Ian is an interior designer from San Diego, California and Benjamin is a Criminal Barrister, originally from the West Country. They met in London, in an amateur production of “Zanna, Don’t!” with Centre Stage London.
It was love at first sight.
Today’s double groom w-day focuses on Ian’s heart felt words…
Cosy & Intimate
Ian: Our ceremony was in the Council Chamber of Islington Town Hall which was chosen for its beautiful architecture and classical details. We both have always loved the building. The Chamber is simply stunning, especially when the light pours through the stained glass. It still feels very cosy and intimate too the way the seats are designed. The horse-shoe shaped seating meant we felt like all of our friends and family were part of the ceremony rather than simply spectators, literally surrounding us with their love and support.
Big Day Barnets
Everyone did their own hair. Ian and Benjamin used Shu Uemura hair spray and shape paste.
Suits You Sir
I wore a navy pinstripe suit and bow tie from Hackett, shirt from Richard Taylor, shoes from Poste. I wanted a classic look but modern details. After many attempts, Hackett was the perfect fit. Their suits are beautifully tailored and the blue pinstripe was playful yet sophisticated. Being an American tying the knot with a Brit, I was also very proud to wear such an iconic British label.
Benjamin wore a French navy bespoke suit tailored by Tom James with a dove white waistcoat from Hackett. Tie, pocket square and shoes all from Reiss. He loves the classic tailoring of a three-piece suit and wears them for work. He wanted to play with the colors of the waistcoat and accessories to keep the look young and modern.
We both wore ‘Happy Socks‘ to add some playful details to our outfits.
Guests were given a dress code of chic, with hats being encouraged. Everyone stepped up to the mark with full force giving a real elegance to the whole day. The time of year also naturally allowed for spring colors and light, airy fabrics.
We both wore our grandfather’s wrist‐watches on the day and Benjamin wore his dad’s cufflinks as, unfortunately he couldn’t be there due to ill health. The sentimental attachment of our accessories was important to us both, being so close to our families.
Neither of us wanted a formal wedding party so instead we each had our best friend to help us. Both were girls and because we got married on a Friday, they became our ‘Girl Fridays’. We wanted them to wear whatever they wanted, to reflect their own style, but they knew what we would be wearing and tied in to be equally chic.
Elizabeth wore a blue dress and fascinator Purchased from Oliver Bonas. Dulcinea wore a nude-colored dress by Lanvin, black Chanel jacket, and bespoke headpiece from Dark Room London, a designer in San Francisco.
Comfortable & Relaxed
Our wedding didn’t really have a theme. It was a mixture of classic and contemporary elements that reflect our personal styles and taste. If anything, the theme was all about the atmosphere. It was a day for our guests just as much as it was for us. We wanted everyone to feel comfortable and relaxed without feeling the structure of a conventional wedding. The historic council chamber, quirky pub, industrial private dining room and, of course, the classic red routemaster bus… Each element being so different helped create an event that was truly our own and reflected our life together.
This “theme” of the right atmosphere also influenced our choice of photographer, Maria De Faci. She has a soft and beautifully classical aesthetic that captures a dream-like mood. Combined with her impeccable eye for detail, we knew she was the right person for our photography.
Rather than flowers, we chose succulents sourced from Surreal Succulents in Cornwall. They were a nod to Ian’s Southern California roots and also became a favour for the guests. Each plant was potted in a jam jar (sourced from Philip Morris) and decorated to become guest place settings for the dinner. As the guests sat down for the meal, they moved the plants into the centre of the table to create the decoration. The plants mixed in with tea lights along the length of the two dining tables created a casual, indoor-outdoor mood that glittered all through the night.
The Flowers in the council chamber were supplied locally from Tom Flowers, an Islington florist.
The Art Of Marriage
We each chose a friend to give a reading. The first friend read ‘The Art of Marriage’ by Wilferd Peterson. The second read a poem she had written herself. We also wrote our own vows, which were very special and emotional. The whole wedding was emotional, really, from the moment we could feel the squeeze of our mum’s hands walking into the council chamber, to the tears shared by everyone during the reading of our vows and exchanging of rings.
Watching Benjamin’s mum hold my mum’s hand when she signed the register to steady her nerves was also a special moment. We had beautiful classical Italian music and arias through the service including the beautiful ‘Pur ti Miro’ but chose the utterly joyous Smash cast version of ‘Brighter than the Sun’ for our exit.
The reception was at Bistrotheque, a restaurant we both love. It has its own clean, industrial private dining room which was ours for the night. The event began with cocktails and canapés followed by dinner and champagne toasts. The perfect accompaniment to the reception was courtesy of Bistrotheque’s amazing in‐house pianist, Xavior, who played a mixture of 80’s pop, Beyonce, Bond themes and showtunes in his own quirky style.
Dancing in the evening kicked off with our own playlist created on an iPod. We asked some of the guests to contribute track requests the weeks before so it felt like a giant party in our living room. We also snuck in a slow dance to Diana Krall’s ‘Just the Way You Are’, which played on our first date.
Food For Thought
We chose the private dining room at Bistrotheque because we wanted the dinner to be a special focus of the day and be food to be restaurant quality, rather than catered. We also wanted guests to be able to have a choice of menu. Again, this contributed to a fantastic atmosphere of the day. The cocktails, canapés, and menus were all designed by the chefs at Bistrotheque. They had various food and drink packages which we were able to select from and were very accommodating with a few special changes.
Cocktails included Elderflower Gin Fizz and Polish Martinis. Dinner included choices of perfectly cooked cod and roast pork belly and a fabulous bread and butter pudding for dessert. Later in the night, we had party food of miniature hamburgers and fish and chip cones as a nod to our American and British union.
Wedding invites were designed at Minted.com and we styled our own email save the date and thank‐you notices in a similar style. The table plan and place setting were all hand made by us. We opted not to have an order of service printed to make the ceremony feel more casual.
Plan It Like A Party
Relax and enjoy the planning. The day goes by really fast but well organised planning and short chains of communication end up doing all the work on the day. Also, make the day as much about your guests as it is about yourselves. Lots of personal touches meant the wedding was totally ‘us’ and they also helped our guests feel like they were experiencing everything with us, rather than watching us experiencing it by ourselves.
Finally, don’t plan it like a wedding, plan it like a party!
Ceremony venue: Islington Town Hall.
Reception venue: Bistrotheque.
Suits: Hackett and Tom James.
Socks: Happy Socks.
Photography: Maria De Faci.
Succulents: Surreal Succulents.
Flowers: Tom Flowers.
Aaaarrgh… Ian and Benjamnin totally stole all my ideas. I have always thought the perfect reception would take place in a restaurant… Somewhere that you can totally take over, spoil your guests with fine wine and food and then kick off the party properly.
Bistrotheque looks amazing, next time I’m heading for the big smoke I’m there. Ian and Benjamin have also got the fashion spot on too. Their individual fashion and style flourishes compliment each other perfectly and how nice is that anecdote about mothers of the grooms holding hands… I’ve got a little terar in my wedding bloggers eye this morning.