I loved this wedding as soon as I saw that the colours that run throughout the day – the pinks, blues and yellows, all on the bridesmaids’ dresses, the découpaged letters, the drinks, and the bride’s awesome shoes – weren’t so much pastel as hotter tones of yellow, pear greens, and a peep of corally orange. Plus the various other traditional vintage details dotted around, such as the birdcage, were accompanied by dramatic light-up signs, contemporary cuts for the aforementioned bridesmaids’ dresses, and a venue with a suspended horse statue. This is very modern vintage. In fact, I’m going to call it modern/vintage fusion. You’re going to be totally inspired, let me tell you!
And the fact that they walked back up the aisle to one of my favourite Morrissey songs was not wasted on me!
So, Danielle and George met at school, and even though they didn’t really like each other to start with (“He thought I was ‘gobby’ and I thought he was a ‘scally'” says Danielle!), they got to know each other more when on a residential weekend for GCSE Drama. From then on, they grew closer and were best friends for about a year before getting together.
“George actually asked me out at break time, outside of A block, on the 23rd January 2002.”
I love how ‘school’ that is! I didn’t marry my school boyfriend like Danielle has, but hearing this reminds me of the bike sheds coolness of it all!
George had had the day off and I had been in school teaching all day. I arrived back at our flat with the usual pile of marking to wade through. As I opened the door, I noticed candles lit the path to our front room. I followed the path and as I arrived at the room, the door was closed with a sign on it that read, ‘when you walk into this room, I’m going to ask you to marry me.’ At this point I had started to cry. As I opened the door, I was met with hundreds of candles filling the room and my gorgeous George down on one knee. I don’t think George ever actually asked me the question as at this point I went to join him on the floor, which led to lots of crying and hugs.
I’m a big fan of vintage floral, and we both like polka dots. I didn’t really want one colour theme, but liked the idea of a combination of pastel colours. I tried to continue this look with jars covered in lace, hessian runners, vintage bird cages and tons of bunting.
Choosing the Venues
We knew immediately that we wanted to get married in the chamber rooms of the town hall. We’d been to a local youth theatre performance there 18 months earlier before being engaged and said at that point “when we get married, we are doing it here.” The building is so grand and was a traditional type of wedding venue.
Our wedding breakfast venue was a vintage circus-themed restaurant that overlooks the beautiful Albert Dock. We chose here for its great location, but also for the dramatics of it all. We both have drama degrees and theatre is a big part of our lives. We therefore loved the idea of large lightbulb letters that said “roll up, roll up” and “the stage.”
Our final venue, Oh Me Oh My, was not where we were originally going to look. We contacted the organisers at Leaf on Bold Street, who said they had a sister venue that was actually closer to the Town Hall, so I popped in there before I was due to meet up with George. I walked in and instantly loved it. I shed a little tear as I knew it was perfect. George also loved it and was particularly taken with all the fairy lights. The kitsch feel of our wedding was particularly complemented by the evening venue.
A big part of our venue choice was our love of Liverpool. We both came to Liverpool ten years ago to go to university. The city is now our home, more so than our home town of Chester. Our pride for this city translated to our venues as we wanted to show lots of family and friends from outside of the city what a beautiful place it is.
The wedding in total was around £8,000.
My dress was only £150 from BHS. I embossed detailing onto the ribbon to add personalisation. I’d been shopping all day and had been to appointments at various bridal boutiques and shops. We popped into BHS out of interest really, and I instantly loved it as soon as I tried it. The reaction from the mums and bridesmaids sealed the deal!
I’m a bit of a bargain hunter. I managed to get the bridesmaids’ dresses in the January sales from Matalan – they were £12.50 each! The shoes were also in the January sales from Very.com for £10 each.
The DIY and Thrifty Elements
- I did quite a lot of personalisation for the day. I hadn’t done a lot of craft before the wedding, but I taught myself some things from YouTube tutorials and blogs.
- I made my bouquet from brooches, earrings and pendants. These were all sourced from eBay, craft fayres, or donated from friends and family. I wanted it to be personal, so it included my dad’s cufflinks, George’s dad’s police number, a crocheted flower made by my maid of honour, scrabble earrings with our initials, and a dolphin brooch from my mum as I was one of those dolphin-obsessed little girls.
- I made the table plan and mini bunting to go around the birdcage centrepieces. My glue gun became my best friend! I also covered the ‘Mr and Mrs Chalmers’ letters with various patterned tissue paper.
- The favours were a charity pin from our local cancer treatment hospital, Clatterbridge. With help from friends and family, we stamped those with our initials and a ‘thank you’.
- We also made the popcorn cones and stamped those.
- The flowers in jars for our evening venue were from our bridesmaids’ parents’ back garden. They have the most beautiful garden of wild flowers, and they kindly made posies to go into jars for the evening. The bridesmaids’ bouquets, I put together. I knew I wanted gypsophila and thought I would give it a go myself. I ordered £90 worth from my local florist and used hessian string to tie them together. It took me a good part of a day to do them all, but I managed to make six bouquets and 15 button holes. I also bought some sunflowers from our local supermarket and made some floral gifts for the mums. I still had enough gypsophila left over for a large vase full in our living room!
- Some people can get all-consumed by the process of the wedding and forget about the marriage part. We were lucky that we had some financial help from our parents, but we also saved really hard. I’m so glad we did this now as I would not have wanted to start married life in debt. Remember, it’s only one day, an important day, but not worth ten years of paying back debt for.
- In relation to the day itself, we both regret not experiencing everything. We didn’t get to see the magician we had booked. Our cake was cheese, and neither of us had any of that. Luckily, I grabbed a bag of pick and mix and stored it to take home. We ate it together the next day whilst reading all our cards. It’s a cliché, but the day goes so quickly that you must make sure you do what you want to do. Your guests will come to you for a chat and to say hello. Our bridesmaids and groomsman are all good friends, but we don’t all get together very often any more, so from about 9:30pm George and I decided we were going to dance the night away with them. All of our family came and joined us on the dance floor.
- Planning a wedding is stressful and even when things don’t go wrong, you can still find yourself in tears. I kept on reminding myself throughout that whatever happens by the end of the day on Tuesday 5th of August, I was going to be married to George. Everything else is an added bonus, so if something goes wrong it doesn’t really matter. The day before my hen weekend in Amsterdam, about six weeks before the wedding, my dad went into hospital. He was really unwell and was in for two weeks. I remained positive and thank goodness he was well enough for the day itself. This made me less stressed about details of the day because ultimately all you need for a perfect day is all of the people that you love to share it with you.
First dance – Oh! Darling by the Beatles
Walking down the aisle – You Are My Sunshine covered by Frank Turner
Back up the aisle – You’re the One for Me, Fatty by Morrissey
Photography – Scuffins Photography
Bride – BHS
Groom and best man – Slaters
The bridesmaid/maid of honour – Matalan and Very
Venues – Liverpool Town Hall Chamber Room for the ceremony, Circo Restaurant for the wedding breakfast, then on to Oh Me Oh My for the evening reception