That’s what bride Katie said to her partner Saad when toying with the idea of saying “I Do” just 10 weeks after they got engaged.
The Über cool couple chose The Lido Cafe in Brockwell Park, London (a 5 minute walk from their house!) for their celebrations which provided a minimalist urban back drop for their fresh colour scheme and contemporary decor.
They found out it was going to be 30 degrees a few days before W-day…This was fine, they just sorted some fans and an ice cream van. They also found ways to include both their daughter and their dog in the proceedings. Oh and Katie ordered her dress off the internet UNSEEN IN REAL LIFE and donned a uniquely awesome headpiece.
It just goes to show, sometimes you don’t need years and you don’t need to search the length and breadth of the country (or indeed the world) to have a day that’s 100% perfect for you.
All of the captured moments are courtesy of Johnny Donovan.
10 Weeks ‘Till I Do
I’m Katie. He’s Saad. We got married on Thursday July 26th, 2012 at The Lido Cafe, Brockwell Park, Herne Hill () – it’s a 5 minute walk from our house! After the Lido Café closed at midnight, we went on to our after-party at our local pub The Prince Regent. We had a 10 week engagement so all this was quite a rush…
eBay to the rescue! I adore Chie Milhara shoes. They’re high but they feel like walking in slippers. They do bridal, but it’s low-key bridal which is just what I wanted. Fortuitously, a gorgeous pair cropped up on Ebay in the month before the wedding, replete with a leather flower and leaf that mirrored the embroidery on the dress… and they were only half a European size too small!
I snapped them up at a super price, and over the next few weeks, wore them round the house with nice big woolly socks on. I’m happy to report that – whilst unglamourous – this method ensured perfect sizing on the day.
Make A Statement
Having not really been wedding-inclined until deciding we’d do it (decided in May, married in July – punchy time-frame!) I had a lot of catching up to do. I stalked various wedding blogs obsessively, swooping like a vulture on the ideas I liked. One of those was a Kat Swank headdress. Kat is a US based headdress designer whose bespoke creations are really ‘statement’ and very. I contacted Kat shortly after we’d confirmed the venue, and she worked like a demon to finish this bespoke creation in time (soldiering on through a bout of pneumonia, poor thing), only to have UK customs slow down the process right at the end, impounding the headdress at Gatwick! In the end I was able to collect the all-important parcel the Friday before the wedding. Phew. Cutting it fine.
When you go all out on a statement headdress, other jewellery seems unnecessary. I stuck to a pair of simple quartz studs, no necklace, and a couple of semi-precious stone bracelets.
On-Line All The Way
To understand my dress choice, you have to know about two of my obsessions: the internet and shopping. Put it together, in the context of choosing a wedding dress, and you have a world of excitement, packed with potential pitfalls.
So, I knew I wanted Temperley, but I knew I couldn’t justify buying one new. Thankfully, internet shopping came to the rescue. I found my dress on Still White advertised by another Katie, based in Warwickshire. Since I was – at this point – only about 8 weeks away from the big day, I decided to just chance it and buy the dress sight unseen. The lovely Katie hopped on the train into Marylebone, bringing with her the biggest bag I’d ever seen, bearing the Temperley logo proudly on its side.
Maybe hurriedly trying on your dress in your front room while your other half is out walking the dog isn’t quite the norm, but it was still a wow moment for me. Wow and phew, if I am honest…phew it fits, yay the colour is spot on, and wow…it is PERFECT. Seriously totally impossibly perfect – as though it were made for me!
We didn’t have groomsmen or bridesmaids in any formal sense. My best woman Kate wore a splendid LK Bennett Davina in Magenta, and Saad’s best man Jon looked as dapper as always in a grey suit. My toddler Milly was scrumptious in her flouncy ilovegorgeous silk and chiffon frock, rocking the informal colour scheme well in another eBay find!
Saad left his shopping till the very last minute, and unlike me, all his clobber was brand new! He bought the suit from Moss Bros a couple of days before the wedding, and in keeping with the turquoise and green accents, we picked out a tie from Hawkes and Curtis. The paisley silk square we’d ordered was ultimately dropped in favour of a Paul Smith one I spotted in Liberty on the day.
Me But Better
I have pretty set ideas about how I like my make-up, but I also love to be pampered, plus I had no clue what to do with my wildly curly in terms of getting it needed to work around the headdress… The wonderful Kylie McMichael was perfect for this kind of brief. She rocked up to get me ready whilst my girl friends prepared themselves in the background, and we all just loved her.
She describes the look thus: “a fresh vintage colour palette of champagne, nude, peach and brown with a strong focus on the skin, with a subtle contoured 20′s smokey eye”. I describe it as “making me look like me but better”.
Oh and the hair. Well, I still don’t understand how she did it – I know it involved hundreds of pins of various shapes and sizes, and some tonging and spraying and teasing – but she succeeded in concealing the band of the headdress, achieving volume without frizz, and showing the length and curl without having the hair dominate proceedings. Kylie was also fun, low-key, calm, flexible; just a fab person to have around, I kept forgetting she wouldn’t be coming to the wedding with us; she just felt like ‘one of the girls’.
I like flowers as much as the next (wo)man but at the same time, I know nothing about them, they cost a lot and there’s something a bit sad about binning them all at the end of the celebrations. Emma Wee – our wedding designer from 1st Frame Design – agreed, so no sad peonies drooping their heads in the heat for us!
Instead we went for fresh greens and creams, some gypsophelia, hydrangea, and…ummm…some green ones? You’d have to ask Em!
On the tables, we went for zinc pails of well-chosen herbs and plants, both for decorations and favours.
Our photographer was the marvellous Jonny Donovan. Chosen because he’s local, ludicrously talented, and lovely.
Laid Back Light Bites
The whole informal South London swimming pool vibe required laid-back food. Guests ate squid and chorizo salad, dry-aged steak and skin-on chips, and raspberry cheesecake. After all that, we thought we’d go for something relatively light, in the form of a huge rustic Victoria Sponge which the Lido Café made this for us.
And as for the cake toppers, well, again it’s an internet success story, another US-based etsy genius, in the form of Jamie AKA magic beanbuyer
Armed with snapshots of the whole family, Jamie crafted clay figurines of me and Saad – with our two cats perched on our heads – as well as little Milly, and our dog Koko. Koko was a VIP guest at the wedding, after all, complete with turqoise lead and collar, so of course he needed to appear on top of the cake!
And as for the cheese cake…well, I admit to not even tasting the Vicky Sponge, such was my focus on the tower of cheeses! The Tuesday before the wedding, I headed to Covent Garden to visit Neals Yard Dairy where Martin – a cheese-expert so charming and knowledgeable I wanted to poach him from the shop and have him present cheese at the wedding – let me taste dozens of varieties, and build various cake formations.
The finished product combined a little Dorstone at the top, below which was a Tunworth, then a Wigmore, a big Stichelton (which blows all other blue cheese out of the water) and a mammoth Westcombe Cheddar base. It’s safe to say I over-ordered, and next day was able to collect a volume of cheese so heavy, I had to enlist helpers to get it home. Once there, we sliced it all up and gave it to our cheese-loving guests at our morning-after-the-night-before brunch down the pub.
An Explosion of Fresh
Em at 1st Frame Design nailed it with the honeycomb paper balls suspended from the ceiling, ‘like an exploded molecule’.
As dusk drew in, fairy lights came on in and outside the venue.
There’s not many couples who can lay claim to having said “I do” at a Lido. We wanted something fresh, contemporary, boozy and fun, all achieved at a fast pace to a limited budget. As it turned out, we blew the budget, but I think we got what we wanted. It passed in a blur of laughing, applause, smiles, kisses, food, tunes and hugs.
I’m really glad I didn’t have months and months to fret and over-plan and deliberate over every little decision. Against such a tight time-frame, we identified stuff we liked and went for it. We only ever considered one venue, one stationery provider (big shout for the tea towel invites) one dress, one wedding designer, one make-up artist…and all were perfect.
Small And Perfect
We got married on a Thursday and didn’t have a single guest turn us down, even though it was the day before the Olympics. The fact it was a weekday meant everything was easier to book and – let’s be honest – cheaper. And the last-minute-ness of it all was fun and exciting, not stressful.
I adopted a ‘let’s give it a go’ attitude to last-minute changes and additions and it worked! We got fans and parasols the weekend before, once it was clear it would be scorching hot. And as for the vintage ice cream van well, I think I rang Annie at about 8:30am on the Tuesday and she and Eamonn were only too happy to take a last-minute booking for 8pm Thursday. So if you’re the kind of person who enjoys the thrill of the chase, the possibility of abject failure, and snatching victory from the jaws of defeat, I highly recommend a last minute, internet-shopping-fuelled, short lead-time wedding!
The Dancing Dog
Our friend Richard Brooks DJed. His choice of tunes was fabulous, only rivalled by his breakdancing at the after-party…
We ummed and ahhed and traumatised ourselves about the whole first dance shebang. It’s just not us. We had something sentimental but singable lined up, but when it came to it, we told Richard to ditch it. Instead we got Koko on the dancefloor, and bopped with the dog to the Jackson 5 – much more ‘us’ than a slow shuffle to a syrupy ballad.
We were super lucky with the weather (temperatures nudged 30c that day) which meant that the Lido provided a busy, noisy backdrop to our proceedings. This worked brilliantly; our wedding was tiny with just 50 guests for the day, so having 500 South Londoners sunning themselves and swimming in the background, shouting an occasional congratulation, was truly magnificent.
We’ve lived in this part of London for over ten years, and we go to Brockwell Park all the time – it’s where our daughter attends playgroup, and where Koko takes his walks. I guess what we decided was that the perfect place to celebrate our relationship wasn’t a remote-but-pretty castle, or some sunny foreign shore…It was right there on our doorstep with council blocks in the background and families splashing about in the pool in front of us.
Honestly, my advice to brides is to go for it. Hunt for ideas, hunt for bargains, do things differently, don’t be afraid to break with tradition if that means you do the things you love…and above all, consider doing it in a place you love, that you can go back to day after day, that will provide new memories as well as those from your big day.
Venue – The Lido Cafe
Brides Shoes – Chie Milhara
Brides Headpiece – Kat Swank
Brides Gown – Temperley
Groom’s Suit - Moss Bros
Make-Up and Hair -Kylie McMichael
Cheese Cake -Neals Yard Dairy
Ice Cream Van – Vintage Ices
Photography – Johnny Donovan
30 degrees?! I think I missed that day – I don’t remember having much of a summer in terms of weather at all
Regardless, Katie and Saad’s big day made the most of the sunshine, the surroundings and those they chose to share it with.
Big Giving It A Go Love