Rachel & Kieran’s travel-themed foodie wedding

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 | Photography by Claire Morris Photography

We've seen this bride's lovely custom-made dress before. And their vintage travel theme is just as awesome! Here's the whole story…

Rachel & Kieran's wedding
Photos by Claire Morris Photography

The Offbeat Bride: Rachel, lecturer in history

Her offbeat partner: Kieran, lawyer

Date and location of wedding: St. Wilfrid's Roman Catholic Church, York, and Merchant Taylors Hall, York, UK — September 14, 2013

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: From the beginning, Kieran and I wanted a wedding that reflected our tastes but also our values. We wanted a wedding day that celebrated not only our love, but also our community of friends and family. And we also wanted food. Lots of food.

Rachel & Kieran's wedding

Rachel & Kieran's wedding

The location of our wedding was important, too. Although we have not lived in York for several years, we met and also made many of our best friends there. I used to attend St. Wilfrid's Church, so that became our ceremony choice. The Merchant Taylors Hall, a beautiful guild hall, as well as being gorgeous in its own right, was a good nod to our shared love of history. We wanted to hold our wedding in a place that our friends and family would enjoy, and many of them enjoyed the opportunity to treat the weekend as a reunion in a place we love.

Rachel & Kieran's wedding

Rachel & Kieran's wedding

Rachel & Kieran's wedding

Rachel & Kieran's wedding

We share a vintage aesthetic and always knew we wanted our wedding to have a vintage look without feeling too heavily themed. Kieran and I love visiting new places, and a travel theme seemed obvious, and helped inspire the rest of the wedding. From our airmail-themed invitations to flowers made from old maps to our luggage tags as name cards for the dinner tables, we added little global touches wherever we could. To keep it personal, all the tables were named after places we've visited together.

Rachel & Kieran's wedding

We sat down early on and worked out our financial priorities were for the wedding. They were: good food, live music, photography, and clothes. We love cooking together, eating out at restaurants… basically anything food-related. (Our Instagramming of our dinners got us a teasing mention in the best man's speech!).

We wanted to make sure we served good food at the wedding, and were willing to put a good portion of our budget into that. Our canapes celebrated local Yorkshire food, we had beer from York Brewery on tap, and our dinner starters were huge sharing platters because we wanted everyone to bond over diving in and sharing food together! Kieran is a musician and live music has always been important to him, so we budgeted for a live jazz band, Dr. Jazz, and played our own mix CDs between sets.

Rachel & Kieran's wedding

I felt a little guilty about spending a chunk of our budget on a dress, but after deciding to go bespoke, I decided this was one opportunity I could have for really spoiling myself and had a '50s-style silk dress designed by The Couture Company! Offbeat Bride even featured my dress commissioning process! Kieran also loves clothes and we thought it's a shame grooms often get stuck with just hiring a boring suit, so he also went bespoke and got a gorgeous three-piece suit he absolutely loves. Both of us have worn our wedding clothes again since the big day!

Rachel & Kieran's wedding

The things we were least interested in spending money on were: flowers, decorations, cake, and wedding transportation. Neither of us are very good at arts and crafts, but we wanted to stay within budget and also keep adding personal touches to the wedding, so we came up with a few projects that didn't require lots of skill but produced good results. For example, we decoupaged glass jars with travel images printed onto tissue paper to serve as candle holders at the reception, and turned a cardboard box into a luggage-stickered post box. It was really fun to do these little projects together, and because we recognised our limitations, it never got stressful or overwhelming!

Rachel & Kieran's wedding

Tell us about the ceremony:
Our ceremony was a pretty traditional Catholic service, but we chose our readings and hymns with care: a reading from the Song of Songs 2:8-10, 14, 16a; 8:6-7a and a reading from the first Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians 12:31–13:8a.

Rachel & Kieran's wedding

The first reading, from the Song of Songs, is one of the most passionate pieces of ancient literature; people are often surprised that such sensual, romantic words are found in the Bible! Yet alongside this playful celebration of pleasure is a serious pledge of eternal devotion. The second reading is a popular one at weddings, for good reason — it celebrates love as a solemn, enduring, life-enhancing force.

Rachel & Kieran's wedding

Rachel & Kieran's wedding

Rachel & Kieran's wedding

My favorite moment:
Our wedding ceremony was really beautiful. Our wonderful Irish priest, Fr. Michael, was warm and welcoming and explained everything that was going on, which was really helpful for our mostly non-Catholic guests. I also wrote notes in the order of service to help explain things. It was a very meaningful, personal service, and I felt buoyed up by the love of everyone around us. After the ceremony, our guests spilled out onto the front steps of the church, and after a minute we followed and got showered in confetti while tourists passing by stared from across the street! That must be what celebrities feel like all the time. The petals rained down and I smiled at my handsome husband and felt that whatever else happened that day, we'd done this part right.

Rachel & Kieran's wedding

Dancing with my dad was also one of my very favourite moments. We didn't have a formal first dance or father/daughter dance. He just found me on the dance floor and we had a very sweet dance to some slow jazz, and although we didn't say much, I could tell how much he loved me.

Rachel & Kieran's wedding

My funniest moment:
My first funny moment was something that could have been upsetting but instead turned out to be really fun. I booked a taxi for the bridal party. It wasn't a long walk to the church but we were wearing heels! But it turned out that a major cycling event was happening in the city that day and part of our route got blocked off, so we had to get out and walk the rest of the way. So many tourists gaped at us and took pictures on their phones, and we giggled a lot as we walked arm-in-arm to the church.

We LOVE Game of Thrones, and I had the nerdy idea of our organist playing the theme when we recess out of the church. Kieran found the sheet music online, and the church organist, despite never having heard of the show, gamely agreed to play it. The ripple of laughter that spread through the church as the organ started playing was just wonderful.

Rachel & Kieran's wedding

What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?
Spreadsheets are your friend. Create a budget with wiggle-room for the things you really want, but be ruthless about the things you don't. Don't be shy about asking people for help — most of the time, they want to. Make sure you take time throughout the day to appreciate the moment. Look at those small details you spent ages working on, really enjoy that cupcake, take a quiet moment by yourselves to just breathe.

Pack a pair of flat shoes. Enjoy looking at wedding inspo, but don't get obsessed with it: remember this is a day about you and yours, not about being picture-perfect.

And good photography is really worth the investment, because six months after the wedding, I can still remember so many details mostly because they're recorded in crisp black and white or in vibrant colour.

Rachel & Kieran's wedding

Rachel & Kieran's wedding

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding inspo!

dresses: The Couture Company

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Comments on Rachel & Kieran’s travel-themed foodie wedding

  1. This is by far one of my favorite posts I have seen on here. This couple reminds me of my husband and I so much. Their clothing is just perfect and I must say damn girl that dress looks AMAZING!!

  2. I <3 York, and I <3 your wedding!

    Not Catholic (Pentecostal!), but I just wanted to say how much I love, love, LOVE that you started your 1 Corinthians reading from the end of 12, instead of the beginning of 13. The traditional "Love is…" is beautiful, but there's something so extra special about the opening verses of 13: "[If I] do not gain love, I have nothing" – it's kind of the essence of marriage for me. ANYWAY. Large personal tangent aside, can I ask what hymns you had? 🙂

    • Thanks so much! I agree with you about the scripture. And it was also a way to make it feel more personal, as it’s a very popular reading. Our hymns were “Dear Lord and Father of Mankind”, “Lord of all hopefulness”, and “Praise, my soul, the king of heaven”. We chose hymns with meaningful lyrics but that are also reasonably popular so people could sing along! There are other hymns I love but that I knew no one would have a clue about, and a mumbling congregation isn’t very joyful 😀

  3. I lived in Harrogate for many years (because of parents work, even though I am an American). I loved visited York and last time I went to the UK to visit, went back to York. It was nice to see nothing has changed (in this case a good thing). I miss the place. I even loved the Yorkshire food, so it was nice to see you mention it!!

    • It was fun to have the Yorkshire food – stuff like mini fish and chips and Whitby crab blinis for canapés! We bought local a lot for the wedding and it felt good to do that with food too 🙂

  4. Gorgeous, all of this! I especially enjoyed looking at all the ways that you both crafted a simultaneous celebration of travel loves and local loves. And, congratulations!

    • P.S. – We got married in the same week! Didn’t even notice that on the first read. Hurrah September!

  5. I adore your dress and have a very similar frame so I remember the post about you finding a dress? Can you give a price range of what is was so I know what to expect? Also adore your unique map usage for decor and all around!! Bravo looks beautiful

    • Couture Company dresses start at £800 and the basic price for my dress wasn’t too far off that. I also had a corset – to define my waist a bit and also so I didn’t need to worry about bra straps showing (strapless bras just do not work at my bust size!) so that bumped up the price a bit. But for made to measure I found the cost very reasonable.

  6. Love York! I saw your photo on the homepage, thought, “Hmm, that looks familiar”… Gorgeous wedding and photography!

  7. I can’t lie, I was scrolling through and saw your dress (which I have had a secret crush on since it was first featured) and my brain screamed ‘Oh my god it’s THAT wedding! I must read’! Boy am I glad I did, your wedding was beautiful and I’m so happy that you had a suit made for your groom too! This whole thing was wonderful!

    • That is so sweet! I am glad you love my dress. Kieran’s suit is awesome and I am really glad he got to feel like he was wearing something special too. On OBB people talk about the groom’s clothes a lot but elsewhere? Not so much. But he deserved nice things too!! 🙂

  8. Just love this wedding, you both looked fantastic (I love your dress Rachel!!) and its clear to see how much thought you both put into the day! Also possibly stealing your game of thrones music idea!! Wishing you both the best, from a fellow UK bride(to be) x

    • Aw thank you! That is a lovely comment. And do steal away! More GoT processionals! (Just don’t play the Rains of Castamere :D)

  9. Ooh, a familiar face! I have a lot of mutual FB friends with one of your bridesmaids (KR) and was surprised to see a face I recognised from a wedding. 🙂 Your wedding looks utterly beautiful. Congratulations.

  10. Absolutely beautiful wedding! I just love everything about this. I feel you’re a kindred spirit and I don’t even know you! 🙂

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