Hooray, it’s Friday! And what could be more fitting for a Friday than a wedding in a pub?!
Anna and Ian are both from Liverpool, but currently live in Hong Kong, and chose to marry in London. In order to pay homage to all of their favourite places, they’ve used things from each place to really make their wedding completely unique to them and it looks great!
Pub venues really are a great choice if you’re looking for somewhere with charm, character and a strong sense of fun and celebration. And Anna and Ian’s choice, The Peasant, definitely delivers there.
Considering Anna and Ian couldn’t visit prior to their wedding, it sounds like The Peasant team went out of their way to help and reassure our lovely pair.
We arrived back in the UK one week before the wedding. The weather had been beyond dismal all week. Two days before was one of the coldest May days we could remember, and the rain was virtually horizontal. On the morning of the 3rd, I pulled back the curtain to an almost textbook London spring day. One of the bluest skies I’ve ever seen. A good sign.
We were determined to have a wedding that was a true reflection of who we are, and as relaxed, fun and happy as possible. Living far away from all of our friends and family can be hard, so our biggest priority was to create a day that allowed us to celebrate our love with the people we love. Everything else was a bonus.
My dress was from BCBGmaxazria, but it wasn’t the first one I bought! I had actually bought another dress about a year before the wedding. It was a stunning Edwardian gown that I spotted at a vintage fair in Liverpool when I was browsing with my mum and sister. I loved that style so snapped it up, but about 4 months before the wedding I had a change of heart and it no longer felt like the right choice. It was important for me to have a dress that was special, but that wouldn’t look out of place in my normal wardrobe. After having a mini panic, I saw the BCGB gown online and fell in love with the pleats, lace and panelled detail. I immediately ordered it from the US and it arrived a few days later. So glad I did, as it was perfect.
I don’t love the look of traditional wedding shoes, so my shoes were actually from Dune. I am obsessed with all things grey and I love a t-bar, so classic! When I spotted them on Pinterest I hunted them down, but they were all sold out. After telling my sister about them and showing her the pics, a couple of days later she happened to check and a pair in my size had been returned and added back to the site. I chose to take it as a sign! They were the perfect wedding shoe, high enough to give me some length and as comfy as slippers.
Doing all of my planning from afar in Hong Kong, I found myself doing a lot of research, and then ultimately buying, online. My hair clip was an antique I found on eBay! I stumbled across it and adored the art deco and simple look of it. I had been tempted by all sorts of pretty veils and head pieces, but a wise friend told me to keep anything near my head and face as classic and simple as possible, so that the pictures and portraits don’t date too quickly. Words of wisdom, and so true!
My earrings were one of the few things I bought on the ground here in Hong Kong, from a small boutique called Love Brunch. I loved how simple they were, the tiny pearl set in a gold circle, but unique at the same time. I am a big statement jewellery wearer usually and never leave the house without my phone, keys and necklace, so I thought my jewellery would be a big feature of my look on the day, but I found myself veering towards a much simpler look that wouldn’t age the pics.
I also wore my Nana’s wedding ring. It was important to me to have something passed down through my family.
My hair and make up was done by Kit Hall from Slap Artists. I don’t think I’ve ever met a calmer person, which is exactly what you need in the morning. She really helped set the tone of the day and make me feel calmer – not to be underestimated!
The suit was made in Hong Kong at a great tailor called Il Sarto. We left it very, very late! After toying with the idea of a burgundy number, he (we!) opted for a really fresh French navy with mustard lining – such a great colour for photos and, despite being blue – the bright shade made him stand out.
His shoes (another last minute purchase – three days before the wedding!) were from Loakes – the perfect shoe to match the blue, with the right amount of shine – fit for a wedding! The tailor was a complete character and gave us a very Hong Kong experience we’ll never forget.
Planning a wedding in London from Hong Kong, choosing a venue was tough to say the least. We didn’t get to see any of them in advance, and were relying on pictures and blogs alone to make the choice.
Our ceremony was at Camden Town Hall. Our first choice would have been Marylebone, because I just love the exterior. But being closed for refurb, we were forced to look elsewhere and that’s when we found Camden, a total hidden gem with the most stunning staircase in London (really!) I saw that marble staircase and the decision was made. Being right opposite St Pancras, the location couldn’t have been better and I won’t forget the buzz and rush of King’s Cross that I felt when I got out of the car.
The reception venue was the hardest thing for us to choose from afar. Not being able to go and have a look, meet the staff, made it a tough call. After plenty of deliberation and much to-ing and fro-ing, we decided to focus on three things and three things alone and go for the place that ticked those boxes: people (the staff), food/drink and originality. Everything else would be a bonus, but those three things had to be there. Using our new litmus test, we finally decided on The Peasant. And it turned out to be the best decision we made during the entire process. Plus, we love pubs. A lot. So why not get married in one?!
The Peasant is a stunning pub in Clerkenwell; a former Victorian gin parlour and brimming over with colour, character and history. It still retains many of its original features and makes the most beautiful backdrop to a good old fashioned knees up.
The selling point for us was the upstairs room where we had the dinner and speeches. Long tables so everyone could mix in together, walls peppered with bright prints and art, and surrounded by windows giving the whole place an almost ethereal light. It was simply beautiful.
Dishing up good food and wine to our guests was really, really important to us. The food at The Peasant has a great reputation, we didn’t even taste it before the day. It didn’t disappoint.
I cannot say enough good things about Nick and his staff at The Peasant, and I genuinely don’t know what we’d have done without them. Our planning experience would have been greatly different, that we know. Nothing was too much trouble for them, and no email or query was too trivial. They are accomplished wedding planners. They gave us so much peace of mind that everything would be great that we were able to enjoy the day and the run-up. We’ll be forever grateful for that.
We arrived at the venue in a vintage London taxi, a genius call by my Mum and Dad! We travelled all together to the venue, which I loved. Travelling through London, with the whole day ahead of us, my Mum and Dad and Bridesmaids, was one of my favourite moments of the day, I’ll cherish that memory forever.
My Mum and Dad also organised a London routemaster to ferry our guests to the reception, another great shout! Ian and I went with everyone on the bus and it was the perfect opportunity to spend some time with our guests before the day ran away with us.
We didn’t like the idea of having a set colour scheme, but definitely had a ‘palette’ that we were loosely following, made up of dusky rose, light greys, burgundies, and off white. Anything that complemented or off set those colours I was more than happy to throw into the mix!
We are so lucky to be surrounded by so many talented family and friends, most of our features were made or designed by them.
All of our stationery (invites, order of service) were designed by my super-talented brother in law who is a graphic designer. His style suited the day and what we wanted down to a T and we were so lucky to have his support throughout, and to be able to share some of those planning details with someone we love so much!
We named our tables after the places we’ve both lived and loved (so many!). My dad is an extremely talented artist and he created the most beautiful place-cards for each table, depicting each city in watercolour. They were a great conversation starter at the tables. He also created a wedding map for us, depicting the journeys, venues and places that featured in our day; it’s something we’ll treasure forever and such a lovely touch.
We wanted to give favours that reflected our homes, so we gave everyone a bottle of beer from Liverpool Craft Brewery, founded by Ian’s best friend from school and also a guest at the wedding. The beer was called Love Lane – so fitting and the turquoise labels were just gorgeous!
It was important to us to have a few things in the wedding that were from Hong Kong, but we didn’t want to create any kind of ‘theme’. We gave everyone a box of matches from Hong Kong, branded ‘double happiness’, a Hong Kong wedding symbol. We found some beautiful paper in a kindling shop in Hong Kong which we used as placemats.
The Peasant has so much of its own colour and personality that we didn’t feel we needed to add too much to it and wanted its features to take centre stage.
Having said that, I have a small obsession with flowers and wanted to make sure this was a big part of the planning and day. I’m not a fan of the structured, formal flower look you sometimes see and love flowers to look a bit wild. so it was important we found a florist that understood that. I was so grateful to find Anna and Ellie at The Flower Appreciation Society. Those girls are amazing, and create the most beautiful, ‘just picked from the garden’ arrangements. They have such a talent for making it look effortless.
I went to their studio with my Bridesmaids and we were in flower heaven! They have a wall stacked to the rafters with gorgeous cut-glass vases, including some amazing swan vases too! I gave them an idea of colours and some of the flowers I like, and they used their creative genius to come up with the arrangements. Every bouquet and vase was different and individual. The bouquets arriving in the morning was one of the highlights of the day for me, and our tables were scattered with cut-glass vases, with a swan vase of hydrangeas here and there! Perfect!
My Bridesmaids were my sister and best friend. I was certain that I didn’t want them to be wearing the same dress, and I wanted them to wear something they genuinely loved and might actually choose themselves, and wear again. And that was about it. One of the dresses was Topshop, and the other was from Hobbs NW3 range. Both dresses complemented each other perfectly and one of them added a pop of coral to the palette. They both wore gold shoes.
Neither of us are religious, so naturally we chose to have a civil ceremony. We tweaked our vows before the day, adding some of our own wording, and chose two readings that we loved to give the ceremony a personal touch. The first reading was given by my lovely mum, a poem called Love Listen by Ann Gray. One of the traditions I don’t like about weddings is the fact that the females of the family often take a back seat in the ceremony and speeches, so it was important to me that my Mum had a role in our day. She was nervous about doing the reading but she got through it perfectly, with lots of emotion, and I’m so happy she did. There were a few tears shed at that point!
The second reading given by Ian’s brother Michael was a poem called The Vow by Roger McGough, a fellow Liverpudlian with a great sense of realism. Some of his lines got a good laugh and really broke the ice, which is exactly what we wanted.
I walked in to a piece of music called ‘Everlasting Love’, played by the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. It was important for us to have some Hong Kong touches in the wedding, but we kept these subtle as we didn’t want to over do it.
We walked out to Here Comes the Sun by the Beatles, a favourite of both of ours and a little nod to our much loved hometown.
We both love music so created our own playlists, from pre-arrival tunes through to canapés and dinner. It was one of the parts we enjoyed the most throughout the planning process. We weren’t planning to have any live entertainment…until about three weeks before the wedding when we made a panic booking! We realised we wanted to have something to break up the day from the evening and get everyone’s energy levels up after all of the food, so after some frantic online research we found a doowop quartet called The T-Tones, and by some stroke of luck they were still available on our day. They were absolutely terrific. They really set the tone for the evening and are such a lovely bunch of guys. They were one last minute investment we were glad we made.
After they’d played our DJ, Lee, kept the party going until the early hours. No words can describe how delighted we were with the music he played. He understood exactly what we were going for, and not one song missed the mark. The dancefloor was right by the bar, a great set up to keep the party going while people get themselves a drink. I’ll never forget everyone swaying in a circle singing Hey Jude at the top of their lungs at the end of the night. I get a little lump in my throat when I think about it now!
The Peasant’s food menu is renowned for being great, so we were lucky not to have to worry about the food at all. What we loved is that all of our guests were given a menu of choices as they sat down, just like a restaurant, so no one-size-fits-all wedding dinner. We love wine so chose two great ones from an extensive list. They went down well, which is all we could ask from a good wine!
Ian is coeliac, so it’s usually a huge problem for him to eat out due to cross contamination. Serving him gluten free meals was no problem for The Peasant and they even planned ahead and created bespoke canapes just for him. For a coeliac, knowing that the food, on your wedding day, isn’t going to make you ill is something you cannot take for granted and The Peasant were so understanding of this.
The cakes were the one and only thing from the whole day we let slip from our list. Two days before my mum asked me when we were collecting the cakes, and it dawned on me that I’d completely forgotten to place the order! After a bit of pre-wedding hysteria on my part, we dashed Apprentice-style to a gorgeous bakery on Exmouth Market and bought boxes full of colourful meringues, tarts, eclairs and cupcakes and filled the cake stands we’d borrowed. It looked great and was a lesson in focussing on what is really important on your day.
One of the highlights of our day, for both Ian and myself, was our photographer Laura, from Candid and Frank Photography. What can I say? We met her for the first time two days before the wedding, and we immediately knew we’d made the right choice. When we were searching for a photographer we only really considered the quality of the photos, and didn’t consider how important the actual person is to the mood of your day. We were lucky, because it turns out, as well as getting fab pictures, that person is extremely important. Laura made us, and our guests, feel so relaxed and a lot of our portraits are filled with laughter thanks to her. The photos exceeded all of our expectations and more, and the personal touches she puts on every single thing she sends you is a complete delight.
The great thing about Laura was that she understood exactly what we were after, and no detail was left out. She sends a questionnaire before the day, and far from being a ‘shot list’, it asks all about you and your family, and what’s important to you. She took photos of things I would never have thought to ask for; even cards I’d written to my sister and parents were captured – those are the photos I will cherish most from the day. I recommend her to everyone I meet, whether they’re getting married or not!
The photos are one of the only things you invest in on the day that last throughout time and I feel so lucky we chose Laura to capture those moments. We spent hours looking through them when we got to back to Hong Kong and relived the day through the most beautiful lens.
Think about the three things that are the most important to you and your partner and spend the most time, energy and money on them. That’s how you’ll end up with the wedding you really want. Everything else will fall into place.
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