Monday 28 March 2011

Real Chic London Wedding: Rachel & David

This is one of my favourite weddings of all time, and it's not just because I know the happy couple! Rachel and David are both architects, and their innate sense of style permeates every detail of this London wedding, from their monochrome theme, to the ceremony in Westminster Cathedral and Rachel's AMAZING tiered dress and Jimmy Choo's. They kept up the London theme with vintage taxis and a Routemaster bus, and their wedding reception at the dramatic Dartmouth House. Other wedding details to copy include Rachel's cute shrug, the personalised bridesmaids' bags, the clever tie-the-knot theme, and David's fab top hat. Also loving the fact that Rachel spent months collecting vintage china so each place setting would have a different teacup. Don't miss all of Rachel's top tips and wedding ideas in the Before the Big Day Bride's Questionnaire below. Fabulous photographs published with thanks to Helen Jones Photography.

The Before the Big Day Bridal Q&A - Rachel was kind enough to fill in our questionnaire, aimed at helping other brides with their planning process. Feast your eyes on her answers for helpful hints and tips from someone on the other side of her big day!

Where and when did you get married?
On the 23rd October 2010 in London. We were incredibly fortunate to be able to have our ceremony at Westminster Cathedral, where David was at the choir school when he was younger. We then hired red London Routemaster buses to transport all the guests to Dartmouth House in Mayfair where the reception was held.

What was your thinking behind choosing the venue and the decoration of the reception?
We choose to have a London wedding and along with the idea of a city wedding we wanted to it to look simple, elegant and classical but with a contemporary edge. As we are both architects we wanted to chose architecturally impressive spaces and therefore we wanted to keep decoration simple - this also helped with the budget as the decoration did not need to be over the top or compete with the surroundings but just enough to personalise the venues.

Did you have a theme, colour or motif in mind?
Our theme was ‘tying the knot’ which we came up with in conjunction with my sister, who is a graphic designer - which came in very handy! We used a very simple colour theme of black and white with a highlight of gold. We followed through the theme from our save the dates, which we knotted a piece of black velvet ribbon through each, to the invitations, right through to the orders of service, the wedding breakfast menus and the favours.

Who made your wedding outfit (dress, veil, shoes and accessories), and how did you come to that decision?
My dress was by Kula Tsurdiu which I fell in love as it epitomised the look I wanted for our wedding: traditional enough to look classical, but different enough to be fun and contemporary. My veil for the ceremony was from The White Closet, a gorgeous boutique in Disbury and my pearl headband for the reception was also by Kula. Because it was an autumn wedding I wanted some kind of wrap so found a marabou feather bolero from Sasso to add a bit of glamour and to keep me warm and I treated myself to a fabulous pair of gold Jimmy Choo shoes to pick up the colour theme.

What about your husband’s outfit? Where was it from?
David wore a morning suit, he invested in a new jacket from Gieves & Hawkes and new shoes from Ede & Ravenscroft. We chose a gold tie from Charles Tyrwhitt, which we gave to the two dads and each of the ushers as well as gifts. On the morning of our wedding David’s parents gave him a surprise gift of his top hat, which finished off his outfit perfectly!

And how about your bridesmaids’ outfits?
The bridesmaids dresses were from Alfred Sung, I wanted them to be fun and something I hope they will wear again. They are all the same fabric so look similar but differ slightly in the design to suit each of them individually. Their shoes were from Marks and Spencer, pearl stud earrings from Percy and Flo and bracelets from Sun Studio at Pret-a-Portobello. Their boleros were tracked down by one of the bridesmaids from Warehouse and matched the skirt of my dress perfectly!

What type of cake did you go for, and how did you come to that decision?
My mum made our wedding cake – I was so thrilled when she offered to do it as I didn’t want her to have unnecessary added pressure on the day. We went for a very simple 3-tiered fruit cake with a black ribbon and topped with a small wooden bride and groom figures which I found on Etsy and got personalised with our hair colours and David’s gold tie. It looked and tasted fantastic!

Did you have any favours? What were they? Was there any particular reason why you picked them?
For our favours we made seed packets of forget-me-nots to follow through with the theme – we didn’t want to spend too much on these but thought it would be nice gesture so thought something handmade would work well. My sister printed the card covers and we bulk ordered small plastic bags and seeds from the internet and spent an evening putting them together.

Who was your florist, what flowers did you choose, and how did you come to that decision?
Our florist was Rebel Rebel in east London and we were really impressed with the suggestions that Athena came up with. We wanted primarily white flowers but interspersed with leaves to give the arrangements an autumnal theme (this also again helped to keep the budget down). For my bouquet I chose a mixture of 4 types of my favourite seasonal flowers (Ranuculus, anemones, paper white narcissi and roses) and each of the 4 bridesmaids had a bouquet of a single type of the flowers making up my bouquet. The table centres were also stunning, created using layers of amaryllis, roses and anemones on silver cake stands, to pick up on the vintage theme of the tables and venue for which we collected vintage teacups and saucers for each place setting.

Who was your photographer and how did you choose them?
Our photographer was Helen Jones. Working in a creative industry we were very picky about how we wanted our photographs to look and scoured the internet and wedding magazines for potential photographers. One of our deciding factors, other than the images was that we wanted to get a CD of all the images so that we could use them to put together our own album and we were surprised at the number of photographers that would not do this. In the end we found Helen through a recommendation site who sent us a list of available local photographers – and Helen was the only one we liked.
Did you enjoy planning your wedding?
Errr, well in hindsight I loved planning my wedding however at the time I was surprised at how stressful and time consuming it can become. Though in the end I felt it was really worth all the hard work, all the small touches made our day even more personal to us.

Did you have any DIY projects?
Other than our invitations which were partial DIY and the favours, we also drew our own table plan to reflect both our professions, as an architectural CAD plan of the Dining room with all the tables and chairs laid out and labelled, which we had printed and mounted on an A1 board.

What advice do you have for brides planning their big day?
I made numerous spreadsheets and ‘to do’ lists so that we knew we had thought about all the events of the day and everything that needed to be done and by who. We also wrote lists of instructions for the bridesmaids and ushers, including the plan for the day and all relevant contact numbers that might be needed so that everyone knew what was planned and it meant we could relax and enjoy the day by handing over to someone else. On the big day you really have to relax and enjoy it as it goes by in a whirlwind – I think it was the best and fastest day of my life!

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