WWW readers Louise and Matt are here this fine Monday to share with us their utterly exquisite DIY wedding, which was held at The Brunel Museum in London on the 27th May 2018. Their venue was underground in a really industrial style space, which they really made their own with reams of fairy and festoon lights, it really did look magical.
With a budget of between £7-£8k they set about crafting their celebrations alongside their nearest and dearest. Everything from flowers to the cake and that stunning cape veil were handmade. The results really are extraordinary.
I just adore Louise’s Gemy Maalouf lace gown, she looked just beautiful. Matt meanwhile was suited and booted in Harris Tweed and looked really dapper.
The incredible images today are courtesy of Olivia & Dan Photography and we are just so thankful to be sharing them. The shots on the bank of the Thames are just breathtaking.
For our 6 year anniversary, Matt suggested we go for a walk across Hampstead Heath after lunch where we just happened to stumble across the stunning Hill Garden and Pergola – which was completely deserted. Of course, the whole thing was planned and he proposed among beautiful white pillars, surrounded by wildflowers. Later, he’d organised a dinner in the glass-roofed courtyard of the Wallace Collection, which was also very romantic!
We wanted the wedding to be non-traditional and very personal to us. We wanted an intimate wedding (we only had 45 guests), for it to be a little bit different, and to involve the people closest to us as much as possible throughout the process. Most importantly, we wanted everyone to have a lovely evening!
The Planning Process
We had just over a year to plan. We ranked in order of importance: venue, food & drink, music – and focussed on those things first!
We tried to include people in planning wherever we would – even organising a group trip along the Bermondsey Beer Mile where we asked our friends to rate their favourite beers for us to buy for the wedding.
The Brunel Museum, Rotherhithe – we had full use of the venue, including the museum building, the rooftop garden and the tunnel shaft.
We chose it because it’s local to us and we could immediately see the potential.
It was stunning, but certainly is not a venue for the faint hearted. It was a completely blank canvas and required A LOT of work to prepare it for the wedding (including lots of cleaning on the day!!!).
The Readings & Music
There was already a grand piano in the tunnel shaft – so it seemed a shame not to use it. In one of our more last minute decisions, we hired someone to play for the ceremony – we had Aphex Twin’s ‘Avril 14th’ as I walked down the aisle and Nina Simone’s ‘ My baby just cares for me’ on exit!
Matt carefully crafted all the playlists for the evening meal and between the band’s sets – we still have these saved and I just love listening back to them.
We hired a three piece latin & jazz band for the evening, Boca Brasilia. They were fantastic and certainly had people dancing, but it was such a hot evening I’m ashamed to say I spent most of the evening outside and missed most of their set.
We asked two of my closest friends from school to write and conduct the wedding ceremony.
We went with an extract from Plato’s symposium – a reading which is important to me as it references both opposite and same-sex couples being each other’s perfect halves. The other reading was Edward Monkton’s ‘A Lovely Love story’.
Somewhere between £7-£8k.
I had my heart set on anemones for my bouquet, but unfortunately they were out of season at the time. However, I couldn’t have been happier with my final bouquet – we substituted the anemones for peonies (which, incredibly, were in season!), and paired them with sea holly, wax flowers and lots of foliage. I ordered all the flowers online and my step-mum arranged my bouquet, the bridesmaid’s bouquets, and made the buttonholes a couple of days before the wedding. All the leftover flowers were arranged into vases and old glass medicine bottles, which were dotted around the venue. On the day, I wrapped recycled sari silk ribbon around the stems of the bouquets. And in the final hours before the wedding, my bridesmaids made a mad dash in the car back to the venue to pick up a final tiny little bunch of flowers to add the final touch to my hair!
Your Outfits & Accessories
My dress was a Gemy Maalouf – but from a sample sale and it was two sizes too big! My mum helped me haggle for it and my mother in law did all the alterations. I chose the fabric for the cape veil and had a first stab at shaping it – but mother in law came to the rescue, shaped it properly and attached it to the dress!
My shoes were Irregular choice. I designed my own wedding band and my next door neighbour, who’s a very talented jeweller, made it for me!
The groom’s outfit was the same one he wore to his brother’s wedding (which was exactly one year prior to our wedding). The only thing he had new, was his tie. His mum is a Harris tweed weaver, so she wove the fabric and made the tie herself.
My hair was done by the wonderful Elbie, who is my regular hairdresser, and who I managed to convince to do my wedding hair.
Best man wore his own suit!
All dresses (bridesmaids, flowergirl, and the girls conducting the ceremony) came from ASOS.
Olivia & Dan – we found these guys after looking for photographers whose focus was on taking more candid shots, rather than endless line-ups. They were incredible on the day, and in the lead up to the wedding. Olivia came to the venue with us to check out the venue provided lighting (which was awful!) and gave us some advice on placement of fairy lights etc. and they also went on a reconnaissance mission in advance of the wedding for nearby locations for photos! It was Olivia & Dan who suggested we could go down to the bank of the Thames – which turned out to be absolutely perfect.
The Details & Décor
For the décor, we relied heavily on emphasising the nice features of the venue (and de-emphasising the not so nice features!), and lots and lots of festoon and fairy lights!
We also spent a lot of time thinking about what food we wanted – but after trying the Kurdish food in Nandine (a restaurant quite local to us), we just had to have it! At that point they weren’t really offering catering, but after speaking to them, they agreed to deliver our large order on the day. We had a team of friends of family helping set-up tables and serving the food ‘family-style’, so everyone could share from shared dishes in the centre of the table. Lots of the people at our wedding had never eaten anything nearly as exotic, but everyone was astonished by how delicious it was. The food was definitely a highlight!
4 relaxing days in Istanbul, and 4 days in Cappadocia – spent hiking, and taking the infamous hot air balloon trip over the valleys.
For me, walking into the venue – which I hadn’t seen all set-up, and knowing that my future husband was responsible for making it so beautiful – was breath-taking.
Matt insisted we should write our own vows, which I was a bit nervous about – but I’m so glad we did.
Advice For Other Couples
Try not to obsess over every little detail! And if you’re doing a DIY wedding, be prepared for it to be hard work – in the lead up, on the day, and clearing up the day after!
My incredibly talented sister made both enormous cakes – one coffee and walnut, and the other lemon and poppyseed. In any normal circumstance this would be quite a feat, but she somehow managed all this whilst also taking care of my 8 week old nephew!
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Olivia & Dan Photography
Elbie van Eeden
Wedding Ring (bride)
Harris Tweed Tie (& dress alterations)
Harris Tweed – Adabrock Weaving Company
Louise and Matt, thank you both so very much for sharing your epic wedding here with us today xo Lou