Today’s wonderful pair, Sarah and Mark wed earlier this year on the 6th January 2018, choosing a London wedding all taking place near where they met and still live. They held both their ceremony and reception at the very striking Round Chapel in Clapton and I think you’re going to love it all.
It was very important to Sarah and Mark that the décor and special touches reflected them as a couple and they really went to town. They even produced their own chutney and gin as well as brewing their own beer for the bar! I just love the festoon light canopy they chose too, I think it makes the whole venue look just magical.
Now let’s just take a minute to appreciate Sarah’s dress shall we? The stunning silk 1940s dress was a vintage find and as soon as she put it on, it fit like a glove with no alteration, so special. Teamed with a veil and that glorious bouquet of colourful blooms, it doesn’t really get much better.
The lovely Nikki van der Molen captured all the goings on and the result is a really beautiful set of images. Thanks so much for sharing Nikki!
At the top of a waterfall in California at Yosemite National Park in October 2016. We were on a camping trip there and enjoying a hike in one of most beautiful areas of the world. As we sat down to enjoy some sandwiches Mark produced a stunning 1920s gold platinum engagement ring. It rained all the way on the long hike back to camp but I couldn’t stop smiling.
Personal, winter London wedding with good vegetarian food, lots of music and a great party.
THE PLANNING PROCESS
We had about one year to plan the wedding and the process was mostly enjoyable! We decided on the main things early on to ensure that time was free for planning of details nearer to the date. We decided early on as the Round Chapel in Clapton as a venue, a perfect space near to where we met and live. It also allowed us to make the wedding as personal as we desired, so we were able to decorate the venue and self cater. This required a bit more time and input but it was absolutely worth it in the end. We found the amazing caterers online as they had a good range of vegetarian options, and they were the first people we approached. They ended up running most of the day and were absolutely invaluable in keeping stress on the day minimal.
The Round Chapel in Clapton. We were overwhelmed by the deconsecrated 150 year old beautiful building with high ceilings and an incredible space, and it made perfect sense seeing as it is so close to where we met and now live. It was also one of the cheapest options in London that could cater a large number of guests and it allowed us to style and self-cater our wedding our own way.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES
I went to several boutiques in London but nothing was quite right. One of my friends suggested Elizabeth Avey; she has a beautiful vintage bridal shop in Greenwich. I went with my bridesmaids and they encouraged me to try on a 1940s silk-satin dress. It was the first dress I tried on; to my surprise it fitted perfectly and I bought it straight away. It was incredibly comfortable and a beautiful rich ivory colour. I love the simplicity of the cut but it also had beautiful details in the shoulders and the arms. I didn’t need to make any adjustments to the dress, it was just perfect!
As it was quite simple I decided to wear a long lace veil that I bought new through the same boutique (designer Rainbow Club).
My shoes were gold peep-toe Gina shoes by Rachel Simpson and were incredibly comfortable. I managed to dance in them all night!
Groom’s suit from Reiss, tie by Drake’s, shoes by Doc Martens.
THE READINGS & MUSIC
I walked down the aisle to one of our favourite compositions by Max Richter; II. Mrs Dalloway: In the Garden. This piece was from a ballet that we had enjoyed together just after we got engaged, called Woolf Works.
I sing in a choir and I asked my friends from my choir to perform in the ceremony. We sang Bob Dylan, Forever Young, in four part harmony, as this is one of our favourite songs to sing together.
The first reading by Sarah’s old friend Siobhan was Love at First Sight by Wislawa Symborska. This poem is particularly poignant as Mark and I went to University in the same city for 6 years but didn’t meet until afterwards, likely to have passed eachother in the street on many occasions.
Mark then joined the choir and we sang a song called Dream our dream; we have sung this song many times at Glastonbury Festival when Mark has joined in, and it is one of his favourite songs.
The second reading was from our friend Gemma; This Much I Do Remember by Billy Collins. An alternative love poem depicting the ordinary as beauty and about love as the everyday moments we share.
Before the bridal entry my choir friends Charlie and Xenia taught the audience a Zulu celebration song. We walked up the aisle together with all of our guests singing this song in harmony. I was very impressed at the audience participation!
The bridesmaids were in blue grey velvet dresses from Topshop. It took quite a while to find something appropriate for a winter wedding that complimented the bridal dress, but eventually we found the perfect dresses from the high street. I also bought them matching grey faux fur collars and grey faux fur coats to ensure they weren’t too cold on the day.
Grace and Thorn in Hackney. I had always admired their shop and style. I asked for loosely arranged wild-style colourful mixed seasonal flowers, mainly of dark blue/purple, thistles & foliage, with pops of bright orange and red. I wasn’t disappointed. I didn’t want to put my bouquet down! We managed to reuse the table flowers to decorate the altar area and venue during the ceremony, which kept costs down.
Made by the mother of the bride; a tiered chocolate cake with winter berry decoration.
I was delighted when one of my oldest friends Nikki van der Molen agreed to be our photographer, considering she was also one of the guests. She hugely exceeded our expectations and everyone still comments several months later on how good the final wedding photos are. Her relaxed natural style fitted with our theme perfectly and I am so overwhelmed with the results. She was also incredible on the day, with a calm professional unobtrusive yet friendly relaxed manner.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR
We decorated the venue ourselves and spent quite a lot of time choosing the details to ensure it reflected our individual style. We chose to fill the beautiful space with festoon lights that we hung in a canopy above the main auditorium. I handmade bunting that hung round the room from multicoloured material we chose together. Our friend Jack wrote the service himself and we wrote our own vows which ensured a unique personal wedding, in which our guests also found out more about Mark and I in the ceremony.
We made our own favours, including small pots of chutney and our own gin, with handmade labels. We also brewed our own beer with the same handmade label design, which went down well at the bar! The tables were named after our favourite records which we tried to match with the friends or family at the table. Our caterers produced delicious canapés and a main vegetarian meal that we had so many positive comments about. They were so helpful on the day and also made cocktails at a makeshift bar, and even helped with a pizza delivery from another supplier for the evening meal. We had a fantastic ceilidh band who ensured that most of the guests were on their food soon after dinner. We then finished the night with our friends Dutty Discotheque and Lady Bangers, who produced two incredible sets that kept everyone on the dance floor.
We went to Iceland, which was a fantastic place to go on honeymoon. It was quite dark in January with short days, but was still a beautiful fascinating place with great food, with lots of incredible hotels to ensure we really treated ourselves.
Choir singing in the ceremony, the speeches (with strong female representation!), the ceilidh, dancing all night to music from our friends, the delicious vegetarian food and late night pizza.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES
Decide on main components early, enjoy the day, and have fun. Don’t be afraid to do things differently!
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Nikki van der Molen
Hair and Make Up
Grace and Thorn
What a wonderfully personal day you planned. Thank you so much for sharing all the fun with us Sarah and Mark. Rachel x