Oh we do like to end the year on a high, a super cool filled-with-joy wedding high. Nikki and Dan’s London celebration is just beautiful in every way, from the fashion to the flowers to the “first look”. I love Nikki’s glossy red lip and if I had those legs I’d be wearing a short dress 24/7, in the depths of winter and all.
Nikki and Dan’s affair represents everything we stand for here at Rock My Wedding: Your day your way…Hoorah!
We’ll be back on the 29th December with further unique and beautiful inspiration for you all, have a wonderful Christmas folks!
Nikki The Bride: We got married on Saturday 6th September in Camden Town Hall with an informal, budget, DIY heavy, canapés only reception at the Artisan of Clerkenwell.
We are both incredibly laid back people and the only ‘theme’ as such that we had, was that we wanted it to feel like a party in a pub with a few speeches thrown in for good measure. This meant we did away with loads of traditions and formalities: we stayed together the night before, did a first look in Russell Square, walked down the aisle together, had no sit down meal, didn’t cut the cake(s) and I wore a short dress. For us this was perfect as it really reflected our personalities and it is a great feeling to know that we stayed true to our heart and kind to our wallets! Although as a natural worrier I agonised over millions of decisions out motto was ‘good enough is good enough’ – this wasn’t to say that we didn’t care about anything (far from it) but it reminded us to have faith in the decisions that we had already made and to trust that the wonderful and talented suppliers that we had chosen.
Choosing my dress was a relatively stress free experience! I found Minna, an Eco-Luxe label ran by a Finnish designer early on in my search and was completely sold by their bohemian and untraditional designs. I booked an appointment at their studio in Oval, London and was meant to go with my sister but she was busy finishing up a PhD and couldn’t make it so I went alone as it was a Monday morning and I didn’t want to bother anyone! I was pretty sure I wanted a short dress which was confirmed when I tried on the Valerie dress – it is probably the coolest wedding dress I have ever seen! After showing the photos of the Valerie and some other contenders to the bridesmaids and some family and it got the vote, I paid for the dress about 10 days later and it was done! All Minna dresses are made to order and the design was tweaked to make it a more A line as I felt the shift design was a bit too tight on me. I took the BMs and my sister back in a few months later when I went to get measured and chose the Debra veil which had a dyed silk headpiece and lace flowers sewn to the bottom. I am ashamed to say I pranced around the house with it on my head an embarrassing amount of times!
I wore some taupe shoes from Dune which were comfy beyond belief and my nan’s emerald earrings which were a Christmas gift to her from my granddad before he died. I had my hair and makeup done by the lovely Amanda from Lipstick and Curls who specialise in vintage beauty and I went with some retro waves and red lips.
Dan wanted a suit he could wear again and, based on the assumption that weddings normally take place in the summer, he decided on a light-weight blue suit from Reiss which he bagged in the January sales. He claims that it was so light it felt like he was wearing pajamas which he was extremely pleased about. He also wore a grey linen tie and blue pocket square from Reiss and some brogues with blue laces from Ted Baker. I gave Dan some personalised cufflinks from notonthehighstreet.com on the morning of the wedding which had tiny vintage maps of London and Barcelona, where we went on our honeymoon. All in all he looked very dapper!
After deciding early on that we wanted a London pub wedding it became quickly apparent that we would struggle to find somewhere to accommodate and feed our 92 guests on our modest budget. Feeling a bit disheartened, we started looking at looking at hiring halls and outside catering but it all felt a bit too complicated and expensive and against the laid back party we’d envisaged. Whilst looking wistfully at London pub weddings on the internet I found the Artisan of Clerkenwell and fell in love with it instantly – it was modern and quirky in equal measure and looked like the perfect place to hold a party. It was at this point where we decided we go against the grain and hold a canapés only reception. Neither of us had been to one before but we thought it suited our ‘we want a wedding that feels like an informal party in a pub’ idea, and despite spending the next year worried that everyone would be ravenous all night, we went for it and I’d really recommend it. As the ceremony didn’t start until 4pm we instructed everyone to have a big late lunch and to just expect light food. The canapés were absolutely delicious, think mini fish and chips, mini tacos, mini hamburgers and scotch eggs and we made sure there were loads of cakes made by family and friends and a ton of cheese brought up from the West Country by Dan’s parents. By having the reception in this way it meant that we could do away with seating plans and a long dinner and everyone could mingle as they pleased without interrupting the informal flow of the day and we were so unbelievably pleased with our decision.
The staff at the Artisan were also brilliant and so accommodating and even set up everything for us the night before – after we dropped it off we didn’t even have to lift a finger!
As an aficionado of all things colour and mismatched, we didn’t have any set colour scheme. I adore the colour yellow and after an unsuccessful campaign to convince Dan to wear a yellow tie some of my bridesmaids and I spent an afternoon drinking Prosecco and cutting up yellow tissue paper to make bags of confetti which looked FANTASTIC. My nan very kindly offered to make some bunting to decorate the pub and, again unable to make a decision on colour, I sent her 7 different patterned fabrics made up of blues, yellows and greens. She did a wonderful job and I can’t thank her enough for the many hours she spent working away on her sewing machine! For something for the guests to do and for the instant hilarity factor, we bought a polaroid camera and constructed a photo displaying by using 100 metres of string, a clothes rail from Ikea, some cardboard ‘D&N’ cardboard letters, some glitter gold paint and 2 tubs of superglue. Blue Peter, eat your heart out!
The photo of the night award definitely went to Dan’s dad and best man, Paul, who struck a very entertaining pose for which I probably would be killed for discussing on the internet so I shall leave it cryptic! The Artisan also let us write messages on some of the blackboards so we had a sign with ‘Dan and Nikki, mutual weirdness forever’ just in the entrance to the pub which caused much mirth. Other than that, we left the décor to a minimum as the pub already had so many quirky decorations of its own so we decided to let the venue speak for itself.
Due to having a small budget (this is a reoccurring theme!) we decided early on that we would DIY the flowers, with the somewhat risky attitude that we’d have to really balls things up to end up with rubbish looking flowers. We had a practice run at New Covent Garden Flower Market for the table decorations and decided on gypsophila, fever few daisies and spray roses shoved in arranged nicely in a load of glass jars we’d been collecting throughout the year. After deciding on making hydrangea bouquets (3 stems taped together and voila!) I spent a long time debating whether that was sensible as I’d heard they wilt very easily but I didn’t really get round to thinking about anything else so decided to go for it anyway. I needn’t have worried as once the day came they looked gorgeous and refused to die! We had a delivery from the flower market two days before the wedding and made all the bouquets and flower jars with Dan’s parents whilst drinking wine and they all looked fantastic. Dan’s mum, possibly unconvinced at our laid back attitude towards flowers, also very kindly offered to pay for me to have a proper bouquet and I was recommended That Flower Shop in Shoreditch, East London by a friend who passed the shop frequently and noticed they did quite quirky arrangements. I met with Hattie Fox and she managed to interpret my wishy-washy brief of ‘colourful, big flowers, unstructured and not neat’ perfectly. They were quirkly and fun and I LOVED them.
Right from the start I didn’t want the girls to wear matching dresses – aside from not being a fan of uniformity, I didn’t want the impossible task of picking something that would look great on 7 different girls who all have their own sense of impeccable style. Instead I told them all to get a dress no longer than midi length in either a nude, light pink or blush colour and left it at that. I don’t think I gave much thought as to whether they would match, I just had faith they’d look amazing and they really did. Their dresses were a mixture of vintage and high street and I’m hoping they might get some wear out of them again. We took an even more laid back approach to the boys and Dan gave them all a blue pocket square from Reiss and told them to wear any suit they liked and any tie that matched. In hindsight this might have been slightly too little direction and they decided to secretly wear the same tie but they all ended up looking very handsome nonetheless!
We wanted a registry office that was within walking distance to The Artisan and needed a room to fit in our 90 guests and so initially our decision to book the council chamber at Camden Town Hall was mostly a logistical one, but it turned out to be one of the best decisions we made. The seats in the Council Chamber are situated in a semi-circle, meaning that we were completely surrounded by our family and friends during the ceremony – I’d panicked for ages about having everybody so close to us whilst we were saying our vows as I dislike intently anything that resembles public speaking, but as clichéd as sounds it felt incredibly special to have everyone we love in the room so close to us whilst we said our vows. Our friend and bridesmaid Rachel read the poem ‘I Like You’ by Sandol Stoddard Warburg – it’s a lighthearted poem which we thought reflected our silly sense of humour and Rachel read it like a champ! Despite spending a lot of time being nervous about the ceremony we actually ended up really enjoying it and spent half the time cracking up at everything.
As our budget didn’t stretch to any form of hired entertainment we decided to hire a sound system and make an offline Spotify playlist, reasoning that we’d held many a fun party/gathering at our house based on similar principles (minus the hired sound system to the relief of our neighbours). We asked the Artisan to play their own music until we were ready to start the party to save us some work and then spent a few brilliant Saturday nights in the months leading up to the wedding getting drunk together with my sister and compiling the party play list. We’d somehow made it slightly too short so in Dan’s honour our guests skanked out to drum and bass for about 20 minutes at the end!
I’m echoing something that I had read time and time again in this very blog and barely got to sample the delicious food on offer as I’d completely lost my appetite due to mega nerves and excitement (sad face). We had lots of mini delights: mini burgers, fish and chips, tacos, glazed pork belly, scotch eggs, calamari, thai fishcakes and bruschetta and everybody raved about it. One of the only things I regret from the whole day was missing out on the mini fish and chips whilst we were having family photos – apparently they were scrumptious. We asked various family and friends to make cakes and biscuits for the dessert table and they all went above and beyond their duties! Dan’s mum and aunt made a delicious traditional two tier fruit cake whilst our friends Tilly and Rob made a spectacular naked lemon cake covered in fresh berries. Both were absolutely delicious!
Dan’s parents also brought up a selection of cheeses up from the West Country which was served with crackers and home-made chutneys – I think the Somerset brie disappeared in about 10 minutes!
Well, what can I say about our photographer, Dale Weeks? Photography was very important to us and we were struggling to distinguish between lots of very good but similar photographers I’d found on various wedding blogs but as soon as I saw one of Dale’s weddings I was sold and Dan needed exactly zero persuading. I don’t know squat about the technicalities of photography but his images are interesting, soft and colourful at the same time and he is genuinely the sweetest and friendliest guy ever. We became his friend on facebook and by the time the wedding rolled around it felt like we had an old friend attend the day. We had a blast wandering round Clerkenwell taking the couples photos finding interesting doors and walls to stand in front of, and there are loads of photos from the day where we are wondering how he got the shots as we don’t even remember him being there. He far exceeded our expectations and delivered to us a gallery of incredible photos that we will forever be grateful for. Basically, Dale is the best!
And finally, if there are any unique aspects to your day such as DIY projects and any advice you would like to offer our community then we would love to hear all about it! Thanks so much again for your contribution to our pages, we are looking forward to the feature!