The Offbeat Bride: Ebony, Procurement Officer
Her offbeat partner: Alex, IT Manager
Date and location of wedding: Registry office, Manchester, UK and Tom's Chophouse and FAB Cafe — 05/04/2013
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: It was really important to both of us that our wedding represented us from beginning to end. We live in Manchester and we love the city, so we wanted it to feature as a big part of the wedding day. We chose city centre locations and walked between venues with our guests. Manchester is a city famous for its music scene, and we love live music. We wanted the evening to feel like guests were at a gig, so we asked our favourite Manchester band, Naymedici, to play — no covers, just a set of their own stuff. I tried to includes touches that relate to us, from Star Trek quotes on the invites, and the Twitter bird incorporated into the invites (as that was how we met).
Our budget was £3750, including the photographer, band, rings, and basically everything. I made the decor, including the table runners, table mats, and place settings, flowers, button holes, sweet bags, cake topper, and my dress and veil. I also designed and printed all the stationery.
The ceremony was followed by a meal at Mr. Thomas' Chop House. This restaurant is a Manchester Institution and one of the oldest pubs still running as a pub in Manchester. The meal was just 30 of our closest friends and family in order to keep it intimate and keep costs down. By just making a booking for 30 people mid-afternoon on a Friday, we were able to book out the venue without paying any steep venue hire costs. The meal was traditional British fare of bread and flavoured butters, roast beef with all the trimmings, and sticky toffee pudding.
From there we all walked across town to our favourite Manchester bar, FAB Cafe, for the evening party where we had invited the rest of our friends and family to join the party (about 110 guests all up). FAB Cafe is a retro sci-fi-themed bar with a TARDIS, a Dalek, and a DJ booth styled to look like the bridge of the Enterprise!
When we first got engaged, I asked Alex where he wanted the reception, and he said “FAB Cafe!” At the evening party, we gave out bags of retro sweets and served fish finger butties (a British childhood favorite). Alex's other major request was that the cake had a Stargate on top, a request he was pretty sure I would ignore, but I was determined to make it happen. We saved money on the actual cake by approaching a lady at our local farmer's market, and then making the topper myself.
Tell us about the ceremony: The ceremony was simple and personal in the registry office in the city centre. It was sweet and light-hearted, but not corny, and the music felt perfect. We included two readings: “Oh, the Places You'll Go” by Dr Seuss and “All I Ever Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten,” by Robert Fulgham. We wrote vows together and repeated them to each other:
I choose you to be my (husband/wife), loving what I know of you, and trusting what I do not yet know.
I will be there with you for all that life has in store for us.
I give myself as I am and as I will be.
I choose to spend today, and all of my tomorrows with you.
For the music, my processional was to “Hoppippola” by Sigur Ros, “Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros for signing the register, and for the exit we played “You Make My Dreams Come True” by Hall & Oats for the recessional.
Our biggest challenge: I would say that the biggest challenge we had was the budget. But that being said, I believe working to a budget can make you more creative, and that in turn can make the wedding more personal.
The other challenge was the fact that I am Australian, and all my family live in Australia, so some of them were not able to make it. This was difficult for me, but it is important to keep perspective. It is only one day after all. I was able to chat with them via Skype the morning of the wedding.
My favorite moment: My favourite moment of the wedding was the time we had together before the ceremony, just the two of us with our best man Matt, my sister, and our parents. Matt's sentiment in his speech that he did not hope that our wedding was the best day of our life, but rather that it would be the worst day, and that it's all better every day after. That's the whole point really: it's not about the wedding, it's about the marriage.
Have you been married before and if so, what did you do differently? We had both been married before, and felt that the first time around we had allowed the rules of what a wedding is supposed to be to dictate the day. There is so much pressure and expectation to do it the way you have always dreamed, that you can forget the best weddings are about both of you and your family and friends. It was also important that we did not break the bank this time. We decided that the financial pressure of a large debt was no way to start a marriage.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Dress and veil: Designed and made by me with fabric from Bridal Fabrics
- Bride's shoes: Kurt Geiger
- Bridesmaid's dress: Primark
- Invites: I designed and printed all stationery with paper from Paper Card
- Groom's suit: Marks & Spencer
- Guest book poster: Not on the High Street
- Main photographer: Ed Waring
- Photographer for the getting ready shots: A friend who donated her services, Click Click Bang
Enough talk — show me the wedding inspo!
Comments on Ebony & Alex’s Mancunian retro sci-fi wedding
What a beautiful dress! Congrats to both of you 🙂
OT, I’m trying to think of the obvious tie between Manchester and Doctor Who, is the answer Christopher Eccleston? Hmm, will have to think on it!
Thank you! No real connection between Dr Who and Manchester ( that I am aware of) other than we live in Manchester and Alex likes Dr Who 🙂
This wedding looks stunning and you both look incredibly happy. Love all the details, not least The FAB Cafe as a venue – I love that place!
Manchester! I love our city! What a gorgeous wedding. Fab cafe is great, what a great idea to have your reception there.
Ugh that dress is amazing! And then I read that you made it yourself. You have mad skills and that makes me a little sad because now there’s no way I can order something like that for myself. But seriously, you look incredible and the best to you both.
Thankyou so much. Making the dress stressed everyone in my life out even more than me, lol. I honestly never really considered buying it and never tried anything else on. Obviously it helps that I have some sewing and pattern making experience but it was the first thing I had ever made for myself. Feels really good to know people like it so thanks for all the great feedback.
You’re welcome. But I’m serious when I say that what I’m looking at here is basically what I’ve been shopping for for the last few months. Like right out of my brain. That made it that much more of a bummer when I saw that it was home made by yourself!
I love that you met through a friend via Twitter! That’s perfect.
Stargate cake-topper FTW!!! I do not see enough stargate nerdiness on this site and that made my freaking morning seeing that topper, I love it!! If Clay and I were doing a reception with cake, we’d probably have the same kind of topper or just a stargate cake! Awesome. I love it.
Thanks, it took a while but felt worth it in the end.
Best Man Matt here!
It was such a fantastic day all round and it reflected who the both of you are so very well. It was an honour to be a part of the day (not that either of you could have kept me away).
I still hope it was the worst day and that things only keep on getting better! I just know they will.
Such a lovely dress! I was a little sad to see that you’d made it yourself. It’s so gorgeous I wanted to steal it. What a wonderful job!
I absolutely love your dress/sweater combo! It’s so cute! SO CUTE!
It’s probably a good thing I didn’t see this before my wedding or I would have done something stupid like trying to make sweaters for the wedding party or something and I would not have had time for that.
SO CUTE THOUGH
Thanks, the sweater is actually just H&M 🙂 One of the things I didn’t make.
This wedding is beautiful!!!!!! Love the photos too!!! 🙂
You’ve made me want to come to Manchester (from Melbourne Australia) just to go to the FAB cafe. Your wedding looks fantastic – good luck to you both in your new married life.
Ha Ha, so weird, we are actually moving to Melbourne next year.
OMG I SAW YOUR WEDDING! I walked past you all on Albert Square and it bloody well made my day> you looked gorgeous, and the whole party was radiating joy. I think I described your outfit to all and sundry as ‘badass’, and I finally get to tell you so. Congratulations!!!
Thank you, so happy to make your day!
Having the FAB Café as a reception place is truly inspired, it’s one of my favourite places in town!
Fab wedding!! Where did you get the autobot cufflinks? My fiancé would love those!!
Alex just got them off Amazon, they were only about £4 🙂
Thanks! Going look now!! 🙂
Such a great sounding wedding. I was curious about your “Just Married” coloring page that looked like it could also be a guestbook. Well done on a great day spent with good friends and family.
Hi, we did use this a a guest book, the link is here http://www.notonthehighstreet.com/worldofmoose/product/demo-party-poster, looks like it may be out of stock though 🙁
I’ll be honest, I’d pay a SIGNIFICANT amount of money to own that dress/the pattern to that dress. Oh lord, it’s so wonderful. And I love the way you can wear it with a sweater! I am a freakin’ nerd for sweaters.
Thanks for the lovely comments 🙂 To be honest I am not really sure if I have all the pieces for the pattern and if I do they don’t really match up to the dress because I made loads of alterations along the way and I made the pattern from scratch so I am not sure that it is even legible to anyone else. The dress itself obviously is intact but it is not even lined, lol so not really saleable. I guess that is the beauty of doing it yourself, I was somehow not bothered that inside out it is a bit of a mess 🙂 I might consider commisions 🙂
I LOVE FAB Cafe! I love seeing a local wedding!
I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE your wedding especially your dress and how you paired it with a sweater as well. I am SUPER impressed and even more in love because you made it yourself! Your wedding looked awesome. congrats on it all! I LOVE YOUR DRESS!!!!!!
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