Today’s wedding is absolutely EPIC. We have two ceremonies – a traditional Hindu ceremony followed by a Christian ceremony, then followed by a huge Shoreditch shindig. There is bright, bold vibrant colour AND monochrome chic. There are delicate canapés AND curry and chocolate samosas. There are matrimonial knots AND ‘you may now kiss the brides.’ There are Indian Dhol drummers AND a reggae funk band. Best of both worlds? Most definitely. Any excuse to have two dresses is fine by me. In fact, I’d say it is actively encouraged by RMW.
Any one who is currently planning a mash-up wedding needs to read Jess’s wise words. Her and Jay’s day looks like it went seamlessly, a testament to their planning skills and the fact that they kept everyone well fed, watered and entertained all day long.
There is also some fabulous initial branding for you lovely lot – we know how much you love a strong graphic theme.
Ready for the EPIC-NESS? Here we go…
Our Old Stomping Ground
Jess the Bride: Being in the East of London was important for us – it was our stomping ground in the early days of our relationship and is where we have now chosen to settle down (we heart Hackney) so first of all, finding the right Church was key. Shoreditch Church really embodies the rawness of the East End. Combine this with a fantastic vicar and a vast history (from members of the Shakespearian linked Burbage family being buried in the crypt to shrapnel from the Second World War still lodged in the tower) and the decision was easy.
So then, onto the venue for the other elements of our wedding day – including a Hindu Ceremony as well as the reception. We were spoilt for choice in Shoreditch, with all manner of venues all with very different vibes, but in the end we went with Village Underground.
Village Underground is a venue with mega cool factor, an urban castle in our books! Certainly not your average wedding venue but it captured our imagination with its raw edge. The mix of spaces inside also appealed, from the main hall to the more intimate arches; it provided us with the variety in space to match the variety of our wedding day. It’s also essentially a blank canvas, and allowed us to bring our own style, which we had a lot of fun doing! The team at the venue are really supportive, used to prepping for gigs as opposed to weddings; they bring a fresh take on how the venue can be used.
Vibrant Colour Versus Monochrome Chic
We had two ceremonies, a vibrant Hindu ceremony filled with deep pink, silvers and golds and a crisp monochrome theme for the Church ceremony – so planning a look that could sustain with minimal adaptation for them both was a challenge – particularly with only 30 minutes to change between the two!
After two uninspiring makeup trials I found the Glam Collective and a lovely lady called Alex Chalk (a Mac trained artist) who brought a look based around colour pop lipstick and a dramatic eye, perfect for the Hindu ceremony but easily adaptable with a change to a nude lipstick for the Church. I had an excuse to wear my colour pop lipstick, but for the brave looking to pack a real ‘pow’ I would definitely recommend Nicki Minaj for Mac’s Viva Glam Satin lipstick, which lasted the course despite kisses and tears!
For my hair, I opted for a simple side bun, again a look that would sustain for both ceremonies with no re-work in between! I also always wear my hair down so I wanted to do something that was a bit different. My hair stylist, our mate Fred who works full time at Pimps and Pinups in Spitalfields Market, curled my hair first and pinned the curls to create the bun, giving our guests something pretty to look at during the ceremonies but also giving me the option to take my hair out later in the reception and brush out for a 1930’s inspired wave, although I was having so much fun I didn’t end up doing this!
My nails were my forever nail varnish recommendation, Nails Inc. – I had a nude pink colour on my hands and black on my toenails, again sustainable for both ceremonies without any colour clashes and complimented my wonderful henna!
I made a call that there would be distinct Indian ‘make-up’ elements that would prevail from the Hindu ceremony to the Church ceremony and the rest of the day. The henna on my hands and feet was obviously one of these but I also decided not to remove the red pigment Jay placed in my parting during the Hindu ceremony, which signified I was now a married woman.
Just As I Imagined
I had two gowns, I’m a very lucky lady! My Indian gown was bespoke made for me by Raishma in London, a great boutique on Green Street near Forest Gate in London. My dress was an adaptation of an Indian designer dress I’d found online, which had a Western silhouette, strapless with a full skirt, but was covered with crazy detailed embroidery and stonework.
Raishma worked a variation of this up. Considering my skin tone we opted for a deep pink rather than red and used an embroidery pattern and stonework Raishma had used on another of their bespoke gowns. The dress was beautiful but massively heavy given the full skirt and embroidery and there were a lot of ‘final’ fittings to ensure it held up! The seamstress at Raishma wouldn’t rest until she was sure it was going to!
As my Indian dress was so extravagant, I wanted a complete contrast for my Church wedding dress. I did the usual trawl around bridal boutiques and confirmed the shape of dress I wanted – full skirt and strapless (to hide my hips and to show off the thinner bits of my upper body so I could feel like a true princess!) but all the dresses I found were detailed, embroidered or embellished in some way. I was looking for something plain, the wow-factor driven by its shape not its diamante.
So I spent hours (which must have amounted to days!) online trying to find what was in my head. Eventually I stumbled across a little boutique called Love Yu, based in Singapore, with the perfect dress made from layers of silk organza and a quirky design twist of a shell scalloped bodice. I took a massive gamble ordering a non-refundable dress online, providing my measurements over email. The gamble paid off however, and with a little help from a seamstress I found on Gumtree who made some final tweaks and my contrasting black sash to tie in with our monochrome theme, it all came together just as I had imagined.
Extra Blingy Wow Factor
I got my Indian outfit jewellery bespoke made from Kyles on Green Street near Forest Gate in London. It’s a great process where you try on all manner of head pieces, necklaces, earrings and bracelets to ensure you get the right set. I opted for a fusion design in my headpiece to contrast modern simplistic elements with the traditional for a bit of a twist! My earrings, necklace and bracelets were all relatively traditional and I chose gold metalwork with clear crystals to bring out the embroidery and stonework in my dress for that extra blingy wow- factor – you’re only a bride once after all!
In contrast, the accessories I chose for my Church wedding dress were simple. I bought a Susan Caplan Vintage Dior necklace to wear, however my mum came back from a trip to China with a string of pearls that set off the dress and my neckline beautifully, so these are what I ended up wearing on the day, although there was last minute deliberation amongst the bridesmaids before I left the hotel room!
A Shoe Thing
As all girls do, I have a bit of a ‘shoe thing’ and managed to buy 3 pairs of shoes as ‘potentials’ to wear on my wedding day. First, I considered changing my shoes between outfits, so bought a pair of Sam Edelman’s Alena sandals in black to wear with my Indian dress and a pair of contrasting cerise Miu Miu platform sandals to wear with my Church wedding dress (for a bit of a colour glimpse when I was walking). Then I saw one of the pairs of shoes the bridesmaids were potentially looking at buying – a green, gold and silver sandal from ASOS, which I couldn’t resist, just in case the other 2 pairs didn’t work! In the end I wore the Sam Edelman’s all day – the heel was just the right height and black tied in with both of the outfits, with the gold detailing and heel ensuring they were a little bit different and a little bit special.
I got my veil from Angelica Bridal in Camden Passage in Angel. Despite the fact I didn’t order my dress from them, they were happy to help me with accessories. In line with my simple campaign, I opted for a single tiered satin trimmed veil with no detailing.
Skinny Ties And Green Saris
Our ushers and father of the bride were asked to wear a slick black suit all day to tie in with the monochrome theme. The only other colour splash they had was the green in their button hole flowers – green was the colour accent of the day. Brothers of the bride and groom treated themselves to a 3 piece suit from Reiss bespoke tailoring service and Jay provided a uniform skinny tie to all ushers, best man and the father of the bride to bring their looks together in line with his.
The bridesmaids wore green saris for the Hindu ceremony in line with the green colour note that was prevalent throughout the day and switched into elegant black floor length gowns by Biba for the Church wedding and evening reception. My flower girl similarly wore a bright Indian suit for the Hindu ceremony and then changed into a cute black organza pinafore style dress with a bolshie skirt for the Church ceremony.
Green, Silver And White
Gold, silver and white were the foundation colours of our day with a starring colour focus on green. We carried the green accent through from our wedding invitations, which were made for us by a very talented graphic designer friend, Laura Hussey.
One of our starring decorations were our BonBon Balloons. These are the brainchild of Rebecca Moyster, founder of BonBon Balloons, who I discovered in a Stylist magazine feature. They are clear helium balloons filled with confetti, with a cool craft string attached. Rebecca worked with us to create bespoke designs for the string and confetti around our colour theme, which included picking up design elements we had used in our invitations on the string, such as hearts, stars, hummingbirds and rabbits. These balloons formed the centre piece for each table.
As Village Underground is such a blank canvas, lighting is key. We opted for a festoon style rope above our dining area and in the bar and softer uplighters in the arch where we held the Hindu ceremony and later the dance floor. We decided to make another feature of the lighting and got a bit self-obsessed, choosing to hire a giant ‘J&J’ lighting sign from the cool kids at Vowed and Amazed. It set the venue off a treat when hung in stark contrast to the exposed brick wall and was a great backdrop for us at top table!
The Hindu ceremony was full of flowers, from neck garlands to bouquets for both Jay and I, through to the flowers that adorned the top of the Mandap structure, aptly provided by Jay and I events, under which we married. These were all procured from specialist Indian florists.
For the rest of the day, our flowers were provided by an amazing florist – a friend of a friend who does floristry as a side to her design consultancy business. We kept to white flowers for our monochrome colour scheme, using a mixture of tulips, including parrot tulips for a bigger green accent, roses and foliage. This was the basic design for each of the bridal party bouquets. We used tulips for the groomsmen’s button holes and the pew ends in the church. We also had two large pedestals full of tulips and roses at the front of the Church, which we later transported to Village Underground to bring a bit of life to the bar area.
Alongside the balloon centre pieces for the tables, we had three mini jars for roses and tulips at varying stages of bloom. Some of the tulips were closed to enhance the green colour scheme. I didn’t want an overpowering floral centrepiece so the jars worked to give a crisp yet dainty floral accent to each table.
My most prevailing memories of my wedding day are the bits where I looked into Jay’s eyes and promised to be his forever, cheesy but true. We were pretty traditional in our approach to both the Hindu and Church ceremonies but we did choose one reading on soulmates, which we both thought was very cute and inadvertently emphasised our balloon centre pieces!
“A Soulmate is someone who has locks that fit our keys, and keys that fit our locks. No matter what else goes wrong around us, with that one person we’re safe in our own paradise. Our soulmate is someone who shares our deepest longings, our sense of direction. When we are two balloons, and together our direction is up, chances are we’ve found the right person. Our soulmate is the one who makes our life come to life.”
Bang The Drum
We started the night off with a bit of an entrance, being led back into the venue by some Indian Dhol Drummers. It was a great way to kick start the party!
We found our band on the website Function Central – The Mustangs. They were a great group who took modern songs and gave them a reggae funk soul makeover. They were more than happy to expand their repertoire for us, and created their own version of our first dance song too. We got moving to an old Fleetwood Mac classic ‘Everywhere’.
We also had our photographer, the fabulous Chris Barber, set up one of his photo booths where guests can choose their costume weapon of choice and make complete fools of themselves in front of the camera. Some of our favourite and most hilarious wedding shots were born through this process!
Feeding The Troops
As our wedding day was so long, kick starting at 9.30am and running through to the next morning at 2am, we needed to keep our guests well fed and watered! When the Hindu wedding ceremony finished at noon, we had one of my friends, the exceptionally talented Milli Taylor, produce a wealth of delicious and delectable classic English canapés, which were served for an hour to top everyone up, alongside a selection of our favourite cocktails and mocktails.
After the Church ceremony, we all ferried back to Village Underground, the guests on an old Route Master bus and Jay and I in a cute Morris Minor, which we hired from Mark at Wedding Classic Cars (they have a great vintage car selection and were really lovely on the day). We sat down to an Indian banquet, provided for us from the guys at Premier Rouge catering. We enjoyed everything from a classic biriyani to the slightly unconventional chocolate samosa! And just in case anyone got peckish in the evening we also put on some Indian finger foods – yum!
Our cake was made by my Dad, who is a fruit cake maker novice turned fancied extraordinaire (having now made 4 wedding cakes). He’s better at the inside than the outside though and we asked a professional cake maker to help with the icing. Together my Dad and I added the finishing touches with a bit of green ribbon and a cascade of mini icing flowers.
We wanted to add a personal touch to our favours as well, so continuing the indulgent J&J theme, we ordered J&J boxes from The Letter Room to house our favours. On a weekend away in Paris earlier in the year, we had seen a cute petit fours idea, taking a square of chocolate, and using a spot of melted chocolate to attach dried fruit, nut or marshmallow to the top of the square. We decided we wanted to use this idea for our favours, adding in a few Indian sweets, wrapping in cellophane with a little green bow to fit inside the boxes. It looked good, but took two days of mummy of the bride, bride and bridesmaid effort!
Gold Frames And Green Ribbon
We built on the invites Laura (my graphic designer chum) had created, with the same graphic themes carried throughout all of our stationery, including the two orders of service, the order of the day and seating plan, our cocktail list at the bar, the toilet signs, the menu and place names and the flags we used for table numbers. We used a mixture of green, white or black font and designs on green or white backgrounds. We tied the metallic colours of the day in by putting our cocktail lists, order of the day and seating plan in gilt gold frames and Laura spent hours tying our place names to green ribbon so they could be tied to the menus! For the table numbers, we bought glass bottles to sit amongst the jars of flowers and balloon centre piece and stuck our flags to wooden dowel, so they would sit in the bottles. Laura arranged all the printing for us, but it doesn’t come cheap, so if you are going to undertake design of your stationery to such a bespoke level beware of the costs!
As Personal As Possible
We had quite a few children at our wedding, so we wanted to ensure they were kept busy. We bought ‘J’ branded cotton bags for each table with children (in keeping again with our self-centred letter theming!) and filled the bags with activity books and crayons – they were a big hit!
Our wedding was a jam packed day from start to end, we managed over 30 suppliers, did a few things DIY and ran to a very tight schedule but given it’s a once in a lifetime day it was well worth all the effort. We’d encourage everyone to get as personal as they can around every choice they make for their wedding and don’t be afraid to truly reflect yourselves in every element of your day!
Venue – Village Underground
Bride – Raishma and Love Yu, based in Singapore
Jewellery – Kyles
Shoes – Sam Edelman’s Alena
Veil – Angelica Bridal
Makeup – Alex Chalk @ Glam Collective
Hair – Fred @ Pimps and Pinups
Groom and Groomsmen – Reiss
Bridesmaids – Biba
Band – The Mustangs
Catering – Milli Taylor and Premier Rouge
Photography – Chris Barber
How much do you wish you could have attended that wedding? Everyone looks like they are having so much fun. I’m so glad Jess went with Indian style make up – she looks gorgeous. And how amazing is the jewellery?
I honestly don’t think Jess and Jay could have done better…the whole day looks like the perfect mix of tradition, fun with family and friends and being true to themselves.
Lots of love,