Tag Archives: wedding

‘The Dress’

18 Oct

It’s the post you’ve all been waiting for. The tale of my attempt to create my own wedding dress.

When we first started planning the wedding I couldn’t imagine myself in a bridal gown. I was never one of these girls who dreams of  her big day or walks around in her mum’s high heels with a pillowcase veil pretending to be a bride. It’s just not me, so I had to do it my way. I relished the idea of turning my wedding dress into a work of art so I could walk down the aisle with pride. Originally I had planned to make it from scratch but I’m soooooo glad that I abandoned that foolish idea before I started!

To get the ball rolling I went to try on a few off-the-peg dresses. Having never worn anything like a wedding dress, it was impossible to know what I wanted. I had a vague idea of a prom style dress but didn’t want to rule anything out. I nearly fell for this gorgeous little number…

…but after flouncing around like a princess for a good half-hour, I had to relinquish the gown as it would not have mixed well with roller skates and bowling. Instead I had a go with the prom style dress I had imagined, and I was sold.

I did learn from dress number one that I love a bit of bling, and armed with that information I set about finding a base at which to throw as much sparkle as I could muster.

I found what I was looking for at Honeypie Boutique, an online wedding dress supplier with a healthy selection of vintage inspired dresses, all with glamorous names like Audrey, Lauren and Greta. I chose Grace, a simple satin bodice with sweetheart neckline atop layer upon layer of tulle skirts. I was a little worried as there were very few reviews I could find on wedding forums but I took a chance, placed my order, and was very pleasantly surprised by the quality of the dress for the price. This was it in its virgin state.

Not bad on its own, but a perfect blank canvas for a crafty bride-to-be. As it turns out, a little too blank. The endless possibilities proved a little daunting and I needed some inspiration. A great excuse to recruit Mummy Monster and pop to London for the day. The dress collection at the V&A and the gorgeous fabric shops of Berwick street left us positively drooling with excitement. On the train home I sketched idea after idea, eventually deciding that sometimes less is more and settled on something like this

With my love of buttons and the wealth of pretty buttony goodness available on the internet, I couldn’t resist taking a little pearly queen turn with the project. Mr Monster began to get a little suspicious as packets of buttons kept dropping into our post box. I wanted to give the skirt a bit of sparkle so set about sewing them onto the skirts. What I hadn’t anticipated though was that they would all have to be sewn on individually to prevent the thread showing through the tulle. I wish I had counted how many I used, but I reckon it was a couple of hundred, all tied on and tied off individually by hand. And so the embellishment began…
As with all projects, naturally I got to that point where I stood back and thought “I don’t like it”. I think the enormity of the importance of the project started to get to me as well as a touch of crafters self-doubt. Thanks to the patience and support of a few friends, and of course my mum, I was able to bounce ideas around and eventually feel a bit happier about what I’d done. It all came together one evening when I was playing around with the idea of using some vintage lace around the waist. I needed my hands free to do something else so hung the length of lace around my neck briefly, caught sight of it in the mirror, and BAM! The lace halter-neck was born! Funny how things work out sometimes. All it needed to top it off was a waistband with a cute feature bow, and of course a few more buttons.

By the time I was finished (less than a week before the wedding, last-minute-Larry indeed), I was in love with my dress and felt like a fairy princess when I tried it on for the first time. What’s more, when Mr Monster saw me coming down the aisle, he loved it too. Mission accomplished.

So without further ado, let’s have a look at my dress in detail, starting with a shot from the day which gives you a glimpse of my handmade felt bouquet.

And a few of the dress in all it’s glory.


Too Much Talent

15 Oct

I was a very lucky bride to be surrounded by so many talented friends and small business-people who could help me with various bits and pieces for the big day. I made lots of things myself but could never have hoped to have time to do everything, plus it was so wonderful to see what other people came up with.

Allow me to introduce you to some of the talent which surrounds me.

Firstly, my fellow 2012 bride, the gorgeous Marianne. She and I got engaged around the same time and married within a month of one-another so went on a similar journey. She is a demon with a hot-glue gun and makes a lot of her own accessories. She even hand-crafts the costumes for her burlesque routines. She made this stunning head-dress of real flowers for her own wedding and looked bloody gorgeous.

She was kind enough to make a fascinator for me for the legal ceremony to go with my 40’s style dress, with little mini versions to top off the bridesmaid outfits for the day of the blessing. She melded together my love of vintage buttons with the peacock feather colour scheme to create this.

Speaking of the bridesmaid outfits, I had four bridesmaids all of whom are very different shapes and sizes. We looked at dresses off the peg but nothing was right for all my gorgeous girlies, so the best option seemed to be to have them made from scratch. A bit of googling led me to the very talented Emmy Jones, dress-maker extraordinaire and all-round lovely lady. We chose a vintage pattern, found a sumptuous purple satin, and measurements in hand she set about making up these fabulous dresses.

Unfortunately, until the official photos come back I don’t have any great ones of the dresses and I’m a bridesmaid short here!

We’ve ended up good friends and she’s also going to give me some dressmaking lessons to brush up my skills, improve my monster-making, and help me make my own clothes. Everyone’s a winner!

Of course my bridesmaids deserved gifts to thank them for all they did for me both on the day and in the run-up to it. I had originally planned to make them all mini-monsters but once we found out that we had to move house, I knew that I would be pushed for time so delegation was the way to go! Regular readers will know that I have a bit of a thing for buttons and that the wedding had a heavy tilt in the button direction so when it came to trinkets for the my bridesmaids, buttons seemed a good way to go. After an extensive search on various handmade websites I wasn’t happy with anything I’d seen, a wider search bought me to the website of Buttonlove. The enterprise of a lady called Alison Jeffery, making beautiful, quality jewellery from her workshop based in Cornwall. After a few emails back and forth she knew exactly what I was after and the finished bangles she made went down a treat with the girls.

Last but by no means least, the mums. Both Mr Monster and I come from creative backgrounds and we learnt much of what we know from spending our formative years being encouraged by our mothers. Again, with time being of the essence and with so much to do, I had to delegate a few tasks and the mums were more than happy to be given a few projects to work on. They both kept it all top-secret until the day and it was lovely to be presented with surprises which we weren’t expecting.

Firstly, I asked Mr Monster’s mum Linda to help us out with a card box for guests to deposit any cards which they had for us at the reception. Linda is a very talented paper-crafter so I knew that she would come up with something fabulous and I was in no way disappointed. She presented us with a visual feast of a box, complete with decoupaged animal representations of both Mr Monster and I and our bridesmaids and ushers. You  could look at it for hours and still see details you hadn’t noticed at first glance.

This foxy groom even has a buttonhole the same as Mr Monster’s.

Not only that, she also made us a box in which guests could post us little pearls of wisdom or tit-bits of advice. This was however no ordinary box, as it took the form of…A MONSTER! It was wonderful – beautifully made with loads of character and we are enjoying reaching into his mouth every day to pull out a new piece of advice.

My mum Valerie got involved in the crafty fun too by helping us out with the cakes. She commissioned a local cake-maker to bake up some button cakes, complete with owl and fox bride and groom (Our nicknames for one another), but the real surprise were her hand crafted cake-stands. Our little button cupcakes were perched atop vinyl records with suitably lovey-dovey song titles, and between the tiers, holding up the next layer, were…LITTLE MONSTERS! She had taken my style and translated it into a little mini bride and groom, complete with a dress just like mine, a little bouquet, and a purple cravat for the mister. An absolute joy, and they now sit proudly on our mantlepiece having been released from their cake-stand prison!

But of course, in the hands of Mr Monster, feeding me cake could only end badly!

The Future’s Bright

13 Oct

A funny little coincidence happened on the wedding day.

While I was out trying on wedding dresses with mothers of the bride and groom way back in February, we took a shortcut through a bookshop. I have a bit of a thing for children’s picture books and am a sucker for a good title or a cute cover illustration. I was struck by both when I spotted this little gem by Rachel Bright

The story is about a little monster who above all things just wants to find someone to love. He searches high and low, and just as he is giving up hope and things are starting to get dark, he finds a lovely lady monster to be his partner. It really struck a chord with me and felt that it told the story of Mr Monster and I to a tee, so I bought a copy to give to him as a gift on the morning of the wedding, and also made reference to the story during my vows. I am reliably informed that he had a bit of a ‘moment’ whilst reading it (although he’ll hate me for telling you that!)

Unbeknownst to me, that morning one of the lady ushers had given Mr Monster a card in which she had written a poem by the same author. He liked it so much that he had it written into our ceremony and it was read by the friend we had roped in to officiating the blessing for us. It was just perfect and I really wanted to share it with you here. As part of our ceremony it made me laugh, and touched my heart in ways that only great poetry can. It would seem that Rachel Bright is on our wavelength!

A Wonderful Wedding Weekend – Part 2

12 Oct

So this is where I left you yesterday

Mr Monster and I had safely arrived at our reception for the festivities to begin. Unfortunately I don’t have many photos of the reception until the official photos arrive but I will fill you in as best I can.

We chose our local bowling alley which just happens to be on a retro theme with checked floors, rockabilly styling and the best alcoholic milkshakes I’ve ever had. We’ve had a lot of good times there throughout our relationship and when we approached them they were really excited about the idea of throwing a wedding.

The world over, Bristol is known for its graffiti. It’s not all about Banksy, we have so many talented artist who daub our city with colour and humour. Our reception venue is located on a street which every year is the focus of a festival called ‘See No Evil’, a massive celebration of street art where the walls and pavements are plastered in graffiti, some of it hundreds of metres high.

We were excited to use the street art as the backdrop for our formal photos to really capture the spirit of our city. We have to wait a few weeks for our professional photos but we have one as a taster (top of the next batch), and I’ve managed to round up a few others taken by guests whilst we were posing.

Mr Monster and The Monsters in-law

Mummy and Daddy Monster

Best Man and Father of the Groom

Formal photos done, it was time to have some fun. A toast of sparkling cider (we are in the West Country after all), a buffet of burgers, and time to get bowling. We had all the lanes open for free for the night, table football, pool tables and a karaoke room, all of which were well used throughout the evening and it was lovely to see guests who had never met before teaming up and getting some competitive spirit going.

We had beautiful cakes on stands made by my mum, and card and advice boxes made by the mother of the groom, both of which I’ll show you in another post.

The speeches were heartfelt and funny, everything a good speech should be, and there were quite a few damp eyes around the place by the time Mr Monster took to the stage to perform ‘our song’ for me. We didn’t really fancy the idea of a first dance and instead decided to do a first song. Mr Monster is a talented musician, I however…am not. We only decided which song to sing four days before the ceremony, so our rendition of ‘You’re my best friend’ by Queen was not without its flaws but I like to think that it had a certain charm about it!

Happy to make way for the real musicians, Mr Monster’s band SplinterBox wowed the guests for a bit with some original songs, before the band we saw the night we got engaged hit the stage with some filthy jazz. To round the night off, a friend and his band played us out until the wee small hours. The bowling lanes were busy until the very end, the delicious barbecue went down a storm and I’m sure that everyone had a good time.

Exhausted but elated, Mr Monster and I checked into the honeymoon suite, popped a bottle of champagne and collapsed into the jacuzzi bath. We had pulled off the wedding which on paper could have been a disaster, but in reality was a personal, emotional, and exhilarating rollercoaster of a day. It was perfect for us, and will be a day we will never, ever forget.

A Wonderful Wedding Weekend – Part 1

11 Oct

Mr Monster and I have had the most amazing, exhausting, and beautiful few days. I have so much I want to show you, and over the next week or so the wedding posts will be coming thick and fast. For now thought, I want to tell you the story of our wedding weekend.

We got engaged in December last year and knew that despite neither of us being Bristol natives, there was nowhere else in the world that we wanted to get married. One slight problem we encountered was that as Bristol only has a few venues licenced to carry out a wedding ceremony, they are all extremely pricey and to be honest, none of them really felt like us. It was a good friend who also got married this year who came up with a solution….

Our nuptials began on Friday with a very small, intimate and emotional ceremony at the local registry office. We booked their smallest room and had with us just Mummy and Daddy Monster, and Monster Mummy and Daddy-in-law (married 40 years and 36 years respectively). We left the registry office legally wed under a cloud of confetti

And so, the deed was done, and the extended Monster family were free to celebrate with a few bottles of wine and a lovely meal.

But this wasn’t enough for us, just one wedding dress? PAH! So two days later we had planned a blessing ceremony where all of our family and friends could join us in celebrating the commitment we had made. We approached the pub that we were in when we got engaged. A very well-respected jazz venue in Bristol and they could not have been more accommodating. They closed their doors for a few hours in the morning in order that we could use their stage to conduct our ceremony. Local acapella group Chicapella sang me down the aisle, and a good friend of Mr Monster’s kitted up in top-hat, white bow-tie, and vintage tails to officiate our blessing. We exchanged rings, and recited vows which we had written ourselves. Tears were shed both on stage and off, and the cheer that went up during the ‘you may now kiss the bride’ moment was overwhelming.

For our reception venue, we had chosen our local vintage bowling alley, complete with free bowling and karaoke for the guests all evening, a buffet of pizzas and burgers and a barbecue in the evening as we danced the night away to lots of live music.

But how would we get there? One evening, possibly after a few glasses of wine, we decided that it might be a good idea if the Mr rode his fancy chrome low-rider bike, with me hanging onto the back on roller skates. When it came to it, I wasn’t so sure, but it actually turned out to be one of the most fun parts of the day. We literally stopped traffic, made a lot of people smile, and even had open-topped city tour buses cheering us on!

That last one was the ‘We made it without falling over’ kiss.

And so we were ready for an evening of fun, but I will leave all that for another post!

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