When Grace and Graeme told me they had a cat named Peggy Mitchell I was dead set on shooting their wedding. First of all, I love cats and secondly I love Eastenders. And who was the greatest character is Eastenders histroy? Only East End Queen GETOUTTAMAPUB Peggy Mitchell. Which is a fitting name for a cat owned by a couple who had a lovely East London wedding. The were a dream come true for me!
Scroll down to see all the photos and read how they planned their perfect wedding. They had eclectic bridesmaids in yellow, dried flowers, a couple of hundred green beer bottles, A DOG and Grace chose to wear her glasses (because as a fellow specs wearer it’s lovely to see a bride in glasses!).
What’s your love story? How did you meet?
We met back in 2011 when Graeme started work at the group of recording studios where Grace worked. After a year of hanging out and after-work drinks we got together after a fateful Elton John gig in 2012!
What was the proposal like?
Super laid-back. Grace was studying for her finance exams on a Saturday, and as soon as she got through the door Graeme proposed in the flat with Belle & Sebastian playing in the background. We hastily had a cup of tea then headed out for a celebratory dinner.
How did you find planning your wedding? Anything funny/interesting happen along the way?
We did nothing for about 6 months, then took it pretty steadily over two years. We knew from the start that we wanted to get married in London, and spent a long time looking at lots of venues, primarily in East London. We were trying to find a venue that would fit in our budget, was in a location we were likely to visit again, and would allow us a fun and informal party that was still felt a bit fancy.
We tried to plan things so that there wouldn’t be any last-minute stresses or too much to do at once or on the day. Dried flowers meant we had all the bouquets, button-holes and flowers for decorating the venue over a month in advance. Using beer bottles as vases meant that they could go in the bottle bank at the end of the night, rather than worrying about bringing lots of vases home at the end of the night, or hire collections.
We had a lot of fun getting through all the beers for vases in the couple of months leading up to the wedding. Anyone visiting our home in those couple of months could only drink beer, which I don’t think anyone particularly minded. We managed to finish the 120 with a couple of days to spare before the wedding. I don’t think we will be drinking any Biere D’or in the near future.
Which venues did you choose and why?
We chose Islington Town Hall for the ceremony and The Tab Centre in Shoreditch for the reception. The Council Chamber in the Town Hall is a beautiful venue, and we needed somewhere that could fit all of our guests for both ceremony and reception. The Tab Centre is a lovely old hall right in the middle of Shoreditch. It’s a not-for-profit venue and anything they make goes back into supporting the local community too which appealed to us, and being dry-hire we had the freedom to do what we wanted in there. We live in East London and knowing that we’d wander past the venues from time to time after the wedding appealed to us too.
What was your ceremony like?
The ceremony was a bit of a blur! The Council Chamber at Islington Town Hall is a beautiful venue so we didn’t need to do any decorating in there. We had a carefully curated selection of Belle & Sebastian songs playing while guests arrived, then for the ceremony music we had an acoustic band made from 4 of our friends. They are all trained musicians so the music was fantastic. We had one short reading by Grace’s sister Hannah- “That Still & Settled Place” by Edward Monkton. It spoke to us because we’re most relaxed and content when we’re together in our home in Plaistow. In an other slight break with tradition we had our Mums as witnesses, and Grace walked down the aisle solo behind her parents. For the music we had Blackbird by The Beatles as Grace walked down the aisle, then during the signing of the register we had When I Go by Slow Club and Fairytale Lullaby by Bombay Bicycle Club (a John Martyn cover), then Two Of Us by The Beatles as we left.
What did you both wear? Why did you choose those outfits?
Grace wore a dress by “Sweetheart” from a wedding outlet near Graeme’s home village in Yorkshire (Bridal Factory Outlet). I had been to a couple of dress shops, and found the experience a bit terrifying, as I’m not really one for getting dressed up.
The outlet felt a lot more chilled out, and there was loads to chose from which you could buy off-the-peg there and then. A couple of married friends had also recommended the dress outlet, as it was where they had bought their dresses. I was pretty sure I would be having a good dance and flinging wine around by the end of the night, so it was important that my dress allowed dancing, and I wouldn’t be too heartbroken if it was a bit stained by the end of the wedding. I bought flat blue leather sandals and jewellery from a selection of Etsy shops. The sandals were super comfortable, which also enabled a lot of dancing, and I think having a bit of colour made my outfit look a bit more fun than classic white shoes. My hair and make-up was done by Anita Stevens, she was great! I knew very little about what I wanted, so she was fantastic at making suggestions, and I felt so glamorous once she was finished.
Graeme wore a suit by Alexandre of England after a long afternoon of suit shopping on Oxford street with his slightly more fashion-conscious friend, shoes and accessories were from Ted Baker.
What sort of theme did you go with for your wedding decor?
We were going for a more informal, colourful theme than your classic high-end wedding. Seat covers were banned for a start. We used dry flowers throughout the venue and for the bouquets and button-holes, all coloured blue, purple and yellow. We spent the months prior to the wedding drinking 120 little green bottles of beer to put the flowers in on the tables, which actually worked out cheaper than buying glass bottles or hiring vases, and meant they could all go into the bottle bank at the end of the night. For favours we used succulents, adding to the green vibe of the venue. We went with rustic looking tables and decorated them with the flowers, succulents and fairy lights. The venue had coloured down lighters, so after a few bay trees and a giant light-up “MCALLEN” sign that’s about all the decorating we had to do! One of our favourite items was the guestbook and polaroid camera – we’ve been enjoying looking through the hilarious messages and photos after the wedding!
What was the plan for your reception?
Aside from feeding and watering everyone we didn’t have much of a plan for reception! Our caterers were PieMinister. We had a drinks reception with canapés on the balcony at The Tab Centre, followed by a main meal of pie and mash, after which Grace’s Mum, Graeme and his head groomsman Graham gave speeches, then it was straight into the party for the rest of the night. The most important thing for us was that we had all our friends and family in one place having a great time, and I think it’s safe to say we achieved that.
What is your advice for other couples getting married? What would you do differently?
I think my (Graeme) advice would be to try and relax and enjoy the day. Try not to focus on all the tiny details, and trust that you and your friends and family will have a fantastic time regardless of the colour of your napkins for example. If you don’t fancy running around on the morning of the wedding go for decorations like dried flowers that you can get well in advance. We were able to set up the venue the day before too which was incredibly helpful. I think my advice (Grace), is pretty similar to Graeme’s.
Only bits I would add, is that I’m really glad we spent the night together the evening before the wedding. I think you can feel quite stressed the night before about everything running smoothly on the day, and that all your guests are going to get there. I imagine we both would have felt a lot more stressed if we hadn’t have been together to chill each other out. My only other advice is about hair and make-up.
I had been in two minds about spending what felt like quite a lot of money on getting my hair and make-up done the morning of the wedding, as I don’t really do much dressing up. I’m so glad I did, as I felt super glamarous and fancy all dolled-up. To reiterate, I think dried flowers was a great move, my bouquet still looks lovely in a vase at home!
What was it like to work with me?
Rowan was fantastic! We didn’t appreciate before the wedding that you’re not just looking for someone who can take fantastic photos (which Rowan can), but it’s also really important that they can organise people and arrange great group photos without being bossy, blend into the crowd when needed, and generally be great fun and get along with all your guests. Rowan absolutely smashed it and all our guests have commented on how great she was and how lovely the photos are. She was also brilliant at finding little spots around the venue to take photos, for example some street art in a church yard near The Tab Centre, and a great big yellow door that went perfectly with the bridesmaids’ dresses, all without taking us away from the party for too long.
East London Wedding Photos
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Bride’s dress: Bridal Factory Outlet, Northallerton
Grooms Suit : Alexandre of England from House of Fraser
Ceremony venue: Islington Town Hall
Reception venue: The Tab Centre
Entertainment: Signature Sounds DJ
Transport: London Retro Bus Hire
If you’re planning your own East London wedding and looking for a photographer that’s not going to make you do boring and cheesey stuff then get in touch with me! You can see my prices here, read what other people think of me here and contact me here.