Fee & Fred's red, white, and black samba wedding

November 23 2011 | offbeatbride
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Photos by Noriega Photographics

The offbeat bride: Fee, Comms Manager at the London School of Samba

Her offbeat partner: Fred, Mestre de Bateria (Musical Director) at the London School of Samba

Date and location of wedding: Hornchurch, Essex, UK — July 1, 2011

What made our wedding offbeat: Our wedding ceremony and reception was filled with our beloved Brazilian music and dance form, SAMBA! During our ceremony, we had live music for me to move down the aisle, then once we said our vows, we samba-ed back up it again.

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Unadulterated joy

We went for a small, relatively cheap ceremony of 50 friends and family, filled with fun and laughter. The reception had the same guest list as the ceremony, with the buffet meal and speeches, but then opened up to the rest of our friends, which were about 100 more people.

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As neither Fred nor I are particularly materialistic, and are prone to losing things, we opted for reasonably priced, sterling silver rings. After all, it's about the symbol and the words exchanged when placing these symbols on one another's fingers, yes? My friend who has recently opened up a florist shop did all of my flowers for cost price. My friend's mother made our cake, plus two more friends made cupcakes. Our friends who are starting out as professional photographers took our photos. And of course, our friends provided the entertainment of live samba dance and drums.

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Fred and I are both kinda geeky, so our invites were completely electronically-created in Mailchimp, sent out to a distribution list, which then linked to our wedding website. We also had friends who were out of the country send us video messages to our Youtube channel, which we had intended to play at the reception (but our laptop died!). Check out the messages!

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Tell us about the ceremony: Fred and I met in a samba group whilst I was at university, his workplace. There was a samba group there which had red, white, and black colours. This was a pivotal point in our lives, as samba would become the thing that shaped us and gave us confidence. The London-based samba community brought us together. We wanted to reflect this in our ceremony, in our colours, and with the music.

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I was incredibly nervous about being in the spotlight. So it was important for me to go for something in which I would still feel beautiful and glamorous. This was the most beautiful I have ever felt! I even had my hair styled by a Rockabilly hairdresser.

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Our biggest challenge: Our biggest challenge was the fact that I had been unemployed for a long period of time. As I am used to being financially independent, it was difficult to ask for loans for a wedding that was, unsurprisingly, costing more than I had anticipated.

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My favorite moment: I loved walking down the aisle to live music, which consisted of two of our friends playing and singing. The song I chose for them to sing was "É preciso muito amor para suportar essa mulher" (it takes a lot of love to be with this woman). I was poking fun at being "high maintenance."

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Secondly, I loved our other first dance, which involved my husband and I dancing to live samba drumming with our friends, who were dressed in their full feathered, bikini-clad samba costumes. After that, three samba groups performed. I was in two of them and my husband all three.

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My funniest moment: To break the nervous tension whilst waiting for me to arrive at the ceremony room, Fred asked the guests if they knew any jokes. This clearly served the atmosphere very well, because by the time I arrived, there was an electric atmosphere in the room, as well as lots of laughter throughout the ceremony. As I was incredibly nervous, this helped immensely.

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The second funniest moment was when our page boy, my eight-year-old nephew Aiden, handed us the rings. He took them out of the box and handed us a random ring each. After looking at the rings we were given, we promptly swapped them, causing uproarious laughter.

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Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? Organising all the music and drumming took some effort. We didn't think it would go as well as it did. Logistically, there were the tasks of getting the instruments to the venue, ensuring the dancers' costumes were transported, as well as actually coordinating them all on the night. Organising sambistas is much like herding cats.

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My advice for offbeat brides: BE YOURSELF. The worst possible thing you can do is compare your wedding to someone else's. You as a couple is worth celebrating and anything extra you do will be an added bonus. You could walk down the aisle in a hessian sack and have frozen food at the reception and it wouldn't matter. They are there to cerebrate with you because they love you.

The other advice that I was given by almost all of my friends who had previously married: take time to look around and enjoy it throughout the day. So I did take that advice. Stop and take a "mental snapshot" of what is going on around you or you WILL miss it! The happiest day of my life went by too fast.

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What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? It's okay to accept people's help, whether it was financially or in other forms. This was my main lesson. People love being involved and included.

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Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

  1. I just want to know about the grooms tie. Like everything else, it looks fab, but is it the know or is it actually a cravat and that's what makes it look so cool?

  2. Oh and the suits were hired, and they were from 'Couture Pour Homme' in Hornchurch, very accomodating and the tie (to answer Mia's question) is a cravat thing that I always had trouble putting on simply because I have butter fingers!

    • As for the jokes I started with: "What do you call a woman you throw into the sea? Annette." and the congregations were much cornier!!

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    • Found a lego bride and groom online but had to get the head of 'Lando Calrissian' from Star Wars as he's the only black head we could find anywhere! Thank flip for ebay!!

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  3. Oh wow, OBB just got really local for me! Is that Langtons I see? And where did you hold that fantastic reception?

    Congratulations to you both and happy samba-ing! 🙂

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    • It is Langtons Pinkerbell. And the wonderful reception was at the havering bowls club. You know, bowls clubs all over the world seem to be hidden gems for receptions, a friend of mine did the same in New Zealand!!

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  4. Love it, love it, love it! The looks of joy on your faces & the fun you had just shine out of the photos. Thanks for sharing your day with us 😀

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  5. You both have such beautiful, engaging smiles – it is IMPOSSIBLE to read about this wedding and not smile. Joy and best wishes to you both, and thank you for sharing your awesome day with everyone! =)

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  6. How did you find your dress from Honeypie Boutique? It looks absolutely beautiful and I know that they're great value – how was it to wear?

    And I LOVE your vintage hair – so gorgeous. And the bridesmaids…and the happy look on everyones' faces!!

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    • the dress was so comfortable… and she made this all from the measurements i sent. I hadn't even tried it on before I bought it (risky I know)….

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