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…
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.