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Category: Real Bride Stories

  1. A traditional Scottish wedding down under, combining vintage and beach

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    Bagpiper at Scottish wedding in Coogee beach

    Vintage and beach come together beautifully in this traditional Scottish themed wedding in Australia. Carla and Donato met on Coogie Beach in 2008, and early this year, were back there to get married at Wylies Baths. But between the proposal at Byron Bay Lighthouse and the wedding, the couple had a lot on their plate - not only organising the wedding but also having a little girl! 

    Carla says, "After a lot of thinking and trying to plan the best destination, we always knew that we wanted to get married at Coogee and have a beachy wedding with a touch of vintage. I called it Bintage if there's such a theme... well there is now!"

    The couple wanted to weave in as much of Donato's Scottish heritage as possible especially as they were not marrying back in Scotland where he is from, nor England where Carla is from. "Donato is from a small fishing town called Eyemouth and we were always going to have kilts at the wedding in keeping with a traditional Scottish theme. My grandad (dad's dad) was also Scottish, so it was really special that it was an integral part of our day." True to Scottish traditions, a bagpiper welcomed the guests, accompanied the bride to the church, and also played while everyone walked out of the church and down the street to the pub for a few drinks. 

    The wedding day was full of little details and personal touches. Matching the Mackenzie tartan kilts worn by the groom's family, they also wrapped tartan ribbon around the table napkins, and on the bouquets. Little Mackenzie tartan flowers were also made for the bride's hair, and for the men's boutonnieres. In keeping with the Scottish theme, the grooms's party had engraved hipflasks and miniature whisky bottles and Donato also bought matching cufflinks for his bestman and groomsmen.

    Tartan bouquet, Scottish themed weddingCarla 3-min 

    Groom, best man, father of the groom, tartan boutonniere, tartan lapel pinsFather of the groom boutonniere, tartan lapel flower

    Carla continues, "I asked my friend to write everyone's name plates in calligraphy, as each envelope had a card inside with a little note for each guest, more of a keepsake really as we didn't have favours on the tables. And we did our own table setting centre pieces, with personalised initials on the mats (from Etsy), candles and gyspsophila, keeping it very simple."

    For a little vintage touch, Carla wore an ivory sash with a vintage buckle to accessorise her Karen Willis Holmes dress. The bridesmaids' vintage glam style dresses were Montique from a department store in Sydney. "I also found a French vintage oar that we used on the welcome table and hung hearts off it. My aunt, who travelled over to be here, bought me the beautiful vintage rope necklace that I found only a few days before the wedding."

    Vintage beach scottish theme wedding, vintage buckle sash

    The best part of the wedding day? "It was all great", says Carla. "The best part for me was the morning getting ready with my best friends and my daughter, having my dad and aunt call in too. Then the ceremony was beautiful and we had a good hour and a half on the rocks in Coogee having drinks, our photos and chatting with the bridal party, it was lovely. It was all very special, the venue, the speeches, the dancing, it was one big celebration."

    Scottish themed vintage beach wedding bride and father of brideBride and father of the bride down the aisle 

    Scottish vintage beach wedding, Mackenzie tartan, vintage buckle sash   Confetti Scottish kilt groom

    The final words by Carla, her tips to any bride: "Remember to eat a decent breakfast! I didn't and got a bit too merry too quickly! Haha!"

    Coogee beach wedding, scottish kilts, scottish groom partyCoogee beach wedding, Wylies Bath wedding, beach wedding Blue Lily Magnolia


    For this wedding, Blue Lily Magnolia sourced a Mackenzie tartan fabric to make the hair flowers and boutonnieres, and also supplied the vintage buckle sash. 

    Photos credit: Kevin Cheung, courtesy of the bride

    A big thank you to Carla and Donato for sharing their beautiful photos and special moments. We wish them the very best for the future - and many more happy days at Coogie beach! 

  2. A perfect relaxed, classic and romantic wedding at Dromquinna Manor, Co. Kerry

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    Dromquinna Manor wedding Blue Lily Magnolia

    Jo and Gar met in Galway in Ireland in 2006 and went on to live in 3 other countries - separately and together - before finally coming back to Ireland in 2014 and getting engaged in 2016. They married in 2017 in Dromquinna Manor, Kenmare, Co. Kerry. Here's their beautiful story, as told by Jo:

    "We met in the summer of 2006, and within a few weeks together Gar told me he was moving to America, at first I wasn't too bothered, after all it had only been a few weeks, but pretty soon I started to realise I was! The nicest guy I'd ever met was moving away. I was heartbroken when he left in November and went on my first visit to Boston for two weeks in December. I went for another two weeks in the spring and moved there for the summer 2007. Every cent that year went to funding these trips and in between we lived on Skype. In October I moved to Montreal to be near to him (just a six hour drive...nothing compared to a six hour flight!) and the following spring he moved up to Montreal to me. In 2009 we moved to Edinburgh and in 2014 we moved home to Ireland. In 2015 we bought a house and found our dog Domino, so it looks as though we're staying put for now."

    The proposal was a big surprise for Jo: "It was an unusual day in that for some reason I happened to be up early on a Saturday (I usually don't stir till 11 or so). On this particular day by 9.30am Gar had somehow got me up and out for a walk on a local beach, Whitegate, one of our favourite spots and a hidden gem in Ireland. It was a lovely sunny morning and out of the blue he got down on one knee. I was totally taken by surprise! For some reason I always thought I'd have an inkling it was coming...I didn't!" 

    The couple was engaged for 16 months. "This felt like the perfect length engagement for us. It gave us enough time to plan everything at a nice pace and enjoy the process, but at the same time, by the time the big day rolled around we were ready for it. I wouldn't have liked if it had been too much longer. Wedding talk could get tiresome if it goes on too long and I think we were both happy enough to get back to other things." 

    Amongst other things, the venue of course is a big decision. "We saw a few venues prior to Dromquinna Manor, but upon pulling up in the drive there I think we knew this was the right place for us. We wanted a private venue, a fab ceremony location, amazing scenery, in a nice Irish town. Dromquinna ticked all the boxes. We picked a few key words to try to keep us on track with the wedding planning - I think our words were fun, relaxed, classic, romantic and personal. These words summed up the kind of wedding we had in mind and I think in retrospect we succeeded with all of them."

    Dromquinna Manor wedding bridal party, bridesmaid, grooms people The colour scheme for the wedding was muted and soft. Jo's dress was ivory with hand-painted blush silk flowers and a champagne coloured sash. The rest of the bridal party fitted in with this - blush pink and dusty blue bridesmaid dresses and grey suits. "I was delighted to find my lovely gold and pearl headpiece on Blue Lily Magnolia which went perfectly. Gar's sister was a grooms person so she had a grey dress to fit in with his side but in the same style as the bridesmaids - beaded Adrianna Papell gowns which I searched high and low for to get in the right sizes on sale!"

    Jo's advice to couples looking for suppliers for their wedding is to "Know what's important to you". "Good food and venue was very important to us and so once we had Dromquinna picked that all was sorted. Music was next - we ended up with two brilliant bands on the day; Souldriven and The Clandestinos - they really got the party started. We watched a lot of YouTube videos of bands. I think it's important to figure out what you want in advance and keep it firmly in mind till you find it...otherwise it can be overwhelming and confusing. There's a lot of options out there for everything wedding related and it takes a bit of research work so stick with it and hopefully you'll find what you're looking for."

    Not everything needs to be bought in, of course. "Myself and my mom did the flowers which turned out great and this was fun to do. We just watched a few YouTube tutorials and just went for it. Keep in mind though that they need to be done in the days right before the big day so finding the time needs to be planned."

    The big day itself was amazing. "I had been worried about the weather in the days leading up to it. On the day it was pretty miserable for the entire morning - it rained and drizzled until 3pm but when it came to it I just didn't care. I honestly couldn't have been happier so the weather didn't matter. Luckily however it did clear up during the ceremony and by the time the drinks reception started it had turned into a pretty decent day. I knew I didn't want to be a stressed out bride and my cheesy motto for the day was taken directly from Frozen ..."Let it go"! I actually surprised myself with how much I was able to do this. I didn't mind about the weather, I didn't mind that the wind and rain messed my hair or that my husband stood on my dress with a muddy shoe! It was all perfect regardless. My number one tip is let it go...and just go with it." 
    Dromquinna Manor bride Jo and Gar wedding, Dromquinna Manor, Co. Kerry
    "One of the best bits of the wedding was the honeymoon travelling around Mexico and Belize. We haven't had the opportunity to go away for that length of time (18 days) ever so that was really special." But thinking about the wedding day itself, "My most precious moments on the day were definitely the unplanned ones - chilling out by the waterfront at sunset, sitting around the bonfire and our last dance surrounded by family and friends. There's no point in over-planning and trying to map out every second...the best bits will just happen naturally."  
    Jo Dromquinna Manor wedding
    A big thank you to Jo and Gar for sharing their story and photos, and congratulations to them both on their wedding!
    Photos supplied courtesy of Jo (and cropped and slightly blurred by me).
    Main photo by Marc Coombes. 
    Jo's wedding dress is by Alan Hannah.
    On her hair, Jo wore a Blue Lily Magnolia one-of-a-kind headpiece of golden wire, ivory beads and vintage lace flowers, part of the Bohemian Dreams collection.
  3. Planning a Festival Wedding - Tips from the Bride and Groom

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    Last month I shared with you a "Nautical Punk Rock Festival Wedding" - the amazing wedding of Jess and Dan, which was featured on the Rock n Roll Bride blog. I had the honour of making the bouquet, corsages, and men's boutonnieres for the wedding and this month, the newly weds kindly share with us their advice, recommendations and tips on organising and enjoying their perfect wedding. Read on the Rock n Roll Bride blog for more detail of their unique festival, music-centred wedding, and here, we have just a little bit more to help you get on with your own planning!

    Thank you Jess and Dan for sharing your experience with us! xxx   

    Festival wedding, rockabilly bouquet by Blue Lily Magnolia, photos Assassynation

    1) After you'd agreed on your theme for the wedding, where did you go for inspiration and ideas on how to turn your vision to reality?

    We used all sorts of resources as inspiration - Pinterest, alternative wedding blogs, punk festivals and traditional tattoo styles!

    Our theme was based on our love of punk-rock, 50s style, polaroid photography and of course, music. we were ultimately trying to throw a kind of festival-party that we would love to attend. We didn't want a generic wedding band or DJ playing chart music, we wanted it to be like a festival or gig that we'd look forward to going to - all the bands we booked were bands that we have seen live at gigs/festivals or have been desperate to see and just not had the opportunity yet. 

    2) Did you attend any wedding shows that you'd recommend, specifically for alternative ideas? 

    We went to the Eclectic Wedding Extravaganza - it's aimed at people who want a slightly alternative wedding. It's put on by both our photographer (Assassynation) and my dressmaker (Jo from The Couture Company). It was brilliant and I'd highly recommend going - they even put on a party in the evening now! 

    3) Was the actual big day exactly as you first imagined? (Or did your ideas change along the way?)

    The look and feel of the day was exactly as we imagined - just with rain instead of sun! 

    4) With hindsight, is there anything you spent money on, but feel was not necessary, or could have been done cheaper? 

    No - we really considered every option when booking suppliers or buying stuff. We didn't always pick the cheapest option, because we were going for quality and passion, which was really important to us. However, we knew a few of our suppliers and made our own buntings and fabric table flowers so this helped us save money, and kept us on budget. 

    5) How did you select your suppliers out of so many out there? 

    We picked the people that were the most passionate about what they do and the most interested in our weding, and helping to make it go smoothly. We went for the people we had the best feeling about, and it wasn't always the cheapest suppliers we went for, as they weren't always the best quality, or most interested in what we were going for. Overall, we went for the suppliers we trusted the most. 

    6) What would you say were there first few things to sort out / book for a style of wedding like yours? 

    Book the venue and bands ASAP - you can't have a festival wedding without the music or the infrastructure! We sent emails out to a band we were certain on, and the tent supplier on the same day. The band could only do one date that we could work with, and it worked for the tent supplier, so that decided the date we got married on!

    (Jess:) After that, I would suggest to not to forget to book hair and make-up - I left this quite late as I was so concerned with everything else, but it's really important. Your hair and make-up, if you're anything like me, will give you a huge confidence boost, and you need to feel 100% confident in them to do a good job.

    7) If you had to do it again, anything you'd do differently?

    (Jess:) I would have made time to dig out our GoPro and put someone in charge of making sure it always had battery and SD card space - to film bits of the wedding that weren't captured by the videographer. I'd also have given a point and click camera to one of my bridesmaids to take photos once the photographers had left - we would've had photos of the third band, and of us both crowd surfing when Thrill Collins played the Dirty Dancing classic, 'Time of my Life'! It was the first time either of us  had crowd surfed too, so it felt really special! There was also a fair bit of skanking during the headline set by New Town Kings, which we wish we'd captured on film, but they went on later in the evening after the videographer had left.

    I'd also say, if something doesn't quite go to plan, make sure you speak up - a few things happened on our day that weren't quite what we'd planned with a couple of our suppliers, but I found myself in a 'Bride Bubble' and didn't speak up, which isn't like me at all!

    8) How involved was the groom-to-be? To what extent should grooms-to-be be involved?

    (Jess:) 100% involved in every aspect. We're a team and planned the day according to what we both wanted. I think it's best to both be equally involved. I did most of the admin, but we decided on all the suppliers, designs and bands (etc.) together.

    9) What were your biggeset challenges, and what helped to make them easier?  

    Pressure to conform to wedding norms and missing out on cool stuff that was going on because we were saving or preparing for the wedding (too many missed gigs!). I loved being so busy, but this was definitely the downside for us. It helped knowing we were planning a wedding that we both really wanted and knew that everyone would have an amazing time! 

    10) And finally, what advice would you give to couples who are specifically planning a quirky or alternative wedding? 

    Write a 'day of' plan and circulate to all suppliers  - especially photographers, videographers, make-up artists and hairdressers, as well as all bridesmaids and groomsmen, as they can help guests better that way if needed. We used Google Docs for this and it really helped. Start a budget spreadsheet as soon as you can to help keep you on track financially. I'd also suggest using experienced professionals for key jobs - I ended up having to find a hairdresser and make-up artist quite last minute as I originally decided to try to save money by going with people I knew. Closer to the date, I realised I'd taken too big a risk on such an important piece of the day when a trial fell through. It was very stressful and could have been easily avoided. 

    Have a call with your photographer in the week running up to the wedding to go through what group shots you'd like - we found this really helpful, as well as a run through with your videographer. If you can, have a 'day of coordinator' - ours was a colleague that I work with and she really helped things run smoothly, and stopped us from having to worry about when bands were turning up etc. 


    Jess and Dan got married in a big top tent in a field in Gloucestershire, with a festival-themed wedding. The festival name was aptly 'Tie the Knot Festival'. Read more and view the amazing gallery here

    Photo credits: Assassynation

    Blue Lily Magnolia makes bespoke bridal and wedding accessories, specialising in creating fabric flowers for your unique accessories.  If you want to see examples of work, have a look at the gallery here