Sally might be the happiest bride in the history of Rock My Wedding real wedding features, a mega watt smile in every. single. image. beautiful.
Sally and Stuart held their ceremony at Orleans House and had their reception at The Turk’s Head, both in Twickenham. A super stylish city affair if every there was one, I love the simple yet pretty details and the sweetheart table not only means both bride and groom share some valuable “just married” time together but also works as a real focal point in the room.
Also I must mention Sally’s best girls in leather jackets….awesome. And why not if it’s a wee bit chilly outside? combing comfort with cool, that’s my kind of fashion.
Sally The Bride: Firstly, I didn’t ever want a big wedding. Stu convinced me that I would regret it if we ran off to Vegas and I have to say (begrudgingly!) he was right. I loved our wedding day more than I ever thought I would!
From the start we knew we wanted something small scale (65 guests) and personal. Nothing stuffy or formal or TOO weddingy!
We set out to look for a wedding venue and my clever husband found Orleans House on the internet (we knew we wanted to marry in London, where we live but not in the centre of the city to get the best of both worlds). As soon as we went to see it we knew it was the place for us. We got engaged on Christmas Day, so I thought it would be lovely to get married the following Christmas. It’s my favourite time of year, super romantic and gave us enough time to plan everything, luckily Orleans House had one date left in December, which was a Friday, so we took the risk of annoying guests and booked it. Everyone’s more relaxed in December, aren’t they?! We then hunted for nearby pubs and stumbled upon The Turks Head. The pub itself is lovely, we tested the food and that was great, it was low-key and had a private room at a very reasonable price that could accommodate everyone. At this point we were getting a little worried about how easy all of this was!
Next was wedding dress shopping. I felt so excited on the day of shopping with my Mum, 3/5 of my Bridesmaids (one lives in New Zealand and one in Australia, so the trip to London was a little too far!). I always knew that I loved Jenny Packham designs but wanted to look around a little bit just incase. But as soon as I went in the first shop I saw the dress I brought straight away and knew it was the one. I tried on others but nothing compared but the price was a little higher than my Mum or I were willing to pay, so I was a woman on a mission! I emailed every Jenny Packham stockist in the country asking if they had a sample for sale, a few days later I found one. In Blackburn! But at half the RRP it was worth the drive! My parents live up North, so I just tied it in with a visit to see them. Luckily it only needed a few minor alterations as it fit like it was made for me, so we found a local dress alterations place and specialist dry cleaner to get it all good as new. I would highly recommend trying to hunt down a sample if you can’t afford the dress you love. Mine had been tried on in the shop by people, but never worn outside and once it was all dry cleaned and altered it was good as new (and saved almost £1500). Don’t give up for that dream dress. I tried on a veil but freaked out as soon as they put one on me! I think it was one step too far down the traditional route for me. Instead I found a lovely Jenny Packham Headpiece to hire from a lovely bride on preloved. I couldn’t justify spending £350 on it to wear it once, so hired it for a week for £40. As it was December I knew I needed some kind of shrug so searched Ebay and Etsy, until I found a gorgeous ostrich feather shrug from Canada, which worked perfectly with the dress. I just need an excuse to wear it again!
Stu is as decisive as I am, so always knew he would buy a suit from Reiss. As soon as we went into the store, we saw the right one straight away. I loved the waistcoat, men should wear waistcoats more! He bought his tie and pocket square from there too, and then got his Ushers similar colour ties from French Connection. His shoes were from Grenson as it was finally the perfect excuse for him to treat himself!
The Bridesmaid dresses were a bargain from the Anthropologie Sale. I always knew that I wanted something simple in cream or beige and when I saw these at a great discount I knew I had to snap them up, even 10 months before the wedding. I had one Bridesmaid that turned out to be 7 months pregnant on the day, but luckily she still squeezed in! We also sourced my gorgeous Goddaughter and Flower Girl a beautiful dress that almost matched the Bridesmaid dresses from Monsoon. It worked perfectly.
Our fabulous friend, Chris, has recently started a stationery design business and had kindly offered to design our stationery for us. We both love music, and as much as we were trying to keep away from making the wedding too themed, we wanted our love of music to run through the day. We came up with the idea of sending out 7” records as invitations, with an insert inside with all the details on. We were so chuffed with how they turned out and had an amazing response to them, everyone enjoys getting some nice post! Chris also helped us to design our table plan, we named each table after a wedding themed song. Stu made us sit on ‘its the end of the world as we know it (and I feel fine)’ by REM, which was pretty funny, as was ‘Punchup at a wedding’ for one of his friends tables! We printed the table names on stickers and stuck them on some spare 7” records we had left from the invitations.
Instead of a guestbook, Chris also helped us design advice cards to leave at each guests place on the table. It was very funny after the wedding reading people’s advice for us, some very sweet, some very ridiculous, especially the drunken ones! We are going to keep them all in a nice book. I know I’ve forgotten to write in many a guestbook, so we thought if it was put there in front of you, its harder to avoid doing! I am so super impressed with all of Chris’s ideas and his patience with us when we changed our mind and went back and forth – I can’t recommend him highly enough, he’s so talented and also so incredibly patient.
I had always wanted to have a go at doing the flowers myself. Everyone thought I was mental and overambitious but it was truly one of my most favourite parts of the day before the wedding. I’d spent all year collecting various sized jars and just removed the labels and tied a piece of twine around the top of each one. The day before I went to New Covent Garden Flower Market with one of my wonderful Bridesmaids armed with a wad of cash. It was the most amazing place (even at 4am!). I bought bunches of gyp to make bouquets for the Bridesmaids, and then an assortment of pastel coloured flowers and greenery for the vases and then I just carried a single white hydrangea, as my dress was so ornate I didn’t need much else and they had a bit of a personal reason too.
We got back to my flat and had so much fun arranging them all. The two Bridesmaids staying with me kept taking it in shifts as they both had jet-lag from flying over from the other side of the world. My only stress with the flowers with the logistics of getting them to the venue. We ended up arranging a courier, but I was so scared they wouldn’t get there in one piece! All my flowers in total cost less than a fifth of what a florist would charge and I was so pleased that I had managed to do it all myself, I think in a bigger venue or if you like complicated arrangements it wouldn’t be worth the stress but if you want to keep in fitting with the low-key theme then I couldn’t recommend it enough.
We also hired amazing giant light up S&S lights, which really made the room. We had a big stage at the back of the room that needed something to brighten it up and when I stumbled across these on RMW, I instantly fell in love. They were worth every penny and really brought the room to life. We also made a photo-booth area ourselves with a big vintage trunk and lots of collected fancy dress items. We got special frames printed that made it look like you were in a polaroid photo when you held them up and they were a huge hit later on in the evening. It’s also funny watching people run around with random wigs and silly glasses on! It definitely added an element of silliness.
Now, lets talk about our lovely photographer, Laura. Finding a photographer was one of the most stressful parts for us. We knew we wanted someone unobtrusive that wouldn’t shout at us or make us go off for hours to have a personal photoshoot, we wanted someone to be a part of our day and capture everything in a reportage style. After plenty of searching on the internet and lots of emails with lots of people we set up a meeting with Laura. After we met her we cancelled all of our other meetings as she definitely understood where we were coming from and was happy to fit into what we wanted whilst also giving us a few wise words. She was amazing on the day, and fit in a treat. She was constantly snapping away but never felt as if she was in the way, or being too bossy! We love our photos so much and couldn’t be happier with the way they turned out. I think its just really important to find someone that understands what you like and what you don’t like and will fit in with all your guests.
Food was always pretty low down on the list for us. We absolutely love food and cooking and eating out, but I rarely remember a wedding based on its food. We skipped canapés and gave people retro 80s crisps with their drinks, which went down a storm! We had a picnic hamper full of all the classics such as frazzles, monster munch and space raiders! Then at The Turks Head we had sharing boards on each table, which gets people talking ago one another and then we had given the guests the option when we sent out the invitations, of Pie and Mash, Sausage and Mash or Fish and Chips. All great pub classics! Dessert was a cake buffet. Lots of our amazing friends kindly offered (or were cheekily asked) if they would bake up a cake, or a sweet treat for dessert. We had an amazing array of so many lovely cakes. The main one was made by our chef friend, Dan, where we placed our lovely handmade cake toppers of us two and our cat, Dolly (she had to feather somewhere!). Later on in the evening the staff came out with bowls of chips and sausage or bacon buttes to help soak up some of that booze!
Music wise, we spent months making a Spotify playlist that two of Stu’s Ushers kindly DJ’d for us. I had made playlists for the wedding breakfast and drinks as well, as we like to always have some background music. When we were out one night in Angel on Halloween last year, we’d stopped off for a burrito and a margarita and were absolutely in love with a mariachi band playing outside to old classics, such as Madonna ‘Like a Prayer’. Stu isn’t one to dance but even he was dancing round with my on the street and said ‘I want them to play at our wedding’. It was a rather last minute decision but luckily they were free and came along. They just burst out into the room and took everyone by surprise! It was one of my favourite parts of the day, especially when they serenaded me. They only did a 30 minute set towards the start of the evening but it definitely got everyone in the party mood!
We also thought carefully about music for the ceremony. I walked down the aisle to The Cinematic Orchestra ‘To Build a Home’ – we both love this song and I well up as soon as I hear it now. We signed the register to Ryan Adam’s cover of ‘Wonderwall’ and ‘Friday I’m in Love’ by The Cure, as that seemed quite fitting for our Friday wedding! We then walked back up the aisle to ‘White Wedding’ by Billy Idol! Our one other song choice that we thought carefully about was when they announce please welcome the new Mr and Mrs Cooney before the wedding breakfast, I am a huge Eric Prydz fan and so wanted ‘Pjanoo’ as its pretty uplifting and a bit fun to announce the soppy romance is over and we can have a party now!! I nearly forgot to mention our First Dance, was is another fairly important song choice! We chose Queens of the Stone Age, ‘Wanna make it wit chu’ after months of deliberating and trying to agree on a song we both love but that isn’t too obvious, or cheesy. That was one of the hardest decisions!
One final note is transport. We booked a big double decker bus to take us from Orleans House to the reception venue, which was great fun. It also took all the Bridesmaids to the ceremony, along with my Mum and the photographer but got stuck in bad traffic,even though it set off at the same time as the car I was in with my Dad! They arrived half an hour late, the Registrar said they normally only wait fifteen minutes and leave but as this was such an unusual situation and both the Bride and Groom were there, they would wait! I was an absolute bag of nerves but someone managed to sneak me a little glass of prosecco to have whislt I waited for my favourite girls to arrive, I’m so glad my Mum was on that bus as well , as the Registrar agreed we couldn’t start without her!
Writing all of this has made me so so sad it is all over. Everyone says it but I really do think that you should view the ‘wedmin’ (my husband hates that word!) as part of the wedding . Enjoy the whole lead up to it, all the planning is so exciting! I would say that you should think that anything is possible, I managed to get my dream dress at a fraction of the price, and we managed to save money on lots of other things, it just takes time to shop around. Above all else make sure your day represents you, and enjoy it! I spent the first few hours worrying that everything was OK, and everyone was having a good time, until I took a step back and told myself that I need to enjoy it as well!! It’s such a wonderful day with all your favourite people in one room, just make sure you have fun and make sure you find time for your new husband too. We chose to have a little table for two for dinner, which was lovely as we could sit at the front of the room, watching everything and actually getting to speak to each other alone for a few minutes.
Photography by Laura Debourde Photography
- Dress Designer Jenny Packham
- Bridal Shoes Rachel Simpson
- Feather Shrug Etsy
- Kimono’s Etsy Shop – Silk and More
- Bridesmaid Dresses Anthropologie
- Hair & Makeup Sarah Waycott-Marr
- Grooms Suit Reiss
- Grooms Shoes Grenson
- Men Sheet Music Corsages Muscari Whites
- Flowers New Covent Garden Market
- Ceremony Venue Orleans House
- Reception Venue The Turk’s Head Twickenham
- Light up S&S Vowed and Amazed
- Cake Topper Etsy Ship Quinnipeg
- Stationery Softly Design
- Transport London Bus Hire
- Entertainment Mariachi Band