They wanted their London wedding to be simple and carefree while sharing their personalities. They shared their love of music with hiring an awesome band and their love of books through their penguin book invitations.
Phillippa wears not one but two gorgeous dresses, i love her ethereal 1930s number, it is just divine, while Stuart looks too cool for school in a slim fit Reiss suit.
I love this cool, laid back and head over heels couple so very much.
Thanks so much to the wonderful Draw Down the Stars for sharing their gorgeous imagery with us today…
Names…. Philippa and Stuart
Wedding Date…. 10th December 2011
The Proposal…. Stuart surprised me while I was putting some clothes away in my cupboard after having come back from the British Library. As simple as that.
The Vision for the day…. We wanted to keep the day simple and carefree and were both adamant that we wanted to incorporate as much of ourselves in it as possible. We were both tired of going to weddings that all followed a set pattern and all one had to do was replace the bride and groom. Instead, we wanted to make it full of little personal touches that showed our guests how special they were to us. At the same time, we couldn’t face the idea of a wedding comedown and to combat this we worked hard to connect it to our everyday lives. Again, this meant including as much of ourselves in the wedding from the choice of favours down to the invitations we sent, which referenced our love of books and music.
The Planning process…. I hate to say it, but that the planning process was really relaxed, simple and stress free. We managed to get the bulk of it planned within the first few weeks, and the rest was the little details, which were really fun to do. We did everything together and consulted each other on all decisions and I think this helped. Also, we didn’t tell anyone about the wedding until the majority had been planned and we sent the invites, which meant that we could do everything how we wanted and that the whole day was a surprise for all the guests.
Budget…. We didn’t really have a budget to begin with, but we knew that we would not fall into the trap of spending over £20,000. When we tallied it all up in the end I think it was about £6000.
The Venue… We had the service at the Old Finsbury Town Hall, a beautiful Art Nouveau-inspired Town Hall built in the 1890s, which we found by chance. The room omitted a sense of laidback and relaxed glamour, and it felt absolutely wonderful to be in there, especially when the sun was shining through the stain-glassed windows. The building is full of beautiful period features, and we were so thrilled that Tim and Harriet, our photographers, captured many of these in their photos.
We knew from the beginning that we wanted the reception to be at the Wilmington Arms, just off Exmouth Market. We both have loved the pub for a long time, and loved the idea of having and relaxed and fun day in a London pub. It was the best decision we made. Alan, Luke and everyone who worked there were absolutely wonderful and made everything as easy and as fun as possible. The pub looked beautiful and the food was amazing – you can’t go wrong with pie and mash!
The Dress + Accessories….. The dress was a vintage 1930s dress ethereal dress. It was really long and made of the most delicate material, which had a tendency to tear if anyone so much as looked at it. For this reason I had to have another dress to change into that would be able to stand the test of the reception. Again, I got a vintage dress, this time a pale pink 1950s prom dress with a full skirt.
My accessories were kept to a bare minimum. I found some great vintage silver heels to wear that set off both dresses beautifully, and wore a vintage brooch Stuart bought me in Sao Paulo. I kept my hair as simple and easy as possible, with a second-hand rhinestone clip to add something to it.
Finding the dress…. I was pretty lucky when it came to finding both dresses. I found my first dress on ebay about three days after we decided to get married. It came from an American seller and cost about £30. It was sold for display only and was in a pretty bad state, but luckily I managed to find Lindsay, a wonderful seamstress who specialises in vintage and second-hand clothes. She did a wonderful job repairing and resizing the dress and breathing new life into it. It was Lindsay who suggested that I get a second dress and, again, I found it almost instantly in Beyond Retro in Soho. It jumped out at me from the rail and was almost a perfect fit. Again, Lindsay was on hand to alter it slightly and make a couple of repairs.
Groom’s attire… It took Stuart’s ages to settle on a suit, but he finally found one in Reiss. It was a straight-legged petrol blue suit, and, again, he asked Lindsay to take the legs in a little.
The Readings + Music…. We had one reading – our friend Arabella read James Joyce’s Chamber Music Number Three, as Joyce is one of Philippa’s favourite writers.
For music, we were very lucky to have some talented friends willing to help us out. Our friend Rob is a very talented musician and brought together a group of friends to play three musical numbers as a string quartet – She’s A Rainbow by the Rolling Stones; Something Better by Marianne Faithfull; and I’ll Be Your Mirror by the Velvet Underground and Nico.
Philippa walked down the aisle to Did I Remember by Billie Holliday, and we left the church to There’s a Light That Never Goes Out by The Smiths.
For the reception we booked one of our favourite bands, Fair Ohs, which was a bit of a risky decision as they are essentially a punk band. Luckily, everyone completely loved them and they got everyone dancing – from 60 year old parents to 3 year old children.
Beautiful bridesmaids….. Rather than a bridesmaid as such, I decided to have a best woman, which was my best friend Izzy. As part of best woman duties, I made her give a speech, which I don’t think she was too happy about.
The Flowers… We got all the flowers from Zest flowers, a flower stall at Covent Garden Flower Market. The day before the wedding we got a group of friends and family members and spent the day arranging all the flowers under the supervision Jan Drayton, my sister’s mother in law. We kept the flowers simple – all white and a mixture of roses, lillies, amaryllis, narcissi and pussy willow.
The Cake… The cake was pretty much the only thing we didn’t sort out ourselves. We went for a three tier curly wurly cake from Konditor and Cook. It was absolutely delicious, but massive – in fact, we’re still eating our way through it now.
Your Photographer…. We were so lucky to have Tim Cochrane and Harriet Eaglestone take our photos. They managed to capture the fun and the relaxed atmosphere of the wedding in the photos and made everyone look completely beautiful. There were so many little features of the day that we missed but which they caught on camera. It’s been a joy to look back through the photos and remember all the joy we felt.
The Details + Decor…. We kept everything as simple and personal as possible. The female favours were mix tapes that we made while the men received bottles of beer with our faces on (an idea we got from Alan, the owner of the Wilmington Arms). This continued the personal theme we had begun with our wedding invites – day guests got individual 7” records (the invite was the record sleeve), while evening guests received a second-hand penguin classic book with a bookmark as an invite.
Other details included naming the tables by colours and using vases of M&Ms to show the colours.
The Honeymoon…. We went to Paris for four days, and stayed in a lovely hotel in Montparnasse opposite the graveyard where Serge Gainsbourg is buried.
Memorable moments… Probably the band. They were so amazing and we were so worried about how people would respond, but it was fantastic. Plus their performance included a stage invasion and Stuart crowd surfing. Another highlight was the performance of ‘She’s A Rainbow’ during the service was truly beautiful (Philippa’s mum still cries when she hears the opening notes).
Advice for other couples… Don’t get distracted by other people saying what you should and shouldn’t do. Just do what you want to do – whether that means a big wedding with all the frills or a tiny celebration. You’ll know what makes you happy, and if you’re happy then all your guests will be to.
Credit where credit is due…
Draw Down the Stars – Tim and Harriet’s beautiful site http://www.drawdownthestars.com/blog/
The Lady that Does – Lindsay the wonderful seamstress http://theladythatdoes.com/#
The Wilmington Arms http://www.thewilmingtonarms.co.uk/
The Old Finsbury Town Hall http://www.theoldfinsburytownhall.co.uk/
Thanks so much to Philippa and Stuart for sharing their beautiful day with us today XOXO Lou
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