This alternative wedding with an eclectic vintage vibe is giving me all the feels today. Jemma & Lee did it their way – it being getting married of course! Jemma looks amazing in her signature thick winged eyeliner, lace sleeved wedding gown and 50s esq birdcage veil and Lee cuts a dashing figure too in his 20s inspired wedding suit – they didn’t compromise on the styling of their day either, choosing to use quirky pieces foraged from their home.
Words by Jemma. Images by Sarah Jane Ethan.
I always knew what I had in mind for my idea of the perfect wedding dress, however I didn’t expect to find it in the first shop that I looked in, which I did! I had been looking online for vintage wedding dress shops and came across ‘Glory Days’ in York. The selection of dresses were beautiful but when I saw a 1950’s lace gown with long sleeves I knew it had to be mine. I tried it on and after wearing it around the shop for about an hour I bought it!
Although I thought my dress was gorgeous as it was, I wore several strings of pearls with it which we’re also vintage including a set which belonged to my great grandmother. The night before my wedding, my mother presented me with a gift from my grandfather, which was a beautiful cameo brooch handed down from my late gran, I was in tears and so proud to wear something so beautiful that meant so much.
The Groom knew exactly what he wanted and was inspired by the well dressed gentlemen from the 1920’s. He wanted a tailored fit 5 piece dark blue suit, tan brogues and a Dickie Bow tie. The suit was from Next and his pocket square was from Debenhams. He completed his outfit with a handmade feather boutonnière made by ‘The Salty Dog Company’ which he found on Etsy. Never in my life will I see a man that looks as handsome as my husband did on our wedding day.
We decided to have a short and sweet ceremony. We were worried that our guests would be bored if we had readings and to be honest we were petrified of speaking in front of everyone so chose to say our vows and that was it really! My father Jeff walked me down the aisle to ‘The Girl’ by City & Colour, and we decided we wanted our Mothers Janice and Andrea to be our witnesses so that we could include them a bit more in our wedding.
In the beginning, the bridesmaids dresses were a complete nightmare for me. Everywhere I looked I just thought they were too Bridesmaidsy and I couldn’t see anything that I had in mind, which to be fair wasn’t a lot, and I just came to the conclusion that when I found ‘The One’s’ I would know. Fast forward two months of stress and I came across these super stylish little black dresses with lace, I felt like I’d won the lottery! They were from New Look of all places and were a huge hit with the girls, thank Goodness. I was even a little annoyed that I didn’t get one for myself! They were perfect and exactly what I didn’t know that I wanted.
Speaking on the phone to SJ the night before the wedding I knew 100% we had chosen the perfect wedding photographer. We chatted and laughed and I felt completely relaxed knowing that we were on the same page and my feelings were spot on, we were in the best hands. On the day, we were completely relaxed. After telling SJ that I was very camera shy, she guided us very discreetly to get the best of us but also got so many natural pictures and most of the time we barely knew she was there. Once the wedding had come and gone, the cake eaten and the dress packed away, we literally couldn’t wait to see the photos and relive our wedding again.
We were actually in Scotland on our honeymoon tucked away in the mountains with no wifi or barely any reception on our phones when SJ sent us a link to a few teaser photos. We both eagerly had our phones in the air for 2 days straight trying to get enough signal to download the pictures!
Lee and I were both completely blown away with the mood of the day and ambience that SJ managed to capture. They final result had our hearts pounding and I actually did a little cry! Sarah is the friendliest, loveliest girl and a complete professional. We really did hit lucky and we really will be recommending her to absolutely
Although to some people our decor may have ‘seemed’ themed, it was just things from our house and bits and bats that we’d collected that we knew we would use again. In fact most of it is back to where we took it from and is in use in our home! We used bell jars, pearls, vintage keys, old books, pearls and various other decorations for our table centrepieces. We even used phrenology heads and fortune telling hands as well as pieces of taxidermy and fairy lights, it all came together and I think the reason it worked so well is because they were our personal belongings which didn’t take much effort to put together, but looked really wonderful and effective. We used ceramic apothecary jars and bottles to put our flowers in and dotted fairy lights around. There were a lot of other little bits and pieces too, a lot to recall in fact. We were so happy with the reactions and comments made by family and friends, especially with the table place cards which we individually hand stamped every single one. It took a long time but was really worth it and gave it that extra personal touch.
The top table centrepiece, the Bridal bouquet and the Bridesmaids posies were all wonderfully put together by Janine from ‘Ello Flower’ in York. I knew the colours that I wanted but as far as my knowledge of flowers went that’s all I did know! Janine was a mind reader though and when they were delivered on the day I though “yeah, she’s nailed it”.
Our amazing wedding favours were beautiful handmade rose scented soaps for the ladies which were so generously gifted to us by Caroline Rose of Rose & Co. They were presented on heart shaped paper doilies which looked really cute, in fact I didn’t want to give them away! For the gentlemen we put together a small bag of mint humbugs tied up string. These were a few of my favourite things!
We looked at a few venues close to our home in Leeds, as lovely as they were they weren’t quite right. We originally were looking for places pet friendly so we could bring our 3 dogs with us as we couldn’t bare the thought of us all being separated on such a special day, however we knew that if we wanted the perfect venue then something had to give… So our dogs had a holiday at the kennels! We came across Cedar Court Grand In York which is a 5* hotel and were completely taken with how gorgeous it was. We would have the whole section of the hotel to ourselves which we thought would make our wedding feel so tucked away and intimate. The room was was classic, with high ceilings, giant windows and wood panelled walls, it was just perfect and exactly what we wanted. After meeting Evie Scaith the wedding coordinator we felt that we could finally relax and paid the deposit. The table service on the day was absolutely breathtaking and you had to be there to believe it. The staff were extremely efficient, kind and understanding and went miles out of their way to give us the perfect day.
Our entertainment for the evening was ‘Leeds City Stompers’ an old time, Country Blues string band. They really did have everyone up dancing and were a huge hit, we knew they would be, in fact I think they made a few bookings with some of our guests for future jamborees! They really are fantastic and I would recommend them to absolutely everybody, whatever your style.
Although I looked online and through various wedding magazines for decoration inspiration, I don’t think that I used a single idea that I’d seen. It just wasn’t really us and I wanted our wedding to be filled with things that we had created, and what we liked. It really paid off and the best piece of advice I could ever give is to rack your brains and stick to your guns, there is absolutely nothing wrong to be inspired by magazines and the like or recreate something that you’ve seen somewhere else, but put your mark on it and make it your own. It was extremely satisfying to know our special day was 100 per cent our creation.
Absolutely in love with this alternative, vintage real wedding and loving Jemma’s eclectic style!
wedding credits / photographer: sarah jane ethan photography / wedding venue: cedar court grand / brides dress: glory days / brides veil: etsy / grooms accessories: salty dog company, next, debenhams / bridesmaid dresses: new look / hair & makeup: emma worrall, laura dawson / florist: ‘ello flower / favours: rose & co