You, lovely reader, are getting married at the most amazing time – the opportunities for hiring a unique venue are endless. So many places – old theatres, cinemas, museums; buildings filled with history and character – are opening their doors to weddings. As a wedding blogger I love discovering new places to get hitched, and when I can share the experience with all of you lovely lot it makes me so happy! Today we join beautiful bride Najma and her gorgeous groom Jeff as they tie the knot at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. It’s probably the only wedding venue with a touring dinosaur… or is it?! Dippy’s making his way around the UK until 2020, dinosaur fans!
As fascinating as dinosaurs are, I’m captivated by the beautiful details of Jeff and Najma’s day – the dress is just stunning! All day long these two are smiling, and the atmosphere is full of love and happiness. The showcase pieces are there too: the cake is divine; bridesmaids look gorgeous and the florals are exquisite. Oh, and Najma’s sparkling evening dress is so perfect for the dance floor, don’t you think?
Photos are by our lovely friend and English Wedding Blog sponsor, Birmingham wedding photographer Clive Blair. Clive says it was a privilege to be one of the first to shoot a full wedding at the stunning Grade 1 listed Museum and Art Gallery in the heart of his home town Birmingham.
“Najma and Jeff used The Waterhall for their wedding ceremony. They used the Industrial Gallery with its beautiful collection of fine art on display for their wedding breakfast. To conclude the evening with their dance routine they chose the Edwardian Tea room for their evening reception. They also had exclusive use of the room where the world famous Diplodocus was being exhibited, for their drinks reception.”
The venue had its own grandeur and styling so we didn’t need to do much at all. Our wedding aimed for vintage and craft meets natural history. We made a lot of the decorations and crafts ourself to incorporate natural history. The museum had stunning and grand architecture that really added to the vintage feel. Our wedding colours were mint, pink and magenta. This was based on the wedding dress and a light summertime feel.
Wedding photographer’s website:
We initially had no idea what we were looking for and we were browsing Birmingham photographers. Jeff came across Clive’s website and saw his amazing photos. We instantly knew Clive’s photos were what we wanted and we stopped looking for anyone else.
We were more than pleased, we were blown away by the photos! The pictures were so beautifully shot, the colours were amazing and he’d managed to capture every special moment at our wedding. We don’t know how he did it but every shot tells a little piece of the story.
P.s. not many wedding photographers would be willing to lie on the floor to get the perfect shots!
We were on our honeymoon in the Maldives chilling out by the pool with mojitos in hand. Najma opened them up and we looked through them together. We kept looking and relooking at them. It was really nice to re-live the wedding and even see some moments we didn’t get to see on the day.
Contact & bookings: Clive Blair Photography
Birmingham Museum and Arts Gallery. It was Jeff’s idea, he’s a bit of a history nerd and convinced me to see the venue. We were in awe of the venue and just thought it had so much effortless charm and character. We booked it as soon as we could.
We got access to four amazing rooms in the museum, each with their own distinct style and history. We were fortunate enough that Dippy the Dinosaur was at the Museum on tour from the Natural History Museum on our wedding day. We booked some time with Dippy and joined him for drinks and photos with our guests.
The venue had such a relaxed feel and we were able to access so much of the museum. Our wedding coordinator Gill was so nice and helpful which made our big day go with ease.
Can you describe your wedding in fewer than 10 words?
Making our own history at Birmingham Museum
Where did you find your suppliers? (Blogs, magazines, recommendations?)
The museum provided all the food and drinks. Our cake was from Kimmie’s Kitchen, who we had used before and it was so delicious. We mainly used google for the rest and just checked them out. We spent a lot of time browsing the web, meeting local supppliers and ringing people up.
What’s your top tip for saving money?
We went for a venue that spoke for itself in terms of decor. The museum is a characteristic Victorian building and so we didn’t need to spend much to decorate the venue.
… and which elements of your wedding are you glad you spent more on?
For us, the opportunity to spend part of our wedding day with Dippy had a lot of personal meaning. Although a drinks reception with Dippy wasn’t in the original wedding budget, we’re glad we found a way to make it happen.
Where did you buy or source your wedding stationery – or was making it a labour of love?
It was mostly a labour of love! We spent many hours making the table decorations, table plan, all the wedding favours and carving our initials into a log! We got a lot of the basic elements from places like eBay, local suppliers and Etsy. Some pieces like the table plan had elements from 7 different shops. Sanding the wood disc table centre pieces slowly made Jeff go deaf and Najma learnt how to wax seal envelopes.
Did you fall in love with your wedding dress?
I toyed with the idea of having a white dress or an Asian style dress. I saw the wedding dress in a shop early on and instantly loved the style of it. I carried on looking around but kept thinking back to that original dress so then I just went for it.
Wedding dress designer and bridal boutique:
I got it made in Pakistan!
Tell us about your accessories: jewellery, shoes and anything else!
I wore a earrings from a gold set my mother gave me as part of my dowry and a simple mint necklace. I wore shoes from Dune, my go-to shoe brand as my dress weighed a tonne and I wanted to make sure I could wear and walk in it comfortably all day
My engagement ring was designed by Jeff and Gemma from House of Solus in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter. It has our initials subtly engraved on the bridge and the sapphire sits in a lovely heart shaped crown which I absolutely love
And what did the groom wear?
I got a bespoke TailorMe suit made by Moss Bros. I wanted a nice blue chunky weave fabric with a custom blue flower silk lining and the date of our wedding sewn into the inside jacket pocket.
My shirt was a plain white super slim fit Charles Tyrwhitt and my tie was a mint floral design from a groomsmen shop on Etsy. All together it matched my beautiful bride.
Beautiful bridesmaids: what did your best girls wear?
They wore a nice peachy pastel coloured dress to complement the pastel colour theme
Hair and make-up – did you DIY or hire a professional?
Kerry Baines – she was fantastic
Describe your wedding flowers. Who arranged them for you? (florist details would be lovely please)
Pastel colours with a pop of magenta to match the mint and magenta colour theme. The flowers were provided by the Birmingham flower centre
Crafts and makes – tell us about any homemade elements of your wedding… did you enjoy them?
We had three wedding favours. The first were pebbles from a beach in Wales where Najma is from. Each is printed with a picture of a dinosaur, our initials and the date on the wedding. Each guest also got a small glass bottle with a cactus growing in it. Each was grown by Jeff from seed so at one point we had around 100 cacti growing on the window sill!
All of the table centre pieces were designed by us. Each wood slice was sanded and waxed by Jeff. The bottles had lights and a fern leaf put in them and the vases had a bow tied round each of them.
The table plan was made from scratch, a frame was built first, then painted, and wire attached. Then each wood disc had names hand printed on them.
We made the basket for the messages to put in a message in a bottle instead of a wedding book.
Jeff also carried home a log from our local woods to carve a love heart in. His shoulder was bruised for days!
The wedding cake: what kind of cake did you choose and why?
We got a watercolour iced cake with the wedding theme colours of mint and pink. This was made by From Kimmie’s Kitchen. We got to pick three different flavours for the tiers of the cake; red velvet with a white chocolate ganache, salted caramel and a marble sponge, and a coconut cake with a pistachio cream.
As we both love cheese, we also got a 5 tiered cheese cake from the cheese shed. We got to pick each tier of the cake so got to pick our favourite cheese.
Entertainment: any musical recommendations, surprises or treats?
For wedding ceremony we had an amazing string quartet called Unity Strings. Their music was beautiful and really set the mood for the ceremony. They even played some of our favourite Bollywood tunes.
We learnt a dance routine for our first dance to UB40 can’t help falling in love. This was a surprise for our guests and we actually pulled it off!
We booked a DJ through One Music Management and gave him a list of our favourite old skool R&B, Hip-Hop and Garage tunes and danced the night away.
Words of wisdom: share your best piece of advice for other couples:
Make sure you have some time out together on the day and take it all in before you miss it!
Also don’t get stressed if things don’t go quite to plan, you’re the only two people who know and no one else notices.
What’s the best thing about being married?
Having a partner in crime to enjoy life’s adventures.
Favourite supplier web links for other brides and grooms:
Photographer – https://www.cliveblair.co.uk
Cake – https://www.fromkimmieskitchen.com
Cheese cake – https://www.thecheeseshed.com
Kerry Baines Bridal Makeup – https://www.kerrybaines.com
String Quartet – http://unitystringquartet.co.uk