Attending a wedding fair is a rite of passage for every bride. It’s just something you have to do – fizz in hand and best friend on your arm. Having run for 25 years, The National Wedding Show remains the country’s biggest wedding show and is attended by some of the industries very best and most popular suppliers. If you’re looking to have a fun day out, do lots of wedding research and start ticking off your wed min checklist, then attending The National Wedding Show is a great idea.
When it comes to wedding planning it can be a daunting prospect trying to find all your suppliers. So it’s no surprise that many a bride-to-be set off for The National Wedding Show, normally with a few bridesmaids and mums in tow. With every element of your wedding in one place it’s a fantastic way to get ideas and seek out some of the best. From stationers to dresses you will find it all and no doubt have a lot of fun in the process. With shows in London, Birmingham and Manchester it’s a fantastic chance to get your wedding planning well underway.
Liv and Teddy’s wedding is an absolute corker. It begins with sophisticated elegance – the shimmering Eden by Jenny Packham and a smartly cut suit by The Kooples and ends with a rave in an underground exposed brick vault.
Such is the wonder of a good wedding.
What happens in-between you ask?? Well Liv the Bride is here to tell you all about it, along with images from fabulous Love Lust photographer John Day.
Our Home Town
Liv The Bride: Our wedding was on 22nd September 2012 at The Royal Society of Arts just off The Strand in Central London. Our given names are Olivia and Chris – but everyone calls us Liv and Teddy – hence the ‘L&T’ featured everywhere! We are both from London, our parents live here, we grew up here, met here and after a brief stint in Brighton, we’ve settled down here – so when it came to location, London was a no brainer.
We actually found the RSA at the National Wedding Show. It ticked all those boxes AND were undergoing an amazing renovation (pre renovation prices for post renovation beauty – bargain!) Teddy’s a designer and so we made our invitations ourselves to try and keep costs low – I definitely underestimated how long it would take but I would recommend it if you’ve got a lot of time to kill, we spent virtually nothing making them.
We went with really simple ribbed rustic brown card with our own font and vintage penguin postcards as the RSVP. Teddy also designed a website where people could RSVP, add songs to the evening playlist and find out everything they needed to know about the day.
In life I’m definitely a casual dresser – jeans, jumpers and converse make up most of my wardrobe, and black, lots of it, so when it came to finding a wedding dress I was overwhelmed. I struggled. Six months almost to the day and with time against me I headed to Jenny Packham with my mum. Now my wedding dress troubles mainly centred around my need to wear a bra with supportive straps at all times, which put me at a HUGE disadvantage and limited me to only a couple from her collection. Sigh.
The lady that worked in the shop was pretty awesome though, her no nonsense approach was exactly what I needed and she told me in the nicest possible way to stop mopping and dwelling on my limitations because she had the perfect dress for me. And perfect it was! I felt like me when I put it on, not silly or huge or uncomfortable, but pretty amazing. The Eden. One last visit with the bridesmaids and it was done – and with 10% off. Cheers Jenny!
A Pain In The Veil
I went for it with my veil (there was no stopping me, I was going to be BRIDE) and got one that was long, and if I’m honest, a massive pain. People tug on veils when they hug you, they snag on stuff, you trip on them, they get stuck to your lipstick, and I actually preferred my pics without it on. Ah well, at least it didn’t cost me a fortune – a friend of my mum’s copied the Jenny Packham satin trimmed veil down to a T – it was an exact match, and an absolute bargain. My accessories I kept to a minimum – the dress kind of speaks for itself!
A headdress passed down from my nan, to my aunty, to me, was reworked and simplified and it was a perfect accompaniment to the dress and had extreme sentimental value. Those pearls had sat atop my nan’s head when she married my granddad over 60 years ago, and they are still going strong , a pretty good omen!
On the day the boy gave me a beautiful bumblebee necklace from Alex Monroe which I chose to wear wrapped around my wrist. The bee has become a symbol for my Aunty who passed away nearly 3 years ago – he couldn’t have chosen a more thoughtful and meaningful gift.
Now shoes were tricky – I had a beautiful beaded dress to compliment after all, converse just ain’t gonna cut it! I don’t wear heals, ever, I’ve just never been able to walk in them so I wanted to try and get a cheap and cheerful pair. However it was during my daily perusal of RMW that I discovered these amazing Alexander McQueen shoes with skulls on them (Dom & Elizabeth’s wedding ‘At The Water’s Edge’ – just wow).
After being immediately shot down by the boy at the mere thought of buying them I gave it up and moved on. Well, almost. I bought a cute pair of gold T bars from Dune and my mum had the genius idea of putting on our own skulls – £15 in Topshop on some earrings and a handy best man later and voila! My very own skull shoes for a snippet of the price. Win.
Calling On Friends
Luckily for us we have a lot of talented mates. My brother’s best friend, Scott who works at Daniel Hershesons, did my hair (and my bridesmaids, mum and nan – such a trooper!) I always wear my hair down when I dress up so that’s what I wanted for my wedding day. We went with a subtle blonde dip die a month before and on the day he created beautiful soft waves – simple.
My makeup was done by another friend, Olga, a former Mac makeup artist turned advertising executive who I met at work, she worked miracles! We went for a reddish lip, side lashes, black eyeliner and a strong brow – basically my daily makeup but amped up. I loved it and it lasted the entire day – I was still looking immaculate at 2am, not a lash out of place. Girl done good.
Both of them were amazing and it was so lovely having people I knew with me that morning – and as they were also guests they were there to touch me up for the rest of the day!
The Flower Appreciation Society
My bridesmaid, Emma, found our florists in a local magazine – two illustration and textile design students who turned their arty hands to floristry when they graduated, what could be more perfect for a couple who met studying art? Anna and Ellie from the Flower Appreciation Society – what absolute babes. We went for tea, had a chat about the kind of flowers I liked, discussed our budget and the styling and that was it!
From that moment on we exchanged a few emails but I left them to it, what do I know about flowers anyway? We went for wild flowers in pastel colours, with the obligatory hydrangea of course. The ladies even provide their own vintage vases for a tiny fee and style the venue for you. I had absolute faith in them that they would make the place look amazing and they did. I was there at the end of the night swiping arrangements off tables for my guests to take home!
A Stroke Of Luck
I have to say my groomsmen outfits were a stroke of genius. After putting Teddy and then my bridesmaids in navy I had to come up with something else for the boys and they ended up wearing burgundy slim cut ‘Camden’ suits from Ben Sherman. I basically got lazy and left it a bit late so when I finally dragged them out shopping I had 8 weeks to go and EVERYWHERE was in sale, not normally a problem but both my boys are a 32 reg. Panic. I raced home and mass ordered loads of different suits online – by a stroke of luck the burgundy looked amazing and the lads were happy.
People proper raved about them on the day and I couldn’t have been happier with how they looked – white slim shirts, black knitted ties and personalised tie bars topped off their look.
Unintentional 30s Glamour
Now for the ladies – I’m obviously biased but my two bridesmaids, Niamh and Emma, looked exquisite. Both absolute stunners it was easy to make them look amazing – their silk navy 30s inspired Ghost dresses were the first thing we bought for the wedding on an impromptu shopping trip and the easiest decision I made. I loved them, they loved them – above all I wanted them to feel comfortable and happy.
We went with 30s style hair and the same makeup as mine to compliment the dresses. It ended up being a bit of a 30s Hollywood glamour affair – quite unintentional as I’m not really one for a ‘theme’…
Navy, Burgundy And Gold
Teddy wore a navy tux from The Kooples, a burgundy spotted pocket square from Gieves and Hawkes with matching socks and a pale gold skinny tie from Topman. Topped off by an antique gold and pearl tie bar found in Camden Passage market and black brogues from Office he looked so handsome.
Shopping for him was actually really easy – one trip to Selfridges (where we spotted the suit) and another to The Kooples to try on his size and we were done. I have to say the guys at the Kooples were pretty great – they offer a tailoring service and did loads of little nips and tucks to make him look his absolute best, and that he did. I thought I would be a ball of nerves walking down the aisle towards him but I just felt calm and happy, so happy. Too happy to even shed a tear – although he did, such a girl!
One Of The Gang
John Day was an absolute ledge. On our first meeting he rocked up to see our swanky venue in flip flops and we both liked him instantly. I found choosing a photographer quite hard, we really wanted a mix of someone who was extremely talented and produced great shots and someone who you could easily see yourself going for a beer with. Some friends of ours got married recently and although their pics were stunning they were both left reeling at their photographers bossy and at times rude approach. Nah, most certainly not what we wanted.
I think I found John on RMW and after a couple of email exchanges with the boy (yes ladies that was one of the only things he helped organise!) he was ours. John’s style is exactly what we wanted – lots of natural pictures of people looking happy. What more could you want really? I hate having my photograph taken but John made me feel instantly at ease and he slotted into the gang pretty easily. He even stayed on after the first dance to nab some amazing pictures of the band! He was honestly just a really lovely guy and a pleasure to have around.
Priceless Memories Captured
Originally I hadn’t really thought about a wedding video – my budget just didn’t stretch – but when my brother, Matt, suggested getting one of his mates to do it for free I thought, why not? He’s a camera man by trade and him and his mate Keith film weddings on weekends, luckily for us Keith was kind enough to shoot it, and my brother painstakingly edited all 14 minutes of it.
I was quite blasé about it at first but I’m so glad he suggested doing it because the memories it captured really are priceless – I absolutely love it and every time I’m having a bad day I watch it and it does wonders to cheer me up.
Bake It Yourself
Me and Emma are both very fond of baking and after visiting lots of vintage wedding fairs came to the realisation that we could probably make the cake ourselves. I always wanted something pretty rustic and informal looking so we wouldn’t need to worry ourselves with creating a immaculately iced cake – just a tiered Victoria sponge affair. After researching endless recipes Delia informed us that we could freeze sponge. Epiphany.
The only worry about making your own wedding cake is the stress of devoting the entire day before to bake, but now that was out of the way we were on a roll! After baking and freezing a lot of back up cakes we went for a vanilla sponge with buttercream and fresh fruit filling for the bottom layer, then chocolate with a chocolate and raspberry filling for the middle, then lemon with a lemon curd filling for the top. We then crammed all the available ledges with fresh fruit and dusted with icing sugar.
After defrosting the cakes overnight on the Thursday the assembly process took 2 hours tops and we were done – the hardest part was delivering it to the venue! Emma is a master illustrator and so hand drew us a ‘Liv & Teddy’ banner to go around the middle, it was stunning. I would recommend anyone who likes baking to make their own cake, such a money saver and we were so proud!
The Rolling Stoned
We tried to save as much money as we could by calling on favours and hand making things with the sole purpose of saving money for the band. My family are massive Rolling Stones fans – which means after 8 years together, Teddy is too. Every time The Rolling Stoned – a Stones tribute band – play in and around London we go, so when it came to the decision of having a band, there really wasn’t one.
They didn’t disappoint – they rocked it. We chose our venue for its beauty of course, but the evening venue – the underground exposed brick vaults that we could have til 2am cinched the deal. The atmosphere was amazing. They were followed by a good friend of ours blasting out tunes all evening, including a DJ set by my dad (yep.. he insisted). The evening part of the wedding was one of the most important to us – we just wanted everyone coming to have an amazing time and to party into the early hours with us – hopefully the band and endless flowing booze helped them along!
My Mind’s Telling Me No
Our first dance song was a bit of a quandary. If we were being honest we probably should have danced our way into married life with ‘You should let me love you’ by Mario, the song we had our first kiss to all those years ago. But I just couldn’t do it. The choice then was impossible – we didn’t really have ‘our song’ that was appropriate for parents/grandparents etc to dance to.
In the end we swapped and changed so much that the night before the wedding I text Teddy whilst watching Dirty Dancing in my hotel room with the girls to change it to Solomon Burke ‘Don’t You Feel Like Crying’– which was lovely but actually quite sad when you listen to the words. Ah well. It was just a filler song really as half way through, the music cut out and ‘Bump n Grind’ by R Kelly came on. Having both grown up in North London we had a touch of the chav about us in our youth, which means that we love some pretty terrible music (we obviously don’t think it’s terrible, but that view is widely contested) and luckily for us our friends share our views. When the song came on the room erupted! It was a great moment and one I will remember for the rest of my life.
A Pin For Everyone
We lost my Aunty prematurely to cancer almost three years ago now – she was such an important part of our lives and we wanted to remember her on our special day. We made a donation on our guests behalf to cancer research – providing everyone with a pin we wanted them to wear on the day. For us it was a way of including her in something that she would have been such an important part of had she still been here.
Thankfully our venue was so beautiful that we didn’t need much to make it shine. The place settings were luggage labels painstakingly stamped with our guests names and attached to old keys (most of which I ended up getting from an old insane asylum.. but I won’t think of that as a bad omen..) the menus were designed by the boy and stuck onto the back of postcards of vintage penguin books (each one selected to be relevant to each guest) and we had tea lights in jam jars, church candles and pictures of us dotted all over the place.
Our tables were named after Stones songs and the names put into gilded gold frames atop piles of old books collected from charity shops, tied with lace and fastened with antique brooches. My florists were the stars though and really brought the place to life with their stunning displays and beautifully eclectic range of vases that they let us use for a tiny charge! We had a polaroid camera that people used to take pics of themselves and paperclip into our guest book next to their message. Which was really lovely to look at the next day – especially as people and their messages got progressively more drunk as the night went on!
Don’t Get Bogged Down By Details
When planning our wedding was that we wanted it to be fun – and for people to have a really REALLY good time. That was our main brief. My advice? Try not to get bogged down by the details. Blogs like RMW are amazing for ideas – some brides do the most beautiful things but if you’re not that way inclined then don’t worry! We had a few nice touches dotted around our venue but I must admit that towards to end I got a little lazy with my planning, so enthusiastic at the start but that tapered off. A PA in life, there is only so much organisation you can do at work AND at home! Good people, good food, plenty of free flowing booze and a rockin band will see you through. Well it did for us anyway!
Everyone says it, but it’s so important to take time out with your husband. I don’t even remember being that loved up with him on the day because we were so busy rushing around and seeing everyone! John suggested going for a second little photo shoot at dusk and I’m so glad we did, we got some beautiful pictures and got to spend some time together wandering along the Thames, just us – with John 3rd wheeling us of course!
My final and most important bit of advice I have is to have fun and enjoy every minute. Things will go wrong, they just will, but there’s no point getting angry about it on the day – just try to relax and enjoy every second.
Bride’s Gown – Eden by Jenny Packham
Bridesmaid’s Dresses – Ghost
Make Up – Olga Borowiec
Groom’s Suit – The Kooples
Groomsmen’s Suits – Ben Sherman
Florists – Anna & Ellie at The Flower Appreciation Society
Venue – The RSA
Band – The Rolling Stoned
Videographer – Matt Wicks
Photographer – John Day Photography
Loving Liv’s home made Alexander McQueens and her dark nails.
The headpiece is gorgeous too, what a lovely thing to have in the family.
And I think we’re all in agreement that there ain’t nothing wrong with a little bump n grind.
Lots of love,
* A short post for first thing, more coming up at 10am…
We have to hold seminars? for hundreds of brides? but what about if we don’t have anything interesting to say?!
As is happens you guys were ACE. You turned up in your droves to hear All About The Pretty and we couldn’t be more grateful.
So then, the good news is you rated our stand so highly in the survey (yup we were rated in an actual NWS survey – scary stuff)…. that they have asked us to be partners again for the whole of 2012…..
I thought I couldn’t possibly be any more excited about seeing even more of you this month and in March…
Then we discovered that because of our association with NWS our brand is All.Over.The.Tube.
Cue Adam and I running up and down the escalators taking many a picture with our iPhones much like you might do if you were about twelve.
Have a butchers at the NWS website and let us know if you’d like to come see us for a one to one consultation – I love hearing about W-day plans, just email firstname.lastname@example.org with what date and location you are attending.
Big The Tube! Our Brand Is On The TUBE! Love
P.S Have a bit of a “reveal all” post coming up at 10 am, am actually bricking it like never before.
Being asked along to the National Wedding Show by Ocean Media (The guys who run the whole caboodle) may well be the single hugest thing that has happened to Rock My Wedding since the idea for a swanky new UK wedding blog fell out of a certain little blog queens head and landed on my desk…
RMW: So… you’re going to give us our own stand?
Ocean Media Yes, we are going to give you your own stand in our “bloggers area” They’ll be you guys and the I am Staggered team, so play nicely with them!
RMW: Yeah we can do that. 😉 And you want us to run a few inspirational seminars for the brides to be?
Ocean Media Yes please, 33 in total to be precise…
RMW: Erm…. ok.
Once the panic had died down (approximately 7 weeks later) we set about planning first of all how on earth we were going to take a piece of Rock My Wedding To Earls Court one weekend, and then to the NEC the following weekend… in the end we decided the best thing to do would be to actually literally do that. We ransacked our RMW offices, taking all the knick-knacks, thrift store finds and clutter that we surround ourselves with.
So our ‘set’ was actually real stuff from our offices. Charlottes crates (she has a crate problem) My gin bottles (I have a gin problem) assorted records, vintage cameras – we even took Charlottes desk… which incidentally is made from old planks of wood that they used to mature cheese on (she has a cheese problem).
The next nightmare was what were we actually going to talk about? This may sound silly to you folks but it’s one thing to sit at your desk and tap away about weddings on your keyboard… it is entirely another thing to stand up in front of loads (hopefully) of people and actually speak. Out loud.
In the end we just decided to look back through the blog and pick out 10 or so of our favourite weddings… once we had done that our wedding inspiration seminars pretty much wrote themselves… we took a few images from each wedding and popped together a keynote presentation that we hoped would be informative to all the brides to be that we were going to meet.
Ok. I’ve made this sound easy…. maybe a bit too easy…. At this point I’ll say Don’t try this at home folks… we are dedicated professionals and we know what we are doing. 😉
We loved the weddings that we choose for the presentations so much that we decided that only showing one or two images from each one was not going to do them justice. So we made some books, with loads more detail in from each wedding. The idea was to pass them around after the presentations, just incase people wanted more…
Things were falling into place.
Presentations ready. Books ready. stand decor ready… not quite! We needed some help to make our set super pretty!
We were absolutely overwhelmed with the flower arrangements that Rebel Rebel produced for our London shows and Bloomingayles created for Birmingham. You guys got it spot on, the flowers looked ace. Pocket Typewriter created the amazing luggage labels that you can see in the images – they went brilliantly with our assorted bottles and kept everything on brand perfectly. I also must thank notonthehighstreet.com for sending us parcel after parcel of assorted wedding pretty and Coulson MacLeod for providing the graphic slates that really brought our crates to life.
You are all legends.
The Rest Is History.
The rest is a blur really, and not just because we were stationed right next door to the Champagne bar! Charlotte, Vix and I survived on adrenaline and coffee (and ok, maybe the odd glass of Lanson) for 2 weekends on the trot. I had to buy new shoes because my feet hurt so much. Charlotte had to ration her talking to save herself for all the one-2-one sessions she was doing inbetween the seminars. Vix had to hurriedly D.I.Y up some RMW cushions when our original items were stolen! It was hectic but it was fun.
We were so thrilled that so many people came to see us – the organisers found us a PA system so that the crowds could hear (no-one was expecting so many people). People asked questions, we even got the odd round of applause(!). The polka dot books went down very well (some went walkies!) and to be honest, it was really nice to actually meet people and talk face to face rather than via the blog, Facebook, twitter etc… It is something Team RMW hope to do much more in the future, whether that’s via shows or simply by getting out more into the community.
And as for our friends at I am Staggered, well it was great to be able to hang out with them for a few days in London and Birmingham – they are genuinely lovely guys (this may not do their “stag” image any favours but it’s true)
But, as for playing fair… look what they did to the picture of me in our National Wedding Show programme… my poor lovely face (and chest!)
I hope you’ve enjoyed this little insight into our first big show, we really hope to be back again in February when the National Wedding Show returns and this time it’s got some new very swanky branding.
Click the link to have a look at their new holding page, it’s very fresh, very clean and very now. It looks as though the 2012 National Wedding Show may be the best one yet.