matt and emina from behind in an embrace

How to have an alternative wedding

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My husband and I said “I do” in May 2018 and celebrated our way.

I’m not one of those women that has planned my wedding since I’m small, yes, I am romantic, Disney films have made me cry and I’ve quite often thought very soppy engagement scenarios involving llamas and birds of prey carrying a ring but I’ve always just wanted the person I marry to be not an arsehole and a bit hot.

matt and emina from behind in an embrace

My husband and I aren’t very traditional people so realistically our day was never going to follow tradition because it just doesn’t reflect us. It’s hard to go your own way, often you’re fighting against other people’s expectations and beliefs of what a wedding should be. Us humans are creatures of habit, safe with the familiar but that doesn’t always mean being in the comfort zone is a good thing.

If you’re thinking of getting a married or just curious, here are my musings on how to have an alternative wedding.

Stop giving a $hit

As I said, people are very forthcoming with their ideas, comments, beliefs and ‘shoulds’ and often these clash with your own. Let people say and think what they want, rise above it.

The minute you mention a wedding it unleashes the beast in many people, those who are trying to relive their nuptials through you, the ‘should’ brigade and the emotional blackmail crew. Honestly, let it wash over you, laugh, find the humour in it and remember this is about two people, underneath it all, it really is.

I found humour as a great coping mechanism, I would tell Matt what people had told me, the looks of disappointment and we would laugh together – ideal.

It’s all in the dress… or is it?

I’m not a fan of wedding dresses, ivory, cream and white are not my vibe and I think they’re extortionate for what they are. As we were dividing our day up into day and night I knew I could go to town in the outfit department, so I chose three. One for the day, a brightly beaded two piece, pretty but playful outfit from ASOS.

Then I went full Shirley Bassey – a vintage red, sequin, one shoulder full dress with a split from Beyond Retro. On top of that I went shopping to Brick Lane and found the most amazing 90s catsuit, black velour trousers and a pink, sparkly spandex top for the night. Yes Queen, I had an outfit change in the toilets #classy.


All three outfits cost just over £200.

My husband looked proper gorgeous in a tailored wool suit from Hawkes Bespoke Outfitters


Getting your hair did

I knew from the start I wanted to get my hair done on the day, it’s a skill I don’t possess. If looking like a cross between Mrs Twit and Worzel Gummage in the hair department was a style, I would nail it.

I go to Slunks as I only trust lovely Chelsea to colour my hair and felt that a style from transition from day to night would work best. I had a wee look on Google and thought a braid of some sort and some curls would be cool. Lauren at Slunks worked her magic, added some glitter so I felt uber special and I was away. I’m still finding the glitter…..

Location, location, location and food.


Matt and I chose to have our ceremony in City Hall in Cardiff so we picked a room that could hold around 60 people, invited around 40 and went with that. We kept the service short and simple, the process is a ‘wedding by numbers’ experience, you pick how the service is delivered by choosing options. One of our favourite things was picking the music, I walked in to ‘, signed the register to and walked out to ‘Let’s Dance’ by Bowie.


We wanted a family and close friend meal so picked The Pot, an amazing independent French bistro based on Whitchurch Rd. They managed to squeeze 38 lovely people in to their lovely restaurant and served us traditional French food for mains and desert with wine – ideal. They were lovely to communicate with, so flexible, friendly and made the whole experience great.


I wracked my brains to think of a non traditional party venue, the theme definitely being party, we wanted it to be FUN. I wanted space to dance, eat and drink and out of the blue I thought of Spit & Sawdust indoor skate park. After a brief conversation on Facebook we met Nia who is absolutely amazing and we just fell in love with the space. There’s a great outdoor space, café area and a large skate space and I just saw potential.

The amazing people at Spit & Sawdust helped us create the space of our dreams, we were able to decorate how we wanted, invite Ffwrnes to dish out some delicious pizza to hungry guests, get in our friends Rival Brewing Co to make a delicious session IPA and a red ale and Enthusiasm Events to make our disco dreams come true with huge disco balls, lighting and a great sound system. Colin and Connie Caterpillars cakes can be ordered in a larger size from M&S, yaaaaas.


We thought about bands and couldn’t decide on anything (Venga Boys not available) so asked our friends to DJ, Sophie aka Mrs Hardlines and Nathan aka Mr Disco Motel were amazing, playing everything from Janelle Monae ‘Tightrope’ (I love you SGS) to funk, soul, old school rnb and loadsa bangers. Nathan even bought his mirrored disco booth along which is so me I could cry!

Deck the halls with many pineapples

I’m not a fan of a chair bow, my friend calls the white things over occasion chairs ‘chair condoms’ and she’s right, so that was never going to happen.

I am huge fan of pineapples, they are a majestic fruit, bright, beautiful and wear a crown so I knew they had to take part in the day. Thanks to Sunset Cycles for their bike boxes, friends and I set about cutting out and painting around 14 large pineapples to decorate the space on the beams.

My friend Amy John is a magical party wizard and helped to create incredible coloured paper fans, tassels and cocktail umbrellas for the 40 actually pineapples that adorned the tables. Lisa Derrick is just a wonderful human and spent the Friday before the wedding helping us set up the space. Pinterest scares me because everything is too perfect but I had a look for inspiration before it made too unwell.

You do you

This is easy for me to say, I don’t know your budget or pressures but the day goes in a blur and if like me, you only want to do this once, then please add some ‘you’ to it or it’ll feel forced. It’s likely you will annoy people or they won’t get it but ultimately IT IS YOUR DAY so please, please, please enjoy it.

I’m excellent at being direct so if you want your future mother in law/family member to stop pestering you about beige buffet options or a lame DJ then I can be hired to tell her to shut up.

1 comment

  1. Memories of the day came flooding back, watching you two enjoying every minute of your day was a joy. Xxx

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