Molly and Toby stumbled across their theme by accident… On the day their wedding planner remarked that the party unfolding in front of their eyes looked a bit like an old vintage circus!
Amongst the festoon lighting, animals and general industrial, rustic and home made touches, Molly & Toby celebrated a heartwarming and love filled union.
Molly The Bride: My dress was Jenny Packham and was the first dress in the first shop. It was more than I wanted to spend on a dress but one of those ‘I’ll spend less on something else’ moments (which sadly didn’t seem to happen either). The dress came from Miss Bush in Ripley where I have been with lots of friends in the past and always found that it stocks a great range of dresses from lots of different designers. I went for bright red nails on the day as going pale and pink felt too boring. I accessorised with a Jenny Packham cuff, borrowed diamond earrings and a pair of old Dune shoes as I couldn’t find any others that I loved. The veil was borrowed from my sister-in-law which worked well for the something borrowed and I just couldn’t see the point in spending the money on something that was worn for such a small part of the day. I was extravagant in lots of my wedding choices but where I felt I could borrow things or do without we saved.
Toby runs his own tech consultancy and therefore doesn’t often wear a suit and to me he looks strange when he does. It was important for me not to walk into church and see Toby standing there not looking as I always see him (or looking strange). We wanted the day to be a true reflection of us and our personalities which included the dress code. It was decided early on to have a very relaxed feel and also that we wanted lots of colour. Knowing we wanted a relaxed party atmosphere we thought it would come more naturally to people when they feel comfortable and less formal. Toby had his velvet blazer and shirt made and his entire outfit came form a local shop called Palmers on Northcote Road, London (020 7978 4588). They were great and ended up providing the Father of the brides trousers and all the mix match colourful pocket squares which became gifts for the ushers.
Our main aim for our wedding was for people to say it was very ‘us’. Being one of the last of our friends to get married we wanted something very true to us. We didn’t have a family home that lent itself into having a marquee in the garden or want to have it in a wedding venue as such. Having grown up in London it felt right for us to keep it in the Capital, we knew we wanted a raw and industrial space so warehouse research began. We looked around a few warehouses and decided ‘Village Underground’ was perfect and a doable distance from the church (in Fulham). The main draw was the fact it was all on one level so would keep the guests all together without loosing them on different floors but also had lots of quirks and character with the arches, exposed brickwork and super high ceilings. We also realised and liked the fact that it needed very little to make it look awesome as the space comes alive with candles and clever lighting complimenting all the exposed brickwork. I found a picture of the lighting I wanted and the venue were happy to recreate the look I was after.
We did have a small hiccup when the parents came to view the venue. Both parents had ideas of us walking down a grand beautiful staircase to greet our guests or just having it in a place or venue that their friends had heard of. We took them to visit Village Underground, they stood in silence and then had to sit down and take it in. We left and had dinner where they asked us if we were sure we had picked the right place. We assured them it would be fantastic and on the day it didn’t let us down and they loved it too.
The staff at the venue are great and there is an event planner called Tia on hand if you want her to step in. I would highly recommend you do and it is well worth the small additional cost and takes the stress out. She got what we wanted from the start, ran the day/night seamlessly and pulled it all together perfectly.
Our parents were amazing throughout the process. They felt that their weddings were very much their parents day and didn’t actually enjoy it very much. They said from the start that they wanted this to be our day and for us to have it exactly as we wanted. Unbelievably they completely stuck to their word and didn’t try to change anything or pass judgement as to how we were doing things. They embraced our decision to make it a celebration with a party atmosphere and liked the fact they didn’t know a lot about how the day would unfold. We didn’t really have a colour scheme as colourful was the dress code and ideally we wanted the guests to clash as much as possible. The guests brought the colour and we kept everything else simple and natural. We didn’t realise it until the event planner said it reminded her of an old vintage circus but we liked the thought of it looking that way so I guess it sort of became the theme. We had mix match chairs and benches with the paint worn away and beautiful wooden tables that we didn’t want to cover with table cloths. Keeping all the materials on show rather than covering them complimented the venue and without realising it worked with the theme that we didn’t know we had!
We created all the name places by spraying plastic toy animals and dinosaurs gold – it took a while but worked really well on the day. The name cards were luggage tags stamped badly by us but you can’t go wrong with the handmade touch. We also made our own favours which were small brown medicine bottles filled with sloe gin and presented in old haberdashery crates. I knew I would have very plain and simple flowers from the start. The dress spoke for itself and I didn’t want to take anything away from it. You also don’t get a lot of choice for flowers in January! I have never been a very girly girl so something very flowery just wouldn’t have suited me. I also liked the way that gypsophila can look so pretty on its own. I was surprised at how many guests commented on how much they liked the simplicity of the flowers. Sadly we have some very special people in our lives who are no longer with us so we attached some small lockets to my bouquet to carry them with us and remember on the day. We did away with lots of the traditions and etiquette that is expected at weddings and throwing the bouquet was one of them. Instead I gave it to my Mother-in-law as I wanted her to have it and this became one of those special moments of the day for me.
The church had three larger oversizes gypsophila arrangements displayed on stands in large urns which the florist provided. We asked the Ushers to take these onto the venue as we thought it was a waste to only use them in the church. The mother of the groom and her best friend decorated the pews end with jam jars tied and secured with bailing twine which were simple, cheap and effective. The Church Flowers and Bride/Groom Flowers were supplied by:
My Mum has been making confetti since Toby and I met (I think she knew) saving any roses given to both of us from Toby and my Father and then collecting any additional ones from friends. Drying them out and adding lavender oil to them on the day made them smell incredible and is completely free! The flower girls carried baskets of petals down the aisle instead of bouquets and handed it out to guests as they left the church ready to throw on us!
We had all our readings read by family and spent time finding ones that summed up what we felt about each other and our future journey together. The professor and the golf balls covered exactly what we want to remember as the important things in life… if you are not familiar with it it’s a lovely reminder about keeping your life balanced, you can read it here.
After the ceremony we shipped all the guest from the Church to the Venue on Route Master Buses. We had three in total and some small bites and champers to keep them ticking over and in good spirits throughout the 40 minute journey. The buses stopped along the route so we could swap busses and chat to all the guest before arriving at the venue. We swapped between the busses mainly because we realised we have a lot of long car journeys on our own in the future but mainly as it was a great time to say hello to all the guests so that when we arrived at the venue we could relax and party. We also knew that after the church excitement levels would be high and we wanted to share that with everyone rather than sat on our own!
For entertainment we had Disco Shed who were brilliant. They got the party started and didn’t let it finish. What’s more they arrived with a shed and various choices of shed setups – it certainly raised a few eyebrows when people arrived to a shed in the venue. Guests arrived at the venue to more Champagne and canapés provided by the amazingly creative Purple Grape team. All quirkily presented and equally delicious. We blocked the main hall area off to guest so when they arrived and had drinks in two brick archways without windows they would question where on earth we had taken them. It also meant we could reveal the main hall just before dinner and give it the wow factor. We didn’t have a starter and went straight for the main meal of Pie and Mash – this was again something we knew we wanted from the start. Individual pies were placed in the centre of the table and shared between 6 guests. The pies had a wooden spoon poking out the top stating Venison or Pork and worked perfectly as a hearty meal on a cold January day. We deliberately had self service to make it a talking point between guest and get away from frilly wedding service that neither of us enjoyed. We then had coffee and toasted marshmallows (toasted on the candles) with a chocolate dip as a small sweet snack.
Later we bought out stacks of Doughnuts and cut and served the stacked cheese cake with chutneys and crackers to keep the energy levels up and keep the guests well fed. Emily and her catering team at Purple Grape were amazing and provided the tables, chairs, benches, flowers and lots of creative ideas of how to get the looks we were after.
The photos speak for themselves but Chris is a genius behind the lens. Neither of us particularly like having our photos taken but he somehow manages to hide himself and for you to forget it’s even happening! He meets you for an engagement shoot first which helps to become familiar with the camera and him so it feels like he’s a guest rather that a scary photographer. We didn’t want group shots or the traditional photo of the entire wedding taken from a window above and that’s exactly what he delivered. He captured the day and personalities perfectly. We didn’t have a videographer but asked friends to take video as we felt Chris had the photos covered. We are now making our own wedding video which is a really fun project and captures so many incredible moments. I highly recommend it to keep the buzz of the day going that little bit longer!
The biggest advice we can offer is don’t get stressed. A wedding isn’t rocket science and will unfold on the day just as it should do. Know how you would like it to be and don’t be afraid to inject some of your own personality on the day or be scared to ask for things that are not the so called norm. You don’t need to have everything you want on your big day for it to be amazing. There were things we wanted and couldn’t afford to have and looking back it would have made no impact on day having them or not…sometimes you have to know when to stop. Which is easier to say after the event than before!