Our Wedding Day
On the 5th April James and I got married! The last 7 months have flown by so quickly, It’s hard to believe it’s been over half a year already. We had such an amazing day – super laid back, fun with a tropical boho kind of vibe.
I thought it’d be nice to share the low down of our day and a bit about the planning process…
The proposal and the engagement
James proposed to me whilst we were out celebrating our birthday’s (our birthdays are two days apart so we usually do a joint celebration). It was such a lovely surprise and what made it even more special is that our close friends were there with us! James had planned to have a “loooong engagement” (his words) but me being the impatient person that I am, I wasn’t on that. so we compromised and got married after a 14-month engagement.
The Wedding Planning
I was super relaxed with wedding planning. I’m quite a laid back person anyway; usually leaving things to the very last minute. I kept telling myself that I wouldn’t get stressed out about anything and just try to enjoy the process – and apart from a few issues that were out of my control, I pretty much stayed true to my word.
We found our reception venue 5 months before. My wedding dress was ready the night before and I finished braiding my hair in the early hours of the morning (yes, on the wedding day!) All of which could have stressed me out but I was actually very calm about the whole thing. I just knew everything would work out in the end and it did.
We live in North London and I wanted to keep it fairly local and since neither of us are religious we opted for a registry office. We chose Islington Town hall – It’s an absolutely stunning venue and also close to home. Our ceremony was held in the councillor’s chambers which was perfect for our wedding size. It can hold up to 160 guests in total. Following the ceremony, we held our reception at Jones and Sons in Dalston. This restaurant is such a hidden gem! It has a main space, a separate party room and it also has a seating area outside which was lovely on the day as the sun had come out. The décor throughout the venue, the food and the hard-working staff were all amazing! They were so helpful from the very first day I contacted them. They offered us complimentary food and drink tastings which were great as it gave us a real feel of what our guests would be getting on the day. I’ve heard good things about their bottomless Sunday brunch and they also do external catering too, so go check them out!
We had 60 guests during the day and a further 60-ish join us for the party in the evening. From the very beginning of wedding planning we had decided that we wanted quite a small wedding. We wanted it to feel intimate during the day but still have enough guests to create a buzzing party come the night. Speaking to other married people, everyone agreed that finalising the guestlist was always a difficult area and it wasn’t any different for us. Due to our wedding size and our really big families we were limited to the day guests we could invite – this seemed to piss off some people who failed to understand that we couldn’t invite everyone! We chose to invite our closest friends during the day along with immediate family and some uncles/aunties. We then had our cousins, extended family members and some more friends join us at the reception. We also chose not to invite children (apart from the wedding party) to any part of the day. Some couples are fine with having lots of children at their wedding, but for us it wasn’t the kind of wedding we wanted. We had a vision of everyone having a great time, drinking and being carefree without having children running riot! The guest list and the ‘no children policy’ was fine with most of our guests but it did cause a problem with some who just didn’t seem to share our vision. This was the only stressful part of the wedding process for me. Some of those that were invited complained that they were not invited to the ceremony, some were not happy that their children couldn’t attend, some didn’t attend because of it and some didn’t even bother to RSVP at all – (now that’s just bloody rude!) But what I came to realise is that it really doesn’t matter what you choose to do, there will always be a few people that complain and there is nothing you can do about that. I’ll be honest though, I was quite upset about this but then I said to myself “hold up, it’s our wedding, not theirs!”
I was looking online and in a few shops for months and months but I couldn’t find anything that I loved that was within budget so with 3 months to go I decided to get my dress made from scratch. My parents recommended No one famous tailoring to me. I approached them with an idea of what I wanted and a photo of a designer dress that I absolutely loved the look of but didn’t want to spend £1.5k on. They advised me where to source my materials and then they began working on the dress. I was SO HAPPY with the final product. It was just what I wanted and most importantly for me, it suited my style and I felt amazing wearing it! I wanted something with a bohemian feel but something that was also a little bit sexy (oh hello leg split and low back ;-). If you’re thinking of getting anything bespoke, I would strongly advise giving the tailors at least 6 months notice for peace of mind in case things take longer than expected.
In regards to shoes, I really struggled. I’m a UK size 8 and have wide feet so most standard 8’s don’t even fit me and annoyingly most highstreet retailers don’t stock anything larger. On the day before the wedding, when I should have been relaxing sipping prosecco with cucumbers on my eyes, I ended up spending 6 hours on Oxford street trying to find some bloody shoes! At the end of a long (and very rainly) day, I eventually found some sick blue suede heels from Kurt Geiger in Selfridges. They were absolutely perfect because they were comfy, easy to walk in and they added a lovely pop of colour to my ivory dress.
James opted for a dark blue tweed suit from Walker Slater and he chose tan shoes from Dune and I must say he scrubbed up very well… proper suave!
We really wanted amazing, non-cheesy, non-traditional, stylish but not contrived photos and a photographer that understood our style. We found exactly that with the amazing Gary aka Marshal Gray . He is such a lovely guy and we were beyond happy with our photos! Apart from some portraits of me and James, we decided against doing any organised formal shots as we really didn’t want the orchestrated stiff sort of shots. The photos really do speak for themselves. Here are some that sums up our day…
We also did a pre wedding shoot with him a few days before the wedding which was a great way to get to know him better and a nice warm-up before the day. I definitely recommend this for any wedded couples to be!
When we first started planning, I was certain I could plan a low budget wedding under £5k. James laughed at me and said I was crazy…he had a point! Maybe if we had half the guests and served sandwiches and cocktail sausages for dinner I might have managed it. But that wasn’t really the style we were going for. We definitely spent more than £5k. As soon as we started to book things we knew we’d end up spending around £12-13k. But considering we had a London wedding I would say that we did pretty well. Everything adds up and everything has a ‘wedding premium’ attached to it. But what we did do is save money where we could – with the help of friends and family we sourced and made a lot of things ourselves. All the flowers except for my bouquet were purchased and put together ourselves – fresh flowers from Tesco (and my Mum’s garden) and artificial flowers from IKEA and amazon. I also braided my own hair and shaved my sidecut which saved about £100.
My advice for couples is to save wherever you can and DIY things instead, as long as it doesn’t cause more stress than it’s worth. Consider getting married out of the summer season, October – April is usually a lot cheaper. Having a weekday wedding also cuts costs down quite a bit. Every little helps!
Overall it was such a great day for us…I arrived on time, which was a surprise to most people (they have no faith in me!) and James managed to stay sober for a few hours – success!
A MASSIVE shout-out to our family and friends for all their help (especially my Mum, our Best Men and Maid of Honours!!) And also to our suppliers for their wonderful services. Big up your chests!
Paddy Cakes – for our delicious wedding cake which was ahhhhmazing
beautybyshiama – for working her magic on my face
Showtime Photo booths – for their selfie photo booth
Dorris Loves– for their great pop up temporary tattoo booth and light up letters
Dee Jay Raw – for the sick tunes and keeping everyone vibzing all night
Keep your eyes peeled for a post I will be putting out soon on the aftermath of the wedding and the low down on whether anything has changed for us.