On the blog this week is Hannah and Alex’s mega fun London city wedding – complete with lots of Greek dancing and Irish spirit. When I first met Hannah and Alex and they told me they just wanted to have fun with their family and friends, I knew their wedding was going to be good – and it did not disappoint! The dance floor was packed right from first dance all the way through to when I reluctantly packed up my camera kit to go home a few hours later.
How did you meet?
The most romantic of love stories – we met at an infamous Irish bar in Stockwell called the Swan at about 5am. But Alex did then take me to Gordan’s wine bar for our first date which was a little more classy.
What was the proposal like?
Hilarious! We were in Jamaica but there was a storm warning so sadly Alex’s romantic dinner for two on the beach got moved to the sitting room of another hotel room which was deadly quiet and totally devoid of atmosphere, we moved the settings onto the balcony to make it seems slight less bizarre. We were then visited by an over-enthusiastic hotel photographer who made us pose for ‘romantic pictures’ (we’ve never seen the result of these). Finally, over pudding Alex was ready to propose but our eager waitress obviously wanted to witness so Alex had to ask her to wait outside before he proceeded to panic, practically throw the ring at me and ask if ‘I..er…fancy getting married’. Luckily, there wasn’t actually a storm anyway so we then had some much more chilled drinks on the beach. This is my paraphrased, slightly hazy memory of a perfect proposal anyway.
Which London Wedding venues did you choose?
We chose St Etheldreda’s Roman Catholic church for our ceremony – it’s an absolutely stunning and very old church in the heart of London City. And, it turns out that my mum has taken us there for mass a few times as a child. It was really close to our reception venue too – I loved the idea of a whole gaggle of people heading to the reception together. We got a wedding car from the church to the reception and that is the one thing I regret, not walking with everyone.
Our reception was at Stationers Hall, a very large venue in central London with a garden. The rooms are stunning. I was slightly concerned if the formal and slightly medieval looking hall would transform into an evening venue but with a whole load of uplighters from the DJ it looked and felt just how I wanted.
What did you wear?
I wanted a dress that was comfortable and that I could eat and dance in. I went for a classic style with Grecian floor length dress with a plunging neckline. It worked perfectly! And the split up the front meant you could see my pink shoes giving it a slightly less traditional feel. I had a simple cathedral length veil which was so long! It may have looked photogenic but it was supremely annoying. Then some coloured dried flowers in my hair. I didn’t want to look too precious so ended up wearing an old pair of earrings which added a bit of bling! My ‘something borrowed’ was an elephant broach on the waistband from my mum, ‘something blue’ was a bracelet from my sister, ‘something old’ was a ring I wear all the time which has been passed down the family and ‘something new’ was pretty much the rest!
Alex wore a pale grey suit. All the groomsmen wore brightly coloured ties which coordinated with the flowers and bridesmaid dresses.
What theme did you go for with your wedding styling?
We didn’t have a specific theme as such, we just wanted it to be a very colourful and fun day. This was incorporated in the bridesmaid dresses, some were in sunflower yellow and some in raspberry pink, my shoes were bright pink, the flowers and the very colourful confetti. For all our stationary we had a greenery, leafy motif which was also brought out in the beautiful garlands we had on the banqueting tables and all the olive leaves around the cake. We didn’t have a traditional cake but a tower of cheese as we are quite possibly addicted to cheese. I made the table plan with my sister. We decided not to do table names, but many people commented on how much like Hogwarts it looked, so in retrospect wish I’d done the Hogwarts house names. Alex is half Greek, half Irish so the greenery did look quite greek, my dress actually looked quite Greek (unintentional), and we also had Greek and Irish dancing through the night (sadly the lovely listed floors understandably meant no plate smashing inside).
What was your ceremony like?
Our favourite bit, aside from the sermon, was probably when we both got the giggles as couldn’t remember if either of us had taken the labels of our shoes, but neither of us could check in the way we were kneeling.
What did you enjoy about your reception?
So many highlights! We it ended on the best high ever. We chose Oasis – Don’t look back in anger, which was maybe a bit cheesy but we knew everyone would know it. We were up on people shoulders with everyone, all our favourite people in the world, circled around us all singing along. It was the best possible way to end the night!
What was your first dance?
Lucky Man – The Verve. We both knew we didn’t want a particularly romantic, slow song as or first dance. We, also have very different music taste but we discovered it apparently crosses over in Mancunian Rock given we’d narrowed it down to The Smiths and Oasis as well…who knew!
What entertainment did you have?
During the day we had a pianist playing modern music during the drinks reception in the garden and then again during meal. I’ve been at wedding before and it’s lovely background music, plus you constantly find yourself recognising songs. Also, one of my relatives is a great pianist and ended up dueting with him for a few songs.
For the evening we had a DJ who was accompanied by a saxophonist which everyone really loved. I think a highlight was seeing the saxophonist up on the window sill, silhouetted against the stained glass window. (PianoDJs organised all of this).
What’s your advice to other couples getting married?
In the run up I wished I’d done so many things differently (not had a London wedding, had it more casual, had it smaller, etc, etc), but on the day everything went so well! I am so glad I stayed with what we originally planned as I wouldn’t change a thing. I think my main advice wouldn’t be don’t stress it, it may not be you’re perfect wedding ‘on paper’ but once it starts and everyone is having an amazing time then it doesn’t really matter where it is, what you wear or what the ‘theme’ is.
How did you manage your budget?
A large London wedding was always going to be a lot but we did come in just under budget. We did a few things to make that work for us, for example we wanted an open bar with a champagne reception and plenty of booze flowing, so it worked out it was cheaper to get corkage and then go to France and buy most of it there. My dress, while still not cheap, was ex-sample, and getting the veil from the same place meant I got a discount. All the suits were hired in the end as Alex hates wearing them so there was no point him buying one that would hardly ever be worn again (because my dress will be worn so much again… :)). Rather than have a three course meal, we had two courses and then provided a help yourself cake buffet from M&S, plus some baklava and loukoumi from Greece.
What was it like to work with me?
So much fun!! I would recommend you to anyone. For our pre-wedding shoot you gave us enough direction without us feeling stilted and posed, you made us relaxed and made us laugh despite the fact there were quite a few people around. Plus, you were great company. This was so reassuring for the wedding day. On the day you were subtle in the church, organised the group photos with just the right amount of forcefulness while coming across as light-hearted and upbeat the whole time, plus you got all the posed photos over quickly, so we weren’t away for the guests for too long. I have had so many compliments for you, from people at the reception who said how much fun you were to have around. And the bridesmaids said you were great in what sounded like a slightly stressful car journey where you were very calming company. Everyone who has seen the photos so far loves them!
If you’re planning your own London City wedding and want me to come along and capture the fun, you can check out my prices here and get in contact with me here.
London City Wedding Suppliers
Bride’s dress and veil: Savin Olivia from Gillian Million
Bride’s shoes: Russell & Bromley
Bride’s hair accessories : Etsy
Bride’s earrings: Mango
Groom’s suit: Moss Bross
Groom and groomsmen’s ties: James Alexander
Make up: Lauren Mathis
Bridesmaids dresses: Boden
Ceremony venue: St Etheldredas Church
Reception venue: Stationer’s Hall London
Catering: Chester Boyd
Entertainment: Piano DJ
Flowers: Blue Lavender Barnes
Transport: Crawford Cars