Anabel the Bride: Callum and I were determined to find a hidden gem of a wedding venue and we certainly did that. Hoxton Hall is the most glorious Victorian Music hall. It is so unassuming from the outside but the moment I saw the theatre space and the wrought iron balustrades overlooking the hall I was sold. As an actress the idea of getting married in a theatre felt apt. There was plenty of space for Scottish dancing but at the same time the hall was small enough for the whole day to feel intimate. We completely transformed the adjoining rehearsal room space with flowers and drapes to create a perfect dining space. It was important to me to feel like the venue was full to bursting in order to really enhance the celebratory atmosphere.
I tried on so many dresses and could have designed a completely different wedding around each and every one! My venue and concept for the wedding totally influenced my decision. I found the dream dress at House Of Vintage Bride. It is a 50's design but the lace sleeves and layered skirt hark back to a Victorian aesthetic. I fell head over heels for the pointed sleeves and collar, the oyster satin fabric underneath and the glorious peplum and layers of perfectly preserved lace. The moment I caught sight of it I knew I had found something special. It also kind of reminded me of a Dolce and Gabbana advert - that inspired my styling direction. I found the 1920's headdress at pennies Vintage in Angel and customised gold court shoes with vintage shoe clips found on Etsy. My veil was £20 from a second hand shop. My hot pink 70's caped evening dress was also a vintage find. I couldn't resist it especially for £50! Both dresses moved so beautifully on the dancefloor.
Callum chose a beautiful grey tartan called 'Eternity' for his new kilt and fly plaid . It had an ivory woven set running through which complemented the tone of my dress. We chose antique gold buttons to complete his sharply tailored kilt jacket and waistcoat and I surprised him with antique gold and silver cufflinks and button holes to match the mixed metal rings which we designed. He looked so handsome!
Colour scheme and Decor
Callum is Scottish and I am half Turkish so our food and music choices were led by typically cultural flavours. We kept it subtle but I would describe the day as a Turkish / Scottish / Victorian theatrical riot with a prohibition cocktail club style aura! It was atmospheric that's for sure. We hired a beautiful lighting canopy from Party Lights and I dotted tradition Turkish lanterns everywhere. I stuck Scottish Lichen on every bare surface.
The flowers were faux!! Lisa (founder of Foliage Folk) designs displays for Liberty - she is supremely talented and the most wonderful women. She went above and beyond to make both rooms look absolutely outstanding.
I wanted an abundance of foliage and muted florals that were reminiscent of dried flowers. I chose muted blush, green, peach, ivory and darker burgundy tones to tie with the tone of my dress and the theatre curtains at Hoxton hall. I decided on a dramatic trailing Victorian style bouquet. Faux flowers meant I could pack the venue full for a more reasonable price and also not kill a tonne of flowers for the sake of one day. The beauty of a faux bouquet means i still enjoy looking at it every day. It is in a beautiful vase in my living room!
Wedding Party Fashion
I wanted my bridesmaids to wear whatever they felt good in so everyone chose their own dresses. I sent a strict bridezilla mood board of colours (the tones in my bouquet) and examples of the style direction (vintage, muted, tulle, lace, Victorian, whimsical). I hand made ivy headdresses entwined with pearls on gold wire. It all came together so perfectly. Seeing all the bridesmaids together was the first thing to set me off on the day. I wept with joy and proclaimed under my breath that I was "the best wedding planner ever" my best friend won't let me live that one down!
I wrote a poem for Callum which my Uncle read out as a surprise to kick off the proceedings. He is excellent at impersonations and had everybody in stitches. It was the perfect juxtaposition to our very serious registrar. I made a grand entrance with my entourage and a Turkish drummer and pipe player which took everybody by surprise. The normally poker faced Callum showed all his emotional facial expressions in the space of 30mins. We wrote our own vows and every guest in attendance shed a tear. It was romantic, highly emotional and truly magical. We danced out of the venue and formed a conga down the street with the musicians in tow. We brought Hoxton Street to a complete standstill - passers by stopped in their tracks to cheer and film the spectacle.
My biggest splurge was three live music acts ... The Turkish musicians, a gypsy jazz band who had everyone on their feet during the canapé reception and a post modern jukebox style group in the evening. I also roped in my talented friends. James played the bagpipes as guests arrived and Adrienne and Tom performed an acoustic version of Whitney Houstons 'Somebody who loves me'. All of the guests sang along in varying degrees of talent and drunkenness. The dancefloor was chockablock all day. We also had a mini Scottish Ceilidh as our first dance. My talented Choreographer friend, Jacquie did an excellent job as the caller despite having never even been to a Ceilidh.
Social Pantry did a wondrous job of seamlessly combining Scottish and Turkish cuisine for our canapé reception. The main course was a delicious Turkish lamb dish which had guests literally squealing in delight. We fancied a croque en Bouche instead of a cake. It was filled with hazelnut cream and coated in crunchy caramel, pistachios and dried cranberries. We smashed it with a mallet!
We were incredibly lucky to be able to have a free bar all day due to Callum's work with Bacardi. Social Pantry supplied a fantastic mixologist and we created our own bespoke cocktails including 'Anabel's Fury' and 'Callum's Inward joy mojito'. Safe to say it got messy. In the evening we tactically served Macaroni Pies to ensure that guests lasted the distance. It worked. My godmother famously started crying when the final song played. She just didn't want it to be over.
Ben did such a great job in capturing the emotion of the day. He was such a pleasure to have around ... if anything I would have liked to see more of him. He also oversaw the lighting design in the morning to ensure his shots of the ceremony would be well lit. I was so grateful for that.
His photography is an editorial/ documentary style. I'm so happy we decided to go in that direction.I believe they are the greatest wedding photos ever taken!
I hired a black cab to travel to the venue with my family and to go on a jaunt around The Boundary Estate in Shoreditch (where we lived for many years) for our portraits. Tony and Ross at Corporate Cabs were so accommodating and reliable.
We designed a family crest style logo with my Uncle who is a talented cartoonist. It combined a Scottish thistle and Turkish cotton plant. It acted as a letterhead on all of our stationary and posters on the front of the theatre. I did all the calligraphy myself.
We used Paperless post for our invitations - we found a perfect theatre ticket template.
My favourite project was creating the table plan and decorating it with lichen.
I also enjoyed making a speech - a bride doesn't need to be silent!
Weddings are so emotional... they make people (including the bride to be) act in mysterious and unexpected ways! I'd love to write a whole blog post for RMW on that subject actually!
So my advice would be expect the unexpected from your nearest and dearest and let it go over your head!
Also, I uncharacteristically took up boxing and meditation to deal with some of my wedding planning anxiety!!!! I've never been in better shape physically and mentally.
Meditating on the morning of the big day ensured I was so present and calm all day. I didn't feel like the day whizzed by at all ... it was as though every second stretched out long enough for me to savour, enjoy and replay again and again!