In normal circumstances when we recieve a submission email from a photographer we’ve never had the pleasure of dealing with before we do the whole “Hi! so lovely to hear from you! We really love the wedding you sent! ….etc etc etc”
This however was definitely not what happened to the lovely Joanna Brown, who caught me so by surprise with her edgy and alternative use of W-day image backdrop that I completely lost all sense of professional business etiquette.
In fact Joanna didn’t even get a “Hi”…. she just got this:
You know the film Jerry McGuire and Renee Zellwegers character says “You had me at Hello” ?
Well…. you had me at Laundrette
Along with orange formica filled greasy spoons Laundrettes are one of my favourite places – that image is genius.
So in a word Joanna….YES!!!
We would LOVE this wedding for the blog!
I guess I’m lucky she didn’t think I was a complete and utter goon. And still wanted to have the gorgeous Shepherd’s Bush Big Day of Rebecca and Paddy on Rock My Wedding.
Because the thing is folks, just like everything in this blue-polka-dot world, we don’t pretend to make the rules, or necessarily break them even. We just like to give you a little bit of what-you-might-fancy and hope it makes W-day planning a more enjoyable experience.
A big day can be anything and everything you want it to be. And this particular soiree for me is a sweet, unique and urban-esque fairytale.
Who said you had to have fields, trees and sunsets to make pretty pretty anyhow?
Joanna was assisted by Debs Ivelja as a second shooter.
Minus The Frilly Bits
My dress was by Delpine Manivet. I wanted something simple, properly ‘white’ (it suits me better than ivory etc), and something I could feel comfortable in as I can usually spend a maximum of about 30 minutes walking/sitting/standing properly and fussing around with frilly bits, before the shoes come off and I’m perched on a wall/the floor somewhere. True to form, the shoes lasted about 45 minutes.
My veil was Delphine Manivet – it was a rectangular piece of silk tulle with a lace-edge, which was able to be pinned into the hair for the ceremony and subsequently used as a wrap/shoulder-covering thing. Because my dress was so simple, the lace added a bit of detail.
My necklace – and those of the bridesmaids – were vintage marcasite from Fur Coat No Knickers.
Michael at Aveda on Westbourne Grove did my hair and he was wonderful about the fact that I changed my mind 3 times. I also adored the fact that, when I asked for a glass of water at the salon on the morning of the wedding, he turned round and shouted to the whole salon ‘a glass of water for my Bride please’. Fabulously over-dramatic – love it!
I did my own makeup, albeit with some advice before hand from Bobbi Brown, which was worth taking. It mainly reinforced things that I did already know, in the recesses of my mind, but failed to put into practice on a regular basis having only limited time and tolerance for face-painting in the average day.
Simple And Elegant Blooms
I had different shades of pink roses for my bouquet, and aqua pink roses for the bridesmaids. White roses for the button holes, and white hydrangea for the table centres. We wanted something simple but elegant – Chantal Frances-Flores was our brilliant florist who lives just around the corner from us and didn’t bat an eyelid about the fact that I didn’t contact her until 3 weeks before the day and didn’t confirm the order until 8 days before!
Polka Dot Prom
The Bridesmaids’ dresses were 50s style prom dresses, black with white polka dots. We found them totally by surprise in John Lewis, when we’d just about exhausted all other options. Finding something that suited everyone was a real problem, particular when one lives in the Cayman Islands so couldn’t try the dress on until she flew in 2 days before the wedding! Also, sizes ranged from a 6 to a 14. So, I had to get something that could be altered easily.
I knew it was ‘the dress’ because, when I took the other 2 shopping, it wasn’t going very well until, in the middle of a packed shop, I turned round to find both of them with this dress in their hands and eager grins on their faces! They were right, of course, it was perfect.
I spent the weekend before the wedding making 45 metres of bunting, with help from my mum and my sister. We put it up between the church and the church-hall, which is where the drinks reception was held. We used some black and white spotty fabric to match the bridesmaids’ dresses, then a second-hand bed sheet and an old table cloth!
It was a last minute idea but, looking at the photos, it seems to have worked well and was worth the effort (even though I’ve only just got the feeling back in my right thumb after 4 hours with my grandmother’s ancient pinking shears!). The restaurant – La Trompette – is a really nice, simple space, so didn’t need anything doing to it.
Paddy and the best men wore simple morning suits with slivery-grey waistcoats – hired from Austen Reed. What can I say….. I think the man looks good in a suit. He was wearing one the first time I met him!
All That Jazz
We had a jazz trio in the church and playing during the champagne reception afterwards. I walked down the aisle to ‘have you met Miss Jones’ and then we went out to ‘That’s amore’. It was perfect for what we were after, i.e not taking things too seriously!
Shepherd’s Bush isn’t exactly your classic wedding venue – no stately home, no grass, trees, flowers, rivers, chirping birds etc etc – more Lebanese restaurants, Polish supermarkets, laundrettes, mosques and sari fabric shops. So we needed someone creative, with a sense of fun and a good imagination – Joanna Brown fit that bill perfectly and did us proud.
From the photos, you’d get the impression that we just giggled our way through the whole day – which is exactly how it happened!
We didn’t have a first dance (much to my mother’s disappointment). We took everyone for lunch at our favourite restaurant, and then went to a nice nearby pub for the afternoon/evening. We’ve both been to so many weddings where the music/disco situation is so tricky because you can’t please everyone – the parents/grandparents sit in a corner, complaining because it’s too loud, and there’s some very drunk guy break-dancing in the middle of the floor. So, because we were both looking for a relaxed, low-maintenance day, we decided to give it a miss!
We didn’t have favours fit with ‘relaxed and low-maintenance’ day either so we didn’t even consider it! Same goes for receiving lines, chair covers, wedding cars etc etc. We upped the quality of the wine and bought a few extra bottles of champagne instead
My mum made my cake and we designed it together. It was 3 tiers – 1 of fruit and 2 of sponge and butter cream, with white icing in a ‘birdcage’ style, and then pink roses on top to match the bouquet. It was simple but elegant. She did a wonderful job.
Staying True To Yourself
We were determined to have a fun, easy-going day which was true to who we both are and our priorities in life. As a result, we don’t feel we spent a disproportionate amount of time and stress on planning etc, and were able to relax and enjoy the day, which was something that was really important to both of us – you hear so many stories of the day itself being an anti-climax after often years of planning.
We got married at the end of our street, then went to our favourite restaurant a couple of miles away, followed by a nice pub that we know! If you’re not, by nature, a ‘planner’ then make sure that the planning doesn’t get out of hand otherwise it can overshadow what’s important.
My advice would be that people are coming to see you get married and to celebrate with you, not with some mythical ethereal creature that exists only in the imagination and is so other-worldly that she is either occupying an entirely different planet on the day or just totally forgets to have a good time. For example, I had planned to have a wavy sort of hairstyle. I had a ‘trial’ 2 days before, and spent the rest of that afternoon fussing about whether it had lost its curl and constantly hunting for mirrors in order to check! I realised that evening – I have straight hair. It’s very straight indeed! Wouldn’t it be weird in the future looking back at photos of someone with curly hair marrying my husband?
Consequently, my poor hairdresser had to deal with a complete change of plan 2 hours before I walked down the aisle. But, I’m happy with how it looked – I look like me only a bit more shiny and perky than on an average Saturday morning – and I can’t remember once running to find a mirror during the whole day, which meant I had more time and energy to enjoy myself!
Finally, I spent the 48 hours after the wedding ‘discovering’ in my memory another person who I wish I’d spent more time with on the day. And we only had 54 guests! If you have more than that, don’t kid yourself that you will be able to spend more than a fleeting moment with each of them during the day.
We always say how important it is to research for your W-day photographer and make it one of ( if not THE) biggest investment of your day. Like Paddy and Rebecca, they chose Joanna Brown not only for her ability to generally take great shots but also as a talented creative, being able to work within the confines and constraints of any environment and come out with some real wall-worthy images.
So no matter what your kind of fairytale is, make sure the story book you are left with is one you will treasure forever.
Big One-Day-I-Want-To-Own-My-Own-Laundrette Love