Any wedding that manages to combine gin, amazing florals and beautiful photographs with much loved older members of the family is a surefire winner with me. So it's no surprise that I'm in love with Katie and Adam's big day held at The Art Pavilion in London. The twosome said 'I Do' amongst a backdrop of Cafe Au Lait dahlias, an array of lots of different types of gin (complete with gin bar to boot) and a surprise Love Actually singalong to the strains of "All You Need is Love" and real live instruments from their guests. I know! IMMENSE! Kate also wears her Kate by Augusta Jones bridal gown like a Queen! Come and take a look...
The Bride's FashionKatie The Bride: My dress was Kate by Augusta Jones, which I bought from Serendipity Bridal in Northamptonshire. After lots of appointments at London bridal boutiques (with varying experiences), I was starting to get a bit stressed about not finding anything I liked. My mum managed to get me a last minute appointment at Serendipity when I was at home for Christmas. Lisa and her team were so helpful suggesting dresses, and the last dress I tried on was "Kate" (which felt like a good omen, being very similar to my name…). There were no floods of tears and squealing but it was the first dress I had tried that I didn't want to change in any way - and I didn't want to take it off! I knew I definitely wanted a long veil - it's the only chance you get to wear one so I thought I would make it count! I didn't wear much jewellery - just some sparkly earrings which I bought a couple of days before the wedding, and my nana's engagement ring. I'd had my eye on some Jimmy Choos but then saw some very similar shoes in Dune for about a sixth of the price so I went for them. The wonderful Kylie McMichael did my hair and make up. I had met her at my bridesmaid Judi's wedding a few years ago and knew she would do a great job. She is also totally chilled and fun to be around which is pretty important on the morning of your wedding.
The Groom's FashionAdam The Groom: I didn’t think that formal tails would sit well with the informal venue so I decided that I would wear a blue suit and get my best man and ushers to wear the same colour. I kept an eye out for a three piece suit that I liked, and my favourite was one that I saw in M&S. After some slight alterations by a local tailor, I thought it was perfect. The suit I chose for my best man and ushers was from Next – along with our ties and pocket squares. I had never bought a pair of designer shoes and thought that our wedding day was a perfect opportunity to change this. As Katie is from Northampton, which is famous for shoes, I thought that I would try and get a pair from a Northampton shoe maker. When Katie was up in Northampton having a dress fitting I spent an afternoon with Katie’s dad checking out the factory shops. I checked out a few, but was very taken by the first pair I saw in Church’s, which I bought the following Monday!
The VenueWe knew as soon as we got engaged that we wanted to get married in London. Although neither of us grew up in London, it is where we met and live now, along with many of our friends. We looked at venues all over the city but ideally we wanted to get married near to where we live in East London. Luckily our favourite venue happened to be just up the road from our flat! The Art Pavilion ticked all the boxes for us - it was a blank canvas so we could arrange it exactly how we wanted and we had completely free rein on choosing our suppliers. Our two main criteria were having some outside space for the drinks reception, and being able to supply our own alcohol - we really wanted to have a free bar for our guests and we couldn’t have done that at hotel prices! Having the little island outside for our drinks reception was great - unsurprisingly there aren’t that many venues with decent outside space in Central London.
Colour SchemeWe didn’t have a specific colour scheme as such, but as the venue was such a huge white space, we wanted to have lots of colourful flowers around. We hired light up letters which helped create a focal point for the band and dance floor area. Our table plan idea was conceived after (or maybe during!) a boozy weekend. We decided to have each table named after a brand of gin, which meant collecting 13 different gin bottles in the run up to the wedding. We then thought that it would be a fun idea to have all of those gins available to drink at the wedding… and the gin bar was born. We had an empty bottle of gin on each table and a full bottle of each gin on the bar - at the end of the night there was hardly any gin left so I think it’s safe to say the gin bar went down well!
FlowersI originally thought I would arrange all of the bouquets, buttonholes and reception flowers myself (hugely overestimating my floristry skills!) My bridesmaids tactfully persuaded me that it might be slightly stressful doing all of that the day before, so I decided to look for a florist to make the bouquets and buttonholes. Eventually my sister found Victoria at Foxgloves & Glory online, and I’m so glad she did! Vic was a superstar, she took us around Covent Garden Flower Market (which was totally worth the 4am start) a month before the wedding to show me what would be in season and get ideas for the bouquets. The bouquets and buttonholes she made were stunning and I was so pleased with them. We bought the church and venue flowers from the Flower Market and my sister spent hours prepping the flowers and making the beautiful church arrangements on the Thursday before the wedding. On the Friday afternoon, a team of our friends and family arranged the flowers for the tables and the venue - they did an amazing job!
The Wedding Party FashionI had six bridesmaids - my sister, my two best friends and Adam's three sisters. As his sisters were teenagers, I didn't think it would work too well trying to find one dress to suit them all. The thought of trying to find one dress which all six were happy with also sounded awful! So we decided that we would look for long dresses in different shades of pink, but apart from that I was happy for the girls to pick their own dresses. I'm biased but I think they all looked beautiful, and the mismatching worked well.
CeremonyIt was important to me to get married in a church; we therefore had our ceremony in our local church in Limehouse. It is a beautiful building and the rector was very welcoming and supportive in preparing us for our marriage. We asked two close friends to do readings and my sister and auntie read the bidding prayers. I was really worried about sobbing down the aisle but I was just so happy and excited to see Adam at the end - I think our wedding was the only wedding I haven't cried at! We loved the ceremony and wanted it to be the serious part of the day, followed by a big party where everything was more informal and relaxed.
EntertainmentOur band were AMAZING! We found them on Rock My Wedding, went to listen to them at their studio and booked them straight away. They learnt an acoustic version of We Found Love by Rihanna for our first dance (we met at work in a law firm so we thought the lyrics were particularly suitable) which we loved. They had the dance floor full all night and totally sensed the mood of the crowd. They were also involved in a surprise for us arranged by my uncle. When Adam and I arrived at the venue after the ceremony, everyone was standing inside the venue, which surprised us as we expected people to be drinking outside. Suddenly everyone started singing "All You Need is Love" and my uncle and a few of my musical friends popped out with their instruments and played along. Just like Love Actually (which, embarrassingly, is my favourite film). It was such a surreal and very special moment to be surrounded by all of our friends and family singing to us.
FoodWe tried to use local suppliers where possible and found Hubbub (based on the Isle of Dogs) online. They had previously catered a lot of events at the Ecology Pavilion (which is a sister venue to the Art Pavilion) so we were confident that they would be able to deal with that kind of dry hire venue. They helped us create platters of meats and cheese to start, and slow cooked lamb for the main. We wanted to have an informal atmosphere during the meal so we wanted sharing style food. My auntie and cousins made stacks of brownies which we served with wedding cake and meringues for dessert. Our wedding cake was made by the amazing Clare at Little Bear Cakery. She made us a delicious naked cake with tiers of red velvet, carrot and lemon cake. We asked her to make my mum's birthday cake last year too and now we are just looking for a reason to order another one… She also made the delicious raspberry, blueberry and vanilla meringues.
PhotographerWe found Bloom Weddings on Rock My Wedding and we're so glad they photographed our wedding. We really wanted to have two photographers so that they could capture both of us getting ready in the morning, and so that we had different perspectives covered in the church and reception. We met up with Anii and Chris in Leeds shortly after we got engaged and had a really good chat while we looked at some of their work. We loved their style of mainly reportage shots, as we knew we didn't want loads of formal photos. They were brilliant to have around on the day and kept us organised with the few group photos we did want. The photo booth they ran in the evening was also a massive hit with our guests! We are so thrilled with the photos - the day flies by so quickly so it's lovely to remind ourselves of all the amazing moments and also see things which we missed on the day.
Final ThoughtsDon’t underestimate the work involved in choosing a dry-hire venue. It was totally worth it but we couldn't have done it without my parents who spent many hours helping with DIY and drove a van full of wedding paraphernalia and alcohol down to London. In the more stressful moments we considered hiring a wedding planner to coordinate the day, but my sister Jen is experienced in planning events and helped us pull everything together, as well as giving us creative vision when we were struggling to know how to fill the blank space! She created a "day in detail" schedule which we could give to suppliers and the wedding party, which we referred to constantly in the week before the wedding. Finally, we were so grateful to our army of helpers the day before the wedding - about 20 of our wonderful friends and family came to help us transform the venue in 4 hours. I think everyone let their hair down the next day!
Bridal Gown: Kate by Augusta Jones | Bridal Boutique: Serendipity Bridal | Shoes: Dune | Florist: Foxgloves & Glory | Venue: The Art Pavilion | Light Up Letters: Vowed & Amazed | Cake: Little Bear Cakery | Catering: Hubbub Catering | Groom’s Suit: Marks & Spencer | Groom’s Shoes : Church’s | Groomsmen’s Suits : Next | Stationery: Appleberry Press | Hair & Make-up: Kylie McMichael | Band: Crows Don’t Cry | Transport: Ensign