Lulu The Bride:
You would think that as a Creative Event Consultant
I would have such a clear vision of how I wanted my wedding to be, it was quite the opposite! Mainly because I wanted it all!
I spend my days curating beautiful events from formal dinners in London Museums and Historical Palaces to theatrical food stations in warehouses and marquees, but never weddings! It must be something about indecisive brides!
I am so guilty of this. I kept reminding myself that I would never organise another event where I loved everything, the flowers, the styling, the food, the drinks, the list goes on. Our wedding was a culmination of everything my husband and I loved. I am an 'everything is possible person', so it became a case of working out how I could piece together our colourful jigsaw in a field in wildest Leicestershire where I grew up.
I found people often asked “what’s your theme?” or “what’s the colour scheme?” - that question would require an answer which showed self control, something I lack! When we first spoke with our amazing photographer Kate at Lucabella
, we had decided we just wanted to have a really fun dinner, a colourful party, and expect the unexpected kind of day.
We wanted family and friends all jumbled together on long tables, passing the peas and wine to each other, swigging from bottles of homemade sloe gin and rhubarb vodka, laughing all the time as they played the “After Eight Challenge”. All the hilarity being captured by the selfie sticks we placed on the tables whilst watching the sun set across the fields. So we had a “theme” - colourful fun.
Whittling down my “wish” list from everything I wanted to a more realistic “must” list, I found some beautiful wooden trestle tables from one of my event suppliers, the sexiest gold cutlery, ornamental gold candlesticks and eclectic colourful glasses. Those glasses became a catalyst for all the colour and creativity.
I sourced clear acrylic chairs (an easy task in London but not so in rural Leicestershire); I knew they would be the contemporary, modern touch we needed to complement the marquee which was stripped back to its bare structure with clear roof panels and a clear front to let the outside in. I used the word juxtaposition a lot when I was describing our wedding, a mash up of the old, the new and the bonkers.
The flowers were so key in my vision, big, bright, bold and unashamedly fantastic with fresh herbs, ornamental cabbages as a nod to my background as a chef. A family friend, Louise Hammond, who describes herself as a grower and arranger of English flowers stepped up to the brief, she was truly amazing!
I had a preserved flower crown made by Sophie and Luna
, decorated with little gold seed pods and Louise tied the gold into the bouquet and filled it with symbolic flowers, it was those details I loved the most. I loved my bouquet and bridesmaid’s posies, all hand tied with colourful Indian saree ribbon I had sourced, so much I carried it all day and refused to toss it.
I had always known I wanted long foliage green garlands with big blousy peonies, hydrangea and roses in coral, hot pink, cream and green down the length of the tables.
The reality however of making 144ft of garlands was a little unrealistic so I sourced the garlands from Cornwall, and Louise pimped them to the max with bundles of rosemary, beautiful flowers and vast quantities of scrumped eucalyptus my Mum and I had ‘collected’.
The church is perched on top of a grassy hill and has a deep family connection - my Mum grew up in the village, and I not too far away. Louise had transformed it into an absolute wonderland of rambling greenery and the same flowers bright, blousy flowers from the garlands. It will be a lasting memory walking into the church seeing all my friends and family squeezed onto pews peeking through the wild, rambling flowers.
The food was always going to be important to us, as I used to be a chef, but I now design menus as well as event styling. I only had one caterer in mind who wouldn’t be scared off by me wanting a wedding cake made of jelly, or cooking really rare roast beef for Ed’s ushers to carve at the table - all from a tiny little marquee kitchen. The caterer in mind was my great friends Lucas Gardiner
who rose admirably to the occasion; the food was sublime. Everything was perfect - from the canapés to the crab starter, to the huge sharing bowls for main course, my amazing jelly wedding cake which Ed and I wheeled around guests, to the late night scotch eggs. We had more comments on the food than on my shoes, and my shoes were awesome!
I am a real stickler for detail, the quirkier and curiouser the better, I spent hours spraying little animals gold for table settings, weeks sourcing Indian block print fabric to build a mandap over the bar and months waiting for my flock of eight lawn flamingos to arrive. I am pretty sure everyone thought I was crazy when I bought sixty rabbit nightlights to hide around the marquee, but it was those little touches that everyone remembers.
Setting up the wedding was an exhausting process - we did everything ourselves with the help of family and friends who all have the patience of saints as I went into, what Ed my husband calls “event mode”. Everything from the hanging of 300m of festoon lighting to building and painting the bar to hand cutting wooden dog silhouettes for our table names, it was all done by us in the most torrential rain I have ever seen - panic very nearly set in as the corner of the marquee was floating the day before the wedding!
The day itself was a blur, a thoroughly enjoyable, fantastical, colourful, loud blur! We were led to the marquee by a baja band
, danced our first dance to beatboxers
and limboed under inflatable limbo poles.
Our order of service contained a quote by Shanti which summed up our wedding perfectly - “and at the end of the day your feet should be dirty, your hair messy and your eyes sparkling”.
Weddings need to be a reflection of the couple, not just a carbon copy of a Pinterest page. Be brave, be bold, be a lunatic if you want to, pin up your dress so you can dance all night, have a limbo pole, buy leopard print shoes, hire a Baja band, be you. It’s the only time that you will go to a party where everything that is there is exactly what you love!