My Big Fat Retro Wedding

A December Wedding on the cheap!

I’m Natalie – the brains behind Fairypants, and I got married just before Christmas.

I’m a bit weird. Most of my friends would say I’m living in the past—so much so, that the day before my wedding, my colleagues handed me some 1950s advice for wives. I love the past—but not just any one part of it, so I knew my wedding couldn’t be themed around one decade. I also love more modern things like rave music and glowsticks. And lastly—I’m obsessed with Christmas. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, after all.

When we met up with our wedding photographer in early 2017, he asked me what my theme was. Thinking over what I’ve just told you, I said it was vintage-meets-rave-meets-Christmas. And I think that pretty much describes me.

I bought my dress in January 2017, for £35. It wasn’t second hand, or from China. I just found a white dress I liked and I bought it. I don’t believe in spending thousands on your wedding—it’s just one day. You’re celebrating a marriage, and you can’t do that if you’re starting it in debt. Besides, if I’m spending over 10k, I’d rather have a conservatory. I bought my shoes in the January sales, and my veil from Etsy. All in all, my whole outfit probably cost about £120, including my underwear and petticoat.

I wouldn’t recommend doing your own hair and make-up. Yes it’s a saving, but I found being forced to sit still while people primped me really useful. It meant I wasn’t rushing round, and I had time to myself. I also looked WAY better than I could ever achieve on my own! There’s a reason these guys are professionals. I used @lydmakeup and @edwardjohn_pro (find them on Insta!) and I’m so glad I did.

I bought dried flowers for the bouquets, cake, my hair, and the buttonholes. I figured if I was spending over £200 on flowers, I’d rather they already be dead. Everyone thought they were so unusual, but best of all—I’m keeping my bouquet forever. It’s in a vase in our living room. What better way to remember the best day of your life?

Here in the UK, it’s becoming more and more popular to wed outside of a church—be that in a hotel, or on a boat. If I hadn’t been so obsessed with Christmas, I think I’d have chosen a barn somewhere, with a load of hay bales and a bbq sometime in early July. However, outdoor weddings are not suited to a British December, so I chose my family church. It’s not my parish church, but my family are from there. My nan was married there, and my mum was Rose Queen in the ’60s. And is there anything more festive than a church at Christmas? It ticked all my boxes. I like to think my ancestors were watching.

Once the church was settled, it took me a while to find my perfect party location. I wanted something low key, where we could put up handmade decorations and really make it ours. We chose a village hall, maybe ten minutes away by car. We then booked a 1964 Routemaster London Bus to get everyone from the church to the party—we were the talk of the neighbourhood!

Once at the venue, our guests (and my new husband…) could see what I, my Maid of Honour, and my mum had been working on for the last few months. My favours were shots of Parma Violet gin. We made 50 metres of vintage Christmas bunting, and the walls were covered in fairy lights. It was magical! For food, we chose a vegan carvery: all the pie, veg, potatoes and gravy you could pile on your plate. It was low maintenance, and perfect for fussy eaters, kids, and people with intolerances (and of course, cruelty free!).

When it turned 9 PM, my nan went home, and the glowsticks were cracked out. The rave started, and I danced the night away with friends and family. I even got a few more dances out of my husband, which is unheard of. Most people stayed until the bitter end, and I can definitely say it was the best day ever. I woke the next day not with a hangover but with a sports injury from dancing so much. That’s definitely the way to do it!