A Relaxed London Wedding
CLAXON! Amazing dress warning! Who says you have to wear white on your wedding day. Certainly not me and thankfully bride Mel didn’t think so either . And she rocked her AMAZING gold dress. Thank you to Anesta Broad Photography for sending this beautiful wedding over to The Glorious Wedding Blog to be featured. You’re going to love it! I’m handing over to Mel and Phil to tell the story of their day…
“Phil and I met working at UCL Library – very sexy! We were friends first and soulmates later and have been together for 13 years now. We had talked about marriage before but had always ended up spending our money on other things – somewhere to live, holidays, dinners out etc. So when Phil got down on one knee to propose on my birthday trip to Reykjavik it was a complete surprise! He had planned to do it on our trip to see the Northern Lights that evening but changed his mind when he realised this involved freezing our butts off in a pitch black field full of strangers for 3 hours. Instead, he waited until we got back to our hotel courtyard and, whilst I was taking a photo of something random, he got down on one knee. I thought he’d dropped something so was moaning about him taking his time and heading inside to get warm when I noticed the green opal ring he’d chosen to emulate the Northern Lights and always remind us of our trip. It was simultaneously romantic and not, which sums us up nicely and was a perfect way to cement our relationship.”
Wedding Planning is a go-go…
We didn’t really have any ideas about a theme for the wedding but were definitely clear about the feel. I had never been the sort of person who has planned every wedding detail since I was little but we’ve both attended a lot of weddings and had a good idea of what we wanted the day to be for us and our guests. We were lucky enough to have a wedding planner, the amazing Mark Daly, and when he asked this question we said: we want it to feel simple, not extravagant; we don’t want our guests to feel obliged to attend/do/wear/buy anything for our wedding; we want everyone to understand why they are there and feel a part of the day; and most importantly, we want everyone to have the time of their lives!
My lovely Dad died a few years ago and whilst we wanted to remember him, we didn’t want the day to feel like a day of loss or like he was missing from the proceedings. So we decided to do away with any traditions which didn’t feel like they were relevant to us or centred around the father of the bride, skipping the sitdown meal and heading right to the party which my Dad would have wholeheartedly approved of! London is where we met and live so we’d always thought we would get married locally to where we live so we could walk past our venues every day. And our absolute priorities were the things we booked first – DJ, food and booze! Everyone we invited knew at least two other people at the wedding which made for the social and friendly event we were hoping for.
Our Wedding Venue…
We were mostly looking for something local to us so we could walk there from our flat and we were just extremely lucky that there are so many amazing venues in our local area. We used the website Hackney Venues to search for local spaces that fit our brief. It needed to be somewhere that spoke for itself as we didn’t want to spend lots of money on superfluous decoration and had to be big enough to accommodate our guests. Phil found Clissold House for the ceremony, which is directly opposite our building in Clissold Park and it was perfect – simple but in a lovely old house in the gorgeous surroundings of the park which we can go and have tea and sandwiches in any time we like.
We popped into the Rose and Crown for the inbetween section as it was near to the ceremony venue and a pub that we visit anyway. The staff were so friendly and accommodating, it was a bit of a no brainer and it matched the informal feel we wanted throughout the day. We actually had a different venue in mind for the evening but it ended up being booked out which was a blessing in disguise. The West Reservoir Centre is a stunning industrial-style venue which we fell in love with straight away and allowed us to invite all the guests we wanted to and not compromise on numbers. Again, it’s 5 minutes from our flat and on the water which made for a spectacular setting for the evening. As most of our guests were arriving in the evening and it was the main part of the day for us, we really wanted this venue to provide a great basis for the party and it didn’t disappoint. With its super-high ceiling, iron beams, exposed brick and huge windows, it needed not much more than a disco ball and some lights to wow our guests with this space and allowed us to set up everything in the large space to ensure everyone was dancing and mingling all night long and not separated into different spaces.
Our Wedding Planning Journey…
We were lucky to have a great wedding planner so a lot of ssues were taken care of for us – a situation I can highly recommend! It was so lovely to know someone else was thinking of the small details that we may not have thought of and Mark, with his years of event planning experience, had it all covered. The joy of having a wedding planner, apart from having someone to sense check our choices and reassure us that everything was under control, was that he was able to negotiate with suppliers in a way we weren’t able to do so as they knew we were unlikely to use them again. Also, having Mark check contracts etc. was a so handy and meant we didn’t miss things that we didn’t know we should be looking out for.
Neither of us was particularly looking forward to searching for our outfits as this did seem like a high pressure decision with so many variables. In the end, Phil had his suit tailored at Reiss and I bought a designer dress from Temperley and had it adjusted. Phil had a lovely experience at Reiss and got a great value, very dapper suit.
It wasn’t quite the “say yes to the dress” experience for me that most brides have but it was what I wanted – my best friend and I did our research and had chosen and bought the dress by lunchtime, knowing roughly what I was looking for (non-traditional, gold, pockets). We also both wore Axel Arigato trainers as they look amazing but also we knew we had to walk everywhere on the day so it was practical too!
I actually really liked designing our wedsite and invitations too – it made everything feel more real and allowed us to understand the wedding day from our guests perspective which was lovely. And obviously, we loved the day! The atmosphere was incredible, everything we hoped for and more. It sounds cliched but there was so much love in the room – I’m loving seeing the photos of all our random friends and family, talking, dancing and laughing with each other! A friend of ours described our wedding as “a gift to our loved ones” which is just the loveliest description and exactly what we wanted. We smiled and laughed all day long, it was amazing.
The Full Day in Pictures…
Mel and Phil’s Wedding Team!
Mark is a friend of a friend and now one of ours too. I think I’ve waxed lyrical enough about how amazing he was – so generous with his time, friendly and clearly loves what he does. Nothing was too much to ask and he tolerated all our indecision with such grace and charm. We couldn’t have done it without him.
We both love taking photos so the photographer was really important and we spent a long time choosing. Anesta is also a friend of a friend and when I saw a photo of me on her wedding site and couldn’t remember it being taken or indeed, remember the photographers at that wedding at all, we knew she was the one for us. Anesta and Jay were amazing and totally listened to what we wanted. They integrated into our day so well, some of our guests thought they were friends of ours who just happened to be taking photos too! The end results speak for themselves – they captured every moment of the day so well, it’s like being there all over again. We couldn’t be happier.
We were actually speaking to another caterer but Mark got a couple of extra quotes from the venue’s suppliers and Funthyme undercut them all as well as providing the most personal service and excellent food. Matt couldn’t have been more helpful, enthusiastic and friendly, going out of his way to recreate our favourite Malaysian dishes which even my mum couldn’t fault! His staff were also amazing on the night and our guests commented how professional and helpful they were too, making sure the bowl food reached everyone and running the bar super efficiently. I would recommend these guys in a heartbeat.
Bride’s underwear Rigby and Peller, Mayfair
I had always wanted to get measured for a bra properly and thought what better time than for my wedding day. R&P didn’t disappoint – I had the most wonderful service from Simona who made me feel completely at ease and helped me to pick the perfect underwear for my dress. It made all the difference in the way I felt on the day too. A highly recommended experience!
Bride’s hair Sarah Howard Hair – Insta: @sarahhowardhair Alix B Hair Stylist – firstname.lastname@example.org My fabulous long term hairdresser, Alix, had cut my hair the week before but wasn’t free to blowdry on the day. I uhmed and ahhed about whether or not to get someone in to do my hair on the day as I knew I didn’t need anything complicated. I have been with Alix since I was a teenager and his haircuts speak for themselves. But my friend recommended her hair stylist, Sarah and I was so pleased that she was able to do it. Sarah is so lovely, listened to exactly what I wanted and styled my hair beautifully. I felt completely safe in her hands and was really pleased I didn’t try to do it myself! She even took the rest of the time to help a few of my friends with their hair too.
Again, Philippa was recommended by a friend and was amazing from start to finish. I wasn’t sure if I was going to do my own make up or not but I was so glad I didn’t have to worry on the day. From the trial to the wedding day itself, Philippa listened to what I wanted and delivered, making me feel amazing and creating a look that genuinely lasted all day.
Sam is a friend of a friend – we once went to a Take That concert together and I have been following her floristry journey ever since so knew straight away who I wanted to make my wedding flowers! Sam was amazing – all I had to do was send her a few Pinterest images and have a chat on the phone and she designed exactly what we wanted on the day, including a massive sprig of misteltoe for the evening venue. They were the most beautiful, perfect flowers. Amazing.
Kaiser Saucy/ Julien Davis, DJ Insta: @houseofjjd
Julien DJ’d at our friend’s wedding so we knew exactly who we wanted when it came to the all important music at the party. We knew this could make or break the evening so Julien is who we booked first! He was so so generous with his time and obviously enjoys weddings in spite normally DJing at much cooler events! He did a stellar job and even let the kids DJ early on in the evening which they loved. The dancefloor was filled all night and we trusted him to read the room and choose accordingly whilst also listening to us about what styles of music we liked. Just fabulous.
Groom’s hair Claire Senior Stylist @livetruelondon, Insta: @clhair_ Phil had his hair cut a week before the wedding at Live True Vauxhall by Claire. Claire gave him lots of great tips for the day and even demonstrated what products he should use and how he should use them to style and keep his hair maintained on the day. Apart from making my husband look great on the day Claire is also on Instagram providing lots of inspiration if you are in need of a change of style.
Phil dealt with Alberto at Market Place and found exactly what he was looking for. He was able to seat down with Alberto and design his suit within a set Reiss Personal Tailoring template however the choices he could make were extremely varied from the style of suit and type of material to the colour of the thread around button holes. Every part of the suit was designed. It was all very relaxed and further fittings were included along the way to ensure a perfect fit. Alberto even approved of the Axel Arrigato Clean 90 trainers (Navy with embroided Bee Catcher Birds) once he had seen them with the suit. Alberto also give Phil tips on where to buy any extra accessories if he needed them such as cuff links and there was no hard selling just good advice.
For his shirt (and tie) Phil went to a Charles Tyrwhitt shop and asked them to measure him properly! They very quickly provided the right shirt size (collar, sleeve length, fit) and had a plethora of differing styles and colours on hand. Plus a great range of ties and socks.
We had a cheese wedding cake and thought we could look no further than Paxton & Whitfield since they have been selling cheese since 1797. They have a shop you can visit but we did it all online. They have lots of advice on the website about cheese, how to store it, how many people it will feed etc. Everyone loved the cheese. We had the Boadicea cheese cake but they have other versions and will also help you put one together from scratch. We had it delivered the night before the wedding and stored it on the balcony.
We had an Ice sculpture made of the Chinese symbol for double happiness which also doubled as a vodka luge. We emailed them a picture of the Chinese symbol (very important for a wedding in Chinese cultures) and they came up with a couple of designs. These guys were great from start to finish. The design stage was effortless but even more so the set up on the day. They were extremely professional and blended seamlessly into the day.
Haven were amazing to deal with – the team were so friendly and set up on the evening with no fuss. The keepsake book and USB of photos were a great touch and our guests absolutely loved visiting the booth all night.
We didn’t want a wedding cake but seeing as it was my 40th Birthday four days after the wedding, Phil arranged a surprise birthday cake with my favourite character, Snoopy on it. Phil found a picture of the cake online and Dunn’s recreated it perfectly and the cake was delicious!
Really easy to use and design – does most things you’d expect a wedsite to do including creating maps of accommodation choices and linking to gift sites etc.
Invites – We designed our own invites, order of ceremony handouts and display poster for the day using this free site, Canva. It was easy to use with plenty of ready made designs and printing and postage was quick and very reasonably priced, in spite of being sent from the States.