An elegant City of London wedding is just what the doctor ordered for a Thursday afternoon. I’m feeling the need for some refinement as the weekend draws nearer and this intimate but stylish affair at the Town Hall Hotel completely delivers, with elegance and sophistication in spades.
Mary wears a gorgeous Marchesa gown with the prettiest lace detail and which she describes as feeling light and comfortable, which can be hard to come across in a wedding gown. This particular dress looks like it was made for her though, and the way it sits and falls is simply beautiful.
The whole day has been captured by Sarah Gawler whose sensitive photography always captures light, emotion and special moments in a natural and totally unobtrusive way. I love everything about the portrait above – the framing is perfect and for me seems to sum up Mary & James’ day – lovely London, a truly happy couple and that feeling of intimacy only provided by a small wedding.
Mary The Bride: After we booked our venue I decided that a lace dress would suit the vintage theme perfectly but after trying on a few dresses, I found the fabric to be quite heavy and rather unflattering. I had almost given up hope when I visited Brown’s Bride. The staff were amazing and after sitting down to chat over a glass of champagne, they quickly snuck off to research the venue online, leaving me to browse through some of their beautiful stock. They soon returned with the Marchesa dress. I loved it instantly and unlike others, it felt light and comfortable, yet still beautiful and sexy. I adored the detail – particularly the illusion neckline, lace back and hand scalloped edging. Many thanks to seamstress Maria who ensured the dress fitted so well.
I asked Rita at Pimps and Pinups Salon, who has been my hairdresser for years to do our hair. I was ecstatic when she agreed, as I really wanted to feel comfortable with the people around me on the morning of. She has such a vibrant energy – the bridal party loved working with her and our hair looked beautiful. Special thanks to Inga at Kristina Gasperas who did an excellent job on our make-up. I was amazed how calm she remained throughout the morning. And the make-up lasted all night!
Shortly after proposing, James gave me a set of pearl earrings for Christmas and I decided to save them to wear on the wedding day. On the morning of the day, James surprised me with a beautiful pearl bracelet to match. It was one of my favourite moments.
James decided he wanted to wear a tux to echo the art deco theme of the venue. After seeing a blue one on a wedding blog, we decided the colour would work well. We ordered his tux online from Mr. Porter and it was a perfect fit. We found his bowtie in Burberry and we bought matching ties for the groomsmen and father of the groom.
We knew from the beginning that we wanted a small and cozy wedding that would allow us to feel relaxed and celebrate together with our families and closest friends. When we first started researching venues there seemed to be so much choice and it all felt very confusing. James’ mum remembered how in their days things were much simpler and weddings always took place near home in their local church ￼followed by a small party in the town hall. We really liked the idea so when we came across the Town Hall Hotel – which happened to be on our doorstep and in fact the old Bethnal Green Town Hall – it seemed just right. After viewing the venue, we booked it straight away as we absolutely loved the rooms – they are simply stunning. Thank you very much Sylwia who was our wedding coordinator and helped make the day run so smoothly.
The Decor & Flowers
We wanted an elegant feel to the wedding and because the rooms in the Town Hall were so beautiful we decided on greens and neutrals for our colour scheme. We chose an Olive and Rose theme to bring together our two cultures – Greek and English. Benjamina from Indeco Flowers did an excellent job weaving this through our florals. She was familiar with the venue and made some great suggestions. We absolutely loved the decoration in the Council Chamber room where she set-up three elegant tall vases at the front, whilst covering the front balcony with similar smaller arrangements. We picked large silver vases for our centerpieces at dinner and they looked stunning on the tables.
For our wedding favours we chose a traditional spoon sweet made from conserved cherries, which my father bought from a little village in the Troodos Mountains in Cyprus. We had them placed in little jars and carried them over in our suitcases after wrapping each one individually. The pots looked really pretty on the place settings.
The Wedding Party
The bridesmaids wore a navy blue dress from Reiss. I wanted the girls to feel comfortable more than anything and so asked them to help choose. We found the dress on the first shopping trip and it was great to make that decision together as everyone felt happy. And the girls looked great!
James and I decided that we wanted to enter the ceremony room together. We met in the Edwardian Lobby just outside our dressing rooms. James clutched my bouquet, in keeping with an old Greek tradition whereby the groom greets his bride outside the church with a ￼bunch of flowers. It was a beautiful moment.
Our ceremony took place in the Council Chamber. The room felt intimate and it was an emotional service. There were lots of tears and it felt so special that our guests were truly happy for us. We chose two poems for the ceremony; the first called A Birthday by Christina Rosetti read by Gloria, one of my closest childhood friends, and a second Greek poem called The Monogram by famous poet Odysseus Elytis read by Maria, one of the bridesmaids. We were very impressed with the readings as they both did an amazing job. It was very touching.
We held our reception in the De Montfort Suite and hired pianist Sarah Kershaw to sing and play on the grand piano. She sounded incredible and our guests loved listening to her throughout dinner as she added to the elegant ambiance. In the evening we hired a DJ and we provided him with a playlist of both Greek and English music. It was nice to see everyone get involved.
We served canapés just after the ceremony during a champagne reception, followed by a three-course dinner. Clare at the Little Bear Cakery made our cake. She was a lovely person to work with and her cakes are delicious. After talking through our theme she sketched some options for the design. The detail on the cake was really stunning. Because we couldn’t decide on just one flavour, we chose a different one for each tier – Luscious Lemon, Belgian Chocolate and Pistachio and Rose. We served a cheese cake from The West Country Cheese Company in the evening which worked really well with the night’s drinks and dancing.
I think one of the best choices we made was choosing Sarah Gawler as our photographer. We had initially not given much thought to the photography and even booked a recommendation very early on. When we came across Sarah we loved her work so much – we decided to cancel our first booking. And it was a great decision because Sarah is such a lovely person to work with. Not only is she talented and takes the most beautiful and soft pictures, she is so just so brilliant to have around. All our guests commented on what a fantastic job she and her assistant Ella Brown did. They even managed to help us keep calm and relaxed as the excitement grew. Thank you so much!
Special Details & Advice
We made our own table plan by collecting old frames and printing on a piece of card. We copied the art from our stationery, which was designed by one of our friends. We arranged it on a table outside the reception room on the morning of our wedding, whilst our florist Benjamina added the finishing touches. We named our tables a fusion of native plants and flowers from Cyprus and England.
Because my mother unfortunately could not be present on the day, we enlarged an old picture of hers and displayed it in a frame alongside a special poem that I wrote for her.
Overall we enjoyed our day so much and because we chose to have a small wedding of about 50 people we were both able to relax, express our emotions and enjoy celebrating with all of our guests. Which is exactly how we wanted it.