We’re back in the city this afternoon for Katie and Tom’s relaxed but glamorous London wedding. With a colour scheme combining a mixture of greens, blush and gold – we just know you’re going to love it. Plus there’s a giant bouquet spilling with foliage from Miss Victoria’s Floral Emporium (that lady has a thing for creating insane bouquets) and gorgeous confetti filled balloons from Bonbon Balloons.
Honestly, it’s just like one big stylish happy family here…
The Brides Gown
Katie The Bride: My dress, which I purchased from Elizabeth Avey, was originally two sizes too big with a high Victorian neck; the lovely ladies at Gold Needle worked their magic and created the relaxed, backless lace gown I was looking for. They also made my lace-trimmed veil from scratch.
My 1930s engagement ring was from Gray’s Antique market, and Karl at London Rocks (a collective of British designers) designed my slim yellow gold wedding band to match. He also created Tom’s Palladium band, which has a lovely buffed finish. Niza Huang, also from London Rocks, custom made her ‘Crush’ necklace for me with a green stone – it’s beautiful and I haven’t taken it off since!
The Bride’s Shoes
I wore handmade heels from Love Art Wear Art. I originally wanted a green pair, but when I stumbled across these I couldn’t resist! A thick heel was essential for me, for both comfort and to ensure I didn’t damage the lace on my dress, and the sparkle was a bonus! I rarely wear heels, so I changed into my dancing shoes (personalised Converse) as soon as the meal had finished.
A colleague put me in touch with Lisa of Miss Victoria’s Floral Emporium and her blooms were just fantastic. She understood my brief perfectly and with her bubbly character made the whole process a pleasure. She made lovely hair combs for my bridesmaids and used the 90 gold glitter jars and tins that I painstakingly made to decorate the tables beautifully. The church flowers came courtesy of my Mum, with the help of some great friends. Hundreds of Ranunculus and mounds of Soft Ruscus created arches, hanging balls and pew end posies – it was really beautiful.
The Reception Venue
Hire Space did a great job helping us to find Tanner & Co; it was exactly what we were looking for. For us the priorities were that we didn’t want anyone to pay for a drink, so it had to be dry hire. We also wanted there to be good food (or the ability to use external caterers) and chair covers/hearts/sparkles made us run a mile. Our numbers also played a part – having over 120 loved ones meant many venues were out of the question.
The Décor & Styling
The colour scheme was a mixture of greens, blush and gold. I wanted it all to be quite relaxed and was worried it was going awry at times, but it all came together with the addition of some huge confetti-filled Bon Bon Balloons. The style at Tanner & Co really didn’t need adding to (lots of natural wood and a ping pong table!). All we needed was a table plan; we went for a huge pinboard from Hey Style (you simply supply the seating arrangement and they do all the hard work for you; it was a really great feature and saved me a weekend of crafts!).
The dresses had to be green and I didn’t want them all to be the same, but other than that I was quite open-minded (well, I thought I was!). In the end, finding a combination that worked was harder than I’d expected and my vision of the big day in my head meant I spent a lot of time trying to get it right. We ended up with a mixture of ASOS, Hobbs and & Other Stories and I was really pleased with the look in the end. The girls wore nude heels and I bought them necklaces and bracelets from a local boutique, JZD in Clapham, and Oliver Bonas.
We originally looked at tweed options, but they were just going to be too hot for a late May wedding. I’d heard suit hire horror stories and the prices are extortionate, so we decided we may as well buy. We found a nice lightweight grey/blue suit for the groomsmen in Next; Tom liked it so much he decided to wear the same and we made his a bit different with the addition of green buttons! Tom’s tie and cufflinks were from Reiss and shoes from Dune.
Mum had made the cake for my sister’s wedding in 2012 and brother’s in 2013, so I was lucky to have a pro to hand! I was quite a fussy customer, having seen some gorgeous creations on Pinterest. Mum made a beautiful three-tiered cake covered in buttercream and gold glitter, which Lisa then decorated with fresh flowers on the morning of the wedding, and the cherry, chocolate and lemon fillings were delicious! We didn’t want her hard work to go to waste, so the cake was served with fresh berries and cream for dessert.
We’re really into food, so it had to be right. After the ceremony, we stayed in the church grounds to enjoy the open space (and luckily the sun shone for us!). Instead of canapés, Main Ingredient served pulled pork and crab cake sliders from a street food van, and our welcome drinks were cocktail slushies provided by Icely Done. For the wedding breakfast, Tanner and Co provided a feast of antipasti platters, huge chicken pies and salmon wellingtons to share. For evening nibbles, local B Street Deli provided a delicious picnic of scotch eggs, chorizo pork pies, pates and salads, accompanied by a cheese wedding cake (topped with very cute personalised cake toppers from Love on Top).
Stationery – My talented sister Sarah (also my Maid of Honour) designed all our stationery, from our beermat save the dates to the hand drawn map that featured on our invites and RSVP postcards. She even designed a little lamb logo, which became a feature on almost everything, including on our favours (magnetic bottle openers).
We spent many Friday nights at home with a bottle of wine making Spotify playlists for the different parts of the day – a highlight of the planning for us. An old friend and professional guitarist Tom Varall played as I walked down the aisle (Re:Stacks by Bon Iver) and continued outside after the service. In the evening we had an awesome ‘skiffle-pop’ band called Thrill Collins, who we’d seen at a festival the year before and simply loved. Tom (Atomic DJ) did a great job of picking out the best songs from our playlists to keep the dancefloor full all night. The highlight was definitely Tom and I both being up on our mates’ shoulders during The Vaccines – Wetsuit. Our first dance was David Ford, Song for the Road (I was already in my Converse by this point!).
From very early on, I wanted to walk to the church from our home. Unfortunately our little one-bed flat was too small for all the girls to get ready in, so we were really lucky to find a beautiful One Fine Stay property located literally opposite! I refused to book back-up taxis and luckily that paid off; the walk, with the sun shining and our balloons in tow, was a real feature of the day. Tom was also able to walk to the church as our lovely local pub (The Bobbin) agreed to open an hour early to serve bacon sarnies and an obligatory pint to the groomsmen. We hired two red buses from Red Routemaster to ferry all the guests over to the reception venue, and served bubbles on board.
Karolina (Hearts on fire) was the first photographer’s work I saw (her images were featured on the website of Trinity Buoy Wharf, one of the venues we considered). Rather than make a snap decision, I researched loads of other options, but nothing compared and it was clear that her style was what we were after. Karolina was really lovely to have around on the day; she adopts a documentary style and we’re really pleased with the outcome.
We wanted to try to keep a big part of the day local; we met in Clapham, but it’s also where we got engaged and bought our first home together. We got married at the beautiful Holy Trinity Church on Clapham Common, which we walk past every day on our commute. We’d got to know the vicar, Jago Wynn, well in the run up to the wedding; he’s a really lovely guy and delivered a very meaningful, entertaining ceremony. Our readings were Forever Young by Bob Dylan and The Gift of Love (1 Corinthians 13).
We originally just wanted a keg of craft ale, but ended up having a bit of a beer festival! Each table was named after a place that means a lot to Tom & I, and we explored the many beer boutiques around South London to find beers to match (it’s harder than you think!). Our favourite find was Commonside by the Belleville Brewing Co (a Clapham-based brewery founded by a dad-collective!). We did a booze cruise over to France to buy all the table wine and had Denbies sparkling wine for the toasts.
- Doing things differently is harder. The little details take a lot of effort to plan and execute, and they nearly broke me in the run up to the big day, but it makes it so worthwhile when all your loved ones notice them, and compliment you on how ‘you two’ the day feels.
- Play the music you love, not what you think you’re supposed to play at a wedding. You’ll have a lot more fun, trust us.
- Do a speech! On most occasions, the bride and those close to her have done all the hard work, so you’re the one with all the genuine thank yous to say. And you can’t let the boys do all the talking!
- Using small suppliers can be a little risky (one cancelled on us in the run up) but if you pick the right ones it completely pays off – their commitment and passion for what they do really shone through on the day.