New Year’s Eve feels like a million years ago already doesn’t it? But it’s lovely to relive the festive season as we rapidly approach winter with WWW readers Annie and Luke’s NYE wedding held in 2019 today. They were hitched at Old Marylebone Town Hall followed by a pub reception at St Barts Brewery in London. Their wedding planning was really relaxed and efficient and this also continued into their celebrations. Fuss free, fun and really elegant.
Annie looked simply gorgeous in her sparkly Phase Eight gown meanwhile Luke donned a velvet jacket and bow tie for the black tie dress code, oh the glamour. Guests were treated to a ride in a double decker bus, music by a live band and a chance to watch the fireworks on the screen as midnight struck. I can’t think of a better way to ring in the new year, can you?
Ellie Gillard Photography captured their day just wonderfully, from the confetti moment to the cake cutting and everything in-between. Thanks so much to Ellie for sharing these stunning shots with us.
Luke proposed to me on a Saturday morning a few weeks before we moved to Hong Kong. We went for our usual Saturday morning run and had planned to make a special breakfast to celebrate our five year anniversary. Before we sat down to eat breakfast, Luke asked me to join him on the sofa and then asked me to marry him!
We wanted a laidback party where we would have plenty of time to celebrate the day with our friends and family. We had not thought about what we might want from a wedding before we got engaged, but quickly decided on a Christmas time wedding as we were so excited we did not want to wait too long, and we knew we would be coming back to the UK to spend Christmas with our families. As we both love parties, we decided New Years Eve would be the best time to celebrate!
The Planning Process
As we were only in the UK for a few weeks before moving to Hong Kong, we started planning very quickly and saw only a handful of venues before choosing a location. Whilst we would have loved the idea of a dry hire venue and creating something bespoke, we decided we did not want to spend too long coordinating plans from abroad and therefore chose St Barts Brewery – the team there were so helpful arranging the food, drinks, tables and music that our planning was very quick and easy!
As neither of us are religious, we chose to have a town hall wedding and picked the Westminster Room at Marylebone Town Hall as we are both from London. We then travelled by a London red bus to St Barts Brewery, a pub in Farringdon. The pub was the perfect location for our reception and had space for a seated meal for over 100 guests which was then transformed into a dance floor later in the evening. We particularly liked the mezzanine floor which we used to serve cocktails and mini desserts whilst the tables were removed to create the dancefloor.
Your Outfits & Accessories
I wanted to get my dress in the UK before we moved to Hong Kong so this was one of the first things I did after we got engaged and I went shopping for a day with one of my bridesmaids and my mum. I didn’t want to spend a huge amount on a dress so arranged to try on dresses at Monsoon, Phase Eight and Whistles. In the end, my favourite dress was one I found in Phase Eight – it was sparkly and beaded which I thought made it perfect for a New Years Eve wedding! I had a pair of silver heels which I bought in Whistles and I borrowed a white fur wrap from one of my bridesmaids to keep warm. Our wedding was black tie so Luke upgraded his old suit with a new velvet jacket from Jeeves & Hawkes and a new pair of trousers (from M&S!).
I booked Katie Adamson (who I found as she had previously worked with our photographer) to do my hair and makeup for the wedding. I was very unsure about having my makeup done as I usually wear no/minimal makeup but after a trial run when I came back to the UK in September, I decided to go ahead with some “natural look” makeup and a half up half down hairstyle incorporating some of the flowers from my bouquet.
We weren’t worried about the bridesmaids wearing matching outfits, and didn’t have any particular colours in mind so we let the two female bridesmaids do their own shopping as we were out of the country. In the end, they both decided on the same off the shoulder dress in a dark burgundy colour from Oasis. The colour was perfect for the festive season. Our third bridesmaid, Pete, wore black tie and had a red buttonhole that matched the girls’ bouquets.
The groomsmen all wore their own black ties which they already owned. They also got matching waistcoats from T.M. Lewin.
The Readings & Music
We had two readings during our ceremony. The first, by Luke’s sister Cassie was The Windhover by Gerard Manley Hopkins, one of Luke’s favourite poems. The second reading by our bridesmaid Pete, was an extract from the Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman.
We entered the room to Heartbeats by Jose Gonzalez, played Beast of Burden by the Rolling Stones whilst be signed the register and left the room to Praise You by Fatboy Slim! We had a live band play after the meal and they performed Sitting on the Dock of the Bay by Otis Redding for our first dance.
We had a wonderful florist called Catherine. I found her online and she was based near our old house in London. Although we didn’t get to meet in person, or speak on the phone, I sent her a few ideas on pinterest and the budget and she was able to decorate the venue with dark green foliage on the tables, and prepare some lovely bouquets of dark red and green for the bridesmaids and me. We put the bouquets in vases once we got to the venue to add to the decorations. She also threw in some extra flowers to put in my hair to match the bouquets!
The Details & Décor
The pub venue already had plenty of character and decorations so we didn’t have to do much extra. The pub already had its Christmas lights in the windows, and a big Christmas tree and some greenery on the staircase which we were able to make use of to save us costs on decorations. We made our seating plan and order of the day ourselves, using two hula hoops which we sprayed gold, covered in ivy and attached card to and wrote our place settings on simple white card with a gold pen.
My talented sister is a great baker and made us a cake for our wedding present! She made an amazing three tiered cake, with a chocolate layer and a lemon and elderflower layer. We took the cake to the venue the day before to assemble and decorate it together!
We found our wonderful photographer online and had a skype meeting with her about a month before our wedding to run through what we had in mind. She was great at making us feel at ease, as neither of us love having our photo taken, and also managed to take hundreds of amazing pictures without us having to take to much time out of the day. One thing that worked very well for us was to have some family, bridal party and couple shots before we had our ceremony, so that we felt like we could spend as much time as possible with our friends and family during the party itself.
We managed to squeeze in a quick four night stay in Phuket at the start of January before heading back to the office in Hong Kong. After a very busy Christmas/New Year period leading up to the wedding we really enjoyed having a few days immediately afterwards to ourselves to unwind. Sadly we didn’t manage to bag an upgrade on our flights despite my best efforts!
The highlights for me were the wedding ceremony itself, the speeches, and seeing the dancefloor filled (and the parents air-guitaring) during the silent disco from midnight until 2am! We also enjoyed turning the screens on in the pub at midnight to watch the fireworks with everyone as the clocks struck midnight and sharing a toast with our family and friends!
Advice For Other Couples
Don’t stress too much about the planning, we found nearly all of our suppliers within a few weeks by searching online and then had very little to do until the wedding itself – organising a wedding doesn’t need to be a big administrative task if you don’t want it to be! Don’t drink too much and make sure your shoes are comfy before the big day!
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Ellie Gillard Photography
London Soul Band
Hair & Make Up
St Barts Brewery
How fun! And a really memorable way to celebrate NYE.
Annie and Luke thank you ever so much for sharing with us your fantastic wedding story xo Lou