Gorgeous bride Amy purchased her dress at one of the infamous Halfpenny London sample sales. Held at the boutique just a few times a year, it’s a fabulous way of snapping up one of Kate’s gorgeous gowns for a lower price. Keep an eye on the Halfpenny social media channels if you want to be kept in the loop.
As expected from such a savvy Bride, this wedding is gorgeous, showcasing some of our favourite London venues and filled with the kind of decor you can recreate yourselves – glitter dipped vases, tea lights and simple foliage with roses. Planned to perfection by Louise Perry and with images from Ellie Gillard, let’s take a look and just soak up the pretty shall we?
Amy the Bride: I’d never really thought about getting married (not the best opener for a wedding blog!), but when Ollie proposed, out of the blue, I said yes in a heartbeat. So, we set about trying to figure out what our wedding would look like – and Pinterest quickly became my best friend!
I always drag out big decision-making, so when I saw a dress I liked I signed up for the designer’s sample sale: I knew I needed the pressure of an on-the-spot purchase to make sure I wouldn’t still be deliberating dress options a week before the wedding.
I lost count of how many dresses I tried on during my hour’s appointment at Halfpenny London’s sample sale, but it was the look on my friends’, Tamsin and Liz’s faces that told me I’d found the one! The next day, Liz Whatsapp’d me pictures of brides in leather jackets, which not only appealed to my inner Rizzo but would offer some warmth for our February wedding.
My bespoke vintage crystal necklace, made by the incredibly talented Victoria Millesime was the perfect finishing touch to accompany the Georgian lace veil that my Nan and Mum had also worn on their wedding days.
Ollie the Groom: I wanted to strike the balance between something smart – befitting my wedding day – but didn’t fancy tails and wanted to avoid looking like I was going to work in the city. I liked the idea of textures and saw a few mismatching three-pieces; allowing me to wear the tie and waistcoat that I wanted, while offering something a bit different to traditional tailoring. Amy grew up in the Pennines and was keen to include heather in the wedding – and so a purple knitted tie added some colour to my classic grey suit.
Having started dating and made our home in south London, we knew it’s where we wanted to get married, but I didn’t want a church wedding and Ollie didn’t want a registry office one, so, when we came across the Asylum, it seemed too good to be true.
We wanted a fun, informal time with family and friends so we checked out a lot of pubs for the reception, but then one evening we were walking passed Brixton East and decided to knock on the door. The manager Andy – one of the nicest men we’ve ever met – let us in and we fell in love with the place straight away!
However, both the Asylum and Brixton East are dry hire and we knew we couldn’t coordinate a day at these two venues on our own – especially with our families based up north, and half of our wedding party overseas – which is where the fabulous Louise Perry comes in. Louise had helped plan one of my friend’s weddings a few years ago and from the get-go, Louise and Natalie’s friendly efficiency, professionalism and yes-we-can approach were invaluable.
We met Lisa in her cosy little back-garden workshop and, after the briefest of chats about the vague ideas we’d had, she rustled up a stunning centrepiece from flowers, greenery and bottles she just seemed to have lying around. She was so accommodating: using the templates I cut out to make our gold glittery table numbers, incorporating the feathers my Dad had collected from the countryside where I grew up into the buttonholes, and personally delivering my beautiful bouquet on the morning of the wedding.
The Wedding Party
Jen, my only bridesmaid/Best Woman, is based in Nottingham, so we both logged on and looked at the Dessy range to find a purple dress that reflected the style and cut of mine.
We wanted our wedding party to feel relaxed so asked my Dad, the Best Men and our groomsmen to wear their own grey suits and a white shirt, buying everyone knitted purple ties to match Ollie’s and the colour of Jen’s dress; gold socks, like my shoes; and initialled gold tie clips as ‘thank you’s.
We love live music, so my friend playing Dire Straits’ Romeo & Juliet on her guitar as I walked down the aisle and two of our other friends singing King Charles’ Love Lust and David Bowie’s Heroes during the signing of the register were some of our day’s highlights.
For the evening, a ‘gig-feel’ was a must-have. We clicked with Al from The Undercover Monkeys immediately. Their set list covered most of the songs we wanted and, if it wasn’t there, they were very willing to learn it – like our first dance. They were so good, our friends are going to ask them to play at their wedding next year!
To add an extra element of fun to our evening, we had face painting: shortly after we got engaged, we went to a Leap Year party at The Vaults in Waterloo, where there was sparkly face painting so we nabbed the idea. A lot of fun when you’re drunk!
One of the best pieces of advice we were given was that, as long as your guests are well-fed and watered they will be happy. Homemade sloe gin accompanied the hand warmers at the Asylum, to keep our guests warm in the drafty Grade II listed building, and our groomsmen kept glasses well topped up on the Routemaster bus between the ceremony and reception – meaning everyone was very merry by the time they arrived at Brixton East.
We had the most amazing offers from friends to make our canapes and supper buffet. Ollie’s mum made our after dinner chocolates, and my Dad made our wedding cake based on my Nan’s fruitcake recipe. Although I did regret deciding to decorate the cake myself when I was covered in royal icing 24 hours before we were due to get married!
We chose a Sunday roast for our Sunday wedding, which Peyton delivered far beyond our expectations. With no catering facilities at Brixton East, Peyton brought in their own ovens and served bowl-upon-bowl of roast potatoes, vegetables and jugs of gravy to the point that our guests couldn’t finish it all. The meat was served in joints and on each table there was a golden ticket taped to the bottom of a chair to designate carvers – who were each given rather fetching flowery aprons.
For us picking a good photographer was key: they capture the day’s memories for you to look back on, including those moments that the Bride and Groom often don’t get to see. We loved Ellie’s reportage style and, from our first Skype chat, felt immediately comfortable with her. Ellie came armed with ideas, a smile, and, as she was laid flat on her back in the middle of Parliament square in order to get the best angle of us and Big Ben during our engagement shoot, we knew we couldn’t have chosen anyone better to photograph our Big Day.