What a better way to introduce this stylish city wedding than by the bride herself. Over to Melany: “We handmade all the decorations, food by friends including the incredible cake by Jessica Anderson, handmade bridesmaid dresses by my Mum, a £350 wedding dress (after much searching), a build your own bar filled with booze from France – it nearly killed us but what an incredible day. Someone once told me ‘you can’t get married for less than 10k?!’ Well you can!”
Now if that isn’t having your day your way, then I don’t know what is! And to make it even more fabulous, everything looked incredible.Melany’s Reformation gown in particular was so cool. The plunging neckline and billowing skirt made it look so much more expensive than its price tag. The seasonal wild flowers added a welcoming pop of colour in hues of pink and coral, and I bet guests loved their Kinder Egg surprise wedding favour. All the joy was captured by Joanna Bongard Photography, whose contemporary style was perfect for this Hackney wedding.
Melany the Bride: I have never been the type of person who dreamed of getting married and having a big wedding. So when it happened it was important to me to pick a dress that was relaxed and un-fussy. I really hate dresses that try to do too much and didn’t want to look too made up. For me it was looking natural, effortless and to have a clean silhouette. Budget was a huge thing; I couldn’t afford to pick a dress over £1000 as realistically I couldn’t afford it. I was pointed to Reformation by a friend and loved their clean, minimal, basic style and it was in budget. I tried on every single dress in their range and eventually settled on the ‘Milan’. I will be honest, I didn’t love the dress. I never had a WOW moment with any dress as I felt ridiculous so dressed up (jeans and converse are my happy place) but I had tried on so many dresses, I was really happy to just have a dress that I was 80% happy with! On the day everything came together and I was really happy with how I looked. I wore it with all silver jewellery including hoops from ASOS, a borrowed watch from my mum (given to her by my dad a long time ago!), a ring from my bridesmaid Emily, Sophia Webster shoes (from a sample sale!) and had my makeup done by the wonderful Caroline Piasecki who I found via a friend.
Steven the Groom: My favourite colour is blue and the outfit was a nod to Tottenham Hotspur. I like to buy from British brands where possible if I’m splashing out so this was a good excuse. I chose the suit because it had an interesting puppy tooth pattern that wasn’t too loud from a distance but looked cool if you looked at it in detail. It was also a very relaxed summer fit that I had altered slightly to be a bit more fitted and tapered yet still look reasonably casual. The tailor was Atelier Colpani just behind Bond Street tube station, she’s amazing! Drake’s linen grandad shirt – smart yet casual, British and kept me cool on what was a seriously hot afternoon. I’ve always wanted a pair of Church’s, they’re the Rolls Royce of shoes. Dark brown would have looked better with the suit but I will get more wear out of a pair of black ones. The whole outfit was bought bearing in mind I will wear it all or parts again rather than waste a load of money on a single use outfit.
Melany the Bride: Steven and I had our first kiss outside the Dolphin pub after walking me home from after a long day at London Marathon. We lived together in Hackney and I had been living in the borough for over 10 years, Hackney was the only place I wanted to get married and it made sense to do it in a place we made our home. Being creatives we wanted our reception venue to be an arts venue, full of light and to be somewhere where everyone could really relax. We picked Bow Arts courtyard space as it was a blank canvas and we could put our own spin on it. The space was huge and we loved that all income on venue hire went back into supporting artists and local schools to engage with art. We could also bring in our own alcohol with no charge! It was all outside – which was risky with the weather but luckily it was an incredible July day! I kept the faith and the sun came out for us!
Being creatives we had a few differences of opinion on the style we wanted to flow through the whole day. We decided that the design of our invites and order of service were our starting point, I made loads of marbled paper in our kitchen and Steven as a Graphic Designer made the whole design suite. We designed and made all the decorations that were shades of pink to sit alongside the tons of marbled paper that I had made. We covered the venue in fairy lights for the evening and I handmade my own concrete pots for the table to pop potted plants in. The only rule for the wedding was no red, as Steven is a big Tottenham Hotspur fan! We were due to have a blue Southend route master bus for the wedding, but sadly it had mechanical problems a day before the wedding and we ended up with a green bus! Steven gave me a kinder egg on our first date, so everyone had their own kinder egg at their table setting to take away from the day.
I was super lucky to meet the most amazing florist Lily through a friend on Instagram who had just started her own floristry business BUD London. Lily had never done a wedding before and we made a deal that she could do whatever she wanted with flowers! She sent me a few ideas but when they arrived on the day and when I arrived at the venue after the wedding, I had no idea what the flowers would be like. Nearly all the flowers she used were in season and were British. She did such an incredible job making the bouquets, decorating the venue with posies and making the buttonholes.
Wedding Party Fashion
We didn’t really have any set rules for wedding party fashion. We wanted everyone to be comfortable, relaxed and happy.
The bridesmaids all wore homemade dresses and jumpsuits made by my mum in colour shades that were inspired by the marbled paper in the invite and decorations. I gave them a bunch of colours to choose from and each picked their own. I wanted them to have a dress that suited them and they could wear again and again! I was happy for them to do what they wanted with their hair and wear whatever shoes they felt they could dance the longest in!
Our ring-bearer was our nephew Otto who at 4 years old would only wear what he wanted including some very cool sunglasses!
Steven and I walked down the aisle together at the start of the ceremony. I didn’t want to be ‘given away. For me it was a commitment we were making together and we wanted to represent that. We made our rings at Workbench Ldn with the amazing Katie and Kirsty. They engraved our initials inside too which was a lovely extra touch. We had a strong wedding playlist that made everyone laugh…! Going to the Chapel was our entry song along with ‘You make my dreams come true’ by Hall and Oates to exit with!
Steven DJ’s so luckily has a host of incredible DJ friends who all jumped on for sets throughout the reception. I left the music to Steven and it was a rather eclectic mix of both our styles. I think my favourite memory is everyone doing the candy dance to Cameo! We also had a photobooth from Ida Pod which everyone loved jumping into and we have some great pictures from!
Food is a BIG part of our relationship so we went directly to (in our opinion) the best caterers in East London… The Canababes! They were perfect from start to finish and everyone has said it was the best wedding grub they had ever eaten. It was a hot day so we opted for light Middle Eastern style food, our main being lots of salad, roasted lamb with pomegranate and slow cooked aubergine for our vegan guests. In the evening we had snacks made by Steven’s grandmother Gammy, who made her Chingford famous ‘Anglo-Indian puffs’ alongside vegan samosas as a nod to Stevens’s heritage. We had a ‘cake bar’ with cakes from friends, family and neighbours that sat alongside a huge wedding cake made by our friend Jess that was so incredible not a single crumb was left! We made our own sloe gin for cocktails too, with berries we foraged for whilst out running together in East London; it certainly got the party going!
The wonderfully talented Joanna Bongard Photography as I was recommended her by a few very good friends who used her for their weddings. I loved Jo’s relaxed, unposed, cool piccies.
- It’s your day. Follow your heart and don’t be influenced by family or friends
- Pinterest gave me a ton of ideas but remember to not fall too deep down the rabbit hole!
- Rope in friends and family to make the day special
- Use Instagram to find suppliers and inspiration
- Dry hire venues offer you a chance to really create your own look and feel
- Sell your dress after! I knew I would never wear my dress again so I sold it a few days after, it gets to make someone else’s day special and I used the money to buy a designer handbag which I use every weekend!
- If loads of kids are coming to the wedding make them a special wedding pack full of games and toys. Our nephews loved this little touch and by the end of the day everyone was playing with them!