As a resident of London it’s so easy to forget the charms that the city has to offer. But it really does, it’s bursting with amazing architecture, culture, spaces, people and things to see and do so it’s no wonder it is often a choice for destination weddings, which I love to showcase here on the blog. This city brings together couples and it’s so lovely to see them choose to celebrate here, as Joanna and David did…
Joanna and David found themselves choosing the capital for their own special day as a benchmark in their life together. “When we decided to get married, the first question was, ‘where?’. David is from Chile, and we lived there together for a few years, so obviously that was one option – all of his family, and lots of our friends, are over there. I’m Irish, and my immediate family are in the Isle of Man, so that was another option. In the end we decided on London, because it’s where our life is right now (we’ve lived here for three years), we love the city and for people travelling, it was easily accessible. Lots of friends and loved ones, including David’s dad, uncle and grandparents, couldn’t travel to be with us on the day, but we hope to get back to Chile soon for another celebration! We were in awe of everyone who did travel, including my friend Paul from Australia and David’s friends from Barcelona, whose new baby Maia was born only three weeks before.”
Joanna and David managed to find the perfect location – the green space that they wanted in the city that they loved. “My granny’s schoolfriend lives around the corner from the Horniman, and she has been involved with the Museum for many years. It was through her that we first visited the Conservatory – she was exhibiting her artwork in an annual show there, and we went along to see her. When we got engaged a year later, and saw that it was possible to get married there (and that it was available on our preferred date!) it seemed like fate: we wanted to get married in London, but we also wanted ‘a bit of green’, and the Conservatory really delivered.”
Joanna and David chose to have a humanist ceremony, which included short ‘secret’ pieces that they each wrote to each other which were read out during the ceremony. Having such personal input into this part of the day meant it was truly the most memorable for them both. “We put a lot of thought into it, guided by our Humanist Celebrant, Barbara, and the end result was something that meant an awful lot to us, and hopefully to our family and friends. Our two brothers did the readings: Scaffolding, by Seamus Heaney (in English, read by my brother) and The Art of Marriage, by Wilferd Peterson (in Spanish, read by David’s brother). In planning the ceremony, we talked a lot to Barbara about why we wanted to get married, and she incorporated our thoughts beautifully into her words in the ceremony. We each wrote a short piece about each other, which was to be a ‘secret’ until the wedding day – Barbara read my words about David, and Juan, my cousin’s partner, read David’s words about me in Spanish.”
There are so many lovely details throughout Joanna and David’s day, and I love how the geometric element was elegantly translated from the stationery by their talented friend, to the fabulous cake by Olofson Design and the colours so perfectly in tune in the florals by The Fresh Flower Company. They also managed to incorporate a bit of the Groom’s nationality by choosing the popular Chilean Pisco Sour for cocktails which were whipped up by Andy from Barfly.
“Our caterers, Suzanne and Amanda at Suzanne James were fantastic – really, they were the reason we were able to pull everything together in quite a short space of time. They sorted not only the venue, the food and the staff, all of which were fantastic, but they also recommended our suppliers.
David works in design and I work as an editor, so we were always going to be tough customers for whoever did our wedding stationery. Luckily, our friend Jon stepped up and developed a concept that ended up inspiring our gorgeous wedding cake. We loved the way the design was bright and modern, the colours vibrant (a key requirement!) and the wording bilingual without being ‘clunky’.
“Anneli our photographer was brilliant, not just for the photos we now have, which we love, but also for the way she just fitted right in on the day – so many of our guests said how lovely she was to be around, and how unobtrusive, and the photos really reflect how relaxed everyone was in her company – that’s a real skill I think. Equally importantly, she made US relaxed – no mean feat, given I shed more than a few tears during the ceremony!”
Joanna looks gorgeous in her simple but elegant fitting dress with beautiful low scoop back detail, and I love the pop of bright from her bouquet against the ivory dress. “Charlie Brear was the second of five shops I went to over two days when my mum came over to London, and it was such a lovely experience – the showroom is just beautiful. When I tried on the dress, I really felt like myself in it – I could imagine David loving it, spending the whole day in it (me, not David!), dancing in it… And my mum had a little cry when I came out of the fitting room, which is always a good sign!”
“We have amazing friends and family who helped pull everything together – friends who travelled from the US hadn’t even been in London for 24 hours before they were put to work on the photo map (which evolved as a way of acknowledging all the people in Chile (and elsewhere) who couldn’t be with us)!
From the first dance (when some of our friends’ kids joined us!) to the last, the dancefloor was pretty packed all night. We’d asked everyone to suggest a song on their RSVP (‘I promise to get up for a dance to this song…’), and Paul our DJ did a brilliant job of mixing some of the requests with songs that seemed to get everyone going. Our first dance was to Baby, I love you – by The Ronettes. My dad is a massive fan of girl groups from the sixties, so I grew up listening to this sort of music. Luckily David’s also a fan, and I loved dancing to this. We didn’t practice at all – my only request, seconds before we hit the dancefloor, was that he warn me before he spinned me!”
Huge congratulations to Joanna and David on their elegant day full of personality and charm! Looks like such a fun day and so well captured by Anneli, so thank you for sharing this with everyone on London Bride.
Credits: Photography: Anneli Marnovich / Venue: Horniman Museum & Gardens / Brides Dress: Charlie Brear / Brides Shoes: Harriet Wilde / Groom’s Suit: Reiss / Cake: Olofson Design / Catering: Suzanne James / Flowers: The Fresh Flower Company / Cocktails: Barfly / Hair & Make Up: Jaysam & Michael at Jam Deluxe / DJ & Lighting: Paul at Glo Productions / Stationery: Jon Appleyard [friend of couple] / Humanist Celebrant: Barbara Chandler