Well not only is today’s bride probably the cutest that may have ever graced the pages of London Bride but Emma and Rod’s Japanese inspired wedding was bursting with personal touches that the couple put so much creativity and time into. I also love their two different city venue choices, a beautiful elegant venue for the ceremony and then a relaxed pub with views over the Thames and of course a ride on a London bus in between!
It’s great to see a bride incorporating some lovely touches from their own heritage into their London wedding, the beautiful intricate origami cranes look beautiful along with the Japanese Taiko band which looked so much fun! What bride and groom wouldn’t want to bang a loud drum on their wedding day? The sunny August day was captured on film beautifully by Depict Photography.
“We wanted to create a day which was relaxed and as personal as possible. We hand-made our invitations, decorations (chains of origami cranes), favours (origami flowers) and table plan (we used the same origami hearts that we used our initiations). For us, our wedding was not just about the two of us – it was a day to say thank you to our family and friends for being part of our lives and supporting us. We would not be where we are without them.”
When we created our wedding invitations, we knew we needed some ribbon to finish them off. We scoured the shelves of Dalston Mill Fabrics . The light green coloured ribbon that we chose became a loose colour theme for the day. We also had a general theme of London (the city where we met and currently live) and also wanted to include elements from Japan as that is where my family are from.
Emma looks so chic in her fitted gown and elegant up do! “I am very petite – under 5 foot – and so I was concerned that I would not find a dress that would like right on me. However, after a visit to the Bespoke Wardrobe in in Essex, my fears were allayed. There, you can pick the dress and then it is made to measure – perfect!! I met Reggie there who was so friendly and helpful. She encouraged me to try different styles and also helped with the accessories. My dress was Solitaire by Suzanne Neville - this originally comes with straps and a big belt. Reggie was great – she suggested having the dress made without the straps or the big belt which suited me better and also adding an extra element to the dress by wearing a beautiful lace jacket by Stewart Parvin.
After advice from the Bespoke Wardrobe, Emma was able to change the look of her dress with just a few small changes which made it seem like a different dress entirely (much to the Groom’s surprise!) “For the evening reception, I removed the jacket and put on a very glitzy belt (hired from the Bespoke Wardrobe). This made the dress look completely different which I loved! When Rod came to meet me for the first dance, his first words were ‘You bought a second dress?!!’. His face was a picture!”
They sourced the bridesmaids dresses from H&M, a great high street hit! The flower girl wore a dress from John Lewis and the Groom was dressed in a lovely suit from Austin Reed along with his best man. They completed their style with handkerchiefs from TM Lewin.
We looked at a number of venues in London – all we knew we was that we wanted something special for the ceremony and we wanted to hire a Routemaster to get to the reception! When we were shown around 28 Portland Place, we both loved it. It’s in a great central London location and the rooms are stunning – it has beautiful period features and is well maintained.
Emma and Rod managed to combine both their nationalities into their civil ceremony, “To personalise our ceremony venue, we made personal vows and designed our own Order of Ceremony which was in both English and Japanese. For decorations we opted for a couple of large round balloons which were supplied to us by bonbon balloons. Rebecca from bonbon was great – we had supplied her with a box full of green origami cranes and asked her to attach these to the balloons. I know Rebecca spent time devising ways of ensuring that balloons would still float with the cranes attached which was so kind! Rod and I both spent many hours making paper cranes – Rod’s sister helped to string these all onto fishing wire to make them look as though they were flying.”
Emma walked down the aisle to ‘Crossing the Stone, Catrin Finch’ – a beautiful and moving piece of music which was recommended by her Mother. They also played Caliban’s Dream from the Olympic opening ceremony – as a nod to where they live in Stratford and as they loved the Olympics! “We spent a lot of time on our song choices and were really happy with them.”
It’s so fun to see bride and groom’s taking to the streets on the wedding day, and these guys marched with their friends and family down the street with the amazing Taiko band playing along! “Hiring the Japanese taiko group was one of the best decisions we made as it added something really different to the day. One of the drummers came to meet us off the bus and walked us down towards the Thames and into the venue – it felt incredible to be part of that. After finishing their performance, the taiko group also invited Rod and I to have a go too – brilliant fun although I think we got a little competitive!
The Oyster Shed is a pub in the City – where Rod and I both work. I had been in there for dinner with friends and really liked its light airy space and relaxed atmosphere. The fact that it is right next to the Thames by London Bridge with a view of the Shard definitely helped too. We were both a little nervous as the venue was relatively new and they had not held many weddings there before. However, I cannot fault them – Freddie who co-ordinated everything for us was absolutely brilliant. She listened to all my requests, no matter how trivial, and did an absolutely incredible job bringing all our ideas together. Rod and I had spent hours making chains of origami cranes – by the time they got to the venue they were tangled up but Freddie kindly ensured they were de-tangled and placed all around and outside the pub as I had requested. When Rod and I arrived at the Oyster Shed, we were so pleased by how gorgeous it looked. The staff were all brilliant too – professional and friendly!
For the table decorations, the Oyster Shed supplied us with their beautiful candelabras. The flowers themselves were supplied by a fantastic florist in the East End. Rod is originally from Stratford and Sewell’s have always supplied the family’s flowers – for a variety of occasions. It was really lovely to go somewhere that knew the family and we knew we could trust them completely.
The table plan was created during a brain-storming session with Rod’s sister – we decided to use the origami hearts we had made for our invitations. The numbers all meant something to us (e.g. 4,238 was our table number – this was the number of days since we met, 11,876 was the number of miles we had flown to between Tokyo and Japan to be with one another etc).
We made origami flowers for each place setting – these took ages as they’re made of 5 separate pieces of paper which have been folded. We feel like it was worth it though – we often spot the flowers and chains of origami cranes which our guests took away with them when we visit their homes! A fantastic reminder of an unforgettable day.
The food surpassed my expectations – the portions were generous and the quality was fantastic. We had so many compliments and all I can say is a big thank you to the Oyster Shed. The food and the service was second to none! We didn’t want to spend lots of money on the wedding cake so we opted for a plain iced wedding cake from Waitrose. The cake was decorated with fresh flowers by our florist and we both love cheese so decided to have a cheese ‘cake’ too.
We also bought parasols for me and the bridesmaids – a little nod to my background and they made for fantastic photos. They came in useful on the day too as it was incredibly sunny! Photography was an important element of the day for us – a single picture can evoke so many memories that we wanted to make sure we chose a style we really liked. The photographs from Depict Photography stood out to us. Kate was very friendly and relaxed and as her husband, Kev is also a photographer – it was great as he was able to join Rod prior to the ceremony when Kate was with me in the morning.
We also hired a photobooth for the evening – this went down fantastically well. The photos are in our guestbook and looking through that really makes us laugh!
We had spreadsheets and lists to ensure we were well-organised and prepared…but nothing could prepare me for the moment I walked down the aisle towards Rod. My lip quivered with emotion as I struggled to compose myself. Rod and I had been together for over 11 years before we got married but to publicly declare our love in front of our friends and family – that is something I will never forget.
There were so many other memorable parts of the day though – getting ready with my bridesmaids, seeing my nephews and niece (our pageboys and flower girl) looking absolutely adorable, seeing my parents before we left the house for the ceremony, the readings, dancing the evening away to classic songs from our ‘youth’ – I could go on. It truly was a fantastic day full of incredible memories – something to put away and keep forever.
Huge thanks to Emma for such a lovely write up of their special day and to Kate at Depcit Photography for sharing her beautiful wedding film photography work.
Photography: Depict Photography / Ceremony Venue: 28 Portland Place / Reception Venue: The Oyster Shed / Bride’s Dress: The Bespoke Wardrobe / Hair & Make Up: Sam Sham /Flowers: Sewell’s / Band: The Sounds of Japan / Balloons: bonbon balloons