Hello! Firstly a little apology intro as it’s been a little quiet for a few weeks on here. As you all may know, I run my wedding planning business alongside the blog and with three client’s weddings in July to style, plan and co-ordinate I just haven’t been able to keep up both! So my apologies to all you London Bride’s out there for the unexpected break, and thanks for your patience. Hopefully in that time we have also welcomed some new London brides-to-be, so hello to you too!
Although it’s been a while, I do have a rather beautiful wedding to be coming back with, at one of London’s truly stunning venues, Syon Park.
What do you get when you have a couple who are a chef and work in the events industry? A pretty amazing wedding indeed of course! Megan and Olly had a beautifully orchestrated Syon Park wedding, and you can truly see how the couple poured their style and thought into every element and detail of the day and celebrations. It’s also truly lovely to see how, despite being so involved in the day and given their careers and invovlement, they were able to take a big step back and really relax and have fun on the day (come rain or shine!), as that’s just so important to be able to enjoy the moments, including a few surprises along the way!
Megan was inspired by Champagne for the styling of the day (girl after my own heart!), and this wedding not only has bubbles in abundance (as in lots of Dom Perignon) but that warm glow, sophistication and effervescence of it’s muse throughout the day too.
Olly is a chef who owned a catering company for nine years and I spent time working in events. We knew we could never hand our wedding over to someone else to plan because we see every detail and really know exactly what we want!
Looking back on our wedding, I’m just immensely proud that we created it ourselves. It was very personal – we selected every single element, from the linens to the lighting, to the way the desserts were displayed. It was incredibly hard work and was a completely different experience from planning someone else’s wedding. Because it’s such an emotional process when it’s your own wedding, I found myself agonizing over decisions that would normally be second-nature for me. Honestly, I would not ever recommend that anyone else do what we did… but I don’t regret it for a minute.
We also had great support from Olly’s kitchen team, the amazing staff from the Esprit Group (I worked for them for years while I was a student), and many others, so we were able to confidently hand it over – albeit only 48 hours before the wedding day.
I think it goes without saying that food was the first priority. Olly designed the entire menu – he’s best known for his sushi, so that was an obvious choice. We tried to strike a balance between our favourite dishes and things we knew would appeal to all our guests. Fortunately, we had a group who appreciate food as much as we do, so Olly was able to be really creative. He even held a tasting for me so I wouldn’t miss out on those fun moments of the planning process! I grew up near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and it’s a local tradition to have homemade cookies for guests later in the evening. My mom is an amazing baker, and she spent days before the wedding making hundreds of cookies in my tiny kitchen! That was really special and brought a piece of home to me.
We wanted the guests to drink champagne all evening. We love champagne. Everyone does, I know. But we REALLY love champagne. It always puts you in a great mood and it’s the only thing you can drink all evening and still feel amazing. I actually took some inspiration from that for the wedding styling & design – I selected a lot of varied gold and champagne hues, and mixed it up with silver mercury glass and hundreds of candles to get that warm glow you see when you look through a glass of bubbly.
We’ve both seen so many weddings and we both knew that we wanted something elegant and timeless, but not so much that it felt stuffy. Certain elements of the wedding were very traditional, and others were the anti-wedding – there are certain things I knew we could do without i.e. no wedding cake, no speeches, no matching bridesmaid dresses.
I came up with the design for my dress after finding nothing like it anywhere I looked (including the legendary Kleinfeld in NYC). I was inspired by Zac Posen’s eveningwear. He’s one of my favourite designers and his gowns have the most amazing sculptural elements. I also wanted something that didn’t look obviously “bridal” or trendy. I met Angelina Colarusso at a wedding show and after seeing her designs and showing her my sketches, I was confident she could create the dress I wanted. It was definitely a challenge for Angelina and her team, but I was just blown away by the finished product.
WHEN IT RAINS, IT POURS
It rained on our wedding day – by “rained” I mean it absolutely poured down in a way I’ve almost never seen in London! Not ideal, but I honestly didn’t care. It was the most amazing day and I was far too excited and nervous to think about the weather! It took an army of people and umbrellas to get my in and out of the car and I laughed the whole time (and got one of my favourite photos of the day out of it). I think it made the ceremony even more beautiful.
We were married at St. James’s Catholic Church in Marylebone. It’s a huge Gothic building that normally sees a few people wandering in and out to take photos of the interior, but the rain made the whole place much more quiet than usual.
I walked down the aisle to the very traditional Canon in D, but I had the wedding party walk down to an instrumental version of Christina Perri’s “A Thousand Years”, which sounded just incredible. I still tear up when I hear it now.
FULL OF SURPRISES
I have too many favourite moments of the day to pick one, but if I HAD to, I would say it was the moment I gave Olly his surprise wedding gift. I have to preface this by saying I’m the worst at pulling off surprises. We wanted to go to Japan for our honeymoon, but we couldn’t take off the two or three weeks we needed to do it properly. We agreed to just go back to work a few days after the wedding and honeymoon later. However, I knew Olly always wanted to go to San Sebastian (for those not in the know, it is Mecca for chefs).
The city is chock-full of the best restaurants on earth, so I booked a four-day mini-moon there, and made a reservation at Mugaritz, which is an icon of modern gastronomy. The table names at our wedding were all of our favourite restaurants, but I purposely didn’t assign our table a name.
When we sat down, I faked disappointment and said, “No! They forgot our table name!” Olly totally took the bait and said, “No, our table wasn’t supposed to have a name.” I said, “Yes, it’s Mugaritz.” He was completely confused and asked, “Why? We’ve never been there.” I then said, “I know, but we’re having dinner there on Saturday.” He started crying! It was amazing.
Olly’s sister and her husband also surprised us with a very German wedding tradition that I was completely opposed to prior to the wedding, but they executed it perfectly. Essentially, at German weddings, the bride and groom must saw a log in half to symbolise teamwork in the partnership. That’s a lovely sentiment, but sometimes the log is HUGE and takes forever to cut through, and the couple are a sweaty mess by the end. Not my cup of tea, to say the least. They brought a nice, small log, and pre-cut it most of the way through. We got the symbolism without me splitting a seam and kept the tradition- compromise is what marriage is all about, right?
BUBBLY + CAKE ON THE BUSES
We really just wanted everyone to have an amazing time and loads of fun – one of my favourite moments was on the bus ride from the ceremony to the reception, it really started the party! We had hired a vintage double-decker bus to transport everyone together to the reception, and one of Olly’s chefs surprised us with Zwiebelkuchen, which is an amazing traditional German onion cake that’s traditionally served with late-season wine. Everyone was in black tie, eating onion cake with their hands and drinking champagne out of plastic cups, and I loved that. I was so grateful, as I was STARVING once the adrenaline started to subside!
Congratulations to Megan and Olly for putting together such a beautiful and fabulous day, and thank you to Anneli for sharing the stunning photography.