Some of you may remember Helen — she's the reader who proposed to her boyfriend! Now, here's the full story on the wedding…

The Offbeat Bride: Helen, Occupational Therapist

Her Offbeat Partner: Dom, Press Photographer

Location & date of wedding: Register Office Ceremony, followed by reception in a local pub in London — 29th August 2008

What made our wedding offbeat: The most offbeat aspect of our wedding was probably our decision to use public transport for us and our 80 guests to get around. Dom and the majority of the guests took the tube and bus to the ceremony, and my Dad and I took a London Cab; then we all travelled to the reception on a bus and then a tube. This presented some fabulous photo opportunities, was a lot of fun, not to mention being an economical and green option.

Although we didn't actively choose to be offbeat, we did make a concious decision that if something was going to be part of our wedding it was because we wanted it, rather than because it was expected, or traditional. This led to us dropping the champagne toast in favour of a vodka shot toast, having a barbecue in lieu of a sit down meal, button flowers rather than real blooms, Best Man song (a fabulous Johnny Cash cover- “Walk the Line”) rather than speech and of course the bus/tube rather than a limo.

Oh, and this is more an offbeat engagement detail, but I proposed to Dom on Leap Year Day, meaning we planned the whole wedding in 6 months to the day.

Our biggest challenge: We were really lucky, and had very few problems during the planning process, mainly because our families and friends were supportive of all our ideas (although my mum drew the line at us giving each of our guests a kazoo to play “Here Comes the Bride” as I walked down the aisle). I did sometimes have moments of doubt when I wondered if we were being too outlandish, but ultimately I'm really proud of the job we did organising the day, and wouldn't change a thing.

Partying on the tube!
Partying on the tube!

My favorite moment: My favourite moment was walking down the aisle (twice). Before the ceremony I had to meet with the registrar in a private office in the register office building, so came into a different entrance to Dom and all the guests — including the bridesmaid. By the time my Dad and I were taken to the ceremony room the whole place seemed deserted as everyone was already seated. I therefore assumed that my bridesmaid was in there too.

What happens when bridesmaids go AWOL.
What happens when bridesmaids go AWOL.
My Dad and I walked into the room, and it was fabulous. I walked down the aisle to The Stone Roses “Waterfall”. I could see my Mum crying, Dom looked very emotional, and I was on the verge of tears too. I got the the front of the room, and turned to hand my bouquet to my bridesmaid Jo, but she was nowhere to be seen. No one else knew where she was (there's a fabulous photo of me and my Dad laughing as we realise what's happened, and all the guests in the background looking for her).

Eventually my cousin found her standing outside panicking, thinking that I was horribly late! So, we got to do it all again! I am therefore in a fairly exclusive group of brides who have walked down the aisle twice — at the same wedding.

My advice for other offbeat brides: My advice is for all brides, not just the untraditional ones. At a wedding the bride (and to a certain extent the groom, but mainly the bride) acts as the barometer for the mood of the day. If you are relaxed and happy your guests will be, if you are stressed and uptight then so will your guests. We had more mishaps and mix-ups than I can count (see above for an example!), but none of it mattered because I smiled/grinned/laughed my way through the day.

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?:

  • My dress was a plain prom dress from Coast accessorised with a home made sash, and petticoat from Dolly Dagger (also where the bridesmaid's dress was from).
  • The shoes were Irregular Choice, from www.schuhstore.co.uk
  • My cocktail hat was from Debenhams
  • In the evening I had a wonderful head dress from Talulabelles etsy shop which they then made into a lovely necklace, ring and broach to wear after the wedding.

Enough talk — show me the wedding inspo!
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Comments on Helen & Dom’s Red, Retro, London Wedding

  1. How fun!! Everything is so random, but pulled together so nicely! The epitome of ecclectic… And I love the moms’ dresses, too! You look like you had so much fun!

  2. Oh my goodness…look at those fab dresses…LOVE them all…this looks so relaxed and just fun. Congrats!

  3. This is my favorite OBBT wedding so far! Those grins – they just look so bloody happy. 😀

  4. totally fantastic!!! i love the dresses and the public transportation! i am also loving the groom’s shoes. where did he get his outfit?

  5. “At a wedding the bride (and to a certain extent the groom, but mainly the bride) acts as the barometer for the mood of the day.”

    Really sharp observation. Thanks for sharing your lovely day!

  6. Thanks for your nice comments guys! The groom’s outfit consisted of a suit he already had jazzed up with a rather lovely Paul Smith tie, and of course the classic Converse- not to mention the biggest, cheesiest grin seen since the Cheshire Cat.

    Rereading what I had written about the bride being the barometer for the mood of the day, I think there is room for that to be misinterpreted and appear very “bridezilla”. I mean it in the sense that it’s very easy to get swept up in the idea that your wedding should be a perfect day with no hitches, and that anything going wrong is THE END OF THE WORLD… when in reality all that matters is that you end up married to your love. Ultimately your guests just want to see you happy, and as long as you are then they should be too- despite any mishaps such as awol bridesmaids, lost marriage certificates, wine poured down wedding dresses (that was the bridesmaid again, she really was on a roll that day…!) all of which, if I had anticipated them in advance, would have made my blood run cold and have me waking up in night sweats, but in the end actually were part of the story that made our day unique and special (that’s what we tell bridesmaid Jo anyway…) ;o)

    Goodness, that was a long comment… I could ramble for Britain.

  7. Oh, and the “Hello” magazine mock-up was what we sent out as thank you cards, and they were very well received!

  8. Um, engagement string was so adorable I almost died!! Congratulations on the wedding, you guys seem like an awesome couple 🙂

  9. This is one Wedding that “should” have been in Hello Happy Happy Happy may you always be.

  10. Awesome fun day! Don’t worry, I don’t think anyone could mistake you for a bridezilla – not with that wonderful smile on your face 🙂

  11. “Mind the Gap” — I love the tube! That’s definitely one of the best pictures of the bunch.

  12. yey for irregular choice shoes! i will hopefully be wearing a pair of there fab shoes on my big day!
    and my idea for the dress is very like yours as well! only with hot pink… i just hope i look half a beautiful as you!
    oh and my names Helen too…. hmm how odd!

  13. What a beautiful wedding – I LOVE both yours and your bridesmaid’s dress! Also, serious love for The Stone Roses 😀 I’d love to walk down the aisle to ‘Ten Storey Love Song’

  14. I loved the dresses and shoes! Soooo cute and retro. Glad you had so much fun and I fully agree you can set the mood of a day by laughing rather than frowning!

  15. perfect happy bride and groom…THAT’S what any wedding should be like! Congratulations and thanks for wonderful and to the point advice about the bride being a happy-o-meter. I fully agree with you. That good mood shows through in this story and that’s why so many people love this wedding. Also because of the cool colors, dresses and shoes!!

  16. OMG!! Love your shoes! I found some from the same website for my wedding.

    You and your man look gorgeous!! Congratulations!! 😀

  17. Just looked at your engagement post a while back and noticed that photo of you and your hubby at the bus stop is in Morden! That’s where my mother in law used to live! It’s round the corner from St. Helier’s Station! YAY!
    Sorry I get easily excited.
    Just to reiterate everyone else; your shoes are utterly lovely! I’ve visited Schuh and found a pair perfect for my wedding! So thanks for that and congratulations on your gorgeous wedding!

  18. Ha ha, yeah we got married at Morden Register Office, then got the bus to the tube and the tueb to Clapham Common for the reception. Was muchos fun!

  19. You are amazing. Love the dress, LOVE the shoes. Any idea where I can find them? I searched the IC website and came up empty. Red hearts are my "thing"–I even have one tattooed on my foot. Those shoes are my dream come true 🙂

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