I don’t think I’ll ever tire of seeing brides in the beautiful Jenny Packham ‘Eden’ dress. Sophisticated, chic and with just the right amount of sparkle it seems to suit pretty much any wedding theme or location. Rachael chose this classic dress for her own big day at No 6 Chad Place – a London venue with an industrial feel – and looked blinking fantastic.
It’s clear from what Rachael has to say that family is at the heart of everything that she and Matt do, be it Matt’s family dog Basil or listening to Rachael talk about her Chinese grandparents and their wedding day is no exception. They integrated everyone they cared about be they near and far into the celebrations of their wedding day; I love it and I know you will too.
Also check out the awesome photos of the pair at St Pancreas and Rachael’s exquisite bouquet. Just gorgeous!
Rachael The Bride: I’ve never been one for girlie shopping trips but in the end I was so very glad that the girls were there. I’ve always been very practical with money and without them persuading me to throw caution to the wind I may have ended up settling for the dress that was in budget as opposed to the dress that I loved!
After trying on 20 dresses that were in budget but clearly weren’t very me (they were all so big and bridal) one of the girls handed me the Jenny Packham ‘Eden’ dress and just said “Look, just try it on. You keep looking at them. They’re the dresses you really like so put it on and we’ll think about the money later!”
I put on the Eden gown and was too afraid to even look in the mirror as I knew I adored it. My mum, thankfully, can read me like a book. As I stepped out of the dressing room and she turned to the shop assistant and said “That’s it! We’ll have it!”
Headpiece & Jewellery
I originally bought a very expensive head piece (£120!) but when I went for a hair trial it just didn’t look right. I ended up selling it and the one I actually wore on the day was £12.99 off ebay! On the wedding day a few people, who weren’t aware of the change over, mentioned how they could definitely tell that it was worth well over £100! It just goes to show, not everything has to cost a fortune!
I always wear my jade bracelet. It was put on in Malaysia when I was 19 and was a ‘coming of age’ present from my Ah Mah in Malaysia. She’s since passed away so it was very important that I kept it on for this special day. My mum and all my Chinese aunts also wore their jade bracelets on the day.
Etsy really is a god send. I emailed a lady in America who made some custom blue Tardis vinyl stickers to go on the bottom of mysparkly gold shoes. They were £6 including shipping, were my something blue and they made people laugh!
The Groom’s Fashion
It didn’t even occur to us to hire matching suits for the Grooms’ party! After all, we’re not a very ‘matchy matchy’ couple. After we had chosen the venues, colours and how the day would fit together the decision that the boys’ side would wear their own suits seemed obvious. We wanted a small relaxed London wedding and matching suits would not have fitted with this.
Matt chose a suit from Hugo Boss after visiting boutiques in central London with his Dad and three brothers which he then had tailored. He originally didn’t choose to wear a waistcoat but I really liked how it made him stand out from the others in the group photos and it meant that he still looked smart when he took off his jacket as the evening wore on and the drinks were flowing!
We thought about having a country barn wedding for approximately 1 minute before realising that it just wasn’t very us. Neither of us have ever been very traditional so why start conforming now?
London is the city we met in, it’s where we had our first home and it’s where we fell in love in so it made perfect sense to getting married here. We decided from this point onwards to have what we wanted, not what anyone deemed suitable. We wanted London, we wanted small and we wanted fun. It soon became known as our ‘Little London Wedding’
We then stumbled across St Chads when we Googled ‘Little London Wedding’ – We went to visit it and we loved it how it was slap bang in the middle of Kings Cross but it felt like you could be anywhere. We loved the bulbs hanging down from the ceiling, the big glass roof, the huge mural of a train across the back wall and how the toilets were in the style of an old fashioned railway carriage. It didn’t scream wedding, it was industrial and it was us!
To top it all off the price was right and the rest is history.
We didn’t start out with a set colour scheme as such. We don’t like chair covers, we don’t like everything being matching so we just bought things in colours we liked and went from there. It’s quite nice not to be restricted to one colour scheme.
The bridesmaids ended up in mint, the cranes on the tables ended up being different greens and pinks, the bouquets had white, pinks and nudes with mint and gold ribbons and I bought fabric in a range of mints, golds and lemons. The invites and table plans ended up being made out of kraft and we filled them with gold glitter. We’re primary school teachers, we had to get some glitter in there somewhere!
Apparently paper cranes are oh so fashionable now. This wasn’t why we chose them! One of my earliest memories is sitting on a cold marble floor, in Malaysia, with my Ah-Kong (Chinese grandfather) learning how to make paper cranes and a variety of other origami animals. Ah-Kong passed away when I was 10 and I was on the other side of the world from him. For this reason we decided to incorporate them into the wedding, so there was a little bit of him there too.
Matt’s grandma and Choo’s great aunt unfortunately could not attend the wedding in London and we wanted them to be included somehow. We decided to hang up some photos of all of our loved ones who wouldn’t be there, or who had passed away, on their wedding days. To show all of the marriages that had come before our time as we entered this new stage of our lives together.
Clare, our florist, is just so very talented. She is incredibly knowledgeable of her craft whilst also being warm, kind and professional. She did the flowers for one of our best friends weddings and we emailed her on the off chance she was still doing weddings in London – thank goodness for us she was!
She made our venue look absolutely beautiful, not to mentioned the beautiful bouquets and button holes for the boys. She made us sample flowers and a Pinterest board full of ideas and she even hunted out gold tea light holders once she found out some details about bits and bobs we had bought. She totally got our ‘little and simple’ approach and we cannot recommend her highly enough.
The Wedding Party Fashion
The three bridesmaids wore mint dresses with nude shoes and grey pashminas. Morgan, the youngest bridesmaid opted for a feather bolero which suited her down to the ground. She also had a sparkly headpiece that we totally forgot to put on!
I bought all of the girls personalised gold and mint necklaces with their initials on, by means of a little thank you, that they wore on the day. I emailed a lady on Etsy who made them just as I wanted them.
The best man, groomsman and ushers all wore their own suits. We didn’t mind what ties or suits they wore as we just wanted people to feel comfortable and to have fun. Matt, his best man, the groomsman, the three ushers (his brothers) plus the bride and grooms father did all wear matching pink socks though!
Matt’s family have a whippet called Basil who is rather notorious and definitely couldn’t be trusted to attend! Our reading was called “Why falling in love is like having a dog” so we had a picture of Basils’ rather stupid face on the back of the reading which Matt family loved!
My Godfather’s wife passed away last year and straight after the ceremony he pulled me to one side and put her gold watch on me. It was a very special moment between the two of us.
Neither of us are big traditional cake lovers and with Matt growing up in Cheddar we just had to have cheese! It was a no-brainer! So we bought £250 of Somerset cheese from The Cheese Shed to make our cheese cake which was then decorated with fruit.
To show the two families coming together we also had Matt’s Aunt’s apple chutney recipe plus my Ah-Mah’s Malaysian pickle recipe as condiments. The cheese was cut up and served to all the evening guests so none of it was wasted. We’ve been to so many weddings where the cake just gets left but our cheese cake was utterly demolished!
We also ordered a custom made ‘Double Happiness’ topper off Etsy for £10. Again, it didn’t cost much but it made my family so happy to see touches of my heritage in the day. My Mum was a little overwhelmed when she saw the photo of her mother by the cake explaining where the recipes came from.
We bought everyone a ‘school’ badge that went with their personality and put them inside Ang Pows (red packets) with a personalised note for everyone and a bit more glitter for good measure. My sister who has never been afraid to share her opinion got ‘debate team’ and Matt’s brother who is notoriously bad at singing got ‘choir’ etc. Everyone opened them before dinner and wore them for the rest of the evening.
Our Wedding Quilt
At traditional Chinese weddings the guest book is not made from paper but from silk. People sign the red silk cloth and it is normally made into a blanket. This is the blanket that you are supposed to wrap your first child in, so you are wrapping them in the love and wishes of your nearest and dearest. I quilt as a hobby so we opted for a more modern version with everyone signing squares of fabric which were then hung up so everyone could read each other’s messages.
Where to even start when describing Christine! Christine is such a brilliant person and photographer. She really went above and beyond for us, staying late to catch all of the dancing as it unfolded. Importantly her natural style of photography totally fitted the feel of our wedding.
We had a pre-wedding shoot on the Thames which we were more than a bit nervous about but Christine helped us to feel at ease. Our advice to couples who have been offered one as part of their package would be to just do it! Yes you will initially feel like a wally having photos taken in public, it will feel very alien but it really does help you to feel comfortable on the day around a camera and you’ll get much better wedding photos and that’s what matters!
We had photos taken in The Renaisance (where we spent our wedding night) and in St Pancreas as we were off to Paris on honeymoon. We were going to get a taxi across but we ended up walking which led to some fab shots of us in the middle of the Kings Cross hussle and bussle not to mention random tourists wanted photos with the newlyweds!
Words can’t really explain how happy we are with our photos. We have had so many compliments about them and it’s all thanks to Christine who captured the day beautifully.