Elegant Summer Wedding at The RSA With A Bride In Catherine Deane

RSA Wedding London by Lucy Birkhead Photography, Bride's Dress by Catherine Deane

 

The beautiful light in this wedding is telling that this was a sunny August day last year for this lovely couple Lauren and Joe to be married at the RSA. Whilst the photographs depict the perfect day and it did all came together beautifully, things weren’t quite plain sailing for this couple with their planning in the lead up to the day itself. Due to last minute changes in circumstances with their original venue, Lauren and Joe chose a new venue, the beautiful Georgian RSA just a few weeks before their wedding only visiting it just 10 days before the day itself, and luckily for them it all fell into place to became the perfect backdrop for their celebrations.

A stressful time and yet hey had more unfortunate circumstances; Lauren is incredibly brave to share with us that she also had a very tough time before the wedding, as with just 6 weeks until the day, she suffered from Bell’s palsy condition causing paralysis to the left side of her face. Difficult to imagine that a time that should be filled with excitement and happiness that this couple were overshadowed with these difficult times with just weeks to go.  Incredibly, due to the amazing treatment Lauren received and the support from Joe and her family she was able to recover with 90% of her facial movement returning for the wedding day! Lauren is an incredibly beautiful and radiant bride and very brave for sharing her story and I’m so pleased that they were able to have the most perfect day and a reminder that being able to overcome such hard circumstances together is absolutely what marriage is all about….

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From Lauren and Joe: “Joe and I love London it’s where we live, it’s where we met and it’s where we fell in love. Our vision for the day was to find a beautiful building we could get married in and celebrate with our family and friends. We found that in one venue and then just two weeks before the day we found out that there would be scaffolding on the building! We were extremely lucky because the Royal Society of Art had availability on our wedding date and wasn’t too far from the original venue. We first visited the RSA only 10 days before we were due to get married we were blown away and I think it was then that our vision for the day was complete.”

Lauren’s natural beauty shines through in her elegant style with a Catherine Deane dress that looks like it was simply made for her. “I had lots of fun searching for dresses with my mum and sister. I actually came across Catherine Deane on Pinterest when I followed the link I found her website! She opened a London showroom in summer 2013 and I went for my appointment, I tried on every single dress but Laverne was the one!

The Bridesmaids dresses were the first thing we found. My sister and I had been looking for months but nothing had stood out. My sister found the Whistles dresses online so we ordered them in a range of sizes, both dresses were fitted by a seamstress to make sure they fitted perfectly for the day. I loved the blue colour and that helped with choosing the flowers.

I had originally wanted a Jenny Packham dress, however that didn’t fit our budget so my Jenny Packham headdress was my splurge and I love it! I will hopefully pass it on to my sister or daughter one day. My pink Kate Spade wedding shoes were a gift from Joe’s brother. I had found them online but couldn’t find them in the UK and Oliver lives in California and was able to get these shoes from a department store I was so happy they were the perfect shoes to go with my dress. Thank you Oli.

I walked down the aisle with my Dad Peter to Alexander Desplat ‘The Kings Speech’ I will never forget the moment I heard the music and saw Joe standing in front of the beautiful clock in the Great Room at the RSA. I wasn’t nervous before walking down the aisle I was so excited about seeing Joe.” It was also a poignant moment for Joe, “Seeing Lauren for the first time on the day coming down the aisle, I lost my breath.” *Goosebumps*

“The RSA is stunning and allowed for each element of our wedding to take place in a different room. We were married in the Great Room, we had drinks in the Tavern Room, had our seated dinner in the Benjamin Franklin room and partied in the vaults. Ours guests later said that the whole day flowed so seamlessly. The location was perfect because it was still Central London and not too far away from our original venue. Guests were not having to travel great distances from their hotels.

We wanted a relaxed day with no specific style which is why we didn’t choose a single colour for decorations and such. The petrol blue of the bridesmaids dresses complimented the pale blue ties of the groomsmen. When we found The Flower Appreciation Society I knew we could trust them implicitly to create the look we wanted. We had been collecting small glass jars over the year and my mum, sister and I arranged lavender and gypsophila in them and they were placed on the two fireplaces in the Benjamin Franklin room.  We used small keys and attached each guests names as our place setting. My favourite childhood story is Peter Pan and as a subtle not do this, rather than have a key attached to ours, Joe had a thimble and I had an acorn charm.” For wedding favours, the couple generously donated to Cancer Research as a cause close to their hearts. The guests received sweet badge pins as a token. The couple also included wedding photographs of their parents and grandparents and displayed these as part of their table plan to honour their relationships.

Lauren and Joe chose seven (!) different cakes for dessert for their guests to tuck into and rather than a traditional cake they opted to cut the Banoffee Pie as it was their joint favourite. They had other cakes and pies from Galeta, Hummingbird Bakery and vegan cakes from Amy Swarbrick.

Lucy Birkhead was our photographer – we had an engagement shoot a few months before the day which was great because before we met her both Joe and I were like Chandler from friends in front of the camera! Lucy made us feel so relaxed and we love the pictures. On the day Lucy caught moments rather than taking what I would call ‘formal’ wedding shots this is exactly what we wanted.

The guy that owns our hairdresser (James Meynell) DJ’d at our wedding which was great because he was a familiar face and had a great record collection. He currently DJs for Soho radio so you can listen to his sets here.

One thing that was really unique about my wedding experience is that 6 weeks before the wedding day I got Bells palsy which is a paralysis. The left side of my face was paralysed and I had medication, acupuncture, visited a chiropractor and physiotherapist I would like to take this moment to thank Joe, my family and all the doctors who looked after me. I was extremely lucky because I had 90% of my facial movement back for the wedding day.

Huge thanks to Lauren and Joe for sharing not only their beautiful wedding day, but their journey too. Photographer Lucy has captured the day beautifully, especially *those* small moments that pass by in a blink. I wish the very best to Lauren and Joe for a very happy future together.

 

Photography: Lucy Birkhead / Venue: The RSA (Royal Society of Arts) / Bride’s Dress: Catherine Deane / Bridesmaids: Whistles / Groom’s Suit: Cad & The Dandy / Hair & Make-Up: Dayna at Charlotte Murray Salon / Flowers: The Flower Appreciation Society / Stationery: Rebecca Mcmillan 

 

A Laid Back Stylish ‘Anti-Wedding’ Islington Wedding

 

Informal Albion Pub Wedding In Islington

Today I’m sharing a very honest real wedding post from couple Lucy and Alex (Lucy runs one of my favourite online stationery boutiques, Quill London), who were married in September last year in Islington. Whilst they had a very beautiful low key relaxed day, they were in many ways  pretty ‘anti-wedding’. I’m actually really pleased to share a post like this, as whilst there are many brides out there who LOVE being a bride-t0-be, being engaged and all the excitement, planning and fun it brings there are a number of ladies (or indeed couples) who are much less about the ‘wedding’ and more about the ‘marriage’ who feel a bit disheartened with the planning. As today’s bride Lucy clearly wrote: “I didn’t want a “WEDDING!” I didn’t really want to be a bride. I just wanted to be married.”

I always aim for the blog to be honest and authentic so I think it’s an inspiring post as I hope that for those out there who feel overwhelmed by the idea of their wedding or being a bride, this shows that it can be done beautifully, informally and most importantly in a way that’s right for you. There was no first dance or favours, but there was a catch up over coffee, heartfelt speeches, and an improvised personalised version of ‘Ho, Hey’ for the couple – all of which were meaningful moments and that’s what makes a beautiful wedding. Oh and perhaps those Crosstown Doughnuts helped…

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The couple had a very sensible approach to their day, eliminating any traditions or ‘stuff’ that didn’t feel like them or that they didn’t need: “I grew up in London and I’ve never dreamed of any particular kind of wedding – certainly not a big white one – so it was hard to know where to start. I was very ‘anti-wedding': I didn’t go to any wedding shows, didn’t buy any magazines, I didn’t even want to wear a wedding dress. We were conscious of how weddings were packed with things you ‘had to have’ so we tried really hard to take a step back from everything and really evaluate which ‘must-haves’ really were things we wanted. The wedding-y things that were meaningless to us, we just didn’t have.

For those wanting not wanting a huge wedding, whilst a small intimate day would be ideal, it’s not always possible as Lucy and Alex discovered! “Being an introvert, and petrified of walking down an aisle with a hundred people looking at me, I wanted a small, low-key wedding, just a handful of family and friends celebrating with a lovely dinner in one of our favourite restaurants – but our families aren’t small, so that went out the window pretty quickly! We wanted to marry in a church, and in London (it felt silly to us to drag all our friends and family out to an out-of-town location). We found the church first – a beautiful one with a great vicar in Clerkenwell Green, which fixed our location. We finally settled on the lovely Albion pub in Barnsbury (which I found after spotting a beautiful wedding there on London Bride!). It was plenty big enough to hold us all, their gastropub food is flipping delicious, it was free on our date, so we booked.

The rest of the wedding planning was fairly fuss-free. We wanted to keep it as low-key as possible – our church and pub were lovely enough that we no decoration was needed. I guess our flowers set our colours, and I am lucky that my sister is a talented florist. She was beyond patient with my endless pinning and deleting and re-pinning!”

Lucy’s chic but understated style was perfect for their day, her designer dress by Osman, splash out shoes and casual hair tied up was every bit a London Bride and the gorgeous mis-matching bridesmaids looked effortlessly elegant too. “I didn’t want a ‘wedding dress’. I wanted something completely contemporary and simple – no sequins, no sparkle, no chiffon. Not finding anything, I was half way through designing and making my own, when I got fed up with it a month before the day, went one final time round Selfridges with my mum in the hope that something might fall into my lap (even thought I’d been 20 times already) and I spied a rather risqué Osman number that I’d seen on the rail a few times but discounted it. The only one they had left was two sizes two big but the alterations guys at Selfridges were phenomenal. I’d also fallen in love with a pair of Charlotte Olympia shoes in the shape of a starfish, which I could never have afforded in ‘real life’ but treated myself to!” The bridesmaids wore a mix of high street: ASOS, H&M, Coast & Monsoon for the little one, they all got to choose their own dresses on a loose colour scheme of neutrals/blush.

Without the formalities or traditions, the couple injected a little personality into their informal day with drinks outside the Church with cocktails and doughnuts whilst a band played. “The wedding ceremony itself was great. The vicar made it so personal, and it really was lovely being surrounded by all the people that care about us. Our guitar-playing friends sang ‘Ho, Hey’ by The Lumineers while we signed the register, and even improvised an extra verse about Alex and I which we didn’t plan.

Our wedding was at 2pm but we couldn’t get into The Albion until 5 so we decided to lay on a drinks reception in the glorious grounds of our Church. We made cocktails self-served from Kilner Jars. Each cocktail was themed on a special memory or holiday – for example we like astronomy so one was named ‘Cosmic’ and we put lots of gold leaf flakes in! We bought in heaps of Crosstown Doughnuts to keep our guests going till dinner. We also booked the Hackney Colliery Band who were absolutely fab!

Taxis took us all to the Albion. Luckily it was a dry day so we gathered outside in the garden for speeches. My dad’s speech was the loveliest moment of my day (after the vows of course). A very shy, super-quiet fellow, he wasn’t going to do one, but he got up and made the most wonderful speech that I’ll treasure forever. We went back inside to a mountain of food (we knew early one that we wanted to put on a feast), followed by dancing to a Spotify playlist.

We collapsed back to our hotel (The Rosewood – a very special treat to ourselves) who had upgraded us to a suite bigger than our own flat. Once in a lifetime!

Whilst I am glad I will never have to plan a wedding again, what made it special for me were moments with my mum, dad , sister and friends in the run-up to the day which would have never have occurred if we hadn’t been planning this wedding. I would do it all again just for that. 

I think Lucy and Alex had an incredibly true and sensible approach to their Islington wedding, and I’m so pleased that it was a day that worked for them. Thanks also to photographer, Krish for sharing her work who captured the day perfectly.

Photography: Photography by Krishanthi / Getting Ready Location: The Rosewood Hotel / Ceremony Venue: St James Church, Clerkenwell / Reception Venue: The Albion Pub, Islington / Bride’s Dress: Osman Studio (SS14) at Selfridges / Bride’s Shoes: Charlotte Olympia / Flowers: Bride’s Sister / Band: Hackney Colliery Band