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Recently, in the beautiful Bedfordshire Swiss Gardens, there was a wedding being celebrated. But there was something rather unusual about this one – it was a fake!! Yes, there was cake,  and dancing, singing and confetti; in fact, all that you would expect from a real wedding, except that is was not real at all. ‘What are you on about?!?’ I hear you ask…

It was actually part of The National Vintage Wedding Fair, which runs events around the UK with workshops, live music, fashion parades, and more, but this time the organisers chose to invite brides- and grooms-to-be to witness a pretend wedding so that they could experience the handpicked exhibitors at work, and see first-hand how they operate, rather than solely going by vendors’ testimonials and websites. You see, when you book your suppliers, there’s sometimes that fear in the back of your mind that what if they might not get you and what you want for your wedding day. You can see previous work and imagine how it might translate into your day, and then you take the leap of faith and book. But what if you could see these suppliers in action? Like, in way that wouldn’t mean you were a peeping tom at someone else’s wedding. Well, this is where this fake wedding event comes in!


Kate Beavis, the company director, described the day,

“This was our first outdoor vintage wedding fair, so we wanted something different this time to what we have at our usual events. Of course we had fabulous businesses showcasing their work in the usual way, but we wanted to give them an opportunity to really show what they could do. So we put on a wedding!

“This was a big team effort so I would like to personally thank everyone who made it happen!”


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Some of the team involved have shared more details about their work: 

The Styling

“I approached the styling of the fake wedding as I would a real one. Thinking of the space, the feel we wanted to create and bring out was the whimsical flair of our couple. I went with two big trends popular with all my brides this summer: pastels and textures. I hung fun, vintage fabric balls (Fleur de Lace ‘festi-balls’) on shepherd’s hooks and tied ribbons around the columns, creating a subtle and beautiful finish to the romantic scene. It was such a fun project to be part of; we love creating the perfect aesthetics for couples – even couples who aren’t really getting married!” Alice from Fleur De Lace

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The Dress

The dress is an exclusive to My Day My Way from the Australian designer Amanda Garret – it’s called Daisy and is a heavily embellished vintage inspired tulle with a silk satin slip. It is very comfortable and an easy wear fit. Serena looked so elegant wearing it.”  Julia from May Day My Way

The Photography

My style is unobtrusive, enthusiastic and friendly. I love getting to know my couples and creatively documenting each wedding; real moments and emotions of your wedding day, and creative natural photos of the two of you alone, that will forever remind you exactly how you felt. I had only met Serena and Fabio that morning, so was delighted that they relaxed into the photos. Serena said “It was an enjoyable experience; Sharon had a natural way that made Fabio and me feel really comfortable being photographed…even in front of all those people at the wedding fair!” ” Sharon Cooper

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The Video

“We were delighted to capture the fake wedding on film at the Bedfordshire National Vintage Wedding Fair. The stunning Swiss Gardens made a beautiful backdrop, and it was lovely to capture all the special details of the day. We pride ourselves in being videographers with a difference – we send you the camera, and your friends and family film your special day, and then we edit it together into a professional film. Having your friends behind the camera makes for a really fun and relaxed wedding film and is great for brides on a budget. We create a film that suits the style of your day, and can edit with a simple cinematic or vintage finish.” Rebecca from The Handmade Film Company

The Location

“The nine-acre Regency Swiss Garden with Victorian flourishes is on the Shuttleworth Estate in Bedfordshire, and was perfect for the fake wedding as well as the event as a whole. The features include floral arches spanning lawns and a stately Broadwalk, serpentine paths, ponds with wrought iron bridges leading to a series of islands, an impressive grotto and fernery, and the charming Swiss Cottage, both of which are licenced for wedding ceremonies. Peacocks strut around splendid hellebore and daffodils that display in spring, rhododendrons and azaleas, roses twining over arches in summer, and finally brilliant acers announcing autumn.” The team from Shuttleworth



Photography – Sharon Cooper Photography

Location – Swiss Gardens at Shuttleworth

Styling – Fleur De Lace

Video – The Handmade Film Company

Flowers – Gilly Bean Flowers

Music – Serena Lin

Dancers – The Gatsby Girls

Celebrant – Lorna Nunn from Willow Celebrants

Bride – Serena Francois

Dress – My Day My Way

Headpiece – Love From Becky

Groom’s suit: His own

Bridesmaid’s playsuit and skirt – #Bestgals by Velvet Johnstone at Rock The Frock

Bridesmaid – Alina Wilson

Toastmaster – John Ashmele

Confetti – Shropshire Petals

Hair and make-up – Dollie Mixures