1960s Inspired Autumn Wedding at The Institute of Contemporary Arts

WEDDINGS, Informal, Urban, Vintage Inspired

Photography by Emilie White Photography

A stylishly authentic 1960s inspired Autumn wedding at The ICA (The Institute of Contemporary Arts) in London and beautiful bridal style with a vintage Fur Coat No Knickers Dress. 

1960s Autumn ICA London Wedding by Emilie White Photography

Today’s wedding is utterly lovely and transports us to a beautifully atmospheric 1960s inspired wedding in London. Gorgeous couple Catriona (an avid London Bride reader!) and Joe stayed true to their own personal styles and had an authentically 1960s inspired day that was heartfelt and full of love.

Bride Catriona’s style is effortlessly chic and so lovely that she was able to make her vintage style work for her wedding day; from her Fur Coat No Knickers floor length sleeveless lace shift dress to the iconic hair and make up style from the era and of course that incredibly fabulous transportation – a 1967 Daimler. I also love that they ended the night dancing to the Happy Day’s theme tune!

The ICA (Institute of Contemporary Arts) is a beautiful venue, perfect for an intimate wedding for great food and dancing and of course you have Pall Mall on your doorstop for portrait photos. I hope you all enjoy this beautifully heartwarming day full of style and personality captured so perfectly through these atmospheric images by Emilie White.

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PARISIAN PROPOSAL

We met on Guardian Soulmates in 2009. In October 2014 Joe proposed with a surprise trip to Paris (he originally said we were going to Portsmouth). Our flight was delayed for 7 hours and then eventually cancelled so we had to get the Eurostar out the next day, scuppering Joe’s best laid plans! He popped the question looking out over the city by the Sacre Coeur with all the other tourists behind us clapping like crazy!

1960s Bride STYLE

We love the 1960s and I really wanted an original dress from that era. The girls at Fur Coat No Knickers were amazing – so helpful and adept at knowing what suits someone. They suggested I try my dress on (even though I was convinced I would have a shorter dress like the style Hayley Mills wears in The Family Way) and I knew right then it was the one. A beautiful floor-length lace dress, sleeveless with a little satin bow. It was my first bridal dress appointment and I didn’t bother looking anywhere else. The only jewellery I wore (aside from my wedding ring) was my treasured gold gate bracelet that belonged to my grandmother, Elizabeth Taylor.

I wear flicky eyeliner every day of my life, but didn’t trust my hands to be too steady on the actual day so I enlisted the help of Kelly at Lipstick and Curls who did the honours and also bouffed up my bob.

Our bridesmaids dresses were the most gorgeous dusky rose colour; lace shift dresses with a little grosgrain ribbon for a sweet 1960s vibe. They were actually from ASOS’ maternity section! They didn’t make them in a non-maternity fit so the girls bought their usual size and Sylvia at Beau Monde London altered them to fit perfectly. I wanted the girls to feel like themselves, so they did their own make up and chose how they wanted their hair – again by Lipstick and Curls – and I had our florist Gail Smith make up beautiful flower combs that matched their posies for them to wear in their hair.

Joe and his Best Man headed to Paul Smith in Covent Garden where tailoring genius Gareth Jones advised them on the perfect cut and fit. They both left with classic navy slim-fit suits, white shirts and burgundy silk ties. Joe wore his with his Church’s shoes and my Dad’s tie pin and gold cufflinks, which I gave him as a wedding present – that and a spritz of Byredo’s Mr Marvellous.

A ‘VILLAGE’ CHURCH IN LONDON

We wanted to have the ceremony at St Andrew’s Church in Totteridge where I (Catriona) grew up as my Dad’s ashes are buried there and we thought it was a way of him being with us on the day in spirit.

Even though Totteridge is technically in London, it’s like a little village and everyone there knows everyone else. Two of my primary school teachers are on the church flower committee so they helped with the flowers on the day, which made it a bit more personal. As our ceremony was in a church, we had hymns which were fairly traditional but upbeat (Lord of All Hopefulness, Make Me A Channel Of Your Peace and Give Me Joy In My Heart), but while we were signing the register, the choir gave a rendition of The Carpenter’s We’ve Only Just Begun which had everyone smiling!

Joe’s Dad gave a Bible reading (1 Corinthians) and our bridesmaid Katy chose to read Mark Twain’s These I Can Promise. And one of our friends is an architect, so she did a lovely line drawing of the church for the cover of our order of service booklets, which made it really special.

AUTUMN FLOWERS

It was an Autumn wedding so we wanted lots of gorgeous rich autumnal colours – plums, navy and mulberry shades, dusky rose and some blush pinks for good measure. The bouquet had some beautiful blooms: sweet avalanche roses (that change from a pale creamy colour into a deeper pink as they open up), thistles, dahlias, laurestinus berries, celosia and astrantia, with matching posies and flower combs for the bridesmaids and button holes for the wedding party. My mum made the confetti from rose petals a lady in the next road had very kindly donated from her garden and the church flower committee tied flowers to the pews and all around the lychgate – the smell as you walked into the church was incredible.

REGENCY LONDON

The ICA was the perfect reception venue – so atmospheric with the London skyline, and plenty of space for us to have a really good party – and not a sticky carpet in sight! 

Although it’s a grand old Regency building, it still feels modern and spacious – soft grey walls, beautiful parquet floor and a vast balcony space overlooking London – the sun set as we sat down for dinner. It’s an absolute gem and Harriet, Sinead and the staff there exactly the kind of people you want helping you with your wedding. All it needed was plenty of fresh flowers, clean white table linen and candlelight. The mantlepiece in one of the rooms is huge so we hired a big light-up sign from Vowed & Amazed that spelled out ‘LOVE’ to sit on top of it – it was a great focal point for the dance floor and the dimmer switch meant we could crank it up when the dancing got going.

Food and drink came courtesy of Peyton and Byrne as part of our package with the ICA and it was absolutely delicious! 

60s DETAILS

Our favours were CDs we made with our favourite songs by The Ronettes, Doris Day, The Kinks, Bryan Ferry, Marvin Gaye etc. We had some photos taken in the black and white Photo Booth at The Ace Hotel and our designer friend arranged them all together to make a vintage-style sleeve that we had printed.

Our cake was a vanilla sponge smothered in buttercream icing and topped with fresh flowers and was made by Molly Bakes. We had a (very flattering) cake topper made by our friend who is an illustrator – it was a 60s style sketch of us. We were so busy dancing, we forgot to cut the cake! Thankfully, the staff very helpfully sliced it up and handed it out later in the evening so everyone got to enjoy it. We took quite a bit home and were living off wedding cake for about two weeks – sounds gross, but it’s true!

MIXED TAPE

We hated the idea of a band doing naff cover songs, so compiled a Spotify playlist and had some of our friends take it in turns to do a set. So one friend played Motown classics, another did funk and soul, another played indie, another pop – it was pretty mixed so everyone was happy and by happy, we mean shoeless — the dance floor was packed all evening. Our first dance was to Mac DeMarco’s My Kind Of Woman – we love that song – a lot of the songs we played were on our wedding album favour. The last song of the evening was the Happy Days theme tune – really cheesy but my new surname is Day now, so we thought it was appropriate!

EMILIE WHITE

We found Emilie White via London Bride – her photographs have a real dream-like quality. She has this wonderful way of capturing the moment that feels really natural and candid, but not intrusive. We had a little Skype session before hand to swap ideas and ended up with a treasured set of natural shots, plus a few more formal, traditional set ups to keep the family happy. She and her assistant were fantastic and looking back at the photographs, we had actually forgotten we had photographers there for the most-part, which I think is the sign of true professionals at work.

REFLECTIONS

It’s such a cliche but the day really does fly by, so try your best to enjoy every moment and don’t feel too bad about not spending enough time with each guest – you need to fit in some dancing, too. Besides, guests know the score. One of our friends actually said whenever he goes to a wedding, he can’t bring himself to even look at the bride or groom because he thinks they’ve got better things to do than talk to him – I thought that was hilarious!

Another top tip is to make sure you have a crack team around you. If things get a little chaotic, you need an assertive bridesmaid to cut in and politely excuse you so you don’t get caught up in any drama.

Oh and we had our speeches just before the meal, which meant everyone could relax and enjoy their food (and wine). The speeches went down a storm. Joe and his best man really pulled it out of the bag. My mum and I also did speeches. I think more women should take the mic. Even though it’s totally nerve-wracking at first, you just need to remind yourself that there’s so much love in that room – everyone is rooting for you.

Congratulations to the lovely Catriona and Joe on your gorgeous day and thanks to Emilie for sharing the wonderful images captured.