Inspiration

Nicola Thompson Photography really has captured the essence of this contemporary wedding in London to perfection. Everything is seriously cool. The venues (all three of them) were all chosen for their fabulous architecture and locations and bring a different vibe to each element of the day. After a traditional English civil ceremony at Stoke Newington Town Hall and a Chinese tea ceremony at Clissold House the final destination was West Reservoir Centre. It is a fabulous industrial setting, styled with wooden trestle tables, light up letters and simple but oh so pretty vases filled with peach & white flower stems. Each guest was also given a gold spray painted animal place setting to match the Chinese year they were born in. What a fabulous idea, I would have had a monkey! Wait until you see Bride Nicki's stunning Reem Acra 'Olivia' gown too, your heart is going to skip a beat. Those beaded sleeves, and that train billowing in the wind, so stylish and so dreamy all at the same time.

Dress

Nicki The Bride: My dress was ‘Olivia’ by Reem Acra – I fell in love with the beaded cap sleeves and elegant floaty-ness of it. Only one store in London sold it (Browns Bride) and it was more money than I had been intending to spend, but decided to buy it new and aim to sell on afterwards. I had trouble finding the right earrings to go with the jewelled sleeves. To my delight, my wedding day gift from Barry was a pair of diamond studs, which perfectly matched. My gold strappy sandals from LK Bennett lasted until first dance, when the flats came out. Since Barry is British-born Chinese, we incorporated Chinese elements into the day, including a tea ceremony, where we served our families Chinese tea. For this I wore a two piece traditional Chinese Qun Kwa.

The Grooms Fashion

Barry’s grabbed a deal on 3 piece Armani Exchange suit, in shark blue – just right for a casual summer wedding. Accessorised with Daniel Wellington watch, Reiss shirt, Kin woven tie, socks from Happy Socks and Grenson Stanley brogues. The Wayfarer shades were one of my gifts to him on the wedding day.

The Venue

We found the perfect venue(s) in Stoke Newington, where Barry and I first got to know each other. Barry is an architect so interesting buildings were important to him and I wanted to be near water. West Reservoir Centre ticked all the boxes, a triple height building with an industrial feel, still featuring the old pumping station equipment. It has huge windows which flood with light during the day and it looks out onto a reservoir. For the ceremony we chose Stoke Newington Town Hall, followed by a champagne reception and the tea ceremony in Grade II listed Clissold House. You can find all three of our venues on hackneyvenues.com

Colour Scheme/Décor

I wasn’t good at sticking to a colour scheme! We went for a rustic feel with wooden trestle tables to give a feeling of informality. Colours were golds, pinks, green and white. We hung paper lanterns and festoons to create a more intimate, cosy feel. Thanks to Barry and the groomsmen for the fab job they did hanging the lanterns. On the tables were menus and conversation-starter fact cards, pink and gold table confetti, names places, favours and flowers in glass jars. We saw the idea for our place names on Pinterest – little animals spray painted gold. We added a twist to ours by making each guest’s animal their Chinese Zodiac sign. For the favours, we chose tea to represent English and Chinese culture: Chinese flowering tea in heart-shaped bulbs and English breakfast tea, joined together with some packaging designed by Barry. We had a lot of kids at the wedding so also made up kids packs for them, with colouring sheets, crayons, stickers, sweets disposable cameras etc. We sourced the flowers for the tables at a flower market and decorated the jars ourselves. Massive thanks to Barry’s parents for collecting and washing up all the jars and to my friends and family for helping to arrange the flowers on the morning of the wedding. We used chalkboard paint and cardboard to create the signs, with frames made from skirting board, spray painted gold. Making the invites, favours, stationery, names badges and signage took up quite a few weekends but I can honestly say we both loved doing it and value the memories of making them together almost as much as the day itself.

Flowers

Bridal & bridesmaid bouquets and buttons holes were done by the Academy of Flowers in Covent Garden – I had spent the day learning some flower arranging with them a couple of months before, so knew they’d do a great job.

The Wedding Party Fashion

Since I have 5 nephews and Barry has one, it was all about the page boys! We dressed them in matching beige shorts, braces, white shirts and striped bow-tie combo.

Ceremony

Things that made the ceremony special include: Barry and I writing our own vows, my brother-in-law play us down the aisle with a guitar rendition of All of me by John Legend and two of our nephews acting as ring bearers. We chose 3 readings: Everything I know I learned from Kindergarten by Robert Fulghum A Lovely Love story by Edward Monkton Piglet & Pooh by AA Milne & P Wardlow

Entertainment

Four-piece gypsy swing band, Café Manouche, played during the champagne reception at Clissold House. The after-dinner DJ was a friend of a friend.

Food

Good food in an informal setting was the theme, so we opted for sharing plates from the talented team at Eighty Six caterers. After tapas at Clissold House, the starter at West Reservoir Centre was fattoush salad with freshly-made sourdough bread & dips. Mains was a melt-in-your mouth 7-hour slow roast lamb with pilaf and Swiss chard. Dessert was rose water meringue. We had a late night snack of pulled pork buns. We’re not big fans of wedding cakes so went for doughnuts from Crosstown bakery, arranged on a tiered cake stand with a homemade cake topper. A hit with the kids!

Photographer

Nicola shot a friend’s wedding the year before and we’d had her in mind for ours ever since we got engaged. She has a really creative eye, is very easy to get on with and is a real professional who knows how to get the right shots. We’re absolutely delighted with our photos.

Written by Lorna Shaw

Dress Designer: Reem Acra - Olivia | Bridal Boutique: Browns Bridal | Chinese Tea Ceremony Dress: Yanny Express | Bridal Shoes: L.K Bennett | Veil: BHLDN | Bridesmaid Dresses: Coast | Grooms Suit: Armani Exchange | Tie: Kin at John Lewis | Grooms Shoes: Grenson Stanley Brogues from ASOS | Shirt: Reiss | Socks: Happy Socks | Ceremony: Stoke Newington Town Hall | Champagne Reception & Tea Ceremony: Clissold House | Reception : West Reservoir Centre | Bouquets & Buttonholes: Academy of Flowers | Centrepiece Flowers: New Covent Garden Flower Market | Cake: Crosstown Doughnuts | Caterer: Eighty Six | Paper Lanterns: Hanging Lanterns | Light Up Letters: Light Up Love | Festoon Lights: LX Tricks | Entertainment: Café Manouche | Sound Equipment: Hire Frequencies | Videographer: Jessie Ayles

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