Sara + Steve – An Ethical Wedding London

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As a blogger, when you receive the words submitted by a bride and put them to their photos of their wedding day, suddenly it all just makes sense. Steve and Sara’s day was depicted in the images by photographer Hannah May as fun, relaxed, beautiful and personal. They were seemingly surrounded by friends and family who just oozed happiness for the lovely couple. Then reading Sara’s words about her day, it truly was all about the people. How lovely that so many kind friends were involved in the making of their day, it obviously made for some very special memories which really does show.

I have to say I’m also amazed at how resourceful Sara was in putting together an ethical wedding, great to see a bride include her values within her wedding. It can be something so easily forgotten when you get caught up in the planning all the ‘stuff’ and ‘things’ you suddenly collate. Sara however, made use of the countryside, her creativity and the kind and wonderful talents of her friends to ensure that the day was not just personal, but ethical and affordable too.

“What a beautiful day.  To have everyone that we love in a room together and to have created a space that felt so unique and reflective of us! How to sum up?! Some words that felt benchmarks for the day – ethical, homely, ‘countryside’, personal, creative, relaxed, fun, inclusive. 

We tried to bring that together in various ways.  We picked a venue with personal connections; got people involved – so many generous friends/family such as our friends band put together especially for event. Friends made decorations and we had lots of donations of items too. We tried to source things as ethically as possible, and tried to bring nature into the urban space through homemade food and decor. We had lots of personal touches throughout the day including our personally crafted Church service and we both gave speeches, and remembered loved ones who weren’t able to be there.”

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Sara sourced her beautiful Cymbeline ‘Felice’ dress from a once worn/sample bridal outlet – Swoon. Whilst the idea of wearing a second hand dress may not be for everyone, you certainly can’t fault Sara’s choice with this. It looks brand new and just stunning on her, and who would know it wasn’t straight from the boutique! I rather love the romantic notion of the dress having a second outing anyway…

She sourced gold peep toe shoes from a charity shop and added fresh flowers to her hair with a garland bought on Etsy. She added gold drop earrings (again from Etsy) and in memory of Steve’s mum, she wore her bracelet which I think is such a thoughtful and meaningful touch.

Sara’s 6 bridesmaids all looked like green goddesses in their mismatching dresses and gold shoes. The girls all sourced the dresses themselves, as Sara hoped they would be as ethical as possible, they were all either from a charity shop or second hand but they still managed to reflect each girls individual style which I love.

The Groom wore a very fancy second-hand vintage suit, and looks every inch the dapper gent I think! The ushers wore their own suits but with a green tie to bring in the colour of the bridesmaids dresses together.

Sara wore her mother’s wedding ring which she had re-sized whilst Steve chose a lovely handmade wooden ring both were engraved with a meaningful message.

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Sara and Steve chose their perfect venue at St Luke’s Church where they had the ceremony followed by the food and even dancing three. Afterwards a some of the guests joined them at their local pub to celebrate into the night which I think must have been just so fun! Sara’s entrance was to Bakoye by Ali Farka Toure with the lyrics, “If you feel love for someone you have to show it. If you have love in you, you must let it out.” 

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After guests tucked into the organic hog roast, there was a delicious homemade spread of cakes, cheese and biscuits which were provided by friends and family and the wedding cake itself was made by her bridesmaid, Josie. Sara also thoughtfully considered the crockery, which was bio-degradable and the glasses bought were donated back to the Church.

The venue was scattered with hay bails for guests to perch on which were hired from the local Hackney City Farm, and borrowed twinkling fairy lights created a magical ambience. They used tins and jars tied with ribbons for the tables, and commissioned a local Zimbabwe women’s group to create the bunting that was hanging from wall to wall. Lots of friends and family made it possible, by setting up and decorating the day before “Get friends/family involved as much as possible – relinquish the control!  Try to break down tasks into manageable chunks – otherwise it can get easily overwhelming! Try to keep perspective and remember what’s important.”

For the favours, they chose a very personal but thoughtful memento for guests to take away,  “We wanted to find a way of involving Steve’s mum in the day, who had passed away.  She was a florist, so chose to have seed packets (with her favourite seeds) as ‘favours’.  They were ‘planted’ in soil in a wheelbarrow.  The packets had a personal stamp/logo (designed by a bridesmaid/friend) and an attached croqueted heart (handmade by bridesmaid).  We also had a memorial picture and words about Steve’ mum”. 

The stationery was all designed by one of her bridesmaids who is a graphic designer whilst another made an ‘alternative guest book’ including a beautiful typewriter where people could share their thoughts and memories. These were then collated to create an amazing memory book!

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I do love reading about couple’s stand-out moments from their day. Aside from the emotions of the vows and the fun of the party it’s often the little things that make it so special, and Sara’s moments are so sweet and poignant…

Not sure I can pin my once favourite moment – so many! Sharing a bed with mum the night before (it’s been a long-time!) and waking up with all my bridesmaids for an amazing breakfast. Walking down the aisle felt very intense and emotional (yes – nearly started bubbling!) in a beautiful way – the reality of the decision and vows; having all our loved ones in the same room. Stealing a little moment with Steve during the evening shin-dig outside in the ‘fairy lit church courtyard’ – just being with each other and soaking it all up.” 

Thank you to Sara and Steve for not only sharing their beautiful day but for reminding us what’s important. Thanks also to Hannah May for her beautiful viewpoint of this day.

Credits: Photography: Hannah May / Ceremony + Reception Venue: St Luke’s Church, London / Bride’s Dress: Cymbeline via Swoon / Flowers: Floresco Bride arranged by Bride / Catering: Organic Hog Roast

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