Lets start 2014 with a bang!
WWW readers Sinéad and Christian tied the knot in August at Old Marylebone Town Hall in London. They found their wedding venue; The Union Club on WWW and planned a quirky city wedding. It was important that their day was really personal, full of surprises and fun.
Sinéad and Christian were one super stylish bride and groom. Sinéad wore a stunning Candy Anthony dress with blue petticoat and birdcage veil… and those hand painted shoes were just amazing.
They kept the décor simple, with an underground seating plan and blackboard signs. I just love the mismatched blue Dessy bridesmaid dresses and those lush bouquets.
Thanks so much to the wonderful Jordanna Marston for sharing her images with us today.
The Proposal… We were working in the Middle East for a while last year and while we were there decided to take a holiday in Sri Lanka. One night as we were walking home on a lovely, moonlit beach, Christian proposed. I had to interrogate him momentarily to see if it was the Sri Lankan rum talking but turns out, he was in his full senses and had it planned all along.
The Vision for the Day… From the very beginning, we knew that we wanted to create a really intimate day with our nearest and dearest and not have a huge wedding. We liked the idea of it being a little quirky and offbeat but the most important thing was that it be just great fun and maybe even surprise people a little along the way. Like most couples, I’m sure, we wanted it to feel really personal and if that meant breaking with tradition or throwing tradition out the window if it didn’t mean something to us, so be it!
Neither of us are from London (Christian’s Norwegian and I’m Irish) but it’s been our home for the best part of the last decade, so it seemed right to have it in London. We loved the idea of an urban wedding and where better than the heart of Soho.
The Planning Process… The planning process was pretty stress-free to be honest. We organised the big things (venue, dress, photographer) about 8 months in advance and then did the little details in the two months coming up to the wedding. During this time, we were also buying our first home so this meant we couldn’t spend too long planning everything for the wedding in infinite detail. But I think that’s a good thing or decision fatigue can kick in pretty fast!
The Venue… We had the ceremony in the beautiful oak-panelled reception room at the Old Marylebone Town Hall. We loved the sense of history that went with the place, the idea that both princes and ordinary folk had been married in the same rooms over the centuries.
Afterwards, we piled everyone on an old Routemaster bus and made our way to the Union Club in Soho. The Union Club was literally the only venue we saw but we fell in love with it straight away. It is definitely eccentric and full of character. There is a fabulous old dining room upstairs filled with quirky art, big fireplace and perfect for an intimate dinner party (takes up to 64 people). Downstairs there’s a lovely, cosy bar which has a bigger capacity so we had plenty of space to invite more people along after dinner.
The Dress + Accessories… The dress was a Candy Anthony design. It was ivory and tea-length. I chose a vintage rose overlay and four layers of royal blue petticoat. In keeping with the 1950s style, I had a birdcage veil. It felt elegant and fun all in one.
I bought the shoes bespoke from a designer on Etsy called Nora Karen. She handpainted them and the design was of two little birds on a tree with the trunk of the tree running down the heel. They were just beautiful and really comfortable and happily I know I’ll be able to wear them again.
Finding the Dress… I’ve always loved 1950s dresses so that made my decision very easy as it narrowed down style and designer pretty quickly. I headed straight to Candy Anthony and tried on two dresses and that was it! Couldn’t say enough nice things about the lovely Rachel at Candy Anthony who guided me the whole way through and made it a completely stress-free experience.
Groom’s Attire… Christian’s suit was tailor-made by George Dyer, who runs Threadneedleman in Elephant and Castle. It was dark blue, classic cut and in keeping with the day not too formal (i.e. not a waistcoat or dicky-bow in sight!)
The Readings + Music… My brother did the first reading which was from Louis de Berniere’s Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. We really liked the sentiment and if didn’t feel too soppy or cheesy. The second reading was read by Christian’s sister. It was a contemporary Norwegian poem which Christian had also translated for the non-Vikings in the audience!
As for the music, we had some Miles Davies jazz while people were being seated. The entrance song was Cat Power’s version of Sea of Love. Christian and I are both big Cat Power fans and so this had a lot of meaning for us both. During the ceremony, we had the wonderful Sarah Grace Horley and James Stelling sing a couple of songs – Dream a Little Dream and Let’s Stay Together. Our exit song was Hey Ya by Outkast, again a personal favourite of ours.
Later at the party, we had our friends the Croshaw Family play a set. They played a load of great folksy numbers and Johnny Cash tunes. Lots of our friends are musicians so they also got in on the act which made it really personal. Even the groom played bass! We didn’t hire a DJ but rather created three different playlists of kicking tunes with the help of my brother. I think I danced for about 4 hours straight!
Beautiful Bridesmaids… The bridesbabes, as I called them, each wore their own unique dress which we ordered from Dessy. The styles were all slightly different and in different shades of blue. I liked the idea of them being unique but somehow connected and so the dresses were from the same collection, the Alfred Sung collection, and all had a bit of a 50s cut.
The Flowers… The very talented Becky Fletcher did the flowers for us. She completely got the quirky, vintage vibe we were going for. I don’t know very much about flowers but knew that I didn’t want anything too formal. After my rather vague brief – meadowy, natural, vibrant fuschias, lime greens and blues (err…) – ta da, we had the most beautiful flowers. To keep things simple, I just ordered bouquets for myself and the bridesmaids and button holes for the gents. My wonderful bridesmaids organised the table flowers for me. I had bought simple carafes and they filled them with hydrangeas.
The Cake… An amazing carrot cake homemade by my wonderful friend and cake baker extraordinaire, Ciara.
Your Photographer… The photography was quite important to us and we really wanted a photographer who had the imagination and creativity to do something a little different. When we met Jordanna Marston, we knew she was just right. She somehow managed to capture the spirit of the day just perfectly. We were so thrilled with the photos and particularly loved the street shots and whimsical individual portraits. Jordanna is just such a lovely person too and put us at ease from the moment we met her.
The Details + Decor… The wonderful thing about the Union Club is that because it’s already filled with crazy art and bits of ephemera, you don’t need to worry too much about the décor. That said, we did create a few fun bits and pieces. Our seating plan was a print of the London tube map from the 1930s designed in an art deco font. We chose 5 tube stops that had some meaning for us (e.g. where we used to live, where we went to university, etc) and these were the names of our tables. We then simply wrote people’s names on brown cardboard tags and pinned these to the tube stops.
For the actual tables, I bought heart-shaped blackboards on Etsy with the names of the table on one side and our names and the date of the wedding on the back. These were tied with blue gingham ribbon around the carafes and the carafes filled with flowers. Very simple but looked lovely.
At my hen party, we had made bunting and we really felt this needed to be shown to the public (!), so we strung this along the roof terrace.
The Honeymoon… We had a wonderful three weeks making our way across Canada – Toronto, Montreal, the Rockies and Vancouver.
Memorable Moments… The speeches were incredible, filled with laughter and tears and many people said they were the highlight of the day. We interspersed them throughout the meal which seemed to work really well as a way of bringing the whole group back together and not being too monotonous!
Advice for Other Couples… It sounds obvious but planning a wedding will really take as long as you give it. We made a conscious effort not to let it take over and to keep it in perspective alongside other life priorities like buying a house, making time for family and friends and what not. I think that’s really important because when the day comes around, it doesn’t feel like everything has been building to that point and equally when it passes over, you aren’t left with feeling like there’s a big void in your life. Just keep focussing on the big things…great people, yummy food, plenty of booze and brilliant tunes and you can be sure that it will be a fun day.
Credit Where Credit is Due…
Photographer: Jordanna Marston
Dress: Candy Anthony
Shoes: Nora Karen
Bridesmaids dresses: Dessy Alfred Sung collection
Venue: The Union Club
Flowers: Becky Fletcher
Music (ceremony): Sarah Grace Horley
Music (party): The Croshaw Family
Table decoration: Country Clutter
Oh my! I so love a WWW reader wedding and hearing that Whimsical Wonderland Weddings gave a helping hand.
Thanks so much to Sinéad and Christian for sharing their beautiful wedding with us today XOXO Lou