Buckets of confetti!

The offbeat bride: Fran, a mundane office worker (and OBT member)

Her offbeat partner: Siobhán (also known as Von), youth worker and geek

Location & date of wedding: The Derby Conference Centre, a listed Art Deco building with gorgeous original 1930s interior. The ceremony was held in the lecture hall, a small theatre shaped room, then we had the celebrations in their giant sunken lounge in Derby, UK. — 31st October 2009

Our order of the day

What made our wedding offbeat: Living a non-traditional life meant our guests weren't expecting a traditional day from the start, so we had complete freedom. We're bisexual so it was important our day was a celebration of not just our love but of love generally. The top table included a sibling's wife and girlfriend from their poly life, with a toast to the fact we could even have a legal ceremony.

Walking out, overjoyed!

It was vegan yet decadently sugar filled! It was feminist too, we looked at everything, decided how it could be right for us. We had a flower woman, walked down the aisle together to show this wasn't the start of something, it was a continuation. There was no big reveal, from mingling beforehand in our full outfits to our order of the day with all the text from the day plus the plan for the evening to help guests who needed to balance medication and rests.

Ceremony

The vows reflected us with laughter from the audience, Fran promising to remember that she isn't always right and Von promising to not do things half arsed! We promised to be together wherever we go in life, definitely in sickness and maybe even someday in health.

Big hippies

The main thing was that it was laid back — we were relaxed and therefore our guests could be too. We spent the day laughing with joy, so our guests did too! It was also humble, instead of a receiving line we gave our drinks to our guests to show our appreciation for them.

A toast with awesome siblings

Literally jumping for joy!

Our biggest challenge: We met because of chronic health problems, so planning a wedding left us even more exhausted than normal. We planned the day around this, sitting during the ceremony, with comfy seats with arms during the meal, sofas around the dancefloor, the whole venue was disability friendly. We planned it from bed using the laptop, and even had photos taken while we lay on the ground! In the last week Fran's amazing brother and wife came to stay to do the last minute running around for us and were incredible! Staying at the venue the night before helped too, there was much less exertion on the day because everything was there already.

The sunken lounge, where the celebrations took place

Table decorations and pumpkin centrepieces

Another challenge was that a member of Fran's family we asked to be a witness said no, which really hurt. But everyone else's love and excitement more than made up for it.

We also had lots of small things go wrong on the day — the DJ was ill so his dad covered and played the wrong first dance, the food wasn't as planned, the venue forgot some other details — but none of it mattered. This was such an incredible day that it would take more than that to overshadow the joy and love between us, and everyone!

In tune

In fact the first dance is now one of our favourite moments; we heard the wrong music, looked at each other and made an eye contact decision to just go with it. It was perfect in a very different way than planned!

Confetti leaves, petals and seeds caught in Fran's hair

My favorite moment: The confetti throwing genuinely felt like being showered with people's love. In fact choosing all natural, biodegradeable petals and seedheads for confetti, then mixing it ourselves for appropriate colours (along with bubbles!) seemed like a detail that might be lost on other people, but we loved it. Now I am so glad that we did, it was wonderful to have everyone surrounding us, laughing while we twirled around in their happiness! It turns out that so many details were things that other people noticed and adored, so that energy wasn't wasted!

Our beautiful vegan wedding cake

The cake was also a highlight, we're vegan so the cake needed to be vegan, but we wanted it to taste like cake, not vegan cake! Luckily Fran's an amazing baker and so the five tiers of gooey chocolate richness were amazing. Fran put it together the night before, which was another joy. Us and lots of friends and family stayed the night before and did the setting up and decorating then to save energy on the day, it felt like a community effort! Then on the day another fantastic experience was staying up late together again. The music went off at one a.m., but a group of us sat around chatting and eating cake until three a.m. before we headed off on honeymoon! It was a moment of stillness and closeness after the frenetic day and the contrast felt beautiful.

More dancing!

Oh, and we had fairtrade candy floss which was AWESOME.

Om nom nom

My offbeat advice: Enjoy planning, it's the largest party you are likely to throw so have fun with it! We'd spend car journeys together planning it a chunk at a time — it was time that we couldn't be doing anything else with so we'd spend it with a notepad. It also meant we arrived everywhere in a good mood! I know that it's second nature to most offbeat brides, but don't get bogged down in the word “wedding,” weddings are just a celebration of love, so choose to celebrate freely how you would celebrate any joyous occasion with your most loved ones — whether that's with friends, family, or both!

Popcorn

Also, express yourself, but think of your guests too. We chose a venue that our guests could afford to stay at, which meant we had them for longer. Also, we're vegan but none of our guests were, so we wanted to show how fun veganism can be. As well as making it non-intimidating for people who don't eat vegetables when planning the menu. We covered the tables in sweets (translation: candies), then had unlimited fairtrade candy floss (translation: cotton candy) through the evening and then chips (translation: fries) coming out at ten p.m. too! Everyone really seemed to embrace it, it was great to see.

Also, people let you down. Invite them anyway and treat them as if they hadn't. The moral high ground has a much better view, and it shows them what they're missing out on!

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links? We spend our life trying to be ethical consumers, so our wedding was no different. We wanted our money to go to people or organizations that we agreed with and we tried to support local or independent as much as possible.First dance, complete with bubbles

  • Siobhan's dress was made for her by Jackie Thompson, who has more patience and skill than any dress maker I've ever met, from organic cotton by Conscious Elegance.
  • Our photographer was Rob Bird, who is not only talented but also a joy to work with.
  • We were lucky enough to be able to have a videographer Steve Lawson. His work is amazing, and he made us a three minutes highlight video too which you can see here.
  • The popcorn and candy floss came from Candy Floss Crazy who were so lovely and enthusiastic.
  • Our invites were designed by Von (with the rest of the stationery) but printed by Eco Print UK, an environmentally concious company, who print with vegetable based inks.
  • We, like everyone else, found great people on Etsy, Fran's ring came from Bijoutiful, Siobhan's headress from HeadCaseByG and our guestbook made by SeaLemon
  • We bought a large packet of dried leaves for decorations from La Villa Victoria who uses the money to feed the abandoned animals that she takes in!
  • And lastly, our website is hosted by Al and Sarah, who have been so supportive of us!

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn:

Meet your new BFF wedding vendor

Trending with our readers

Comments on Fran & Siobhán’s feminist, disability-friendly, colourful, vegan wedding

  1. GORGEOUS. As the bi, vegetarian fiancee of a mostly-vegan girl with (chronic pain, probably fibromyalgia), and an assortment of differently-identifying friends who also have a range of dietary and physical needs, I love everything about this wedding (…and wish I was in the UK so I could make mine happen stat *sigh*)! You two look so happy, your friends look so happy for you — and I LOVE the idea of having comfy chairs or couches so people can rest.

    Congratulations <333

    • Thank you! It's weird having to make the adjustments for health, but then lovely how they did just blend in and nobody seemed to notice on the day. Most just seemed to like the sofas, extra time to mingle and general laidback and cosiness, but those who needed them did notice and it really worked.

      I hope you can have your celebration soon too!

  2. I really love the idea of caring for the disabled ! Hubby's grandma is on wheelchair most of the time, so definitely we can't have cave or mountain top weddings , even if we'd really love to, because we'd like her to be there ! beautiful and congratulations !

  3. You two look SO in love and so beautiful! Congrats! It looks like a stunning wedding!

  4. I saw this wedding on OBT and was hoping it would be profiled. You two look amazing and so happy together! This one definitely resonates with me since my partner and I are also both bi-women.

    • Yay for the bi-representation! I am ok with the lesbian wedding tag because it will help people find female same sex weddings but I love that it says bisexuality first :D.

  5. Congrats!
    What was your vegan menu? I'm trying to come up with one for my wedding in April.

    • We're planning our vegan wedding in June and are currently looking at tweaking the mediterranean menu offered at one of the venues I looked at – so it'd be hummus, vegan tzatziki, veggie plate (raw and grilled), cheese-free spanakopita, greek salad, roasted potatoes, rice, ratatouille, falafel, pita, that sort of thing. We'd considered indian food but I think my family would be very confused by dal.

    • As with Lulu we found that going outside traditional UK/Western food was the easiest option to find a menu that was easily recognisable for people, but still fun! We love food and a lot of our friends do, but then there were a lot of people who don't even trust vegetables so we wanted a good balance.

      We went for mexican-ish food, so we had tortilla chips, salsa and guacamole on the tables for starters. Then we had a hot buffet which was really important to us, so that people could see the food before choosing what to put on their plates.

      It was five bean chilli, roasted vegetables, baby sweetcorn chilli-firesticks, onion rings, poblano rice, jacket potatoes and salad. So Von's family could have a plate of jacket potato, onion rings and salad but then there were still the firesticks and poblano rice with a bit of excitement for us! It worked out really well, we got a lot of complements on it actually, from all ends of the spectrum and quite a few partners of friends who had been dreading the vegan food and were pleasantly surprised.

      It took us a lot of thought and was awkward to balance but luckily our venue were really amazing about it all and really accommodating. They basically said if we gave them the menu they could cook it, which worked perfect for us! Actually all the venues we looked at said much the same, I guess the recession and eagerness for business might be encouraging them to welcome others people's visions more!

Read more comments

Comments are closed.