This sweet seaside celebration gave me all the feels.
Athena and Constantinos were married on September 17th 2016 in an intimate town hall ceremony in Brighton, followed by a personal and cosy meal around a single table. They wanted their wedding to have classic vibes with a party feel. Think great food, brilliant music and a weekend of festivities.
I so love the florals here today, Athena’s bouquet was just exquisite. It had a wildflower quality, complete with daisies, roses, berries, thistles and billy balls to name a few. She also wore flowers in her hair. I totally fell for Athena’s pale pink ruffled strapless dress, which she commissioned via Etsy. She looked utterly beautiful. Constantinos opted for a blue Hugo Boss suit and pale pink tie, which coordinated just perfectly with Athena’s outfit. You’re going to love this set of gorgeous images.
Thanks so much to Devlin Photos for sharing these sensational shots.
THE PROPOSAL | It was June 10th, my birthday and we were in Southern Europe. Constantinos went to play basketball whilst I had received an impromptu invitation for a glass of wine in a friend’s garden. He had arranged to take me out for dinner however, swept up in the warmth of the evening I lost track of time and returned quite late, foiling his plans. In his frustration he took the dog for a walk, returned and took a shower. I had no idea what the fuss was about until we ended up in the bedroom with him in his bathrobe, kneeling on the dog bed, offering me a little box with the most exquisite ring inside.
THE VISION | The vision crystalized in my mind twenty years ago: An English country wedding. Throughout, we sought to remain true to our chosen location, East Sussex. It would have classical undertones and be designed more as a party than traditional nuptials. The itineraries specified there would be an Agatha Christie theme, which we left open to interpretation. As many guests lived out of town and abroad the intention was to provide extended celebrations, which included a welcome party on Friday, before the Saturday wedding and ending with the Fiery Foods Festival on Sunday.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | Layered as an onion; for every selection made an accompanying selection had to be made, loads of bits and parts woven together between vendors and contractors to create a whole. I had read an article by a wedding planner describing inevitable last minute malfunctions and wanted to avoid those at all costs, as such I was especially detail oriented. The process seemed like an abundance of work going in fortunately, at the time I wasn’t overly busy and could concentrate on planning. In hindsight I realised I hadn’t been an active participant in anything but the ceremony itself, as I was steadily managing. It was a tremendous experience and lead to my decision to start wedding planning, after several guests propositioned me; If I couldn’t have another wedding I would continue to generate that energy for others.
BUDGET | This is where I learned an indispensable lesson from mum on being a gracious hostess. She imparted the importance of a once in a lifetime event, which we may have otherwise lost sight of in the midst of decision making madness.
THE VENUE | We chose Brighton Town Hall, which would provide the historical references relevant to the theme. I wanted to rent a house with gardens for the welcome party and large enough for the reception and also to house out of town guests. It had to be accessible for those staying in Brighton which ruled out rural locations. Ultimately we chose Lewes, if not for it’s charm alone.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES |The dress became the paragon of the wedding, with its debutante overtones. In the weeks leading up to the wedding whilst in Athens we passed a jeweller window displaying what we both thought were the most exquisite turquoise studs embossed in gold. Constantinos later surprised me with them and I was compelled to pair them with my dress.
I chose a floral headpiece, which added to the fairy-princess element of my light pink chiffon dress, deciding against real flowers only because I wanted to keep my crown till Doomsday.
It bears mentioning we spent a considerable amount of time picking comfortable shoes so that our feet didn’t hamper our programme.
FINDING THE DRESS | We passed a vintage wedding shop one day where I stumbled upon my dream dress by chance. I didn’t buy it in that moment and when I finally called the shop to reserve it, it had sold and I was crestfallen. Everyone encouraged me to choose something else but I was dogged in my resolution to be in that dress. After some research and inquiring emails I discovered dressmakers on Etsy who said they could recreate it and they did just that.
GROOM’S ATTIRE | We wanted a suit that could be worn on future occasions and both agreed on blue. This would be a good place to mention we often have parallel tastes so decision making of this sort is often seamless between us. We tried local tailors but ran into some sizing difficulties as Constantinos is 6’4 and in many cases suits are sold as a pair and not available in individual parts. He was drawn to Hugo Boss for the suit and Reiss for the light pink tie I requested of his best man.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | I was walking through the Pavilion Gardens one night when I heard a chorus floating through the air. Navigating my way to the sound I discovered a crowd of people surrounding a silvery voice playing the guitar. For the next two hours I sat alone on a bench realizing I had happened upon the most extraordinary occasion and understood that this was precisely what I wanted our guests to experience and then booked Jem almost on the spot.
A couple of weeks later we had our first exposure to Nick Carling Dj’ing at the Swann in Lewes and, after a night of dancing to afro-disco house and soul, both agreed he was essential and so Nick played the welcome party. He made a podcast of his playlist that night and dedicated his show on 1BrightonFM to us.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | My friends Cathy and Julia served as bridesmaids. I spent my last night as a single lady with them and it was an auspicious start to the day as I was treated to home made breakfast whilst the hair and make up artist transformed me.
Constantinos chose his friend Mike, who, with his lovely wife Carol, tied up loose ends and provided insurmountable morale for us all.
THE FLOWERS | We combined seasonal, local flowers with wildflowers and plants, for a muted colour scheme with a splash of pastel. We then brought them on our honeymoon, where a friend requested a bouquet for her late husbands grave. It was deeply fulfilling to think the love from our marriage transferred onto theirs.
THE CAKE | Since vegan cakes are equally delicious and we had vegans at the wedding, we chose Constantinos favourite, vegan beetroot with coconut cream topped with berries and flowers. It blended right into the setting.
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | Directly following the ceremony, with photographer, bridesmaid and two dogs in tow, we set off location scouting along the Downs whilst sending our guests on a carefully planned treasure hunt through Brighton. Given a second chance I would have practised faces in advance, so I didn’t look so cold outdoors in my strapless wedding dress.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | When the guests arrived for cocktail hour The Mellow Zebra was playing piano to welcome them. We arranged for everyone to be seated at one long table, with me and Constatinos at either helm and intermingled the seating arrangements so that couples were separated and those who had never met, were seated beside one another. It was a collective occasion where everyone was a participant and not a spectator and I wanted the table to be filled with conversation and intimacy. Each guests received a package of local handmade soap and personalised seed packages. It was my mum’s idea to scatter plantable seed paper hearts playfully on the table.
THE HONEYMOON | Having that time off work was precious and we approached the honeymoon much like the wedding, vigorously. We spent most of our time in the Midlands exploring bucolic villages and their pubs. The pinnacle was a weekend in London with our friend Carlos. After a night of revelry in Notting Hill we woke up to an unseasonably warm Saturday in September on Portobello Road and eventually walked our way through several London neighbourhoods back to the car.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | I was profoundly grateful to have Jem Tyler sing Ed Sheeran’s “Photograph”. It signified the culmination of our Big Day: We had triumphed.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Speaking for us, we used the opportunity to create the ideal day, without feeling hemmed in by conventions. The intent was to design an indelible event and not a fleeting memory.
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photography | Devlin Photos
Live Music | Singer & Guitar Player Jem Tyler, ([email protected])
DJ | Nick Carling
Our Piano Playing Zebra | Vadim Petrov
Flowers | Gunns Florist
Catering | Sussex Chef Caterers
Dress & Accessories | Etsy
Rings | Julian Stephens
Hair & Makeup | Taelor Joste
Vintage Wedding Favours, Gifts, Décor, Cards & Stationery | Wedding in a Teacup
Just so special.
Thanks so much to Athena and Constantinos for sharing their amazing wedding story with us xo Lou