We're stepping into Autumn this bank holiday weekend (which seems rather appropriate considering the recent change in weather), for a gorgeous wedding at three incredible venues. First a heart felt ceremony at Stoke Newington Town Hall, then on to Clissold House for a reception, and culminating in food, drink and fun at West Reservoir Centre complete with hanging foliage decor and Croquembouche tower wedding cake. Bride Olivia not only looks incredible in her Laure de Sagazan bridal separates, but has a truly wonderful experience at their Paris boutique to share. Kudos to her for also allowing her maids to pick their own dresses, as they look absolutely stunning by her side in white gowns and flower crowns. The lovely Rebecca Rees of A Thing Like That truly captured the spirit of this heart felt autumnal day, so take five and enjoy every minute.


Olivia the Bride: Pete proposed in April, and we were married a short six months later in October. The reason for our short engagement was simple - we just didn’t want to wait! What really set the date was that one of my sisters, who lives in Australia, happened to be in the UK in October, and as we liked the idea of an Autumn wedding, and because I am an excellent big sister we decided to organise it around her holiday!


Although this put the pressure on as we only had two weekends to choose from - it actually made some of the early big decisions easier by limiting our choices. The first and biggest hurdle was where to have the wedding? Whilst I had always idly thought about getting married abroad in sunnier climes, we fell in love with the idea of having all our favourite people at home with us in London. Once we had decided this, it seemed obvious for the wedding to be local to us in Stoke Newington. The Town Hall is an amazing venue with a beautiful art deco facade and the chambers inside were somehow both grand and intimate. We have also always loved Clissold Park and its proximity to the Town Hall meant that it was too good a reception venue to ignore. The last and perhaps most important venue for dinner and dancing became a choice between a local pub and the West Reservoir Centre. We chose the latter because of its wow factor - the huge windows, the incredible high ceilings, and I knew the stark industrial interior of it all would contrast nicely with the warm, rustic decor we had imagined. I’m so glad we chose those venues! We were incredibly lucky on the day of the wedding, it was mild and dry, and the sun even came out by the time we arrived at Clissold Park. People could enjoy the beautiful surroundings, and when we arrived at West Reservoir the room was flooded with natural light and people were able to go outside on to the wooden deck and overlook the water. It was such a great venue and a perfect day.


As West Reservoir is dry hire it did however, mean a lot more work for us. We now had to find a caterer, source lighting, organise table and chair hire, purchase alcohol - everything! Pete was amazing at managing the logistics - he sourced tables and chairs from Adams Catering, and one of his close friends, Chris, is not only an amazing DJ but was also happy to take care of the entertainment in the evening!


Finding the right caterer was challenging, but eventually we found Deanna, the wonderful, passionate chef in charge of Platter & Slate. We wanted the food to stand out and she definitely delivered. I really feel that she helped shape how special the day was; her enthusiasm and talent gave us an extra spark of excited anticipation, and her sharing platters helped create a great atmosphere - it was so warm, and friendly and informal - with the most delicious food! I had originally wanted long trestle tables with ivy down the centre, but the sharing platters meant a rethink of the foliage decoration. In the end we did it ourselves. Pete had the idea for utilising the beams in the centre of West Reservoir Centre, and his mum had the ivy that formed the bulk of the foliage - the rest we decided to buy from Covent Garden Flower Market. Pete and his mum spent a busy day putting the hanging vines together - with the help of his grandparents! They did such a fantastic job, it really tied everything together - and made use of the wonderful height of the room.


Otherwise the decorations were simple - with the food taking rightful centre stage of the tables we only added a little extra foliage and some candles to finish it off; and as Pete proposed in Japan I wanted a little nod to that, so myself and Pete’s mum hand made origami cranes for the guests. Pete’s dad has beautiful handwriting so he took care of the names & voila, origami crane name cards were created!


Neither Pete nor I were interested in a traditional wedding cake, we thought maybe cheese or a variety of different cakes, until I came across a strange conical creation that was a cake made entirely of profiteroles. I had never heard of a Croquembouche before, but once I saw it I knew that we had our cake. I then stumbled across the stunning work of Boulangerie Jade, and after enquiries we were invited over for a tasting - definitely the fun part of the organising!


Pete and I knew that we didn’t want a day of shuffling around for hundreds of stiff, formal group photos, we wanted to enjoy the moments and have someone capture it for us so we could relive it after. It was during a late night search on Rock My Wedding that I came across the lovely wedding portfolio of Rebecca Rees, of A Thing Like That. I remember emailing her and anxiously awaiting her response! I love the natural style of her photos, how she captures light and how her photos tell a beautiful story of the day. Her photos make us smile so much when we look through the album she created.


Meanwhile, I was having a nightmare trying to get a wedding dress. Pete was sorted and had chosen a great suit from Reiss, but I was devastated because I had fallen hard for Laure de Sagazan, the parisian designer of effortlessly chic lace and silk outfits. My problem was that I - naively - hadn’t expected to need more than a few months to get a wedding dress, and the only shop in the UK to stock her dresses required a minimum of eight months - now I was starting to understand why people took at least a year to organise a wedding! I tried to find other dresses, desperately scrolling through pinterest and wedding blogs until 3am only to inevitably return to Laure de Sagazan. Eventually, I asked a close friend in Paris to phone their head office - also in Paris, to find out if I could get a dress if I went directly to them. She reported back to say that yes, it was possible! There wasn’t time for a custom made dress, but I would be able to find something “semi-measure” - something off the rail, but could be slightly altered should it need it. Off I went on the Eurostar! The Laure de Sagazan head showroom was beautiful, light and airy - I feel lucky to have been there. It’s also where everything is handmade, which is unusual in Paris these days. The staff were amazing, I was looked after by the lovely Chloe, who went above and beyond to help me get the wedding outfit I wanted. I couldn’t have been happier with it. I felt amazing on the day, comfortable and relaxed and perfect.


I wanted my sisters as bridesmaids and left them - or rather my mother - to choose dresses! I trusted them and my only requirement was that they be comfortable in what they wore. They looked as stunning as I knew they would. The bouquets and flower crowns were done by the lovely, talented Charlie and Jess of One Flew Over.


My mum loves poetry and sonnets so we asked her to send us any she thought might be suitable for a wedding reading. She gave us some amazing suggestions and from them we chose Ithaka, by C.P. Cavafy and Scaffolding, by Seamus Heaney.
Lorna Shaw

Written by Lorna Shaw

Dress Designer: Laure de Sagazan | Flowers: One Flew Over | Venue: Clissold House West Reservoir Centre | Hire: Adams Catering (supplies) | Catering: Slatter & Plate Catering | Croquembouche Cake: Boulangerie Jade | Suit: Reiss
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