A fifties-inspired frock and a lovebirds wedding cake

Happy Tuesday! Another day, another beach in Scotland! Amber and David’s “best of British” wedding drew on bold, sixties-inspired colours and flirty, fifties nostalgic outfits. The day was captured by Tomasz Adamczek from AT Photo and, as always, I prefer to hand over to the bride and groom to tell you all about how they planned their wedding!

“Amber and I met when we worked for a year or so in the same public library in Edinburgh. To Celebrate Amber’s birthday, she had invited a small group of friends and colleagues for drinks in a themed pub in the city centre.  During the course of the evening, after we had eaten, one of Amber’s colleagues who was older and wiser took her to one side and said “he’s got a glint in his eye for you…!”  Amber says that she thought he was talking rubbish at the time, but was soon proved wrong when I stepped up and asked her onto the dance floor.

By the end of the evening things had turned amorous and we had migrated to a secluded area, and of the group only the two of us remained in the pub.  I insisted on escorting Amber home, and tried to entreat her to let me in for a cup of tea, but she stood her ground and sent me off into the night!  We’ve had a long and bumpy road since then with a good few ups and downs, but many cups of tea have helped us along the way!

We had been living together for two years and seeing each other for four, and we had both been feeling that it was time to truly commit to each other.  I had the proposal planned for Valentines Day, having arranged the time off work and booked the restaurant – everything was ready.  We were both very excited, Amber having had some sense of what was going on!  But our plans were ruined by me getting a bout of food poisoning a couple of days beforehand.  This meant that Amber had to spend that entire week playing nurse instead of celebrating the moment!  So romantic…!

So later that year, it was a hot sunny March day and I booked the restaurant again – a local seafood place with an excellent reputation!  The restaurant was right on the shore of the Firth of Forth, so I deliberately booked the time of the meal to coincide with the setting sun.  I had the whole thing pictured in my head, we’d eat and then stroll along the shore watching the sunset.  The “reliable” Scottish weather had other ideas…

I had set the scene a few days before by sending Amber an special invitation through the post to her work. Amber felt surprised and excited and was very touched by this lovely gesture. The meal was fantastic, but passed in a blur.  Amber was on tenterhooks throughout… however, I kept her waiting a bit longer!

We left the restaurant and walked down to the beach, only to be defeated by the sea haar!  I beckoned Amber to walk along the cobbles of the beach with the two of us surrounded by a pea-soup fog so thick you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face!  I took Ambers hand in mine and holding the ring box in the other nervously asked her how she would feel about spending the rest of her life with me!

Luckily for me, she said yes.”

Images © 2013 AT Photo


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Our theme was something along the lines of vintage British springtime woodland picnic, with swallows, spring blossoms and books! We wanted an old-fashioned authenticity for our special day, as we don’t go in for bling and state-of-the-art luxury, preferring low-key and natural things in life. We really appreciate vintage styling, particularly 1950s era, and wanted things to have a good flavour of this stylish period.

We also wanted to keep things meaningful and personal, unlike some of the generic hotel wedding offerings we had seen, plus we were working to a very low budget and wanted to DIY where possible. When the minister at church suggested a church hall event, we really liked this idea and felt we could make it a truly personal and unique celebration, while also able to do much more with our limited budget.

As we are from different areas of the UK – David  is originally from Suffolk and Amber from Fife – we wanted a real “best of British” nostalgic feeling to the celebrations. We celebrated our heritage with a red white and blue colour palette, and had this in everything from our flowers to the car, attendants to David’s natty shoes! Food and drinks, flowers and other touches all tied in with celebrating British and seasonal aspects.

The Vintage Wedding Show in Edinburgh allowed us to identify some really great suppliers, it really was a fabulous and beneficial experience.  This event was much more focussed than any generic wedding fairs.  Plus we could glean additional great ideas, in tune with our own taste.”

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“We were really pleased to make our own wedding rings to give to one another on the day, and loved working with Donna Barry at Make Your Own Wedding Rings.  We spent a Sunday around sex weeks before our wedding day in the workshop, and hand shaped, soldered, hammered and polished our rose gold bands.  This was the BEST experience and we would recommend it to anyone!  We were on an high of excitement at the end of our day there, and felt so incredibly proud of our work.  We know our rings are not mass produced from a generic chain store or jeweller, and giving them to one another on our wedding day was so much more meaningful and special.

We adored the fabulous atmosphere created by our live band, Sway.  Rather than the “typical” wedding band or disco that we would have hated, having live music that fitted our vintage feel was really important to us. We arranged with them to have the brilliant singing of Petra over our meal to ensure a lovely relaxed experience for us and our guests, it was perfect!  Their tailored playlist to our 1950s and retro era tunes, along with rockabilly twists, really made the day!

Before the wedding we had learned a first dance routine with Linz Dance in Edinburgh and Sway learned our song, Imelda May’s Kentish Town Waltz.  We’re so thankful to both Lindsay Brown, and Petra and the boys, for helping making this special moment so much more meaningful.

Our stunning wedding cake was made by Emanuela at Romeo and Juliet Cakes. We had first come across her amazing vintage-style creations at the Vintage Wedding Show one year previously, and had loved their beauty and style.  In keeping with my love of crafting and DIY for our wedding, and with a keen mind on budgeting, I did intend to make our cake myself however.  As it turned out, a month or two beforehand my rising unease about going ahead with this made me enquire on the off-chance whether Romeo and Juliet could help us.  We were staggered when Emanuela was able to offer us something, and even more a bespoke creation, all amazingly reasonably too, given the amount of detailed work involved.  We were very excited to see this, and were blown away on our wedding day.  It fitted our themes perfectly – the craftsmanship and beauty of the tiny swallows and blossoms, plus the delicious boozy cherry bakewell flavour, all made our dreams come true!  (We are huge fans of cake!)

I also loved my wedding flowers and the brilliant personal service from Lyn at Poppy Floral Design.  Our church garlands brought a green woodland indoors, and the perfect centrepieces and bouquets of fragrant Springtime bulbs and twiggy blossoms were exactly what we were looking for.  The woodland Spring effect and vivid scents were incredible.


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“Everything really did come good on the day, even the snowy blizzards of the preceding week abated to grant us a bright, cloudless (if freezing!) day. What was really special was how we had so many handmade touches at our celebrations, and anything bought was on sale or discounted.

We saved money and invested personal effort to create our own really personal things wherever possible, scouring sales and the internet for the whole year beforehand.

Amber handmade all of our stationery and a lot of time and love went into these.  Her grandfather helped by growing spring bulbs for us in lots of planters that her mum helped to gather and tend.  He made a very special touch by having his very own lovely doorstep “boots” planted with lovely red and white tulips and these were blooming beautifully at our venue on the day – despite the long frozen spring this year! We jam jar candle holders, for which we will be eternally grateful to our bridesmaid Nikki.  Many people kindly donated these, then there followed many sessions of jar scrubbing, size sorting and tying of fiddly bows.  Nikki was very patient!

Fiddly bows was a running theme, and at our venue we had lovely little lace bows to tie on all our favours from Grasmere Gingerbread.  Once again Nikki was drafted in with support from Judith, David’s Mum.  Thank goodness Nikki didn’t quit on us!

Amber’s mum had also sourced extra tablecloths and runners, borrowing from relatives and buying cannily.  She also stitched the lace onto the runners which gave a perfect finishing touch to our tables, and also sourced lovely hampers and baskets for our cards, gifts and treats. Both sets of parents helped by collecting our regional cheeses and drinks to top up the celebrations.

The best wedding surprise, however was the many helping hands that came to our aid. So many people came together to help us clear and set up the church hall the day before, and others who helped clean and tidy afterwards.  It just wouldn’t have happened without them! Most of all, many cousins and relatives gathered with us at the hall the day beforehand to simply roll up their sleeves and scrub, heave, clamber, pin, lay out and prepare finishing touches.  It really was an all-hands-on-deck production, with some loading and delivering boxes, others hanging bunting or fairy lights, others placing hundreds of candles, others tying tags for our wishing tree and trimming other decorations.

The overall effect was stunning and just what we wanted it to be.  We felt so lucky and thrilled with the end results on the day, especially at night when the lighting and candles were magical.  We just wish we could go back and experience that, revel in the atmosphere, all over again!

Something that was a unique Amber & David creation was our one-of-a-kind seating plan (we should patent this one)!

As we are both librarians by trade, we felt we just had to have a bookish and literary touch running throughout our special day.  Poetry and readings in our ceremony were carefully chosen, as were inscriptions in our rings, and the reception also featured a more humorous take on the literary theme.  Rather than a boring sheet or framed chart, we created a Love Library with a book for each guest.  The books were arranged on a small bookcase in alphabetical order, and each person had to find their own.  These were all in fact wrapped Mills & Boon slushy romances (this was a little library joke, as with colleagues we had always giggled over the terrible titles and funny scenarios these had in them)!  We had grouped them under types of these – from sweet slush to racy romps!  Guests were seated with others in tables such as Doctors & Nurses, Regency Romps, Italian Stallions, Playboys & Golddiggers!

One final little joke was that we had kept our honeymoon destination a secret from most people until the wedding reception.  We had a lot of people probing and trying to guess in the lead up to this, but mostly succeeded in keeping it mum, finally revealing all during David’s really great and humorous speech – we produced a couple of bottles and invited correct guessers to have a shot with us…of Havana Club rum!  We were off to Cuba! We had never ever been able to afford a foreign holiday together before, and so this really was going to be an old-fashioned honeymoon experience for us.  The appeal of the amazing atmospheric music, warm and generous people, and nostalgic 1950s touches everywhere were perfect for us.  We had a brilliant trip and so want to go back someday!”

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Wedding venue: Burntisland Parish Church with the reception in the Church Hall
Photographer: Tomasz Adamczek from AT Photo
Bride’s dress, accessories and shoes: Vintage Gown – Lamesley Bridal, Edinburgh;    Bespoke Vintage Headpiece – Hairlooms Headpieces, Edinburgh;  Maribou Bolero – Coast;  Shoes – Jenny Packham @ Debenhams; Bag – Accessorize.

Bridesmaids’ dresses & accessories: Dress – JS Collections @ House of Fraser; Bespoke Vintage Headpiece – Hairlooms Headpieces; Bolero – BHS; Shoes – Jenny Packham @ Debenhams

Groom’s outfit: Suit – Chester by Chester Barrie @ Jenners House of Fraser; Shoes – Gucinari from Scorpio Shoes;  Bow Tie and Waistcoat – Oliver Bainbridge

Groomsmens’ Bow Tie and Waistcoats – Oliver Bainbridge
Cars:  High Society Wedding Cars, Carnoustie

Flowers:  Lyn Wilson @ Poppy Floral Design, Charlestown, Fife
Hair:  Charlene Wilson @ Princess Cut Bridal Hair
Cake:  Emanuela Burr @ Romeo and Juliet Cakes, Stirling
Catering:  Oink hogroast by Reiver Foods, Edinburgh (and Eyemouth)
Band:  Sway Functions (retro Rockabilly music), Falkirk

Extras: Rings – Handmade by couple for one another with Donna Barrie at Make Your Own Wedding Rings, Edinburgh;  Decorative Umbrellas – by Love Umbrellas;  Favours – Heart Gingerbread Pieces by Grasmere Gingerbread, Grasmere, Cumbria; British Cheeses Cheese Cake – St Andrews Farmhouse Cheese Company,  Northumberland Cheese Company and Suffolk Farmhouse Cheeses

Spring Bulbs in Planters – Grown by Tom Allan, Burntisland (Bride’s Grandfather).

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