…and then all of a sudden I was walking down the aisle. I say walking, I mean clinging on to Nick (legend of a friend) for dear life, heart-booming, knees knocking desperately trying to look composed. And then I arrived at Nick (the soon-to-be husband) and everything was silent and peaceful (which is strange as all our friends and family were belting out Oh Come All Ye Faithful!). And then Nicky (stick with me, this one’s the vicar) welcomed us, married us, advised, encouraged and teased us, prayed for us and blessed us. It was beautiful and poignant, faith-filled and glorious… then the ushers pelted me so hard with my home-made confetti, I thought I was going to fall over!
The rest is a blur of the people that we love, dressed in the colours that I love (oh yes, there was a dress code of “monochrome and metallic”), in the city that we love, celebrating…
I know it’s usually one of us from Rock My Wedding who leads into a real wedding, but those words from Calandre made for such a perfect introduction.
Nick and Calandre married on a sunny Saturday at St Augustine’s Church, South Kensington, London.
Now, back to Calandre…
An Old Family Friend
The Rev Nicky Lee married us. He’s an old family friend, the vicar at our church and he and his wife, Sila, were our marriage prep couple on the Marriage Course. It was so wonderful to have someone who knew us so well marry us. Generous friends played the organ, organised the choir and headed up the worship band.
The ceremony was certainly the most important part of the day for us and received the most attention in our preparations. Our orders of service matched our deep copper invitations, beautifully done by Amadeo.
Then we all headed over to the City to The Royal Exchange. The overarching theme was vintage London glamour and the venue was perfect. In keeping with the theme, my mum surprised us with a vintage black cab for the day which was incredible!!
Last Supper bought all my ideas to life – we opted for incredible cocktails, champagne saucers, scrummy canapés and jazz jazz jazz. We really wanted the whole day to be all about our friends in relaxed yet glamorous atmosphere.
Cathedral Length Drama
I’m utterly spoilt as my dress was Vera Wang. It was the flowers cascading around the skirt and the dusty taupe sash that did it. And the veil. The cathedral length drama turned me from girl in a great dress to bride, in a second. I’d imagined vintage lace, drop waists and long sleeves but ended up in strapless and frothy, and utterly original.
Til Death Us Do Part
I love rose gold and so wore beautiful rose gold earrings from Monica Vinader which were given to me by my hens. I also wore my Oma’s engagement ring which I had re-sized by Sophie Breitmeyer who did my engagement ring and our wedding rings. I loved wearing something that connected us to a marriage that really lasted ‘til death us do part’.
What I didn’t know is that your feet don’t get sore on cloud nine so I wore ‘sensible’ LK Bennett snakeskin kitten heels bought in the sale before I even had a dress (the joy of having size 4 1/2 feet). Gorgeous. I’ll certainly be wearing those again, but only on special occasions!
Blush Blush Blush
My inner bride and I didn’t actually meet until I was walking down the aisle. So some pros had to help me out. A friend, Katie Service, from university did my make-up (with some prior assistance from Hannah at Love Lash).
So lots of the palest foundation ever made, heaped browns on the eyes and blush blush blush. Nicole from Headmasters in Fulham managed to convert my photos and hand-gestures into something elegant that was still looking great at 3:30am as we danced the night away!
Home Made Confetti
My mother’s family are Dutch and the wedding certainly captivated my inner florist. I wish I had done the flowers myself when I discovered the New Covent Garden Flower Market with a great variety of blooms, cheeky stallholders and the pleasure of negotiating.
As it was we had Jane Packer who created elegant and simple flowers – my bouquet (sandstorm and amnesia roses), the boys button holes (sandstorm roses), and baby’s breath garlands on the church kneeler and on the candelabras used for the supper. I was very clear on what we wanted and they executed it all beautifully.
I did, with help from my sister-in-law and Best Girls, make the confetti, which was a real hit! I went to the flower market, hunted down yummy yellow and coffeebreak roses, and dried them hanging off a laundry rack. Weeks later, we stripped them, crunched them and sprayed the leaves copper. I then made cones from the Financial Times and we stuffed metal boxes full of them. Brilliant photos resulted!
The girls also helped me to make a flower table to ‘float’ the table plan on. Bless them, getting on board with all my bonkers ideas! I’d seen it somewhere and, thanks to some of their creative genius, we made it happen. And it looked as good as I had hoped.
Glamorous In The Extreme
Oh the theme! I didn’t have traditional bridesmaids but decided to buy my two best girls dresses as gifts to say thank you for everything and to ‘rock the theme’! After a day of frankly depressing changing rooms, boring boring dresses, we happened upon some seriously sparkly numbers in Jigsaw. Two different colours, and glamorous in the extreme. If I’m honest, frankly jealous. The girls looked totally gorgeous.
Nick had six ushers. They all wore morning suits (either their own or hired) and then we hired them buff waistcoats from Moss Bros. They wore knitted skinny ties in either deep grey or copper (which also doubled up as gifts) that we had made by a sweet lady in deepest Hampshire. They seemed to go down a storm. Nick also treated his best man to some engraved cufflinks (ah, bromance!).
There was no question that Nick would wear anything other than a morning suit. But we had great fun finding a waistcoat, having the silk back changed and so on. Nick had a shirt made at a Suit that Fits as I couldn’t find a penny collar, double cuff white shirt anywhere. It was a little extravagant but such fun getting into the world of tailoring. And the treat was that I hadn’t seen the entire ensemble together until the day, although when walking down the aisle all I really noticed was his grin!
Having photographed a fair few weddings myself, and being a great photography lover, finding a photographer became, frankly, obsessive. After hunting and hunting and contacting quite a few, I happened upon Ann-Kathrin Koch’s work on RMW! The photoshoot was brides in a winter woodland, wearing cashmere sweaters, blowing glitter at each other. The light and atmosphere in the photos was simply tangible. A quick look at her website and a chat on skype and I was hooked.
The photos from our engagement shoot are breathtaking. I really wanted the pictures to be works of art where we happened to be the subject. And Ann offered even more than I could have hoped. Lots of reportage shots, lovely details and atmosphere. Ann is warm and funny, utterly unobtrusive but seemingly omnipresent! Deciding which pictures to put up on our walls is proving a near impossible feat!
The Last Supper
Nick and I are known for our love of cheese so what better than a ‘cheese-cake’ hunted down from the Fine Cheese Company, they have a huge selection of cakes to choose from. People are still talking about it and the pictures speak for themselves. It was, of course, Dominic at Last Supper that turned an interesting idea into a feast. After an Italian style supper of meat platters, delicious salads and the most extraordinary pasta anyone has ever eaten, for pudding he added figs, grapes, quince and yummy biscuits alongside macaroons and tiny heavenly chocolate tarts.
Unbeknown to most, my and Nick’s first date at university was to see Trouser Jazz, a hugely talented jazz band made up of friends from school and university. We asked them to play at our reception and they very very kindly did so as a ‘comeback gig’ Take That style, all grown-up and even better than you remembered. I think that was the icing on the cake and totally swept up the theme and bought it to life. Hugely sentimental to Nick and me and everyone thought they were amazing.
Why Don’t You
Our first dance was to Gramaphonedzie’s “Why Don’t You” which to our best man’s horror (sentimental old fool), held no great significance to us. Instead it provided a Peggy Lee jazz introduction where Nick whirled me around the floor like a pro (he’s got to have been secretly practicing) before we were hit with a wave of dance music and friends. Perfect song for the moment. And the best man will be pleased to know that it’s sentimental now!
A Supper Party
We wanted a glamorous but relaxed atmosphere at the supper. More like lots of little supper-parties really so we designated two people on each table to host, get the conversation flowing and the food dished out. We had around 180 people to the church and drinks then a select 100 stayed on for supper so it really was our nearest and dearest. Favours, therefore, weren’t really on the agenda – bit too weddingy!
Monochromes and Metallics
Both the church and the venue were glorious and needed absolutely nothing doing to them. Our guests were our decoration, all dressed to the nines in monochromes and metallics. It was even better than I had imagined.
Love And Joy
You can get married at any time, anywhere. The thing that makes it come to life are the people. We are blessed with such wonderful family and friends and having them all there was the highlight. It took my breath away as I walked down the aisle and I am still taking all the love and joy in.
Obviously, my mother was unbelievably generous but for us the day was about our faith, our creativity and our community.
Invest In Your Marriage
So, the best piece of advice that I can give is this – for every hour that you spend planning the wedding/doing wed-min, spend an hour investing in your marriage. It keeps you in good perspective and meant, for us anyway, that by the time W-day came around, we were more in love than we had ever been and ready for the adventure of marriage. People talk about your wedding day being the Best Day of Your Life. I’m not sure I agree. It’s better. It’s a celebration of the promise of all the days and years that are to come.
Venue – The Royal Exchange
Photographer – Ann-Kathrin Koch
Dress – Vera Wang
Invitations – Amadeo
Earrings – Monica Vinader
Shoes – LK Bennett
Hair – Headmasters
Blooms – Jane Packer
Catering – Last Supper
Cheese – Fine Cheese Company
Ann told me that this is one of the most glamorous weddings she has ever had the privilege to shoot… and I can totally see why.
A perfect addition to our Fashion Week here at Rock My Wedding this wedding has it all. A fantastic venue, a gorgeous dress, some lovely individual touches too. The floating floral table plan is a corker.
Above all that, beyond the fashion and fabulousness there is true commitment, true love and true respect for what a wedding should stand for.