big day | barn door + moggy

The offbeat bride: Shelley, Designer/Crafter (and Tribe member)

Her offbeat partner: Wayne, Management Accountant

Location & date of wedding: My Back Garden, Kent Countryside, UK — June 26, 2010

What made our wedding offbeat: I tried to make as much by hand as possible, not just to save money, but to make the wedding truly ours. I love color, so I used it everywhere possible. We thought of all the things we love — sweets, doughnuts, bunting, rock ‘n' roll, Morris Minors, polka dots — and combined them all in one day!

big day | big table

big day | favours

big day | polka dot morris minors

big day | menu

We were married in our local registry office, then had a sit down meal in our local country pub, then finished the day off with a big knees up in our back garden.

big day | marquee

big day | sweeties

big day | mini easels

big day | punch

big day | bouquets

big day | gift table

We collected lots of jam jars and old bottles for decoration and spent only £45 on flowers for the tables, which we bought from our local supermarket.

big day | Da Na!

big day | bridesmaids 2

My dress was made by a friend of mine using Irish linen bought for £20 from eBay! All of the bridesmaids dresses were from eBay too.

big day | shaker couple

I have only ever been to traditional weddings before, but knew I really didn't want to go down that road as I didn't feel comfortable with the idea, and to be honest I dreaded the idea of a wedding until we realized we could do it how we wanted and without breaking the bank!! It was such a pretty, colorful, fun day. I felt totally comfortable and happy, and judging by the smiles, so did everyone else!

big day | mr and mrs

big day | confetti

My favorite moment:

  • The brief moments my new hubby and I managed to be alone. Only inviting the people we love and care about.
  • Making sure I really meant the words in my vows — even if it did mean I started crying (which set everyone else off!).

big day | cutting the doughnut cake

big day | doughnut cake

My funniest moment: When we revealed the doughnut wedding cake, there was such a loud gasp of surprise from everyone. It was VERY well received!

big day | straw bale sofa

big day | chocolate fountain

big day | decor

big day | party food

My advice for offbeat brides: Use: eBay, Freecycle, Twitter, Flickr, research, and spreadsheets. Start early and keep a list of everything you buy, borrow, make. Really imagine yourself on the day, and make sure everything will flow together. Draw up detailed maps. Set up a wedding blog or website with information for everyone.

big day | group wave

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Comments on Shelley & Wayne’s handmade colorful 1950s wedding

  1. Oh….I DIE! This is an amazing wedding….and very much like one I’ve always wanted! So glad you captured the day in photos….*ganks for inspiration board* 😉

  2. Pimms? Pick and mix? BUNTING? Good grief, this wedding is like a big mix of all my favourite summery things. It looks absolutely perfect, and you all look so happy. I love how there’s a slight retro/vintage British summertime feel, but it’s still so colourful. And thank goodness the weather worked out for you!

    Any tips for having a wedding in your back garden? (If it were legal in England, I would definitely do the actual getting married in my back garden. Well, if I had a back garden. Argh – too many ifs!) Did you set it up yourselves or have a bit of a team effort with your family/friends?

    • Yay! Thanks Katy! Yes we were REALLY lucky with the weather – even the forecast the day before looked grim!
      Tips – hmm, we were lucky that we live in a new build so hadn’t really done much to the garden so we only had a few plants to dig up – which we stored next door. If you are hiring a marquee you can save alot by just hiring the basic marquee without a lining – often the linings are nasty looking sateen draped 1980’s style so my bunting and tissue pom poms made it look much prettier! I took the week before off work which really helped as once the marquee was up we then had plenty of time to hang the lights, sort out the wiring and generally dress everything without being in too much of a last minute panic! xxx

  3. I LOVE this wedding! The colours! The decoration! The dads’ outfits! Swoontastic!

  4. Congratulations your big day looks stunning!!! I’m from Kent too and was hoping the bride might answer me this: we would love to have hay bale seating at our august wedding just outside Maidstone. Can I asked where you sourced yours from??
    It is so refreshing to see weddings which feel so Personal and lovely 🙂

    • Hi Laura,

      Luckily a friend of mine’s stepdad runs a small holding so he helped delivery and take away the bales – not sure if he’s will to make a habit of this – although I will ask – but I’m sure any local farm will be more than happy to help especially if they get to have them back afterwards! Plus I’m sure you can order them online also – but check the sizes first as some bales are quite small. Another tip – thick covers as straw is very itchy!! :0)

  5. I love love LOVE all of this! The vibe of this wedding is just the kind of thing I imagine for my own wedding. I love the handmade bunting! I am wondering how difficult and costly it was to make.

    • Thanks Lori! Generally bunting can be quite expensive to buy so if you have basic sewing skills you can save alot of money. I sourced all of my fabric from ebay, but as I can’t resist Amy Butler, Heather Bailey, Tanya Whelan and Anna Maria Horner fabrics I ended up spending more than I should! To save time and cost I just cut the fabric into triangles and didn’t seam them – in fact I preferred the rustic look of the raw edges. I’ve written more about this on my blog if this helps!

  6. Love everything about it! Wonder why all the coolest 50s inspired weddings seem to come from the UK…

  7. So charming! Bold and beautiful color palette. The father in the high tops might be one of my favorite photos here. Love all the details with the fabric. Kudos from Seattle!

    • Thanks Meredith!! To be honest though they thought I was joking when I told them I wanted them to wear them!! Much more comfy than new leather shoes as well!

  8. Would you mind getting married again so I can attend and see all this stunning beauty in person? Please!??! 🙂

    I adore color to the millionth degree, so this just made my little color-loving heart burst.

  9. Love it all! It’s exactly what I’m hoping to achieve in my garden wedding!
    Where is the groom’s suit from? It is sharp!
    What did you do with all your bunting?

    • Thanks Sarah! The suit was from M&S! Originally we looked for vintage suits as hubby wanted a waistcoat, but finding the right suit in the right size was tricky and worked out quite expensive. So he decided to buy a new suit that he could use again after the wedding (he’s so practical!). Still have most of the bunting, but gave some away to my sister and two of my best friends.

      • M&S cheers! Been hunting for a grey suit, as my other half wants a waistcoat too! Will have to check it out 🙂

        • ooh can I also ask if you did your own mini easel signs? Can you tell me how? 😀

          • Hi Sarah – do you mean these ones? – if so, the stands are from IKEA but I’m sure you can pick similar up on eBay or Hobbycraft – just paint them pink. Then I found the thickest card my printer can print onto and used my own design – which used the colours and fonts that I’d used on the invites, website and favours so it all tied in. As I work as a designer for a living I have access to Adobe Illustrator to create the artwork in, but I’m sure by downloading some free fancy fonts and using Word you can get a similar look. Hope this helps!

  10. Reminds me of lovely 1950s seaside posters. Just adorable.Even my sons who don´t usually have opinions on such things think it´s way cool!

    • Thanks Hanni! Glad your boys approve, the Hubby was pleased with how it went too as he is such a big kid a heart he just loved all the silliness! x

  11. OMG!!!!!!!!!!!
    I am planning my 10.13.13 wedding and have been reading up on ideas on the OffBeat Brides site for nearly a year now and this wedding is, by far, the best I have EVER seen!
    I have 1 question, which I hope isn’t too personal, could you tell me if your total costs were over $5,000.00 since this is my budget?
    If it is over, I can stop dreaming now. 🙂
    Again, absolutely PHENOMENAL wedding!
    Shari and Kelly

    • Wow – thanks Shari & Kelly!!

      Don’t mind at all that you asked about the budget – I’m quire proud that we didn’t need to get into debt and start our married life in the red! Check out my blog where I talk more in detail about the costs –

      Roughly (excluding the honeymoon) the whole day cost us around £5000 so a little above your budget, but a big chunk of that was the meal for the wedding party at our local gastro pub. And the band cost about £600! So you can save money by using all your own music and feeding everyone buffet style or having a barbeque if you want to serve hot food.

      Also – if you are a smaller girl than I am you can save the cost of a custom made dress and search around for a tea dress which you can jazz up! Good Luck and I hope you manage your perfect day on budget!! xxx

  12. Oh my gosh~! I love your wedding. The colors, the decorations… just everything! Shelley you look amazing in your dress. <3 This is everything I wanted in my wedding. I'm totally running over to your blog to learn more. ^_^

  13. Oh my gosh … I am just reading this now, but this is absolutely goregous from beginning to end. What a spectacular and unique wedding. Cheers to you!”

  14. Oh my gosh! I love everything about this! I especially love your sash and shrug- where did you get those?

  15. Thanks Marley!
    The shrug is from monsoon (via ebay for my shrug). They’ve done this style for years and often do them in several lovely colours. The bridesmaids shrugs were also from Monsoon in lime green and pink!

    The sash was made by my dress maker from satin. I made the fabric flower corsage myself from the scraps left over from my miles of bunting!

  16. Hi Shelley, I found a picture of your wedding on pinterest ( the back garden’s one), and this is all I love, simple, pretty, colorfull! We’ll get marrierd on August 16th, in France 🙂 I hope it would be as nice as you did!

    So, I have a little question, where did you find your “cardigan” ( I don’t know the english word to name it)? I like it a lot!

    Thanks, and congrats!

  17. Wow, I’m just reasearching for wedding motif ideas for a friend and came across this one. Although I’m trying to depart from rural kind of style since it’s a norm in where I’m from BUT this looks like a hell lot of fun they have. Basically, I’m directing now to historically stylished wedding ideas, since it’s not only wedding, old and boring perhaps – as my friend states – but a role-play which tunes it up a little!

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