A Vintage Travel Feel Wedding Aboard the HQS Wellington

vintage travel wedding

Samantha and Ben were married in September at St. Bartholomew the Great church, Farringdon, followed by a reception at HQS Wellington ship near Temple. WOW!! They wanted their wedding to have a vintage travel theme. With airmail colours and airmail stationery, suitcases, luggage tags, vintage postcards and vintage books, which looked just amazing.

Samantha wore a beautiful custom made dress with Melissa shoes, while Ben went for a traditional grey morning suit, they looked gorgeous. My favourite things about this wedding? The pretty and bold blue flowers and that incredible cake table, just you wait and see :-)

Thanks so much to the wonderful Viva Photography for sharing his images with us today.


iris bouquet flowers weddingvintage travel wedding cake decor

Names…. Samantha and Ben

Wedding Date…. 22/09/12

The Proposal…. St Michael’s Mount, Cornwall

The Vision for the day…. A London wedding with a travel vintage feel

The Planning process….  We got engaged on the 28/09/11. I always wanted an autumn wedding and Ben summer so we agreed on September and had a year almost to the day to plan. Ben always knew that I wanted a London wedding and we both agreed that we didn’t want to have our reception in a hotel, so for about 3 weekends we went on our bikes searching the town to find anywhere that we thought looked and felt like London. Which is how we stumbled across the Livery company and the agency which we used called ‘Its an agency’ We initially were going to go for another venue but after seeing the ship for a second time you couldn’t deny that it truly was representing a London wedding, the view is breath taking and we were sold.

Budget…. We were very blessed to have help from both Ben’s parents and my mum so it wasn’t as much of an outlay as we had thought.

The Venue… St. Bartholomew the Great church, Farringdon, then a short walk with a map and information to HQS Wellington ship near Temple.

Dress + Accessories….. My dress was made for me in Swansea, my hometown; by an amazing lady Catherine Williams at Posh Frock Couture (http://www.poshfrockscouture.co.uk) I designed it myself after trying on a lot of different dresses. I didn’t wear any jewellery on my arms but on the wedding day Ben had left me a gift of a pearl bracelet, so gorgeous! I bought my gorgeous hairpiece from a shop down on Chiltern street, London the week of the wedding! I knew I wanted to wear something in my hair but hadn’t found the right style and as soon as I saw it I knew it was perfect! I saw an image for my hair in the very first magazine I bought and never strayed from it. I loved my hair and would have it every day if I could!

Finding the dress…. I tried on A LOT of dresses and was always keen to have a bigger dress, although there was a point when my bridesmaid Clarissa told me that I was one step away from big fat gypsy wedding dress!! I knew then that I had made the right choice for a bridesmaid!! As I work in the fashion industry I knew that it would be very hard for me to be happy with one dress and not make any changes, which is why I went to Catherine. I was able to draw my own dress mixing and matching all the great things I had tried on to make my very own dress. I love it!!

Groom’s attire… Ben always said from the beginning that he wanted a grey mourning suit so that’s what him and his boys had. Ben had a ivory waistcoat and cravat.  His boys had navy waistcoat, cravat and hanky, to keep the colour theme.

The Readings & Music….We had two readings so we both chose someone close to us. I had a family friend from Australia, Norrie Pate and Ben chose his old housemate Rosie Solomon, who he was living with when we started dating and is a very close friend of ours.

We had three hymns. As I grew up in wales and Ben in English we wanted to reflect this within the service so we had Jerusalem, Guide me o thou great redeemer (bread of heaven) and Love Devine, which was my Nan-nan’s favourite hymn, she passed away 6 years ago.

As we were signing the register my brother’s best friend, Nick Dwyer who is a professional opera signer and was in La Boheme in Soho theatre last year, sang 3 songs for us. Ava Maria with the organist, and then halleluiah and a welsh love song called Gwenith Gwyn with his electric guitar. It was an amazing contract between the gorgeous church that was built in 1123 and the modern sound of the electric guitar, amazing! It sounded so amazing that after signing the register I asked to open the door so we could hear him!

Beautiful bridesmaids….. I had 4 girls, my two best friends Clarissa, who I have known from school and also lives in London and Lisa, who I met at uni and who I lived with for the 3 years and continued to live with when in London, until she moved to Dubai. My little sister Shae, who lives in Australia and Ben’s sister Sarah. We also had two flowers girls, Florence, age 3, who is Ben’s niece and Jessica, age 9, who is Ben’s goddaughter.

The Flowers… We had an amazing lady called Samantha Davis. She was recommended to us and as soon as my mum and I met her we clicked, her name is Samantha and she has welsh heritage – perfect! I went to her with lots of ideas and she was very honest and told me I had too much going on and needed to cut it back and make it simple! My mum laughed as she had been telling me that for ages but I needed someone outside of the family to tell me, from then on we knew she was going to be our lady!

The Cake…We really didn’t want a traditional cake. Ben doesn’t like fruitcake and I didn’t mind. We were very lucky that my best friend, Lisa’s mum Charlotte, offered to make it for us. We had seen some images on the Internet that we quite liked from tea parties and showed them to charlotte. We asked to have a traditional sponge cake with fresh strawberries and cream. As our theme was travel I asked for the cake to be had it positioned on an old suitcase and for there to be some china positioned on the table to keep the theme going from the wedding breakfast. I had also seen an article about having photographs of old family weddings dotted around, so these were also positioned on the table. To say she did an amazing job is an understatement. It looked and tasted amazing!

Your Photographer….Viva Wedding Photography!!!! I was searching high and low for a photographer that did the traditional images but also had a quirky edge to them. I stumbled across Adam and instantly liked his relaxed, informal, quirky style. It was then I had to show Ben who has dismissed quite a few of the choices, but as soon as he saw Adams work he loved it!

The Details & Decor….Like all brides I could ramble on forever, so sorry that I have rambled below and there is too much information….

Once we had chosen to go with the ship it almost steered us in the direction of a vintage travel theme, pardon the pun! When I lived in Australia as a little girl my nan-nan always wrote to us with the aerogramme letters and it has always stayed with me. I had always said that I wanted my girls to be in navy, so this tied in very well with the aerogramme colours, and so when sending out the save the date’s we used this red, white and navy stripe as the boarder of the envelope. To start the luggage theme we decided to used a manila tag or luggage tag to send the details on and Ben had a great idea of stamps and stamping the information onto the luggage tag.  So we ordered our own stamp on the Internet with the critical information on it and stamped away! This started the way for the rest of the stationary. We did all the stationary ourselves, as we are both creative, which was time consuming but well worth it as it gave a very strong theme throughout the wedding.

I love vintage things, I love that they have history and a story behind them. As we were thinking of travel it made sense to have suitcases, books and postcards involved. We live close to Spitalfields market and on a Thursday there is a vintage fair, which I walk through on my way to work, so I started to take more of an interest in what people were selling and that’s where the china idea came from, I also have family in Stoke-on–trent, so it was nice to touch on that as well. I started to collect bits and bobs, a few old books, some cute cups and saucers, some old postcards with messages on the back ready to go and see the florist, Sam.

Once Mum and I saw Sam the florist and she cut down all my bits and bobs the theme for the tables we set. We had two types of table decorations, one would be china with old books and the other would be silver, as we had silver candelabras provided at the venue, and postcards. Sam the florist was then adding the flowers into the china or silver for the tables. We also used old suitcases where possible for our cards, for the table pan and for decoration around the ship.

I always find when at weddings that the part after the service and before the wedding breakfast is when people tend to mill around and drink a little too much which we really didn’t want. My uni friends own a fete company, The Original Fete Co, and as our wedding gift they gave us a wedding fete! It was excellent! There was squash the squid, head through a hole, fish for sharks and many more. It was great; people mixed together and chatted while we were having our photos.

For our favours to our guests I wanted to find a gift that people would like, that represented us and that wouldn’t be left behind. Ben LOVES socks, the longer the better! So this was a perfect gift for the boys, we gave each male guest a pair of extra long stripped red, white and navy socks, not one pair of socks were left behind! Adam did a great shot of ben with his socks and my Vivienne shoes! Keeping with the welsh theme we gave the girls a mini welsh love spoon that was engraved with our date and our initials. I hand stuck a magnet on the back of everyone so that they could be used and to my surprise none we left either!

The Honeymoon….We went all out and went to South Africa for 3 weeks. It was amazing; we did a safari for 4 nights and then hired a car and drove down the garden route until ending at Cape Town for 4 nights. What an amazing country. We did some great walks up to gorgeous waterfalls, in a place called Wilderness. We travelled to Hermanus and did whale watching, we were actually in the middle of the whale season so could see them from the shore! The food and wine in Stellenbosh was outstanding and then ended in Cape Town. What an incredible 3 weeks.

Memorable moments… The feeling when my mum and I were being driven to the church, down Brick lane, up Old street and past Barbican with people on the street yelling and wishing us good luck and beeping their horns, and just feeling extremely happy and so so so excited to see Ben. It was the most incredible feeling, even thinking about that now makes me smile. I have never felt so happy.

Advice for other couples…My mum has always told me to go with your gut feeling. I changed my mind quite a few times and shopped around only to go back to what we had originally looked at. Trust your gut feeling, as I could have saved us a lot of time and effort.

Credit where credit is due…






I am in the process of starting up a hiring company for the china, suitcases etc that we used for our wedding. Contact [email protected]


Now that sounded like one amazing honeymoon! Thanks so much to Samantha and Ben for sharing their beautiful wedding with us today XOXO Lou

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  • BEAUTIFUL photos, Adam these are lovely. Love those camera hip flasks and the shots with them! Beautiful dress and tender smiles. Love the cake table all tipped over details, unique!

  • Hi! Congratulations, you look stunning!
    That dress is beautiful. I work in the fashion industry too and tried hundreds of dresses on, I just wanted to change them all somehow and nothing was right. I was too scared to get one made though. Ended up with one bordering slightly on a big gypsy wedding haha. I’m hoping it will look ok on the day. I went in a shop once and a lady said to me ‘you seem to like the gypsy look, I might have something in the back for you’ and brought out the most hideous see-through creation haha – that was when I knew I was barking up the wrong tree hehe.
    I hope I look as stunning as you on my big day :-) xxxx

  • Oh Sammy. There are no words. I wish so much that I could’ve been there. Everything looks perfect, just as I knew it would. I had tears in my eyes when I saw the photo of the 3 of us on your photo wall. Love you xxoo

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