Kate & Peppy knew that they wanted their wedding to be different from the start, originally from the UK but now living in Dubai they were used to lavish events but wanted their wedding to be totally original and fun-filled. With guests flying from all over the world a central location was imperative and with London being a previous home the location was set.
Once they walked into Soho’s Ham Yard Hotel they were sold, every inch of space is interior designed in the most spectacular way. From the living garden roof terrace which would house the ceremony and drinks reception to the totally individual Croc bowling alley which was to be used for the wedding reception. Not to mention the amazing dessert station that was assembled in the middle , perfectly capturing the fun, bold elements of the room, all following a circus theme, and topped off with a spectacular wedding cake from the infamous Hummingbird Bakery.
Looking a million dollars in a fabulous Maggie Sottero golden gown adorned with shimmering threads and a pair of Sam Endelman statement shoes, Kate totally owned her bridal outfit.
Despite the rain making an appearance at this gorgeous classic wedding at Wasing Park, our fabulous bride & groom are still full of smiles and still had the best day ever. Especially our stunning bride in her lace Lusan Mandongus gown who has the most beautiful and infectious smile ever.
I’m totally in love with the mint green & peach colour scheme, it’s so fresh and summery and really lifts the spirit despite the great British weather! The pastel multiway bridesmaid dresses and rose bouquets look amazing together as does the delicious cake decorated with greenery & blush David Austin roses.
There is also a truly fabulous guest book alternative, not to mention speeches sweepstake board. Which I’m sure you’ll all be wanting to pin. I’ve always loved this mini challenge during a wedding and I bet it was made so much more fun with the winner receiving a magnum of Bollinger!
Apart form the obviously very happy and very in love couple, the smiles on the guests faces and the unbearably gorgeous bridesmaids, this wedding is all about the flowers for me.
Catherines description of what she wanted, dreamed of and envisaged were bought to life in a serious way. And people, the colour scheme is orange. I LOVE orange. It surprises me how many people I hear say they aren’t a fan of the citrusy gorgeousness of an orange colour palette. If you’re one of these people, this wedding will change your mind.
Catherine married Danny in August last year at St Michaels Manor in Hertforshire. It was simply beautiful.
It Was My Second Dress
Catherine The Bride: I bought a very traditional dress exactly a year before our big day but when it came to the fitting I was really uncomfortable. Danny and I had said from the outset that we wanted our day to look traditional but feel really relaxed and fun for our friends and family – the concept was to create a sumptuous late summer English garden party for our family and friends. A bride that couldn’t breathe wasn’t exactly the feeling I was going for! So… with three weeks to go I bought a dress online from J.Crew in the States. It arrived a week later and one of my friends fitted it for me. I had my first and final fitting with just five days to go and thankfully I felt comfortable, elegant and very special.
I bought some gorgeously simply cushion cut crystal earrings and a crystal rose hair slide online from Kate Ketzal in the States. She’s got a lovely selection and the prices are incredibly reasonable for the quality. My hairdresser said that it was one of the best quality slides she’d been given to fit.
Danny is as much of a shoe person as me so we had a shoe-shopping day out together! Danny bought a very handsome pair of black traditional Church’s – an incidental note to my hometown of Northampton where Church’s are made. And for me, I have always wanted a pair of Christian Louboutin’s and bought a fabulous pair of ivory, satin peep toes. Not being a big heel wearer I also treated myself to a pair of white Marc Jacobs mouse ballet flats for walking around the grounds and for the dance floor later on.
The Best Version Of Ourselves
Katy Messer took care of my make up, my bridesmaids and my mum. Katy is just amazing. She’s an artist. We were all so pleased with our make up, all felt that it suited us individually and it all stayed put until we went to bed at 2am! Cassandra Rizzuto styled our hair. My bridemaids are all stunning, grown-up women with their own sense of style. I wanted to get quite flamboyant and creative with their hairstyles and let them pick their own ‘dos’. I wanted all of us to feel really confident and comfortable – the best version of ourselves.
An Abundance Of Englishness
Oh my. We were very lucky to book the exquisite and magnificent Miss Pickering of Stamford. Danny said that he had no idea how important flowers were to me until we met Miss Pickering and he saw how excited I was.
I wanted colour, lots of colour, and fun and deconstruction and abundance and Englishness. I wanted to do something different and very us. I found Miss P online and stalked her for months. She was as excited about doing an orange wedding as I was. She also collected 1950s vases for me for twelve months.
On the day the flowers absolutely stole the show! Exactly what I wanted. Rich, sumptuous, fully-open almost-turned blooms everywhere. Huge green, orange and peach glass vases bursting with colour. Everything was perfectly abundant and colourful – the bridesmaids bouquets, flower girl headdresses and poseys, the buttonholes, the mantelpieces, the cake, the tables and then my amazing bouquet… I didn’t throw it. I Couldn’t! Miss P advised me to take some robust vases with us to preserve the bouquets on the day, which I carefully did and it sat proudly in my fireplace for two weeks after the wedding.
I think you have three options to make your wedding your own – flowers, photography and food. Danny and I were lucky enough to find wonderful people and we went to town with all three!
Danny is a dapper chap and had been really involved in the designing of our day and colour palette choices so he decided early on to go with a black three piece suit as he felt that would ensure the chaps felt special and comfortable. He hired the suits from Waterer’s, a great mens outfitters in St Albans.
Danny is a big fan of ‘Mad Men’ styling. He found a great accessories company online called The Tie Bar and decided on a semi-slim black wool tie, white cotton pocket, matt silver cuff links and a matching ¾ tie pin for all the groomsmen. The boys looked gorgeous.
My mother offered to make the bridesmaids dresses and I found a vintage Vogue pattern that fitted our traditional-but-comfortable focus. With orange as our main colour, gladiator flats and matt gold jewellery my bridesmaids had a real Ibiza goddess look on the day.
A Beautiful Gift
Booking Nick Tucker was the second thing we did on our to do list after booking a venue. We booked a trial ‘engagement’ shoot with Nick in the spring. We had some taken at home and then at a couple of our favourite spots around our home town. I would recommend every one does this if they are even slightly nervous in front of the camera. It helped us relax but also gave us a lot of confidence in Nick and we ended up with fifty lovely shots of Danny and I.
Nick describes himself as a documentary style-wedding photographer. He doesn’t use flash, using the day and nights’ natural light. The result is something so perfectly representative of your day that every time you look at one of the pictures you are transported right back to the moment. It’s incredible. I’m utterly thrilled with our photos, as are our family and friends. There is no chance that I’ll be a bride that ‘doesn’t remember’ the day and that it ‘went so fast’ because Nick looked after us and I can go back and feel every single moment of our wedding. That is a rare and beautiful gift.
Ten Tier Total
Danny and I love American-style buttercream cakes and we love cheese. So we wrestled for a while on what to pick. In the end, as all brides should, we did both!
After an indulgent tasting session, we booked Hummingbird Bakery in Spitalfields who created a four-tier cake of red velvet, vanilla, chocolate and carrot cake. And then we went down to Neal’s Yard Dairy in Borough Market to sample a huge range of farm cheeses to create the perfect six-tier cheese cake. The hotel was happy for us to provide the cheese, biscuits and a selection of our favourite chutneys, which was much appreciated and it was lovely to be able to bring some of our favourite London food stops to our wedding.
Another last minute order was our Cake Topper. We left this one late because we couldn’t decide on what we wanted, if anything at all. But then I found Cherry Red Toppers on Etsy and arranged a last minute surprise for Danny. I ordered our personalised topper on the 13 August, twelve days before our wedding. All I had to do was send Kate photos of my dress, Danny’s suit, a sample of Miss Pickering’s planned floristery, Danny and I and most importantly photos of our two cats Molly and Pru. Kate was brilliant and it was a lot of fun thinking that this minute model of our family was going to arrive all the way from Fort Worth Texas! It now proudly sits on the fireplace in our bedroom.
Get Into The Groove
Music is a shared passion of Danny and I. We got together because I invited Danny to a gig at Brixton Academy, to see The Editors. And we’ve been sharing our favourite bands ever since. So our music choices throughout the day were important.
We had The Redfords acoustic duo perform for our wedding ceremony and reception. They have wonderful voices and it felt very special having live music at our ceremony. They happily learnt all of our songs and performed beautiful renditions for us as my bridesmaids and I walked down the aisle. For the evening do we booked Hula Groove who were amazing, so professional and flexible and got everyone up on the dance floor for hours! Danny then put together some playlists on our iPod to play in-between sets using the band’s AV.
Following along the music theme Danny wanted to make everyone a playlist as their favour. Girls got Catherine’s Wedding CD and the boys got Danny’s. We included some of the special music from the day such as our first dance and the music from the ceremony. The CDs also doubled up as escort cards with a photo on the front of our guest with the bride and/or groom. It took ages but the response we got made it worth it. Our family and friends really appreciated that we had made it personal. Many of our guests were entertained the whole way back up the M1 to Yorkshire listening to both.
Weddings are really special days for everyone, we wanted to acknowledge that, and we wanted to bring some of our family that are no longer with us to our day. So we secretly collected photos of all of our guests on their wedding day and from family that have sadly passed away. We collected the picture frames up and then asked the hotel to display in the lounge of the hotel. It was lovely watching people realise what we had done and spot themselves amongst the frames.
We also arranged for the kids to have a cinema room during the break between the wedding breakfast and evening do. We filled the room with cushions and blankets so they could turn it into a den and put Danny and my favourite cartoon on – Fantastic Mr Fox.
Do Not Disturb
Eva Slade did a beautiful job on our wedding stationery and we carried some of the design elements through to the wedding day. She’s the only stationery designer that I could find in the UK that worked in letterpress and had fabulous designs. We wanted something different and that would create an impression of the kind of wedding it would be. The cartoon of Danny and my face became our little wedding identity. Eva developed menus, place cards and at the eleventh hour we asked her put together personalised Do Not Disturb signs for our family and friends staying in the hotel that night. All of guests told us how the personal touches blew them away – a credit to Eva’s creativity and amazing customer service.
Achieving Our Goals
Our wedding day was so special to us because we achieved what we set out to achieve. We got married and we hosted a great party for our family and friends. It felt that it was as much about them as it was about us. All of our guests played some part in bringing Danny and I to that day. They are incredibly special to us and we wanted them to have as much fun as we did.
My best friend and chief bridesmaid told us to write down independently the three things that mattered most to us and then go back to that list every time we felt that we might be getting out of depth, confused or stressed. To be honest we didn’t really have any stresses, partly because Danny trusted me to plan a good event, and I trusted Danny to make the final decisions, but we did find the list an important reminder of what mattered most to us. The list was:
1. Zero hassle – we wanted our friends to find it easy to travel to and enjoy our day with minimum fuss or logistical planning. One place, all day.
2. Great food and wine – we wanted excellent food, a meal people would remember and a free bar all night.
3. Late summer garden party – we wanted our day to look really special but feel very relaxed, fun andeasy. An English garden party where the wine never stops flowing and neither does the laughter.
How amazing are the flowers?! And those flower crowns? Incredible. Be sure to check the gallery for more gorgeous snaps of the flower girls.
So many immense personal touches to this day. I love the idea of CD favours containing songs from your day. And what about the bespoke do not disturb signs? Brilliant idea. If your guests are happy, you will be happy. It’s a true fact.
How great is the photo of Danny as he see’s Catherine walking down the aisle?
If there’s ever a couple that’s gone hell for leather on a theme then it’s Anna and Mark.
And I for one applaud them.
The gorgeous couple married last year at the Old Naval College in Greenwich before dancing the night away at the uber cool venue, MC Motors. Just wait until you see the venue’s decor.
It is to die for.
In fact it is so cool that it actually makes my bones ache.
And then you see all the details and the love and attention paid to the order of service, the table plan, the guestbook and the finishing touches. There’s a special story behind the theme for the day but I’ll let Anna tell you about that.
Folks, I love this wedding…there is an adorable flowergirl, giant balloons and cakes on a piano.
Let’s take a look…
I Knew It Was The One
Anna The Bride: My dress was from Angelica Bridal in Islington. I went along with my Mum with the intention of trying to figure out what styles I like. It didn’t start too well. The bus was caught in traffic and we were 20 minutes late, meaning I could only try on four dresses rather than the normal six. I knew from the start that I wanted a floaty fluffy bottom to the dress and I thought I’d prefer a really plain upper part so I could have a cool statement necklace.
Sifting through the dresses, I remember coming across one with a detailed bodice that I really liked and went into the possible pile. I tried the first three dresses and wasn’t convinced, I then needed to make a call on the last to try. I don’t know why but I opted for the one with the detailed bodice and fluffy layered bottom. Once I’d stepped into the dress and the assistant started pulling it in, I knew it was the one. As I showed my Mum the assistant dropped in to the conversation that the exact dress would be going into a one day sample sale at the weekend (this was Thursday) and would be significantly reduced – perfect!. I also bartered an extra £70 pounds off, which helped with the accessories.
I had my dress over a year before the wedding stored at my parents house. I was worried I would change my mind, but every time I sneaked a peak I fell in love with again. When I brought the dress it was fractionally a little tight, however at the fitting it fitted perfectly and I didn’t need a single alteration – it must have been fate!
Because of the detail on the dress I decided I couldn’t wear a necklace. I did however want a beautiful headpiece. My headpiece was from Donna Crain. I wanted to try and make sure that the headpiece matched in with the detail on the bodice of my dress. There were so many styles at Donna’s studio but as soon as I tried on the Annee headpiece I knew it would work perfectly. She kindly let me borrow the piece to try at home with my dress before buying.
My mum found an amazing bracelet amongst my Nan’s jewellery collection (we think it was my great or great great Nan’s) which went perfectly and was my ‘something old and borrowed’. Mark also brought me some bracelets as a surprise gift on the day which all went together perfectly.
I’m not really a shoe person so I opted for flats which I knew would be comfy throughout the day. I had lined up a pale pink pair of ballet shoes, but a few weeks before the wedding I changed my mind and opted for a simple ivory pair from Monsoon.
My original make-up artist had to cancel in the week before the wedding due to a family illness. Although completely understandable, this did leave me with two days to find a replacement. I re-contacted the wonderful Sadaf, who I had initially contacted in my first round of enquiries and wasn’t available. I remembered at the time that she had said she might be able to help me find someone through her network. She was so unbelievably helpful when I called her and within a few hours she’d helped me to find Aine, a colleague of hers from MAC in Covent Garden. From then on, it went smoothly, Aine was so helpful and reassuring. We managed to fit in a trial at the MAC store a day before the wedding and Aine did the most amazing job with everyone’s make up.
Air Force Blue
Mark has worked in the fashion and retail industry for years and is really picky when it comes to tailoring. He really loved the styles and cuts of the suits on offer at Hugh Harris and the service was fantastic. He opted for a Air Force blue suit with a waistcoat in the same fabric to make it contemporary. We still hadn’t choosen the main colour for the wedding at this point. All we knew was we wanted pastel colours that match in with the colours from an old map we love.
Mark chose a shimmer pink cravat to go with the suit and we went from there. I guess it’s unusual for the groom to lead the decision on the lead colour, but why not! Mark looked amazing on the day, I couldn’t take my eyes off him! We also hired the groomsmen’s suits from Hugh Harris too.
A Secret Venue
During my college years I spent my weekends waitressing at weddings at a countryside house. Whilst beautiful and grand, I always knew that I wanted something much more casual and informal for my own wedding. I instantly fell in love with MC Motors when we viewed it.Although Mark loved the venue, he has been to a lot of weddings in his time and I remember that at first that he was sceptical about having a wedding reception there – ‘People don’t normally have weddings in places like that!’.
It took me around 10 minutes to convince him otherwise – ‘It’s our wedding, we can have it anywhere we want’. The second time we viewed it, he was absolutely sold and once the lovely ladies at MC Motors mentioned that they regularly host secret parties, Mark was adamant that we keep the location of our wedding a secret. This was great fun although made the logistics a bit more difficult! It caused much speculation amongst our guests in the 6 months following the invitation and they were always trying to catch us out in conversations – I’m pleased to say that we managed to keep it a secret up to the day (with exception of close family and friends which helped set up and found out the day before).
We loved the differences between the two venues – one was very grand and opulent whilst the other was very urban and funky. Around a month before I started to have doubts about the secrecy and whether our quests would be disappointed with the venue following the grandness of chapel. I need not have worried!
My flowers were by the talented Julie from My Little Flower Shop in Essex. Julie understood what I wanted perfectly despite the sometimes random descriptions from me – ‘I’d like a fluffy bouquet’. I wanted the bouquet to include old style Roses and not to be too structured. My bridesmaid and flower girls had bouquets of Gypsophila. Mark’s, the best man’s and the Dads’ buttonholes matched my bouquet, whilst the other groomsmen had simple gypsophila buttonholes to match the bridesmaid.
For the venue I asked Julie to bring although a mixture of ‘fluffy’ flowers in whites and pale pinks to fill all the glassware, rose bowls and bottles that were dotted around on the tables, ledges and nooks. I wasn’t too specific on the flower types and instead gave Julie a selection of images of things I liked from my pinterest board. Julie did an amazing job with the flowers, not only was my bouquet beautiful it smelt amazing too.
I wanted to remember loved ones that had been lost on my wedding day. I found some beautiful amulets on Etsy which I used as lockets for pictures and tied to my bouquet. I added a vintage brooch of my Nan’s and Great Nan’s to the bouquet too.
Just The One
As I had just one bridesmaid, my cousin Kayleigh, I wanted her to choose her dress. I was really glad when she suggested that she would like something Grecian in style. We got her beautiful dress from Satin and Lace it was from the Jasmine Bridal B2 collection, which meant she could pick the style and colour. I was really pleased she picked something so beautiful.
If I’m completely honest I’d actually booked another photographer for our wedding at first. However when the photos came back from our engagement session we were really disappointed! After speaking with our photographer about our concerns, we decided to give them benefit of the doubt– I still however had a niggling feeling about this!
Shortly afterwards, I was looking at Rock My Wedding and I saw a real wedding photographed by Dottie Photography. I instantly feel in love with the style of photography. I thought it was pretty impossible with just over two months to go that Mandy would be available but I thought it was worth a call just in case. Unbelievably this was the only space she had free for the rest of the year. It must have been fate. Mandy did such an amazing job and we’re so over the moon with the photos. I guess my real tip from this experience is to go with your gut!
I didn’t want a large traditional wedding cake because it seemed like a waste of money. Instead I wanted a small cake to cut and a table of cakes that could be served as the desert course. I collected lots of beautiful cake stands for the cake table – these belonged to relatives or came from charity shops and Homesense. Not only did the table look great but this saved us a lot of money – for the cost of a standard wedding cake we were able to feed our guests beautiful individual cakes for dessert and save on the catering costs.
We had a round red velvet cake from the Hummingbird Bakery to cut. The amazing individual cakes were from Ottolenghi (http://www.ottolenghi.co.uk/).
Indie Style Hitmen
For entertainment we wanted an indie style band that would get everybody on the dance floor. The Hitmen were fantastic. We also brought lots of inflatable guitars that went down a storm on the dance floor.
Our first dance was to ‘One day like this’ by Elbow. The song was released just after we met it feels very special to us. We had the song title engraved on the inside of our wedding bands. We also had a Dottie photography funbooth that went down a storm with our guests and also acted as entertainment.
We wanted to make the favours ourselves to save money. We made limoncello (our favourite drink from our first holiday together in Italy) using a tested recipe from the internet and filled up small glass bottles we found on ebay. We finished the favours with a handmade label.
Over the course of a year my mum and I collected lots of old books, rose bowls, bottles and glassware from boot sales and charity shops. We used these to decorate the main tables, plus all the other ledges and nooks around the venue. Our florist then filled these with a mixture of flowers in whites and pale pinks. I also made some paper flowers using our inspiration map, which were slotted in every so often. The decorations really fitted with the style of our venue and each table was different.
Table Plans And Trunks
Our table plan was our biggest bargain. My brother rescued the trunk from a skip. We lined it with wrapping paper and used some free vintage envelope images we found online for the tables and names.
We wanted to do something different for the guest book. My Dad made a large frame which we hung lines of twine across. We asked guests to write on the back of a vintage style postcard and peg it to the lines.
Groom With A View
I think Mark’s involvement in the wedding was what made it really special. Grooms don’t necessarily want to get involved with absolutely every decision. I was lucky Mark was great at getting involved and talking through decisions with me. However, if there was something he had a particular preference or idea for I was keen to embrace it.
The inspiration or theme for our wedding was an image of vintage map. Mark studied cartography at uni and loves maps (he has lots of books about them!). We also love travelling, so it was great to have a theme that reflected both our interests. The ‘map’ led our thinking on most things – stationery, decorations, etc. It was great to see something so special, and so Mark, reflected throughout the details of the wedding. Creating a good atmosphere was really important to me. Having our reception in an informal venue really helped everyone to relax and enjoy themselves. The free bar also helped too!