When Alice and Niki’s Wedding submission landed on my desk it well and truly caught my attention. We get a lot of wedding submissions at Dotty, however this one, I feel, carries a theme that will resonate with many people for many different and personal reasons.
Alice and Niki had planned to drift away and get married alone. Instead, they opted for a small, intimate wedding with family only. The reasons behind their decisions are honest and sensible with the rightful desire to do things the way they wish on their day for their own personal reasons, leaving behind the complications of over-spending, getting into debt or the pressures of other people’s opinions.
Niki and Alice recognised the importance of having their wedding their own way without the pressure of having to invite an endless list of guests, friends and family with the added pressure of the cost and other complications that can arise keeping people happy on such a day. I am sure most brides and grooms feel the pressure of having to cater for the needs of their guests when in fact that takes the focus off of actually what matters to the couple. After all, the wedding is for them, it should suit them, it’s all too easy to get caught up making designs for other people.
I instantly respect the brave, yes it is brave, a wedding can be very political. They invited 15 guests of immediate family to celebrate. To invite simply who they wish to to share their special moment for their own personal reasons. It brings a focus to the real reason of marriage, the union of two people and their love for one another without the focus on catering for other people’s emotional needs. After all, if your family and friends genuinely care they will be fully supportive of the situation and understand. Luckily Alice and Niki’s family and friends are of this mindset and understood and blessed the happy couple.
Having an intimate number of guests meant they didn’t have the huge cost of catering and alcohol, the order of service and invitations could be kept low and they didn’t require a huge venue to accommodate their guests.
In Alice’s own words, Beckington Village Hall suited their needs perfectly, ticking all of their boxes. It could be easily decorated, had a relaxed feel with a 3-day hire and easy transport right outside for their little boy and other children for the evening. For Alice and Niki, considering their son was a focal point of the day. Alice wanted the day to be about the three of them, so she booked a church close to her parents’ house where her son could have space to play. As Alice points out, weddings can be boring enough for children. It was important for Alice and Niki that their wedding be about the three of them, so to cater for their son’s needs was really important to them.
Niki and Alice wanted to save as much money as they could so, kindly, the family paid for the church. They wanted to save as much money as possible but still have the day they dreamed of. As Alice says, they only plan to do this once!
Their theme wasn’t even discussed between them, they just knew they wanted to have a vintage wedding. Their invitations were found on eBay for around £10 and looked like pages from a book, their evening ones were postcards. Centre pieces were books from the charity shops with the covers taken off and tied up with lace. The cups and saucers collected from charity shops or freecycle pages. Dollies from eBay for 99p and pearl garlands. Alice found the flowers free from a wedding page on Facebook.
Alice took the time to lovingly make her own decorations. She decorated jam jars and wine bottles, every one unique. Another expense they managed to side step was the flowers, to do this they decided to go for paper flowers. After watching YouTube tutorials Alice learned how to make her bridesmaids bouquets out of sheet music paper, again sourced from a charity shop, with glued buttons in the middle, finished with twine.
Alice’s bouquet was made for her by a lady called Gail at The Paper Flower Bouquet. Alice found Gail on Facebook and described her as “Lovely” and everything she could ask for and more, at a charge of only £60. Alice sent her the embellishments she wanted and informed her of the colours, Gail worked out the rest with a beautiful result. Alice made her own buttonholes from sheet music, garden wire and twine. Alice got really into being creative and owning her own wedding so she made a paper book fold and decorated it to look like a bird cage, twining some cardboard letters and decorations for the cake table.
Alice really wanted the wedding to have a homemade, nostalgic, vintage look and feel. She chose to do this herself because she wanted to save money but also she loved doing it and it gave her the opportunity to really own be part of the essence of her wedding. She achieved this and gained a really personal feel for her wedding.
After many visits to her local charity stores she soon became a regular, collecting many wonderful treasures – old scales for their sweetie table, a vintage typewriter, photo frames and and old camera for decoration, which looked amazing on their makeshift photo booth.
Alice thought of every detail, even making her bridesmaids hangers for their dresses by sticking scrabble letters on them. The same technique was used for the confetti box The guest book was a suitcase for which guests wrote on luggage tags. Alice was after something she hadn’t seen before and it fitted perfectly with her day.
Niki made some fudge himself in some wonderful flavours, Oreo and Daim which he packed into transparent bags and Alice made some little hearts out of modelling clay and imprinted fudge onto them with stamps.
With a select number of guest Alice didn’t feel the need to have a seating plan so she bought mini luggage tags and printed names on them with stamps and used little keys as weights. With a small number of guests it also left behind the stress of table planning.
To suit the size of the room, and Alice and Niki’s theme for keeping costs low, they found an alternative to the normal photo booth by finding a company online that did a compact budget version. Their frame was made with polystyrene, suspended from the ceiling with a poster ordered for the background. The light up letters were made from corrugated plastic with battery lights. A fraction of the price with wonderful results, less bulky and easily picked up if knocked over.
The bridesmaids, who are Niki’s sisters, wore dresses from Lindybop and they bought their own shoes. As for Alice’s dress, she took a chance and ordered it from China for £120, she was totally aware of the horror stories, however the gamble certainly paid off. As soon as she put it on she knew it was the one, it didn’t feel cheap and it’s evident from the photos it certainly doesn’t look it. Having compliments about her dress all day certainly confirmed this. Alice shoes are Vivienne Westwood (bought by the groom as a present). Alice’s veil was from Etsy. Makeup kindly applied by Niki’s sister, hair styled by a hairdresser who is a good friend of Alice’s and a mobile hairdresser was used for Alice’s mother and the girls. Niki’s suit was from ASOS. This in turn saved so much money.
Alice bartered with the DJ by offering him food for the evening. How could he refuse a hog roast, kindly paid for by the groom’s parents? Photography was taken by Emma at EC Media with a Church and Reception package.
During the planning and creation process for the wedding their very own motto of ‘Don’t conform to the norm’ kept its strong running theme. They wanted to stay true to themselves without conforming to the stereotype and without looking back in 10 years and wishing they had done things differently. In Alice’s words, she wanted to “look like me with a kick-ass dress and freakin’ awesome shoes, marrying the man I love walking down the aisle to Metallica and walking out to Rudimental”. As Alice also points and out and clearly proves, a budget wedding doesn’t mean it has to be basic or tacky, it just means priority.
There is not one the thing the couple wishes they should have done differently, it was a beautiful day celebrating them becoming a family, and I wholeheartedly agree, succeeding in immense style.
Well done and congratulations to Alice, Niki and your beautiful son, this is everything we love at Dotty.
Lots of Love to you.