If you are looking for alternative wedding venue then The Asylum might just be what you are looking for. I love this venue in Peckham – it’s beautiful in its own special way and Sophie sums it up perfectly in her report when she says “The space is incredible with so much natural light bringing out the beautiful palette of colours in the old worn out walls.”
The Brides Fashion & accessories
Sophie The Bride: My look book is full of pictures of full length lace dresses and if anyone asked I had a pretty clear idea about what I wanted… Until I actually went dress shopping. Mum suggested that for our first trip we shouldn’t worry about finding the one but try on a range of style and shapes and just have fun. So going with her advice I tried on everything from dresses with Cathedral length trains dresses, Lace dresses, Princess dresses, Ethereal dresses the works but none quite clicked for me, next she brought over a tea dress. I have to be honest and say that I laughed out loud and proceed to try it on for a giggle. The giggling stopped when I realised I LOVED it. I could walk easily, dance easily, it was a relaxed style. Perfect! The Dress was from the Weddingdress Factory Outlet.
The Grooms Fashion & accessories
James isn’t a fan of hitting the shops but when he ventured to Oxford Street he found this great three piece number by Paul Smith at House of Fraser; they did the tailoring for him too. Paul Smith tie and shoes from Loake to finish it off.
The Asylum I found from our local council list of registered venues. I knew I didn’t want a hotel but apart from that I was really open to other suggestions. We’d looked at Art Gallery’s, Museums etc. but as soon as we saw The Asylum we were blown away by it; our own little piece of magic in the heart of Peckham. The space is incredible with so much natural light bringing out the beautiful palette of colours in the old worn out walls. Our photographers did an amazing job of capturing the feel of the space.
We found our reception venue El Vergel by accident, I came across Stella and her team as a group of caters and found that they also had a restaurant in Borough. Once we’d met Stella we couldn’t help but fall in love with her and her restaurant. Again, we loved the space. We really didn’t need to add a lot of décor, it had so much personality already and it worked perfectly with the casual relaxed feel we were aiming for. No gold, silver or bronze wedding packages here, just a wonderfully dedicated team running a fantastic independent restaurant who were willing to do anything for us.
I love bright colours and wanted something that would be colourful but not over powering. Finding the shade of yellow I was after proved almost impossible until Debbie my Maid of Honour sent over a fabric sample for the bridesmaids’ dresses from Australia, it was just what I’d been looking for.
Our florist Elie is a star, from our first meeting she really listened and understood what I was asking for. Within a few days she’d set us up a Pinterest board, sent me tons of suggestions and had started to piece together a quote. I suffer from allergies and flowers make me sneeze (a lot), Elie made me a sample bouquet as a tester to assess the sneeze levels.
We were on a budget with our flowers but Elie made some really key suggestions about reusing both mine and the bridesmaids bouquet as table decorations and moving flowers from the ceremony venue to the reception so there was no wastage.
The Wedding Party Fashion
The bridesmaids wore dresses handmade by my Mother in Law. She did an amazing job making all 6 of them plus she went the extra mile and made two matching dresses for the rag dolls the flower girls held down the aisle.
The groomsmen all wore their own grey suits with Blue ties we provided for them from TM Lewin.
We asked our two friends Laura and Pete to do readings for us but we let them have free rein on what they chose. We wanted them to find something they thought was right for the two of us. Laura and Pete have known us since we first got together nearly 12 years ago.
We wanted to say some additional words to each other during the ceremony; I found a reading called ‘These are the hands’ which inspired our own vows of the day. Was a bit of a tear-jerker for many which caused some laughs later on when we got the pictures back!
James is very passionate about food and loves to cook so food was very important to us. We didn’t want a traditional three course meal (i.e luke warm roast dinner) we wanted something that reflected us and our personalities. We served a three course Latin American meal to all our guests including the children and it’s still one of the most talked about things of our day.
Canapes on arrival
- Spanakopitta, spinach and feta cheese with fennel in a puff pastry case
- Cocktail empanadas, oven baked spicy meat pasties
- Village bread canapes with refried bean, shredded chicken breast and guacamole
- Ceviche, fresh salmon diced and marinated in lime juice, with coriander and mild chilli
- Seafood salad of, scallop, prawns, fresh basil and squid
- Fried zucchini with fresh mint and olive oil
- Latin American roast beef served with rice and sweet potato
- Chicken breast with coconut and cardamom served with rice
- Paella Valenciana, seafood and chicken paella of squid, mussels, prawns in saffron rice
- Green leaf salad of rocket red chard and red mustard
- Pebre, coriander chilli dip
- Village bread basket
- Black cherry cheesecake
- Cocktail meringues with fresh berries and crème fraiche.
When James and I were talking about photography we decided this was our one splurge. For me everything else gets packed away, eaten, drank or binned after the big day. The photos are the one thing you keep on display and look back on forever. I asked my girlfriends if they knew any photographers as I’d always rather work from a recommendation than a google search. We were pointed in the direction of Cam and Pen from Mckinley Rodgers and after a quick visit to their website we were convinced they were the perfect couple to shoot our wedding and didn’t really want to look any further. James previously hated having his picture taken but on our engagement shoot Cam and Pen were brilliant at making him feel relaxed and produced some great pictures. On the day Cam went to James and Pen to me ahead of the ceremony to capture us both getting ready, they were incredible and brought a good sense of calm to the madness. The one shot I wanted was the confetti shot and they promised me they’d make it happen… they sure did. James and I left the ceremony to see all our family and friends lined up ready, chanting and whooping at us while they covered us in confetti. It was the one time in our lives where we literally felt like rock stars.
I can’t convey just how much we loved working with Cam and Pen and how much we would recommend them. They were loved and remembered by all our guests; we had so many compliments paid about them. They were never in the way and just quietly and expertly went about plying their trade as the super talented artists they are.
James and I both agreed that we weren’t going to give wedding favours and we’d rather put the extra money behind the bar for our guests. That was until James had decided to write our friends from Germany a note (in German) thanking them for travelling over. We then came up with the idea of writing a personal note for all of our guests. It was a mixture of thanking people for travelling, silly jokes and happy memories we’d shared with that person. Everyone loved their letter and people kept telling us they’d never seen anything like it before. An idea born out of nothing, an accident really but it went down so well. You’re so busy on the day that you just don’t get to spend as much time as you want with everyone but this meant we were able to at least say something personal to each and every guest.