You may remember the cute Columbia Road flower market engagement feature of Marlon and Danielle from a couple of months ago. Their wedding sounded amazing…..and it was. And we are sharing it with you today…hoorah!
As you may or may not remember Danielle planned a two-part affair, the first being an intimate ceremony and wedding breakfast and the second a glittering black tie party for all of their friends.
Yes folks, Danielle got to wear not one but TWO fabulous frocks. I know – I must admit to being a teeny weeny bit green-eyed over this fact.
As you can imagine, an awful lot of planning and decision making goes into what is essentially not one wedding but two (!) and Danielle has shared all of the detail with you gorgeous lot, it’s well worth a read folks.
Not one but TWO
We always knew that we wanted a small and intimate wedding, but also wanted all of our friends and family to feel involved in the celebration. So we decided to have a small wedding for our family and close friends followed by a big black tie party the following evening, where all the traditional parts of a wedding (first dance, cake cutting, and throwing of the bouquet) could be enjoyed by everybody and we could then really let our hair down after the emotion of the big day.
For the first day we were really clear on where to have the wedding and chose Chelsea registry office for the ceremony and the Haymarket hotel for the wedding breakfast. Chelsea registry office is beautiful and also a great location & it was lovely to think we were following in the footsteps of other great love stories close to our hearts. We have always been big fans of the Firmdale group & I had held an event through work a couple of years previously in The Shooting Gallery at The Haymarket. I instantly fell in love with the room for its understated glamour and felt sure it was where I would have my wedding, so when the time came I didn’t even question where else we would have it.
The second day posed more of a problem. As the first day was so London focused, we wanted something totally different for our guests and also closer to where I grew up in Surrey. It was a chance encounter with Laura Caudery (wedding guru of Parallel Venues) that led us to Fetcham Park.
My mum and I met Laura at a bridal evening at Miss Bush in Ripley, which was where I also bought my wedding dress. Laura and I hit it off immediately and I felt as if I had known her for years. If you are lucky enough to work with Laura, she is one of my most favourite people and has the best giggle ever. She is full of good, honest advice, she helped me choose sensational suppliers, which actually saved us time and money and she really took the time to understand Marlon and I.
To be honest I was sold on Laura before we had even seen the house, but when we finally saw Fetcham, its beauty took my breath away. It may sound strange, but for a grand manor house, there was something very comfortable about it and I felt instinctively that all our guests would feel comfortable there too.
The Perfect Silhouette
One of my favourite parts of the wedding planning was the dress shopping and with two different days, I had two dresses to shop for (I’m not silly am I?). Mum recommended Miss Bush in Ripley for my wedding dress and over the years has sent many friends there with great success. Their buy is incredible & the selection is so varied I defy anyone to go for an appointment and not find at least one contender for their big day.
Now I know it’s a bridal cliché, but I really did know ‘the one’ as soon as I put it on – a Suzanne Neville ‘silhouette’ dress. I had completely dismissed it on the hanger for being too boring, but as soon as I put it on I felt like a better version of me. It was simple and elegant, perfect for a registry office but would also suit the environment of the Haymarket. As soon as they put the veil on my head, I burst into tears – I was a real bride. From start to finish the service there was fantastic, and Jen, the self-titled ‘potty mouth pensioner’ being my favourite.
One of my favourite things about my wedding outfit was my veil (in fact I keep threatening to wear it around the house, while hoovering like a strange Miss Haversham character!) it just finished the outfit beautifully and made me feel a bit magical. I accessorised with a pair of pearl and diamond earrings with a matching necklace that belonged to my Grandma. One of my biggest regrets was that she passed away just before I met Marlon so they never got to meet, and this way I felt I had a small part of her with me on my special day, and I knew she would have loved it. I also wore a diamond bracelet my mum gave me on my 21st and felt every inch the princess.
Standing at only 5 foot, I am a bit of a shorty, and so I am an expert when it comes to high heels, in fact some might say they are my trademark, so I knew for my wedding shoes I wanted something extra special and that would work on both days. I found some gold sparkly ‘Cosmic’ platforms in Jimmy Choo and fell in love – I’ve since worn them several times since so felt less guilty about the price tag!
Once In A Lifetime
The dress for the black tie was not as straightforward, mainly because I kept changing my mind and honestly didn’t even know if I wanted to wear a dress (I had a vision of a white jumpsuit with lots of gold – but realised this would be too unforgiving, too Abba). I was quite laid back about it until I realised we had about 3 weeks to go and I was no closer to finding it. This all changed when one day we were walking through Selfridges and I saw a vision . . . a perfect black and gold sequined embellished Alexander McQueen dress.
After racing around trying to find my size, we found it at the McQueen store on Bond Street and after much encouragement from Marlon and some of the best service I’ve ever had, I bit the bullet and went for it. One of my most extravagant purchases, it was worth every penny, and I felt like a superstar on the evening – a once in a lifetime dress.
My husband has a better wardrobe than me and I have never seen him looking less than immaculate so I had no worries over what he would wear on both days. We originally met while working for Ozwald Boateng on Savile Row and with over 10 years’ experience in men’s tailoring Marlon has one of the sharpest styles I have ever seen in a man. He very recently started his own tailoring brand, Castillo Tailoring, named after his mother’s maiden name, and decided to make his suits, and my brother and his dads for the wedding day.
For the first day he chose a French Navy fabric with a slight shine and chose the same colour for my brother and his dad with a more matte finish. These were then teamed with white shirts and gold ties from Ozwald Boateng, a nod to where we first met.
For the party Marlon used the same skinny block but in a midnight blue fabric with satin lapels. His shoes were a gift from one of his best friends Justin Fitzpatrick who has also just launched his own shoes collection. I felt extremely fortunate to have such a beautiful husband beside me throughout.
With two very different days and dresses I want different hair and make-up to match. On the wedding day I wanted quite a 60’s inspired up-do without looking too fancy-dress, so took inspiration from Bridget Bardot and Britt Ekland but then put our own spin on it. I have been going to Coconut hair salon in Cobham since it opened and the team there are so helpful and professional. They really encouraged me to have a couple of hair trials until I was totally happy and I’m so pleased I took their advice. Morgan did my hair for the wedding day and was such a calming influence, and Lorenzo worked on my hair for the party, a big curly affair, and kept me smiling which really helped relax me before my speech.
My brother gave me away, as sadly we lost my dad was I was 10. This was partly the motivation for keeping the first day as small as I didn’t know how I was going to feel, but actually I had nothing to worry about. My brother William is a very special and calming influence on me and I couldn’t have asked for a better support. He even found things to make me laugh when I went silent and pale during the 45 min car ride to the registry office. We also feel we should thank the Rasta man in Chelsea who spotted me and chased after the car waving, it really broke the tension.
Marlon didn’t have any ushers but chose one of his best friends Steve to be his best man. I know that Marlon found him to be a big support during the lead up to the big day and he was key in getting Marlon to relax in the pub beforehand.
I also asked three of my best girlfriends to be involved in different ways that I knew they would feel comfortable with. Holly was one of our witnesses, Carly did a beautiful reading during the ceremony and Lizzie did a speech at the party, which was extraordinarily brave. Really it was their constant support throughout the whole wedding process that I appreciated so much. You know you’ve got special friends when they’re willing to listen to every detail and keep a smile on their face for the 100th time. From organising my hen do, to the much needed hand holding, I felt extremely lucky and fortunate to have them.
Everything I Own
I was surprised by how nervous I felt walking into the registry office as I had been calm all morning, but as soon as my entrance song started playing ‘At Last’ by Etta James, I couldn’t wait to stand next to my husband and say our vows in front of our nearest and dearest. We chose ‘Everything I Own’ by Ken Boothe to be played while we signed the register – a beautiful song with a big significance to us. We hadn’t been together very long when we went to a reggae festival and Marlon requested that song for me as a surprise. Marlon is a man of few words, but that song left me in no doubt to how he felt about me, and it remains one of our most romantic moments. We finished the ceremony with ‘Signed, Sealed, Delivered’ by Stevie Wonder, this was really uplifting and summed up the mood of the afternoon.
The reading we chose was ‘Love is a Temporary Madness’ by Louis de Bernieres from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. We loved this as it wasn’t too gushy and was actually quite practical but with a beautiful and lasting sentiment.
A Bride’s Speech
We kept the first day really traditional with the speeches; my brother was funny, personal and heartfelt and Marlon’s best man Steve really managed to convey how much Marlon means to him. However, for the second night we decided to break with tradition and give the bride a chance too. It was quite out of character for me to get up and speak in front of everyone, but I felt it was important to pay tribute to my wonderful family. As mentioned we lost my dad quite young and it’s created the strongest of bonds between me, my mum and my brother. For my mum to have been able to give me my dream wedding and do it on her own I felt was remarkable, and I couldn’t let the occasion pass without her knowing what a superstar we all think she is.
My best friend Lizzie also got up and said a few words – she was fantastic and managed to include lots of happy memories shared by lots of the guests and made everyone laugh – it was perfect. This was followed by Marlon’s best friends Neil and Mark who had put together a hilarious video highlighting Marlon’s dubious fashion phases over the years. It created a great atmosphere, we really felt that everyone in the room was behind us and it started the evening with a bang.
We wanted to keep the colour scheme simple on the wedding day and I stuck to a white and green bouquet and Nirvana had a similar arrangement but with unusual blue flowers that picked up on the navy of the men’s suits. For the men there were white roses for their lapels. These were all from the team in Moonflower in Cobham.
Being so familiar with the Shooting Gallery I knew that the room wouldn’t need too much and the hotel always has stunning flowers throughout. We had a 3.00 wedding so didn’t sit down to eat until 7.00 in the evening and so had beautiful diamante candelabras with tealights as centre pieces for the 5 tables – they looked so beautiful and really added to the atmosphere.
We were similarly lucky with Fetcham, the house is so interesting to look at that adding too much would be overkill, but we still wanted it to feel atmospheric with tealights and pretty seasonal blooms. This again was a nod to the fact that we got married on the 21st of March, the official start of British Springtime. Spring is my favourite of all the seasons, a time of change, and of new beginnings. This was particularly significant with our marriage and the fact we recently decided to move to a new area and start the next chapter of our lives.
We worked really closely with Jay Archer, who is just a gorgeous person who creates equally gorgeous arrangements. Jay was the mastermind behind all the pretty tea lights and blossom at Fetcham. Jay genuinely cares about her clients and worked really hard at sticking to our budget. I would often receive random picture messages of something that had inspired her for our scheme. A real pleasure to work with and a real talent.
As well as the flowers, the atmospheric lighting and the dance floor, I really wanted to create an entrance for our guests that set the tone as they arrived. Laura put us in touch with Melisma music who supplied us with a string due who played contemporary music in a classical style as our guests filtered through into the hall. We chose Wonderwall to be played as we walked down the stairs. This was slightly tongue-in-cheek as Marlon is a big Oasis fan and I knew it would make our friends smile.
Another amazing but highly unusual factor in the service at Fetcham is that they don’t charge corkage. We were so grateful for this as it meant our budget stretched so much further when choosing champagne for our guests to toast the speeches with. The suppliers were so helpful and incredibly reasonable and another ‘Laura Loves’ contact, Les Caves des Pyrene.
We also had a casino table set up in one of the rooms to add to the glamour aspect and to give older guests or guests not fond of the dance floor another facet to the evening. They were a great team and it was lovely that my group of university girls won the champagne at the end of the evening.
Music has always been really important to us as a couple and I am so thankful Laura introduced us to Matt Maurice. The system he has is so easy and really fun to use; basically you can select songs you definitely want to hear, song that are great is possible, and ones you definitely don’t want. This really gives Matt a clear flavour of your musical tastes and he struck the chord perfectly. It was so special to see guests of all ages really going for it on the dance floor and we’ve had so many compliments on the music since.
Our first dance was to Paul Weller’s ‘You Do Something To Me,’ a moment we were both quite nervous about, but actually once it got down to it, we were so happy, it felt as if we were the only ones in the room.
The canapés and the wedding breakfast at The Haymarket were exceptional and so well presented it was almost a shame to eat it. We ate salmon with caviar for our starter, beef for the main and a rhubarb panacotta for the dessert. They even came up with an equally delicious vegan option for one of our guests, and we couldn’t fault the service.
For the food at the party we used At Home based in Cobham. It is a company we have used as a family many times over the years and they don’t come cheap, but in my option are worth every penny. Not only is the food exceptionally delicious and beautifully presented, but the team is fantastic – nothing is too much trouble and Amaury in particular kept everything running like clockwork which meant I could totally relax and enjoy the evening. We decided to go for bowl food as I didn’t want a static buffet and wanted to encourage informality and movement. Later there was an amazing cheese and fruit buffet for the guests that had been burning up the dance floor.
My family are notorious for having a real sweet tooth and I really wanted a candy buffet at the party. We found Sarah from through Laura and had seen her displays at Miss Bush. A candy buffet like no other, Sarah is a perfectionist who plans the texture, shapes, colour and of course taste down to the smallest of details and came up with a selection that matched the décor of the Shell room. It was such a fun idea and many of our guests took goodie bags home with them as a memento of the evening.
We also had videographers from Reel Love produce our wedding video over both days. Frances and Becky both worked so hard and were a pleasure to have around. I spoke to Francis about a week before the wedding after many email conversations and warmed to her immediately – it’s actually impossible not to. Again this was a supplier who really took the time to get to know us as a couple and although we got about a week to go before we see it, I know it will be totally unique to us and beautifully shot. Another added bonus in their package was that our guests at the party were able to leave us video messages which we just can’t wait to sit down and watch.
Of all our suppliers a special mention has to be made to Eddie Judd, whose photographs you have been looking through. Eddie is a lovely pocket rocket with such a creative eye, but much more than that she is exactly the type of person you want with you on your wedding day. She has a great sense of humour, is practical and works hard to get the most out of you and your day. I found her a huge support, through from our engagement shoot to completion and every little thing she does is done with care and attention to detail. The pictures she produced made us look far better than I thought possible and it’s a wonderful thought to think these images will be viewed by all our future generations in the years to come. I cannot recommend Eddie enough.
We were fortunate to have so many special moments, but there are a few that really stick in my mind. The first has to be meeting Laura, it really did feel fated & I joke with her that she was my wedding fairy godmother. So much good came from meeting her – she really is a very special person.
I loved arriving at the registry office in a white London Taxi cab, it was really fun sharing that special journey with my baby brother and feeling so supported by him.
I think one of both of our favourite moments was emerging hand-in-hand out of the registry office as husband and wife to be greeted by a shower of confetti and so many lovely faces beaming up at us. We then had photos on the steps and cars going up and down the Kings road were all beeping their horns. It felt so special and something I will remember for the rest of my life.
My advice to future brides would be to enjoy every minute of it, it goes so fast!
Lean on friends if needed – they won’t mind and good friends will tell you when you’re worrying over nothing – it’s easy to get carried away sometimes.
Make ‘wedding free’ evenings between you and your fiancée; it’s good to give you both a break from the eye of the storm and a fresh perspective.
Don’t worry about double or even triple checking details with your suppliers, you’re not being annoying and this is what you are paying for. I wish I had taken my own advice on this one as some of the details on the day were lost due to some suppliers not being as efficient as I had hoped. On the wedding day table names hadn’t been put on the tables, the bus company forgot the music equipment, and took a much shorter route than planned. Ok, I can understand there are small details that actually our guests didn’t pick up on, but I did. Each of those things requires careful thought and planning and ultimately had an impact on how I felt on the day.
You absolutely can’t please everybody and nor should you. This is your one opportunity to do things as you want and it’s the one time you should be allowed to make decisions without having to justify them. Real friends will understand and those that don’t aren’t worth losing any sleep over.
I would also say don’t lose sight of what it’s all about. Ultimately a marriage is far more than one (or two) special days. Our wedding has added that extra bit of sparkle, but really we have always been best friends and would create a long, happy and lasting marriage no matter what the circumstances. We both feel that the love and support we felt from all the people involved has really set the tone for our marriage and we couldn’t be happier.
Reception Venue 1 – The Haymarket Hotel
Reception Venue 2 – Fetcham Park
Brides Gown – Suzanne Neville at Miss Bush Bridal
Brides Hair – Coconut Hair Salon
Black Tie Dress – Alexander McQueen
Brides Shoes – Jimmy Choo
Groom’s Suit – Castillo Tailoring
Blooms at The Haymarket – Moonflower
Blooms at Fetcham – Jay Archer
Entertainment at Fetcham – Absolute Fun Casino
String Quartet at Fetcham – Melisma Music
Catering at Fetcham – At Home Catering
DJ at Fetcham – Matt Maurice
Videography – Reel Love
Photography – Eddie Judd
I know, I know…..I have probably given you all kinds of dress envy.
And those shoes?!
Big Perfect Love