80s inspired wedding in France

£35 wedding dress

Where do I start with today’s fabulous 80s inspired wedding from France!  Maybe it is with the £35 wedding dress that bride Sarah found in a charity shop.  Or maybe the cowboy groomsmen.  Or maybe the bright and bold bride’s floral crown!  There are so many wonderful details to Sarah and Greg’s 80s inspired wedding, but mostly it is filled with love and emotion.

Thank you to English speaking photographer based in France, Lydia Taylor Jones for the submission.

Bride Sarah takes us through the planning of their love story: “Greg and I were set up on a blind date by mutual friends nearly 6 years ago, Circus of Horrors at the Coronet in Elephant and Castle on a dingy November evening. We clicked and the oddness of that first date runs through our relationship like a stick of rock.

The location was a no brainer, we’ve been visiting our hosts nearly every year of our relationship as Greg has known Richard and Graham for many years. From the first holiday at their previously owned Chateau to them moving to the smaller, but glorious Les Dawson’s (Les Dousines) we always knew, as did they, that our ambition was to get married in France at wherever they chose to live and make beautiful. It also made financial sense, as the overall cost of our wedding was always going to be cheaper than a local hotel wedding for 80 people.

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We were engaged for over 3 years prior to the big days (we had our legal, rock and roll wedding the week before at Mayfair Library in London) as we had been busy having our daughter,  before we even thought about deciding the date.

All we knew was that we wanted all our favourite people in one place, laughing, singing, dancing, celebrating and sharing the location with us.

cowboy groom

Organisation wasn’t too stressful, we looked into a wedding planner, but both of us are creative and we had the support of our hosts from their knowledge of holding weddings and large parties. We had identified early what our priority bookings were, band ideally with an accordion player and photographer. Fortunately, after some internet research, we found both with ease.

Lydia Taylor Jones, whose pictures looked great and upon email conversation I knew we would work together well, that she would achieve the dreamy, Testino/Moss wedding look I was after. Relaxed, informal, fun, but capturing the detail that tells the story. We then found two piece band Broken Biscuits, who talked through their style (including accordion) and we impressed upon them our love of Tiger Lillies and Gorgol Bordello and also that Greg and his brother would like to perform their own song “F**k you Ma Lady”.

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The band were fantastic and when Greg and Ru performed their bawdy song with the band supporting it was one of the highlights of the evening.

We needed someone to conduct the ceremony, we investigated a French celebrant, but realised it would be much more personal to have a close friend do it. Deciding who took time, as it is a huge job to do and do well. We asked my best friend Kayla, as we knew she would script the perfect ceremony and perform it with sincerity and humour. She had full creative control and she exceeded our expectation. The highlight being the readings which were a little known Leonard Cohen poem for Greg and the first verse of Xanadu by ELO me. Utter perfection and a complete surprise.

budget bridal dress

The cowboy element was entirely Greg’s idea. He and his best man planned, plotted and organised everything. Clothing, swords, guns and amateur dramatics. I had no idea. I loved not knowing, he spent a lot of time ordering things online and hiding them and I knew whatever it was he would execute it perfectly. The swords used were his Dad’s and he presented me with a beautiful vintage locket at the ceremony. It was lovely knowing Greg was making so much effort and organising huge swathes of the ceremony which took the stress and pressure from me as the bride.

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The overall aesthetic in my mind was to be simple and almost bleached out, using France’s big sun, big sky and naturally rustic feel. After toying with the idea of flashes of neon on my girls against white, it was clear that White was going to look classic on the pictures and not date too quickly. My dress was down to pure luck.

I had done the whole wedding dress shopping and had not found anything I really loved, especially as I wanted to avoid strapless and not spend 2 months wages on it. I’d always wanted something unusual and covered up. There it was, in a Halloween display in a charity shop in Tutbury. I tried it on, it fitted and I loved it. The detail on the bodice alone was stunning, it was totally 80s fabulous and cost me the grand total of £35! I carried it out of the shop in a black bin bag. It required no alterations or repairs, just a ruddy good clean and it was ready to go.

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My flowers were very kindly a gift from my good friend Sarah Dack of Darling Buds Florist. We agreed on a headdress to fit with the 80s look of the dress and to be as big and bright as possible. Fortunately Richard’s garden was abundant with blooms allowing Sarah to create the stunning table arrangements, button holes and headdress and being as creative as she could with no restrictions or demands from me.

For the evening, we wanted to create a canopy of lights, which was easily achieved with strings of solar fairy lights.

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We didn’t have a wedding cake instead opting for individual patisserie and breads. Food was a luxury buffet including duck, salmon and caviar. Wine came from a local chateau a mile away and the table was dressed with candelabras from Richard’s antique shop.

The pool jumping was amazing fun and entirely the girls idea, I’m so pleased we did it. None of it could’ve happened without the extraordinary hard work of our friends and family in the week running up to the day. Everybody lent a skill and elbow grease to ensure it was an unforgettable celebration. What made it stress free was not fretting over the detail and trusting that people got our vision without us having to monitor progress and that everything would come together.”

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Photography: Lydia Taylor Jones | Venue: Les Dousines | Band: Broken Biscuits | Dress: Thrift Store | Flowers; Darling Buds Florist |

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