Planning a wedding is probably one of the biggest things you’ll do in your life; unless you elope or hire a wedding planner so I thought a page all about my wedding which I managed to plan during a pandemic (extra stressful) might be useful; I’ll be linking any posts I’ve written that might be helpful as well as showing you which vendors we went with, so if your London based then hopefully you might get some ideas.
All photos taken by our wonderful wedding photographers Ollie & Nix.
Kicking it off with make up and hair.
I did my own hair and make up as well as my both my bridesmaids; as a trained make-up artist this was the most obvious choice and it helped seeing as the rule of 6 was very much in play during the wedding so it meant we could limit the amount of people. I am a firm believer of using make up to enhance on your wedding day so went for a simple but effective brown smokey eye with a fresh base (full details in the linked post). My hair seeing as it was freshly cut just needed a curling iron to keep it styled but simple.
My wedding dress was from Needle & Thread; I really wanted something that wasn’t traditional and as a more petite woman I wanted a shorter style to make sure I didn’t look drowned in the dress. I wore second hand champagne Kurt Geiger shoes which I had also worn to my sisters wedding (my something old) and the headband was from Accessorize. I kept the jewellery simple as the dress is quite a statement piece. Nails done at Kiss n Make Up salon in Twickenham – I can’t remember the polish name. I made the bridal hanger myself; such an easy simple DIY and the perfect memory for you and your bridal party.
The Bridal Party
Bridesmaids dresses, I had my big sister as my maid of honour and my best friend as my bridesmaid and it was a bit of a mission to find the right dress for them. I wanted them to be able to have something they would wear again and I didn’t want it to be too formal as my dress certainly wasn’t. We found these gorgeous dresses in Monsoon and they were perfect for the time of year and both girls looked gorgeous. My maid of honour bought these gorgeous shoes from Wills Vegan shoes specially for the occasion and my bridesmaid wore her own nude heels. My mum who walked my down the aisle wore a beautiful black velvet dress (it’s actually traditional apparently for the mother of the bride to wear black) which she wore to my sisters wedding – if you hadn’t already guessed we encouraged everyone to re-wear favourite dresses or outfits.
The groom, my wonderful husband wore this stunning three piece suit from Marks & Spencer, I love the subtle tweed running through and the blue/grey colour. He paired it with brown suede Chelsea boots and a burgundy tie – his best man had a matching tie and pocket square. Accessory wise he just wore his watch and then of course after the ceremony he had his wedding band. My mum made up the buttonholes with a mixture of herbs and tiny flowers from the garden all knotted together with twine, I think they compliment the tie and pocket square perfectly.
Our wedding photos were taken by local photographer couple Ollie & Nix; they do a documentary style of wedding photography and it suited the casual vibe we wanted for the big day. My favourite photos are the little moments we didn’t even know they were capturing and they made both of us and all our guests really at ease in front on the camera. As we only had 10 guests they really became part of the wedding party which was so lovely!
A lot of people asked why we decided to still get married in the midst of the pandemic as our reception had been postponed already and we were only able to have ten guests. The simple answer is because it’s not about the big party, it’s about making that commitment to one another; plus I want to look back on 2020 and not just see a horrible year, our wedding was a little bit of light in the darkness.
I knew from the beginning of wedding planning that I wanted ‘homegrown’ flowers; not imported as I was hoping to keep the carbon footprint as low as possible. My mum found the wonderful Nettlewood Flowers based in Lewes (she was originally based in Teddington near where I live but luckily she could still provide the flowers after her move). We were able to visit the cut garden and talk through all of our ideas with her and see them before we decided. The bouquets were beautiful and on mine, we attached a penguin key ring of my dads so I could have a piece of him as I walked down the aisle. She also provided flowers for the chapel which my mum arranged in an array of vases that we had collected from charity shops.
The first thing I did just after we got engaged was book Lovekyn Chapel as our venue. It’s the most beautiful white washed wall chapel in Kingston with huge windows and is the perfect blank canvas, there is also a beautiful little garden in the back where you and your guests can mingle afterwards. We used the flowers from Nettlewood Flowers as well as some beautiful twisted hazel to create bursts of colour. I love the wood floor and was the perfect size for our small wedding; we originally had 40 people coming – which then obviously kept getting cut down but the nicest thing was we didn’t feel like we were rattling around in the building it also meant we could safely socially distance everyone. I walked down the aisle to ‘This will be (everlasting love)‘ by Natalie Cole. Originally I was supposed to have a pianist but sadly due to numbers we had to cancel this but my wonderful brother in law rigged up a speaker so I could still have some music.
Touches of vintage
Chair covers turned out to be one of the hardest things to decide on during wedding planning; that was until I discovered Betty Loves Vintage. I loathe white spandex chair covers – personally I think they look like you’re attending a cult meeting but the chairs at the venue weren’t pretty either so when I found these beautiful vintage Liberty print chair covers I hired them immediately, they really helped add some colour to the chapel.
Broadcasting our wedding
With so many people now unable to attend the big day we turned to Zoom and my tech savy brother in law who was able to broadcast it to everyone. He managed to capture everything for everyone without it becoming a distraction for the guests actually in attendance and we had so many people tune in. Was so nice to know that they were still able to join in with the joy of the big day. He also filmed it on a separate camera so we could send it to anyone who hadn’t been able to log onto the zoom, plus means we have a copy of it forever as well.
We were lucky enough to still be allowed to have a reading at our wedding and my sister stepped up to read ‘All I Know About Love‘ by Neil Gaiman.
This is everything I have to tell you about love: nothing.
This is everything I’ve learned about marriage: nothing.
Only that the world out there is complicated, and there are beasts in the night, and delight and pain, and the only thing that makes it okay, sometimes, is to reach out a hand in the darkness and find another hand to squeeze, and not to be alone.
It’s not the kisses, or never just the kisses: it’s what they mean. Somebody’s got your back. Somebody knows your worst self and somehow doesn’t want to rescue you or send for the army to rescue them.
It’s not two broken halves becoming one. It’s the light from a distant lighthouse bringing you both safely home because home is wherever you are both together. So this is everything I have to tell you about love and marriage: nothing,like a book without pages or a forest without trees.
Because there are things you cannot know before you experience them. Because no study can prepare you for the joys or the trials. Because nobody else’s love, nobody else’s marriage, is like yours, and it’s a road you can only learn by walking it, a dance you cannot be taught, a song that did not exist before you began, together, to sing. And because in the darkness you will reach out a hand, not knowing for certain if someone else is even there. And your hands will meet, and then neither of you will ever need to be alone again.
And that’s all I know about love.
My ring came from the same place my engagement ring did; David’s in Richmond and was a simple gold band with a twist. Jonny wasn’t sure if he wanted a traditional wedding band as he doesn’t wear any jewellery so we found ZebranoWoodCraft on Etsy who create handmade rings in wood, damascus & precious metals. Jonny went for a walnut & grey maple wood ring with copper and silver.
Cancelling our Reception
We were supposed to have a reception however we postponed this very early on in the pandemic, we were lucky enough to have everyone out in the little courtyard garden afterwards where people could chat and celebrate us managing to get married. We thought it would be odd not being able to celebrate with drinks and dancing but it was actually lovely, the sun shone and we got to speak to everyone before heading off into London for our Mini-Moon. We will be celebrating in 2021 (fingers crossed) at our original planned venue The Royal Oak.
I’ll be updating this once our reception and vow renewal goes ahead.