Hold on to your seats folks, you are going to fall for this divine summery wedding day in the city, filled with vintage touches and oodles of colour.
WWW readers Paul and Connie were wed on the 9th July 2016 at The ICA London, which they chose thanks to its light and grand space plus spectacular views over the city. They focused on crafting a hand made celebration with hand stitched elements such as the napkins and hand rolled wildflower seed bombs for the favours. They also added a touch of vintage in the attire and styling. Connie looked so stunning in not one but two beautiful vintage gowns. The first was a lace 1950s American dress and vintage lace veil, the second a shorter 50s dress perfect for twirling the night away on the dancefloor. Connie’s garter was once worn by both her Nana and her Mum, isn’t that a lovely touch?
I so love her vibrant, seasonal and colourful bouquet too. I mean just look at the organic and wild shape and the unusual stems used. WOW. Wild style flowers were used in the centrepieces too and were placed in bottles alongside knitted flowers. The cake really stole the show with it’s textural rainbow ruffles, plus the favours sound incredible.
Paul and the boys looked really dapper in their custom made suits. With Paul standing out in a bright blue suit and yellow tie teamed with knitted sunflower buttonhole. There are heaps of ideas and a lot of love here, not to mention sensational photography by Kat Hill, thanks Kat.
THE PROPOSAL | Paul: I proposed to Connie while we completing a four day three night hike of the Inca trail in Peru. We arrived at the Sun Gate overlooking Machu Picchu and I knew there would be no better time to propose to the love of my life. This was a spontaneous act, so after borrowed a ring from a friend, I got down on one knee to ask the biggest question of my life. She said yes.
THE VISION | Connie: We decided not to set out with a theme, and so the feel of the day grew really organically around us and became colourful, homemade and vintage with just a hint of travel.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | Connie: Was so much fun. We had a year and half, and so tried to tick at least a couple of things off the list every month. I had the spreadsheet to rule all spreadsheets by the time W-Day came around.
THE VENUE | Connie: We got ready at the Grosvenor Hotel next to Victoria Station. The room the girls and I had was called the “Cora Pearl” after a famous courtesan and was decorated accordingly! I hid the fluffy pillows under the bed (shudder) but the waterfall bath, mirrors and huge sash windows were so indulgent and luxurious we couldn’t resist.
We knew that we wanted to get married and celebrate in the same place, just so that the whole day could run smoothly, and so that our oldest and youngest guests would be comfortable throughout. We also wanted somewhere that was exclusively ours. I think we knew as soon as we arrived that the ICA was perfect for us. The high ceilings and huge sash windows make it feel so light and grand, but the rooms aren’t cavernously big and the simple decoration meant that we could make it as busy and informal as we liked. The location couldn’t be more “London” with views over St James’ Park, you can see the London Eye and the Houses of Parliament from the balconies. The team there were great, patient with our every query and super friendly and efficient on the day.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | Day time dress: vintage North American 50s dress from Elizabeth Avey.
Veil: vintage lace from House of Vintage Bride.
Dancing dress: vintage 50s dress from House of Vintage Bride.
Garter: my Nana’s, and her Mum’s before her.
Earrings, necklace and shoe clips: Etsy.
Shoes: Jenny Packham and Dune.
Clutch: Coco Barclay, with a brooch from Elizabeth Avey sewn on.
Shawl: by my amazingly talented Mum (and, shame on me, it was far too hot to wear it).
Rings: Diamond House.
Make up: Kylie McMichael.
Hair: Crystal Keeney.
FINDING THE DRESS | Connie: From the very beginning I wanted a vintage dress. I love the mysterious history that garments come with, and I always seem to find the most flattering fit in vintage clothes. I knew that I wanted two dresses, because what better opportunity to have an outfit change than at your wedding? Buying vintage is also great value, so two dresses was achievable. I visited two shops in one day, and bought a dress in each shop! First up was the House of Vintage Bride in Shoreditch where I picked up the perfect swishy dress for dancing. Then Elizabeth Avey in Greenwich where I had an amazing time with Lizzie trying on dresses from lots of different periods, but I knew this was the one when I saw it in the mirror. Satish from Elite Alterations did an amazing job making sure that they both fit me like a glove.
GROOM’S ATTIRE | Paul: I didn’t like the idea of renting and wanted a suit that I could wear for the wedding and also for special occasions. I decided that it would be amazing to get a bespoke suit, not just for me but and also for the Groomsmen. I only had a humble budget so after looking at the options I found a company called ‘A Suit That Fits’. At a fraction of the normal cost to buy a tailored garment we were able to meet with an advisor, design our individual suits online and after a couple of fittings all walk away with our chosen suits. I wanted a blue theme but in order to stand out I decided on electric blue whereas the groomsmen went for sky blue. We all made our suits individual by choosing our own style of suit as well as different coloured linings but this was all in keeping with a similar theme. ‘A Suit That Fits’ did an amazing job and I now have a suit that will bring back all those lovely memories every time I wear it.
THE MUSIC | Connie: I walked down the aisle to Toothpaste Kisses by the Maccabees, we signed the register to Hooked on a Feeling by Blue Swede and Come And Get Your Love by Redbone, then we walked back down the aisle to The Power of Love by Huey Lewis & The News (our first nod to Back to the Future). I had a great time compiling an alternative love songs playlist on Spotify for the wedding breakfast. Our friend Adam plays in a party band called The T Set, and the frontman Martin serenaded us with his acoustic guitar while we drank bubbles in the garden. The T Set played an incredible set in the evening, our guests absolutely loved them, and they included a special version of “Connie” (to the tune of Valerie) which I don’t think I’ll ever forget! Our first dance was to Earth Angel followed by Johnny B. Goode (Back to the Future, see?) which they learnt especially for us; it had everybody dancing – no awkward dragging your partner onto the dancefloor! Two of our DJ friends, Mus and Duncan played a set each at the end of the night which went down a treat.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | Connie: Philly, Antonia, Kat and Elena wore the loveliest handmade dresses by Ami-Elisah Bridal. The girls all chose just how they wanted the bodices, the fabric that we bought from Sew Over It and Liberty, and their own shoes. Ami did an amazing job creating the patterns and fitting the dresses to the girls. Our flower girl Chloe wore a dress from Monsoon which fit in perfectly with the Bridesmaids’ floral prints.
THE FLOWERS | Connie: Toria of Flowers from the Plot grows all her own flowers in and around her home in Somerset. Our only wish was to include some sunflowers and Toria found us some really beautiful varieties that would be in flower when we wanted them, even sending me photo updates of them when they were just little sproutlings. Toria was so full of ideas, including the hanging frames filled with pretty blooms above the fireplace, and we had no qualms giving her free reign to decorate the space. We bought the various bottles and pots that held the posies on the tables while out “antiquing”. I was blown away by the bouquets when they arrived, they were such a riot of colour. Mine came on minimoon with us, I couldn’t bear to let it go! My mum made scores of knitted flowers which interspersed the posies, and some extra little sunflowers which Toria turned into buttonholes for the boys, they were the perfect personal touch.
THE CAKE | Connie: Toria put us on to Helen, the Bakemonger, after finding her at the Frome Independent Market. Helen makes the most amazing works of edible art, and once we’d made a trip to Frome (the best market we’ve ever been to) to try some for ourselves we were sold. Helen managed to bring together all of our many ideas and themes into a stunning textural fiesta, flavoured with a layer of spiced chai and caramel cake, then lemon cake with berries, and finally a chocolate and cherry cake. Our guests are still talking about it and couldn’t believe it was all edible!
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | Paul: Kat Hill was the photographer at a friend’s wedding and the pictures she took were stunning. This was a very easy choice for us and one of the first things we did was to ensure Kat was available to capture our wedding memories. Kat made herself invisible but still seemed to get everywhere in order to capture our special moments. The way Kat captured our wedding was incredible and we only have to look through the pictures she took to have all of our lovely memories come flooding back. Our engagement shoot before the wedding was a really good way for us to get used to the camera, and learn all Kat’s tips and tricks in advance so that photos on the day were easy and stress free. Not only is Kat an amazing photographer she is also very lovely to work with and set us instantly at ease from the first time we met.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | Connie: I’m a crafter, and I’m willing to try anything, so the details was where I knew I would spend a lot of my time. I sewed the napkin rings with Liberty fabric samples and used the most adorable little Peruvian couple badges from Etsy to hold them together. My good friend Jo and I mixed up and hand rolled the wildflower seed bombs for our favours on a sunny afternoon in June, letting them dry in the sun. With Philly, Kat and Paul’s help I eventually made enough tiny pompoms to fill the P & C letters to go on the table in the hall. The bunting was an old atlas which (and this was a family effort) we cut, hole-punched and threaded (the worst part) for what felt like days.
Our stationery was designed and printed by Zoe Barker, she’s a wonderful artist and I loved her summer poppies print so much I wanted it everywhere – right down to the stickers on our favours and print-outs from the photobooth.
We made sure all the kids had gift bags on their chairs with toys and games in to keep them occupied, including a disposal camera and a treasure hunt.
THE HONEYMOON | Paul: We had a lovely minimoon in Devon straight after the wedding. Then to celebrate our life as a newly married couple we wanted to do something special and decided on an around the world trip in October. We started by spending an amazing week driving around the south of Iceland. We then went to Hawaii (via a night stopover in Seattle) where we spent 3 nights in Oahu and 11 nights in Maui. Our last leg was Japan and we spent three nights in Tokyo before we travelled to Kyoto via Shinkansen train. After two nights in Kyoto we made our way to Osaka and spent 4 nights before heading home. What a trip!
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | Connie: Just before we left the hotel, Crystal was putting the final touches to my hair and Kylie was putting on my red lipstick and keeping me calm while my Dad was standing there holding the door handle like it was a lifeline! Then seeing Paul for the first time, looking so handsome and strong yet as nervous and excited as I felt, and thinking “let’s do this!”. When Kat took Paul and I out to take photos in the magic hour, and I actually got to spend some time with my wonderful new husband and put my arm around him, that was so special.
Paul: Pictures with my Groomsmen at the hotel before making our way to the venue was special. We all looked amazing in our new bespoke suits and there was a confidence that together everything was going to go to plan. Seeing Connie walk down the aisle looking incredible in her wedding dress I felt all my nerves disappear and felt blessed that I was soon to call her my wife. The speeches were perfect. Connie’s father and my two best men did not disappoint, they had our friends and family crying in places and in stitches in others. Photo’s with my wife on The Mall during twilight hours was very special and made us feel like royalty albeit just for a moment. Seeing my mum cry with happiness and pride that her son has married a very special woman.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Two things – 1: Don’t be afraid to ask for help. So many of our wonderful friends and family helped us out with the preparations, it really felt like a team effort. And 2: Acknowledge that your wedding isn’t just for you, embrace the kids and the fussy eaters, but don’t let anyone tell you what you should or shouldn’t do. Stick to your guns and celebrate the way you want to!
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photography | Kat Hill
Day Dress | Elizabeth Avey
Evening Dress | House of Vintage Bride
Photo Booth | King of the Booth
Caterer | Peyton & Byrne
Venue | The ICA London
Hotel | The Grosvenor
Suits | A Suit That Fits
Band | The T Set
Florist | Flowers from the Plot
Cake | The Bakemonger
Stationery | Zoe Barker Design
MUA | Kylie McMichael
Bridesmaids Dresses | Ami Elisah
Rings | Diamond House
Hair | Crystal Keeney
Many thanks to Paul and Connie for sharing all about their brilliant wedding here at WWW xo Lou