Alternative, Real Weddings, Vintage
A Fun London Wedding Inspired by a Vintage Postcard
13.06.2013

london wedding

Cathy and Greg held their May wedding in London, with a ceremony at Islington Town Hall, followed by a reception at Leon. It was super important to them that their day was casual and fun, with all things London which was inspired by a vintage postcard.

Cathy chose the most beautiful vintage blue lace dress which she accessorised with a Tatty Devine and cute short veil. Greg opted for a made to measure dashing suit by Reiss. They looked so very stylish.

They had some amazing fun decor, with paper garlands, a scrumptious looking cake table and the sweetest peonies.

Thanks so much to the incredible Marshal Gray for sharing his photographs with us today.

 

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The Proposal… Greg surprised me with customised bunting (commissioned from Seaside sisters) hung up in the kitchen.

The Vision for the Day… We didn’t want anything too formal. Casual and Fun was the order of the day.

We knew that we wanted a London wedding right from the start. Neither of us were born in London (Greg is from Perth, Western Australia and I was born in Canada) but London is a huge part of our lives. It’s our home (Greg for 16 years and over 30 years for me) and it is the place that we met, and most of all we absolutely love it. And really try to squeeze the most out of living in this fantastic city.

The starting point for the whole wedding theme/vibe was actually an old vintage postcard that I found of Piccadilly Circus from the 1960s. I just loved the vibrant colours (Turquoise, red, yellow) and the whole look of it. Especially the iconic Routemaster buses, I knew we had to have one of these at the wedding and they became a bit of motif for the day.

The Planning Process… Greg- The majority of the initial planning and booking was done well in advance. We wanted to secure a firm date on everything so that we could assure all the overseas visitors (who wanted to book tickets). So things like the ceremony venue and the reception venue, the bus and the photographer and DJ were in the bag approx a year before the big day.

Cathy- Greg and I have very different approaches to things. He is very practical and organised, which allowed me to really unleash my creative side. As he joked in his speech I provided the creative vision and he was the Admin assistant! (I would say he was more of a project manager!) But this is what makes us a great team. It’s no good having loads of great ideas if there is nobody to make them happen.

As a designer (children’s wear) I use mood boards quite a lot in my job. To Greg’s amusement, I had mood boards for every aspect of the wedding (Decoration, Colour and style, Groom style, Hair and make up, cakes, flowers etc etc) and I was slightly addicted to Pinterest. I found the mood boards really helpful for clarifying what I really wanted and for effectively sharing “my vision” with other people.

Budget… Leon was around 5K, which with 65 sit-down guests and approx. 25 guests arriving later, meant that there was an abundance of food and an open bar. Very important. Overall budget we put at around 12K.

The Venue… Ceremony- Islington Town Hall, Upper St, N1 (keeping it local). Reception- Leon Ludgate circus. Greg was initially not very keen when I suggested Leon (after I spotted on their website that it was available for private parties). He didn’t want to have our wedding at “a Fast Food restaurant!” However, the more I thought about it the more perfect it seemed. I’m a big fan of Leon food and I love the ethos/vibe & decor and I knew that the Ludgate circus branch was a really great space and fitted with the relaxed, casual feel that we wanted for the day.

So with a little persuasion I was able to get Greg through the door to reconsider and once our food arrived he was sold! We had only looked at one other venue (the Old Bank of England pub, Fleet street).

The Dress + Accessories… Cathy- I wore a vintage (1960’s) Duck egg Blue Lace Dress. Customised with a Tatty Devine Glitter Heart Brooch. Worn with an elbow length veil (bought very cheaply on-line- I had to remove a cheap looking binding that was around the edge). Shoes- Glittery Gold/Nude Leather T-bar sandals from Bertie (£75)

I also had a lovely vintage cream sequined cardigan- that doesn’t feature in any photos as I only wore it for 5 minutes as we left the reception at the end of the night! (but it was good to have just in case)

My Dress was my something old and something blue, the shoes and Rigby & Peller underwear were new and my something borrowed was a beautiful Jenny Packham bracelet that my friend Jude had worn at her wedding.

Hair and make up – the lovely Goshka from Deco dolls. I knew I wanted a glamourous 60’s look (Mad Men meets swinging London) and would not have been able to recreate it on my own (‘m not very good at Hair and make up).

It was also very relaxing and stress free having someone to come to me on the morning to do my hair and make up for me. I was forced to sit down and not do anything (I’m usually running around trying to do a million things at once), while Goshka worked her magic. If I had been doing everything myself I know I would’ve left it all to the last minute and rushed it.

Finding the dress… I knew from the start that I didn’t want a traditional wedding dress (mainly because they can be so expensive). And I knew I wanted something vintage (or vintage inspired) but I was completely open in terms of colour and style. First stop was Glory Days Vintage in York. Hayley the owner was fantastic, letting me try on a whole range of beautiful vintage wedding dresses in their bridal boutique. She also offers a bespoke service if you can’t find exactly what you are looking for.

I eventually found my dress at the Hammersmith Vintage fair. As so many brides say, it wasn’t the dress that I pictured myself wearing. I quite fancied sequins, sparkles and full on glamour! But when I tried it on, the friends that I was with told me I had to buy it as it looked like it was made for me! I loved the colour and I managed to get it for £85 which is a real bargain for a wedding dress.

I bought my sequined cardigan from the Clerkenwell Vintage Fair, to satisfy my desire for a bit of sparkle and as a cover up in case the British weather wasn’t on our side.

Groom’s Attire… Greg – Reiss Made to Measure. Ian sorted me out at Reiss Market Place, just behind Oxford Circus. Highly recommended. The suit came to around £745 and the shoes were from Church’s and were around £380 including all the accessories and stuff. I have since discovered a whole new world of mens’ tailoring and obsessive websites about mens’ shoes – and have to say that getting a made-to-measure suit is just awesome. You have to do it at least once in your life – I’ll be doing it from now on. And decent shoes, which last… So I actually spent more money than the bride on clothes. This amuses me as I apparently spend more on skincare products than her as well!

The Readings + Music… London by John Davidson. My Country by Dorothea McKellar.

Beautiful Bridesmaids… We didn’t have any bridesmaids, as such, but there were lots of women with key roles in the wedding party.

Greg had a “best girl”, Gabby, instead of the traditional Best man and I had one of my closest female friends, Morag, walk me down the aisle as my dad is no longer with us.

Gabby wore a lovely floral print dress teamed with a green vintage jacket. While Morag, who was six months pregnant, wore an embellished Boden Maternity dress.

The Flowers… Rebel Rebel who are on Broadway Market.

The Cake… We had a whole selection of cakes, all made by the very talented and lovely Katy Samain (Love Cake, Eat Cake).

We had a tower of Lamingtons, The classic Aussie treat (squares of sponge cake dipped in chocolate and coconut), a two tier carrot and walnut cake with cream cheese frosting, a huge Chocolate Guinness cake and an Apricot and Almond cake (as Greg loves apricots!)

Your Photographer… Gary Lashmar/Marshall Gray. He comes across as a real geezer which threw me at first. I don’t know why, but I was expecting some formal serious posh dude. He has a magnetic personality and an enthusiasm for taking great photographs. Within a few minutes of us starting our pre-wedding photos, I thought he would be perfect for our big day.

I have to say that we had a number of guests come up to us during and after the wedding who complimented us on the choice of photographer – literally because he was so unobtrusive and fast working. And if there is one disadvantage of getting married, it’s that we’ll not be able to work with him again on such an event. A true pleasure to have him take our photos. We could just tell before getting them that they’d be some real special ones!

The Details + Decor… The invitations were inspired by an original London Transport guide to the Coronation (from 1953) that my aunt had kept as a souvenir. I designed an A3 sheet that could be folded into an 8 page booklet full of practical information and vintage graphics. We used old postcards as RSVP cards, and tried to choose locations or cards that were relevant to each guest.

We continued the theme at the reception where we used more vintage postcards in place of a guest book. These were posted into a great replica post box that I picked up at the Bridal Boot fair in Brighton.

We named the tables after Monopoly squares and used a A-Z map (with flags pointing to the real streets and locations) as a table plan.

We wanted a real party feel to the venue, with loads of crepe paper streamers, Honeycomb balls and pom poms hanging from the ceiling. These kind of decoration are much cheaper than flowers and are a great way of adding colour and impact to a room.

We were really lucking to have a fantastic group of friends (that we nick named The Hit Squad) who arrived at Leon early on the morning of the wedding and put up all the decorations for us. They really did a fantastic job. The party feel continued to the tables, we scattered them with hats, masks and party favours to get everyone interacting and having a laugh.

We also wanted lots of personal touches at the wedding, so we hung up loads of amusing or nostalgic photos of all our friends and family around the venue and I made each guest a personalised badge to wear.

A few of my work friends and I have started a little after work craft club (called Make it Monday), we get together every other Monday to sit together, have a good gossip and work on our craft projects. As three of us all got engaged with in a few months of each other, a lot of these little projects were wedding related. In fact Rebecca, one of the other girls in the group, was featured on WWW for her beautiful 1940’s inspired wedding at Lauderdale house last year.

The Honeymoon… We would like to go to Iceland to see the Northern lights sometime in the next year. We had guests staying with us after the wedding from Australia and so taking off immediately on a honeymoon wasn’t an option. And bundling a honeymoon into our trip to Australia later this year would have been too much of a rush. Better to spend some time planning something really special in some place that neither of us have been to before.

Memorable Moments… Greg: Seeing Cathy come down the aisle and realising that whatever dress I’d imagined she’d be wearing in my head was NOTHING LIKE and NOWHERE AS GOOD AS what she was ACTUALLY wearing.

Hearing Cathy say her vows. She’s a quiet soul yet she put on her thespy “I’m going to project” voice and it blew me away. Awe inspiring. I’ve asked her to do this again since, and she’s refused.

The bus-ride and photo shoot at Smithfield Meat Market. Gary just seemed to let us do our thing (whatever that is) and I don’t really recall much direction.

The dancing. There was a lot of dancing. And the music was awesome. The DJ (Tim from Mint DJ’s) made the night really. The dancefloor didn’t empty at any point, which was remarkable.

Cathy: The whole day was completely fantastic, so it’s hard to pick just few moments…

The first dance was great fun. We did a sixties style dance routine to “All Day and All of the Night” by the Kinks. We had been working on it for months with the help of our friend Kate and I think we surprised quite a few people especially when our backing dancers joined us on the dance floor!

Greg and I had a quick last minute rehearsal while we were off having our couple portraits taken at Smithfield market and Gary caught it all on camera.

Our godson, Alfie, was a complete star on dance floor. Sometimes people worry about babies spoiling their Big day, but he was a complete dream and stole a lot of hearts that day. I loved sharing my day with him.

Advice for Other Couples… Get as much done as possible as early as possible, beforehand. Embrace Microsoft Excel – it is your friend. On the subject of friends, ask them for advice and assistance. Some of it you’ll take on board. Some you won’t. Take time off, before the wedding but also after the wedding. Don’t sweat the small stuff… however for a prospective groom to say that to his prospective bride can be a lethal situation! So my advice for blokes is to feign interest (even when you may not necessarily be interested), always offer an opinion (even if you know the opinion will probably be wrong – still offer your advice), if there’s anything you really feel strongly about (in my case, the music) then stand your ground. Christ, I sound like a marriage counsellor.

Cathy: It’s your day, so fill it with the stuff that you and your partner love. Don’t worry about what is expected and certainly don’t worry about what “has been done before”. Seek inspiration from wedding blogs (and get yourself on Pinterest) but try not to be overwhelmed by all the possibilities that are out there. There were so many ideas that we could’ve and would’ve loved to incorporated into the day, but we had to make decisions about what was right for us and about how much we were willing to spend.

Get Help. And if you can afford to bring in professionals then do it. It really takes so much stress out of the day. Do your research; The people that you hire can make such a difference to your day so choose them with care. Meet up with them (if possible) to talk through your ideas and expectations for the day and to make sure that they are the right people for the job.

Finally, what really make a wedding are the guests! So make sure that you invite some really great ones. We are really lucky to have some really fabulous friends and family and we were touched by how many of them travelled half way around the world to celebrate with us. It’s not often that you get to have nearly all of your favourite people in one place so make the most of it. We spread out the celebrations to the week before and after the wedding so that we could spend as much time as possible with our loved ones. We held a pre wedding drinks at the pub where Greg and I first met and enjoyed showing our overseas visitors our favourite London locations.

Credit Where Credit is Due…

Rebel Rebel flowers: http://rebelrebel.co.uk/

http://www.reiss.com/feature/personal-tailoring/

http://www.church-footwear.com/en/UK/new-flexi-sole

http://marshalgraystudio.com/

http://www.leonrestaurants.co.uk/

http://www.routemasterhire.com/

We stayed afterwards at The Zetter who we could not fault. What a great hotel. Shame we live so close to it, as we’d love to go back and stay again…

http://www.thezetter.com/

http://www.mintdjs.co.uk/

http://www.decodolls.co.uk/

http://www.lovecake-eatcake.com/

http://www.glorydaysvintage.co.uk/

http://seasidesisters.co.uk personalised bunting

http://www.bellesevents.co.uk/ Bridal boot fair

Such a heartfelt day with some wonderful words of advice. Thanks so much to Cathy and Greg for sharing their gorgeous wedding with us today XOXO Lou

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