Well this is exciting, Hannah and Evan were the winners of a competition we ran to win your wedding photography with Frances Sales and what deserving winners they were, their celebration is nothing short of beautiful.
The Asylum is a truly stunning venue and it was decorated to perfection with an abundance of candles and feminine blooms. I love the simplicity of Hannah’s Jesus Peiro gown paired with a statement necklace and her amazing red hair and the fact she and Evan walked down the aisle together rather than seeing each other for the first time at the top…..because, why the hell not?
In terms of the photography, Hannah has one of my favourite ever quotes relating to captured moments: “Frances work at our wedding even exceeded our expectations – it’s a lovely document of the whole day, and there are so many funny pictures of our guests misbehaving and having a laugh – and dozens of us looking relaxed and delighted”
You couldn’t ask for more than that could you?
Hannah The Bride: To be honest, I didn’t find wedding dress shopping to be the chiffony cloud of joy I had hoped it would be. I am very petite, so despite the shop assistants’ heroic efforts to pin and clip the samples, I never felt that confident about the way they would actually look in my size. After a few months without any luck, the wedding fast approaching, I found a Jesús Peiró sample on a sale rack and was won over by the simplicity, the quality of the fabric, and the relative value. I had to have it altered quite a bit, which was slightly nerve wracking and involved two different tailors, but it worked in the end! The clean lines made it easy to have fun with accessories, so I wore a very long veil and bling-tastic Miu Miu shoes which my husband thought were horrendous (this made me love them more – I intend to re-wear them often).
Evan’s shopping process was a lot simpler – he wanted a classic, good quality, navy blue three piece suit that felt suitably special for the day but could be worn again afterwards, and found one made by Acquascutum. The Best Man wasn’t dressed by us – he wore an existing suit – and we didn’t have formal Bridesmaids or Ushers, as we wanted it to feel like a big party, with mates and siblings helping out in different ways.
We decided to get married in London, where we live, and fell in love with The Asylum when we saw it on a wedding blog. We thought the crumbling walls and stained glass windows were stunning; it felt particularly atmospheric for a civil venue. Our second location, Cecil’s, is a candlelit basement bar with a little stage and central dance floor in a perfect location, just a 20 minute drive from The Asylum. It’s a great spot for a knees up and provided a good excuse to hire a bright red double decker bus!
Colour Scheme, Decor & Flowers
Luckily we didn’t have to give this much thought as both venues were already great-looking, and altar candles and festoon lights were provided at the Asylum. The only addition we made there was bringing a few more tealights, and – after some deliberation – deciding to book a florist, which I am so glad we did. I gave her a simple brief – something fairly light-coloured and informal – and her work was incredible. We were so chuffed. We made everything else ourselves, writing on little chalk boards with chalk pens for signs and the table plan and designing the menus and invitations using a logo of a London bus. We asked my Mum, Anne Teahan, who is an artist, to make the orders of service, which were just beautiful, printed on paper she had painted.
I absolutely love singing, so there had to be a singalong in the ceremony. We choose a song everyone knows – All You Need Is Love – although we were a bit unsure about whether our guests would get into the swing of things at this very sober moment in the day. We upped the odds of success by booking Joseph Warwick to play the guitar and lead the singing, and by issuing everyone with a kazoo, so they could make some noise even if they were feeling a little shy. Joseph also played beautiful adaptations of songs we love – Only You by Yazoo for entrance, Little Red Corvette by Prince for our exit. I am pretty fussy about music and was delighted – Joseph is a really talented classical guitarist and managed to avoid any cheesiness in his interpretations. My friend Kate gave the most beautiful reading – Dance me to the end of Love by Leonard Cohen.
Joseph continued to play during drinks and canapés. In the evening, The Thumping Tommys – a bluegrass band Evan found in a pub – played two brilliant sets. Their music is really rhythmic and got everyone dancing, despite their repertoire consisting mainly of folk songs most of us had never heard before. That left them free to play more well-known tunes when they DJ’d afterwards.
We wanted the day to feel like a big feast rather than a formal wedding, so – after some delicious canapés outside – the cateres set up long tables and we passed food around, family style. The food was Middle Eastern sharing platters with breads and dips and barbecued lamb with pomegranate molasses. We bought the booze ourselves, taking advantage of offers at Waitrose, and – at the recommendation of a recently married friend – hired champagne saucers rather than flutes, which felt really special at no extra cost. Instead of dessert we served a chocolate mousse cake – with an optional drizzle of Cointreau – created by Evan’s Mum, which was a genuine masterpiece. Evan’s Sister and her Husband kindly catered the evening for us, creating a buffet of roast ham and rice that was completely delicious.
We made our budget work as hard as possible, but there were two areas we ended up cutting back on. One was the number of guests – we had to stick to about 35 each, which was one of the trickiest aspects of the wedding, especially as I have a huge Irish family, and caused much hearthache and many late night discussions! And after much deliberation we conceded that we could not afford a photographer, which I was completely gutted about.
So, optimistically, I entered a few competitions – and, unbelievably, we won through Rock My Wedding! Incredibly, this was the one competition of all of them that I had really, really been keen to win as the photographer, Frances Sales, had such a gorgeous portfolio of light-filled natural portraits and candid shots. Her work at our wedding even exceeded these expectations – it’s a lovely document of the whole day, and there are so many funny pictures of our guests misbehaving and having a laugh – and dozens of us looking relaxed and delighted.