Andy the Groom: Hilay is from Istanbul, I live in London and we met in San Francisco. Hilay moved to London a year later so we could share the rest of our lives together. For our wedding we wanted to feature the cities of our past and present and combine themes of travel and journeys.
We knew from the beginning that we wanted a wedding right on the Thames. After visiting several places we immediately fell in love with the stunning Chainstore at Trinity Buoy Wharf in East London, a Grade II listed warehouse overlooking the city. The Chainstore has a riverside terrace, private pier and London’s only lighthouse!
At first, the prospect of a dry-hire venue was daunting, but with careful planning and excellent support from our caterers - Boulevard Catering - it proved to be a great opportunity to let our creativity flourish. We transformed the empty space into a venue with every detail tailored to our tastes. Our guests couldn’t stop commenting on how beautiful the venue was.
Hilay the Bride : My father gave me away which was very emotional since I live far from my family now. My four-year-old niece was very excited to walk down the aisle first as our flower girl and she did a great job at presenting the rings during the ceremony.
We wanted to do something special for our many guests who had flown in from other countries. The ceremony was followed with cocktails in the sunshine on a boat trip along the Thames to Tower Bridge and back. We organised the boat trip through Thames Luxury Charters who provided fantastic service onboard. It was a great way to mingle with our guests, take in some of the city’s sights and also provided our caterers enough time to turn the venue around for the wedding breakfast.
We worked with Sarah from Sprigs & Stems who did a great job filling the space with bright summery blues, purples, yellows, pinks and lots of greens. Our aisle was lined with flower boxes, evoking a garden walkway and Sarah’s petit glass vases looked perfect atop our vintage wooden trestle tables. Her table arrangements and the colours created a dreamy atmosphere.
The Chainstore is a large and open warehouse and with only around eighty guests we were concerned about the room feeling too empty. We hired ten tall olive trees, long wooden trestle tables and taller bar tables to place near the dance floor. This helped break up the space and created natural walkways and places for our guests to congregate. Getting a copy of the venue floor plan helped us compose our layout and visualize how we would best utilize the room.
We used one corner of the room for our writing table and the other - by the dance floor - for people to take polaroids and peg them up to a wooden panel. Letting our guests leave us snaps of their evening at our wedding was an easy way to create a lot of fun memories.
Stationery & Favours
We designed our own invites, website, menus and place cards, incorporating a hand-drawn paper boat illustration as a simple motif throughout. We made our invites at home using the lino printing process.
Our name place cards and favours were designed as miniature postcards from each of the three cities we had stayed in together before getting engaged. These were accompanied with miniature parcels filled with confectionery from each of those places: Ghirardelli chocolate from San Francisco, traditional British sweet-shop candy and syrupy chestnuts from Istanbul. Guests sitting near each other received different confectionery and it turned out this was a great way for our them to break the ice when they sat down to dinner.
We ordered confetti from Confetti Cone UK who were happy to print our own design on the paper cones.
We met Lauren from French Made at the Most Curious Wedding Fair and were impressed with the design of her cakes. After our tasting session, we opted for a semi-naked jam and victoria sponge cake adorned with flowers and summer berries. The cake tasted just as good as it looked and we continued eating it for quite a few days after :)
We found our a photographer, Kirsty Mackenzie, online and really appreciated her relaxed, natural style of shooting. It gave us a lot of confidence knowing she had worked at our venue in the past. Before the wedding, we met to get all the details organized and she gave us some great tips. On the day she was fantastic, quietly capturing many genuine moments whilst providing just enough direction when it was needed. She is a real talent. Now the day has passed we’re so happy we chose Kirsty to document our day and provide us with so many moments to look back on.
Andy the Groom : Our wedding was flowery and colourful so I went with a deep blue three-piece from Hugo Boss. It was a struggle to find the kind of bowtie I had in mind and after exhausting the traditional options in Savile Row and Jermyn Street, I found out about ‘The Colonel Moutarde’ in Shoreditch, a quirky French bowtie shop where I opted for a colourful, floral Liberty pattern. For my two best men I selected the same pattern albeit in a smaller diamond-tip style.
Hilay the Bride : I started my dress search online and I found a dress that I fell in love with. I thought this is it, this is the model and shape I want. I booked an appointment and I knew It was going to be perfect. My mum flew over from Turkey and Andy’s mum also joined us too. I tried the dress and... it was a disaster. It didn’t suit my body type at all. Feeling embarrassed to have brought my mum over from Turkey without having done my homework well, I quickly booked lots of new appointments to try lots of differently shaped dresses. It turned out that what looked good on me was totally different than what I had imagined. Lesson learnt, I continued searching online, but with less than six months left time was running out. Finally, I found a perfect Watters dress at Emma Elizabeth Bridal in Twickenham and had it fitted at Alterations Boutique in Marylebone. They were really friendly and did a great job with the full lace dress.
I shared the morning of my wedding at home with my mum, aunts, sister-in-law and bridesmaids; it was the perfect start to the day. Sharing the excitement of the wedding morning with these amazing women who I love is a very special memory for me that I look back on whenever I’m home.
Laura, our makeup artist and stylist, and her colleague were very friendly, relaxed and helpful (even though most of us were only speaking Turkish!). I was very happy and comfortable with my makeup and hair, which held perfectly until the end of the night. I had tiny gypsophila flowers peppered in my hair and opted for natural makeup tones.
Don’t be afraid to go with a dry-hire venue - as long as you budget and plan carefully, it can really afford you a lot more freedom. Accept your friend’s and family’s offers to help and distribute them to do’s as much as you can. Everything becomes more fun and easy.