The Offbeat Bride: Kirsty, crafter (and Tribesmaid)
Her offbeat partner: Ollie, culinary teaching assistant
Date and location of wedding: Meadrow Unitarian Chapel, Godalming, Surrey, reception at Chichester Hall, Witley, Surrey, UK — October 12, 2013
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: When we thought about a day that truly reflected us, an October wedding with a tinge of Halloween was the only way to go. With Ollie being a qualified chef and teaching assistant at a culinary academy, we were lucky enough to have his work friends creating our buffet menu and our AMAZING cake and macarons. With this in mind, we searched for months to find a venue which fit our needs (kitchen for our use, no wedding coordinator in the package, and simple but pretty). We managed to find ours by searching for village halls for hire, and got it for the whole weekend for less than £500.
We wanted to have as many handmade and vintage/antique pieces as possible, so we collected glass bottles, ink wells, jars, and lots of old books for our centrepieces. My bouquet was made of vintage brooches, including ones I had inherited from my late grandma. We had photos in frames dotted about of our parents and grandparents on their wedding days.
We wanted to get friends and family involved as much as we could, so we had beautiful signs made by our illustrator bridesmaid Angela for our guestbook/time capsule (to open on our 5th anniversary), Ollie's groomsman Nick designed our Robert Fulghum quote invitations, and our friend Yannik made us some incredible creepy trees to decorate the stage in our reception hall. The hair and makeup was all done by our talented friend Sarah, and our flowers and my brooch bouquet were put together beautifully by Ollie's cousin Kate and matched our orange colour theme (and my hair!), and her husband Wayne did our photos.
Our tables were all named after horror movie locations and Ollie's brother did a beautiful job hand painting each table sign for us. For our favours, we put together little trick or treat bags with candy corn, temporary Halloween tattoos, clockwork eyeballs, and little stickable pumpkins which we made ourselves.
Ollie had his close friend Charlotte as his best woman, which is apparently still a bit unusual in the UK, and led to my little nephew asking who she was. When told that she was the best woman, he then asked “if that's the best woman, where's the best man?”
Tell us about the ceremony:
We chose to get married in a little Unitarian chapel in a village about half an hour away from home. Unfortunately humanist ceremonies are not legally binding in England (yet), and as neither of us have strong religious leanings but we have various religions in our families, we wanted a ceremony that was meaningful and not full of legal wording, but also didn't alienate anyone in the congregation.
We added a little bit to the bottom of our order of service to let people know that it was an unplugged wedding, and promised we would stop for photos outside the chapel and share the official photos with them after.
We had two readings, one from Ollie's friend Louise doing Edward Monkton's “A Lovely Love Story,” and my friend Charlie reading “All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten” by Robert Fulghum, which she ended with a Breakfast Club fist in the air.
We had a unity candle ceremony, in which we lit the centre candle to symbolize our lives and families coming together, but replaced the two candles and left them lit to show we are still individuals.
We then had a moment of silence, in which the minister invited the congregation to say a silent prayer or send positive thoughts or feelings in a way that felt right for them.
My favorite moments:
My original bridesman wasn't able to be part of the bridal party due to study commitments, so my maid of honour's husband Reid stepped up to lead the processional with their daughter, Ivy. On the morning, Reid gave me some advice which made the whole wedding party cry. He told me to let other people take care of the details, and to remember that everyone was coming together today to support and love us both.
Getting ready in my old bedroom at my parents' house was also meaningful — and my maid of honour Hannah getting tearful when I walked down the stairs, and quickly changing to a deadpan, “yeah, you look alright” when she saw I was about to cry.
When my 79-year old dad gave his speech, he just about reached the end before he couldn't get his words out through the tears, and the whole room got a little choked up.
My funniest moment:
We were able to have a real hand in our ceremony wording, and Ollie and I bonded (and flirted!) by quoting Simpsons references at each other. When we told our minister this, she included around TEN Simpsons quotes relating to love and marriage, which was quite a lot! We also have so much respect for her as she fully admitted that she hadn't watched it, so she'd done her research. But she kept pronouncing “Homer” as “Hommer,” which made us giggle.
What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?
Never underestimate the support of your other half. I honestly believe that the planning of a wedding can show you how strong you can be as a team, and just reinforces the reasons you're going through this hectic-but-awesome time. Talk about any worries you have with your partner.
From a practical point of view: spreadsheets. I cannot emphasize it enough. I used the same spreadsheet to build our guest list, collect addresses, arrange the RSVPs as they arrived, and keep notes of gifts and cards. Seriously, it was colour-coded and EVERYTHING.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Photography: Wayne Lamport
- Bride's dress: Cutting Edge Brides
- Bridesmaids dresses: Honeypie Boutique
- Bride's shoes: Irregular Choice
- Flowers, brooch bouquet, and decor: Kate Lamport at Lily and Myrtle
- Time capsule and guestbook signs: Angela Chick
- Ouija Board save the dates: Dollface Design
- Invitations: Nick Steer Designs
- Tree stage decorations: Yannik Eilers
- Cars: Becca, Phil, Helen and Kimmie at the CCMOC
Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!