How is it Thursday already? I am sure these sunny days make the time fly by hehe!
I have a seriously gorgeous wedding to share this morning. Emily and Steve were married on the 29th Dec 2011 at the quirky cool The Zetter Hotel and Townhouse.
These two are the epitome of style and fun. Emily looks incredible in Delphine Manivet and i adore her headscarf veil and fur coat… wow. Steve looks very dapper in a modern Reiss three piece suit. I adore the stationery, the tins of flowers and the laid back party vibe to the day. Just wait until you read about their honeymoon too… jealous! :-)
Thanks so much to the brilliant Matt Parry Photography for sharing his amazing images with us today…
Names: Stephen & Emily
Wedding date: Thur 29th Dec 2011
Proposal: 31st Dec 2010 outside St Bartholomews church, Smithfields Market, London
Vision of the day: We wanted something really informal, more of a party with our closest family & friends, something that wan’t going to cost the earth & that reflected our current lives in London. Something that reflected Steve & I as individuals, our lives, taste level, not bound by tradition, well & truly us.
Planning process: The venue was the trickiest part as we both wanted something non traditional. the thought of a stately home with bows on the back of the chairs & the formality that comes with that scared us both. We wanted something relaxed, that we both felt comfortable about. We had heard about Zetter from Steve’s boss after he stayed there on his wedding night & then it came up on a venue site I was looking at, so we went to have a look. we loved the restaurant, the food was so good, it was reasonably priced, it was a boutique hotel, meaning it had it’s own, quirky style & it was in our chosen location in Clerkenwell, 5 mins from where Steve proposed, our favourite part of town, as it’s steeped in London history & is home to one of the great Victorian markets & we love it’s understated restaurants & bars.
Once we’d decided on Zetter it became obvious that as it didn’t hold a marriage license that we would need to find another venue for the ceremony only, & also as Zetter needed to re-open in the evening for restaurant trade, we wanted a party venue. Luckily I had also noticed ‘The Artisan of Clerkenwell’ then called ‘The Priory’ located directly behind Zetter in St John’s Mews when I was flicking through venue sites on the Internet & after enquiring at Zetter & we realised we could combine the 2. it meant we could have cocktails, canapés, then sit down meal & speeches at Zetter in the restaurant, followed by a proper party in more of an industrial, party space at ‘The Artisan’, with bacon buttons & cake cutting just out the back door at zetter across the cobbled mews.
The ceremony was trickier as a lot of places don’t want to just host ceremonies, but I can’t speak highly enough of the Firmdale group who own the Soho Hotel (where we got married), The HayMarket, The Charlotte St Hotel & The Covent Garden Hotel. I’m a Print Designer & always loved the interiors of all these hotels & was very keen to have the ceremony somewhere as relaxed as possible, as if it was home. the thought of an aisle in a church terrified me & put me off the idea of marriage for a long time! we hired the Drawing Room in the Soho Hotel & after looking up wedding photos of ceremonies at the Soho on the Internet, we soon realised that the guests could all be sat around on sofas, really relaxed, creating exactly the atmosphere we both wanted.
We’d been very keen to make this a very ‘London’ themed wedding as we have both lived there for 10 years & considered it home & as we are both from Yorkshire (me, Sheffield, Steve, Richmond in North Yorkshire)meaning that a lot of our guests would be from outside London & we saw this as a great opportunity to show off the best parts of London…as a result we’d both wanted an old fashioned RouteMaster bus & the ceremony & reception venues being separate allowed the perfect opportunity for a bit of a London bus tour for our guests (hosted by one of Steve’s best mates, Paul Beeton, who played Tour Guide while the bus took them past The Houses of Parliament, The London Eye, Big Ben, all while we managed to sneak off with Matt to get some wedding pics around Smithfield Market, meeting back at Zetter at the same time for reception drinks.
Amazingly the 3 separate venues & bus fitted perfectly..although it meant quite a lot more organisation & planning as it was 4 separate lots of people to deal with, but Definately worth it judging by the reaction of the guests.
Being a Print Designer, I was very keen to ensure I got the look of the stationary, the styling of the flowers & venues just right but always on a budget. Luckily one of my friends back in Sheffield owned his own printing business, so I did the artwork & he printed it all beautifully at cost price, saving is quite a bit. We had chosen venues that were our style anyway, a mix of period features with antique, eclectic, minimal pieces of furniture, so they didn’t need to be too much decoration, just touches through the stationary & homemade bunting & enhanced with homemade flower arrangements.
Venue: Explained most above, but Zetter were great! Our booking coincided with the opening of the Zetter Townhouse, an extension to their boutique rooms, housed in a renovated Georgien Townhouse across the mews. When I saw it for the first time it all clicked into place as it was soooo quirky & intimate & we both loved the idea that we could have our honeymoon night there! The cocktail bar at the Townhouse is like an ecenteric, English Gentlemen’s parlour & the backs of the chairs were even upholstered with sacking with ‘Sheffield’ printed on, with a ‘Richmond’ cocktail on the menu…meant to be! I ended up booking for my mum & I to stay at the townhouse the night before the wedding & our room on the wedding night was complimentary & the staff were so so helpful & they even put a really nice bottle of champagne in the room compliments of the house, really nice touch. Melanie Older the events coordinator at Zetter was very personable & came across when I first came down in my dress to wish me well & we both genuinely appreciated her attention to detail & just how friendly she was with all the meetings, emails & a few too many prosecco’s c/o Zetter while we discussed all the details. It made the planning really sociable & relaxed.
the Soho Hotel we amazing on the day. I was met by their events coordinator at the entrance with my dad & I didn’t have to do anything. There was always going to be a tricky part as we’d only hired the 1 room, as the Registrar needs to speak with both Bride & Groom separately, minutes apart from each other, without them seeing each other. We’d settled that if my dad & I had to wait upstairs in a corridor for 10 mins so be it if it saved us another £500, but dad & I we escorted downstairs & sat in one of their private lounge rooms where we were offered drinks…much needed! It was a really nice 20 min wait to chat with Dad & relax & they didn’t even charge us for the drinks. They cued all the music perfectly, then when we came out they served Steve & I champagne on the house (again) while our guests milled around in the lobby greeting us & preparing to board the bus. The events guy even came out with us to the bus, holding my skirt & taking photos, really lovely & they went above & beyond what they needed too, which just added to making it such a special ceremony.
The Artisan of Clerkenwell was recently taken over so we benefitted from a great refurb, very luckily right to our taste level, with vintage teacups as candle holders & vintage ephemera displayed on the walls. They were really accommodating & we’re very keen for us to get an extended licence until 3am, although we thought it best to reign it in at 1am. We also had Andy Johnson to play piano & sing for us at the start of the evening do, to welcome the evening guests, before the DJ started & it all got a bit drunken!
The dress & accessories: I was always going to be a tricky bride, as I could never see myself wearing a traditional wedding dress, also as I’m a designer & dress quite casually on a daily basis, I didn’t want to feel uncomfortable, all dresses up in something really formal, it just wouldn’t be me. I tried Temperly for the more antique, vintage lace option but just was wearing me, then my boss at work had recommended Delphine Manivet, a French Designer specialising in more Bohemien wedding attire. They used to have a shop on Dover St in London, so mum & I went & I feel in love with the Angus skirt & vest & the idea of a 20′s style headscarf veil, but having it shortened, so it wasn’t too over-wheeling. Unfortunately their shop closed, but Browns Bride took on the collection & I went for a 2nd try there to confirm she my heart was. I also very luckily coincided the buying of the bespoke shortened veil with a work trip to Paris, which was very lucky as Browns didn’t offer the service.
The Delphine dress was way over budget & I had been looking at some great vintage options, that I’d researched at the various vintage bridal fairs held around London every few months, but nothing quite compared. There was also a beauty, fully beaded vintage style dress at Jenny Packham that we both loved, but in the end mum & I felt it was more hollywood glamour & not so naturally me. We split the price of the dress, so we ended up both paying what we thought would be the full price, but I don’t regret it for a minute, it completely set the tone for the day.
A friend of mine made me the vintage, crystal cuff that I wore. I had seen a very expensive one o a website & at the last minute we both discussed it & using a vintage beaded belt from a market, she adapted it. very talented girl & loves a bit of wedding design/planning, so sure she would happily offer her services if requested.
my shoes were bespoke made c/o Ted Baker as I was the Print Designer there & my IpDirector very kindly made it possible by adapting one of the current designs to be in ivory lace with a ally lovely inscription on the gold soles of the shoes ‘For Cinderella, a pair of shoes that will change her life forever’ very, very special present. I was a very, very lucky girl.
Groom’s attire: Steve’s suit was from Reiss. the staff were great as they made great suggestions as to what pocket square & how to wear it & altered the leg fit on the trousers to make them a bit slimmer & a trendier cut for a more traditional suit. Steve loved having a 3 piece, as he wears a suit for work everyday, so the waistcoat offered a point of difference as did the choice of grey colour. the shirt, shoes & socks were Steve’s fave Paul Smith & I loved how dapper he looked on the day, like a dashing English gent!
Beautiful bridesmaids: My Maid of Honour was my best mate Beth Riddlesworth & she wore a Ted Baker maxi dress with one of my favourite Ted prints of an ‘enchanted Forest’ in black & white. We tried lots of different options of dresses on but she looked great in this style & I wanted her to have a dress that wasn’t specifically Bridesmaid, so she could wear it again. I wasn’t bothered about matchy matchy, I just wanted her to look & feel good & the black & white wood print did actually fit really nicely as it was a winter wedding.
My little Niece Rachael Gardner was our little FlowerGirl & we had real fun shopping with her for a proper Princess dress that she could feel really special in. As our wedding was apparently out of wedding season, we were a bit limited, but John Lewis came up trumps & accessorised with some little silver glittery pumps from Next. She was a little trooper as she got chickenpox 4 days before, but luckily recovered just in time for the big day & she looked so cute!
Readings + Music: We aren’t religious, so we wanted readings that meant something to the 2 of us, nothing we’d heard at other weddings & something that might make people really listen to the words. We chose a poem used in a paper cut/screen print by one of our favourite Artist’s Robert Ryan. I knew about Rob’s work from a collaboration project I had worked on with his work during my time as a print designer at Paul Smith & Steve had since bought me cards for birthdays with his work & a limited edition print that we hung in our flat using the words that were read. It was about running away to the seaside & not telling anyone, then coming home late on the train eating your soggy sandwiches!
Our 2nd reading was a reading of the lyrics of ‘All I want is you’ by Barry Louis Polisario, which was really emotional as Beth read it to us so beautifully. the song version was also our exit music for the ceremony.
Arrival/walking down the aisle music was ‘Your Song’ the instrumental, Craig Armstrong, Moulin Rouge version & signing the register was ‘Romeo & Julliet’ by Dire Straits.
Flowers: I was keen to do the flowers myself as I wanted that very vintage style, home arranged look & also to keen the cost down. An amazing flower shop had luckily just opened at the bottom of our road called Achillea on Mill Lane in West Hampstead & after discussions with Claire the very talented owner, we decided that she would buy the flowers at the market & I would collect & arrange them straight after Christmas, 2 days before the wedding. the time of year made this tricky as the last flower market was Xmas Eve, meaning that Claire had to keep the flowers fresh until collection on the 27th Dec…to be honest it wasn’t ideal as with moving them about, arranging them, some look a little battered on the day.
I often go to vintage markets with work & had started collecting vintage tea caddies anyway & after looking at a few wedding blogs liked the idea of arranging the flowers for the tables into them. make sure they are waterproof though, as I couldn’t use a few for this reason once I started arranging them in case they leaked all over the tables,
Claire ensured we both picked a really nice & unusual combination of flowers & the use of peppercorns added some berry- like detail to all arrangements & in particular the cake, ensuring they looked wintry rathe than summery.
Claire did the bouquets for me, but tied them with vintage lave that I had collected. Rachael’s little mini flower girl bouquet worked really well.
Honeymoon: Steve & I had been saving & planning to go travelling for years, it was just a matter of selling the flat & finding the right time to quit our jobs & finally do it. After he proposed it all just started happening at once, the flat sold & suddenly our travels became our honeymoon which was fab. We are currently 1 month in to a 6 month around the world tour, in Laos as I write this, but going on to Cambodia, Vietnam, Southeran Thailand, Bali, Australia, New Zealand then California. We worked in a wedding list of experiences en route, so hiring a mustang in California, a diving PADI course in Koh Toa, The Gibbon Experience in Huay Xui in Laos, Singapore Slings at Raffles, Singapore etc…we send those that specified emails with photos after we have done each one, so they can see their gift in action & it seems to be getting a really good response. It’s just a bit more interactive than just writing a cheque, it also meant that friends that had travelled to a lot of the places we were heading, could recommend restaurants, what to eat & what they wanted their gift to be spent on. It’s working really well so far & as we already have kitchen, house stuff, we both felt experiences were a lot more personal.
Memorable moments: The ceremony for me was just amazing, it was the bit I was dreading as everyone is starring at you, but the WestMinster Registrars were so good, so relaxed & made the ceremony so personal to us. the readings made it so special & that time waiting with my dad over a g&t was really memorable. Steve’s speech was really moving & I think just seeing all our mates together, all pretty drunk at the end of it, showing what a great time was had by all!
Advice to others: If you want a non traditional wedding, stay true to yourself & make it so. It’s so easy to drop back into the more easy, traditional way of doing things. parents expect it, but at the end of the day, it’s your day, it doesn’t have to cost the earth but you will be making up for that with your own time as a result. Was really stressed the day before setting up the decorations for the event venue, but looking back at it all, I wouldn’t have done it any other way. just surround yourself with people who know you best & can handle you, even when you are stressed! It’s about the 2 of you, just remember that.
Cake: We were very lucky that Steve’s mum is a wedding cake maker/decorator, so she made a tiered cake, then we both used the left over flowers & just jabbed them into the icing to decorate. She also made the girls favours which were little buns, iced with royal icing & decorated with the most amazing flowers & butterflies that she had made out of icing, couldn’t believe they were icing, very clever lady.
Credit where credit’s due:
vintage dresses for sale & hire, best selection I’ve seen: Rebecca Denholm, The Pocket Library
Thanks so much to Emily and Steve for sharing their amazing wedding with us today, I’d love to hear your thoughts below :-) XOXO Lou