Today’s industrial yet enchanting nuptials are sure to delight, especially our city warehouse wedding fans! Catherine and Mike tied the knot on 20th July 2018 at the Tram Depot in East London. Their gorgeously pared back and stylish ceremony took place in the Tram House with reception festivities at Clapton Country Club downstairs following.
Our pair made lots of things themselves which is always so special. The late night braiding the hand fasting cord was totally worth it in my book! Whilst we’re on the subject of the hand fasting, I also really love the fact that Catherine and Mike chose a humanist ceremony that they worked to make completely personal with their celebrant.
Despite the industrial and urban setting, these nuptials are really rather ethereal and bohemian. I think you’re going to fall for the pink hues, loose flowers and foliage, as well as the handmade signs and rustic moss touches, stunning! Catherine and Mike also chose WWW faves Shropshire Petals for their confetti, we approve!
We have Luke Hayden Photography to thank for the incredible images today. He came recommended by a friend of the couple and it’s not hard to see why! Thank you very much for sharing with us Luke.
In 2014 I went to India to do a yoga teacher training programme. The plan was for Mike to join me out there at the end of the training. This was the longest time we had spent apart in our seven years of being together. The night of Mike’s arrival after four weeks was long awaited. He had been in a six-hour cab journey from Delhi to where I was in Rishikesh, northern India. When we got to our hotel room, we were excitedly catching up and eating some food, when before I knew it, a slightly nervous Mike who couldn’t wait any longer, got down on one knee and popped the question.
We toyed with the idea of eloping but quickly realised that if we wanted to celebrate with our nearest and dearest, we would need to have a London-based wedding. I’ve known since I was very young that I wanted to have a humanist wedding after I attended one when I was a small girl, and found it to be the most beautiful thing. It took Mike a little convincing, however he and I both agree it was the best decision we ever made – you only had to hear the guests reactions to know this too!
The Planning Process
We had an initial meeting with our celebrant Jill so that she could get to know us, and find out what was important to us. We had homework to do: answering questions about how we met, what we liked about each other and a whole lot more. It was a great exercise as it really set the tone for the wedding and this is what Jill used to create our personalised ceremony. Throughout the process, Jill went above and beyond; even helping us out with planning the day and with personal matters that cropped up along the way.
We knew we wanted a more casual, relaxed day; this wasn’t going to be a black tie affair! We started looking at less-polished London venues. The theme organically evolved as we started making selections: the venue, the dress, the flowers. This easy going, bohemian style event in a typical Victorian London setting just unfolded.
I’m not one for the “perfect wedding cake” look so my wonderful friend and hobby-baker made the most gorgeous vegan lavender and lemon sponge which was rustically frosted. It was her first vegan cake and she absolutely blew it out of the water with her magical creation. It not only looked amazing but tasted incredible with the subtle hint of lavender.
Exceeded! However, we were able to save money in certain areas. Wherever we could we got family and friends involved. My friend held the hand fasting part of the ceremony, other friends played music, made our cake and my uncle made us a beautiful wooden box to hold our rings, made from a Mulberry branch.
For the ceremony, I kept the Tram House quite minimal as it really is the most aesthetically pleasing space on it’s own. We had a simple backdrop made of a thin branch and some hanging foliage as this was enough to create a central focal point.
The flowers were vintage inspired; subtle, muted and ethereal. There were a variety of roses used from cafe latte and majolica for a lovely antique colour, as well as hellebores, nigella, bunny tail grasses and foliage of eucalyptus and ferns.
Our florist Paula, has an incredible eye for what goes well together when working with a theme. She listened to what I was looking for and suggested flowers that I would have never considered; it worked beautifully.
In line with the woodland feel (and because I am a bit obsessed with it) we used moss for the tables and around the cake. Rather than having big pieces as table centrepieces we went for smaller arrangements in vintage glass bottles. We also had two gorgeous hanging installations with dripping asparagus fern and amaranthus to bring some fairytale romanticism and to intersperse and soften the wonderful industrial rawness of Clapton Country Club.
Paula also prepared Wax flowers to weave in to my hair and this a was a brilliant suggestion as not only did they look beautiful, they lasted all day.
The Tram Depot is a Victorian East London setting; a cool urban hideaway, nestled down a cobbled path just off Upper Clapton Road and is home to several warehouse studio spaces. As the name suggests, it was once a depot for trams and later became a stables, but is now a hub of independent and artistic businesses.
We came across the Tram House, one of the lofty studio spaces here used for film and photo shoots, through a mutual friend. As soon as we stepped foot inside, it captured us and we fell in love instantly. With its exposed brick walls, the rawness of the concrete frieze and glass roof that allows light to flood in – we knew it was the perfect setting for our ceremony.
We then discovered that beneath this amazing spot was Clapton Country Club; an impressive industrial space with high ceilings, exposed brick and beautifully aged patina. Re-furbished using reclaimed and recycled materials; the flooring was taken from a hotel being demolished in Lincolnshire, the toilets from a psychiatric hospital and the tables were upcycled with wood from a Dutch cheese factory. Terence, the owner of the venue originally bought the space to house his own wedding. He was awesome from the very start; it was like having your cool uncle host your wedding.
The Details & Décor
I used Etsy a fair bit! You can find fantastic templates that you can download from artists and then print yourself which I found saved me a fair bit for the stationary and signage. I also found the glass terrarium that we used to house the cards from guests and the macramé bride and groom chair decoration; you can find unusual pieces and you are also supporting independent artists which is fab.
Rather than a photo booth, I got some disposable cameras for guests to take their own photos. For the confetti containers, we made cones from old sheet music bought on eBay. For favours, we wanted something useful that guests could take away and be reminded of our special day, so we went for personalised matchstick boxes.
I came across another fantastic artist on Etsy. Bonny at Love the Ark created two wonderful bespoke banner flags on which she wrote two poems that I chose by Nayyirah Waheed: ‘Lighthouse’ and ‘Nafsi’. Sitting either side of the foliage backdrop, they were the perfect setting to the ceremony.
I sourced ribbons for the hand fasting from a local craft shop. To represent my life path, mine was a soft peachy ribbon and to represent Mike; a thin suede string which I was up until about 2am braiding one night!
We set up a wedding website from Appy Couple which was great for putting all the pertinent information relating to the day for guests and made the RSVP process a whole lot easier. But don’t be fooled; you’ll still end up chasing people!
Thanks to my friend and beauty therapist Krinna, she ensured that I was glowing my absolute best on the day. My fabulous hair and makeup artist Hayley helped me to achieve the exact soft and natural look I was looking for. I swung between having an up do, to half up-half down, but eventually settled on a sort of half-braid which was ideal to loosen for a less structured, boho look.
Your Outfits & Accessories
I went dress shopping with two of my closest bridesmaids. I had two appointments on the same day at different London stores to start the process. I was convinced that I wasn’t going to choose my dress on the first day. However, I somehow got completely carried away with myself and ended up putting a deposit down on a dress at the second store. I went into work the following Monday feeling like I’d made an awful mistake and it wasn’t until I was speaking to a colleague that I realised I needed to do something about it! I managed to cancel the order and then tried a few more dresses before going back to the first store, Pronovias on Bond Street, to re-try one of the very first dresses and discovered it was the one.
I originally thought I wanted a fully sleeved all-lace dress but when I tried them on I felt completely swamped. In the end I went for a sleeveless dress with a lace v-neck bodice, floaty chiffon mermaid skirt and lace detail creeping up the back. The lace was absolutely beautiful and detailed some unusual flowers and foliage which made it very ethereal and in keeping with the theme. It had the soft, flowing romanticism that I wanted, with a touch of drama from the train. It was also perfect for the hot summer weather.
I went for white satin sling backs with a small heel. For jewellery, I chose really simple understated pieces including small drop pearl earrings. My something borrowed/old was a sixpence in my shoe from my uncle. My something blue was the nail colour on my toes. My garter from Megan Therese Couture Bridal, was a simple elegant leaf lace which completed the bohemian look.
I was completely surprised with Mike’s choice in wedding attire. Anyone who knows Mike, knows he is not one for wearing suits. I was fully resolved to the fact that he was going to get married in his converse trainers, as that is his staple wardrobe item! We had already discussed going for something a little less formal and more relaxed, which also fitted our venue. In the end, Mike chose his full outfit from Reiss; a white linen shirt, dusky pink linen jacket, navy trousers and suede loafers. I was there to give the nod of approval of course! This look was perfect for our less formal setting and for the heatwave that we experienced at the time of our wedding! Mike also wore a Daniel Wellington watch that I gifted to him on the morning of our big day.
When I was recommended Luke Hayden through a mutual friend, I took a look at his previous work and knew instantly that he was exactly what we were looking for in a photographer; his relaxed documentary style and candid capturing would be spot on for us and the type of wedding we were going for.
Not only is he extremely talented, he is an absolute pleasure to be around; he seamlessly flitted about and captured everything, was funny and put us at ease. The images really speak for themselves; we have hundreds of photos from the day and every single one of them is stunning. We honestly can’t thank Luke enough for capturing our day in the most beautiful of ways.
I met Abbie Fairlie (Kookie Films) at the National Wedding Show in London. We both liked her soft romantic style; and as Mike put it, an almost Sofia Coppola-vibe. It worked wonderfully with the vintage ethereal feel to the day.
My five beautiful bridesmaids wore TFNC lavender-grey floor-length dresses. They had the cutest little puddle train of their own. These dresses were so pretty, I was a little bit jealous that I didn’t get to wear one! They wore nude shoes in different styles and their hair how they wanted. They each wore a paper flower hair grip that I had made from an Etsy artist.
We did things a bit differently for the grooms party, and chose to have ‘best people’ rather than a best man/groomsmen, and this included one of his female friends. We opted for salmon pink chinos from Marks & Spencers, with a slightly more fitted, lighter pink for the lady, with white linen shirts for a more relaxed look.
The Readings & Music
We love the mysterious, moody but romantic film ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’ and the soundtrack is what made it. We chose the track Only Lovers Left Alive by Jozef Van Wissem for me to walk down the aisle. A couple of friends of ours played this live on Greek bouzouki and the Turkish saz as Mike’s surprise gift to me on the day.
Because of our Indian beginnings at our engagement, we felt it only right that we paid homage and brought some of this into our day. We had a traditional Indian band play during cocktail hour and throughout the wedding breakfast which included tabla, harmonium and sitar. Bhavik Haria and his band were brilliant and everyone loved them.
Our first dance was to Dream a Little Dream of Me by Mama Cass as this was the first song we ever danced to. We also had a last dance song before we fled to our hotel: I Love You, Honeybear by Father John Misty; slightly risqué but we loved it.
My brother read an extract from ‘Captain Corelli’s Mandolin’ by Louis de Bernières and there were poems by Rupi Kaur and Nayyirah Waheed woven in to the ceremony.
Two days after the wedding we headed to Mauritius for a much needed relaxing beach ‘moon. We stayed at Heritage Le Telfair on the South West coast, a stunning hotel of colonial meets relaxed beach vibe and the staff could not have done more for us; they really made it a truly special occasion.
We booked through honeymoon specialists ‘Turquoise’ who were fantastic; from getting an initial understanding of what we wanted and our budget to the free gift list service which makes it super easy to manage your donations; all the way to sending us luggage tags and a welcome home gift!
…When the rings nearly didn’t go on because of the heat and hands being swollen! Thankfully they did after a bit of forcing.
We kept some elements of the ceremony a surprise until the big day so we had each written things about it each other that we didn’t know was coming. Some funny, some tearjerking. This made it all the more special.
The speeches! My best friend and cousin delivered a kick-ass duo bridesmaid act, Patsy and Eddie style. And my dad’s speech was just brilliant. Being the meticulous scientist and retired teacher, he of course had to do a powerpoint! Fully included with timed toasts to the appointed red star that made a reoccurring appearance throughout the presentation. He had everyone in stitches.
Advice For Other Couples
Organising a wedding can be stressful; if you let it. But it’s not just about the destination, so try and enjoy the process of curating your day.
Create a timeline for you and the bridal/grooms party with everyone’s responsibilities for the day noted down. The more detailed the better! Share this a few days before, so everyone knows exactly what they should be doing. If you are not having a wedding planner, create a list of all your suppliers including contacts and give someone the responsibility to ring around in the morning and ensure that everything is running smoothly. This way you can completely immerse yourself in the day and just enjoy!
I’d also say, when choosing your dress, try not to rush your decision making and take your time. Try to get some space on your own in front of the mirror so you can really see how you feel in the dress. It is after all, your day. If necessary, sleep on it! I think it is so important for you to feel comfortable in your dress so that you can be you.
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Abbie Fairlie, Kookie Films
Reception venue & Caterers
Clapton Country Club
Hair & Make-up Stylist
Paula Ellis, Fox & Thorn
Louise Eleftheriou, Lou Lou’s Teapot
Krinna Patel, Beautyworxs
Love the Ark
Save the dates
The Turquoise Holiday Company
Signage & Stationery
What a stylish laid back day you had Catherine and Mike! Thank you ever so much for sharing everything with us on WWW. Rachel x