Architects always have the best style – it’s a profession I’d have loved to do, if I could do maths and had a better sense of spatial awareness 😉 So featuring the weddings of architects is pretty much the best next thing for me. Abigail and Andrew’s wedding is every bit as thoughtful, well put together and chic as I’d expect from a couple who careers are based on strong and beautiful visuals and clear functional concepts.
The pair chose Bermondsey Yard Cafe for their reception, which was the perfect blank canvas for them to unleash their understated, elegant style on. We love the mix of industrial and chic – it’s a combination they’ve completely nailed for the whole wedding. Enjoy this one loves, the images come from the wonderful Michelle Wood.
Abigail the Bride: Wedding dress shopping is not easy. I did my research and went to several appointments in London boutiques, always leaving disappointed. A friend then suggested that I try her friend’s boutique in Leamington Spa – Tilly Trotters Brides. They were so helpful, the appointment didn’t feel rushed (I also didn’t have to pay for it!) and they had a wide range of dresses so I could try lots of different shapes/styles. I left with a very simple silk Andrea Hawkes dress. I had a bit of a wobble when I tried the dress on a few months later, deciding that it wasn’t quite right, but I found the incredibly talented Satish from Elite Alterations (who I got chatting to at a sample sale and found out lives in my home town of Bedford) and she worked wonders with the dress and also advised on the right underwear. It turns out nude coloured underwear for people with darker skin is very difficult to find!!
I bought my veil and shoes from Les Trois Soeurs in London. The shoes were Badgely Mischka and were called Abigail, which swung it for me. Also the wedge heel for the comfort factor! My rings are very delicate 1mm thick bands in rose gold, so I chose fine rose gold jewellery to match.
We are both architects living and working in London and therefore decided an urban London wedding would suit us best. We absolutely fell in love with the Asylum Chapel when we saw it for the first time. Oh the light filtering through the stained glass windows! the crumbling walls! the candles! the portico! the history! Frances, the Asylum coordinator, was just so helpful and everything ran like clockwork on the day. I would definitely recommend having a coordinator, as this is optional.
We printed the history of the chapel on the back of the order of service – as everyone assumes it’s a lunatic asylum, which is a bit dark for a wedding venue. After the ceremony we hired vintage red buses to take us to Bermondsey for the evening reception at the Bermondsey Yard Cafe (BYC). After looking at lots of venues, including dry hire options, we chose the BYC for its proximity to the asylum, its relaxed vibe and the fact that we just didn’t have time to organise separate suppliers for catering, drinks and venue. The BYC also has an outdoor space which was great as it was sunny and it’s super conveniently located close to London Bridge station.
The colour scheme was decided by the bridesmaids dresses. I had initially wanted turquoise or blue to tone with the chapel interiors, but we couldn’t find the right dresses in those shades. So we ended up with dusky pink with white florals and greenery. The Asylum doesn’t need any extra decor – we kept it simple with their candles and a plywood welcome board, hand painted by Andrew’s dad. Andrew’s mum made the willow baskets for the confetti cones. My mum made the petal and lavender confetti by was collecting and drying rose petals for months.
The theme for the table plan was houses designed by famous architects – a nod to our profession and the fact that we are now Mr and Mrs House! We also had a brass house-shaped cake topper on our pork pie cake. Our very talented graphic designer friend Ceri designed our A+A logo-ed invites and we used that logo throughout the rest of the stationery, simply printed in black and white on textured cream card and tracing paper.
We made personalised pepper jar favours that doubled as the table place cards. We chose peppercorns as they are from the Malabar Coast, which is where we spent part of our honeymoon.
Catherine at Floral Evolution provided the gorgeous bouquets, button holes, greenery and table centre pieces. I gave her a very loose brief (white and green, not too structured) and she did an amazing job with seasonal flowers. She also provided all the vases at the BYC with individual stems. This was a really cost effective way to soften the space and I’m glad we decided to add the vases last minute at my mum’s suggestion.
The Wedding Party
The bridesmaids dresses were possibly one of the most difficult things to agree on. It’s very hard to find one dress that pleases everyone. As my bridesmaids all live at opposite ends of the country it was also difficult to meet up and try things together. So we went for ASOS dresses in the end – easy to try and send back – plus they do a maternity range as one of the bridesmaids was expecting! The groomsmen wore their own navy suits with pink Reiss ties to match the bridesmaids dresses. We bought them monogrammed cuff links and tie pins from Notonthehighstreet.
The ceremony was led by Yvonne Beck. Yvonne worked with us to create a very personal ceremony which incorporated readings from the brides sister and a friend.
We had initially hired a string quartet recommended to me by a friend. They were so good that they were also asked to play at Prince Harry and Meghan Markels wedding (which took place the day after ours). As rehearsals for the royal wedding clashed with our day, they organised a replacement for us…Leos Strings. They were absolutely amazing and really added to the ambience of the chapel with a mix of classical and contemporary music. During the meal we had a playlist put together by a friend and another friend DJed in the evening. We also hired Nisha, a menhdi artist, to do henna tattoos on guests after the meal in a nod to my Indian roots. This went down a storm although I was a little nervous about getting henna covered hugs from friends and ruining my dress! Fortunately the dress was unscathed.
We also had the obligatory photobooth. We provided a flip flop crate for guests and little bathroom beauty kits. Whilst these were quite time consuming to organise, guests have since told me that they were very appreciative of those touches.
We toyed with the idea of canapés at the Asylum but decided to keep costs down and arrange our own snacks – cupcakes and a tiered pork pie. The pork pie was very popular! We considered arranging our own drinks too, but in the end the thought of transporting ice, cups, etc was too much and we booked The Travelling Gin Co. to serve drinks after the ceremony at the Asylum. They were brilliant and the G&Ts were delicious.
I wanted a photographer that had shot at the Asylum before, and found Michelle online on Rock My Wedding. Michelle also lives in Bedford! We had a practice run engagement shoot in Bedfordshire at the derelict Houghton House and we ‘clicked’ with Michelle straight away (haha!). Neither of us are particularly natural in front of the camera but Michelle completely put us at ease and captured the wedding perfectly in a relaxed and contemporary style that suited us completely. It’s been hard to choose our favourite pictures as they are all so lovely.
When I got engaged a friend recommended keeping £1000 contingency in the wedding budget for additional extras the month before the wedding. I thought she was joking, but actually we did end up getting last minute things we hadn’t budgeted for, like a cake stand for the pork pies and the table flowers, so this was good advice! Londoners – consider leaving London to go dress shopping. Most boutiques have the designers that you like, but without the long waiting lists for appointments and then paying for the privilege. Definitely do an engagement shoot, especially if you hate having your photo taken – good practice for the day and we got some great shots in a cool location! Abbie xx