they know you well enough, they know what you like, what your style is and what you're into, they will make the right decisions and support you in your own.

Moody Marriage - Purple Wedding Shoes!
Want MOAR purple shoe inspiration?

What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? Sweat the small stuff. I know so many people tell you to ignore the little bits and make sure the big stuff is organised, but I found that most of the big stuff gets organised by the professionals involved. They do it for a living, they know what they're doing. But on the day it was the small bits we'd done ourselves that made the biggest difference to us.

Moody Marriage -  A Smooch with The Rolls

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

  • Dress: made by me
  • Venue: Layer Marney Tower I cannot recommend them enough.
  • Wedding Rings: Brent&Jess They ♥ OBB; we ♥ them
  • Photography: David Micheal Photography
  • Most other things were done either by me or my Maid of Honor — she was an absolute star making the cake and the topper and all the stationery. (Thank you!)

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

allowFullScreen="true" flashvars="offsite=true&lang=en-us&page_show_url=photos%2F35099920%40N06%2Fsets%2F72157632419093739%2Fshow%2F&page_show_back_url=photos%2F35099920%40N06%2Fsets%2F72157632419093739%2Fshow%2F&set_id=72157632419093739&jump_to=" width="800" height="500">

They ♥ OBB; we ♥ themThis post features Offbeat Vendors! Check out their vendor listing to see how they cater to Offbeat Brides:
  1. Your dress is amazing! Wow! You should definitely start your own wedding gown business.

    9 agree
    • Thank you! That's the plan!! I'm very excited about getting the business up and running.

      8 agree
      • Beth. You have made my perfect wedding dress. My boyfriend and I are talking more and more about engagement and when it finally happens – I am heading your way. PLEEEASE still be making dresses in a couple of years!! Xxx

        2 agree
        • Hi Steph,

          Thank you for your lovely comments. I've had to take a pause on the business at the moment as I'm expecting our first child! But I hope to be back up and running and taking commissions again once the little one is toddling! So don't worry I'm not going anywhere :)

          2 agree
          • Congratulations! :) I'm bookmarking this page for future reference ;) xxx

            1 agrees
  2. As a sewer myself I think you did a beautiful job on your wedding outfit, the color combo is very pretty too! All of your pictures are beautiful too!! congrats to you and your husband!!

    1 agrees
  3. MY SHOES!!!! YOU HAVE MY SHOES!!

    Sorry that's the first thing i say, it just they got delivered in the mail yesterday … from kent (getting suspicious now) Anyway! glad you made your corset in the end! hope you do decide to open shop! i love success stories like that!

    0 agree
    • Hahaha!
      I'm fairly sure they're my shoes, they're sitting in my living room still :) Good choice though! I wore them nearly all day, they're very comfy.
      Hopefully I'll be fully opening the business doors in the summer, currently going through a house refurbishment so I'm in no fit state to be sewing at the moment, but can't wait to get started! :)

      1 agrees
  4. That dress is AMAZING!!!!!! Everything is else awesome too, but the DRESS is just… wow…

    1 agrees
  5. Gorgeous dress! Always love seeing UK weddings, as I'm from the UK too. You guys did a great job.

    The top photo is so lovely – you look so in love!

    2 agree
  6. Oh my goodness, I know it's already been said but: that dress! Swoon! It is an absolutely incredible creation and I know that if you continue to make dresses and corsets like that you're going to have some very pleased clients in your future business! :D

    1 agrees
  7. Does your guy ride a Triumph? It's a little hard (for me, a newbie to the sport) to tell from the picture. My husband-to-be rides a Triumph, and your cake topper is very similar to what I had in mind for ours – so inspiring to see it out there in the physical realm!

    0 agree
    • It's a Honda. We bought a scale model of his real motorbike on ebay, shipped from China. It was the wrong colour so we had to paint it! My maid of honor is excellent with the fimo so she made the little people on the top and tried to replicate my dress best she could. My husband had worked closely with her, so I hadn't seen the topper until the moment I walked into our reception hall. It was such a lovely surprise! The biggest issue they had to overcome was the weight of it. With the bike and the people it was quite heavy and if they'd popped it straight on top of the cheesecake it would have sunk through the middle, so we had a three tier cheesecake but bought a four tier cantilever cake stand so the topper had it's own support.

      0 agree
  8. Congratulations Beth and Patrick! What a beautiful couple! Loved the story this morning, LOVED the dress, loved all the pictures. Thank you so much for sharing. I will be looking for your upcoming business in the months to come. Best of luck to you in your work and in your marriage.

    0 agree
  9. The bridesmaid's dresses are such a lovely colour, where did you get them from?

    0 agree
    • Yes, they were a big hit with the girls, and it's something they can wear again.

      They came from Karen Millen (www.karenmillen.com) we bought them well in advance of the wedding in the January sales! :)

      0 agree
  10. Dear Beth, from one Essex girl to another – I am beyond admiration for your dress and particularly your astounding corset – you really should give up the day job – I think you've found your true vocation! Wonderful pictures, and a beautiful wedding V xxx

    1 agrees
    • Yay! Essex Girls Unite!
      Thanks for your lovely comments. I've had some really positive comments and good interest so far, with a couple of commissions in the pipeline. I'm hoping to open the business doors in the summer, once we've finished doing the house up!

      0 agree
  11. I was like, "THAT DRESS IS GORGEOUS!!" and wanted to comment to say that before even reading that you made it yourself. Awesome.

    0 agree
  12. Oh my lord, your dress is amazing – classy, sexy, elegant, gorgeous. I can't get over how beautiful it is. The whole wedding is amazing (yay, UK girls!) but that dress well and truly blew my mind.

    0 agree
  13. Your wedding looks beautiful. I am a UK girl too – sadly not Essex, but Bucks isn't that far away?!
    My dress will be made for me – I don't think even being the keen sewer I am I could trust myself not to get bored and do a shoddy job. Congratulations on yours! Where did you get your lace from?

    0 agree
    • Hi Laura,

      Thank you for your lovely comments.

      I bought all the fabric from Goldhawk Road in London. Loads of fabric shops all at low prices.

      0 agree
  14. Beautiful dress! (*how* are you "an odd shape" ?! You're like the perfect hourglass!)

    0 agree
  15. Hi,
    I just wanted to say thank you for convincing me that making my own dress, bridesmaids dresses, cravats and waistcoats among other things is a good idea, I was worried I had taken on too much but you're right, love is in the little things.

    0 agree
    • AW, absolutely! I hope you successful in your sewings and makings. X

      0 agree
  16. What a beautiful wedding!! And I'm delighted to see that we're wedding date twins, too :)

    0 agree
  17. That dress is beautiful, and nice to know you have a unique dress that nobody else has! Well done! Love handmade wedding touches too :)

    0 agree
    • Thank you :) its been lovely finding homes for all the wedding bits around the house!

      0 agree
  18. THAT. DRESS!

    (and it's not JUST the dress – you look amazingly gorgeous yourself!)

    0 agree

Join the conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

No-drama comment policy

Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. Make sure you're familiar with our no-drama comment policy.

Biz owners & wedding bloggers

Please just use your real name in your comment, not your business name or blog title. Our comments are not the place to pimp your website. If you want to promote your stuff on Offbeat Bride, join us as an advertiser instead.