Alice and Chris’ wedding report is a total delight to read. The account of their planning is brilliant and I just love their memorable moments and words of advice, it’s so worth a read.
They married on the 29th June 2014 at the awesome warehouse venue, Trinity Buoy Wharf in London, which has amazing views of the o2.
I adore the bright teal bridesmaid dresses, the dreamy blooms and the party atmosphere.
Many thanks goes to Pat Kelman Photography for sharing these delightful images with us.
THE PROPOSAL | Chris and I often plan surprise dates for each other, so back in October 2012, Chris asked me to keep a Sunday free for a date. I suspected nothing. Sunday arrived and we hopped on the Tube to London Bridge and walked down towards the river. I have to admit I was a touch hungover that day and was being a bit of brat, trying to guess where we were going ‘oooh Nando’s… fun’, poor Chris! As we approached Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre I may have remarked ‘ugh we’re not going to the Globe are we, I am so not in the mood for the theatre’ the responding ‘No’ was, in hindsight, rather curt. We stopped just opposite the theatre and Chris asked me to close my eyes as he had to give me something that would spoil the surprise of our destination (I still didn’t suspect a thing). To add a little context here, Chris and I met at Drama School, and I am a particularly big Shakespeare fan. I dutifully closed my eyes and upon opening them again, there he was, down on one knee, presenting me with a BEAUTIFUL ring and asking me to marry him. I said nothing, I couldn’t, Chris repeated THE question and still… I said nothing. Chris, correctly, took this as good sign, slipped the ring on my finger, kissed me and steered me towards the theatre bar. I was still in shock, very keen to get my hands on the promised champagne, Chris opened the door and a wall of noise blew me back outside. All of our family and friends were in the bar, waiting to celebrate our engagement!! Chris coaxed me back inside, my best friend handed me a drink (thanks Kat!) and as the reality of what was happening set in I relaxed into the best surprise engagement party EVER. They all knew, some for well over 6 months, what Chris was planning and I am so grateful they all managed to keep the secret. I couldn’t have imagined it happening any other way.
When we got home, I had Chris ask me the question again, so I could actually say YES!
THE VISION | We knew we didn’t want a traditional package wedding, we wanted it to be personal, creative (so excited to do wedding DIYs), and fun for our guests. We were keen to have it all in one space, and ‘warehouse’ featured in nearly all of our venue searches! We wanted to keep it relaxed and informal and most of all, to really reflect us.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | The day after we got engaged we went out for a long breakfast. The first thing we did was compile a guest list, which gave us a really good starting point to decide budget, venue size and logistics. We tackled the big jobs first: Venue, Registrar, Catering and Photography. WE then started to look at the personal details (although Alice had been ‘Pinning’ décor ideas for months.) We picked out our colours, met with our wonderful florist and starting planning and designing DIYs.
We tried our best to keep on top of things with spreadsheets and schedules, and on the whole we stayed pretty organised. That is not to say that there weren’t plenty of stressful and panicky moments; silly arguments about chair colour and a myriad of other little ‘problems’. They all worked themselves out (yes Chris, you were right, it will ‘all be fine’).
If you still want to marry each other after planning a wedding, you know you are going to be OK!
BUDGET | We had a budget. We went over it. It was worth it.
THE VENUE | The Chainstore, Trinity Buoy Wharf was the first venue we chose to visit after our mammoth googling sessions. We loved it. But you can’t just book the first place you see can you? Although we did look at a few other venues, some of which were really lovely, it turns out that yes, you can just book your ‘first love’ venue. It was a no-brainer when we went back for a second look, it had everything we wanted, white washed bricks, beamed ceilings, plenty of space, a wedding licence and a mirror ball! We snapped up one of the only remaining weekends available and that was that, we knew where and when we were getting married.
Sarah, the venue manager, was brilliant; really chilled out but pragmatic, finding solutions for all our flights of fancy and totally reassuring us when we worried. Seriously, she was awesome; everyone should plan an event at Trinity Buoy Wharf, just to hang out with Sarah!
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | My Dress was a beautiful San Patrick gown bought at Butterfly Bridal in Bicester, Oxfordshire, where I also got my veil. My shoes were custom made by Harriet Wilde. I’m not big jewellery wearer so I kept it simple with a (fake) diamond earring and necklace set from Marks and Spencer and on my right hand I wore my Grandmother’s engagement ring which also contains the diamond from my great grandmothers engagement ring.
FINDING THE DRESS | I tried not to decide exactly what I wanted before trying on any dresses but I did have a few requirements; it had to be lacy, not be strapless and not have a big poufy skirt. Shopping for a wedding dress is strange. The first time you put one of those dresses on it all feels very REAL, but you also feel like a princess, at least I did! My mum had planned a day shopping in Oxfordshire, where I grew up, which we would follow with a day in London if it was needed. By the time we got to the final appointment, we’d been to three shops (one lovely just didn’t have THE dress, two not so great!) and we were all a little sick of dresses! Luckily, the collection at Butterfly Bridal was fantastic. In the last few shops we’d really struggled to find much to try on, but here I was pulling nearly everything off the rack. I think my dress was about the fourth I tried on. I just knew it was the one. I didn’t want to take it off. Ever. Thank goodness it was in the sale! The service Rachel and her team provided over the next few months of fittings for the dress was impeccable.
GROOM’S ATTIRE | I wanted a cane, a top hat and tails… oh and a monocle. Alice said no, so we compromised with a waistcoat and a pocket watch.
I was always going to go with something a little Victorian in style, I like that fitted, clean look. That is part of the reason why I decided to buy the suits as opposed to hire them. And also, if there is a time to get a suit tailor made, it’s your wedding.
So, off I went to the tailors with my ‘best-men’, my dad and my dad-in-law, we got suits made. They looked great. End of!
THE READINGS & MUSIC | We didn’t really have any poems or literature in mind for readings so we just decided to go without. Better to have nothing than have something just for the sake of it.
Music however, was very important indeed. The RSVP’s on our invitations included an option to request a favourite song to hear on the day. That way everybody would hear something that they would like.
Using this information, and a vast library of our own music, Chris put together a playlist for the whole day. There was music playing from the end of the ceremony until the last dance, it ended up being about 12 hours long! Not having a DJ, and plugging an iPod into a sound-system led to the best night of dancing we have ever had, and probably will have for quite some time.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | I had a pretty clear idea what I wanted for the bridesmaids. Then I couldn’t find it. Anywhere! In the end we went with custom made dresses from a hop on Etsy (which doesn’t seem to be trading anymore) and they were great. They came in under budget and were almost exactly the style I had envisaged and (after ordering dozens of swatches) the perfect colour to fit in with our colour scheme. My Bridesmaids looked absolutely beautiful in them and we even managed to find ties for the lads that matched perfectly!
THE FLOWERS | We are lucky enough to have a close friend, Natasha, who is an extremely talented florist. The day we got engaged she offered to do our wedding. I don’t know much about flowers so we talked about colours and what I really didn’t want and then she and I had a blast at the flower market picking everything out two days before the wedding. That lady has magic in her fingers. I have no idea how she turned a van full of plants in such breath taking arrangements. What she created was so much better than anything we could have imagined.
THE CAKE | We like cake, sure. Who doesn’t? But you know what we like better?
We decided to dispense with the cake and replace it with a stack of wheels of cheese. This also doubled as our evening buffet. Once we had cut the cheese (-cake) accompanying crackers and chutneys were brought out. When we asked the caterers at the end if there was any left for us to take home the answer was a very definite ‘no’. Apparently, in their experience, the couple tends to end up with about half to take back with them. Our friends had cleared the lot! In fact, the caterers had not anticipated this at all and run out of accompaniments. By the end of the night people were eating cheese with the remainders of the bread from the staff sandwiches.
Cheese, it turns out, was a very fine choice.
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | As you can see, our photographer was nothing short of fantastic. We found Pat through a blog. He was just starting out as a wedding photographer, so he was a bit of a risk I guess. Best risk ever!
Aside from the photography aspect, which speaks for itself, Pat was everything we could have asked for.
He is relaxed, instantly puts you at ease, and, perhaps this sounds odd, but he is so interested! Interested in people, in what he is capturing, just so in love with his job. Every so often you would hear a little chuckle of glee as he had just caught an unexpected gem. He sees beauty in all people and his work is a perfect reflection of that.
He went the extra mile for us, and we have undoubtedly found a friend. It was important to us that he was included in the merriment of the day, and not just there to work. The way he was chatting away to our guests over dinner, you’d think we’d known him for years.
We were also lucky enough to have a friend of ours record our day on video. Ellie had just started her wedding video business and very generously offered us a video as her wedding gift to us. We cannot thank her enough. We really didn’t have space in the budget for a videographer but I’m so pleased we had Ellie there. She did an incredible job capturing the feeling of our day and we will treasure the film she put together for us forever. You can see it here https://vimeo.com/103122596
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | We did all of the decoration ourselves (‘ourselves’ meaning us and about 20 other friends/family members). We both enjoy arts and crafts and had a lot of fun designing and making those extra special touches. The 100m of bunting was a particularly epic job, but it was so worth it as the bunting really pulled the décor together.
THE HONEYMOON | A fancy, exotic honeymoon wasn’t a priority for us. We decided to see where we were financially after the wedding and book what we could afford last minute. We had a wonderful week in Italy, not too far from Venice, during which we mostly lay in the sun, read and ate cheese. It was the first time we had been on holiday just the two of us, so we could have gone anywhere and it would have been special.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | Of course, picking out moments is nearly impossible; we wouldn’t have changed a thing, the whole day was a joy from beginning to end!
However, there was a moment about half way through the night…
There is no other feeling like looking around the room and thinking ‘wow, this is all for us.’ You pick out your family; your mum, your dad, your siblings, your grandparents, cousins, and then you pan round and see all the people that you have picked up along the way; friends you have known since before you could walk, lifetime companions who you learnt to be adults with at university, people from all walks of life that you have chosen to be there. A couple of your best friends are having a Michael Jackson dance off whilst being cheered along by your Mum, there are delighted children running around in bits of fancy dress from the photo booth, who are in turn being chased by the best man in a Tina Turner wig, the sun is out, everybody looks beautiful and there is not a sad face to be seen. You look over the patchwork of people you have built around you, many of these people have never even met, but they are having the time of their lives in each other’s company… because of you. It’s pretty incredible.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | It’s your way or no way. This is YOUR day, not your mum’s, not your great uncle Bert’s, YOURS. Do what makes you both happy and nothing else.
It will cost more than you thought. That’s OK, you’re only doing it once right?
If, at the end of the day, you are married to the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, then your wedding was a success. All the rest of it is lovely and not unimportant BUT when it all feels like it’s too much and you’re arguing about napkins and species of rose, stop it, remember why you’re doing all this. If you lose sight of that, none of the rest of it matters anyway.
Make time for your new spouse on your wedding day. You will spend all of the day talking to people you aren’t married to unless you make an extra effort to seek each other out. Other people are great and all but surely you want to spend at least some of the best day of your life with the best person in your life!?
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Venue | Trinity Buoy Wharf
Caterers | Boulevard Events
Wine | Majestic
Photographer | Pat Kelman Photography
Video | Love Bird Films
Brides Dress | Butterfly Bridal Boutique
Brides Shoes | Harriet Wilde
Bridesmaids dresses | Etsy
Groom and Groomsmen suits | King and Allen
Florist | Natasha McClure at Jamie Aston
Make-up | My lovely bridesmaid Blaire Harthern can be contacted about make-up bookings at [email protected]
Taxis | Carrot Cars
Local accommodation | Fraser Place
Cheesemonger | Hamish Johnston
Wow what a day.
Thanks so much to Alice and Chris for sharing their utterly wonderful wedding celebrations with us xo Lou