Real Weddings

Registry office wedding with a beer garden reception


Charlie & Tom got married in August last year at registry office with a pub reception afterwards. The bride's gorgeous vintage dress was a bargain charity shop find and the reception was held in their favourite beer garden, decorated by the bride's mum.

How did you guys meet?

Tom and I met on tinder! So it just shows there are some success stories out there. Tom also proposed to me after only being together 6 months! We were in Prague on holiday and we were walking along Charles bridge looking at the castle when he got down on one knee, it was very unexpected but so romantic.

vintage wedding dress

How did you Keep it Real and uncomplicated in the lead up to your wedding?

We both are quite alternative and didn’t want anything traditional so we just followed our own path with a lot of things. Tattoos were on display and having our reception under a marquee where we had spent many a summer night out in their beer garden just felt right. Oh, and we also had quotes from the Peep Show as centre pieces – me and Tom love that show!

beer garden wedding vintage bride

We had a lot of DIY elements. We made the flower bouquets out of Gypsophila and we used my Dad’s campervan for transport and made our own wildflower seed filled wedding favours.  My mum made some beautiful paper flowers that we tied onto a garden arch for the entrance way to the marquee.

Paper flower wedding arch

I purchased my dress from a charity shop for £150! I always wanted a vintage feel so we had it altered to fit my vision – it just screamed it at me, covered in lace and the A-line silhouette!

vintage lace wedding dress sage bridesmaid dresses

Where did you get married and why did you choose your venue?

We had the ceremony at Arnold registry office and the reception at The Plough Inn, Nottingham.

We wanted a simple and rustic wedding feel and the Arnold registry has beautiful gardens and a lake where we felt the pictures would be beautiful. We chose the pub as the aesthetic fit our vision and we had spent many a summer night out in their beer garden and it just felt right.

Who was your photographer and how did you choose them?

Nathan Walker Photography – Nathan was such a great photographer. He is so laid back and chilled that it made us feel so at ease. None of the photos were over posed and felt very natural. He made us do silly things like dance with no music and run through a field, which was amazing. He even joined us on the dance floor, rocking out to some sweet tunes!

What song played as you walked down the aisle?

I walked down the aisle to “Can we stay like this” by Moose Blood the acoustic version. This song meant a lot to me and Tom as the lyrics spoke very much about how we feel about each other. 

Nottingham Arnold Registry office

Did you have any readings at your wedding?

My friend Sam read out a poem called “Marriage is Madness”. I chose her as she is one of my closest friends but also because she’s a teacher she knows how to speak to a crowd!

What did you DIY?

The theme was very rustic/ vintage which is very much our style. We decorated the whole place ourselves and purchased most things very cheaply, from places such as B&M, The Range, HobbyCraft and amazon for bulk buying. We are very lucky that Tom is a graphic designer and so all of our table settings, table plans etc were all designed by him and we were able to print on vistaprint fairly cheaply.

Did you have a cake?

No we had a donut wall instead.

How did you pick your stunning flowers?

We made our own bouquets.

Tell me about your hair and makeup

I did my own makeup using MAC and Pincurls Vintage Services did my hair.

Tell me about your catering. Was it done in-house or did you bring outside caterers in?

In-house, we had a BBQ.

How did you choose to decorate your venue?

My mum created these amazing floral hoops that were dotted around the marquee. She spent hours/ days doing this and I can’t thank her enough, they were beautiful!

What was your budget?

Our wedding was done fairly cheaply at around £5,000. We made a lot of things ourselves and saved where we could.

Any tips for saving money?

Making the décor ourselves made a massive difference to the price. Not only that but making our own bouquets as well as not having a sit-down meal but a BBQ instead really helped!

Would you do anything differently?

I would have maybe picked a venue where the music could have been played later than 11pm so the party could carry on! Funnily enough I didn’t really find it that stressful. As our style is very laid back and we didn’t have the pressures of a traditional wedding, everything just pretty much fell into place as we went along really.

REAL moments

  • The dance floor. Dancing with Tom and just taking a moment to stop and look around seeing all my friends and family having such a good time and being care free.
  • Joint best man speech (complete with a projector with pictures) it made me cry with laughter and just made everyone know Tom a little better! 
  • Watching people laugh at our table names and try to work out the reference (they were quotes from the TV programme Peep Show)
  • When Tom and I were having our photos taken in a corn field and dancing with no music!


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Photographer: Nathan Walker Photography | Bride’s dress: Charity shop| Shoes: Office| Earrings: Silver plugs| Bridesmaids: asos|Bridesmaid shoes: Primark | Hair: Pincurls Vintage Services| Grooms suit: Jeff Banks | Entertainment: DBS Discos | Transport: Parents’ campervan


Gaia Hudson

Written by gaia_bkir

Founder of Brides Keeping it Real and mum of two little ones, Leon & Ada. Passionate about providing a supportive online community for brides and grooms who want an achievable, uncomplicated wedding planning experience.