Tricia and Toby had a lovely balmy September wedding last year, and just look at that Autumnal light, captured beautifully by their photographer Joanna Millington! It will come as no surprise to you all that I love this wedding because not only is it a fantastic London wedding, but the bride is adorned by lots of bows! So very cute and love the 60s retro feel to her style. Perfect for a city ceremony in London! This wedding was a total reflection of this couple, so it’s just lovely to see these two beaming throughout and having the day exactly as they wanted…
“We knew from the start that we just wanted our wedding to be a relaxed day where everyone felt really comfortable and could enjoy themselves – that was the most important thing. To us, getting married was all about standing up in front of all of our closest friends and family and telling each other how much we love each other, then settling down for some classic pub food and pints of ale! We threw away most of the traditions like the giving away of the bride, lots of speeches and having a top table. They just didn’t feel like us and to be honest, it made the fact that my mum wasn’t there (she passed away a few years ago) much easier to deal with. We toyed with themes to begin with but think we ended up with a theme that was ‘Toby and Tricia’ – so basically a mix of woodland animals, the 60s, Doctor Who, fortune telling fish, dinosaur tattoos and dip dabs.”
It’s often tricky when you have your heart set on a vintage wedding dress, as the shapes of the women over the years have changed so much that it can often be difficult to source an original dress that can be altered to fit. Tricia had this concern but luckily she found the perfect 60s vintage inspired dress [complete with lots of bows!] which is just so adorable and looked fantastic on her! “To be honest, the whole dress thing terrified me, especially as I couldn’t do the traditional thing of having my mum there, and my bridesmaid and my sister didn’t live in the same city as me. Doing it on your own is quite scary, especially if you’re not particularly confident about your body! I really wanted to go vintage, but the sizes in the 60s were a bit smaller!
I thought about bespoke but couldn’t afford it. Then I discovered Tobi Hannah Bridal, whose amazing dresses have a really vintage feel to them. When I saw her ‘Faith’ tea-length wedding dress I loved it, but meeting Tobi herself really helped sway the decision to go with her – unlike any other wedding boutique I visited, Tobi was fun, amazingly friendly, and really seemed to get me. Basically – every bride should get their dress here! I actually miss my fittings as we got to have such a good chat. My veil was handmade by the girls at Fur Coat No Knickers and was worth every single penny, although some people might think I overdid it with the bows slightly! The look was exactly what I wanted – 60s-style, long sleeved, wide-necked. Along with a brilliant visit to the Powder Room to do my hair and make up (along with my bridesmaid’s) on the morning of the wedding (which included drinking cocktails out of teacups with a party ring biscuit on the side), I actually felt amazing as I got ready to go – which is all you can ask for on your wedding day! The hotel flagged a London taxi for us to get to the wedding and it was brilliant having random strangers wave at you as you go through central London just because you’re wearing a veil!” Now there’s an excuse to don a veil if ever I heard one!
To complete her look, Tricia decided to design her own shoes given she is a size 9 which can be hard to come by but her striking ‘Something Blue’ shoes were by Shoes of Prey and will definitely be getting much use after the big day!
“We think Islington Town Hall is the most beautiful town hall venue in London, so was an easy choice for us. Our ceremony was short and simple, just the way we wanted it, and we deliberately chose vows that were about appreciating each other and letting each other grow as individuals as well as together. We also added some vows about inspiring each other and making each other laugh every day, as that’s all we want! My sister and Toby’s brother did readings from a couple of our favourite books – Jayne Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (Tricia) and So Long and Thanks for all the Fish by Douglas Adams (Toby) – it helped make the ceremony more about us.”
“We did the london bus thing to get people from the ceremony to the reception, as it’s a brilliant way to move so many people in one go, and it proved a highlight for a lot of people, especially my two-year-old nephew who won’t stop talking about it! Half the guest list was from Glasgow as I’m Glaswegian, so we wanted them to have a really good London day out as they put a lot of effort into getting there.”
I’ve actually co-ordinated a wedding myself at the Prince Albert pub last year and it’s a great spot for good food, dancing and central enough for everybody to get to. “We only ever saw the one reception venue – we knew we wanted a pub and as soon as we stepped in, The Prince Albert was perfect. There was no hire fee (just a minimum spend), it was off the beaten track but still central and easy to get to, and is gorgeous with a great range of food and drink – what more could you want? The staff were amazing, especially with quite a rowdy group of guests! They even pushed a bottle of champagne into our hands as we left, which was a really lovely touch.”
“The Prince Albert has a brilliant style very similar to ours, so we didn’t really have to do much. The main decoration was the yards and yards of amazing bunting that my bridesmaid made. We chose baby’s breath as our flowers because it looks great but hardly costs anything. We were at the flower market at 4am a couple of nights before the wedding and up late the night before making bouquets, buttonholes and table flowers! We wanted the wedding to be fun, so had prints of animals in suits as table settings, old milk bottles with mars and twix slogans as vases, fortune-telling fish, fizz wizz and party poppers as favours, and placed board games like guess who and kerplunk around the pub – the last thing we wanted was for anyone to be bored! We used silly London postcards for guests to leave messages on – the images of Kate & Wills, a fry up and bulldogs in union jack waistcoats led to some random messages being left!” There’s always room for animals in suits at weddings I say!
“We were really lucky in that the pub let us choose any menu that we wanted – and we wanted sausage and mash and fish and chips! We chose to spend a large chunk of the budget to have a sit down meal and an open bar – those were the things we’d enjoyed most at other weddings so it only felt right to repay the favour! My bridesmaid’s mum was fantastic – she made two cakes and a batch of cupcakes as a wedding present. The standout was her ombre purple layered sponge complete with our personalised cake topper which we used to ‘cut the cake’ – the colour was amazing as we cut it, and it tasted phenomenal! We had lots of cheese for a late night snack and that’s one of my only disappointments from the day – I didn’t get to eat any of the cheese because I was too busy dancing!”
In keeping with the slight retro theme, Tricia and Toby were lucky enough to secure a swinging 60s girl group which had every guest on the dance floor! “We’re really lucky to know the guy who runs the best northern soul and motown night in London (Great Big Kiss) and he very kindly agreed to break his no-wedding rule to do an all-60s girl group and soul set for our reception. We felt quite selfish as it’s our favourite music, but everyone loved it and he managed to get every guest on the dance floor.”
Q: What music did you walk down the aisle to? A: We walked in to Wouldn’t it Be Nice by The Beach Boys and out to Gimme Some Lovin’ by The Spencer Davis Group – we thought the lyric ‘so glad we made it’ was pretty appropriate!
Q: Do you have any planning advice for other brides? A: Following blogs [Editor: whoop!] and using Pinterest were my saviours – it made it so easy to collect all our ideas. I would also say don’t try to do too much yourselves. It was brilliant that we had all those personal touches but having no sleep because you spent all night making confetti with a hole punch is not a good way to spend the few days before your wedding! With hindsight we might have just paid for more things rather than stressing ourselves out doing them ourselves.
Q: What was the most special or memorable moment of the day? A: Tricia: Everything! Although if I had to choose, there was a point when I was on the dancefloor in the evening when I was with Toby dancing to some motown, after having the best day of my life with my family and friends, and just thinking ‘this is the happiest I have ever been’.
Toby: The best moment for me was when I turned and saw Tricia coming into the town hall. All my nerves disappeared and it finally kicked in that this was finally happening. And then sharing a hipflask of whisky after the ceremony to calm ourselves down!
Q: What was your first dance song? A: We didn’t really have a traditional first dance but we played Higher and Higher by Jackie Wilson to kick things off (and were first on the dance floor) – it’s very us and brings back brilliant memories of being out dancing together (and Ghostbusters 2 of course!)
Thank you to Joanna Millington for sharing her beautiful work on the blog, “We saw some of Joanna Millington’s work online and instantly contacted her – her style is brilliant, and very ‘us’. When we met her in person we knew we had to go with her, and having her at the wedding was brilliant – much more like a really fun guest than a supplier.”
Congratulations Tricia and Toby on becoming Mr and Mrs, what a lovely couple you, wishing you lots of happiness for your future together!
Photography: Joanna Millington / Ceremony: Islington Town Hall / Reception: The Prince Albert, Camden / Wedding Dress: Tobi Hannah Bridal / Bridesmaid: POP Boutique / Groom’s Suit: Topman / Best Man’s Suit: River Island / Hair and Make Up: The Powder Puff Girls at The Powder Room / Flowers: By the Bride, bought at New Covent Garden Market / London Bus: London Classic Bus Hire Company / Invitations: Ello There / Tote Bags: Alphabet Bags