What’s your love story? How did you meet?
We met on Tinder in late 2015. I had been on there for about 2 years and was feeling very jaded and weary, but Cosmo had just joined and I was his second ever Tinder date! Unfair! We had our first date at a grimy pub near my office in Euston directly opposite the men’s loos which created quite the romantic atmosphere.. We couldn’t stop talking and stayed until the pub closed. Luckily our second date was at a much lovelier venue, Miss Tapas in Peckham, where we bonded over how much we love food. He moved in with me (from Crouch End to Peckham, quite the lifestyle change) in June 2017.
What was the proposal like?
We got engaged on Valentine’s Day 2018 in Amsterdam. We were staying in a fancy hotel there and had spent the morning in the spa, when we arrived back in our room he had ordered Champagne to be delivered and gave me a lovely Valentine’s Card – then I saw he was down on one knee with a beautiful custom Hattie Rickards ring made with diamonds inherited from his great grandmother.
How did you get started with planning your wedding?
We had discussed ideas for ‘if we ever got married’ before we got engaged, so were pretty clear on the fundamentals of what we both wanted. We knew we wanted it to be small, just family and close friends, local, and good food was the top priority. We are such foodies and it is the big passion we have in common, we love to eat out and cook so we had high standards for this. I had spotted Southwark Register Office before while going past on a bus and thought it was a lovely building, and so convenient that is was nearby. Once we had decided on that for the ceremony, we wanted to keep hassle to a minimum so basically looked for reception venues within walking distance of there – which narrowed the search considerably.
How did you find planning your wedding?
It was pretty easy to be honest. Neither of us are particularly ‘weddingy’ people, I am not one of those women who dreamed of a big white dress from childhood so had no fixed preconceived ideas of what I wanted. I think that is what stresses a lot o f people out, they are on a targeted quest for the ‘right’ dress/venue/etc when we were more open minded. Our family and friends were super supportive of our approach which meant a lot, we didn’t like quite a lot of the more traditional aspects of weddings (religion, spending the night apart before, father giving the bride away, changing names..) and nobody batted an eyelid when we said we wanted to do it our way. I found breaking it down into manageable chunks made it easier, I got pretty much 90% of my ideas from Instagram and did a bit of scrolling and list making on my lunch break each day rather than mega planning sessions. Quite early on we went to the Most Curious Wedding Fair at Old Truman Brewery in Shoreditch – that was fantastically helpful for getting started wide ideas, and I’d really recommend going to a fair for anyone at the start of this process feeling a bit overwhelmed.
How did you bring your individual personalities and your values in to your wedding day?
I think by rejecting all the problematic traditions associated with weddings as mentioned above, a church would have been absolutely out of the question for us and while the registry office experience wasn’t perfect, when we were saying our vows it felt truly honest and real for us so that meant a lot. For me the biggest way I brought my individual personality in was wearing a bridal jumpsuit! Everyone got a real kick out of that and I absolutely loved it, it was white and lacy but also midi length and with pockets so a perfect balance between traditional and modern, and everyone who knows me knows I adore a jumpsuit so that was great. So many women were marvelling at me saying how brave I was and how they wished they could have worn a jumpsuit for their wedding which amazed me, it’s your day people!
I think the focus on food was another key way we put our personalities and values as a couple front and centre, it wasn’t about being glam or fancy but about hearty, delicious food shared family style on long tables, everyone being together and getting stuck in for a celebratory feast – that was the best part of the day really. And the cheese cake! We decided long before we got engaged that if we ever got married we would have a tower of cheese instead of a cake and that worked out amazingly (and allowed us to include a dessert course from the pub’s yummy menu). Having the cheese tasting at La Fromagerie to choose the layers for our ‘cake’ was one of the funnest parts of the planning process and everyone loved tasting the cheeses we had chosen.
Which venues did you choose and why?
The register office was purely because it was in a pretty old building and very nearby to our flat, which we really wanted. That was a decision we made quite quickly at the start. Then the pub for the reception we chose because it was within walking distance of the register office, had a space you could hire for free that fitted our requirements in terms of numbers, and because they have amazing food. I came across them on Instagram where someone had shared a photo of a menu from a previous wedding at the Crooked Well – I immediately thought, wow that all sounds delicious. We went in for dinner there to check it out, they were immediately so welcoming and lovely, congratulating us on our engagement and offering us free prosecco. They seemed genuinely so excited to host us and to make it the best day possible, which was lovely. We looked at a couple of other venues where it was all ‘you can’t do this, can’t do that, this is only available at these times, you must do this and not that..’ and it felt like you were being treated just as a transaction to extract as much money as possible. The Crooked Well team were the opposite.
What did you both wear? Why did you choose that?
I wore a white lace midi length jumpsuit from Whistles bridal. The first thing I did when we came back from the holiday where we got engaged was google ‘high street wedding dresses’ as I am definitely not the big custom made meringue type, Whistles immediately came up as recommended in multiple places and as soon as I saw the jump suit I fell in love. I wear jumpsuits a lot, and it seemed appropriate to continue this on the big day! I went with one of my bridesmaids to try it on, and was explaining to the salesperson that I had just got engaged and this was the first outfit I was trying. As soon as it was on I just said ‘yep it’s the one’ and she was gobsmacked I could decide so quickly, but when you know, you know! Cosmo wore a blue three piece suit from Suit Supply, this was decided a bit later on once we had figured out a rough colour scheme for the wedding generally so he could fit in with that. He had some gorgeous deep burgundy patent shoes from Ask The Missus and I got some gold glittery mid heels from Office that were brilliant, I had an extra pair of flats from Betsey Johnson Blue to change into but never did as the heels were comfortable enough to dance in all night. Everyone absolutely loved my clutch bag from I Know The Queen, I found it in a wedding magazine and it was absolutely perfect, and tied the whole look together.
What sort of theme did you go for with your decor and styling?
I am not the most visually creative person so relied a lot on a talented bridesmaid who is and also trusting our suppliers to do their thing. I would say that is probably the main advice I would give here, find people like florists whose work you really like and then give them a rough brief and let them get on with it, they will probably do a better job than you and you’ll get a nice surprise on the day! My initial instinct was pale pink for bridesmaids dresses (millennial pink all the way, I’m such a cliche) with metallic accents, as I love rose gold. My bridesmaid encouraged me to remember that we were planning in the summer but the wedding would be in autumn when it was much darker and colder, plus she suggested working with the decor in the venue rather than against it which was a great tip. So we introduced a bit of burgundy into the colour scheme along with white, metallics and pink.
I had a photo album of Instagram screenshots and lots of different ideas, again great advice from my bridesmaid was to pick a couple of things and do them properly rather than trying to do everything – so we just went with flowers and balloons. We ordered lots of weighted bunches of beautiful opalescent and confetti filled balloons in a pink and burgundy colour scheme from Bubblegum Balloons to be delivered filled with helium o n the day which worked out amazingly and minimised hassle, plus lots of flower arrangements from the florist, with smaller ones along the centre of the banqueting tables and larger ones dotted around the venue. Our florist was fantastic and can’t thank her enough, Chanti Clark at Southern Wild based in Peckham – she was an absolute dream and is a true artist.
On top of this it just needed small details where I stuck with the metallic theme to bring it together – I bought loads of mixed gold tea light holders from The Wedding of My Dreams.com, little gold wire heart place holders from Amazon, then we just tied burgundy ribbon around the napkins. Our favours looked really cute on the table too, we got custom M&Ms from MyMMs.com in little heart shaped holders which I tied gold ribbon onto to pull together with the theme. We wanted a favour that everyone could enjoy, both adults and kids, and these worked out really well. If you can’t have M&Ms with your name on for your wedding, when can you?
What was your ceremony like?
The ceremony was short and sweet. At a register office you are pretty much churned through as quickly as possible, we were the last one of the day which made things a bit more relaxed. It was slightly stressful as there is no ability to really plan for the ceremony, you can’t get into the room in advance to rehearse or figure out where everyone will go, and you only meet the registrar five minutes before the ceremony so it was a bit of a panic trying to ensure she pronounced everyone’s names right. This is probably the one bit I would do differently actually, to get a celebrant in a licensed venue so that you can have more control over what is said, they get to know you, you can rehearse and practice etc.
We were only allowed one reading which my brother Phelim delivered beautifully for us, again it was one I found on Instagram! It was an extract from Song of the Open Road by Walt Whitman which we liked because it wasn’t a traditional lovey-dovey romantic poem but more about partnership and sticking by each other in the adventure of life. Choosing the songs was fun, usually at weddings you have old fashioned hymns but we walked into Ain’t No Mountain High Enough by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, signed the register to Movin’ On Up by Primal Scream and walked out to Don’t Stop by Fleetwood Mac. When the opening bars of the Mac started playing right after the ‘you may kiss the bride’ moment was probably the best bit of the ceremony for me. It all felt very ‘us’ which was great.
What was your plan for the reception / party?
We wanted everyone to just be very relaxed, well fed and have a good time, both adults and kids. We had about an hour and a half of mingling with canapes and bubbly which was great as we got to walk around and chat to everyone. We had a few little personal touches and activities dotted around which were a bit of an afterthought but actually made the day for me. We had a polaroid guest book, an idea I got from my florist as traditional guest books are a bit boring and with 30 guests we would have filled about 2 pages of one. I found an old wooden frame in my dad’s garage, spray painted it gold and looped clippy fairy lights around it, and propped it up with a polaroid camera – everyone took a photo, signed it and clipped it on the frame. It looked so cool and the adults and kids alike had fun messing around with the camera. I put together a little activity box for the kids with colouring books, glow sticks, bubbles, temporary tattoos etc which was good to have on hand and I hope help ed the adults relax a bit. We also had coasters on the table from The Wedding of my Dreams.com again which had a space to write on advice for the newly married couple – we put little pots of pens on the table and lots of people filled these out, reading them through after the wedding has been such a wonderful treat and they are one of the highlights for me. We are putting them along with the polaroids and some prints of our fabulous photos into a big scrapbook.
Dinner was delicious, we had a bunch of different starters from aubergine, mozzarella and pesto salad to crispy salt and pepper quid which everyone shared, then beef wellington and salmon wellington f or the main course, the theory being everyone would choose between the two but they were so delicious most of us had a bit of each! Then we had chocolate tart for dessert, before cutting the cheese cake which everyone helped themselves to throughout the night. The speeches were another big highlight of the day for us, we spread them out with a couple before dinner and a couple more between the main course and dessert which worked well. We started with the father of the bride and then one of my bridesmaids, then the best man and then Cosmo and I each gave a short speech. They were hilarious and moving and one of my favourite memories of the day.
If you had a first dance, what was the song and why?
It was Two Doors Down by the Mystery Jets. We have very different tastes in music and the closest we have come to a serious argument is debating whether Blur or Oasis were better (obviously Oasis, to anyone with sense..) but one of the few bands we both like is the Mystery Jets. We discovered early on that we had both been to the same Reading Festival before we met, when I would have been about 15 and Cosmo 20 (awkward) and both saw the Mystery Jets at the same time. Later it was then the first gig we went to together, and I remember at the time listening to this song and thinking it would be a good wedding first dance! The music at the wedding was very basic, we just had an iPod plugged into a big speaker. This is the one fault of the Crooked Well, the sound system was a bit rubbish, but everyone had drunk enough by that point to really go for it on the little dancefloor and I am really proud of our playlist. We had enough old classics on there that even my dad was cutting some crazy shapes.
What is your advice to other couples getting married? What would you do differently?
Number one advice would be follow your instincts, do what YOU want. The only things I regret about our day were the instances where I went against my first instinct and felt under pressure to do things because I ‘should’. Rely on your close friends and family to help, you won’t be able to do it all by yourself. Have a talk early on with your partner about the bottom line, what are the top 3 major dealbreakers for you with the wedding (ours was small, local, good food) and this will be a good focus point for you as you’re surrounded by millions of suggestions and ideas. The only thing I would do differently is use a celebrant instead of the register office, that whole experience in the planning stage was a bit stressful and it would have be en worth spending a bit more money to choose a person that you really like and tail or making your ceremony. Go to a wedding fair early on, don’t expect to make any major decisions there but get inspiration. Keep some form of visual record, I tried P interest but couldn’t get into it so kept a photo album on my phone of visual inspiration and shared it with my bridesmaids so they could share ideas. Buy a wedding planner book, I got one from Paperchase for £16 and it was super useful, lots of room for notes and checklists, folders to keep loose papers and invoices etc. Be really clear on the day if you want people to actually do important jobs, we said ‘ok us hers can you do this’ and none of it happened, be specific and say to individuals ‘you are in charge of this!’.
What was it like to work with me?
Amazing! Hiring you was the best decision we made (aside from marrying each other..). Whole process was perfect from start to finish, and the photos are INCREDIBLE. Everyone on the day commented on how fab our photographer was, one of our guests is a semi professional photographer so brought her camera to the wedding, but said she quickly put it away when she saw how great you were! We wanted fun and informal documentary style photography, and said from the start we both can’t stand those weddings where everyone has to stand around for 2 hours while the couple has an extended photoshoot with loads of moody black and white portraits. You gave excellent and efficient direction so we got all the group shots we wanted quickly, keeping everyone’s spirits up in that freezing garden when they all just wanted to get inside, and the photos you got of me and Cosmo together are just perfect – not staged or posey, but perfectly capturing how we really are.