We have a little treat for you today, here is the first in a series of interviews with our real brides. First up, is an extra special London wedding in Farringdon with Stephanie, Doug and their super cute dog. She wore the Maya dress and a exquisitely designed gold beaded capelet.
Bride’s name: Stephanie
Groom’s name: Doug
Date of wedding: 27th June 2015
Bride’s dress: Sabina Motasem and a fabulous beading/embroidery specialist in Mumbai.
Groom’s suit: Burberry
Accessories: Ana Maria Bufnila. Bespoke hair piece made to match capelet
Bridesmaid dresses: ASOS
Make up artist: Anastasia Borovik. Friend of a friend who was fabulous
Photographer: Matt Tyler. Awesome guy and the photos were excellent. We are trying to find a good excuse to book him again.
Flowers: Georgina Agutter at Rose & Wolf. Again, a friend of a friend who does such beautiful work and was incredibly accommodating
Cake: Bea’s of Bloomsbury. We get cupcakes and cakes from here all the time so it was a very easy choice to go with. Our florist decorated the cake with fresh flowers.
How did you and your husband meet?
In a horrible, dive of a bar in Shoreditch one Friday night. We got out of there quickly and decided to go to The Boundary which is not too far away and share a bottle of champagne.
What’s your engagement story?
He wasn’t left with much of a choice really! We owned property together, had not long got a puppy and were in the process of moving overseas so we were already fairly committed to one another. He had already moved overseas and was just back for the weekend. I’d made dinner reservations for that evening and was going to meet him at the restaurant later on as he had a conference call that afternoon in the office. Before he left, he told me to make sure I wear something nice. He’d booked me a cab so when I jumped into the cab there was a different address on the booking and that was when I sensed he was up to something. The taxi took me to the Rookery Hotel where he was waiting for me up in the Rook’s Nest with a bottle of Bollinger and a suit. It was a very busy and stressful period of our lives so he told me we needed to forget about it all and that we deserved a fun night out. Couldn’t have agreed more. Not long after he was very much the gentleman and got down on one knee, produced a ring and asked me to marry him. I said yes but only after I asked him if he had asked my father first. We then continued to polish off the bottle of champagne and went to one of our favourite restaurants Club Gascon for dinner.
Where is your engagement ring from? Did your husband choose it himself?
I work in the mining industry so I had already spoken to a friend who worked for a diamond company about getting a yellow diamond from their mine in Lesotho. That was proving a little difficult in viewing one before buying so she suggested I speak to her husband who owns DC jewellery in Hatton Garden. He was super lovely and it was a really fun afternoon looking at rocks. Quite a while surpassed, possibly a year, Doug finally got around to looking and went to the same shop not realising I had been there. After a few hours the penny dropped that I had been there a while ago and that I was after a yellow diamond. Both agreed it was a terrible idea and I ended up with a stunning solitaire diamond set in gold.
How long did you have to plan your wedding and was it enough time?
We had a long engagement as we were moving overseas for only a year and by the time we got back to London it would have nearly have been summer and we wanted to enjoy it. When we got around to arranging it, I think it was more or less all planned in 10 months. It was enough time but we tried to make things easy for ourselves by having a wedding that was in Central London where we are based.
Why did you choose your dress? Which dress did you wear?
I had the capelet made first and then chose the dress. I had tried on a ridiculous amount of dresses before I found Sabina Motasem. She is wonderful! The dress that I chose hadn’t yet been made so it was very much a work in progress. It was great to be involved with that process and nice to know that I very much had a bespoke dress.
Why did you choose your venue? Where did you get married?
We’ve always lived in and around Clerkenwell which is our favourite area in London so it made sense to hold it there. The Museum of St John’s Gate is a beautiful, historic building and their garden is absolutely stunning. We made use of the garden for champagne, canapés and a string quartet after the ceremony. We were very lucky as it was a hot, sunny day so it was the perfect day to be outside.
After a while, we all moved around the corner to Granger and Co to have the reception. We chose there as it’s a very relaxed well designed space, the food and wine are excellent and the staff are good fun. They’d never had a wedding or hired it privately so they really out did their selves and were so accommodating with all requests.
The day following the wedding, we went with the wedding guests to The Crown pub in Islington and had a spit roast pig. Again, it was excellent and probably exactly what most people needed after a boozy night.
It was important to us that it was easily accessible to the majority of people who came. So often people hold weddings in the middle of the countryside or on a weekday which a lot of people find isn’t all that convenient and takes the fun out of things.
What was your first dance song?
We did not have one. We skipped a lot of the usual wedding traditions as we really just wanted a good fun night out with a small selection of family and friends. My friend DJ’ed so I guess you could say that the first song played was a remix of Ain’t Nobody by Chaka Khan. My brother read those lyrics at the ceremony and that song played the night we met (or so I was told) so there was some significance.
How did you feel in your dress?
How did you feel just before you walked down the aisle?
“Must not trip”. That’s what I kept telling myself as I am very clumsy. My foot almost got caught up in my dress as I was walking up a step, but I managed to redeem myself with no one noticing I think. Apart from that I was pretty relaxed and excited to see everyone’s faces.
How many bridesmaids did you have? Where did you find your bridesmaids dresses from?
I had two and they were both really wonderful, amazingly helpful and looked fabulous! One of them even designed all of the wedding stationary. My friend was bringing the dresses from New York as they wouldn’t deliver them to the UK and the Friday week before the wedding I received an email to say that one of the dresses was damaged so only one would be sent. This wasn’t ideal! Fairly disastrous but we soldiered on. I met up with one of my bridesmaids that evening and we went to nearly every shop and department store in the West End. The other bridesmaid was on a Portuguese beach looking online and we were sending her snaps. Team effort! The search continued on the Saturday and Sabina joined in as well. There was just nothing. All the sales had started so we were left with not a lot of choice.
Before I left the office on the Friday, I had purchased some dresses online from ‘Thread and Needle’ that arrived on the Saturday. It took some convincing but they ended up being perfect and complimented my dress well. I had purchased vintage earrings ages ago for both for them and both the girls looked absolutely stunning.
What was your colour scheme or theme?
I wasn’t that concerned about a scheme or theme. Certainly no theme. There were a lot of whites/ivories and greens with the flowers and then gold as I love that colour. We weren’t too concerned about being that matching. Ushers all wore different suits and I think Doug bought them a tie two days beforehand. He wore a different tie to them and they all looked great.
What was the best moment of your wedding day?
There were a lot of memorable moments such as walking down the aisle with dad and seeing all these familiar faces looking at you but I really enjoyed my brother’s reading “Ain’t Nobody” at the ceremony. It was light-hearted fun, that set the tone for the rest of the day. He received a massive round of applause which was well deserved.
What’s your best tip for dressing for the big day you’d like to share with other brides?
I honestly don’t know! Wear suitable knickers I guess?! Nobody needs to see them through your dress. Make sure you have some nicer lingerie for after ;-)
What advice would you give to other bride’s planning their wedding?
Surround yourself around positive can-do people. In other words pick your bridal party wisely as you will need their help before and on the day! Mine were both amazing. You don’t need any stressful people around you on the day flapping. You want to radiate calm and enjoy the day as it will go super quick.
During the planning stage, you will have a lot of other people’s opinions so try and manage these but do try and do what you both want. A lot of these people will have already had their wedding. A family member who will remain nameless was adamant that our fur baby was not to be at the wedding. I said nothing. He sat in the second row, looking very handsome with his ivory bow tie and matching collar and lead. On the day they thought it was wonderful to have him there.
Expect to be disappointed by some of those you invite. In particular, if you are asking people to travel a long distance. There are people who you expect to come who don’t. It can be very upsetting but don’t let it ruin your day.
If you would like photos with particular people, make a list of all of them and send them to your photographer. We were a little blasé about it and forgot ones such as my mum and I and then the bridal party. Also, book photographer very early on. The good ones are booked up far in advance. In some cases, well over a year.
Also, regarding photos if you do plan on getting a lot of group shots between ceremony and reception consider your guests. It can be seen to be quite impolite to leave them for too long and also without food/drink. Also, consider how they will get to the ceremony from the reception.
Try not to get too overwhelmed by the cost. Weddings are expensive. In 2, 3 or 5 years’ time, you will remember the wonderful memories and not that you went over your budget.
If time and money aren’t an issue, go on honeymoon straight after your wedding. Make sure the first few nights you are on a beach, a spa retreat or somewhere nice and chilled as you will really appreciate it.
Not really part of the planning but have a glass of bubbles once you are more or less ready. That should calm most nerves plus why not…it’s your wedding day!
Did you discover any amazing suppliers that you’d like other bride’s to know about?
All of the supplier’s we used were faultless. Both of us were able to enjoy the day and weren’t bothered once by any issues. In fact, there were no issues. I would happily recommend all of them. Here are links to all of their websites:
Hairdresser: Ann Duncan
Hair Accessories: Ana Maria Bufnila
Make Up Artist: Anastasia Borovik
Photographer: Matt Tyler Photography
Florist: Rose and Wolf
Venue: Museum of St John
String Quartet: Estilo String Quartet
Reception: Granger and Co.
Caterer (in garden): Ginger Jar Food
Cake: Beas of Bloomsbury
Looking back, is there anything you’d change?
Is there anything you wish you knew before you started planning your wedding?
Not really. I would say don’t over complicate things. All but two of the suppliers were local and small so I feel I got a much better service than I would have by using a larger firm. They were all so accommodating. The bridesmaid’s dresses not turning up from the U.S. was pretty disastrous but we dealt with it!
What was the most stressful thing about planning your wedding?
I didn’t really get stressed but I didn’t at all enjoy planning it! It was an added chore to my busy schedule. I’m sure others will disagree with me but I’m the opposite of a bridezilla. Managing other people’s expectations was difficult at times.
What 3 words would you use to describe your wedding day?
Relaxed, fun and fabulous.