One year ago today, I married my lovely wife Maria in Kidderminster. I’d proposed a year earlier, whilst on holiday in Prague, and we started planning and plotting the big day at the beginning of the year. To mark our first Anniversary, I thought I’d post some photos and memories of the day. This is the first of two posts – the second should go out later in the week.
Early on, we hit upon having the wedding breakfast on the Severn Valley Railway, as we had taken a couple of trips on it when we were courting. This lead to the idea of giving the whole wedding a ‘steampunk’ theme. Steampunk – a genre of fiction that takes it’s cues from the Victorian and Edwardian science fiction novels by the likes of Jules Vernes and H.G. Wells – appealed to both of us in different ways; for me it was the retro sci-fi styling from comics and movies, whereas it gave Maria a chance to relive a browner version of her goth youth. It also gave me an excuse to grow my moustache out into a full waxed handlebar.
We set the scene with a ‘Save the Day’ postcard adorned with caricatures of the two of us in suitably heroic pose, which we posted to our guest list in July. I then set about designing the invites and other ephemera. In keeping with the railway theme, I based the look and feel of the invites on vintage railway tickets, timetables and maps. There’s a few examples spread around this blog post.
With the guest list finalised, and the invites printed and posted, we awaited the RSVPs. Meanwhile, we started working on our outfits. We made and adapted and appropriated all sorts of items, we attended Steampunk fairs and festivals to pick up trinkets and cravats, every morning post would bring new odds and sods ordered online. We visited theatrical costume hire warehouses, we spray-painted and stitched common household items and children’s toys, and investigated Victorian design and literature. We were still making costume items, props and decorations right up to the night before we had to depart for the hotel.
The Big Day Arrives
We’d spent the night at the hotel where the evening celebrations were to take place (In separate rooms, naturally – can’t see the bride before the wedding). There had been a brief shower in the early morning, but by the time I left for the Register Office things had started to brighten up and showed all the signs of being a beautiful crisp autumn day. We’d booked Kidderminster Register Office – a former grammar school – which had turned out to be the ideal place for our steampunk wedding, as it was a quirky Victorian gothic building with huge stained-glass windows and turrets.
I’d arrived early with my Best Man, Matt Buck (fellow cartoonist and co-owner of drawnalism), and the guests had already started to assemble. I could see this was going to be a spectacular day – practically everyone was fully attired in their best steampunk finery – top hats and corsets abounded. I was knocked out to see that so many of our friends and family had got into the spirit of the day.
Inevitably, as is the bride’s prerogative, Maria was late. But she arrived in spectacular form, marching down the aisle with her Bridal Escort Pete Byrchmore (her long-time friend and band-mate from Gorgeous) to the tune of Fat Bottomed Girls by Queen (er… my choice). She was followed, as is traditional, by her Bridesmaids, Robyn (her daughter) and Lara (my little sister).
The service went by in a bit of a blur. We read each other our vows, and as I gazed into Maria’s eyes and said ‘I Do’ whilst trying not to choke, I slipped the ring on her finger and kissed her for the first time as my wife.
We signed the register and posed for what seemed like eons for photos, whilst Maria’s favourite, Wuthering Heights played in the background. With all the legal paperwork done, we walked back up the aisle, arm in arm, to the sounds of James Brown‘s Night Train, and out into the sunshine as husband and wife.
Outside the register office, there was much mingling and chatting. Many photographs were taken, and confetti was thrown around (and stuffed into our collars and corsets – we were finding little bits of paper in nooks and crannies for days after). We then herded our guests onto the coaches and boarded our vintage cars bound for Kidderminster Town station and the wedding breakfast…
(end of part one… part two can be read here!)