DIY BEACHY WEDDING | Part II | Exactly how much fun I’d want my wedding to be. No more, no less. Also, an ice cream tricycle. Plus, the Shark Week/Woman Connection.

Happy Tuesday afternoon, friends! All I have is this wedding’s cake display on my mind right now, but I’m trying to compose myself so wish me luck. So… hard… to… simma… down… nah…

Ok so AS PER USUAL I have a little aside before we get into it.  It’s, umm, kinda unintentionally on a hella serious note, but since I just saw a “teaser” that reminded me of it all, I felt compelled to mention it here real quick-like, surprisingly at the outset of a beautiful wedding part two.  Weird placement?  Perhaps.  But I just kinda feel like I need to say it, and then we’ll move right along.  No need to even react.  And definitely no need to get all serious today.  Ok, enough delaying.

I really wish news programs wouldn’t suck in viewers with “teaser” stories of assaults on women.  I want the world to be apprised of such things, I just dislike the way they’re used as a tasty appetizer of sorts for your nightly news.  I feel like I’m always hearing some variation on “a man lures a woman to his apartment… just wait until you see what comes next… AT ELEVEN.“  [← actual teaser I heard a little while ago.]

Like, I mean, seriously?  You, Mr/Ms News Anchor don’t feel a little gross for delivering that teaser?  That’s not reporting the news, that’s giving viewers a lure that you’re hoping will excite them.  So here’s what I ask… stop it.  Stop.  Stop that, news shows.  It’s pretty inappropriate.  K thanks.  Ok, I’m stepping off of my soapbox now!

NOW, let’s break into the fun stuff.  I finally get to share Part II of this wedding with your faces.  What an absolute DELIGHT that is, I can’t even tell you.  As you may already know, Joanna Brown of Browns Photography is responsible for this perfection, and I can’t thank her enough for sharing it with us.  It’s got to be some of the best wedding inspiration I’ve seen this week, because not only is it colorful, beautiful and family oriented, but it’s HELLA HAPPY.  The happy is just plastered all over Abby and Julian’s guests’ faces, it’s like, unavoidable.  And I warn you… highly contagious.

First lemme share with you the totally awesome second half of our lovely bride Abby’s rundown about her big day:

… Because we didn’t want anything to be too fussy, manicured, pretty or perfect, I decided early on to keep the decoration simple, fill the room with homemade white pom poms and make the flowers the main source of colour. In the end we ran out of white tissue and the pom poms ended up being various shades of white pink and purple but I think it worked just as well. I looked into hiring table linen but I ended up finding some red and white tea towels in Ikea for 19p each (approx a third of what I’d been quoted for napkin hire) and decided to go with them instead. We tied everything up with the same red and white striped ribbon and instead of name cards and table plans we just dug out funny pictures of all our guests, printed them out polaroid stylee and just left the guests to wander around and find their places, which was a great ice-breaker. We went for bright unstructured flowers (my bouquet was full of colour, oversized with trailing ribbons and absolutely beautiful) and on the suggestion of my florist we scoured charity shops and ebay for vintage cut and pressed glass, and supplemented these with jam jars tied round with a fab red and white candy stripe ribbon I’d used for the invites. The red and white stripe ended up becoming bit of a theme, and featured everywhere from the invites, to Julian’s button hole and my bouquet, through to deckchairs, table decorations and confetti which I made by drying out my Valentines Day roses, and popping the crushed petals into stripy paper bags). Because it was such a DIY effort, the whole family got involved in decorating the venue the day before the wedding which was actually one of my favourite parts of the whole event. It looked amazing (if I do say so myself!), and best of all, our parents loved it, which meant such a lot. I knew what I wanted in my head, but sometimes its hard to communicate that to other people and I do love that they totally trusted me and never gave me cause to doubt myself even tho I could sometimes see the bemusement in their eyes!

To be honest all this detail was always so much more important to me than the dress. I tried on one dress with my mum, right after we got engaged, hated it, and that was it. I pretty much thought of every excuse I could not to go back into a bridal shop. Had I discovered the vintage wedding dress company or BHLDN a little earlier, it may have been different, but basically I pretty much decided that the only dresses I liked in the whole world were those in the J Crew range. And unfortunately they didn’t ship to the UK. I kind of ignored the whole dress ‘thing’ and secretly schemed about how I could justify a pre-wedding shopping trip to New York, until I logged onto the website one day to see that one of the dresses I’d earmarked was listed in a 48 hour half price sale. So I panicked, ordered it, had it sent to a friend of a friend in LA who I’ve never met and got her to ship it over to me. I did love my dress but I couldn’t zip it up fully until literally a week before the wedding which caused some last minute panic (and an additional last minute back-up dress purchase which only served to confuse matters), and to be honest it was probably not the most flattering dress for my shape but when I look at those pictures all I can see is how amazingly happy I was – I’m literally grinning (or crying) all day long, and for that reason I can overlook the fact that I probably should have spent a bit more time overcoming my fear of dress shopping! By contrast I absolutely LOVED my veil, which I’m very sad has no other practical purpose in my wardrobe, and my Lanvin shoes, ( 2 sizes too big but the last pair in London and I HAD to have them) which are VERY beautiful, were VERY expensive and were probably worn for approximately half an hour before I changed into my ‘something blue’ havaianas and promptly forgot about them. I’ll get years of post wedding wear from them though, and they look beautiful in the photos!

My bridesmaids, Clare, Helen and Katie pretty much dressed themselves too – I knew I’d prefer it if they all dressed differently but we did initially try to find a dress they all liked, really just to simplify things. However, one shopping trip pretty much served to illustrate a) what totally different taste they all had, and b) how utterly silly it is to dress alike when you’re 34 years old! We agreed on short cream, ivory or white dresses and I left them to it. They all bought completely different dresses from French Connection, Alice Temperley and Butler and Wilson, but they worked together perfectly, and everyone ended up happy. By the way, the knickers on Jo’s blog are not mine but my bridesmaids Katies – she insisted they were recorded for posterity after she popped into agent provocateur for nude pants in desperation on her way to Whitstable straight from work. They were totally unremarkable but cost her £85, which she was too embarrassed to question once she got to the till, so ended up with the most expensive knickers of us all!

Julian’s tailor, Adam Waite, was a bit of a find. We got a tip, from a very hungover shop assistant at a shop we really couldn’t afford, and he turned out to be amazing. I didn’t see the suit before the day, but Julian looked so handsome I couldn’t have been prouder. We asked all the ushers and best men to wear their own suits and then kitted them each out with a groomsman’s kit of shirt, tie, socks & hipflask. They all ended up in slightly different colours but again it worked really well and they look great in the pictures.

The ceremony was perfect. The house is licensed for weddings on the veranda, so you can actually get married in sight and sound of the sea. Its a little unconventional, there’s no seating for example – everyone just hovered around the edges – and the walk up the aisle, is more a walk (or trip, as I managed) up the front steps. One of our good friends Rob played me up the steps to James Taylor, and down to Metallica, and we were met at the bottom by an ice-cream bike we’d booked to cycle up to the house straight after the ceremony. To my joy he turned out to be an actor from Eastenders (the market inspector) – brilliant. I’ve since seen a few people in the photos I didn’t recognise queuing up for ice-cream along with my friends and my Dad said there were people coming up off the beach not realising it was a private booking. I love that – we had a real mix of friends in shorts and flip flops as well as those in proper suits so that it was not obviously a wedding party. The whole day was so relaxed it could just as easily have been a beach barbeque – exactly what I wanted.

Whitstable is famous for oysters, which Julian and I both love, so we asked the venue to supply these and had someone opening them to order for the guests at the reception. The venue has its own micro-brewery which has amazing beers, so we served these alongside the Pimms and Prosecco. In keeping with the homemade theme, I ordered a wonderful huge glass lemonade jar from Amazon and spent the day before the wedding squeezing 50 lemons for fresh homemade lemonade. (Not advisable! My hands were red raw, tho the lemonade went down really well – just get a friend to do it!) which caused the only panic of the day when we realised we’d left it behind in the fridge and had to put in an emergency call to a friend with a key to our house who was driving down the morning of the wedding.

On the basis that they did a fab folksy cover of ‘smells like teen spirit’ we booked a great acoustic guitar/vocal duo that I found on myspace who turned out to be brilliant and set themselves up on the beach and played through the afternoon. And this was followed by a dinner of lobster and beer battered fish and chips. We skipped dessert and the traditional wedding cake and instead asked friends to bring homemade cakes along for which we’d laid out a WI style cake table. These were delicious and also ended up looking amazing in the pictures. I also loved it that friends were so involved with the day, and it really fitted in with the handmade theme. We ditched the wedding favours and instead I had some cake boxes made and printed in the same style as the invites so everyone could help themselves to leftover cake to take home.

Joanna, bless her, did an amazing job throughout the day – I’m so glad we’d had an engagement shoot, as it really helped to clarify what we wanted and she totally nailed it on the day. I hate having my picture taken but she must have relaxed me, as I was sharing all sorts with her by the end of the day (sorry Joanna!), and she even stayed late to run the photo booth which everyone loved. We booked a local band – Emily and the Beats – for the evening, who were fantastic and have made for some really embarrassing dancing video footage which I shall attempt to bury! At midnight we all piled out onto the beach for Chinese lanterns and bacon sandwiches before the night wrapped up at 1. I can truly, hand on heart say that it was one of the best days of my life. I feel a bit sheepish saying that as I’m not one of those girls who has always dreamt of her wedding and I really never thought it was that important to me even to get married (nice, but not essential) but I honestly loved the whole experience, as did Julian, and we’ve both said that we just wish we could do it all again. If I could do it all again I don’t think I’d change anything (tho sadly it was just too warm to wear my 1950′s fur stole, AND my lulu guinness lobster bag didn’t turn up in time!) It was pretty much perfect. The best part was seeing all our friends and family having a great time and since I’ve been completely overwhelmed with the feedback we had about the wedding. When we were planning the day we got a lots of ‘that sounds interesting/different/unusual type comments but on the day we had nothing but enthusiasm and I think it just goes to show that if you do something which you know you will love yourselves and properly throw your heart and soul into it then it’s just infectious.

Now, please, enjoy the show!  And then let us know what you think, as always… :)

I think this might be my best ever image transition from outdoors after the ceremony/cocktail hour, to indoors for the reception.  Notice his cuff link…

YES.  Ok maybe not best, but moderately cool, I hope…?  Bleh.  Anyways you’re gonna love this reception.  It seems like SO MUCH FUN was had at this shindig.  Just look at it!

↑ can I haz, England?

Three more things… that are of course totes unrelated, because, sigh, that’s how I do it up in here.  (You try having a gazillion thoughts in your head at once.)  So yeah I came across this video while walking around on the internets, and I thought I’d share it.  Too.  Adorable.  For.  Words.

A little Bambino fix for those of you who always remind me that I haven’t included a shot of him… I love your faces.  But just tell me…

How am I supposed to resist HIS?  He’s gonna be a chubbywubbypuppy before I know it, with the way he begs for treats.

Aaaaaand finally, while Pinteresting I came across this little number, the tumblr source of which is right here.

Just like the original poster of the image on tumblr, I think we should, from here on out, refer to our menstrual cycles as “Shark Week.”  No seriously, let’s start a movement, ladies.  No.  SERIOUSLY.  Gentlemen, I’m sure you can get on board, too.  Guys like sharks, right?  And sharks love blood.  Ok this is starting to feel like a multi-connected match made in free association heaven.  No wait, that can’t be right.  Because if something was made in heaven, IT COULDN’T POSSIBLY INVOLVE THE HORRORS OF MENSTRUATION.

And…… scene.

Thoughts?  On anything, really.  Wedding’s beautiful, eh?  :)

xoxo!  – Alison

Photography: Browns Photography /Etsy & Folksy – amazing. Used it for everything from my veil, and the ushers ties, to Julians cufflinks, hip flasks, banners, decorations, cupcake holders. / Dogwood Ties for Ushers ties / Whimsy & Ink for Hipflasks / Flortini designs for veil / Little Retreats for banners & props / Bookity for Cufflinks / Shoes: Lanvin Gold T-Bar heels – Selfridges / Dress: J Crew – Whitney / Earrings: bought for me by Julian as a wedding pres from Liberty in Love / Pearls and bracelet both belonged to my grandmothers. / Ushers and Best men: all wore own suits. Shirts and ivory ties came from Marc Wallace / Bridesmaids: All bought own dresses from french connection, alice temperley, vintage butler and wilson, Shoes all their own. / Bridemaids jewellery: bought them all a Luna bracelet by Monica Vinader / Evening Band: Emily and the Beats / Daytime Acoustic Band: Matt & Natalie Lungley / Ceremony: The Beacon House / Reception: East Quay/Lobster Shack / Florist: Jane at Graham Greener / B&B/Make up: Frances Prescott – The Apartment / Hair: Robert Mitchell. Whitstable / Ice-cream tricycle with the Eastenders market inspector!! ( Still loving this!) – Nick Wilton / Julian’s suit / Julian’s shoes: Grenson Brogues at Urban Outfitters / Badges & candlesticks: Cox & Cox / Cheese tier: Waitrose Entertainin

Label(s): Blue, Color, Green, Oh, How PINteresting, Pink, {Real Weddings}

Love all of this...


  1. Stephanie- VintageModernBride on August 9, 2011

    bwahaha to the youtube video. that kid is pretty funny. just wait 10 years or so and see what she says then. as for the wedding…GORGEOUS! i love it :)

  2. Nicole on August 9, 2011

    Love that wedding so much! It’s so personal… what I see my future wedding being like. And funny story with that hilarious video you posted. Showed it to my boyfriend months ago and he claims that when I get upset about something I sound like her. So, whenever we have an argument, he will bust out “I don’t want to get married unless I have a job first!!!” It’s hilarious. And always stops our min-not-so-bad-anyway fights.

  3. Erica Ann Photography on August 9, 2011

    Yay, I just started Shark Week yesterday. It suddenly seems so much more exciting! Also, 5 year old girl? Hilarious! Thanks so much for sharing that with us. I don’t remember having opinions nearly so strong at least until puberty. Watch out Hillary – looks like we might’ve found our first female president.

    Oh yah, and the wedding is gorgeous of course. :) I love all of the weathered beachiness!

  4. RufflesDebs on August 9, 2011

    You are now officially my favourite wedding blog. And I include my own in that. Stunning wedding, hard ass feminist 5yr old and renaming periods Shark Week? Where do I sign?

  5. Lena on August 9, 2011


    I had so many other intelligent things to say, but dammit if I didn’t fall for Shark Week.

    Ok, I will admit to reading every single word of these posts, which might make me a lunatic/masochist, but you’re reading this comment so what does that make you? When I read “Pimms and Prosecco”, I just about died and went to heaven. Not only did these two have a GORGEOUS wedding with perfectly darling details, they served adorable drinks with the benefit of alliteration.

    And sassy career girl up there? Totally made my day. In fact, she reminds me of my 6 year old self, who dreamed of big city living and a closet full of suits. WHO WAS I.

    Oh, how I love the Knotty Bride.

  6. Elsie on August 9, 2011

    Okay, i LOVE this blog. You make me laugh OUT LOUD. There’s this superb crazy pretty wedding going on here, that believe me I’m obsessssseed with and immensely inspired by, but I can’t stop giggling over that shark week to private parts connection!! So funny. It’s a little disturbing how similar they look…but it would explain a lot about when my “Aunt Flo” comes to visit. Ha!

    Not to write a novel here but I also love the little girl in that video. I kinda agree with her – it definitely feels good to know I’m getting married but can also stnd on my own two feet no matter what, married or not. :) It’s good to see there are some kids out there who’ve set some standards for their lives! Lol :D

  7. Leighann on August 9, 2011

    I just want to kiss Bam right on the mouth. And i’m totally on board with “shark week.” You know what’s super fun? Double dose of shark week… per month. Ifyouknowwhatimsaying. The sweet heavens above sure aren’t responsible for that!

  8. Rachael on August 9, 2011

    I am getting desperate here for a tutorial for those tissue paper pom flowers up there! This whole thing is gorgeous. I love the ice cream stand!

  9. Jenna on August 9, 2011

    ZOMG thank you so much for this post. I’m getting married in a month and have been stressing out about all the things I have in my head not working out perfectly and this was an amazing post to see/read about someone who also did everything themselves, it wasn’t perfect, but they loved every moment. I think I will bookmark this.

    Also I have read a lot of posts on your blog, I’m a daily reader, this is my all time favorite. You were right, part 2 blew part 1 out of the water.

    and now to switch gears, how funny is this?

  10. Seriously…this wedding just looks like so much fun! I wish that I had been invited. Who wouldn’t want an ice cream tricycle at their wedding?! That is just so great!

    P.S.- The shark/lady bits diagram is terrifying!

  11. Faith on August 9, 2011

    Sad that this is my first comment, BUUT the shark week did it for me… this video explains shark week… and yes I’m a teacher and I teach child development.. so I DO have some authority on this.. and, I guess, I a women and yeah..

    ALSO, LOVE the site. I have been following now for about a month. thats all.

  12. What a beautiful beachside wedding and I love the simple wedding decor for the reception.

    I want the cake table! All of it, please!

  13. Mia on August 9, 2011

    I don’t know if someone’s already said this, but there was a comedian on America’s Got Talent that had a song he sang about women being “strong and vast and beautiful like the ocean, and then, once a month, it’s Shark Week.”

    I laughed so hard I near to died.

  14. Alicia @CharityWedding on August 10, 2011

    I want to be excited about this wedding, I do. But I can’t get past the shark brain/vag connection. I will without question start referring to my monthly treasure as shark week. And when I am PMS-ing I’ll go ahead and start humming the Jaws theme song just to warn everyone that it is coming. Maybe, just maybe, my husband will look forward to me being a massive biotch who gets pissed at small things and eats chocolate like its the last fish in the sea! Ha- for the first time in all eternity I am excited for “Shark Week.” In both senses really, as who the F cares about real shark week?

  15. Alicia @CharityWedding on August 10, 2011

    You MUST watch this: I watched your video which lead to me being forced to watch the recommended options that popped up. For a good 30 min, I watched videos of kids doing everything from singing Hey Jude to kids talking about Star Wars but it wasn’t until the video above that I landed on a true gem.

  16. Elle on August 10, 2011

    Shark Week – Done.

    And seriously – that little girl has a heart breathtakingly beautiful voice! Listen to that song broken hearted – she’s 12 for god’s sakes!

  17. C on August 10, 2011

    Absolutely gorgeous wedding. I loved all the little details. When I look at these types of photos some times, I wish I was cool enough to be invited to them.

    I really hope that shark week becomes an actual terminology in the period lexicon. I think it’s appropriate and some thing guys probably wouldn’t feel so stupid saying. I love it!

    The bambino is adorbs as usual. Keep the photos coming. I don’t think any of us can get enough of his gorg face.

  18. Once Upon Your Day -- Julia on August 10, 2011

    I love all the little deatils in that seasdie weeding!

    Missing your weekly bachelorette comments lol. Are you watching the bachelor pad?

  19. Rhiannon Nicole {Hey Gorg} on August 10, 2011

    This wedding is so BA (bad ass) and her bouquet is to die for. Bambino is adorbs. As usual. And the vagina and shark brain similarities? Really it just makes my whole week a gazzillion times sweeter! Cause I loooovvveee you! xoxo

  20. Dannie Bovian on August 11, 2011

    Hello.This post was extremely remarkable, especially because I was searching for thoughts on this subject last week.

  21. Adam Waite Custom Tailoring on August 21, 2011

    Looking good in the suit Julian and loving the Whitstable Cufflinks! Nice touch. Adam

  22. anna and the ring on August 21, 2011

    One of my favourite weddings. It’s just so cute.

    P.S. Thanks to you my husband now loves to call Shark Week,, Shark Week!!

  23. Abby on August 22, 2011

    Thanks for featuring us Alison – we loved the whole day! Rachael – try Martha Stewart for the pom-poms (, but get help hanging them – it took most of the afternoon before and a small army to get them all puffed out and looking good….
    Abby x

  24. Carol on March 21, 2012 with the Shark Week reference! I have laughed so hard. LOVE the wedding and most importantly LOVE Bambino the mostest. XO

  25. Samira on June 8, 2012

    Perfect combination of beach wedding + Ice cream car!

  26. Heather on September 5, 2012

    Wedding on a pebbled beach is so cool, different for so cliche Florida beach weddings. Thanks for sharing!

  27. on March 31, 2013

    I was studying something else about this on another blog. Interesting. Your perspective on it is novel. If I were in this business only for the business, I wouldn’t be in this business. Samuel Goldwyn 1882 1974

  28. on March 31, 2013

    I commend the valuable information you share in your posts. I will bookmark your blog and have my readers read in your site frequently. I am quite certain they will read lots of fresh stuff in your site than anywhere else!

  29. on April 1, 2013

    Hi. I wanted to thank you for the wonderful details youve posted on your web site. I will definitelycome back to check it out once more and have subscribedto your RSS feed. Have a fantastic day.

  30. on April 1, 2013

    2. Good article over again! Thanks a lot;)


Leave a comment