Erica & Barry’s Cozy London Motorcycle Cafe Wedding
Today I am delighted to share with you Erica and Barry’s intimate wedding in a London biker’s cafe — a cozy setting that reflected the bride and groom’s fondness for big bikes and cafes, as well as a nod to Erica’s late motorcycle-loving dad. The lovely couple is big on family and had in fact peppered their laid-back celebration with references to those whom they love that couldn’t attend.
Hannah Webster of LifeLine Photography who beautifully captured the heartfelt union sums it up perfectly: “There weren’t loads of details or frills, just two young people in love tying the knot and celebrating with their nearest and dearest.”
Hannah fills us in on more of what went on at Erica and Barry’s very personal celebration:
Erica is American and is studying photography here in the UK. Barry comes from a large family and they all love Erica to bits. He is known as “Jester” (Erica has a jester tattoo on her shoulder) and calls Erica “Kitty” (he has a cat tattoo on his chest). They are both into fairly alternative scenes so they wanted something unusual for their wedding venue, and when they found out that Ace Cafe is licensed they just knew it was perfect.
I arrived about an hour before the ceremony and met with Barry and some of his family as they had a fab Ace Cafe bikers breakfast. Erica arrived with Barry’s dad. Barry’s sister was her flower girl. The ceremony was short and sweet. After we took a few photos everyone went to Barry’ mum’s house for a big family meal in private. I met up with them again at the community centre where Barry works for the party in the evening. Family and friends laid on a small buffet and the room was filled with helium balloons (which the various kids promptly destroyed). There were first and last dances and the night ended with fireworks outside as the venue was next to a park. It was raining but everyone came out to see the pretty lights and cheer as Erica and Barry giggled and kissed. It was very sweet actually.
My main memories of the day were that Erica and Barry managed to enjoy a fabulous day on a tiny budget. Their love for one another, and the warmth of their family, was astounding. It was refreshing to see a wedding day that was all about that.
It’s time to meet the lovebirds. Lucky for us, pretty Erica is here to share a little bit about herself and Barry:
My husband, Barry, and I met seven years ago online. First when I went to a chat server to learn about some computer-related things, and again a few years later when I was DJ-ing online (he was one of my listeners). We’ve always had a bit of a different style. We love to travel around the world, go to festivals and get tattoos. I am very passionate about photography and do a bit professionally. Barry loves computers and loves to joke around — he’s even earned the nickname ‘Jester’ (mine’s ‘Kitty’).
We’ve been together for about four years (much of the start being long distance). I’m working to finish my degree at university and he works as the building’s supervisor at Bennetts End Community Centre (where we ended up having our reception). We plan to both get a few more qualifications under our belts and look forward to having children in the future. We’re big on family. My mother’s side is Italian so weddings to me were always big and traditional. As my family is in America and wasn’t going to be able to attend the wedding, we plan to have a blessing in the future. As the blessing will have to be traditional, we decided to make our wedding as unique and personal as we could.
We had the wedding ceremony taped by our friend Ricky so that my family could see. Barry’s best man/uncle, Al, bought him breakfast at the cafe while waiting for me to arrive. Our flower girl was Barry’s half-sister on his mom’s side, Jade; our ring bearer was Barry’s half-brother on his dad’s side, Guy. Barry’s mother, Anna walked me down the aisle.
Such a cute couple! Erica shares the story behind the venue with us:
We chose the date of 11/11/11 because it was supposed to be the date of wishes coming true. We struggled with our appointment at our local registrar so my husband phoned around and found that Brent’s registrar had space for us as did their local venues. They had relatively inexpensive options, and Ace Cafe the best one for us. While I was on a plane to visit my family in the states, Barry finalized appointments. He was right to chosee Ace Cafe for us to get married at and when he told me I was very excited. My father passed away when I was ten years old and always loved motorcycles so their presence was like having him there with me.
We both love motorcycles, cafes, having a good time — I even like checkerboard patterns. I painted a few invitations for those who needed them with a monogram and our favourite colours (red and purple are mine, red and yellow are his). We knew that we wanted to end our night with fireworks as a romantic touch.
On how they made their wedding uniquely theirs:
We borrowed bits from family and friends to use for the day to incorporate them. Most things outdoors tend to interest us so we tried to include that sort of feel while considering the low temperatures. The family helped prepare some food leading up to the wedding but our main meal was barbeque. Barry helped barbeque our wedding meal after the ceremony in his dad Gary’s backyard, while some guests and I stood beside him.
Everyone hung out together and ate when they pleased. I wore a purple dress from a family friend/ Gary and Tracey’s neighbour, Toni, to eat in. We had a small cake to cut and everyone ate dessert bits as well as cupcakes prepared by Barry’s step-mom Tracey and brother-in-law Damien. Our champagne for toasting was by Moet & Chandon, just like the drink Barry got us on my birthday. Before the hall I changed back into my wedding dress and some red pumps.
The music was very important to us: our first song was “Use Somebody” by Kings of Leon, a song Barry dedicated to me when we just started dating, and our last song was “My December” by Linkin Park… our song. Our music throughout the night changed from romantic classics to golden oldies to popular dance music back to rock — making sure to include bands we saw perform together, such as Avenged Sevenfold, Disturbed, and of course Linkin Park, themselves.
We had songs to reference absent family and friends, as well. At 11pm, everyone went outside for fireworks (which continued through past 11:11). The fireworks were roughly 12 hours after our wedding to commemorate the ceremony and the ’1′s included in the times referenced our wish come true.
(I adore these pics of them being themselves!)
Since our wedding, we’ve gotten penguin tattoos referencing a Pon and Zi cartoon (see Jeff Thomas/Azuzephre) about how penguins stay together for life. When I first showed the cartoon to Barry years ago he asked me to be his penguin and the nicknames have stuck. We’re adding ’11/11/11′ to them soon.
We’ve also gotten a 2011 wine to toast with on our 10 year anniversary. On our one year anniversary we’ll be finishing my wedding ring-set. We had originally wanted a russian wedding band. Barry had showed me a picture of a tri-colour one when we originally discussed marriage and I thought it was beautiful. I was torn as I still wanted my rings to look similar to what I had planned– somewhat like my mother’s as that’s what I learned a wedding ring to be. The last piece to my set will be getting a rose-gold eternity ring to match my wedding ring and be worn on the opposite side of my engagement band, giving it a look combining our original ideas.
I love how Erica and Barry made their wedding 100% customized to who they are and true enough, Erica shares that the lovely couple intended for their day “to be almost like a party — a gathering of our closest friends and family with references to all who couldn’t attend.”
Huge thanks to Hannah for sending in her beautiful images of this sweet and personal wedding, and congratulations to Erica and Barry! Thank you for sharing your special day with us.
Photographer: Hannah Webster of LifeLine Photography
– Wedding: Ace Cafe London
– Reception: Bennetts End Community Centre (Bennetts End Neighbourhood Association 01442 395 353)
Food: prepared by family
Music: Ashley Dj-Tripz Stanbridge from Hemel (07957700727)
– My engagement ring: F. Hinds
– My wedding ring: Goldsmiths
– Barry’s wedding ring: Warren James
Wedding Dress: Browns and Co. in Watford (gifted to Erica by Barry’s mother and sister)
Purple Dress: Monsoon (for the meal)
– Earrings: something blue/borrowed from Erica’s mom
– Necklace: Marks and Spencer
– Bracelets: gold/pearl-gift from Erica’s mother; silver-something borrowed from Erica’s friend Jojo (very close to her maid of honour)
Shoes: red heels from Dorothy Perkins
Suit: Marks and Spencer
Flowers: Kelly’s Kreations in Hemel (From Erica: They were especially wonderful, our plans for flowers fell through and a family friend/frequent customer, Dave, spoke to them for us. They took our order less than 24 hours before the flowers needed to be picked up and their work was great!)
Decor: done by family and balloons blown up by Erica and Barry
Makeup/Hair: Thresa (a friend of Erica’s maid of honour, Barry’s cousin Dawn)
Nails/Eyes: Eyes Alive (great favour at a discounted rate)
Tags: alternative wedding venues, DIY weddings, non-traditional weddings, tattoed brides