I’m just going to come out and say it.
Favourite. Wedding. Of. The. Year. So. Far.
And I know it’s still only January but this one is definitely going to stick with me for a long time. It is absolutely 100% my type of wedding. I can’t even begin to tell you my favourite bits. I literally love every single thing Emma and Tim did to create their perfect day. And the video. Well, just gorgeous and it gives you an extra insight into the perfectness that was their day.
Emma and Tim married in September last year in Islington Town Hall and held their reception at The Britannia Pub in Victoria Park. I can only describe their day as a blue and yellow boho vintage inspired dream…
Emma The Bride: After unsuccessfully trawling through various bridal shops in London, one of my bridesmaids recommended Miss Bush Bridal in Ripley. Almost immediately after walking in, the owner, Emma, picked out a dress for me called Fadela by French designer Cymbeline. Initially I had reservations as I had been looking at Grecian style dresses whereas this one was more vintage, but I did like the fact that it was quite boho. I could also tell by my sister’s face that she thought the dress was perfect. I always had Tim in mind too and I knew that he would love me in this dress!
I’m not very traditional and so I didn’t think a veil would suit me and a tiara would have been too glam. So, in keeping with the boho look I went with flowers. I tried flower headbands but they flattened my hair, so I decided to use real flowers and if any wilted during the day then I’d simply replace them with ones from the bouquet. I asked my florist to set aside some of the flowers from my bouquet and I picked them up the day before the wedding, and left them in water over night. I also added some Gypsophila which are excellent for pinning into the hair and they tend to last all day without wilting. I kept jewelery simple and wore pearl bracelets and a gold nose stud.
The Right Pair
In terms of my shoes, I decided to match our colour theme and go for yellow. I dragged Tim up and down Oxford Street until we found the right pair. As you can imagine, most yellow shoes are pretty ugly, but I managed to find a beautiful pair from Dune with straps and a comfortable heel height. They had a subtle pattern which matched the lace in my dress and the colour also matched the bridesmaid dresses.
Saved By An Usher
To keep costs low I had the idea that I would do my own hair and make-up, and paid for a Mac masterclass. However, Melissa from the Spitalfields Mac branch did such an amazing job that I ended up asking her to do it for me and she did an even better job on the day, keeping it natural but durable. For my hair, I simply wanted to accentuate my natural curls and my sister had originally offered to do it, but I didn’t want her to be stressed on the day, so I decided to go with a hairdresser. My regular hairdresser agreed to do it, but let me down at the last minute. With less than a week to go I had no one to do my hair! Strangely, in the end, one of the ushers(!) recommended his regular hairdresser, Nathalie. I thought, ok, his hair is curly so is mine and I had no other option and very little time. Thankfully, Nathalie was free to do a trial and free on the day, and as you can tell from the photos she did a wonderful job and was an absolute god-send.
We decided to go with Angel Flowers in nearby Islington. After an initial meeting with Sandra, we felt that she understood the brief, which was a rustic chic look at an affordable price. For the flowers I wanted bright colours, touches of yellow and blue to match our theme, and some green for that wild, freshly hand-picked feel. We went for corn flowers, delphinium, echinops, lemon germini, crespidia, yellow freesia, scabious, phlox, lisianthus, agapanthus, green berries, alchemilla mollis, dianthus and chamille daisies. Sandra gave us a great money-saving tip of reusing the bouquets for the tables. For the men Tim decided that he wanted to use crespedia in order to match the yellow in the ties, although according to one florist men tend to go for the ball-shaped flowers!
Our theme was yellow and blue with yellow being the dominant colour. I decided to search for yellow bridesmaid dresses on the high street. I’ve never been a fan of the typical long, formal dresses and I wanted the girls to be able to wear them again. Also buying from the high street is far cheaper, especially when you have to buy five! I eventually found beautiful yellow lace dresses in Warehouse, and with a discount voucher, I paid for five dresses at the typical cost of one traditional bridesmaid dress. The bridesmaids looked stunning.
Here Come The Boys
For the men, and in keeping with our relaxed ethos, we quickly ruled out tails and simply asked the ushers to wear their own grey suits. We wanted them to feel relaxed rather than stuffing them in ill-fitting hire suits. To add a bit of countryside chic we provided the ushers with yellow bowties from Ben Sherman. They looked very cool. Tim and the best men wore fitted suits from Mr Start in Shoreditch. Mr Start is very typically Shoredtich, so the suits are very slim fitted with trendy cuts. The best men wanted suits they could wear again so they opted for more traditional two-piece dark grey cut suits. Along with Tim, the best men wore yellow ties from Ben Sherman. The combination of Tim’s blue suit and yellow accessories perfectly matched the colour theme and he topped off the look with light brown shoes from Aldo. He looked super-hot!
Best Gift Ever
Our photographer was Gary Lashmar. Tim has a massive appreciation of photography, so I put him in charge. We could tell by Gary’s website that he would fit in well at our wedding as he had a relaxed East End charm. We had an engagement shoot, which we were both quite apprehensive about, but it allowed us to get to know Gary (and his partner Claudia) and we also had a good laugh. The photos from the wedding were simply amazing. They were so beautiful and have left us with many happy memories. We cannot thank, or recommend, Gary enough.
Claudia showed us a three minute wedding video one Sunday lunch time when we met with her and Gary that had been shot by Simon and Chas from Perfect Day Wedding. It was just stunning. It was short, beautifully shot and there was no dialogue, just the backing track (probably helped that the track was by Ben Howard, whom we had recently watched live).
We had practically finished our budget and after initial conversations with Simon we decided that we just couldn’t afford it. As the day came closer I started to feel quite sad that we wouldn’t have a video. However, out-of-the-blue I received an email from Simon advising me that Tim had purchased, as a gift, his services and that his company would be filming our wedding.
It was the best gift EVER! On the day Simon and the crew were hardly visible and were so polite. When the video was ready we watched it together and I cried. It’s like we’re transported back to the wedding whenever we watch it (and we watch it loads!). Simon and Chas are true professionals and their style of shooting is very unique and I would recommend them to everyone.
A Big Deal
We knew we wanted a cake, but our budget was tight. Thankfully Tim’s sister, who is based in Uganda, offered to get the cake as a present. Tim is from Uganda and wedding cakes are quite a big deal. We sent Annette a few example cake designs we had seen online – mainly yellow with white flowers, and left the rest to her. The cake was flown in all the way from Uganda a few days before the wedding and it was a beautiful three-tiered fruit cake with some pretty strong rum and absolutely delicious. As you can imagine it took a couple of bumps mid-flight and Tim’s brothers and mum scrambled around to find a cake-maker to apply a few gentle fixes. To help keep us within our budget we served the cake as dessert and this went down well with our guests.
Music Music Music
We both share a huge passion for music and agreed that music would be a key feature of the day. While searching online we came across Alive Network which is an online entertainment agency and where we found all our musicians.
For our ceremony, we chose to go with a very talented acoustic guitarist, Andy Cherry. Andy was absolutely great and looked the part too (he had a few female admirers). I walked up the aisle to the Wedding March and we exited with Move On Up! At the ceremony we got the guests to sing ‘Stand by Me’. It was a big risk, but luckily the guests sang their hearts out and it was one of the magical moments of the day.
We both had such a varied amount of music that we wanted to play for our guests during the afternoon and evening that it gave Tim the idea of creating a pretend “Wedding Music Festival” and he got his brother to create a poster showing the times of each act/genre of music. We had the pub place the posters in various locations around the venue.
The late evening entertainment was a Northern band called The Soul Boys who played Motown and soul. They were brilliant! We also placed a lot of importance on making sure the guests would have fun. We both really love Secret Garden Party, which is a whacky festival where everyone joins in and it brims with ideas and creativity. One of the features of the pub was that it had a massive beer garden and so we decided to turn it into a mini-festival with garden games (coconut shy, boules and table tennis), a marquee with fairy lights, vintage signs, lots of three-foot balloons in the colours of our theme, and a make-shift photo booth (which doubled as our guestbook) where guests could pick up a prop, grab a vintage frame, take a Polaroid snap and stick it in the guest book with a message.
Our first dance song was Madness “It must be love” we both agreed that the song had the right level of sweetness and fun, and represented the feel of the overall wedding. We decided to have the band play a live version, which was awesome!
We both agreed that unless favours are consumed on the day, guests usually get too drunk to remember to take them home! We also knew that it was going to be difficult to spend enough time with guests on the day and we had stumbled across the idea (possibly on RMW!) of writing personal messages to the guests. It was a tough task writing 120 messages (and stuffing them in envelopes) when you have a million other jobs to do. But it was totally worth it. Watching the guest’s reactions as they opened and read the messages was a very memorable moment. Many were extremely touched by our efforts.
The Britannia itself has lots of quirky and vintage décor, but at the same time it was such a large space that we were still able to incorporate our own ideas. We pretty much did everything and would do it all again! Mum helped make one-hundred metres of bunting, Tim made the coconut shy and a vintage sign for the garden, and together we made the vintage map table plan, table names, menus, the photo booth, poster for the music line-up and the favours. You name it, we made it.
One special thing the pub helped us to arrange was that during the band’s break we asked everyone to follow us outside. The pub garden backs on to Victoria Park and we went out into the park in the dark and lit lanterns. In the distance we could see the lanterns drifting towards the brightly lit Olympic venue in the distance. It was a great moment.
My advice would be to not feel like you have to tick all the boxes of what a wedding is ‘supposed’ to be. Pick and chose parts of the tradition that suits you as a couple and make sure it reflects your personalities. If you don’t like singing hymns (a pet hate of mine) don’t do it! RMW is great resource for finding cool and chic ideas to borrow or re-interpret. Finally, work together, both Tim and I put in a 50/50 effort and I wouldn’t have had it any other way, as it brought us closer together.
Reception Venue: The Britannia
Boutique: Miss Bush Bridal
Brides Dress: Cymbeline
Flowers: Angel Flowers
Groom: Mr Start
Photography: Gary Lashmar
Videography: Perfect Day Wedding
See, told you didn’t I. How gorgeous is Emma and Tim’s day!
The stationery, the mini festival, the flowers in Emma’s hair, Tim looking ridiculously handsome in his trendy suit. I love it all. And the video…did the little flash of Emma and her Mum get to your heart? I had a tear in my eye.
Please make sure you look through the gallery for this big day as well. I am a huge fan of Gary’s photography style and there are so many amazing images I found it so hard to whittle them down to just a few for the front page.
I’m off to play table tennis and dream of yellow and blue perfection.