We’re headed to the capital today for this city chic affair in beaut white and glitter gold tones.
Leila and Henry plumped for a winter wedding and tied the knot on the 6th February 2016 at Islington Town Hall, followed by a reception at Westminster Boating Base in London. Their vision was simple; a fun relaxed wedding with a party to celebrate.
There really isn’t much not to love about their nuptials. There were seasonal fresh blooms throughout, calligraphy stationery and a simple butter cream cake which sounded scrumptious. The bridesmaids wore gold sequin frocks which worked so well against Leila’s short frock by Fur Coat No Knickers. Being a jewellery designer Leila (Leila Swift) of course designed those rings and all of her own jewellery, so very special.
Frances Sales, thank you so much for sharing these exquisite images with us. WOW.
THE PROPOSAL | We got engaged on a mini break to Berlin last February (2015). I had no idea at all Henry was going to propose, so was very surprised and happy when he did! As I’m a jewellery designer I knew it would be very hard for Henry to buy a ring, but he got it just perfect and bought a vintage gold ring with three diamonds.
THE VISION | Neither of us wanted a wedding that was too traditional and we really didn’t want it to be stressful to plan. So from the beginning we both said we would aim to have a fun, relaxed wedding, and just think of it as a big party to celebrate with all our favourite people. We quite quickly decided on a winter wedding, we thought it would take the stress out of watching the weather forecast as we knew it would almost definitely rain and be cold!
THE PLANNING PROCESS | As soon as we got back from Berlin we started looking at venues, we wanted to start straight away so we had plenty of time. The great thing about a winter wedding and being off-season was nearly all the suppliers we liked were available, so it wasn’t too tricky to find amazing people to help us create our perfect wedding.
As we have lots of creative and talented friends we wanted to involve as many of them as possible, so knew we had lots of favours to ask! Luckily everyone was really keen to help, so this made the wedding much more personal and even more special for us.
THE VENUE | We both knew we wanted a London wedding. I grew up here so it meant a lot to me for it to be in the city, and although Henry grew up in beautiful Suffolk, we both agreed that a winter wedding in the countryside was probably a bad idea!
After visiting a few options we chose Islington Town Hall for the ceremony. The round council chamber room was just so stunning, it was a clear winner. My sister also got married there a few years ago so it was nice to have the ceremony in the same place.
Henry’s family are very into sailing and he grew up spending a lot of time on the water. As we’d picked London as a location, we thought it would be nice to have the reception by the river. We were so excited when we found Westminster Boating Base, and almost instantly knew it was the perfect venue for us. In the centre of London in Pimlico and also a sailing charity right on the rivers edge. The staff were so kind and helpful and nothing was too much trouble, they made us feel really relaxed and reassured that it would all run smoothly. As it was February the sun set at about 4pm, so the twinkly lights all along the river were so beautiful and made it very atmospheric.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | I was very nervous about dress shopping, but as soon as I walked into Fur Coat No Knickers I knew my dress would have to be from there! Emma, Laura and Grace were just so lovely, and made the whole process really fun. I tried on so many dresses (and drank a lot of bucks fizz!) and very nearly went for a gold one, but after a few weeks of pondering the B52 had totally won me over. I knew I wanted a short dress as wet London pavements and a long white dress seemed like a disaster waiting to happen!
I absolutely loved wearing my dress, I just wish I could wear it again!
As I’m a jeweller I made all my wedding jewellery, which is a great perk of the job. I had huge pearl and gold earrings to go with my gold engagement ring. I then made our wedding rings, which was a really nice thing to be able to do. I make lots of wedding rings for other couples, so to be making ours was so lovely.
GROOM’S ATTIRE | Henry knew he wanted a blue suit, and we both thought it would be nice if he could have one made to measure. He went to Gresham Blake in Shoreditch as we’d been recommended them by some friends. They were great and really helpful, and had so many fabrics and styles to choose from.
Henry’s (and the ushers) ties and pocket squares were from a designer called Kate Temple. As an independent designer myself we wanted to use as many small businesses as we could, so were very happy to find Kate and her lovely ties.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | We picked two readings for the ceremony. Henry’s sister read an extract from Winnie the Pooh, and an old friend of mine read Joyce Grenfell ‘Ordinary Morning’.
We have a very talented friend Andrew who’s a guitarist, who re-wrote a version of ‘These are a few of my favourite things’ for me to walk down the aisle to. It was such a special part of the day for both of us and to have him playing just made it amazing.
Andrew also put together the most incredible Motown band for the evening of the reception. We really wanted music that everyone would know and get everyone up dancing. It worked perfectly, all generations were on the dance floor all night!
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | I had two bridesmaids, my sister Maia and my best friend Lizzie, and a tiny flower girl, my niece Betty. Having the three of them with me made me much less nervous about the whole day. I was so pleased I’d asked both of them, I couldn’t have asked for more supportive and lovely bridesmaids to have by my side. As we had a Motown band, we decided to go for a gold theme and Maia and Lizzie both wore gold sequin shift dresses. None of us wanted them to be too bridesmaidy!
THE FLOWERS | After a bit of research I found Rebecca at Ivy, Pip and Rose. We met up and straight away I knew she understood the kind of flowers that would work with our relaxed city theme. Together we decided to stick with mainly white and green with a few touches of blush. I was worried that February would be a bad time for flowers, but Rebecca reassured me that it was actually quite a good time of year. We had freesia button holes for Henry and the ushers, gypsophila bridesmaids bouquets, and my bouquet was made up from anemones, ranunculus and freesias. Rebecca did a lovely job of decorating the venue with eucalyptus, gypsophila, anemones and ranunculus. We hadn’t seen the venue on the day before we walked in with all our guests, so we were so pleased when we saw the beautiful displays Rebecca had created.
THE CAKE | Our friend Rachel is training to be pastry chef and is just starting her own business. As soon as we got engaged she offered to make the cake as our wedding present! We were so touched and of course said yes. As this was going to be her first wedding cake we left the design and flavour completely up to her, we didn’t want to put any pressure on her and completely trusted that she would create something amazing. And we weren’t wrong! Rachel made us the most delicious lemon and white chocolate one tiered block cake covered in white buttercream icing and decorated in flowers. It looked and tasted incredible!
We topped the cake off with a personalised gold glitter cake topper from Pea Green Boat.
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | As we wanted an informal day, we knew we had to find a photographer to match that feeling. I saw Frances’s photos on a blog and knew that she would be perfect. After meeting her for a cup of tea, we signed on the dotted line. We both felt really relieved after finding her, she made us feel so much more relaxed and comfortable having our photos taken, as we both started off very nervous and awkward! As well as taking the slightly more posed pictures she also captured lovely moments that we missed on the day and will treasure forever. It was lovely that she got the photos to us so quickly as well, by the time we got back from our honeymoon they were waiting on our doormat.
We decided to have a video of our wedding made as well, so we could truly capture the feeling of the day. Dale is a friend of a friend so we 100% trusted him and just left it up to him. All the videos he’s made before are so beautiful, we knew he would make something lovely for us. We got the trailer video while we were on our honeymoon and sat on the beach watching it over and over again all day! He’s done a brilliant job, and not only was it nice to send the video to all the guests that could make it, but also to be able to show it to the the people that couldn’t come.
THE HONEYMOON | I have lots of family in Australia who couldn’t make it to the wedding, so we wanted to go out and see all of them for a second mini party. We decided to split our honeymoon in two. Firstly we spent two weeks in Borneo seeing wild orangutans, drinking cocktails and relaxing on the beach, it was heaven! And then we flew on to Melbourne to spend two lovely weeks with my family. It was an amazing honeymoon, and one of the big plus sides of getting married in winter is you can go to the Southern hemisphere for some sunshine!
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | We both agreed the ceremony was our favourite part of the whole day, although it was the most nerve wracking bit! The moment I saw Henry waiting at the front of the room surrounded by all our family and friends was really special and a moment I won’t ever forget.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Some things won’t go exactly to plan, but you’ll be the only one that will notice so don’t worry about the tiny details too much.
A friend said to me before the wedding to make sure that you have a few minutes just the two of you at the reception to take it all in, I’m so pleased she said this as otherwise the day just goes so fast and before you know it it’s the last song!
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photographer | Frances Sales
Venue | Westminster Boating Base
Bus | London Bus hire
Videographer | Dale Adams Weddings
Cake | Rae Hippolyte
Cake topper | Pea Green Boat
Flowers | Ivy Pip and Rose
Dress | Fur Coat No Knickers
Suit | Gresham Blake
Ties | Kate Temple
Invitations | Paper Shop
Rings | Leila Swift
Thanks so very much to Leila and Henry for sharing their really wonderful wedding story xo Lou