The offbeat bride: Roz, Criminal Justice Intervention Worker
Her offbeat partner: Pete, Philosopher
Date and location of wedding: Bolton Castle, North Yorkshire, UK — September 24, 2011
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We decided to go for a humanist ceremony so we could have a ceremony exactly representative of us as a couple, rather than a traditional ceremony that had nothing to do with us. As humanist ceremonies are not legally recognised in England, we had to have two ceremonies. The first was at the local registry office. We had my brother and sister as witnesses and we were all kitted out in band t-shirts!
As we were saving our actual wedding rings for the humanist ceremony, Pete bought me a cheap, plastic eyeball ring for the registry office. We had a really stern registrar who didn't seem to see the funny side, but we loved it. As a silly thank-you present, we bought my brother a skull that lights up. It somehow became the mascot for our whole wedding, and was in the photos we had taken after the registry office. My parents met us at a local ale house followed by a slap-up meal.
Two days later we had the humanist ceremony at the castle with all our family and friends. Early on, we decided against flowers as centerpieces and went for stacks of books and vintage cameras. We decided on books as we are both major bookworms, and cameras as I'm a very poor part-time amateur photographer and I just love the look of vintage cameras. This required a lot of scouring of charity shops and car boot sales.
We also avoided paper place settings and had framed photos of each guest. We went for funny or embarrassing photos of the guests. I, of course, picked a hideous one of myself so that I couldn't be accused of not being able to take what I dish out.
We only had around 60 guests. In the evening, we had a nine-piece Prince tribute band which played for two hours with “Prince” changing outfits halfway through. This was followed by a mobile fish and chip van coming to serve the hungry posse.
My mum created a giant sweet table, and I have never seen such a variety and as many sweets in all my life. We had a Krispy Kreme cake to cut as well as a stack of delicious Krispy Kreme doughnuts for people to munch on.
I wore a pink three-quarter length dress made by a British designer called Charlotte Balbier. I matched it with a pink “puff” headpiece made by a great friend (who'd never done anything like that before). I finished it off with Vivienne Westwood shoes.
We also broke with tradition by having a female best man (Pete's sister) and a male maid of honour.
Tell us about the ceremony: The ceremony was written by us and included a brief history of our relationship. We struggled to get through the vows due to tears. Our vows gave a nod to feminism, which we both strongly support as well as Kantian moral philosophy. We included our families by asking both our mums to exchange their favourite flowers with each other to represent the families coming together.
Our biggest challenge: We did everything ourselves, from the invites to the open bar to decorating the whole venue. We were amazed at how much friends and family offered to help. We truly wouldn't have been able to do it without them. A friend made my headdress along with driving all the booze to the venue for us, and her partner ended up making sure the castle had enough electrical plugs to accommodate the band as well as the disco after.
My favorite moment: We thought it would be nice during the wedding ceremony to pay a little tribute to those family members who had died, and with whom we would have loved to share our day. This brought a tear to everyone's eye, as did my husband's speech, which kept being interrupted by his own tears.
My mum did three readings, and my male of honour did one too, all of which perfectly encapsulated the spirit of the wedding and the relationship my new husband and I share.
My funniest moment: After our wedding breakfast consisting of afternoon tea, we had a game of Bingo which turned out to be the world's longest game. Guests struggled to hear the numbers being called, Pete called out the wrong numbers on purpose, and then begged for someone to win. It sounds like a disaster, but the longer the game went on the more hilarious it became.
Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? A lot of people had told us they didn't like Prince and wouldn't be dancing when the band was playing. However, when it came to it, plenty of people were up strutting their stuff and the band was absolutely fantastic. Prince came onto the dance floor and danced with us, even pretending to steal my man away.
What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? Remaining and being true to what you both want is key. It may feel like people are interrupting and trying to take over, but it's only because they care and want the day to be prefect. Just make sure to stay true to your needs.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Photographer: By a friend of the couple, Dave Araya
- Dress: Bridal Boutique Leeds
- Caterer: Croft Kitchen
- Prince tribute band: EndorphinMachine
- Doughnuts: Krispy Kreme
Enough talk — show me the wedding inspo!