Images by MBH Photography.
Bride Fee has a knack with words, so make yourself comfortable and have a good ol’ read (and giggle) and she talks you through her big East London shindig with Oli. There’s mismatched maids, glittering gowns, whiskey bottles and pizza, all managed by an Excel spreadsheet.
Our kinda gal…
Notes from the Bride
Having moved straight to East London from Manchester, without knowing anyone in the South, immediately after graduation and with Oliver’s parent’s having grown up in the area, we both have an affinity to the area and knew it was where we wanted to get married.
We are not “foodies” by a long shot, with the sophistication of our palettes being based on the spectrum of carbs we enjoy, but we do love food. We therefore wanted a venue where we could decide on the caterer and avoid feeding our guests the standard chicken wrapped in parma ham. Our dream wedding would see everyone full, drunk and dancing, so having an open bar which we could stock was also important, and this eliminated a huge number of locations.
We also wanted somewhere where we could host the ceremony and the reception. With a large contingent coming from the North, asking all our guests to navigate across London in any manner or trying to ferry everyone in buses would have exposed us to the whims of London traffic and likely a few lost guests…
Shoreditch Studios ticked all the boxes. It was completely dry hire, meaning we could have a hand in every aspect of the wedding. Perfect for a control freak like me who feels they missed their calling as an event planner and finds joy in researching and preparing hour by hour spreadsheets in advance of our holidays.
Having found the perfect venue, the master of all planning spreadsheets was born. The next task being the dress. After creating a day running tab that scheduled in more shops than was physically possible, my mum and my two maids of honour got to watch me reject dress after dress. They all looked the same to me, with some bodice detail and a skirt. I started to err towards something plainer than plain, straight up and down, with sleeves. But turns out I do not have the figure to carry off block white chiffon. Fearing that – because I’m usually dressed as if I’m attending a funeral – I would never find anything, it was of course in the last shop that we found my glittering gown. I’d never seen anything like it and fell in love as soon as I tried it on.
With the dress being spectacular rather than subdued, I opted away from a veil or accessories. I also wanted my bridesmaids to feel as glamorous and comfortable as I did so I invited them to find whatever dress they wanted in a shade of gold. I’m not sure this freedom to decide was received as favourably as I would have thought but, in the end, everyone found a dress they loved, and we adored the mismatching look. We also had a couple of hair and makeup trials, but these were largely so we could get together and get pampered for the day, rather than to perfect any specific look. Overall, managing to avoid dressing and styling 5 grown and unique women in some identical manner, and instead having them all feeling preened and beautiful was my greatest feat of the day!
When it came to the look for the big day, we wanted to avoid a theme, foliage or bunting. I have also not inherited my very artistic mum’s crafting genes, and so any “Pinterest” worthy up-cycling projects were out. More still, the venue had so much character of its own, with coves, a winding stairwell, exposed bricks and overhead pipes, that we didn’t want to detract from it.
Opting as far away from floristry and kitsch as possible, we collected whiskey bottles, which would later be draped with a pearl loop and a single thistle placed in each, to act as our sole table decorations. Both our families have roots in Scotland, which Oliver tries to use as his excuse for whisky intake levels, so this décor was chic but also meaningful for us. The excessive fairy lights and draped Edison vintage lightbulbs completed the look.
Not having a florist meant we had more freedom on the bouquets, and I worked with a wonderful designer who made the most beautiful golden silk creations for us all as well as two flower crowns for my flower girls, corsages for the mothers, button holes for the groomsmen and personalised hangers for the bridal party.
Continuing to not want any aspect of the wedding to feel like a compromise, and instead that every element of the day would be characteristic, we sourced our carb-based canapés from one caterer, our pizza feast from another, and forwent a wedding cake in favour of a Krispy Kream donut tower. For us it was akin to a last supper. Serving Brick Lane bagels as our evening snack was another nod to our love for East London. Putting together a menu of canapés that put to shame most American diners was the most difficult, with most caterers wanting to display their culinary, rather than frying, skills. Thankfully the venue had already made an introduction to a trusted supplier for chairs and tables, who in conversation we realised was also a caterer. Greg at Cater London ended up being such a huge part of putting together our perfect wedding that we cannot praise him (and his delicious mini mac ‘n’ cheese with Wotsit dust) enough.
Best part of the day
Throughout the planning we tried to eliminate all lovey elements from the day and focus more on hosting our dream celebration. This included not wanting to disappear for hours for a posed photoshoot we would cringe over. That being said, after we scoured Instagram pages of recommended photographers to find Matthew (who so perfectly captured every candid moment) my favourite moment of the day was when Matthew asked if he could borrow Oliver and I for just 5 minutes. We must have looked sceptical as he went onto explain that the light was perfect and he just wanted to take us outside the venue to walk along the road and take it in – no posing direction or having to gaze at one another! That walk with my new husband was idyllic and the photos are some of my favourites. Months later, looking through all the photos and seeing all the fun being had and emotion of everyone made all the meticulous planning and efforts to personalise every single element worth it! There isn’t a thing we would have changed.
From one bride to another
With the day now a perfect memory, I would encourage any future bride and groom to be as involved in the day as they want. If you are inclined to stress about having to make decisions and wouldn’t enjoy spending a lot of time constructing the day then there’s no shame in getting packages. There is also nothing wrong with knowing exactly what you do and don’t want and being unwilling to compromise, if you’re prepared to put the hours in to make sure everything is “just right” and have the Excel capabilities to put the plan together!
Venue Shoreditch Studios
Photography MBH Photography
Dress Designer Eliza Jane Howell
Bridal Boutique Mirror Mirror
Shoes Adrianna Papell
Hair Lipstick & Curls
Canapés and Catering Management (including bar, tables and chair hire) Cater London
Wedding Breakfast Catering Well Kneaded
Donut Tower Krispy Kreme
Lighting and Dance Floor Hire Monet Events
Silk Bouquets, Flower Crowns and Hangers Simply Rustic by Lorna
Band Smooth Sailors