Firstly, isn’t the above absolute perfection? I think so.
So this is a VERY exciting real wedding to share because this is a London Bride wedding! The seriously sexy and chic Katie and definitely dapper Brett got married in May [on a rain free day, hurrah!] with a ceremony at Islington Town Hall followed by a good old knees up at the gorgeous gastro pub The Albion just around the corner. The day was documented perfectly by their incredible photographer Joanna Brown [who also shot their cute engagement shoot].
I was hired as Katie and Brett’s on the day co-ordinator as she had made quite a few lovely little touches herself to decorate the venue, and I was there to oversee the suppliers and just to make sure things ran smoothly. I also helped to put up the heart signs made by Katie, which guided guests as they walked from the ceremony to the reception. Have to say this was so much fun, I got stopped by so many people telling me that it had made them smile, from a 6 year old girl to a pizza delivery man! I also believe they stayed up for a month, nice to spread the love!
When I met up with them to discuss their day, I suggested a first look [due to time constraints] and was thrilled that they went ahead with one. Such a cute moment captured in the pretty private garden. This couple just ooze glamour and style, but their day was so relaxed with lots of laughter, family, friends and good food. The perfect day, but I’ll hand over to Katie to tell you more about it! [Please excuse the hugeness of this post, Katie wrote so many lovely things and Joanna took so many gorgeous photos that I just couldn't shorten it!!].
“Brett and I were together nine years before we were married – so for us, like many people these days who are together a while, it was especially important that the wedding day was personal to us and that we had fun planning it! It was quite overwhelming at first making the initial big decisions (this was actually the <ahem> third wedding we planned), but ultimately we gave ourselves the brief that it had to be ‘informal but special’ and fun for our guests. The priorities were friends and family, great food, great drinks, loads of flowers and lots of colour.
Brett and I soon settled into the stereotypical roles with me doing all the planning and crafty bits and he keeping an eye on the spiralling budget (!) I adored the run up to the wedding, and it is so true what you read about some of the best memories being with friends and family sticking, gluing, pouring over Pinterest, etc. It is definitely all part of the day itself.
Katie’s bouquet was a very special request and was made by their florist and Brett’s Aunt, Lynn Treece as a replica to her Grandmother’s own 1940s post-war shower bouquet. What a lovely and sentimental idea and as you can see, Lynn did an amazing job!
Just want to say these next two shots are just so smashing. Big kissing, big smiles!
Brett and I both have a relaxed style but we also like the finer things in life and I think our choices were representative of that. We knew we wanted to spend money on the photography, the food, the drink, his suit, etc and prioritized accordingly. The bridesman and ushers all wore a grey suit of their choice and the bridesmaids all chose different dresses to suit them, and– their bright seasonal poesy’s, hair flowers and boutonnieres tied them all together as part of the wedding party. They definitely all looked relaxed but hot to trot!
Brett and I stayed as true to form as you can in bridal wear… both with a nod toward an era past. Brett’s penchant for well-tailored suits and mine for red lipstick meant we embraced dressing up and being the centre of attention for the day! They key motif throughout (to my exasperation at points) was hand stamped lettering. I got busy with the inkpad on confetti cones, name places, menus, table plan, card box, order of service booklet, you name it, it was stamped by hand using a little wheel hand stamper. I also fell out with square edges at some point in the planning process and Brett and I spent many hours in front of the TV with a corner cutter! It was an absolute labour of love, but it was worth it to see my vision come into fruition. Even if maybe no one noticed – I knew there wasn’t a square edge in sight!! [Now that is a dedication to detail!]
It became clear to us both that whilst an aesthetic style was certainly important, equally a certain ‘mood’ or ‘atmosphere’ had to be considered too. Brett’s major gripe with your traditional wedding is that they are ‘boring’ with too many formalities and waiting around. At every stage of the planning process, therefore, this was at the forefront of our minds.
We wanted proceedings to be busy and fun – structured, but not rigid. To achieve this we focused on interactive things for our guests to do, if they fancied it. As guests entered we handed out pocket sized ‘order of the day’ booklets detailing not just the ceremony but things going on the rest of the day that guests could choose to join in with if they wanted to. Straight after the ceremony, we provided confetti in fun cones for an insane deluge of rose petals, cornflowers and dried lavender, then we provided various fun ways of getting to the reception venue – we (or should I say Charley at London Bride) mapped out a route to the reception venue with multicoloured hearts ties to the trees along the walking route or guests could grab a plastic flute of prosecco to slurp on the vintage routemaster if they wanted to rest their legs or were wearing high heels.
At the pub we had a Pimms and canapé reception in the blooming courtyard garden where informal speeches then given next toa lovely imposing tree. Good food is such a big part of mine and Brett’s lives so the multiple award winning Albion was a natural choice – so too, was a buffet dinner – as every foodie knows it is incredibly hard to serve quality foodby table service to any group over a certain number of covers. This also added to the relaxed atmosphere. Throughout the evening guests then enjoyed sipping on our signature drinks during a cocktail hour and were entertained throughout the night by a fantastic DJ, a magician and a photobooth studio all until the wee hours. For table settings I had made little button badges with guest’s names on which, in the evening after a few drinks, prompted everyone to start chatting to people they didn’t know previously.
Some wise words from the bride…
If I were to give tips following my wedding planning experience it would be to reiterate the importance of suppliers. I chose ours, not because they were fashionable in the wedding industry (although many of them are!) but because their work had an affinity with our style and the wedding we had in mind. We chose Charley of London Bride to coordinate our wedding reception after I’d read two posts about items we’d already incorporated into our day! You have to trust your suppliers on the day to totally take over whilst you just enjoy yourself and so must be confident you’ve picked the right ones! Our photographer, Joanna Brown, not only took the most phenomenal photos that attest to the vibe we strove so hard to create, but ran around like a camera-bearing ninja seemingly being in 4 places at once capturing such a range of guests and detail, monitoring the scheduling of the day, calming me down with wise words, and even being the keeper of my precious lippy!
I would also say, be consistent with your vision and make sure everyone ‘gets it’. I definitely had some frowns from my mum when I said I was hand making so much stuff, and collecting jam jars and old vases from boot sales and markets. Remember it’s your day! I also felt a smidge guilty every time I talked about it with suppliers or my friends – like I was being ‘bridezilla-ey’. To be honest, it’s a bit inevitable – it DOES take over your life a bit, but just keep things in perspective, have a few nights off and you’ll find you have a life to come back to when it’s all over!
Being calm and organised in a crisis is also a worthy skill to hone! I was sobbing in a local dressmakers one week prior to the wedding, having my dress totally remade from the waist up! On the day itself the hook for the dress train broke and Charley and I spent a good 15 minutes in the toilet as she improvised with safety pins and ribbon! Not everything will happen as you spend months envisaging, but on the day you will be so happy you just won’t even care. If I could go back again I would get a second dress for the evening as (not only did it break!) but I was so hot and could have used something short to dance in – I made the decision around 9:30pm to give up being the consummate host, grabbed myself a drink and spent the rest of the night not caring about my hair or makeup on the dance floor ‘glowing’ shall we say!
My favourite things about the day from a styling point of view would probably be how well our flowers turned out and how well my Groom turned out! The venue itself was fantastically filled with bright, Spring seasonal flowers and the floral cake was a beauty. When I saw Brett during our first look I couldn’t help but giggle and choke up a bit – he looked gorgeous in a bespoke three-piece suit, resplendent with blooming boutonniere and the ever-suave pocket square that I’d surprised him with that morning as a wedding present. A more jealous woman than I would have been miffed at the numerous remarks on how bloody hot he looked that day from various friends in the crowd!
The most prominent memory of the day is, inevitable, the ceremony. As a venue Islington Town Hall was an obvious choice as we’d set up home in north London and it had the right balance of informal (registry office setting) and special (fabulous marble staircase, domed ceiling, dramatic red carpet and intimate circular seating). It was extraordinary walking down the aisle and literally being surrounded by friends and family – just an overwhelming experience that I feel so lucky to have had.
At one stage of the evening I took a breath, paused, and looked around me to drink it all in. Friends and family were chatting outside, cocktails in hand under the twinkly lit wisteria with big smiles on their faces. Brett and I couldn’t have been happier to be getting married that day, our giddiness was inevitable – what made it for us is the good time that seems to have been had by friends and family throughout the day too; that’s what all the hard work was for, and that’s what made it all worth it.
Can we do it all again please?”
This was such a fun day to be a part of, and I love how they both very much stayed true to their own styles, and what was important to them on the day. You also have to love that there isn’t a single square corner at the wedding, that is extreme attention to detail! Congratulations again Katie & Brett, wishing you a very happy future for you (and your corner cutter) together, haha!
Photography: Joanna Brown Photography / On-the-day Co-ordination: Charley at London Bride / Wedding Dress: Serena Bridal & alterations by Image Tailoring / Bridal Hairpiece: Halo & Co / Shoes: Rachel Simpson / Bridesmaids : JS Couture, Shoes from Dune / Grooms Suit Thom Sweeney, Shoes Paul Smith, Tie Liberty, pocket square Turnbull & Asser / Ushers & Bridesman: Own suits, Ties Liberty / Hair: Lee Wells Pimps & Pinups / Make-Up: Jo Chang / Flowers: Lynn Treece at Oasis, in Fleet / Catering: The Albion / Wedding Cake: Katie’s Grandmother decorated by florist / Decorations: DIY / Decoration / Photobooth Photography: Ceren Yilmaz / Magician: Pete Hathaway