This gorgeous couple incorporated everything they hold dear in their stylish city wedding and the results are AMAZING. Their love of flowers lead them to the gorgeous Barbican centre to hold a truly beautiful and botanical wedding in the conservatory. Surrounded by tropical foliage with bright red blooms to match Helena's emerald & ruby engagement ring popping against the greenery. Helena is an illustrator by day and designed all the gorgeous stationery and signs herself, including the epic True Romance board of Clarence & Alabama which is one of Groom Rob's favourite films (mine too). Wait until you see all the fabulous Greek aspects as well. The sweet blessing, the treats table and I can just imagine how fabulous all the Greek dancing & party was. Once again Tub of Jelly have really made this wedding come alive with their fabulous photography & film, and as always it's a real treat to share their work with you. Enjoy.
The DressHelena the Bride: Before I had any clue about what style of dress I'd choose, I knew I wanted to wear bright lipstick and a good dose of sparkle! I wanted to find a comfortable dress that I could easily move and dance in, and something that wasn't too dainty or princess-y. I also didn't want to spend a bajillion pounds as I preferred to spend our wedding budget on other parts of the day. I love vintage clothes so, before I even stepped foot in a shop, I did some Ebay browsing. The very first dress I added to my Pinterest board was gorgeous and unlike any other dress I'd seen - super shimmery, sleek and sexy - but it was in terrible condition so I kept shopping. After many uninspiring (and frankly, stressful) trips to bridal boutiques, I sat down for another online shopping session. About 10 hours later, I found exactly the same vintage dress on Etsy (Braxae Vintage Co) and I got very, verrrry overexcited because it was in perfect condition. However, the boutique was based in Texas, USA, so there was no way I could try it on before buying! Thankfully, Braxae's owner Sarah is super helpful and she made it very easy for me to go ahead and order it - I must have asked her a thousand questions. I am so glad I took the risk of ordering it because it is the most 'me' thing I have ever worn in my life. (TOP TIP: if you're not bothered about wearing a traditional silhouette, filter your searches by 'white dress' instead of 'wedding dress'. My dress was not actually listed as a bridal gown... but it definitely worked as one!) My dress was white and silver so I opted for silver accessories, which I kept sleek to match the dress: Silver court shoes, a leather cuff, sequinned head pieces, glitter earrings and metallic silver nail stickers instead of a manicure!
Grooms AttireRob wears a suit every day for work so he wanted his wedding suit to feel extra special, and not like another day at the office! Because we had so much colour going on elsewhere, he opted for a grey suit (instead of his staple, blue) so he wouldn't clash with the surroundings. I quietly encouraged grey as I knew it would work really well with my silver dress! Rob can really work a 3-piece suit with a vintage vibe, so after buying a 2-piece suit from Suit Supply, he ordered a bespoke waistcoat at Favourbrook, and added old-school braces underneath (to be revealed on the dancefloor!). The waistcoat and pocket square were both subtly patterned to make a bit of a statement. His bowtie was from Mrs Bowtie, and it added some colour to his suit as well as making him look cool later on when he untied it, James Bond style. As a finishing touch, Rob wore the cufflinks my parents had gifted him for our engagement, and as a romantic surprise he had my initials stitched onto his shirt cuffs!
The VenueWhen we first moved in together, we used to visit our local plant nursery on Sundays, so we began referring to it as 'going to church'. When we got engaged, we both secretly wanted to get married at the nursery, inside the gorgeous greenhouse... but unfortunately the venue capacity was too small for us. We then searched for other greenhouse venues in London and found the Barbican Conservatory. If the plant nursery was a church, then the Barbican Conservatory is a cathedral! As a non-religious couple, we liked the idea of getting married somewhere that felt as grand and beautiful as a church. Plus, we're nature lovers, so it was pretty much perfect. The only drawback to the Barbican Conservatory is that music has to be shut off relatively early, so we moved on to a different venue in the evening to facilitate late night boogie-ing: The William IV, a cool Victorian pub with a dreamy beer garden, tucked off the rowdy main road in Kensal Green.
Colour Scheme/DecorWe wanted our wedding to be feel playful and happy, so we incorporated as much bright colour and lively pattern as we could! We didn't really want a set colour scheme, but soon realised that everything might look incoherent if we went wild. We ended up taking inspiration from my engagement ring, which is a square of rubies and emeralds, i.e. pink and green. I designed a 'logo' based on the ring, which I used on our invitations (illustrated by me) and which I made into a sticker that went onto everything. We added black and white geometric patterns (because they're just cool and the colours stand out against them), plus lots of tropical imagery to blend in with the surroundings at the Barbican Conservatory. So, it was a tropical + black & white + pink & green extravaganza! I made most of the decorations myself. I bought rolls of wallpaper which I used to make placemats, collages for the seating plan and welcome sign, tags for the wedding favours etc. We also made garlands using hundreds and hundreds of paper tropical leaves. I did NOT cut the leaves out myself, instead I got them for free from a window display at the clothing store Whistles! The kind store assistants agreed to keep them for me! On top of all this, Rob's favourite film is True Romance, so we included lots of nods to the film, including Alabama's blue Wayfarer sunglasses, our cake topper, and the big cut-out board of the film poster which I painted.
Flowers/FloristWe love flowers and plants, hence why we got married in a giant greenhouse! I had a vision of huge, leafy and informal arrangements spiked with sunset coloured flowers. My dear friend Jenni made this happen for us. Jenni is the stylist behind the Jenni's Table blog. She went to the flower market at dawn the day before the wedding, and she also lent us those fantastic tall vases that made the space feel like a jungle. We loosely stuck to the pink and green tropical theme, with monstera leaves, palm fronds, dahlias (my favourite), roses (Rob's favourite), calla lilies, and celosia. I helped Jenni with the arrangements the afternoon before the wedding, and it was so much fun. Rob and I loved the end result. Our bouquets and buttonholes were made by our favourite local florist, Kilburn Flowers in North London. I didn't want a giant bouquet, but we definitely wanted a splash of colour for the bride and maids of honour, as well as for the men's buttonholes. The staff at Kilburn Flowers were fantastic, helping me choose colours that would match our DIY floral arrangements as well as bowties and pocket squares. Again, we used dahlias, roses, calla lilies and celosia, framed by ferns.
The Wedding Party FashionWe had two maids of honour, one best man and one MC, so a small wedding party. We told the maids of honour that they could choose their own dress, as long as one wore something pink and other green... but when I showed them the Mimetik BCN wrap dresses they asked if they could both wear the same dress in different colours! Mimetik BCN allows you to order custom colours and sizes, so the dresses fit really well and the girls said they were really comfy. Plus, the colours were perfect. I made silver leaf-shaped head pieces for the maids of honour (to match mine), and they also wore silver shoes and accessories of their choice. Our MC wore a vintage floral Laura Ashley dress found in my local charity shop! The best man was in his own grey suit, as well as a deep pink bowtie from Mrs Bowtie (the same colour as the groom's) and a polka dot pocket square. They all looked beaut :-)
CeremonyThe ceremony was the best bit of the whole day, for both of us! We'd never seen each other smile quite so much, and seeing so many loved ones in one room really was very special. We had a non-religious ceremony. I walked down the aisle to 'You're So Cool', the theme tune to True romance (aka Rob's favourite film). Our MC wrote a beautiful introduction for us, and our registrar read a ceremony which we wrote ourselves. (We were supplied with various ceremony templates by our registrar, and we were free to pick and choose which bits to include... except for the legal bits which obviously had to stay!) We really enjoyed writing our own vows and selecting readings. We included a little Greek element (I am Greek), with the wearing of wedding crowns, which symbolises unity of the bride and groom in marriage. Finally, we had an insane amount of confetti because that is very important (and Tub of Jelly took some AWESOME comfetti shots).
ReadingsExtract from "A Natural History of Love", by Dianne Ackerman "Union", a poem by Robert Fulghum An extract from "Sand and Foam" by Kahlil Gibran, translated from the Arabic
EntertainmentEntertainment (day & evening) We didn't have much downtime between ceremony/wedding breakfast/dancing so we kept it simple: Music, plenty of drinks, and constant nibbles at all times! Our DJ was Graeme from Wedding Jam, who was just as keen as us to turn our dancefloor into an Indie Club from circa 2004... and he was a very good sport when it came to the Greek Dancing hour! (No plates were harmed in the making of this wedding.) Graeme supplied the equipment, including disco lights, and we brought along a giant inflatable flamingo which got a lot of love on the dancefloor.
FoodThe Barbican Conservatory only works with a single caterer, Searcy's. Luckily for us, they were fantastic. After the ceremony our guests were served bubbly and a selection of canapes (including parsnip arancini, my personal fave). The wedding breakfast was a 3-course meal, with petit fours and coffee to follow. Our favourite part of the menu was dessert, which was a pine nut and London honey tart, with Amaretto ice cream. YUM.
FoodWe had a lot of fun with the food at the evening reception, where we set up a colourful sweet table. The centrepiece was a tower of baked doughnuts from The Custom Cake Boutique, instead of a traditional wedding cake - really delicious, and Rania is so friendly and helpful. Around it we served a selection of sweets and savourites reflecting our cultures: Lamingtons from Australia, Cypriot pastries (from Wilton Bakery in north London) and sweets (made by Helena's mum!), Greek cakes, and of course British treats like Tunnock's Tea Cakes, strawberries and cream, meringues and cupcakes. In the evening we had an informal hot food spread, including lamb burgers (with meat from Rob's dad's farm!), halloumi wraps and fish finger sandwiches. These seemed to go down well with people who had been drinking steadily since 2pm! Oh, and we have to mention the Pimm's reception, which was perfect on a boiling hot August day.
Photographer & VideographerThe photography was really, really important for us. I'm usually the one wielding a chunky camera at social events, and I knew I'd feel naked without my camera by my side, so finding the right people to photograph our wedding was a Big Deal. We loved Tub of Jelly for their quirky, playful style and their focus on capturing details that might otherwise be overlooked. We didn't want to spend ages taking traditional posed shots, and Rob in particular was dreading the idea of posing for cheesy couple shots, so we were glad to find a couple of relaxed photographers who would keep us feeling relaxed as well. Also, Betty and David aren't joking when they describe themselves as having "ninja skills"; They did an amazing job of disappearing into the crowd, so you never felt there was a camera shoved in your face. We are so glad we decided to add a video to the package, because we are totally in love with the video Tub of Jelly made for us. It's quite short (only 10 mins) but it's basically a very long trailer for a very dreamy film that you can't believe you're starring in. Dreamy, sparkly video goodness.
DIYOur wedding was one massive DIY project! I am a designer/illustrator by trade, with a bit of styling and a pinch of photography thrown into the mix, so apart from actually being married (haha!) I was most excited about making our day a real spectacle - in the good sense - as well as making it personal for all our guests. We wanted everyone to truly feel welcome and to have a great time. My favourite wedding DIY project was our table place cards, which doubled up as wedding favours: Each guest received an envelope which contained a handful of photos of them WITH the bride and/or groom, including lots of childhood pics that hadn't been seen in decades. It made for a lot of laughter and conversation, and I think it was a favour that our guests actually wanted to keep (I hope).
StationeryI've worked on invitations and design elements for many other weddings, but getting to design the whole shebang for my own wedding was so much fun, and I'd love to do it all over again for other brides ands grooms! I illustrated/designed our save the dates, invitations and hand-lettered envelopes, ceremony programmes, welcome sign, seating plan, table name images, wedding favour pouches, place cards, placemats, menu chart, hand-painted True Romance cut-out photo board, card trunk, bunting, garlands and a million other little things. I very much miss doing it!
Film: Tub of Jelly | Bridal Dress: Etsy - Braxae Vintage Co. | Bridal Shoes: Clarks | Cuff: Etsy - Greek Chic Handmades | Earrings: Etsy - Each To Own | Makeup Artist: Rachael Thomas | Hairdresser: Hob Salons | Bridesmaid Dress: Mimetik BCN | Grooms Suit: Suit Supply | Custom Made Waistcoat: Favourbrook | Ties: Mrs Bow Tie | Venue: Barbican Conservatory | William IV | Florist: Kilburn Flowers | Table Floral Arrangements: Jenni Stable | Cake Maker: The Custom Cake Boutique | Stationery: Helena Maratheftis | DJ: Wedding Jam