Oh I love this couple and their contemporary wedding. They are just the epitome of cool. Bride Amanda's dress from Self Portrait is divine, with layer upon layer of broderie anglaise, delicate lace and a gorgeous spaghetti strap cross over back. Her best girls look equally stunning by her side in blush dresses from the high street, and if somebody could serve me a hostess trolley full of fabulous footwear like On Love and Photography captured I'd be very happy indeed. The Pergola Gardens where Amanda & Jonathan or Jamanda as their family have now named them said I do are simply magical. Marring on the lawn and then walking back through the beautiful gardens in procession with all their guests to the vintage red bus, before heading to swanky Shoreditch for their reception and even more gorgeous backdrops for photographs.
The DressAmanda the Bride: Shopping for a wedding dress was a completely scary process for me. I’m not a very ‘dressy’ girl so I found it very hard to picture myself in a wedding dress. Even watching endless marathons of Say Yes to the Dress could not get me in the mood. My cousin treated me to an appointment at Vera Wang in London which was a fantastic experience and I think that helped to get me in the right frame of mind. I decided to check out a wedding dress outlet with some friends but again all the dresses were so structured and formal! Eventually with three months to go and everyone panicking about my dress (apart from me) I hit the high street with two of my bridesmaids in the hope that a ready-to-wear dress would be the answer. It was at Harrods that I found my perfect Self Portrait dress. It’s funny because it’s so girly and revealing, two things that definitely do not describe my day to day style and yet it feels magical every time I wear it. It’s true when they say you just get ‘that’ feeling when you find the dress. Plus it was completely under budget and Harrods had at 30% off sale that weekend – Bargain! I shopped in the Selfridges sale and found my shoes from Dune. They were the perfect height and I knew I would be comfy in them all day. Aside from my engagement ring the only other jewellery I was wearing were the same earrings my mother wore on her wedding day, gold and fresh water pearls.
Grooms AttireJonathan’s suit was made to measure by Beggars Run in Bethnal Green who we found through our photographers and we loved that they were local to us. As a gift, his best man Michael, commissioned a pair of cufflinks for Jonathan that had our initials J and A engraved. The challenge to find a slim fit shirt without a huge collar was stressful however he found exactly what he wanted from Burberry. It’s safe to say the grooms outfit definitely exceed the cost of the brides!
VenuesWhen we got engaged we planned to get married in the Lake District which is a special place for us and where we spend a lot of family time. However after visiting a few venues we returned to London deflated about the cost. We decided to stay closer to home and get married in London. After hours, days and weeks of trawling the internet we found our slice of heaven, The Hill Garden and Pergola, Hampstead Heath. We wanted a venue with outdoor space and what was special about The Hill Garden was that it had a countryside feel whilst being in central London. We took a gamble on an outdoor wedding and it truly paid off. For the reception we wanted somewhere with character and for it to be local to us in East London. Once we saw the Gallery and Loft space at Beach Blanket Babylon we knew it was exactly what we wanted. Exposed beams, lots of natural light and personality. It is also parallel to one of our favourite roads, Redchurch Street. Having made a home for ourselves in East London for the last 4 years it was great to be able to go out with our photographers and capture the street art that this area of London is well known for.
Colour Scheme & Décor & FlowersWe did not have a particular colour scheme in mind. I put together a flower mood board which was a mixture of colours, both brights and pastels but all seasonal and wild in style. We sourced locally and found That Flower Shop and we left it as a pretty open brief for them. We were lucky with both venues in that we did not really have to decorate them. The Hill Garden was perfect in the sunshine and Beach Blanket Babylon already has so much character with converted barn features, fairy lights and candles that once the room was dressed with furniture and our table flowers it really did not need anything else.
The BridesmaidsIt was really important to me that my bridesmaids were happy in their dresses and to choose something they could wear again. I set a budget, colour and length and they all found dresses that suited them. I loved the different mix of shades and styles and I think everyone complimented each other. A friend helped with the bridesmaids with their hair. We kept it natural, down or half up in a plaited style if they wanted and they all did their own make up on the day.
Make up and HairA friend of mine put me in touch with Lauren and I went for a trial at her house in Chiswick. I had sent her a few mood images of make-up and hair that I loved. I don’t wear any make up other than mascara normally so she was really great in finding the balance and light coverage I needed to feel comfortable throughout the day. On the day Lauren was great, keeping me very relaxed and I felt amazing with my hair and make-up right until the end of the night.
Dean Street Town HouseThis is one of the most beautiful hotels that I have stayed in and it was a real treat to have this room to get ready in. After speaking with our photographers and remembering how beautifully they work with natural light I was happy to have a whole wall of windows with the sunlight shining through whilst we were getting ready. It was so relaxed in the morning, all getting our hair and make-up done and ordering room service for breakfast. My sister in law has spent some time living in Thailand and she brought us all brightly coloured pants to wear whilst getting ready.
CakesWe wanted to source as locally as possible and we found Lily Vanilli. Her cakes are stunning but not over the top. She is so great at decorating with flowers and adding little creative flourishes like mini golden pineapples made of blackberries. We decided to go for a strawberries and cream flavour, a sure crowd pleaser and perfect for the month of July. I also found in Brides magazine that Lily Vanilli created these edible cake pots and we thought they would be beautiful on the tables as extra decoration but was also the dessert at the end of the meal served with salted caramel ice cream. Our second cake was a traditional fruit cake made by Jonathan's aunt who made the exact same wedding cake for his parents 31 years ago.
Venue FoodWe did not want an extravagant menu but we wanted it to be a special experience for everyone. The events chef at Beach Blanket Babylon curated a menu that had a lot of sharing elements which we thought would be fun and interactive. From the canapés through to the main meal it was completely seasonal too. Jonathan and I really love food so it was important for us to be happy with this aspect of the day and the team at BBB were great at arranging tastings and letting us feedback to them so that it was a truly personal menu. In the evening we had a selection of traditional British home comforts in individual portions such as shepherd’s pie and fish and chips. It was great served around 10pm when a lot of people had been celebrating for most of the day.
Wedding FavoursA couple of my bridesmaids and I went to my in-laws house in the Lake District in February to make our wedding favours. We made little jars of chili jam and apple chutney using family recipes. The second favours were made by my bridesmaid Caitlin Cox and I a few days before the wedding and were boxes of little hazelnut and dark chocolate truffles.
DJ & EntertainmentJonathan and I put together playlists for the ceremony and the reception playing a mix of all our favourite songs which created a lovely atmosphere. Our DJ was a recommendation from Beach Blanket Babylon and we just asked him to have a range of classics from the 80’s through to current music and also take requests from guests.
First DanceOur first dance was to L-O-V-E by Natalie Cole which was really fun and jazzy. It was a song that my parents played a lot to me growing up so it was quite a sentimental choice. We are both quite nervous about dancing in front of everyone so after a verse, chorus and quick twirl we invited everyone on the dance floor to join us. Thankfully they did!
TransportWe knew we wanted something that shouted ‘London’ especially as we had family coming from America that had never been to the UK and a vintage London Routemaster was really fun and a great way to get everyone from A to B. The bridal party was also taken to the ceremony venue in traditional London Black taxis which carried on our London theme.
PhotographersThe photographer was one of the most important decisions for us. These are the images that you look back on in years to come that capture the essence of your special day and so we knew we were going to be picky! Having been to a few wedding events the best one I attended was A Most Curious Wedding Fair at the Truman Brewery on Brick Lane. The range of exhibitors are very creative and individual and this is where we met Giulia and Ben from On Love and Photography. We knew we had to have them as our photographers. The way they work with the natural light is stunning and their different styles of photography complimented each other. Having the both of them there on the day meant that they would not miss a moment. We could not be more in love with our final photos. They weren’t just our photographers on the day but friends there to help us out when we needed it.
Wedding Dress: Self Portrait at Harrods | Bridal Shoes: Dune at Selfridges | Engagement Ring: Anna Sheffield | Wedding Band: London Rocks Jewellery | Hair & Makeup: Lauren Elise Wright | Venue: The Hill Garden and Pergola | Beach Blanket | Florist: That Flower Shop | Cake: Lily Vanilli | Stationery: Moo | Transport: City of London Black taxis | Routemaster Hire | Addison Lee | Grooms Suit: Beggars Run | Shirt: Burberry | Tie: Peckham Rye | Grooms Shoes: Jules B | Bridesmaid Dresses: ASOS | Dorothy Perkins | Topshop