Jen and Tom had a pretty summer Stoke Newington wedding in July last year at Clissold House and The Londesborough pub. Their day was brimming with joy and beautiful touches from the ‘freshly picked from the meadow’ flowers, to the bridesmaids in shades of blue, and of course their dog making an appearance into the day! Jen wore a beautifully simple and elegant dress from Charlie Brear.
Jen and Tom happened to stumble across the perfect engagement ring, even before the engagement!
We met on the first day of university as Tom lived in the same halls as my friends and was also on the same course as me. Straight away we got on and were best friends for over 2 years before the penny finally dropped and we thought ‘ah… this could work’.
We knew we would eventually get married, but didn’t think it would be for a while. Then when looking at rings (.. for fun!) we came across the most incredible engagement ring at an antique stall that we both knew was perfect, so we bought it.
We were about to move to LA for 8 months at this point, so even though we had the ring I didn’t think he would ask until we were away. A couple of days before we were to fly out, Tom proposed in Clissold Park whilst we were walking our dog. I’d just been for a run and at the dentist’s so had a numb mouth and looked a mess! He’d called up our friends who were all hiding around the corner ready with drinks to celebrate!
Boys, you do well to propose at the most unexpected times to catch a girl by surprise that’s for sure!
CLISSOLD PARK PROPOSAL
Whilst their venue, Clissold House is a popular venue for weddings, for this couple it was so much more given that Tom had proposed in the surrounding Clissold Park.
The main thing we wanted from our wedding was for it to be fun and full of love with our family and friends, and for it to feel like ‘us’. I was worried about getting caught up in style, or doing things we felt we had to do but were uncomfortable with.
We chose Stoke Newington as we’d lived there for 3 years, loved the area, and it’s personal to us as that’s where we got engaged. Also, because we were away whilst wedding planning, we didn’t really have the opportunity to look around venues but luckily knew that The Londesborough was incredible for weddings and it was our local pub.
CHARLIE BREAR + BRIDESMAIDS IN BLUE
I always thought I would have a really vintage dress, with lots of lace or something very Edwardian. After trying on a few styles though everything was great but I didn’t quite feel like me, and that was something that was really important – that I felt completely comfortable in myself on the day.
I’d come across Charlie Brear so booked an appointment, and the first dress I tried I fell in love with. It basically felt like me but amped up on megawatts.. that’s what you want right?? It was super simple but elegant which fit in with our venue choices. Anything bigger would’ve filled out half the room. My shoes were just a high street buy – basically I’m terrible in heels so couldn’t go higher than a couple of inches!
Tom had his suit tailored in Liverpool by Walter Smith, who made the first suits for The Beatles! The groomsmen wore various tweed suits that they had free reign to choose.
I adore the shades of blue that the bridesmaids wore, they look so cheerful and pretty and nice to see mismatched styles work so well.
My bridesmaids all had really different styles so we just picked a colour palette and then kept checking on ASOS for dresses that went together! They looked absolutely amazing and so stunning. I’m so pleased that we didn’t have ‘one dress’ as I think that would’ve felt too ‘done’ for our day.
PLAITS AND TWEED
We do love a plait on a bride, especially with the added touch of some delicate whisps of gypsophila, and bonus that Jen was able to wake up the next day in her style!
My hair and make up both were such lucky finds! Initially I was going to do my own hair for the wedding, but after many neck cramps and stress I thought I’d better get someone in. I stumbled upon Joel 3 days before the wedding in a salon, when he overheard me asking about availability for my wedding day. He was incredible and knew exactly what I wanted.
I knew I wanted my hair up as I didn’t want to think about it at all. I wore a dutch halo braid with some flowers in and it lasted a LOT of dancing…I even slept with my hair still in I loved it so much.
For my make up, I can’t pull off a lot and still wanted to look like me. I came across Brett when shopping for foundation and he did a trial on me at a NARS counter. My skin looked glowing and incredible, so I asked him straight away if he was available for my wedding and thankfully he was. We didn’t even have a full make up trial before, again, he just knew what I wanted. The extra special thing I had were individual lash insertions which looked super natural and incredible. They were such a dream team.
That’s a great tip to finding a make-up artist if you’re on the hunt, worth a stop by your favourite beauty brand in a department store as often the artsist’s are freelance and may well be a great choice for your wedding day!
Our ceremony was in Clissold House in the middle of Clissold Park in Stoke Newington – it’s like something from Jane Austen! Luckily, it has a short aisle as that was the part I was most nervous about.
I walked down the aisle with my mum to ‘here comes the sun’ by the Beatles (fitting as well as Tom is from Liverpool), and we had three short readings that we found ourselves through various books. When it came to our vows we ended up writing our own as again, with the whole day, we wanted everything to be meaningful to us.
MEADOW FLOWERS + ORIENTAL ELEMENTS
Our florist at Gingerlily Flowers in Newington Green was amazing and I think my ‘brief’ to her was ‘like I’ve run in a meadow and scooped up flowers’. So we had lots of green foliage, baby’s breath, with yellows, blues and purple ‘wild’ flowers throughout.
For decorations, I wanted to try and do as much ourselves as possible, and also include oriental elements as I’m half Chinese. We ended up making nearly 500 origami paper cranes that decorated the tables and were hung from the ceiling of the reception, we created the favours ourselves which were filled with our favourite chinese sweets and hand tied, and I painted the cake toppers too.
It was pretty laborious (and my sister and mum helped a lot with the cranes, plus we had a late night production line on the favours) but everything looked amazing when it came together.
Even our guest book was used to add some fun and colour, we had a huge poster for people to colour in and sign.
Roast + BAKE OFF
The food and drink was all taken care of by The Londesborough (if you haven’t been, try out their Sunday Roasts… they’re incredible). The best thing was that people had a choice of 3 on the day so there was no need to select your meal 6 months in advance! Our mains were lamb, chicken or sea bass all of which were amazing… I wish I could’ve eaten more!
For the cake we had a small wedding cake from Violet Cakes in London Fields as our ‘main’ wedding cake with cake toppers. Then we asked our friends and family to make a cake/sweet dessert each and had ‘Marry Barry’s Great British Cake Off ‘. This was a fun play on their marital name, loved the hashtag!
If you’re after some music inspiration, then read on, Groom Tom put a lot of his music knowledge to very good use for their various wedding playlists for the day!
Music was such a huge part of the day and Tom’s library and knowledge is so huge on music that our first playlists were 3-4 days long…
We ended up making 4 playlists; one for the ceremony, one for drinks reception after the ceremony, one for the reception meal, and then the final one from the first dance onwards. Wherever possible, Tom got the highest quality music files for the playlists and then also bought software to mix in the songs together. It was faultless and made a huge difference to the acoustic and overall atmosphere.
Our guests (particularly those from the north) were all lovers of music but their tastes differed. Tom tried to cater to everyone by picking songs that some people would already know and love and which other people would nonetheless really enjoy.
Our ceremony mostly involved acoustic Beatles songs, the champagne reception after the ceremony was reggae (e.g. Alton Ellis – I’ll Be Waiting); during dinner we had soul (e.g. Stylistics – Betcha By Golly, Wow); which transitioned into our first dance song which was a soul track (Four Tops – Loving you is sweeter than ever); and then evening tracks continued through this more upbeat soul to disco and funk (Micheal Jackson – PYT), to classic 80s pop (Simple Minds – Promised You A Miracle), including a song from Tom’s dad’s band from 90s R&B (Montell Jordan – Get it on tonite) and early 2000s recent hip-hop (Cam’ron – Hey Ma).
I think we have so many songs ‘cut’ from the day that we could do another wedding without having the same song played again….!!
The main thing that we wanted was for the photos to feel really natural, and almost have a journalistic style to them, rather than too staged or set up.
After a lot of researching online, we had skype chats to make sure we felt comfortable. Caro Hutching’s photography is incredible, and more importantly we really clicked with her… it was like just having another friend hanging out with us on the wedding day.
The best memory I have of the day are the speeches from my sister and Tom. Both of them were so emotional, so heart felt and honest. I don’t think Caro had the best time taking photos of everyone crying their eyes out but I’ve never been so overwhelmed with so much happiness!
Best piece of advice is Have FUN!!! On the day and in the planning. And just do you.
Ahhh well isn’t that just the loveliest day with so many happy smiles and tears? I have to say it’s also making me miss Stoke Newington having recently moved further East, as what a lovely place it is for a wedding! Huge congratulations to the gorgeous Jen and Tom and thank you to Caro for capturing and sharing such beauty.