For a start her and Azeez’s wedding is exactly the type of wedding I’d plan if I were to have my day all over again… intimate and a bit edgy, influenced by contemporary design and completely fuss-fee. In short, a modern day wedding for the feminine urban socialite.
But it’s her dress that I’ve fallen in love with. Granted it’s not what you’d call a typical wedding dress, with its revealing back and front slit but it is absolutely stonkingly beautiful and it suits Julie down to the very ground. This folks is how to do wedding chic.
Lastly after reading what Julie has to say about Danish wedding traditions – all surprise speeches and ‘little happenings’ – I need to find a way to either get some Danish people in my life or attend a Danish wedding at the very least. For me, it is the perfect combination of sentimental and fun…but don’t take my word for it, read what Julie has to say on the matter.
Oh and one last thing before I go…Julie’s mum and dad? Totally awesome.
Julie The Bride: We wanted an intimate and fun wedding day, gathering family and our closest friends for a day that is reflective of how we live our day-to-day lives in London. With full time jobs and busy schedules, we quickly decided on a venue we could trust to be in charge of catering and provide excellent service. We didn’t want ‘wedding planning’ to take over our lives; we wanted the day to be as stress-free as possible for us and for our guests.
Designed by Tom Dixon, Dock Kitchen was in itself the perfect space for us. We are local residents and the Dock Kitchen was the first venue we visited. After visualising the possibilities that the 2 floors (ground floor and basement) could offer, we decided there was no need to view other venues. It has a rustic, warm and friendly atmosphere with minimalistic design that suits our taste and creates the perfect foundation that we wanted for the day.
We like things that are a bit edgy and less perfect. The theme was a modern day wedding with contemporary design and rock’n’roll being the main influencers. The Dock Kitchen has fresh seasonal flowers regularly delivered by Scarlet & Violet and as we loved the look of the seasonal mix of flowers, we let them decide on the choice of flowers for the day. We avoided having a colour scheme and focused more on the vibe we wanted to create. The church was decorated with green Hydrangea and candles. My bouquet was simple; three Hydrangeas tied by my mother.
In the process of planning the wedding, we focused on the fun bits, such as hand making the invitations, personally designing the wedding bands brainstorming with the designers on our ideas for our outfits. We are not too traditional and avoided following the ‘rules’. Our best advice to couples getting married, ‘just concentrate on the fun things’. My two nephews aged 2 and 5 were the page boys. They were dressed in dark jeans, white shirts and military jackets designed by Stella McCartney. Azeez’s younger brother Ameen was the best man. Like the groom, he was dressed in a suit designed by Spencer Hart, only differentiated by the lapel and waistcoat designs. Beside the two pageboys and the best man, there was no official bridal party.
For the wedding invitations, all stationery and web design related to the wedding, we used a mixture of tracing paper and transparency film with white bubble wrap envelopes. We created a rough and unique look, using a bold Courier font.
My wedding dress was custom made by David Andersen in Copenhagen. He makes futuristic designs and is dedicated to the concept of zero waste. It was such a fun experience to be part of the process and David is incredibly dedicated to what he does. I trusted him 100% right from our first meeting and he sent sketches to London based on the thoughts I had given him after which I went to Copenhagen for fittings. Once I had decided on the designer, it was a stress-free experience. I knew I wanted a full skirt with quite a lot of fabric and a tighter top with long sleeves, which suited the autumn season very well.
While the gown had a classic design, I wanted a sexy element that was more subtle than a low cleavage, therefore, we decided on a lower back and front slit. I am not into too many decorations. Jewellery was kept to a minimum with a raw veil, my engagement ring and a thin gold necklace – a gift from my grandmother at my birth. I bought the wedding shoes before I had even started thinking about the dress. I am quite particular with what I like and when I saw the white python Louboutin’s, there was no doubt, I needed to wear those shoes for my wedding.
On the evening before the wedding, Azeez’s family hosted a traditional Nigerian engagement party which allowed guests to meet and relax in each other’s company prior to the white wedding. This also meant we were less nervous on the wedding day as we had begun proceedings the day before and were already used to being in the spotlight. Being Danish, it was a natural choice to have the ceremony at the Danish church by Regent’s Park and while the engagement party was a celebration of Nigerian traditions and food, the wedding was more in line with Danish traditions.
With guests travelling from Denmark, Nigeria, Luxembourg, France and the US, we wanted to avoid the stresses of an early morning wedding. The ceremony was held at 3pm after which guests were taken to the venue in a classic Route Master.
Azeez got ready with a close buddy at our home in Maida Vale while I got ready with my mum at the Sanderson Hotel where we also stayed for a couple of days after the wedding. We were in the company of the photographers right from the start of the day. We had gotten used to their company hours before the wedding, hence, we were more relaxed in front of the camera during the occasion. We had known Daria and Marek for years and we decided to hire them to capture our wedding because they make such an effort to get to know you and what you want out of your pictures. With the beautiful characters of the hotel, the church and the restaurant there was no need to add any special camera effects. We wanted to appear as natural and as real as possible.
We decided to serve the wedding cake at the reception right after the ceremony in the Dock Kitchen basement while the restaurant was being prepped up for the dinner. The wedding cake was made by Peggy Porschen. A stunning Lemon Limoncello cake covered with lemon buttercream and covered in coconut shavings. We wanted something that was not too sweet and it was a big hit amongst all of our guests. It was perfect as a little treat with champagne to keep guests going until dinner. The fact that we did not micromanage everything, leaving some things to chance, allowed us to have a very personal day.
According to Danish traditions, friends and family give speeches and create little happenings, all secret to the bride and groom. One of the special moments was when four of Julie’s old high school friends stood up and sang ‘All You Need is Love’ by the Beatles. The whole party joined in with sparklers, singing merrily! The speeches made guests interact and hear about other sides of us narrated by close friends and family. There were lots of tears and laughter, which was new to many of the British and Nigerian guests.
Other traditions include the bride and groom being required to ‘stand on their chairs and kiss’ or ‘crawl under the table and kiss’ when guests stomp on the floor or continuously tap their cutlery against their plates.
The layout of the restaurant naturally created an informal setting with smaller tables. That took away the feeling of 100 people being grouped together for a very formal sit-down dinner. We also decided to have a pre-starter consisting of different dishes to loosen the mood and encourage guests to chat about the food. Based on our initial thoughts, as far as a theme for the food, the chefs recommended a menu inspired by what was in season.
Coordinated by the Toastmaster, Joe Smart, the speeches were given in-between the courses and before midnight we once again moved downstairs to dance the traditional Danish wedding waltz – the guests circle around the bride and groom, moving in closer and closer as the couple dance the waltz. The bride and Groom kiss when they run out of space, in Danish tradition, a few gentlemen lift the groom off the floor; they take off his shoes and cut off the tip of his socks.
With the dance floor officially opened, a rock band, the Council, performed an amazing set and then played a few covers until the end of the night. ‘The Council’ is one of Azeez’s favorite bands and as personal friends; their presence and interaction complimented the interpersonal vibe!