I always love a London wedding - Lizzie and Jamie's gorgeous wedding day is no exception. The pair managed to convince the team at Bourne & Hollingsworth buildings to let them hold their reception there, and we're SO glad they did. The space is just beautiful, so light and airy, filled with plants and vintage furniture. Top tip - chose a venue that looks as gorgeous as this one, and you'll have so much less to worry about! The decor is all done for you. All Lizzie and Jamie needed was a little more greenery and some blooms from the amazing Worm London florists. Lizzie dazzles in Jenny Packham's Dixie gown and keeps things relaxed with a chunky braid in her hair, such a pretty look for brides and it suits Lizzie perfectly. Images come from the lovely Through The Woods We Ran duo, who always capture the sense of fun in a wedding day, these photographs are just bursting with joy and I have a feeling you're going to love them...
Our StoryLizzie The Bride: Jamie and I met in a pub in France, where he, working behind the bar, sneakily poured me a triple when I asked for a single. That set the tone for what has been 9 years of laughter, travel, and fun. Living in Islington, we knew that we wanted to get married somewhere that meant something to us both, and our main requirements were that we could offer an easygoing day, with a free bar and a late night.
The VenueWe chose Islington Town Hall because of its proximity to our home. When we went to visit it we were blown away by the Council Chamber; its horseshoe shape offers a really intimate experience and the room is stunning. The people (especially our registrar Kerry) were really lovely and put us totally at ease. Having chosen the ceremony venue, the next challenge was a reception space which had the atmosphere we were looking for: informal, close and cosy, and fun. I had been for brunch at Bourne & Hollingsworth Buildings with my maid of honour and it crossed my mind whether they did weddings there. It is such a unique and airy space, filled with plants and life. Initially the venue said they could not accommodate such a large party (125), but we worked with them on some logistical challenges which meant they could cater to us. We were over the moon. The only last piece of the puzzle was to find a space for pre-dinner drinks and canapes. Getting married in August we were really keen to (try to!) do this outside, and B&H really pulled it out the bag when they managed to secure a large section of the public park outside their restaurant – Spa Fields – for us. Their events manager Irene was brilliant, organising all the gazebos, décor and logistics. We didn’t have to do anything, and they totally brought our “city garden party” vibe to life.
The DecorBourne & Hollingsworth itself set the theme naturally for us – greens and whites, minimal décor (the space really doesn’t need it), and leafy design. We sourced our invitations from Papier.com and Bourne & Hollingsworth created all the stationery beyond this themselves using their brilliant design team. It couldn’t have been easier!
The BrideI had a really clear idea of what I wanted from a dress: heavily beaded, 20’s, and romantic. Safe to say, in some instances, you just don’t know what’s going to suit your body shape and style until you try it on – and this style did NOT suit me! Luckily the consultant Jenny at Jenny Packham’s flagship store pre-empted this and encouraged me to try on an incredibly embellished dress which I would never have picked out, first. I was totally taken aback by it – it was so different to what I had envisioned wearing. But nothing I tried on anywhere else came even close to the feeling I had when I tried that on, so we rushed back to Mayfair at the end of the day for a second go, and I knew the moment I saw my face in the mirror, that it was for me. The main thing was, I felt comfortable, young, and I knew Jamie would love me in it. My shoes were from Jimmy Choo’s bridal range – silver sparkly to complement the dress, although I changed into a lower silver pair from Russell and Bromley later in the evening for dancing. The wonderful Jo Freeman did makeup for myself, bridesmaids and my mum. She did a brilliant job, adapting the look to each person, with the brief to make it look “barely there”. Finding a hair stylist was hard, but I eventually had a recommendation for Kasia Fortuna, who was absolutely wonderful. She worked so quickly, creating the most beautiful looks for all the girls – I had so many compliments on my hair and never wanted to take it down!
The GroomJamie found his amazingly sharp royal blue suit at Paul Smith’s flagship store. He knew he wanted a 3-piece and loves the mod look. It was the first one he tried on and we just knew it was for him. The tie gave a nod to 70s styling and made it his own!
The FlowersI found Worm on Instagram and immediately loved their style and knew it would complement Bourne & Hollingsworth’s leafy backdrop. When I met Terri and Katie I immediately wanted to be friends with them – they are such brilliant girls and I was pretty open with my brief, letting them more or less surprise me on the day. My only requirement was to be able to tie my grandmother’s lapis lazuli ring onto the bouquet ribbon, as my something old, borrowed AND blue! For the venue we kept it minimal – greens and the odd pastel bloom on the tables, and little else. It looked so stunning!
The Wedding PartyI had 5 bridesmaids and my main requirement was that they were going to be comfortable. We decided jointly early on that they wanted to wear a skirt and top, and (true to form), their outfit was the first they tried on. They are all slim and stunning so they were easy to dress! The sparkly top complemented my dress and was feminine and elegant while also really comfortable to dance in. My little niece Isla was our flower girl and had a beautiful dress from Monsoon, which we topped off with a little flower girl. She stole the show! We didn’t want the groomsmen to have to spend much, so asked them to wear their own suits, just supplying a simple maroon tie from Next for uniformity.
The CeremonyI walked down the aisle to Stand By Me by Ben E King, a favourite which had our lips quivering from the first beat! We had lovely readings from both my mum, Helen (“Union”, by Robert Fulghum), and my close friend Harriette, who very touchingly wrote her own piece, called “I Knew”. We wanted the ceremony to be fun and different, and also to pay tribute to Jamie’s mum Neena who very sadly passed away this year, so we had all the guests sing along to a song from one of her favourite bands – “It Must Be Love”, by Madness. This was a risk as we had no idea how people would feel about singing in a secular ceremony, but everyone got right behind it and it was one of the most memorable, touching and uplifting moments of our day.
The EntertainmentWe always knew we wanted the dancefloor to be loud, full, and a bit sweaty. Luckily, our good friend Sam heads up an incredible band called The Calvin Clones and they didn’t half deliver! We worked together on a set list and they were unbelievably good. In what is becoming a bit of a tradition at weddings in our friendship group, “Twist and Shout” by The Beatles went on for approximately 10 minutes, and we nearly had the police called!
The Food & DrinksWe wanted our drinks reception to be summery and boozy – so we worked with the Bourne & Hollingsworth bar manager to adapt our own personal gin cocktail, as well as offering a beautiful English Chapel Down rose, plenty of English sparkling wine, and beer. We (literally) poured most of our budget into drinks, and went fairly light on the canapes, since our wedding started at 4 and most of our guests had had lunch. Dinner was goats cheese and beetroot tart; chicken with smoked bacon hash, and wedding cake (3 different gorgeously moist layers – chocolate and salted caramel; lemon and poppyseed; white chocolate and raspberry, for pudding.
The PhotographyOur search for a photographer was super easy. We knew we wanted photos that truly captured the emotion of the day, and wanted to spend no more than 10-15 minutes doing posed shots. The focus for us was on enjoying the day! Lauren and Glenn at Through The Woods We Ran have a really unique and arty style and we are absolutely blown away by every shot they got – there is so much feeling in them and they tell an amazing story. Besides which, they are really lovely people and put us totally at ease. We had to laugh at one point when we went off for our couples photos in the park, and realised we were standing next to a pile of fresh sick – London weddings, eh!
Special TouchesI was incredibly lucky to have all 4 of my grandparents at our wedding, and Jamie had his grandmother and uncle in attendance, too, so we paid tribute to them, as well as our own parents, by including their wedding photos on display next to our cake. To collect cards, I found an old beaten up Guinness crate online – Jamie’s favourite tipple – to add a personal touch. In homage to my mum’s Welsh heritage, I asked my lovely Grandma if she would bake Welsh Cakes for us to include as favours on each place setting. This was such a nice (and cost effective) gesture and even though she was baking for weeks, I think she was quite pleased to have played a part in our special day.
Bride: Jenny Packham | Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Flowers: Worm London | Venue: Bourne & Hollingsworth Buildings | Cake: Lily Vanilli | Bridesmaids: Coast | Groom: Paul Smith | Band: The Calvin Clones | Transport: Traditional Travel | Classic London Taxi | Hair: Kasia Fortuna | Make Up: Jo Freeman | Mother Of The Bride: Suzannah | Flower Girls: Monsoon