When I read how our gorgeous Bride & Groom got together my heart actually ached it was so lovely. "I'm Sarah, he's Paul. We've been friends for about 5 or 6 years but summer 2013 we started hanging out a lot more and I suddenly realised I really, really liked this person. We saw each other quite a lot but I had no idea whether he liked me. So I sent him a letter to tell him I wanted to be more than just friends. He replied straight away to tell me he felt the same. We got engaged a year to the day I sent that note. I'm pretty glad I sent it." It was this lovely message that actually won them a competition run on The List for free photography with Rebecca Rees from A Thing Like That. I'm so pleased they won as they weren't planning on booking a photographer and it would have meant that epic confetti portrait wouldn't have been captured and we wouldn't be able to oggle Sarah's stunning Jenny Packham Tuberose gown. It's #LeapDay ladies, anybody else planning on taking control like Sarah?

The Dress

Sarah The Bride: I was really organised with my dress and after going to about 3 shops with my Mum and Sister, I found one I really liked. So, with 9 months still to go, I ordered it, thinking I had something both unusual and flattering. Big tick. But then the Spring weddings started and my Facebook feed started to fill with photos that looked suspiciously like my ‘unique’ dress. I thought I would at least feel good in it, but 5 months, and what felt like 20 fittings later, I still wasn’t confident about my decision. So with about 3 weeks to go until the big day, I went on a last-minute mission to Miss Lemon Brides in Wandsworth, and found the Jenny Packham Tuberose dress which amazingly needed no alterations. I got my veil (again pretty last minute!) from Shakespeare in Love in Stratford where my Sister and Mum had got their outfits altered. The ladies in there were so helpful and skilled and got me exactly what I wanted, altering the veil to make it exactly the right length whilst I waited.

The Grooms Fashion

Paul was originally going to wear a suit he’d bought for a wedding last summer, but after catching the trousers on a tandem at a friend’s wedding just before ours, he had to resort to getting a new one. In the end he found a really smart, navy suit from Hugo Boss which looked perfect (and actually a lot better than the original!). His shoes were from Barker and they were really helpful in stretching them at the front to make them more comfortable. Paul didn’t want any accessories for himself, but did buy his two best men pocket watches from MMT and a vintage one from Ullman’s, Hatton Garden.


The blue ties from Reiss were actually one of the first things we bought for the wedding as we really liked the colour and the knitted fabric. Paul had 10 groomsmen, so we had quite a lot of people to buy waistcoats for, but in the end we found some tweed ones we really liked, and which were reasonably priced, from Next. The yellow socks were from COS, and everyone has since commented on them, so I’m really glad we went with those!


I had 6 bridesmaids and I knew from the beginning that I wanted them to wear something that they were comfortable in, rather than all having to wear exactly the same. I said I liked Navy (and a bit of sparkle), gave them some suggestions on Pinterest and then left them to it. It wasn’t quite as simple as I had thought (with one living in the Philippines and the other in Australia), but it worked out well in the end and they all looked amazing! In fact loads of other people came to the wedding in Navy which I loved – everyone was so well colour coordinated!

The Venue

We’ve both lived in central London for about 8 years, so really wanted a venue that we could walk to from the church (St John’s Waterloo) and then walk home from. We looked at quite a few spaces, but none of them were really what we wanted, being either too small (we wanted 150 for the sit down meal with more afterwards), too far away, or too expensive! As soon as we went to the Garden Museum though, we loved it. It’s an old church with a beautiful garden which we thought would look really good with the kind of décor we had imagined inside, plus it was only 15 minutes’ walk away from the church along the South Bank, which was perfect. 

Colour Scheme/Decor

We always knew we wanted something that was informal and fun, so bright colours seemed to fit the bill. Paul is a designer so he spent ages designing and making all the stationery including the invitations, which looked amazing. He even found time to come up with a crossword to put on the back of the order of service to keep people entertained if the service got boring – hopefully it didn’t! We found some big colourful confetti just a few days before the wedding which we put into little envelopes Paul had made to give out to people at the beginning of the service, so the moment everyone threw the confetti on the steps of the church turned out to be one of our favourite memories from the day – it looked amazing! The venue was so pretty that we didn’t really have to do much with it. We wanted long wooden tables and benches where people could squeeze in and share lots of food, so again, pretty informal and fun – with the focus much more on the food and wine rather than the tablecloths! We designed and made the table plan and most of the table stationery but we used Moo business cards for the names on the table and then simply decorated with more beautiful flowers in little milk bottle vases from Ikea. Paul works with some our friends in Brazil who have founded a social enterprise called Okira which makes amazing natural cosmetics. They provided perfume for our favours in little bottles which looked and smelt amazing! My dad made some little colouring books to keep the kids entertained and we also had some sweets in mini paper bags for the teenagers. We also worked with Glo Lighting who provided all the lighting inside and outside the venue. They were really helpful in getting all the details we wanted right – especially our obsession with trying to put festoon lighting everywhere! – it was!


Lisa from The Flower Boutique had provided the flowers for a previous wedding we had gone to, so we knew she would be great, but on the day the flowers really blew us away because they were so perfect! We’d spent a lot of time together on Pinterest finding exactly what we wanted – something with a wild and natural feel with lots of colour. We had bay trees and big milk bottle style vases in the church and then little bottles on each table at the reception and scattered around. Some of my favourite flowers were the men’s buttonholes - yellow billy balls which matched their socks perfectly! One memory I have is of meeting Lisa for the first time outside the church a few months before the wedding. Neither of us had any idea what the other looked like, but I turned up and saw a lady holding a beautiful bouquet of flowers that looked exactly like the ones I wanted and I really hoped it was her.


Our ceremony was fairly traditional, but we wanted it to be relaxed so we had lots of friends taking part during the service with the readings and prayers and playing the music. As soon as I got down the aisle Paul and I had a hug and a kiss, which maybe wasn’t particularly traditional but I think we were just too excited! During the signing of the register our friend Kate Westall and her husband Harry sang a Alt J and a John Martyn song which sounded amazing. At the end of the service we served sausage rolls from Sally Whites and Brixton beers which seemed to go down well. Sadly I was too busy talking to get any, but I heard they were good!


During the day we didn’t have any entertainment, but we did have a kids corner in the garden with lots of games and things to keep them entertained. The Brass Funkeys had played at our friend’s wedding last year and I had absolutely loved them, so was really pleased when they said they would play at ours too. They worked really well in the venue because being a brass band (with nothing to plug in) meant they could move around, especially as we weren’t sure how much space there was going to be for them once we moved the tables out the way after dinner. They even played our first song (a Lionel Richie number) which we asked them to change into something a bit more upbeat half way through so people could join in. I’d definitely recommend them as so many people were dancing! After the band we had some friends DJ’ing – I just wish it could’ve gone on longer!


We really wanted the wedding to be memorable for the food. Paul is a great cook and always hosting dinners, so we always knew that this would be a tricky one to get right! Lebanese is our favourite style of food, and we loved the idea of lots of food coming out throughout the evening, meze style, for people to share. We tried a few different caterers which we weren’t too keen on, but once we tried the food at Eden we knew we had the right people. They were really accommodating of all our suggestions and requests, and on the day made sure that everything went smoothly despite never having had that many people in that space before. There was so much food, so we were pleased we hadn’t gone for a cake as well, instead having large lemon tarts on each table that people could take a slice from. In the evening we had a big selection of cheeses that Paul’s mum and sister had got from Borough Market.


Initially we weren’t even sure if we were going to have a photographer at all as we thought so many people would take photos. However, when my friend sent me a link to enter a competition to have Rebecca Rees from A Thing Like That to take all our photos, I thought I would enter. I didn’t think we’d win. But we did! And I’m so glad, because Rebecca was absolutely amazing and so many people have commented on how amazing the pictures look. Throughout the whole day from gettng ready in the morning to the last dance, Rebecca managed to capture so many different moments without me even realising she was there. I absolutely loved looking back through the photos after the wedding and noticing all the little details I had missed in the busyness of the day. If anyone is debating gettng a photographer, I would definitely say go for it. And definitely go for Rebecca!


There were a few pieces of advice people had given us before the wedding which we found really helpful. One was to think about each line of your vows before your wedding, rather than just saying them on the day and not really thinking about what you are saying. On the day I was in a bit of a daze and trying to make sure I didn’t step on my dress to think about what I was saying! So I’m glad I had at least thought about it before as that gave it a lot more meaning. People had also said that they had wanted to talk about the wedding the next day with people, so we had breakfast at Brunswick House with our close friends and family on the morning after the wedding (before we ran off on our honeymoon) and I am really glad we did this. It was a great chance to reminisce about the day before and talk to people one on one after having so many people around on the Saturday. Plus they do a really great breakfast! Finally, get some bright confetti – it makes a great photo!
Lorna Shaw

Written by Lorna Shaw

Dress Deigner: Jenny Packham - Tuberose | Bridal Boutique: Miss Lemon Brides | Veil: Shakespeare in Love | Grooms Suit: Hugo Boss | Grooms Shoes: Barker | Ties: Reiss | Socks: COS | Waistcoats: Next | Bridesmaid Dresdes: Adrianna Papell | Phase Eight | Whistles | ASOS | COS | Monsoon | Venue: Garden Museum | Florist: The Flower Boutique | Entertainment: The Brass Funkeys | Wedding Planner: Rebecca Elcome at Coveted Events | Caterer: Eden | Wooden Bench Hire: Wooden Bench Hire Company | Lighting: Glo Productions | Makeup Artist: Isobel Kennedy | Hair: Cath Ciarleglio

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