As preferences and practical options for wedding ceremonies become more diverse – especially with recent new laws passed – one local events outfit, turning their hand to the business of unions, offer their view

We were both excited and intrigued recently, to hear of a new nuptials-related venture founded by some of Bristol’s most established creative event managers – because we knew, like we know the back of our hand, they’d be out to do things a little differently. Local outfit Duchess Weddings has just launched in the city, and is positioning itself squarely at those looking to break with tradition and throw a wedding or civil partnership with a twist; these ladies get that weddings aren’t a one-size-fits-all affair and want to make sure that everything from the venue to the entertainment, from the catering to the cocktails, really reflects the couple in question.

The idea for Duchess Weddings came about when co-founder Meg Pope organised her own unique wedding (image by Chris Cooper; shotaway.com)

…On 15 March the government passed a law that opened civil partnerships up to all couples. They can formalise their relationship with a partnership which will provide the same protections marriage does…

Be it a bohemian bash or a decadent soirée in one of Bristol’s secret cocktail bars, Duchess is dishing out a full wedding planning service to those in need of organisation, helping to source the most exciting, unusual and impressive suppliers in the South West. We chatted to Duchess Weddings’ shindig doyennes Meg Pope, Frankie Wallington and Katie Dane to find out a bit more about them as a company, the direction of the local industry and what Bristol couples can expect.

Fancy pink pineapples in your bouquet? Then pink pineapples it is…

Weddings in 2019 – what’s hot?

“It feels like there’s been a real shift in people’s attitudes to weddings and civil partnerships recently, and this is exactly what made us want to start the business in the first place. Gone are the days of the parents organising (and paying!) for everything, and tradition seems to be less important nowadays, with couples placing more importance on throwing a celebration for themselves – which is a reflection of them as a couple as opposed to hosting an event for everyone else. We’ve seen a lot of couples moving away from the package-style wedding at dedicated wedding venues, where you’re tied into using recommended suppliers, and instead opting to take more of a DIY approach – sourcing dry-hire venues and finding their own caterers and suppliers. This is a great way of bringing bags more personality into your wedding but can also be a lot tougher to pull off as there’s so much more organisation, so that’s where we step in – to help source and manage food, drink, decor, music, entertainment and everything in between.”

…We’ve seen a lot of couples moving away from the package-style wedding where you’re tied into using recommended suppliers, and opting to take more of a DIY approach…

Your own stamp

“Weddings and civil partnerships come in all shapes and sizes, and with more people wanting to do things a little differently we understand that the usual out-of-the-box wedding planning approach probably isn’t for everyone. We can help organise as much or as little as needed, whether it’s helping source venues, amazing street food caterers or entertainment your guests won’t forget in a hurry; or if you just need someone to be there on the day to make sure everything runs smoothly so you don’t have to worry, we can step in at any point. There’s also a great directory of businesses we work with, including some of Bristol’s most exclusive and unique venues, incredible caterers and cocktail specialists plus some of the city’s best DJs – we’ve got something up our sleeves for every taste.”

Weddings aren’t a one-size-fits-all affair; everything from the venue to the entertainment, the catering and the cocktails, has to reflect the couple in question

…We’ve seen a lot of couples moving away from the package-style wedding where you’re tied into using recommended suppliers, and opting to take more of a DIY approach…

A gap in the market

“The idea for Duchess Weddings really came about when Meg organised her own wedding. As an event organiser, the pressure was on to create something spectacular. Several superb tipis in a field and some of Bristol’s best caterers and cocktail shakers later, and the seed for Duchess Weddings was planted. We realised then that we had all the contacts and skills to create weddings and civil partnerships that were truly unique to each couple, however they choose to celebrate their love and future life with each other. If that love means they need stilt-walking drag queens at their big day then they are going to get them!

We love the idea of an intimate, low-lit wedding breakfast at The Ox

“On the more practical side, on 15 March the government passed a new law that opened civil partnerships up to all couples. Prior to this, civil partnerships were restricted to same-sex couples only. This is a huge step forward and will give couples the chance to formalise their relationship with a civil partnership which will automatically provide the same protections that marriage does. There is no requirement for a ceremony to take place or to exchange vows like you have to with a wedding, so you can do it your own way. We think this will give a lot of people who don’t want to get married an opportunity to have a ceremony that reflects their relationship and to celebrate it their way.”

duchessweddings.com

Featured image: 1960s caravan repurposed into a Latin-inspired make-up parlour, from Duchess partner Pop Tart Boutique