When Sarah and James moved to London it was pretty much love at first sight, so it was a simple decision that they should get married there too. Sarah explains that after the ceremony, walking around the streets was a perfect moment set against an ideal backdrop and in the meantime their guests were being treated to a tour of London on a Red Bus!
Sarah The Bride: The day started in Ye Olde Mitre pub in Clerkenwell. We chose to hire the pub for a couple of hours before the ceremony so that the guests could relax and mingle with each other, allowing family and friends from each side to meet and get to know one another.
James wore a navy suit by Tiger of Sweden. He opted for this, as he liked the slim fitting, contemporary cut, and felt that the colour was well suited to a summer wedding. He chose a two-piece suit, rather than wearing a waistcoat, to reflect the laid back, less formal, feel of the day. He teamed the suit with a plain white shirt and a blue floral tie by Ted Baker.
We bought the four groomsmen matching suits in a mid grey, they really lightweight and ideal for a summers day. The outfits were finished off with plain white shirts and navy ties. The ties had a pattern to match James’s own, while the navy colouring was in line with the groom’s suit and the bridesmaid’s dress.
After the pub we moved next door for the service at St Etheldreda’s RC Church. James was brought up as a Catholic so it was important for us to be married in a religious service. As soon as we saw St Etheldreda’s we knew it was exactly what we wanted. The church has an incredible history and is a beautiful building, but it also has a very cosy feeling to it, and we felt at home there straight away. The church also has an amazing professional choir who we hired to sing.
The ceremony was the most important part of the day for both of us, and we really enjoyed selecting our music and readings together. I walked in to Edward Elgar’s, Lux Aeterna, our Psalm and Recessional were both by Vivaldi – apt as we got engaged and had our honeymoon in our favourite country- Italy. From the New Testament we picked the reading Philippians 4:4-9, and the beautiful poem It Is Here By Harold Pinter.
My dress was a true labour of love-Indecisive at the best of times, and a tomboy every day of the week I had no idea of what to wear. I knew I didn’t want strapless or too voluminous! After many trips to various stores it was my mum who spotted the lace overlay dress. I loved the low back and cap sleeves but needed a slip to go underneath, a lovely friend of mine then sourced the silk and her sister, a costumier set to work making me a dress to go underneath the lace overlay. She also made the belt, which finished it off perfectly.
Hair & Makeup
I always wear my hair down and my wedding day was no exception, I wanted to look like myself at my best- not like I was playing the role of ‘The Bride” so didn’t have a veil or adornments in my hair. I went to my regular hairdresser, Elif, who fulfilled my brief of ‘A Scouse curly-blow that needs to withstand a nuclear bomb’ amazingly well!
I’m lucky to have another talented friend, Make Up artist Frey-ja Barker who did the most beautiful job on mine and my families make-up. My skin was flawless by the time she was done with me and the colours she used really complimented my green eyes and lasted all 16 hours- I didn’t touch up once!
Once the ceremony was over our guests were whisked off on a tour of London on the old routemaster bus we had hired. This allowed our guests to see some of the famous sights and to have some fun together, while we had the opportunity to get some precious time alone and have some photos of just the two of us.
We walked around Clerkenwell and Smithfield Market to get some photographs in everyday London locations. We love living in London and we wanted the photos to reflect the city we see every day. Nicola from Daffodil Waves is such a talent at her craft, unobtrusive, unflappable and someone you want to make your friend- our walk through the city together was felt so intimate and relaxing and we wouldn’t have wished for anyone else to be capturing those moments but Nicola.
We wanted a venue, which would allow us to keep the relaxed feel of the day but would also provide a high quality service. We visited lots of potential options but Chiswell Street Dining Rooms was the one which stood out for both of us. The room is a restaurant, rather than a function room, making it feel like a good fit for the relaxed atmosphere we wanted. We liked the fact that we could have bare, rectangular, tables rather than the round tables and white linen that characterise so many weddings. We’re both serious foodies and we had decided very early on in our planning that food was going to play an important part in the day. Once we tried the food from Chiswell Street we knew that we had found our venue and it certainly didn’t disappoint on the day. All of the management & staff were great on the day going above and beyond their call of duty; they ensured the day ran smoothly. We can’t speak highly enough of Nicole the events manager, from day one she was a star.
Speeches & Dancing
The room has also had an open plan bar area, and we retired there after the meal for speeches and toasts. While in the bar we also had a performance from a brass band – Hosen Brass – who we had seen performing at a local pub one night and immediately booked for the wedding. We wanted to do something a little bit different and unexpected for our guests and Hosen brass certainly fit the bill. They had everybody up singing and dancing and it was a great way to move seamlessly from the dinner into party mode for the evening.
Our flowers were created by Liz at Blueskyflowers. The morning of the wedding I crept down to the restaurant (having to use Nicola as a human shield as James turned up in the lobby!), as I couldn’t wait to see the room. They took my breath away. The succulents in little pots and vibrant herbs with the thistle and roses filled the room and having given her the vaguest brief of “I like texture, herby things thistles and nothing girly” pulled it of the bag and created exactly what I imagined!
My bouquet smelt amazing; there was some eucalyptus in there and a great little round bobbly flower we spotted on our meeting at the Market. My mum cleverly dried the petals and thistles and I now have my bouquet in a frame to keep forever. The evening reception was in an adjoining room. This had been another factor in our choosing of the venue, as it meant there was no waiting around while the room was prepared.
Our own style is quite plain, dark, clean & simple Scandi inspired and so I wanted to reflect that in our day. I designed all our Stationary, a graphic black and white style; with a various fonts. The Menus and Order of service all followed this theme.
My one girly trait – my love of glitter had to be incorporated into the decoration – I created glittery table names, bought some gold sequin fabric and made some poseur tablecloths. I came across some white 3d stars, bought all they had in the shop then began the mammoth task of covering them with glitter. My mum and best friend helped me to string them up with to make a wall of fairy lights behind the bar and the DJ in the evening rooms. We would both admit were pretty mad about our cat; as it wasn’t likely we could strap a cushion to his back and make him the ring bearer, I made a canvas bag with his silhouette painted on for guests to pop cards in. I also sourced a black cat cake topper from Etsy, it was nice to incorporate him into the day!
One weekend before the wedding my Mum came to visit and we set up production line, (fuelled by Prosecco we were sampling for the guests on the bus) folding origami pie boxes for cake and stringing tiny stars onto crochet thread that bound the Order Of Service. It was lovely to spend time with her as we live 250 miles apart, and we were pretty chuffed with the results.
Some Advice From The Bride & Groom
Our advice to couples planning their wedding is to pick suppliers you have confidence. Don’t be pressured or rushed into committing to someone. We researched, emailed and met with them. This ensured when we picked our venue and suppliers we knew what we were getting and what would be delivered. We were so happy with everyone who had involvement in our day. A lot of our suppliers were small companies, independents, and genuinely enthusiastic individuals in their field. We supported them and they gave us the most awesome wedding day we could have wished for.