I can't tell you how excited I am to share this city wedding with you. It is literally a feast for the eyes from start to finish. It has the most adorable family, wearing the most fabulous fashion and is absolutely brimming with the most beautiful blooms. The forest green, red & white colour scheme looks divine amongst the London transport and underground signs and the hints of gold in the bridesmaids Virgos Lounge gowns adds a touch of Gatsby glamour. As does the classic black tie suits worn by the groomsmen and the heavenly Eliza Jane Howell Clarissa gown and Juliet cap veil worn by bride Alex. Can we also take a moment to appreciate her rose gold Alberto Zago shoes. Oh. My! With nods to groom Hesbon's African heritage, lovingly made homemade cakes, a sentimental cake topper and Marie Wootton Wedding Photographer capturing all the love between this beautiful family unit it's guaranteed to warm the heart and make your Monday much brighter.
The DressAlex the Bride: Having decided on a city wedding, and picked Chandos House as our reception venue, the glitz and glamour of the 1920s was calling to me! I had a look online and knew that I really loved the style of the Eliza Jane Howell dresses. I found out Morgan Davies Bridal boutique in Hitchin, the town my parents lived in, were Eliza Jane Howell stockists and my mum and I booked an appointment. I tried on A LOT of dresses in a million different styles from different designers but the classic design and beautiful beading of Eliza Jane Howell’s Clarissa gown stood out to me, it felt so lovely to wear and I knew it was ‘the one’ instantly.
Bridal AccessoriesI then started thinking about accessories and knew I wanted to wear a veil of some kind. I looked to Pinterest for inspiration and really loved the look of Juliet cap veils and had found a few that I liked on Etsy, however, I was really keen to have the chance to try some on and see if they suited me before buying one. I found out that the National Vintage Wedding Fair was being held in Chiswick, just a short walk from my house… a perfect opportunity to scout out vintage veils! I found a beautiful, vintage, beaded cap veil, there was only one, and it was like it was waiting there for me! I originally wanted a pair of green shoes but couldn’t find any that I liked. I eventually came across a beautiful gold leather pair of Alberto Zago shoes that worked perfectly with my outfit and with the wedding theme. My hair was styled by my amazing and uber-talented friend Valerie and I did my own makeup.
JewelleryMy wedding ring was a bespoke order from Jewellery By Design in Hitchin. I had ordered a ring from Etsy that ended up not working with the shape of my engagement ring and so I dropped in to Jewellery By Design to put in a panicked, last-minute order. Andy was really calm, helpful and reassuring and they created exactly what I wanted. They also resized my engagement ring and polished it up so that is was all sparkly for the big day. They were so fast and professional. As for other jewellery, my mum has a beautiful pair of Art Deco style diamond and jade earrings and she suggested that these were my ‘something borrowed’ for the day. I love that they added a little pop of colour and something different to my outfit! I originally wanted a pair of green shoes but couldn’t find any that I liked. I eventually came across a beautiful gold leather pair of Alberto Zago shoes that worked perfectly with my outfit and with the wedding theme. My hair was styled by my amazing and uber-talented friend Valerie and I did my own makeup.
The Grooms FashionWe both decided that Tuxedos would fit well with the style of the day. Hesbon tried on lots of Tuxedos but didn’t find one that he liked as much or felt as good in as one that he already owned. He therefore treated himself to a lovely new Thomas Pink tuxedo shirt and Ted Baker shoes from Selfridges. His green silk knitted bowtie with gold v-dots was from Tieroom and was very similar to the one that the groomsmen wore but had the polka dots to differentiate him and also to match our little son’s green and gold bowtie. He wanted a slightly different pocket square to the rest of the groomsmen. We ended up finding the perfect pocket square that was different shades of green and gold on Amazon!
The VenueWe knew we wanted a London venue. London has been the backdrop to all the important events in our relationship! We met at a wedding in Malawi but it was in London that we had our first date and had our first flat together and our little boy was also born here. Hesbon also proposed to me in London. London just felt like the perfect setting to say ‘I do’. We knew we wanted to get married at Hesbon’s Parish church in Brook Green, our little boy was baptised there and it has a lot of meaning for us. For our reception venue, we needed somewhere fairly spacious as we both have large families. We wanted somewhere that could accommodate a sit down dinner for 110 guests, we also wanted somewhere with accommodation so that our one and a half year old could easily go up to bed when he was tired, and we knew this would suit our friends with children too. We loved Chandos House from the second we saw it and Charlotte Thatcher, the wedding coordinator there at the time, was incredible. We knew as soon as we met her and saw the venue that this was the place we wanted to hold our wedding. It ticked all our boxes; the possibility of exclusive hire, accommodation on site, great food and beautiful to boot!
Colour Scheme/DécorThe colours running through our day were gold, dark green and dark berry colours. We wanted to have a bit of a London theme going through our wedding décor as well as some 1920s glamour. We booked two vintage London buses to get the guests from the church to the reception venue and we had vintage bus tickets (bought on Etsy) attached to the Order of Service for a bit of fun. Guests could exchange their tickets for some glasses of bubbly and little paper bags filled with popcorn (lovingly stuffed by me and the bridesmaids the night before the wedding) to enjoy on the journey to Chandos House. We carried this vintage London transport theme out in little ways throughout the decor. I handmade our table plan using a vintage tube map and luggage tags. Our table numbers were tube stations that had some significance/meaning to me and Hesbon. We managed to source postcards of art deco posters of London Underground stations for each of these tube stops, which we put in frames on each of the tables. I also manged to find a gold-toned vintage cigarette case with a tube map engraved inside. My mum made two ring cushions using dark green African fabric (a nod to our meeting in Malawi and Hesbon’s Kenyan heritage) to go inside and we used this as our ring box. We also had a Postbox that guests could use for posting our wedding cards that we hired from The White Wardrobe in Hitchin.
FloristAs we were having a city wedding we couldn’t rely on a beautiful, rolling countryside to provide the aesthetics. We really wanted the centrepieces and bouquets to inject some dramatic, colourful pops of nature into our day. Finding a good florist was really important to me. I stumbled across a wedding blog post featuring a wedding with the most stunning and unusual flower arrangements and I immediately scrolled down to find the contact details of the florist, Gayle from Bloomingayles. Gayle was so accommodating, creative, organised and in tune with what we wanted. She was so much more than just a florist she helped us with the finishing touches to our homemade wedding cake, lent us wonderful terrariums, vases, candles and generally worked wonders on the venue on the morning of the wedding day! I completely trusted her judgement and it definitely paid off! Our bouquets were stunning and so many people commented on my enormous trailing bouquet, it became the star of the day!! Gayle also made unique headpieces for each of the bridesmaids and a gorgeous flower crown for me that I wore in the evening. I couldn’t have been happier with all of the flowers, Gayle was an incredible supplier!
The Wedding Party FashionThese were actually the first thing that I bought… even before my own dress! I knew I wanted something unusual for my five lovely bridesmaids. I didn’t really know what I was looking for but came across a stunning cream midi dress with gold art deco beading by Virgos Lounge. I immediately sent the picture to all the girls via our Whatsapp group and they unanimously agreed that it was perfect… It felt a bit risky ordering them all online without them trying it on (especially as my friend Lucy only flew in the night before the wedding from Hong Kong) but thankfully they all fit and suited them perfectly. They accessorised them with their own gold heels. I bought them each a gold chain necklace with a simple green jade bar and their heads were topped with Gayle’s beautiful Green and Berry coloured floral crowns. I also gave them each a jade green pashmina. My Maid of Honour was actually a ‘Man of Honour’, my brother, James! He wore a cream herringbone 3 piece suit from ASOS and a cream and gold chevron bowtie that I found on Etsy. The bowtie tied in perfectly with the bridesmaids dresses! I had two teeny little flower girls, aged 7 months and 21 months, and they both wore pretty little cream and gold tulle dresses from Monsoon and cream and gold polkadot tights. The groomsmen wore Tuxedos. They accessorised these with green knitted bowties and white and green pocket squares that we bought from Topman. We also gave them each some cufflinks with a picture of a King Protea on them to compliment the flower arrangements. Gayle made them each slightly different buttonholes. I like that they were all unique. Our best man was our one and a half year old son, Joshua (he had help from an assistant best man in the form of Hesbon’s best friend and my cousin, Paul). They each wore little dark green and gold badges, resembling school prefect badges, that said ‘best man’. I found the badges in a little gift shop in Hitchin, Hermitage and Co. It was perfect as they were our wedding colours, it made it clear that Josh wasn’t just a page boy and we wanted him to be able keep it as a little memento of the day. Josh’s outfit was chosen to compliment the groomsmen’s tuxedos whilst still allowing him to look like a toddler. He wore a dark green bowtie with gold spots that I bought on Etsy with a white shirt, black trousers and black braces. We also got him a little toy red route master bus as a present/memento of the day and this became his permanent accessory and he’s holding it in all the photos which is adorable!
CeremonyThe ceremony was my favourite part of the whole day. It really felt like Hesbon and I were in a little bubble. Other than the moment Joshua was born, I have never felt as happy as I did standing next to Hesbon and saying my vows. It was magical! The ceremony felt really personal and it meant so much to us that my cousin Annie and Hesbon’s sister Shiko did our readings. After the ceremony our friends and family had gathered outside the church and were blowing bubbles. The groomsmen had set up a table with Prosecco and popcorn and everyone was chatting and mingling, this was such a happy time before heading off to the venue on the buses. I think your wedding day is all about the little moments!
EntertainmentMy brother James, played and sung our first dance song (Bob Marley’s ‘Is This Love’) and went onto do a 20-30 minute set. Everyone was up and dancing and this is a close second to my favourite moment of the day, after the ceremony itself. As soon as he finished the DJ, JB, started up and did a brilliant set! JB had played at Hesbon’s cousin’s wedding the previous year and we knew then that we needed to book him for our own wedding.
FoodChandos House provide in-house catering and their food was delicious! We really enjoyed sampling lots of the food during our tasting afternoon! There were an array of canapes served when guests arrived from the church followed by a sit down dinner and then sausage butties in the evening! It all went down really well with guests and they were fantastic at catering for the needs of people with dietary requirements which was a big concern for us as we wanted all of our guests to be happy! My talented Granny baked our beautiful three-tier wedding cake and the two of us decorated it, using edible gold leaf and edible watercolours. It was so much fun creating something with my Granny and I loved the finished product! We ordered a gold cake topper that said ‘To the moon and back’ as these are the words that are at the end of one of Joshua’s books, ‘Guess How Much I Love You’, that we read to him almost every night.
PhotographerI cried when I saw our photos from our extremely talented photographer, Marie Wootton. She captured exactly what our day was about. The street shots that she took are breathtakingly beautiful and it was so funny walking around Oxford Street amongst all the Saturday shoppers and tourists with Hesbon in our wedding clothes. We still crack up every time we think about all the funny looks and comments that we got. She also manged to capture so many lovely reportage shots of our guests and the day in general. The problem has been deciding which photos to have framed!!! We love them all. Marie was also the person who planted the seed about Juliet veils. She was really in tune with our vision for the day and was really supportive and helpful, sending us lots of links/suppliers that we might be interested in. Marie definitely went above and beyond her role and we really appreciated that!
VideographerMy multi-tasking brother, James (also ‘Man of Honour’ and provider of the acoustic set), managed to shoot quite a lot of footage of the day and edited a gorgeous wedding video for us using his own footage and some from other guests…he made the backing music for the video too. He was our star of the day and we can’t thank him enough for everything that he did for us!
Homemade AspectsWe made a photo booth area with a black backdrop with gold stars with a little bench in front for guests to sit on. We filled a basket with vintage themed props and had a table set up with two Polaroid cameras, lots of film and our guestbook with pens and glue. We made a sign to let guests know to stick a picture in the guestbook and take one home. It worked really well and our guestbook is brilliant! We asked all family members to send us their wedding photos in advance and had these all printed and framed on the mantel pieces around the venue. My parents made our wedding favours for guests. They brewed their own damson gin made with the damsons picked from my granny’s garden and put them in individual bottles for each of the guests. They also put sugared almonds in little bags for each of the guests, which is a Greek tradition, and is a nod to my dad’s Greek heritage.
Dress Designer: Eliza Jane Howell- Clarissa | Bridal Boutique: Morgan Davies Bridal | Veil: vintage Wedding Fair | Bridal Shoes: Alberto Zago | Bridesmaid Dresses: Virgos Lounge | Bridesmaid Jade necklaces: Etsy | Flower Girls: Monsoon | Groomsmen Suits: Moss Bros Hire | Bow Ties & Pocket Squares: Topman | Brides Man Suit: ASOS | Page Boy: Gap | Page Boy Accessories: Children's Special Occasionwear | Venue: Chandos House | Florist: Bloomingalyles | Stationery : Paperless Post | Transport: London Bus Group | Videography: Overland Originals