I know for a fact that both Becky and Lolly are going to be ever so green-eyed when they realise I kept this particular W-day all for myself.
Not only does Camilla and Dominic’s city affair exude timeless elegance (an all white colour palette including a deliciously sophisticated sweet pea and lily of the valley bouquet) but the reception venue is one of my all time favourite London hotels – The Zetter.
And did I mention Camilla’s gown?
A Monique Lhuillier vision of slinky lace.
My dress was made of chantilly lace and it is called ‘Cheyenne’ by Monique Lhuillier. I found it at Brown’s Brides in London. I always wanted to wear lace as I think it is so romantic, but as we were getting married in the summer and wanted a relaxed wedding, I wanted a dress that wasn’t big or complicated. The lace was so soft and it was a really easy dress to wear. Originally the dress was strapless, but when I was at Browns I met Jo Evans who made straps to match the dress (they were also detachable so I was able to wear the dress as strapless in the evening).
Jo also made me a lace veil to match the dress.
Pearls and Diamonds
I had not thought about wedding accessories or my hair at all – but luckily my sisters came to the rescue. They both arrive the week before the wedding to help with the final preparations. My eldest sister, Sara, had chosen a wedding hair style that she knew would suit me and gave the magazine cutting to the hair dresser. It was a simple half-up style that was perfect for the relaxed wedding the Dominic and I wanted. My sisters also brought all their jewellery and we selected a pearl and diamond hair pin that my other sister, Emma, wore on her wedding day with pearl drop earrings.
I actually found my wedding shoes at a Dune sale at Selfridges. I didn’t want to spend a lot on white shoes that I’d probably never wear again, so when I saw these for £50 – I knew they were the ones!
Boys In Blue
We had no colour scheme or theme for the day – we just wanted everyone to wear what they would be comfortable in. However, by complete luck everyone ended up matching with a blue colour scheme. My sisters both bought dresses that they hadn’t shown me or each other before they arrived in London – and they perfectly echoed each other. The groomsmen and the two best men all wore matching ties from Gucci with their suits.
Dominic had given me a necklace with two rings intertwined the night before the wedding and I was so excited to see him at the church. I wasn’t nervous at all until my Dad and I began to walk down the long hallway before you turn to enter the chapel. Dad had to hold my hand tightly, but when I saw Dominic I immediately relaxed and just walked to him. He looked very handsome. I was actually very early for the church as it was the Queen’s Jubilee weekend and we didn’t know what traffic would be like. Father Tom said that he had never had a bride so eager to marry her groom!
Last Minute Make-Up
My sister Sara did my wedding make-up. She had wanted to do a trial the week before the wedding, but we were so busy (playing with all nieces and nephews and enjoying family time!) that we didn’t get around to it. I was not worried at all as she always has beautiful make-up and I knew that she’d do something that suited me.
I loved the make-up that she did, although she spent so much time getting me ready that she only put her dress on when the cars arrived to take us to the church!
The flowers were a real highlight to the wedding. My Mum planned all the flowers for the day – and she knew exactly what I’d like. Mum is fantastic with flowers, so I never worried about how they would look. She asked me what colour/s I’d like and I decided all white. My mother-in-law suggested that we order the flowers that Mum wanted in bulk from a wholesale market – and buckets and buckets of fresh flowers were delivered to The Zetter on the Friday. Mum then set to work, with her team of florists (my mother-in-law, father-in-law and Dad) getting all the flowers arranged and ready for the wedding day. The only drama was that the air-conditioning in the room that they were arranging the flowers in broke and as it was a really hot day, the blooms all started to open and some began to wilt. Luckily Dad came up with a brilliant suggestion to put ice in the with the flower water to keep all the blooms cool. That did the trick and actually they were all lovely and in full bloom for the day.
The Zetter then found a cooler room in the hotel for us to store them in over night, ready for the tables the next day.
Mum chose simple arrangements of white peonies, David Austin roses, freesias, sweet peas, gardenia and bouvardia. As my family is Australian and Dominic’s family is Scottish, Mum laced Scottish Thistle and Australian Eucalyptus throughout the arrangements.
Mum also did an amazing bouquet for me and the flower girl was a floral princess. My bouquet was Lily-of-the-valley with sweet peas (which smelt amazing). The flower girl, Grace who is also my niece and God-daughter, had a halo of sweetheart roses in her hair and carried a rose ball. The rose ball was so heavy that I was worried that Grace wouldn’t be able to carry it down the aisle but she had no trouble at all and did her Grannie very proud.
Cocktails And Sunshine
Although the inside of the Zetter Townhouse is a cosy cocktail bar, we really wanted guests to enjoy the sunshine if it was a nice day. Luckily the sun came out for the cocktail reception and a jazz trio from the Royal Academy of Music played outside as guests arrived from the church.
After dinner, a band called Ear Candy played followed by a DJ, called Mark. Mark was recommended to us and he was so professional and helpful – he even organised the fairy lights that we suggested would be nice outside the restaurant for the evening.
We chose the Bistrot because we wanted the wedding breakfast to be great food in a relaxed and fun atmosphere so we didn’t want to make it look too much like a ‘wedding venue’. We kept the table decoration simple with glass candle holders with tall Ester & Erik candles, the fresh flowers and I had found vintage postcards (to match the retro vibe of The Zetter) that we used at each place setting with the menu on the back. Then of course there were the chocolate favourites of gold and silver Hershey’s kisses.
A Fleeting Moment
David Jenkins was recommended to me and when we met him we knew that he would take beautiful photos with few posed shots. Dominic and I are camera shy and although we were happy to have a few posed shots outside the church, we had both been to weddings where the photos take hours and we really didn’t want that. So, David just caught us throughout the day and we hardly noticed. We both felt comfortable and my favourite shots are the ones he caught in a fleeting moment.
I have a friend who is an amazing baker and she was happy to make the cake. I have always loved red velvet cake since my sister introduced me to it when she was living in Texas, and Tracy was happy to make it. She made three cakes and decorated them with sugar flower petals and lent us her vintage cake stands – they were perfect. Beside the cakes we placed framed photographs of our parents on their wedding day.
Our first dance song was ‘Something Changed’ by Pulp. Dominic has always been a Pulp fan and he suggested the song. Then about a month before the wedding, we had tickets for a Pulp gig in London. We had so much fun singing along to Something Changed that we knew it had to be our first dance song.
My favourite part of the day was when my Dad received a standing ovation for his speech. I am the youngest of three girls and the last to get married, and my Dad’s speech was beautiful.
It is easy to get swept away with wedding planning, but luckily Dominic and I were renovating our flat at the same time so we didn’t have much spare time to think or talk about the wedding day. I would say though that a few unique touches are nice. A friend of mine is a graphic designer and he made us s bespoke seating plan which was a map of London with guests names dotted about each icon. We then had the corresponding London icon at each table to help guests find their seat.
Photographer: David Jenkins
Dress: Monique Lhuillier at Brown’s Bride
Dress Alterations: Jo Evans email@example.com
Entertainment: Royal Academy of Music
Band: Ear Candy with Eight Ray Music
DJ: Mark at Mighty Fine Entertainment
Receptions venue: The Zetter Townhouse and The Zetter Hotel
Oh no, do you now have major dress envy?
Me too…..and I’m not even getting married.
Big Lily Of The Valley Love