Charlotte Balbier
Brides Up North Wedding Fairs

fun of the fair. a cool 1950s american style wedding in the north west – beckie & ste

October 24th, 2017 | Julia Braime

A 1950s American Style Wedding (c) Lisa Howard Photography (66)

The order of the day for this afternoon’s American style wedding is – fun! Pure and simple!

We just adore Beckie and Ste’s 1950s rock and roll theme, complete with a classic USA funfair twist. From the entertainment and food to the décor and colour scheme, every element is bang on theme.

There’s hotdogs, candyfloss and bubblegum; a Chevrolet, 1950s band and coconut shie – and even a Ferris wheel, yes that’s right! A Ferris wheel! On which Beckie and Ste experienced the most memorable moment of their day as they swigged champers from their carriage while watching the sun set!

We also love Beckie’s super-sweet tea-length dress, handmade by a team of her talented female relatives, no less, and a perfect nod to the 1950s era.

So join us, as we enjoy all the fun of the fair…

With images by Lisa Howard Photography.

A 1950s American Style Wedding (c) Lisa Howard Photography (29)

beckie says: We got engaged at Crosby beach, Merseyside (in the pouring rain!) on Friday 13th March 2015. Ste chose Crosby beach because I love the sea and I’m qualified as a marine biologist. I was off looking for things in rockpools and Ste called me over to look at something he had found. He had written ‘marry me?’ in the sand and was kneeling with the ring. We almost didn’t go to the beach because of the rain, but Ste insisted!

A 1950s American Style Wedding (c) Lisa Howard Photography (23)

Our wedding was on Saturday 5th August 2017. We chose this date because it had to be in the holidays as I’m a teacher and we also wanted a warm, sunny day (which, although unlikely for Britain, we got!) because we had outdoor activities planned.

Our ceremony was at St Clare’s Catholic church in Wavertree, Liverpool, and the reception at Speke Hall Pavilion, Liverpool. We chose St Clare’s because it’s the church that I have grown up near and I was christened there. Speke Hall was our choice for the reception because it’s a beautiful National Trust property, which we often spend time at. Also, because the reception venue at Speke Hall is a beautiful marquee with lots of private outdoor space (which we needed for our Ferris wheel!)

A 1950s American Style Wedding (c) Lisa Howard Photography (35)

Our theme was 1950s rock and roll. We both love the era and the music of the 1950s so we wanted a kind of ‘50s rock and roll’ meets ‘American state fayre’ style. We had lots of things to fit our theme: an American style post box for cards, a 1950s rock and roll band, a Ferris wheel and coconut shie, candyfloss, a burger/hotdog van, homemade 50s rock and roll themed table plan and table centrepieces (tables were named after 1950s artists, e.g. Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, The Chordettes etc), 1950s trivia cards on each table, bubblegum dispensers on each table.

We chose pink and turquoise as the colour scheme because these are typical 1950s colours (the type you would find in a 50s American diner).

A 1950s American Style Wedding (c) Lisa Howard Photography (19)

My wedding dress was handmade by my mum, Jacquie, two great aunties, Rita and Marie, and my aunty Pat. It was a 1950s style lace, three-quarter-length tea dress. I chose this style because it fitted perfectly with the theme, was simple but very elegant and vintage looking, and also, I didn’t want a long dress because I am only 5’ 1”!

A 1950s American Style Wedding (c) Lisa Howard Photography (1)

Ste’s suit and those of the best men were typical 1950s navy lounge suits.

The four adult bridesmaids, Danielle, Katy, Jo and Jenny, wore turquoise three-quarter-length dresses with silver embellishment, from Monsoon. The two younger bridesmaids, Tyler and Chloe, wore 1950s style tea dresses in turquoise with a pink flower pattern. These were bought via eBay.

A 1950s American Style Wedding (c) Lisa Howard Photography (7)

On the day of the wedding, I travelled to church with my mum and bridesmaids in a turquoise, 1956 Bel Air Chevrolet (a typical 1950s American car) and then Ste and I travelled to Speke Hall in this from church. The car was hired from a company called American Wedding Cars. The guests travelled from the church to Speke Hall in a vintage red London bus. This was hired from a company called Wedding Buses.

A 1950s American Style Wedding (c) Lisa Howard Photography (20)

Lisa Howard (of Lisa Howard Photography) based in Merseyside, captured our day. We would absolutely recommend her! She is so chilled out but very professional and an amazing photographer! All of our photos are beautiful and she really captured the day perfectly, but without us feeling like we were constantly needed for photographs. We actually booked Lisa after she did our friends’ wedding the year before and we saw their photographs and how beautiful they were.

A 1950s American Style Wedding (c) Lisa Howard Photography (30)

Our flowers were provided by a company called Wow Liverpool’s Designer Florist. The woman who runs the shop is called Amanda and she is lovely, and the flowers were beautiful. I carried a bouquet of pink and turquoise foam roses accompanied by real cream roses and gypsy grass/foliage. The adult bridesmaids carried bouquets of pink foam roses and real cream roses plus gypsy grass/foliage. The younger bridesmaids carried bouquets of just gypsy grass. The groom had a pink foam rose button hole and the two best men had turquoise ones.

The foam roses were custom dyed to match the colour scheme by a company called Silk Blooms.

The same florist provided the venue flowers for both the church and venue. For the church, we just had some simple bouquets (matching my flowers) on the altar and at the back of church. At Speke Hall, we had pink and turquoise Kilner bottles (one on each table) containing a few of the foam roses and some foliage, plus a top table centrepiece that matched my bouquet.

A 1950s American Style Wedding (c) Lisa Howard Photography (36)

We used AA Decorative Events for festoon lighting on the ceiling of the marquee and they also put up pink and turquoise lanterns for us which we purchased online. We bought giant balloons and pink/turquoise tassels from a website called Pretty Little Party Shop and used Academy Balloons, based in Aigburth, Liverpool, to inflate them and set them up (which was great as they were huge!).

A 1950s American Style Wedding (c) Lisa Howard Photography (38)

We didn’t have individual favours but we did have mini bubblegum machines on each table, plus all of the children got gifts (girls – adult colouring books and coloured pencils, boys – retro games/puzzles, babies – National Trust animal teddies).

My mum made our wedding cake. It was a four-tier pink and turquoise fruit cake with some decoration on two of the tiers and them some flowers on the top (matching my bouquet). The cake was placed on an old record player instead of a normal cake stand, to fit with the 1950s theme.

A 1950s American Style Wedding (c) Lisa Howard Photography (34)

After the ceremony, we had Pimm’s and canapes outside the church (served for us by family friends). We then had peach Bellinis and bottles of beer for welcome drinks at Speke Hall. We had afternoon tea for the wedding breakfast, with a selection of wine and prosecco for the toasts. We then had a retro burger van serving burgers, hot dogs and potato wedges in the evening. We also had candyfloss (to fit with the American state fayre idea) served during the day and crepes served from the burger van in the evening. There was also a sweet buffet in the evening, including vintage swirl lollipops.

A 1950s American Style Wedding (c) Lisa Howard Photography (47)

In terms of entertainment, we had a vintage Ferris wheel all day which was a real attraction for everybody and was loads of fun! This was to fit the American state fayre theme and also just to provide something fun and different and it really did. It was provided by a company called Taylor’s, but organised via a company called Silcock’s. We also had an outdoor lawn games area with boules, croquet, quoits, etc. and also a coconut shie that we organised ourselves.

We had a typical 1950s rock and roll band in the evening called The Jukebox Jets, and they were absolutely amazing! The lead singer had an amazing voice, all the instruments were played brilliantly, the set lists were fantastic and they really got into the swing and added to the theme perfectly. We also had a photobooth in the evening, provided by a company called Smileomatic, based in Merseyside. This was great fun and everybody really enjoyed it!

A 1950s American Style Wedding (c) Lisa Howard Photography (45)

The Ferris wheel was probably the main special touch of the day, but we also had: a basket of flip flops for anybody whose heels became too much on the dancefloor, a hamper full of products in the ladies’ toilet for anybody who needed a refresh (body spray, deodorant, hair spray, plasters, chewing gum, a hairbrush, etc.) We had a ’fingerprint tree’ instead of a guest book, but it wasn’t a tree it was a picture of Speke Hall with fireworks above it which the guests decorated with their fingerprints.

A 1950s American Style Wedding (c) Lisa Howard Photography (43)

Following our wedding, we would 100% recommend Speke Hall to other couples. We could not fault the venue at all, which is organised by a company called Horseradish Catering. They were extremely helpful and accommodating prior to the wedding, amazing the day before helping us set up and unbelievable on the day – so attentive to me and Ste (including bringing us drinks whilst we were off getting photos taken around Speke Hall and bringing us more when we had a little go on the Ferris wheel together before it went). Nothing was ever too much for them and the day went off completely smoothly thanks to them. One of the staff even gave me and Ste a lift to our hotel at the end of the night as taxis were taking a while!

A 1950s American Style Wedding (c) Lisa Howard Photography (63)

Looking back, we loved every single second of our day! It was all just perfect and went off without a single hitch. If I had to just one favourite moment, it would be having a go on the Ferris wheel at about 9pm before they packed it up, just me and Ste, with a glass of champagne each as the sun was setting. We could see and hear all of our guests having fun down below but it was also a chance to spend a few quality minutes just with each other during an amazing but hectic day.

A 1950s American Style Wedding (c) Lisa Howard Photography (79)

My mum paid for our honeymoon as our wedding gift. We went to Singapore for three nights, then to Borneo for four nights and then to Bali for ten nights. It was all amazing but Borneo was our absolute favourite as we got to see wild orangutans at a nature reserve in a place called Sepilok. We are both animal lovers and this was an amazing opportunity and really was fantastic.

A 1950s American Style Wedding (c) Lisa Howard Photography (70)

My top tip to other Brides Up North would be – make sure that you organise the hell out of the day (I had about ten spreadsheets on the go)! This means that you won’t stress on the day and you can just chill and relax and enjoy, which is what you should do! I honestly did not feel worried or stressed on the day because I knew I had been organised and I knew that the venue staff were brilliant (and well prepped!)

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about the author

Julia Braime
Former lawyer and bride to be Julia founded Brides Up North in 2010 with a chip on her shoulder. Frustrated by the poor Northern presence in glossy bridal magazines and online, she decided to do something about it herself. Astounded by the rapid growth of her blog and brand, Julia now manages Brides Up North’s online content alongside their busy wedding exhibition season, industry events and related commissions. And she’s always, always, got a new project on the go…

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