A Simple + Beautiful Informal Wedding

simple london wedding

Claire and Ben were married in May at the town hall in Ealing followed by a reception at Drayton Court hotel in West Ealing. They wanted their wedding to be fun, beautiful, informal and simple.

Their sweet baby girl was a big part of their day, with her taking part in the wedding ceremony at the top of the aisle. They let their family create the pretty and romantic reception room, so it was a complete surprise to them. But they did choose their beautiful wedding attire, and Claire crafted the pretty bouquets herself.

Oh i do love this gorgeous, love filled day.

Thanks so much to the fabulous Fiona Kelly Photography for sharing her images today.

brooch bouquet

Names…. Ben and Claire

Wedding Date…. 18th May 2012

The Proposal…. Ben proposed on Christmas day in front of the whole family with a gorgeous ring that he’d hidden on the tree in a bauble

The Vision for the day…. The Vision for the day was all about having fun and making everything simple and beautiful and informal. I wanted a vintage theme.  Pearls, lace, roses, gold and champagne.

Budget…. I tried to keep it to 5k but it ended up coming in at more like 8 or 9k

The Venue… We met and lived together in Ealing for years and I wanted to get married in the beautiful town hall there and luckily the whole of the exterior was renovated and completed the week of the wedding, almost like it was done especially for us. I love the stair case in the town hall and imagined the photos and feeling like a princess walking up to the room in my beautiful dress.  The Nelson room in which we made our vows was beautiful, a lovely big fireplace and grand looking lights.  It didn’t really need decorating it just looked lovely. We held our reception at the Drayton Court hotel in West Ealing.  We wanted our party held there because this was where we had our first date.  We wanted to relive that fun with all our family and friends. The hotel is themed on old films from Ealing Studios and the whole place fitted the theme perfectly.

Finding the dress…. I took a while to get into the dress finding mood because I hadn’t long had my baby and I wanted to be back to a respectable size.  As I am only 5 foot 1 I was really scared about the dresses because I assumed I would look like a kid trying on her mums clothes!  I was actually really shocked when I finally started trying on and realised that this wasn’t the case at all. I had in mind that I wanted a dress by designer Benjamin Roberts – hes a designer from Wales and all the gowns I found of his were stunning.  Then I found THE ONE and it was half price in a closing down sale at Bridal Belles in Ruislip. If it hadn’t been for my lovely bridesmaid Lisa I’d never have found a dress… she came along to all the shops and fittings and held my little baby (screaming fits and all) so that I could find that perfect dress.

My shoes were by a designer called Benjamin Adams and although they cost an absolute fortune I loved them.  They are champagne coloured and completely covered in Swarovski crystal and I felt like Cinderella when I wore them.

Groom’s attire… Ben wore a Hugo Boss Suit and Shoes.  He always wanted a tailored suit and wanted one that he could wear again and again, not just for the wedding.  He was completely against the whole matching suits and cravat idea that is in vogue these days and he wanted everyone to turn up dressed as THEMSELVES – we didn’t want a fancy dress wedding where everyone felt uncomfortable.

The Readings + Music…. We walked down the aisle to a piano version of Halo by Beyonce and we signed the register to “with you I’m born again” and Lady in my Life by Michael Jackson. We left the town hall to “So high” by John Legend

Beautiful bridesmaids….. My gorgeous bridesmaids were Lisa, Kelly and Bonnie and My Beautiful little daughter Ella who was almost one at the time was my flower girl.  Bonnie’s little boy Elliot was my Paige boy and they all looked GORGEOUS. The girls wore matching teal dresses from Coast.  I ended up getting them from an ebay seller as the teal isn’t sold any more in the stores only the black… I had them adjusted and they all looked wonderful.

The Flowers… As we were on a budget I opted to make my own artificial flower arrangements (not that I’d ever tried anything like that before). Instead of a standard bouquet I made myself a vintage brooch bouquet. I gathered together brooches from my nana’s old collections and I scoured charity shops and ebay and found some really beautiful old brooches.  I decided not to stick with a colour theme with mine and I was really pleased with the result.  I’d love to make more now. I made pomanders for the bridesmaids with small foam roses and I took their favourite colours and used them as accent colours so that they would have something they liked to keep as a memory  of the day forever. Ella being so small had a little wand  with ribbons hanging off, and I made her pomander to keep so that she knows she did have one.

The Cake We opted for a plain and simple three tiered cake from M&S – it was white with really pretty roses down the front.  It was made of chocolate and was yummy!  I had always said that I would never do the posing for the photos cake cutting and we stuck to that… we started cutting into it and then started munching it and Ella got stuck in and had chocolate everywhere.

Your Photographer…. Our photographer was Fiona Kelly.  Ben found her website and we thought she was so amazing that we’d never be able to afford her but we met her and knew instantly she was right for us.  She knew exactly what we wanted and where we were coming from. Nothing was too much trouble for Fiona and she really helped make the day special.  The pictures we have are stunning and I’m so happy with what she did.

The Details + Decor…. The details and décor was all organised by my mother in law and Bens aunty sue.  Along with their sister Steph and the girls Nicky, Fiona and Bernie they managed to create a really fantastic reception.  The detail was beyond all expectations.  They had kept it all a huge secret and the first we were allowed to see of it was upon entering the reception after the wedding.  Wow.  Stunning.  We had a candy bar and everything.  Somehow without me barking orders at anyone they managed to perfectly capture the theme and the atmosphere that we wanted for our special day.

The Honeymoon…. My dad paid for our honeymoon as a wedding present.  We love a little town in Greece called Afitos and had wanted to go there to get married originally but instead we went there with our little princess for a week after the big day and had a wonderful relaxing time.

Memorable moments… The whole day was amazing.  And I’m glad we weren’t taking it too seriously – we got drunk our friends got drunk we danced we sang… Ben DJ’d and I Sang to him. My memory of the day is non stop smiling.

Advice for other couples… Don’t think you will stick to your budget it just doesn’t happen. My other piece of advice is to enjoy every second of the day and not to let it slip by worrying about tiny details.


What a gorgeous little family they are :-) Thanks so much to Claire and Ben for sharing their wedding with us today XOXO Lou

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