Bridget and Jeremy’s laidback Irish wedding with a vintage wedding dress, homegrown flowers and inspiring homemade decor
Laidback Irish wedding
Today’s wedding has been a long time coming – a long time. I feel incredibly selfish that I haven’t shared it with you until this point, and only now with the help of the lovely Samantha who is going to be helping me by writing up some of our real weddings featured on the blog. Bride Bridget has since emigrated to Australia where she works as a printmaker and artist (check out her online shop) and has recently had her first baby.
A little taster of what this wedding was like can be seen on the film below, filed by a talented friend of the couple, Films by Ben (please check out his website for his most recent work, this was shot 3 years ago).
As Samantha said, it perfectly captures every emotion from the day, what a wonderful keepsake for them to look back on.
Now over to my lovely colleague Samantha who is going to tell you all about this beautiful wedding…
Today we are bringing you the beautiful, effortlessly cool wedding of Bridget and Jeremy, brimming full of homegrown details! Not only is the bride incredibly creative (wait until you see the willow arch they got married under) but their friends and family are one talented bunch, who also brought their own personal touches throughout the whole day.
From the décor and ceremony to the food, photography and entertainment, everything was lovingly curated to make a day that was so incredibly personal you can feel the love jumping out the page! So without further ado I am going to hand you over to bride Bridget who provides the most lovely rendition of their big day.
“We wanted our wedding to be fun, country, vintagey, relaxed and just very us. Our main aim was we wanted everyone to have a brilliant time. It wasn’t only a party for our wedding it was also a bit of a leaving party because a month later we left Northern Ireland and moved to Australia, so for me to be able to see and celebrate with so many friends and family before I emigrated was lovely!”
Bridget and Jeremy got married in August 2011, in a field between Bridget’s granny’s house and her mum’s weekend home:
“My granny lives in a cottage near a town called Killinchy in Ireland. I think I’ve imagined my wedding to be there my whole life. When I was growing up we went to Killinchy every weekend. Even now, if we’re home in Ireland, we go down for Sunday dinner. It is a place of childhood magic and full of family history.
My mum got married there and my brother got married there. The ceremony was held on the grass in between the two cottages and then the celebrations went on in the most amazing Nordic tipis erected in the field beyond the cottages. The tipis looked so beautiful!”
Bridget wore a beautiful original lace 1940’s/1950’s dress, but the search for it wasn’t easy:
“I spent ages looking at dresses online to get ideas, but nothing appealed to me. Danielle, my only bridesmaid who lived in the same country as me, took me to some bridal shops. I was useless, she was brilliant. But still nothing appealed to me and I was naively shocked at how expensive everything was! In the end we decided to get a dress made and I had a meeting with a dressmaker in Belfast. But of course things change.”
“Jeremy and I had gone to London to see a show and while we were there we walked through Islington, looking in the antique and vintage shops for a suit for him. He didn’t want a traditional wedding suit. We looked and looked and looked all day but couldn’t find anything suitable for him. Then I spotted one shop and dragged him across the road into it. We had a quick look around and I spotted a very small rack of wedding dresses.
One caught my eye, I looked at Jeremy. He quickly said, ‘Shall I go for a walk and you try it on?’ I nodded and went over to the dressing room. Jeremy went to the pub. I don’t know how many pints he had, but he was in that pub for a very long time.
“The dress was a 1940s/50s lace dress, ankle length (not too long for a muddy field wedding) and when I zipped it up at the back it fitted like a glove, but how could I make a decision like this on my own? I called my mum, ummmmmmed and ahhhhhhed. It was £650, I’d just enough in my account, I had to just do it in the end. I still pretended to Jeremy I didn’t get it as he had seen it and I wanted it to be a surprise. I’m not a good liar, but he believed me. That might have had something to do with the beer!”
Finding her veil was just as serendipitous, it was obviously meant to be:
“I really didn’t want a veil. I was a bit scared of being too bridey, I’m not very good at being traditional. But then I saw it. I was out for a rainy walk with my little nephew and I walked past a little vintage shop I never knew existed in Belfast and in the window was the most gorgeous little 1960s veil with tiny pearls at the end of a scalloped edge.
There was a sign saying ‘back in five minutes’ on the door. My poor nephew had to wait with me for ten minutes in the rain until the door was open and I tried on that little veil. This time I was able to get a second opinion (not my nephew, he was only two) I was able to go back the next day with Danielle and she said a big YES.”
I love Jeremy’s choice of attire for their big day, a great alternative look that perfectly suits their relaxed vintage wedding,
“Jeremy has quite wide shoulders so in the end we accepted we weren’t going to find anything vintage. But we still didn’t want anything too formal or traditional weddingy. We had in mind a brown suit, which proved very difficult to find, until we walked into a local Belfast boutique suit shop that was having a sale.
The poor guy behind the counter was clearly rather hungover, but overcame his difficulties with the day and found us the most perfect brown linen suit, took measurements for a custom made waistcoat and threw in a free Irish linen flat cap. (I love flat caps, especially on Jeremy).”
The Wedding Party
Jeremy’s best man flew all the way from his native Australia for the big day, “Jeremy’s best man was his best friend Tim. He arrived a week before the wedding and was amazing. By this time poor Jeremy was in a state of shocked inactivity, Tim moved in and calmed me down and carried Jeremy through. I don’t think there could be a better best man.”
Bridget had three of her closest friends as bridesmaids, and allowed them free reign on their dress of choice:
“My three bridesmaids were Bryonie, my best friend from school, Adele, my best friend from art collage and Danielle who is my cousin’s partner and my business partner and has become my best friend in Belfast. I told them to wear whatever they liked. I trusted their taste and knew they’d decide on something lovely. In the end, although their dresses were all quite different, they all somehow matched and I think looked beautiful together.”
Whilst Bridget can’t remember how she first felt when she saw Jeremy at the end of the aisle and the ceremony was a bit of a blur, she does however remember grinning from ear to ear throughout.
“I do remember the lovely part of holding his hand and walking back down the aisle and standing with him behind the guests for about half a minute before everyone came over to congratulate us. I think I remember just laughing with him in that 30 second moment.”
Bridget and Jeremy legally married prior to their wedding day so they had the freedom and flexibility to have a personal ceremony conducted by one of their bridesmaids:
“We wanted the ceremony to be about us, our friends and family, very personal. My friend Bryonie is beautifully eloquent and has known and understood me for a long time. We asked her to write and conduct our ceremony for us and it was perfect. Even though she isn’t ordained or an official celebrant it meant so much to be married by someone you love dearly, who knows you and has respect and understanding of how your relationship, life and beliefs work.
Everyone present mentioned how beautifully Bryonie had written and performed the ceremony. It was a very special part of the day.”
Bridget offers some good advice for those brides in the process of planning their ceremony:
“I think the only advice I have is to make sure to do it your way. In a way that means something to you, after all it is your ceremony, your vows, your relationship, your marriage. Initially we had wanted to get a celebrant in to marry us officially at the cottages, but it proved difficult due to licensing. In order to have a ceremony at the cottages we had to do the town hall thing. We had to compromise, but in the end it worked out even better, and even the town hall day was beautiful.”
However she does offer the reminder that it can be risky planning an outdoor wedding, but they were lucky and had the only sunny day in whole of the Northern Irish summer.
The homemade décor for the wedding was truly inspiring, I am sure many of you will find some great ideas here, with Bridget sharing additional details on her on blog. Instead of it creating additional stress Bridget said she used the crafting to keep her mind off all the additional planning elements.
“I made as much as I could. Invites, bunting, candles, candle holders, flavoured vodka favours, embossed porcelain disc decoration favours, the willow arch we got married under, willow hearts for the cottage doors, little porcelain birds, I collected vintage bottles for the tables for flowers and made bottle shaped candles.
For the table settings, friends made kangaroo and bird shaped short bread for the tables and did all of the flower arranging. Plus metres and metres of triangular and heart bunting. We made lots of things, but I enjoyed it all!”
Bridget goes into further detail on some of the crafted décor, including the sensational willow archway!
“We planted a willow arch to get married in front of. My bridesmaid Bryonie and her husband have a crop of willow that I helped them trim in March and they showed me how to plant the cuttings and train the willow into an arch shape. We also planted sweet pea to intertwine through the willow arch. It was a beautiful backdrop to the ceremony.”
“I am a printmaker and I use a lot of cotton rag paper for my work. Cotton rag paper is a great paper to work with, it can be left out in the rain and is very tough. I screen printed this paper and made bunting which we hung everywhere. I also embossed and cut out birds to make a flock of doves for inside the tipis. More home grown flowers were positioned all over the place. Everything had a very homemade, country feel.”
I am so impressed with the beautiful bottle candles Bridget also made, which coincidently have previously been featured on these very pages as table centre inspiration.
“The bottle candles I saw in an etsy shop and realised I couldn’t afford to buy them so decided to try and make them instead. I made them by making latex moulds of vintage bottles. I painted layers of latex onto the bottles then peeled the dried rubber off and filled it with wax.”
I think she did an amazing job, and they would also make a fantastic decoration in your home after as a wonderful reminder!
I love that they grew all of their own flowers:
“We grew them all. And the ones we didn’t grow, friends and family grew. My mum said she loved sweet pea and thought it would be nice to have the scent of sweet pea on all the tables. In spring we all bought packets of the flower, set up bean poles and began planting.
It was worrying at times when the flowers were slow to start, then lots all flowered for weeks before the wedding and coming to the end of August they started dwindling, but we had enough on the day and they smelt gorgeous.”
“As for bride and bridesmaids flowers, minutes before all the guests were sitting down my mum sent someone out into the cottage garden to pick a few nice dahlias. I don’t think it was very organised, but it worked perfectly. I now love dahlias and think of my wedding every time I see them.”
Their reception sounds perfect, exactly the laid-back, fun environment they wanted:
“It was so nice to have the entire day all in the same place. Many people were even camping there so it was all very relaxed, no worrying about transport from place to place.”
“My family are very foody, both my uncle and my mum have restaurants. They both helped hugely with all the food and drink, but on the day they were guests, no working. My mum spent the days before the wedding preparing huge roast porks, which were spread round the neighbours to slow roast in their ovens all over the countryside. There was mention of getting them delivered to the tipis in wheelbarrows in time for dinner, but I can’t remember if this actually happened!”
“We had a ceilidh dance in the field after the speeches. An Irish friend played the fiddle while a Scottish friend called the dance. Then Jeremy’s two bands played, he even played too, at his own wedding!”
“At about 1 o’clock in the morning my friend who is a DJ started the disco. Unfortunately it only lasted 20 minutes because he blew up the speakers! But everyone simply drifted to the fire in the central tipi, found guitars and sang until the sun came up. Jeremy and I went to bed exhausted at about 2 in the garden shed, all decorated with candles and fell asleep to the sound of our friends’ music.”
Wow! How incredibly romantic and a perfect ending to a perfect day!
Thank you so much to Bridget and Jeremy for sharing their special day with us. Everyone else with me on wishing they had been a guest to have enjoyed watching the sunrise around the campfire too? Bliss!
Categories: Real Weddings
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