Posts Tagged: Fine Art Photography

A Japanese Inspired Wedding with Origami on the Thames

INSPIRATION, DIY, WEDDINGS, Elegant

Japanese Inspired London Wedding by Depict Photography

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.  

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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.

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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.” 

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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! 

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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. 

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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.

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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! 

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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

Sarah + David – Elegant Kensington Wedding at The Orangery Holland Park

WEDDINGS, Elegant, Modern

London Wedding at The Orangery, Kensington - Photography by Victoria Phipps

Sarah and David chose the beautiful backdrop of Kensington, West London for their wedding, which managed to be both sophisticated, yet relaxed. The leafy setting amongst Holland Park suddenly transports you to the beauty spots in London that can often get forgotten. What was so special about this day is that the couple chose all their elements ensuring that they and all their guests could simply relax and enjoy the celebrations. The day was beautifully captured by fine art photographer Victoria Phipps

From bride, Sarah “Whilst we wanted a London wedding, as we consider the city our home, it was important for us to make sure the day was relaxed and was a real representation of ourselves rather than the more typically formal London weddings. Holland Park, where The Orangery is,  is close to where we live and somewhere we have shared many happy times together. We felt at ease there and had familiarity with the venue.”

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Sarah’s sophisticated Amanda Wakeley dress [style AW155 from the Morocco collection] is simply stunning on her – modern and sophisticated, and I have to say it’s one of my favourite bridal looks of the year so far! The neckline is gorgeous and the subtle ruffles on the skirt are stylish without being overly fussy. I love how she took her everyday style and turned it ‘bridal’ to keep her look true to herself as much as possible. “It was important for us to represent who we actually are to each other and our guests.  I chose a beautiful Amanda Wakeley dress that reflected my day to day style of clothing so I felt really comfortable.  I wore my hair up so it felt special, but kept it loose at the front so I didn’t look like a different person and really felt myself.” 

Sarah accessorised her minimalistic chic dress with earrings from Butler and Wilson, her rings from Boodles and her shoes were from Dune.

David the groom wore a dashing Ralph Lauren suit whilst the ushers wore their own suits to ensure they felt relaxed and comfortable, but each wore a Ralph Lauren tie too as a nod to being groomsmen. “David and his ushers wore suits they might wear for work so they also felt relaxed.”

“We weren’t worried about matching colours and in fact the palette was dictated by what would fit a very pregnant bridesmaid!” Her lovely ladies wore outfits from the maternity specialist boutique Seraphine and Coast and I think they look just gorgeous.

I do love it when a London Bride hitches a black cab on her big day! Why not I say, perhaps a touch risky if the traffic is bad but that just goes to show how relaxed this couple were. “The ability to have our ceremony in The Orangery and reception next door in The Belvedere made it wonderfully easy for us and our guests, as well as taking away the need to worry about transport between venues.  In fact we didn’t hire any cars and I hailed a black cab to get to the ceremony with my Dad!”. 

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The couple chose to have Pachabel’s Canon in D Major as their processional song which Sarah walked down the aisle with her Father to, which was actually played by an Irish fiddler, Matt, who they amazingly found busking on the street! It linked to a piece my father used to play at home on the piano with an Irish groom!”

As a wedding planner I hear this so often from my own couples after their wedding, that despite it being the most meaningful part of the day, couples do find themselves surprised at how emotional or overwhelmed with love they feel during their ceremony. “Whilst exchanging vows was the most importance moment of the day, we both underestimated how special it would feel to do it with all of our close family & friends.  I will never forget the feeling of sharing the happiest moment of my life with them.  I think that aspect often gets forgotten when your head is in the detail of planning the day.”

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On the day the couple allowed plenty of time to wonder through the beautiful setting of the Kyoto and Walled Gardens in Holland Park with their photographer Victoria Phipps, these portraits are just so incredibly romantic, they could almost be in the great British countryside or even under the late Tuscan sun with that ‘golden hour’ light!

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The couple chose The Belvedere restaurant which was next door to the ceremony venue as they wanted the day to be as stress free as possible, and by choosing a restaurant they didn’t have to worry about any of the catering, hire or equipment! “A restaurant for the wedding reception is fantastic!  Staff, kitchens, tables, chairs etc. are all in place already and are set up to provide expert service.  It took away a lot of the organisation and stress from ourselves and we could be very confident in the team on the day which left us to enjoy ourselves with guests which is exactly what you want!”

As we planned the wedding in just three months we only started to build in personal touches once everything else was organised, but this can be done easily in the last couple of weeks.  We included a personal message to the guests in the menus and a guest helped print a personalised table plan on a panoramic view of London from Primrose Hill, where my husband proposed.

The couple planned the wedding in such a short amount of time, that Sarah’s advice is definitely worth taking on board if you are looking to have a wedding so soon “You need to be focused on the big things and make decisions quickly.  I think this is an efficient approach as you don’t have much time to worry about the detail, but don’t expect to do it as cheaply! You don’t have much time to shop around and may not be able to work with suppliers who need long lead times.” 

Congratulations to the very happy couple Sarah and David on their beautiful wedding, and thanks to Victoria for sharing her wonderful photography.

Photography: Victoria Phipps / Ceremony Venue: The Orangery, Holland Park / Reception Venue: The Belvedere / Bride’s Dress: Amanda Wakeley Groom Suit: Ralph Lauren / Hair + Make Up: Diego at 77 Hair Salon / Flowers: Mary Jane Vaughan / Catering: Cooks + Partners / Cake: Hummingbird Bakery / Evening Band: The Funk City band