The Offbeat Bride: Jo, self-employed crafter (and Offbeat Bride member)
Her offbeat partner: Spig, Civil Servant
Date and location of wedding: The Bond, Birmingham, UK — October 18, 2014
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We had a modest budget, so many of our decorations were handmade. My mom made miles of bunting and I made my bouquet which was a real labour of love and I couldn't have done it without the information and inspiration I found on Offbeat Bride. We also designed most of our own stationary since Spig has a graphic design degree.
Finding a theme was really hard as there are so many things we love. In the end, we chose a fairly gothic aesthetic with gaming, movie, and literary elements. When it came to my outfit I was torn between my own style and feeling like I’d be missing out if I didn't wear a white dress. I'm glad I stayed true to my personal style as it gave me a lot of confidence on the day, I actually ended up wearing a dress I already owned but had never had the opportunity to wear. This allowed me to spend more money on my accessories, and I even managed to find time to knit a shawl to finish off my outfit.
We decided early on that what was important to us was our wedding photos (I trained as a photographer) and I was so happy when Lisa said she could do our wedding. I loved her style and she immediately made me feel at ease. Music was also really important to us — we had classic jazz and retro swing accompanying our afternoon tea. We used music from films we love during the reception BBQ and started everyone off dancing with some electro '80s, getting heavier and more us as the night went on.
Tell us about the ceremony:
There are a lot of restrictions on civil ceremonies in the UK. Only rooms licensed for weddings can be used, and the structure of the ceremony is quite restrictive. We did manage to make it feel like our own by picking our own reading, and personal and ring declarations. Our readings were made by my good friend and only bridesmaid Sara.
Our biggest challenge:
I suffer from social anxiety and we’d been engaged less than 12 hours before I freaked out that I wouldn't be able to cope with all the people and attention of a wedding, I started to think we’d have to elope for me to get a ring on my finger. So I hit the internet and realised I could make it work. I’d have to buck some traditions, but we’re used to being the black sheep of our families and they've always been supportive of us regardless. We kept out guest list small, with only 13 of us for the ceremony and 60 at the reception. Finding a venue was tricky as many wanted bigger numbers than ours, but when we found the right place they were so accommodating.
My favorite moment:
Looking around at our nearest and dearest during our very intimate ceremony and feeling so loved and not anxious in the slightest because everyone there was so supportive was amazing. Most of our friends weren't there to see us getting hitched, so when our evening guests arrived, we jumped the broom together as a nod to my pagan beliefs and to share the moment with everyone. The cheer that went up after we made our leap was really amazing.
My funniest moment:
We had sparklers instead of confetti at our reception. Our guests lined up and making a tunnel for us to walk through. But the panic on their faces as they tried to light the sparklers was so funny. My father-in-law got caught in our path and danced past us waving his sparkler.
What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?
Letting go, of control and of perfection — I didn't realise I was a control freak until I had to delegate jobs for the day and a lot of my anxiety was over everything being perfect. Letting go wasn't easy, but so many people offered their help and did amazing jobs. I can see now that the pursuit of perfection is unrealistic and sometimes damaging, and that authenticity was my real goal.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Bride's Dress: Anna Bees
- Bride's cuffs: Vilindery
- Bride's hair: Le Keux Vintage Salon
- Groom's boutonniere: Fab Fascinator
- Photography: Lisa Carpenter Photography
- Cake: Occasional Cakes
- Venue and catering: The Bond
- Vintage China Hire: Emily's Best
Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!