If you’re looking for laid back, stylish, urban wedding inspiration, then look no further! Gorgeous couple Ruth and Nick chose their home town of London as a backdrop to their perfectly relaxed summer wedding, with a civil ceremony in the art deco spaces of Stoke Newington Town Hall.
As always with weddings, the sum is so much greater than all the parts – but as inspiration goes, we absolutely adore all the personal touches that this couple infused into their day. With a focus on great food, abundant drink (sourced all the way from Calais), and dancing fun, the celebrations continued at their charity-run reception venue in Shoreditch, The Tab Centre – but not before starting off with aperitifs on a characteristic London bus! The venue then welcomed the guests with stunning white and tropical florals, all arranged and lovingly created by the bride herself. The gold-accented tropical theme is echoed throughout the stationery and décor, with modern botanical illustrations framing their table plan, bar menus, and signage. Adorning the room were hundreds of paper pompoms tied into garlands, alongside whimsical balloons, golden curtains, and twinkling lights. Each of the hand-made and home-sourced details, like the chocolate fudge cake and mini bottles of rhubarb gin, reflect the couples’ fun, relaxed personalities, as well as their dedication to creating a day that felt personal and memorable to them and all their loved ones.
We really hope you enjoy Christine Wehrmeier‘s beautiful snaps of Ruth and Nick’s wonderful London festivities as much as we did!
THE PROPOSAL | Nick proposed on a wet and windy beach just outside Whitstable in March 2016 and after the obligatory engagement ring selfie we had a delicious lunch at The Sportsman at Seasalter before calling our friends and family to let them know the news. Nick proposed with a lovely simple diamond on a yellow gold band (which fit perfectly) but said that I could pick another ring as my “real” engagement ring (an unusually flashy move which I was shocked by!). We found Ruth Tomlinson, an amazing jeweller in London who then reset the diamond into a new band and setting and we bought Nick a ring to match too.
THE VISION | We wanted good food, a free bar, lots of dancing, and a wedding where people would leave feeling happy, full and drunk. We banned anything “vintage” as its just not our style (so no hessian, calligraphy, pastel colours, lace / bunting / ribbons). After some debate we stuck with our plan to get married in London – this is where we met and live together so it made sense for us (we also didn’t fancy trips up to Yorkshire where Ruth is from every few weeks to meet suppliers).
THE PLANNING PROCESS | We both have winter birthdays and met on New Year’s Eve so we knew we wanted a summer wedding to spread our celebrations out through the year. After writing our guestlist, we drew up a shortlist of venues in North and East London (where we live) based on friends’ recommendations and some googling and started looking in early summer 2016 (about a year before we wanted to get married). We found that lots of London venues (particularly the registry offices) were smaller than expected and so we realised we would need to have a daytime and evening list to fit everyone in. We made a spreadsheet of the high level tasks we would need to do and did an initial effort at a budget. After an initial flurry of work to book the ceremony and reception venues, photographer and caterer we actually didn’t really do anything else until the start of winter 2016.
THE VENUE | We wanted to get married in one of the beautiful art deco town halls in North London. We originally panic booked Islington as availability seemed to be hard to find but our time slot was at midday which we felt was a little early. We cancelled and booked Stoke Newington for 1pm instead which felt a bit more civilised! We arranged a London bus to take our guests to the reception afterwards (it took us a while to find one that let you take alcohol on board).
Our reception venue was The Tab Centre in Shoreditch which we found through google. The Tab is run by a charity so your booking fee goes towards the charity coffers. In addition, you get a discount if you use their “in house” caterer Easy Gourmet – by coincidence my friend had used Easy Gourmet for her wedding and had already recommended them to us! We couldn’t recommend them highly enough.
We had sharing joints of slow-roast lamb for our main course, with crushed baby potatoes and Mediterranean vegetables. One guest from each table was given a chef’s hat and apron and asked to do the carving, which was a good ice-breaker and made for some great photos!
As the venue was dry hire, we went to Calais to buy wine. This was well worth it – we saved at least £5 per bottle on the wine and fizz which was a £1,000 saving in total. The big wine warehouses will pay for your Eurostar ticket if you pre order from them. We brought some beers from Beavertown brewery local to us in Tottenham, and Ruth’s dad organised some more ales from Yorkshire and Lancashire where lots of Ruth’s family are based.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | I started thinking wedding dresses were an outrageous expense (I still think this, I just managed to come to terms with it) and I planned to spend less than £1,000. I even went to the BHLDN store in New York when we were on holiday there to try their dresses but nothing stood out. I would recommend going alone to try wedding dresses at first – it’s far easier to keep a clear head and not get carried away when you don’t have your mum and bridesmaids with you.
Back in London after the BHLDN trip, my mum was keen for the “proper” wedding dress shopping experience so I booked two appointments at shops in London on a Saturday and my bridesmaids came along too. From this point onwards it was clear I would end up with a proper wedding gown – the high street alternative plans were ditched and I ended up with an incredible Jesus Piero gown from Morgan Davies. I loved lots of the dresses I tried on but the Jesus Piero one stood out for its simplicity and the modern look with a sixties twist. The two Katies at Morgan Davies were amazing and I was so excited every time I went to the shop to try the dress on! Ditching my “high street dress” plan was my biggest extravagance but I don’t regret it.
I also bought a veil from Etsy (I couldn’t bring myself to pay wedding dress shop prices) and wore some shoes I already had from Whistles. I agonised over my jewellery as I didn’t want to spoil the simplicity of the dress and the two necklines (the dress was strapless but had a removable, higher necked sleeveless jacket) made it difficult. In the end I went for plain earring from Anthropologie (but with thank to the lovely lady on the Dinny Hall counter at Liberty who helped me decide what I needed).
GROOM’S ATTIRE | Nick had always wanted a Harris tweed suit so this was the perfect opportunity for him to get his wish. He found his suit on Asos (who knew they stocked Harris tweed) and looked absolutely amazing on the day. His blue suit was complemented with a creamy yellow tie from TM Lewin (matching with the best men and ushers), a lovely handmade pocket square from Etsy and a white buttonhole, hand made by Ruth and her mum.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | Not being a couple who sit and read witty poems about relationships, we didn’t have a clue what to pick as a reading. Our efforts at googling simply revealed some suggestions that we recognised from other friend’s weddings… We realised that picking a reading from google would have no meaning to us, so it was better to have none at all. I don’t think any of the guests even noticed!
Ruth came down the aisle to ‘I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You’ by Elvis, we left the Town Hall to ‘Young Hearts Run Free’ by Candi Staton and had our first dance to a cover of ‘I Got You Babe’ by Joey Ramone and Holly Beth Vincent. For the evening party we decided not to organise a band, in favour of making our own Spotify playlist to get people up and dancing straight after the first dance.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | Ruth’s bridesmaids were amazing throughout the whole wedding process (as well as organising a top notch hen do). For dresses, I ordered about 7 different styles from the internet and invited the girls round for wine and a dress trying-on session. This was way more fun than trawling round the shops and luckily they all agreed on the same dress (from ASOS). There was a small panic as my mum pointed out that because the girls’ dress was white, it might make my dress look yellowy or grey if the whites didn’t match but after a quick trip to Morgan Davies to check, all was well and they were the same shade of white – pure good luck.
The girls all chose their own shoes in a metallic theme and I bought them all a gold necklace from Liberty with their initial engraved.
THE FLOWERS | I have always had a secret dream to be a florist so decided to do my own flowers. We had a practice trip to New Covent garden flower market to test out how the market worked (turns out it is very easy and there are no minimum spends or minimum purchase rules). For the real thing, we got up early and took our hire van to the market on the Thursday before the wedding. For the flowers we stuck to white, with tropical foliage and hints of gold. Along with my mum I made my bouquet and three bouquets for the girls, along with buttonholes and two huge flower displays which were placed at either side of the stage at our venue. We also did some mini arrangements in dozens of glass jars which we had lots of messy fun covering in gold glitter. I am really proud of my bouquet and so pleased I did it myself – I estimate I saved at least £1,000 on florists costs.
We also bought dozens of tropical plants, some small which we planted in glass dishes to make the centrepieces, and some larger to decorate the venue.
We encouraged our guests to take the centrepieces and left out little lollipop sticks that they could write their names on and bagsy the plants – people loved this and whenever we visit our friends now they have a memento of our wedding in their living room.
THE CAKE | My mum volunteered to make our cake after my lovely friend Hayley who had offered to help decided to have a baby instead! The cake was a delicious three tier fudgy chocolate cake which was baked ahead and frozen, then defrosted and iced on the Friday before the wedding.
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | Christine was amazing. She was so calm throughout the wedding and we are delighted with the shots. We initially chose Christine because she had shot other urban weddings (getting good photos when you are in a sunny wheat field is different to getting good shots in a busy street in London) and don’t regret it. As part of the package she gave us a pre-wedding shoot too which was a good chance for us to get to know each other and what to expect on the day itself. She was really excited to shoot a wedding at The Tab Centre so we hope we didn’t disappoint her! We have already recommended Christine to other engaged friends – she has a great eye for a shot and is such a calm and thoughtful person to have around on the day.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | I love all things gold so I knew I wanted to use gold as an accent colour. Given the ban on pastel colours, it seemed a natural choice to use glossy green foliage so green naturally became our second accent. The flowers, centrepieces and potted palm trees all tied the venue together and we used tropical wallpaper samples as the background for our table plan, bar menus and signage. We made hundreds of tissue paper pomp oms in white and gold, tied into generous garlands to decorate the balcony and stage. My mum and dad used rhubarb from their garden to make a little bottle of rhubarb gin for each guest. The few kids we had (nieces and nephews only) each had a goody bag of toys, bubbles and sweets to keep them busy – all bought from Tiger.
THE HONEYMOON | We spent two weeks in Tuscany, flying to Florence on the Monday after the wedding for two nights, then heading out into the countryside for some relaxation. We were shattered after the wedding and would definitely recommend going on honeymoon straight away!
MEMORABLE MOMENTS |
Ruth: For me, walking into the ceremony with my dad and realising I knew everybody there – such a rare experience and so special.
Nick: Seeing Ruth come down the aisle was something I’ll never forget, the whole day was just incredible. Ruth’s dad singing ‘Moon River’, a cappella, as part of the father of the bride’s speech was a special, and very emotional moment.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Only do what you want to do. Other than a few rules about legalities, a wedding can be anything you want it to be. Older members of your family in particular may say “you have to do xyz, it’s a wedding” but you shouldn’t feel pressured.
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photographer | Christine Wehrmeier
Ceremony venue | Stoke Newington Town Hall
Reception venue | The Tab Centre
Caterer | Easy Gourmet Catering
Bridal boutique | Morgan Davies
Make up and hair | Storme Webster
Thank you so much to the lovely Nick and Ruth for sharing their gorgeous London celebrations with us! Val Xx