Today we’re excited to feature Jemma and Stefan’s colourful, industrial and DIY wedding in the heart of trendy Bristol…
Q. What was the theme/style for your big day?
A. Our aim was to make the day relaxed, casual and fun. Neither of us are big fans of formal occasions and Jemma couldn’t imagine wearing a traditional wedding dress, so we just chose what we liked and developed a style as we went along. The initial colour scheme was going to be peacock, inspired by Jemma’s hairband, however, as time went on Jemma started to refer to the theme of the day as ‘pop colour’… but that was really her excuse for not having a theme really and adding in more colours all the time! As more colours came in to the mix, the inclusion of natural materials such as wood & hessian became more important to add some consistency.
Q. What was most important to you when it came to tying the knot/celebrating your marriage?
A. The most important thing to us was having family and friends there. We even moved the initial date so that a close friend could make it. The ceremony itself was quite small. Only 70 guests, with more joining in the evening. Jemma would have had it even smaller if she could, but Stefan has a very large family to accommodate! We both worked in the music industry, so also knew from the beginning that we wanted to fill the day with music. We spent a lot of time developing the playlist and had two live bands playing in the evening. Stefan had managed a band for years so they were a dead cert and we fancied an electro swing band to follow to get people up and dancing.
Q. How did you choose your venue and suppliers?
A. We were looking for a quirky industrial style venue right from the start and thought it should be easy to find in Bristol with all the dockyard warehouses. But it was harder than we expected as some formerly rustic venues were quite corporate or offered very fixed packages. Given that we both had careers in events and festival management, we were after something a bit more DIY. When we found The Station Kitchen it was perfect. Jemma knew the venue already, as they have hosted many exciting circus and music shows in the city. Its industrial and laid back feel was ideal. To top it off, the venue is a social enterprise, which helps young people get back on their feet by training them in hospitality, so it had a feel-good factor too. The staff were fantastic and added a really lovely feel to the fun of the day. Ben the venue manager was very flexible and even let us run our own honesty bar! We told him what we wanted for food and he sourced it from local suppliers and added trimmings from their kitchen. We sourced all of the alcohol ourselves, with a focus on breweries which were either local or had significance to us.
Q. Where did you get your ideas and inspiration?
A. Our ideas and inspiration came from our own style and also from scouring alternative wedding blogs and Pinterest to see what other people were up to. We threw all of the ideas together in a mixture of colour and texture. We didn’t care if things didn’t match as long as we liked them. Much of the venue decor was made by family and friends. We cut out lots of initial ideas as we liked the raw industrial feel of the space and felt that it didn’t require a massive amount of dressing. We focused on improving the look and feel of the courtyard with some festoon lighting and a gobo with our wedding date shining on the fire tower.
Q. Tell us about your dress…
A. I always wanted a 50s tea dress and despite trying on all the available styles just in case, that was exactly what I ended up with. The only thing that surprised me was that I didn’t think I would choose lace or apricot. I found the designer House of Mooshki and loved her dresses, so I visited her studio in Essex. Her dresses are made to measure and very expensive (much to Stefan’s horror) but I checked with her in advance and she had a samples rail with a couple of styles in my size, so I went to try them on. The apricot one was just perfect and I figured that it was probably the only time in my life I would wear a full lace dress! She adjusted it slightly for me and I stored it in advance of the day. I actually lost weight beforehand by accident and had to get a seamstress to make some minor adjustments at the last minute!
Q. What was on the menu?
A. Our main menu choice was Bristol’s famous Pieminister pies; a chicken, beef and veggie option served with mash and gravy. As a starter we just had canapés, knowing that the main course was going to be heavy going! Then for dessert we had a choice of chocolate brownie or Eton mess. All chosen by us and made to order by Ben and his team. We also had a cheese tower instead of the traditional wedding cake. Who doesn’t love cheese? And a choice of cocktail for people to enjoy in the courtyard on arrival and Prosecco for toasts. We had initially planned a taster board of liquors for the toasts but felt that the older generations might not appreciate shots at 4pm!
Q. What was the quirkiest element of the day?
A. The quirkiest element of the day was probably the personalised lighting we had on the fire tower outside, projecting our names and the date. It’s such a simple thing to do when you know how, but had a real wow factor for the guests.
Q. What advice would you give other brides looking for a similar style of event?
A. If you’re looking for this kind of day, you really need to find a venue who are flexible enough to allow you to do your own thing! You need to remember to be laid back about things if you have a DIY wedding. Don’t give yourself too much to do – you can use suppliers to help you so you don’t have to do everything on your own. The most import things are the family and friends, the rest just falls into place and the day will always be perfect to you anyway!
Q. What was your favourite memory from the day?
A. Jemma: My favourite memory is of some friends of ours playing and singing in a made up band that Stefan had put together for me. Our friend Peter sang “You are the best thing” with other friends on saxophone, trumpet, double bass and cajon. They’d practised in secret in advance!
Stefan: I loved the whole day. It’s probably the only time you will get all of your friends and family in the same place at the same time, so it was great to have such a relaxed day where we could both have fun and chat to everyone.
Q. What was your first dance to/what did you walk down to the aisle to?
A. We didn’t have a first dance because Jemma isn’t a fan of being the centre of attention. So we just had the band after dinner. Which got everyone up dancing. And Stefan did some crowd surfing! Jemma walked down the aisle to cinematic orchestra ‘build a home’. Not your traditional wedding song but we love it and I thought it was perfect.
Photography: Bee Holmes
Beer: Bristol Brewery & North Cotswold Brewery
Suits: Harris Tweed (groom) & ASOS (groomsmen)
Flowers: Lucy Anna Flowers
Venues: Bristol Register Office (Lantern Room) & The Station Kitchen
Lighting for courtyard: BES Systems
Other venue dressing: Sourced online / made at home
Accommodation: Brooks Guest House Bristol