We’re getting chic in the city today with Diana and Steve’s beautiful wedding day, which was held on the 12th September 2018 at Pembroke Lodge in London. Their celebrations were intimate, romantic and so full of joy.
One of the things I love most about Diana and Steve’s day has to be their outfit choices. Steve chose a smart navy blue suit with a rich burgundy tie teamed with a coordinating buttonhole. Diana meanwhile chose to have her dress made, which consisted of a stunning satin top and tulle tea length skirt. She then accessorised with pretty veils, pearl jewellery and red lipstick. Just gorgeous.
The flower arrangements really are striking, with deep red hydrangeas and bright orange dahlias being used alongside lush greenery. The fireplace arrangement really added wow factor to the amazing reception room too.
Thanks ever so much to Mark O’Brien Photography for sharing these utterly wonderful captures with us today.
Steve thought about it for quite some time, as he had ordered the engagement ring a few months before actually proposing. He proposed on our holiday, in Prague, in November, 2017. He tried to trick me into proposing without actually kneeling, as he regarded sitting on a bench together, as fit for a proposal as any other thing. (Haha) However, after I refused to give my answer, unless he followed the tradition and did the proper kneeling at the busiest spot in Prague, he manned up and proposed in style. All red in the face, Steve got on one knee and asked me to be his wife on the famous Charles Bridge, which was packed with tourists on the day. It was romantic, funny and emotional! Everyone clapped at us and some even filmed the event.
We both wanted our wedding to be something simple but memorable. We tried to stick to this idea throughout the nine months of preparations for our special day.
The Planning Process
After our engagement in mid-November, we started thinking more seriously about the wedding, what season we thought would be best suited for a wedding, any specific dates, numbers relevant for our relationship, whether we wanted a wedding in the UK or abroad, how many people we were going to invite, etc. I think the first most difficult thing for us was picking a date for our wedding. Then, once it all became a bit more settled, the second most difficult thing was deciding on a wedding venue. Once these two things are settled, I believe one becomes a bit more confident in terms of organising, as from then on, one has the ground to start working on. We did not opt for a wedding organiser, for various reasons. I knew best what I wanted for our special day, and I tend to be quite fussy when it comes to personal taste. I wanted to do it myself, because at the time I was not working, so it gave me plenty of things to do and sort out, whilst my husband was out working. Looking back now, I realise and I am convinced that it is impossible to organise a wedding if one is in full-time employment. My husband supported me a lot both financially, but most importantly, he was there for me during so many times when I felt like I was having an emotional break-down. TIP: It is really important to support one another during the months of preparations for the wedding and avoid disagreements! They do say that planning and organising a wedding is THE most stressful thing in one’s life!
We jotted down all the things that a wedding requires, like wedding invitations, photographer, registry office, entertainment, etc. Steve was the one in charge of Spreadsheets. We tried our best to work as a team, not fall out with each other and stick to our budget. (HaHa)
The budget can vary a lot, depending on each couple’s financial situation. Out of principle, we decided to keep it realistic, as we would rather save than waste. We spent £15,000 for our wedding.
The Readings & Music
During the Civil Service, we decided not to opt for any readings, because we really wanted to have Bible Readings during our Blessing, which took place just a few minutes after the registrar left.
We chose to have two Bible Readings read by two very dear friends of ours.
The first Bible reading was from Collossians 3:14-20 and the second Bible reading from 1Corinthians 13:1-8, 13. Both readings were equally beautiful and inspiring for us.
The Music was part of our Entertainment, an element of surprise (I hope) for our lovely guests. It was provided by Liquid Strings, the director of which is the talented and very professional Brian Lee. The Trio of Strings performed beautifully for us. Below I will list the songs that the trio performed, in the same order that they were played:
- Entrance of the Bride: 1000 Years, C. Perri
- Signing of the Register: A day like this, Elbow
- After the 1st Bible Reading: O mio bambino caro, Puccini
- Exchange of Vows: Kissing you, Des’ree
- Exchange of Rings: It’s a wonderful word, L. Armstrong
- Exit of the Bride and Groom: Bach Brandenburg Concerto 3
For our Reception we did not opt for a DJ, although we discussed and thought about it for quite some time. We chose to have music played by an iPod, on which we registered with Spotify. On Spotify, we created two playlists, one that was used during the wedding breakfast and a second playlist, that was used during our reception. For our wedding breakfast we chose to listen to some very good instrumental music, whilst for our reception, we focused on playing the music which we both liked to listen to: Elvis Presley, Ella Fitzgerald, Mumford and Sons, Ed Sheeran, a bit of Jonny Cash, some of the 80s tunes…
For our first dance we chose a special song, with very romantic lyrics, called “These Arms of Mine” by Otis Redding. Our second option was equally romantic “The wonder of you” by Elvis Presley.
We knew from the moment we saw the mansion house, that Pembroke Lodge was the venue for us. Not only that it is set in the stunning Richmond Park, but the staff were all attentive and professional. Pembroke Lodge was a fantastic venue for our September wedding. The different rooms worked brilliantly for dinner, dancing and chatting. Size wise the Russell Suite was more than adequate for our intimate (fifty people) wedding. The terrace just outside the house was a lovely romantic surprise for all our guests.
Your Outfits & Accessories
My wedding dress was made by Ensi of Seni Dey. It was a beautiful two-part ivory satin top/blouse and a tulle/satin tea length skirt. Ensi is such a gifted young lady and she created an incredibly beautiful outfit for me. I knew I wanted a dress that was going to look classy and timeless, and that is what I had.
Thanks a million, Ensi! xxx
My dress was accessorized by a medium length two tier English veil/tulle (ivory colour) custom made by Sian of Blossom & Bluebird for the registry and blessing services. I then changed my head accessory to a stunning birdcage hat/French veiling by the lovely Agnes Hart. The bow hat was made out of ivory satin which perfectly matched my ivory satin top and tulle skirt. This was the piece de resistance for my bridal look.
When it got a bit cooler in the evening, I wore a beautiful cashmere/mohair jumper, which was an ivory colour, by Chloe. It kept me warm and looked beautiful on me.
The bridal shoes came from H&M and they were super comfortable throughout the day. With regards to the bridal jewellery, my husband very kindly offered me a beautiful set of Akoya Pearl earrings and bracelet, as a wedding gift. This was a very special gift, one that I am going to keep and cherish forever. Both pieces were custom made in Sweden, by Peter and Julia of Julia’s Pearls.
Steve wore a classic navy blue three piece suit by Massimo Dutti. It was accessorized with a simple white shirt and a burgundy Massimo Dutti tie for the first half of the wedding. He wore a Marks & Spencer bow tie for the evening, which suited him really well.
My sister is a professional make-up artist. She kindly offered to do the make up for all of us ladies in the family, which was so lovely! It is so incredibly helpful if you have members of the family who can help you out on the day. She did an amazing job on all of us six ladies. Hats off to Alexandra! Thank you, my lovely! Xxx
My Bridal Hair was styled by Justina of Beautiful Brides. She is a very talented lady. Justina was punctual, friendly and skilled. She was extremely efficient and worked well with my sister, who was doing the make-up. Pricewise, Justina was a lot more affordable than all the other ladies I contacted. Thank you, Justina! xxx
Groomsmen & Bridesmaids
I did not choose to have bridesmaids, but Steve had his best friend as best man.
We did have two witnesses for the civil service. One of my very dear friends and Steve’s best man.
Mark O’Brien was our wedding photographer. I knew Mark’s wife and that kind of led me to his work. We had a look at his website and were positively impressed with his style and the quality of his pictures. Mark is a really lovely guy. He is passionate about his work and is genuinely interested in finding out your requirements. He also offered a reasonable price, which matched our budget. On our wedding day, Mark was punctual, professional and always carried a smile on his face. He was warm and friendly with our guests, but assertive enough to get everyone in the right place, at the right time.
Our wedding pictures are stunning, perfectly capturing the essence of the day, telling a beautiful and romantic love story. Mark’s photos are full of character and timeless. They will give us pleasure for years to come and we are very grateful for this special treasure. Thank you, Mark!
We did not choose to have a filmmaker. However, we did invest in one of the best people to photograph our wedding.
My brother-in-law kindly took videos of all the important moments of our wedding. For this we say a huge Thank You! It is really lovely to have little videos like the ones he took for us! xxx
Aaah! Be prepared. The wedding flowers are going to cost you a fortune. They may cost you as much as your wedding dress, if not more.
Our wedding flowers were all supplied by Gabi and Lucy of The Fine Wedding Flowers Company. Gabi met with us, kept in touch over the months of preparation and followed all our requests. She is a professional and you can trust that she will do a good job. I must admit that the flowers was something that I was worried about. For me they had to look nice and fresh, my bridal bouquet had to look happy and colourful for the day, etc. In the end they looked really beautiful, and added a lot of colour and freshness to the rooms. Better than we expected. Thank you, Gabi!
Jen of Jen’s Cakery was our brilliant baker. She designed and made our very delicious semi-naked 3 tier lemon cake. It was scrumptious and it looked out of this world. The combination of lemons and green foliage was just what we wanted. Out of our long list of suppliers Jen was so helpful and supportive along the way. I will never forget how she kindly posted us little pieces of her delicious cakes, as I was not well enough at the time, to go and do the actual tasting. I’ll never forget that. Thank you, Jen! xxx
The Details & Décor
Etsy, Etsy, Etsy. I found the table numbers, the personalised wedding favours, the ribbon wedding wands, the English bunting, the Photo Booth props and the little bride-groom wooden figurines on Etsy.
I did not want any confetti to be thrown around at our wedding. Therefore I opted for the more traditional ribbon wedding wands, which turned out to be a beautiful detail at our wedding. They were made by Rose of Luna Harkin, who put together colourful satin ribbons, little wooden sticks and cheerful jingle for us.
All our wedding guests received a little jar of fresh honey, which was kindly provided by my parents, and a small personalised bottle stopper custom made in Spain, by Anabel and Felix of My Fair Guestbook.
This is still a surprise. (HaHa) We have not decided on anything yet, but it is very likely that it will be one of the beautiful Scandinavian countries. Or perhaps more than one. Is my husband going to read this? (HaHa)
Aaa! Too many to tell. Seriously, we had such a lovely and relaxed wedding. We wish we could do it again! By the end of it, everyone had the chance to talk to everyone. It was memorable when Steve mentioned in his wedding Vow, that he was going to try and stick to the “one cookie per day” policy in our marriage. Everyone laughed at that. HaHa Then, it was memorable when our registrar said to Steve that he can go in FIRST to say his vow, probably for the LAST time. HaHa
The Personal Vows we said to each other during the Blessing, made us and our guests cry. Ours was a very emotional wedding- aww… :0)
The wedding Speeches were all memorable in their own way. We had four very dear people speaking at our wedding. Their speeches were all different to one another, some made us cry, some made us laugh. Some made us wonder. HaHa
That beautiful sunset at the end of the day was another memorable thing. We have it on our faces in our wedding photos. It was truly magical.
The Trio of Strings that went outside in the garden, to perform for us, whilst the staff were serving drinks and canapes.
The hot tea and coffee kindly served at sunset, in the terrace/ garden, by the staff at Pembroke Lodge, whilst we went away for a few minutes to have some photos taken.
How great our banqueting manager was. Aaa, that was one very lovely surprise! Byron of Pembroke Lodge was absolutely brilliant! Throughout the day he ran around like a busy bumble bee, setting things ready, getting the place transformed for us, fetching a white umbrella for me in order to get out of the bridal car, getting everyone in and out of the rooms, he was our hero! Whatever you do, make sure that you find yourselves a brilliant banqueting manager. Cheers, Byron! You won as STAR OF THE DAY at our wedding!
Advice For Other Couples
Bon! Too many and very important.
- Don’t panic! Whatever happens do not abandon preparations for your wedding, unless it’s some serious health related issue.
- Sort out the wedding date and venue first and then everything will fall into place.
- Think well whether you really want to spend an awful lot of money on your wedding dress.
- Don’t let the planning get you too stressed. Don’t let it cause arguments.
- Make sure each person does his/her share of the work when planning.
- Be prepared to negotiate hard for everything!
- Make a list of all the people you want in your wedding photographs! We don’t have pictures with all our family members (I know, our fault…)
- Stick to your budget no matter what. Make the wedding dress shorter if you need to, but stick to your budget, it will get sky high if you don’t.
- Don’t let members of the family or friends tell you what to have at your wedding. Have it as YOU like it!
- Sleep well the night before your wedding. It does make a HUGE difference. Pray for peace and confidence for you and your loved one, and don’t worry. You will have a lovely time.
- Make the most of it! It goes too quickly!
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Mark O’Brien Photography
Diana and Steve, thank you both so much for sharing your very romantic wedding story here with us today xo Lou