Caroline and Liam’s
Most Awesome Wedding
COUPLE NAMES: Caroline and Liam
WEDDING DATE: January 17 2014
WEDDING LOCATION: London, UK
WEDDING THEME: laid back vintage glamour
DRESS DESIGNER: Can’t remember – the style was called Casablanca and it was from a dress shop in Ohio. It cost $300 in 2006…
WEDDING BUDGET: £7,000
HOW MANY PEOPLE ATTENDED: 10 at the ceremony, 100 at the party
PHOTOGRAPHER: Jessy Boon Cowler @jessybooncowler
Ok. I know. This wedding was a while ago, but I never really shared much about our wedding or our wedding photos and I’ve gone to so many boring weddings lately, I thought it would help to share.
Of course, everyone thinks their wedding was awesome, but the fact that people still tell me how much fun ours was, I think I’ve got a good case. It’s been my favourite wedding so far, except for my friend Cyndi’s wedding; her lesbian pizza wedding in a park in Brooklyn was incredible.
So, when we got married back in 2014, it was an interesting situation. I had been in the UK for seven years (I’m originally from Ohio) and was getting ready to leave. Forever. My work visa was coming to an end and I was going to South Africa to perform in a burlesque show for a few months before moving back to America for good. Two weeks before going to South Africa, I met Liam. When the show in South Africa ended, I had a choice: I could go on safari for 2 weeks or go back to London to stay with a guy I didn’t really know. You can guess which one I went with. After 6 months of dating long-distance between Ohio and the UK, we knew we wanted to be together. And that meant, we had to get married.
It wasn’t as crazy as it sounds – in my mind, we were going to get married eventually anyway, that was obvious, so why don’t we just do it now? And it’s still going well so… so far, so good.
My concerns with the wedding involved more paperwork with the Home Office than with a wedding planner. We had £10k and spent a lot of the budget went to paying for my visas! I had to get a fiancé visa to come back to the UK and then a spouse visa after we tied the knot. And that sh*t is expensive.
In terms of style, we wanted it to be fun and relaxed – we just wanted it to be a really good party! We also had to consider accommodating our friends and families – I didn’t want people to feel like they had to fly over from the States (especially knowing that it wasn’t going to be a big traditional wedding) and Liam had his family and close friends coming down from Edinburgh. So, we had to make it worth it.
The day went like this:
I spent the night at my best friend’s flat in her spare bedroom and we got ready there in the morning. It was so much fun! My makeup artist, Bethany, and I knew worked together before on some pin up photoshoots, so I knew she would nail the classic Hollywood look I was going for. I also hired my good friend Jessy as my photographer. Jessy and I met on a photoshoot when I was just beginning burlesque and became fast friends. I think having a photographer who is also a friend and has a more unique photography style makes our photos really candid and different.
I made my headpiece from a collection of broken vintage jewellery and my dress was the same dress I wore for a debutante ball in Ohio when I was nineteen (that’s another story for another time). I had a purse from my grandma, a fur stole from my other grandma and six pence from an old friend to put in my shoe.
We ordered a minicab to get to the town hall (this was before Uber, y’all) and he got lost trying to pick us up. We finally found him and I was a definitely worried that we would be late. If you miss your time slot at the town hall, that’s it! You’ve missed it. We journeyed south and he tried to charge us £10 extra because he was a dick. We paid it and scurried into Woolwich town hall. Woolwich town hall is absolutely beautiful and at the time, only cost £50. Winning.
At the actual ceremony, we had our parents, my brother, my old neighbour (she’s like my English nan), my two best friends and photographer Jessie. We then got taxis to OXO tower on the Thames and met Liam’s brother and his family for a fancy lunch. The food was excellent, the view was amazing and the staff were lovely.
Then, it was time for the pub crawl! That’s right. A pub crawl. We walk across Blackfriars bridge to a beautiful pub where the rest of our friends were waiting and having a drink. From there, we followed the pub crawl map I made to make our way from Blackfriars up to our final location: The Star of Kings pub in Kings Cross. I really wanted to travel on the tube in my wedding dress. One of my favourite memories was the whole group piling onto the tube! We also invited more people along the way. I limited our invite list because I was trying to do what I thought I was supposed to do, but on the day, we realised that it didn’t matter and just let whoever wanted to come, come.
The final party venue is just a traditional pub with a great space. We had decorated the day before with my parents – lots of fairy lights and I got crafty with some garlands. We had a secondary little travel theme to celebrate our long-distance relationship, so we decorated the cake table with cool travel-themed wrapping paper. As favours, we just had a huge dessert table full of cookies, brownies, chocolates and cakes (made mostly by me with the help of my mom and mother-in-law).
We had karaoke (our friend was our DJ) and basic pub food as well as an open bar up to £3k (I think). Liam and I both did impromptu speeches, I have trusted intel that my speech was funnier, and then we sang a very bad, unrehearsed rendition of “Islands in the stream”. I changed into a tiny blue party dress from ASOS with my favourite sparkly shoes from Betsy Johnson (I still wear them when I’m performing).
Here’s a breakdown of stressful things we did not have to deal with:
- Politics of choosing bridesmaids and groomsmen
- Making people by bridesmaid dresses they don’t want
- Seating chart plans
- Politics of deciding above seating charts
- Renting additional supplies like chairs/tables/tableware
- Organising/asking people to pay for stag and hen parties
My best advice: don’t do what you think you’re supposed to do or what other people think you should do – just make it what you want and make sure you have fun.
Love Caroline xxx
Check out Leesa and Stephens Wedding. LEESA AND STEPHENS