An Alice in Wonderland Fancy Dress Festival Wedding ~ Rob & Laura

We first fell in love with the idea of whimsical Alice in Wonderland themed weddings when we featured this photo shoot from Erika at PhotoMadly back in 2012 and then we swooned all over again with Victoria and Martin’s Mad Hatters Tea Party reception at Fabrica in Brighton last year.

But this three day Sussex festival wedding celebration (also featured on Rock and Roll Bride) is the first Alice in Wonderland fancy dress wedding we’ve featured here on Love Sussex Weddings and we love it.

This was Rob and Laura’s unofficial UK wedding as they had tied the knot at the cool Burning Man festival in Nevada (see some of their official wedding day here on Buzzfeed!) and boy, did they go to town!

Held in a marquee in a field at Hodore Farm in Hartfield, East Sussex in September 2013, the couple and their 200 guests partied over three days dressed up as Alice in Wonderland characters – the bride, of course was Alice, her groom the White Rabbit – pretty cool eh?

But enough rabbiting on from us, it’s time to grab that cuppa and lose yourself down the rabbit hole with this fancy dress fantasy festival wedding. It’s a good’un:

The bride wore a vintage dress and earrings courtesy of nan, Peggy with Vivienne Westwood shoes and a veil with two roses in her hair, while her nine bridesmaids rocked 40s and 50s influenced dresses, each in a different colour and shape.

“We’re all mad here.”

Friends and family played a key role in Rob and Laura’s proceedings with their officiant being their friend Chris (who was ordained online by America’s University of Life Monastery!) and hair, makeup  flowers and not forgetting, their out- of –this- world cake being lovingly made by creative friends.

“Yes, that’s it! Said the Hatter with a sigh, it’s always tea time.”

After the ceremony, the party started with guests flocking to the reception marquee, wonderfully decorated with the Alice in Wonderland theme in mind (teapot balloons, playing cards, paper mache mushrooms, giant paper clocks, blow up flamingos, a black and white tiled dance floor, you name it, it was there!) for cream teas.


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A Rustic and Romantic Barn Wedding at The Tithe Barn, Bedford – Collette & Andy

When we first chatted to Brighton couple (and Love Sussex Weddings readers) Collette and Andy, to feature their amazing Brighton engagement shoot, almost a year ago, we just knew we would want to show you their beautiful Bedfordshire barn wedding too.

This cool and quirky Brighton couple (originally from Bedford) had spent months creating stationery, making bunting and collecting crockery for their big May day at The Tithe Barn, back in their hometown – and boy, oh, boy did it pay off!

Here’s gorgeous bride Collette to tell us more:

Andy and I have been together for nine and a half years and actually knew each other in secondary school. Three years later, I was looking for work in my gap year before Uni and Andy was running the bar I ended up working in. After getting to know each other and trading music – as they say, the rest is history…

Although we live in and love Brighton, it was important to have a venue that could be easily reached by all of our guests, so decided on our home county of Bedfordshire. We knew early on we wanted a barn wedding and the Tithe Barn at The Barns Hotel in Bedford was exactly what we were after and we could easily envisage the decoration we had in mind fitting perfectly. Another great reason for choosing this venue was that the ceremony, reception and guest accommodation was all in the same grounds.

We were able to get ready at the Barns Hotel and made the short walk across the lawn to the Tithe Barn where the ceremony and reception took place.

One of a Kind…

Most of our wedding items such as the wedding rings, gifts and decorations came from Etsy which was a great source for things handmade and one of a kind. Almost everything else was picked up in town, Googled or found on eBay. Our venue provided the food and drink for the whole day and recommended our florist.

We both have similar tastes and aren’t ones for tradition, so wanted our wedding to be very personal and to make our own rules, rather than stick to specific traditions people come to expect at weddings – we took ideas and enjoyed making them our own.


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A Historic, Midnight Brighton Wedding ~ Andrew & Neil

Every wedding day is special and unique, but the wedding of Brighton boys Andrew and Neil, who married at one minute past midnight last Saturday, is also now part of Brighton and UK history.

One of the first gay marriages in the UK and the first in Brighton, this wonderful wedding was done in true Brighton style in the breathtaking Music Room at Brighton’s Royal Pavilion (and was also the first ever wedding to be held there).

Using mostly Brighton and local based businesses, including fab photographer Em of Rhapsody Road Photography (check out their lovely beach engagement shoot here too) this was a Sussex wedding to be proud of.

We’re delighted to have caught up with groom Andrew just days after his historic wedding to talk equality, impromptu speeches and celebrating ‘till 4am, over to Andrew:

We’re very proud to be a part of something which may eventually improve the lives of people all over the world, any change in the law which helps reduce oppression by improving equality of opportunity is a good thing.

Neil proposed to me more or less in passing at the top of the stairs in my house, about five years ago. I think the thought suddenly took him – I said yes, and we carried on with whatever it was we were doing, it all seemed very natural and I really didn’t need to consider my answer.

Brighton Beaus

We chose to get married in Brighton because it is where we met and where we live – Brighton is a quirky and inclusive city, full of life and colour, why would we marry anywhere else?

Brighton Beautiful

We had very little time to arrange the wedding, and found most of suppliers by walking around Brighton and going in anywhere that was appealing.  We wanted to use as many local companies as possible – we used local people for the rings (Rina Tairo), the suits (Gresham Blake), the flowers (Florian), our barber (Jake Berry) and the cake (Angel Food Bakery).  We found a few suppliers on the internet including the company who printed our invitations (Meridian Press), our shirts (Pin Collar Shirts), and The Rock People in Lancing who made some sticks of rock for us with a photo of our dog on the label as gifts for the guests.

We were extremely lucky to have won the honour of being the first couple to be married in the extraordinary Music Room at the Brighton Royal Pavilion, an extravagantly decorated room.  We didn’t want to try to compete with that so opted for fairly low-key green and blue herringbone tweed suits.

We love Spain and Spanish food, so a tapas bar seemed apt for our reception celebrations – the staff were so relaxed and made everything easy – something we wanted after the grandness and formality of the ceremony.

We also had a lovely lunch for family and a few friends, the next day at GB1 Restaurant at the Grand Hotel, followed by a spa treatment and a night in a beautiful suite.


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A West Sussex Barn Wedding With A Travel & Scottish Theme ~ Savanna and Mark

When travel-loving couple Savanna and Mark (who actually met on the road!) decided to tie the knot, there was no place like home for our Sussex-born bride who chose to come back to Sussex’s beautiful countryside for her big day.

Marrying in a gorgeous Sussex wedding venue, Batholomew Barn near Petworth in West Sussex and continuing their Sussex and Scottish themed celebrations at the barn, decked with homemade bunting, travel maps and the coolest purple cupcake tower that we think we’ve seen, this was one exciting October wedding packed with personal touches. But, enough from us, here’s beaming bride Savanna for all the wedding day goss:

We chose to get married in Sussex as I was born in Worthing. Sussex is such a beautiful county, especially with the South Downs that it just felt right.

The way we met is quite a story… Back in 2009 both of us decided to take part in the Mongol Rally. This adventure entails taking a one litre engine car and driving it from Goodwood in West Sussex, all the way to Ulan Bator in Mongolia to raise money for charity. The car is clearly not fit for the job because the roads through Central Asia are terrible, and practically nonexistent in Mongolia. It was the trip of a life time!

We met initially in Uzbekistan, but we properly met on the Russian/Mongolian Border where we then got stuck for 72 hours which was plenty of time to get to know each other. We were then inseparable for two and a half weeks as we travelled through Mongolia to the finish line.

Once we had completed the rally, Mark decided he wanted to travel some more so he flew to LA and drove a Harley Davison across America to New York, where he then rang me and asked if he could come and stay with me in Cambridge (where I was living at the time) for a week, I said yes, so I picked him up from Stansted Airport and we spent the week together. We were both anxious about spending time together in the ‘real world’ as we had spent so much time together in a ‘bubble’ type of situation, but we got on great! We obviously had to consider the fact that I lived in Cambridge and Mark in Falkirk, but as we both lived only half an hour from an airport we decided to give the long distance a go. [CLICK TO READ MORE]

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Fab Festive Wedding Celebrations at Hotel Du Vin, Brighton ~ Lisa and Rafael

Today we’re heading back to December for Lisa and Rafael’s romantic post-wedding party! The couple, who now live in Brazil, returned to Brighton’s slightly less sunny shores to celebrate with their family and friends in Hotel Du Vin’s delightful dome room.

We caught up with loved-up bride Lisa to talk crackers, Christmas and coming home:

I grew up in Uckfield and lived in Hove with Rafael for two years. Even though we are currently living in Brazil, Sussex will always be my home.

When it came to wedding planning, I used just four suppliers! Our photographer, Erika from PhotoMadly was also my sister’s wedding photographer, she did such a great job with her wedding that she was the obvious choice for ours.

I bought my wedding dress in Leonie Claire, I accompanied a friend to the shop a few years ago for a fitting and fell in love with the place!

Our DJ was Paul Budd from Unity Talent, who again was my sister’s wedding DJ, he did a great job of getting everyone up on their feet and dancing the night away!

And finally the venue, Hotel du Vin who were wonderful, I cannot express in words what a great wedding venue they truly are. All the staff were kind, useful and friendly and they made the whole process really enjoyable. The Dome boasts an outstanding wine glass chandelier a great focal point to the room. It was lovely and cosy inside even though it was freezing outside and has some lovely Brighton artwork on the walls. Everything else was made by a friend or we created ourselves!

I’m not going to lie, I’m ever so slightly embarrassed to tell you this but the inspiration for our wedding came from Edward and Bella´s wedding in Twilight, I loved all the twinkling lights and the twiggy leafy table centres. My bridesmaid mentioned the same thing a couple of months before the big day so when her family offered to do the wedding flowers I was over the moon as I knew they had what I had pictured in my head in their own.

Christmas played the biggest part in our wedding theme, with lovely red berries in our table centres, personalised crackers on the table, and the bridesmaids wearing long red dresses. I also used vintage maps on the table plan and for the table names as me and my husband have lived in quite a few different places, both individually and together. Travel is important to both of us and we spend a lot of time dreaming about where we´ll go next.


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Wedding Dress FEVER at Fever London’s Exclusive Event

Wedding and bridesmaids dresses Fever London

When an invite to Fever London’s Wedding Event landed in the Love Sussex Weddings inbox, we jumped at the chance to head to the London dress Mecca’s HQ for an afternoon of Prosecco sipping, wedding and bridesmaid dress browsing and chatting about their exciting spring/summer wedding collection.

Fever London is renowned for its signature feminine style with a vintage influence and the flagship boutique, just off Oxford Street is a breath of fresh air for many brides looking for something a little bit different. With a window displaying floaty chiffon dresses, pretty pastels and hanging paper pom-poms, it’s easy to see why so many brides, their bridesmaids and wedding guests flock here when choosing their all-important dress.

Greeted by the lovely Lauren, we were instantly handed a glass of fizz and shown around the store’s fabulous selection of informal wedding gowns, re-wearable bridesmaids dresses and pretty occasion wear, all priced under £170.

Just one of the styles that caught our eye was the stunning one-shouldered ‘Ivy’ gown with delicate floral detail that came in two lengths (knee and full length) and five colours (cream, red, navy and this season’s colours, duck egg blue and nude) making it a perfect choice for boho-inspired brides to wear themselves or for their individual bridesmaids.


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A Rustic East Sussex Wedding Venue And A Crafty Brighton Bride

This Brighton-based couple filled their gorgeous East Sussex wedding venues with beautiful crafty homemade touches. They started their day with a traditional ceremony at the quaint St Peter and St Paul’s Church and continued their country fete and afternoon tea inspired wedding celebrations at nearby The Sussex Barn in Hellingly. Here’s crafty bride Lucy to tell us all about her DIY big day:

Sam proposed on New Year’s Eve in 2011 in my auntie’s back garden, just before midnight. It wasn’t the proposal that either of us expected but it was perfect. My mum died unexpectedly in October 2011 and I had been dreading Christmas and New Year. I couldn’t make up my mind where I wanted to be, whether it would be too difficult to stay at my parents house at New Year.

Sam thought that although the year had ended badly for us, that it would be fitting to have something good to start 2012, something to look forward to that Mum would have loved, so he picked out a ring which I love (I had always been a big vague on what I liked – something a bit different but definitely not a tiny diamond!), and organised with my auntie how he would do it.

We had a quiet evening with my auntie, uncle, my brother and his girlfriend (everyone knew apart from my brother who was deemed a security risk!) and then just before midnight, Sam took me outside and had prepared the words to “All I ask of you” from Phantom of the Opera to read out to me as a poem, the garden was covered in fairy lights but I still hadn’t twigged what was happening. He read the poem and gave me a rose and then said that was all really, by this point I was quite confused and then he got down on one knee – I was speechless. We had the card he’d written the poem on framed and placed on card/table plan table at the wedding.


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A Blue Wedding Dress for a Brighton Pavilion Wedding: Kathryn & Richard

A blue wedding dress and Brighton’s exotic and iconic Pavilion, it’s fair to say, we’re a little bit in love with Londoner’s Kathryn and Richard’s intimate March wedding. Shunning the traditional, in favour of personal preferences and planning it all in just three months, this wedding is a breath of fresh Brighton sea air. So grab a cuppa and be inspired! Over to bride Kathryn to hear all:

I proposed to Richard on 29th February 2012. I often tried to dissuade him from the idea of marriage, so once I’d come round to the idea, I felt it was incumbent upon me to do the honours! I wrote a poem and knitted a gold ring, he said he felt swept off his feet, though at the time he looked more like a rabbit in the headlights.

We chose to get married in Brighton as it’s a place we both love (I grew up near Brighton and Rich studied here) and we hoped people would come for a weekend by the sea. The weddings we’ve been to abroad are always great because people stay for longer than one night, we hoped to recreate a little of that.

Originally we were going to have the reception in a Greek restaurant (I lived in Greece for a while), so we had some Greek elements mixed with a bit of a seaside theme.  However that venue fell through with three weeks to go! Terraces came to the rescue but it meant the Greek theme was pretty redundant…

We arranged the whole thing in three months. When our first venue fell through, we found a new venue and rearranged the lot (with new invitations) in three weeks.  It’s perfectly possible if you get married off-season like we did.  Also, with less time you reduce the pressure on yourself to create the perfect wedding!

Non-Traditional Touches

We did most things non-traditionally! I wore a long blue dress with an orange design all over it and teamed it with bright orange heels!  I got ready quietly with two friends in my hotel room and one of them did my hair and make-up. Rich had four best men.  And of course we had the reception in a restaurant, which was fantastic – Terraces (now closed) it was round with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the sea and Brighton Pier.  I hope it created a great atmosphere.

We also had a giant picture of our dog by our Macaroon towers (instead of a cake – they went down very well!). As our guests stayed locally, the day after, we all went for a walk on the beach ending with a pre-booked Sunday roast, which was lovely.

My top tips for other Sussex brides to-be are…

Doing it in a city, especially Brighton, is brilliant.  All your suppliers are within walking distance, your guests can stay in hotels a stone’s throw from the venue, and people come and make a weekend of it.  If you don’t wear a white wedding dress, you can spend a lot less on something gorgeous that you’ll wear again. We felt our favourite weddings had been about the people and the fun we’d had, so we focused more on informality and atmosphere than posh food and favours.


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Exquisite cocktails for a splash of 1920s glamour at your wedding

It’s all about cocktails here on Love Sussex Wedding today. We’re handing over to London’s The 43 Club for some hot insider cocktail tips, including how to make a mean Bellini and add a splash of 1920′s glamour to your wedding! Chin chin!


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Glamorous Gatsby Wedding at The George in Rye ~ Laura & Reg

Love Sussex Weddings reader Laura and her partner Reg from Rye, East Sussex, tied the knot in a sophisticated ceremony at Rye Town Hall in August 2013.

The couple continued their Great Gatsby-inspired celebrations at the romantic George hotel.

Here’s beautiful bride Laura to tell us all:

“Me and Reg met on a blind date and felt at ease with each other straight away! Reg proposed on my 29th birthday. He got up early and got dressed for work, I opened some presents then he left for work (I had been hoping he would take the day off!) as he left he said there was a present for me in the lounge to open when he was gone.

I waited a while then went downstairs with our baby girl to find him on one knee in the lounge! It was so perfect that I had our baby girl in my arms, after I said yes all three of us hugged then Reg made a champagne breakfast and took me for a surprise lunch with all of our family at The George Hotel!

Perfect Planning 

We chose to get married in Rye as it’s our hometown and we love it. We talked and decided we’d love to have a touch of Gatsby glamour. We visited The George as a potential venue as it was one of our favourite places to go for a drink, or meal on special occasions but we were assuming we could never afford it!! When we discovered that it was within budget we were so excited, it was our dream venue!

Our inspiration came from each other’s love of classic style and glamour, with an edge of fun, wedding blogs including Love Sussex Weddings, magazines, friends… the list goes on!

Reg got ready at home with his groomsmen (and went for a fry up in the Bikers Café beforehand!) and I got ready at The George with my bridesmaids. [CLICK TO READ MORE]

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