Can we just take a moment to appreciate the intricate detail on Naomi’s Alice Temperley gown. It’s breathtaking isn’t it. The adorable cap sleeves and appliqué lace detail look so delicate and ethereal. Then her and groom Dan hit the urban streets with the fabulous Lovestruck Photography and she teams it with a leather jacket. SO fierce.
The rest of their London wedding is just as perfectly executed with timeless vintage elegance and city vibes, including festoon lights in The Pickle Factory courtyard and a taco truck for guests to feast on. It’s definitely a beautiful celebration of love and style you don’t want to miss.
Naomi the Bride: Dan and I met and fell in love in London and we knew we wanted to get married here. We decided on an off-peak wedding in the Spring and although we didn’t have lots of fixed ideas going into the planning we knew we wanted a relaxed and simple feel. Most of all we wanted our day to be full of fun and love, with unique elements to make it our own.
Picking my gown was much easier than I expected. After a bit of Googling, I fell in love with Alice Temperley’s style and found a boutique in Angel that stocked her gowns. Although my silk gown didn’t look much on the hanger, it felt amazing on, and my mind was made up! It was the perfect fusion of seventies bohemia and thirties elegance, and was an absolute dream to wear. As the bodice was so ornately detailed, I chose not to wear a veil and instead wore a pearl hairpiece from Crystal Valley. My rose-gold shoes from Dune added a pop of colour, and were comfortable enough to take me from the ceremony through to the last dance!
My hairdresser Lisa took care of our hair, and make-up artist Gemma created the understated, natural look we were after.
The Groom’s Fashion & accessories: Dan the Groom: I chose my suit with my best man, who used to sell suits himself so knew exactly what to look for! We planned an initial foray around Selfridges’ menswear department to get some ideas, but after trying on various styles and colours one suit stood out: a finely checked dark grey Hugo Boss, with a subtle red thread running through the pattern. I bought it then and there, and after a slight leg shortening (on the suit, not me), it fit perfectly. We picked up a Thomas Pink shirt, a pair of tan brogues by Loakes and matching belt, and the ensemble was topped off with a custom-made sage green bowtie and pocket square, colour-matched to the bridesmaids’ dresses. Tiny fountain pen cufflinks from my Mum were the ideal finishing touch, given my profession as a writer and poet. I felt incredibly happy with my look and I knew my bride would be proud of me as she made her way up the aisle.
The Wedding Party Fashion
Naomi the Bride: Our two bridesmaids wore dresses by Dessy. Finding a suit for our groomswoman Paula was a lot of fun – we are so glad she was up for it! We found a jacket in Zara and paired it with some wide-legged John Lewis trousers of almost identical material. A quick trip to the tailor and they were converted into cigarette trousers for a more flattering fit. Our best man Tim wore a suit of his own which co-ordinated beautifully.
The gorgeous Burgh House and Hampstead Museum was the perfect venue for us. We both love art deco, and the warm wood-panelled 1920s Music Room was the ideal setting for our intimate ceremony and reception of thirty-two guests. They were also able to explore the museum and the local art on display – though after the ceremony we all immediately flocked outside to clink glasses in the warm sunshine – not bad for an April wedding!
In contrast to the intimacy and elegance of the afternoon at Burgh House, our evening party was a more lively and hipster affair. A hundred family members and friends joined us at The Pickle Factory in Bethnal Green. Tucked away on an industrial estate, its unimposing exterior meant guests were pleasantly surprised when they entered the main space! We are both big fans of the industrial style and as The Pickle Factory was a blank canvas, we were able to create our own vision for the space. We loved the character of the external courtyard with foliage climbing the walls, old shipping containers for guests to hang their coats, and strings of festoon lights. And who wouldn’t want to party in a disused pickle factory?! In fact, we were so taken by it that in all our contact with guests we referred to our day as The Pickled Wedding.
Our colour scheme incorporated sage, peach, and gold. The overarching wedding theme was Spring, but we didn’t stick to this too strictly, and brought in other elements we loved too, including lots of London touches. The flowers and foliage tied in perfectly with my gown which had flower and vine appliqué over the bodice.
The day felt elegant and loosely vintage. We did very little decorating at Burgh House as it had so much of its own character, though The Pickle Factory was a completely different matter: we started from scratch in terms of design, and hired everything in. The Spring theme continued into the evening but we swapped elegance for industrial and indie elements.
We really wanted our personalities to shine through and also didn’t want to spend a vast amount of money, so we did all the styling and crafting ourselves. Our save-the-date was a homemade stop-motion video set to one of our favourite songs, and our welcome board was made from a salvaged wooden pallet – sawn in half and painted. Another pallet was repurposed to become the frame for our Polaroid Guestbook, and we used apple crates to showcase our cakes. Gas & Air provided us with pallet coffee tables and benches with cushions, creating a great indoor-festival vibe, and we recycled our flowers from the day in the evening. The walls were decked out with strings of festoon lights from Fusion Sound and Light, and of course, we had a large demijohn of pickles perched on the bar.
Having two venues made things a little trickier, especially as we only had access to The Pickle Factory from 10am on the day so couldn’t set up the night before. With four months to go, we got in touch with Julie Silver, a wedding planner and co-ordinator who totally ‘got’ us, and it was one of the best things we did. Julie listened to all of our plans, and did a lot of work behind the scenes. We dropped all of our gear with her the day before and – voila! – she set up and co-ordinated the rest and the evening came together exactly as planned: all we had to do was show up. As Julie says – “it’s surprising how much work goes into making an evening seem effortless!”
Our flowers were by Rebel Rebel. They have a very creative and cool approach and we knew they would produce something amazing without needing much direction! Phil suggested constance spry vases – which fit Burgh House’s Music Room to a tee. Our brief was loose and natural arrangements with tendrils of fresh greenery. We had Juliette roses, ranunculus, eucalyptus leaves, and – my favourite – succulents! We incorporated ferns into my bouquet and the buttonholes as a nod to New Zealand, where I grew up.
Ceremony & Reception
The groom and groomsmen took the tube to the wedding, and the bridal party arrived in black cabs. Despite the nerves leading up to the day, I felt so calm, ready, and excited as I stood behind the doors of the music room, waiting to enter. I was lucky enough to have both my Mum and Dad walk me down the aisle whilst Debussy’s Clair de Lune played on a baby Blüthner grand piano. We had a civil ceremony so had the flexibility to play around with the wording, keeping the ‘contract’ bit to a minimum and instead focussing on our love for each other. We also wrote our own vows, which was a high point for both of us. Though, as our brilliant registrar Barbara said when we met her a couple of weeks before the wedding, we were brave to do so as we both ended up in joyful tears as we read them!
Speeches were a big highlight of the day, starting with my dad Keith. Though a naturally shy man, he was effervescent and hilarious. I didn’t want to be a silent bride, so I also did a speech – though with all the other preparations it took a bit of a back seat and I had to flesh out my bullet points in my hotel room the night before! It must have gone down well, as Dan’s brother said it outdid the groom’s – and he’s a professional writer and performer! Tim, the best man, had a unique approach to his speech: an analogue PowerPoint presentation, including pie charts and data gathered from Dan’s friends – it brought down the house.
I grew up in a very musical family, so live music throughout the day was a must! We booked the talented pianist Chad Lelong for Burgh House, and he was a flawless presence, playing beautiful classical pieces before and during the ceremony, moving to blues and jazz standards throughout afternoon tea.
At The Pickle Factory, Café Manouche kept everyone on the dance floor with their upbeat gypsy jazz. They even learnt our first dance song, an Amy Winehouse cover of ‘(There is) No Greater Love’ – playing it so superbly that when we motioned for everyone else to come and join us, the dance floor filled instantly.
Having met at a spoken word night 6 years earlier, we knew we wanted poetry to play a part during our day. During the ceremony bridesmaids Vicki and Hannah, and groomswoman Paula, gave three short and heartfelt readings of modern, slightly off-beat love poems. Our favour bags included a poem by Dan, and he also performed a specially-written piece for me during toasts at the evening party. Our guests got bespoke verse of their own too, as five of Dan’s poetry friends manned our Pop-Up Poetry stand, writing poems to order throughout the night.
Our wedding breakfast was a sumptuous afternoon tea washed down with plenty of prosecco and pink lemonade. Continuing the festival-vibe, our evening food was from Taco Truck: a bright red converted 1960s fire-engine that parked right outside The Pickle Factory. Dan and I are big fans of street food, and tasted Taco Truck’s delicious offerings at a festival in Greenwich. We felt that tacos were a fun alternative to a buffet, and they were very gentle on the budget, too. There were enough tacos for seconds and thirds, and even for all our suppliers!
Our cakes were by Holly at The Floury. We had a gorgeous cake tasting at her home in Stoke Newington and were told we could choose any flavours under the sun! We chose coconut and raspberry, chocolate and hazelnut, and lemon and pistachio. Two weeks before the wedding we decided to offer a gluten and dairy-free option as well, and Holly gladly whipped one up without any fuss. Holly’s portions are super generous, and the buttercream frosting was to die for. Our guests are still raving about the cakes!
Lovestruck Photography’s Lai and Juliet were personally recommended by a friend. We loved their relaxed reportage style. We met up in the pub a couple of months before and my fears of being professionally photographed for the first time quickly dissipated. We made a short list of family photos and let them go carte blanche on the rest. It was so lovely to give over control knowing we were in safe hands – and we couldn’t have been more delighted with the photos! They really are the friendliest duo – and total professionals. They had so many creative ideas, and moved around so discreetly!
They were especially up for our stroll down Brick Lane, which we squeezed in between Burgh House and The Pickle Factory. I put on one of my wardrobe staples – a leather jacket by Y.A.S., as we stopped off for lattes in Bell Boi, a tiny coffee shop made for two. We felt like we were in a fashion shoot as we wandered the markets and streets around Shoreditch, getting some simply amazing shots.
Advice / DIY projects
We didn’t realise getting married would come with so much expectation. There are traditions that people expect, but it’s your day, so do what you want: choose the traditions you like and ditch the rest. No cake cutting for us, for example!
Invest in important things – for us this was the food, photographers, and music. We took money from other areas and put it towards this.
Negotiate, shop around, and think outside the box. We saved hundreds of pounds in so many areas and it all added up. I waited until there was a trunk sale before buying my gown, we booked our black cabs by flagging them down on the street and asking in person, we sourced independent and local suppliers.
And lastly, don’t lose sight of the goal. It’s about you two and your love. Make it your happiest day.