Danielle the Bride:
We had a fated meeting. Ed met Sasha while teaching English in India before university. When Sasha later moved to London, he and Ed became fast friends. I also knew Sasha through a good friend in London.
I had planned to meet Sasha for dinner, but one of Sasha’s little quirks is that he doesn’t really like talking while eating, so he invited Ed to keep me entertained while he ate. We started talking about my recent marathon in Antarctica and his previous mountain climb in the Himalayas…and Sasha couldn’t get a word in for the rest of the evening. Thereafter, I was jokingly (sort of) referred to as Mrs Burns by Sasha who was surprised he hadn’t thought to introduce them sooner (he was a head hunter after all, so matching people was his business).
Just a few months later, Ed (not a runner) secretly signed up to join me on a 4-day, self-supported marathon through the Amazon jungle. It was one of the most romantic gestures I had ever received. While traveling in Brazil, we went to the Bom Fim church and received the wish ribbons. We each silently made a wish and tied them on their wrists.
Fast-forward a year later to a cycling trip through the Pyrenees (I was not previously a cyclist) which went slightly sideways, and Ed promised to plan a weekend away to make it up to me. He took me to Italy and proposed at sunset on the terrace of a boutique hotel in Tuscany over a glass of prosecco. He used the wish ribbon he had tied around his wrist in Brazil and confessed that he had made a wish that one day I would be his wife. I balled with joy and confessed I had also wished that we would marry.
I knew I didn’t want a traditional dress. After trying a few dresses in London to get a sense of what I didn’t like, I started looking online. Several weeks later, I stumbled on the Houghton
website and found my glittering rock and roll frock. I called them immediately to ask about setting up a fitting – in New York. Unfortunately, they no longer made the dress…but they had one sample size left…and it was my size. I booked an appointment for two days later and bought a ticket for myself and my mum (to meet her) that evening. As soon as I put it on, I knew, and the first thing my mum said was that it would look fabulous in photos. Even the dress was an adventure!
I wore Sophia Webster flamingo heels during the ceremony and switched to gold Converse for the reception. Jewellery included a gold and silver bracelet from my grandmother; earrings that Ed bought for me at a French street market while on holiday (20 euros!); a pearl bracelet given to bridesmaids at her sister’s wedding; and, the most precious gift given by her sister - a cloth band with “I love you” written on it in her father’s hand, copied from a love letter he had sent her mother when they were courting (due to a neurodegenerative disease, he is confined to a nursing home).
Ed wore a handsome blue suit and “Rapha pink” accents as a nod to his love of cycling. A few days before the wedding, I had hot pink socks sent to his office with a note saying “don’t get cold feet”.
Ed and I wanted a wedding that reflected our sense of adventure and family. So we spent time considering each component of our day to think about how we could infuse it with a sense of adventure, family/friends and make it an experience that our guests would remember.
The date was selected to allow my American contingent to join during the Thanksgiving holiday. We chose unique venues which would inspire awe (and the atmospheric photos speak for themselves), but only told guests about the ceremony venue location a week in advance – pop-up style to inspire curiosity and excitement. Guests received an invite with a limerick and the details:
There once was a boy named Ed, who had adventures in his head.
Then he met Danielle, who loved adventure as well.
And now they are soon to be wed!
Ed and I included family and friends in their planning with a friend covering “Don’t Stop Believing” with custom lyrics, the mother-of-the-groom making the cake for the reception (a cake she has made for his brother’s wedding as well) and the mince pies served at the ceremony, a friend that designed all the printed materials and did the wedding video. We even used the sabre sword that has cut the cake for three generations of men in Ed’s family.
We then focused on selecting a great band for later during the reception, importing the prosecco they had when they got engaged (and selecting wine from Italy and Portugal which are special locations from both of them) and amazing street food vendors serving dishes that represented key parts of their lives (fries – my favourite food, BBQ ribs – American, Indian – Ed’s trip, Italian – proposal, and Middle Eastern – our favourite cuisine). A chance for their guests to be adventurous in what they chose to eat.
Colour Scheme/ Decor & Flowers
We didn’t plan a colour scheme in advance, but everything came together beautifully in jewel tones sparked with gold and silver. We also wanted to incorporate our love of sport into the day. The florist used old bicycle wheels as chandeliers wrapped with flowers and hung with candles in jam jars. The table markers were made in the style of postcards from their various adventures. The tables were set with tin soup cans for utensil holders and glass jam jars for candles, which the entire family had been collecting for weeks. Tied to each was a Bom Fim ribbon. The napkins were also printed with “the adventure of a lifetime” to signify the start of our next adventure together.
There were two moments which were the most memorable in the day for both us. Firstly, the exchanging of our personalised vows, which were surprisingly similar in tone and topics given that we didn’t share them with each other in advance. Secondly, I had secretly hired a sax player to play some of Ed’s favourite songs along with the DJ (a la Bakermat). When they arrived at the reception venue before our guests, we were welcomed by the sax player. We even had a chance to practice our first dance. Those 15 minutes together were perfect to take a minute to enjoy the evening together.
We planned too much! In the lead up to the wedding, we hosted a Thanksgiving dinner at our house, a drinks reception on the roof of a hotel near the reception venue, and a lunch at a pub the day following the wedding with the family. We probably should have only done one of two of those! In general, we didn’t give enough time during the day which meant we shorted photo time.
The photos were so lovely and one of the best parts after the wedding was reliving it through the photos and video – so spend your money there! We also didn’t have enough time to set up the ceremony venue so ended up stressing last minute as guest were arriving doing bits (there was no reveal of the bride – I was there lighting candles and greeting guests!). We shouldn’t have stressed as many people commented they loved that we were there to greet them and gave them a way to feel involved so it didn’t feel overly formal – which is what we wanted.
Lastly, we hadn’t planned to do a first dance, but after another friend’s wedding where we never left the dance floor, we were talked into it. Having lessons once a week in the four weeks before the wedding was amazing because no matter how bad our day, or what wedding detail we were worried about, you couldn’t help but relax and laugh. It helped that we chose a tongue and cheek song (Oh, I think I have found myself a cheerleader) and the dance was choreographed to make fun of our goofiest moves. So have dance lessons that suit you as a couple to help make those last few weeks even more enjoyable!