This wedding is just incredible. Not only does Sonia look stunning in her 20s gown, her write up is wonderful AND that straw boater…! I love that there is no theme and that Sonia and Charles had exactly what they wanted, from Vietnamese cuisine to Daleks cupcakes.
Charles and I had already been legally married in the San Francisco Bay area two weeks before our London wedding party (he’s a Californian), but our Hackney wedding was the bigger party and our chance to mark our wedding at home. We really wanted a fun, relaxed and slightly quirky day to celebrate with our friends and family.
I love 1920s style and knew from the start that I wanted an original flapper dress. I found the perfect dress very early on at Annie’s vintage shop in Camden Passage (http://www.anniesvintageclothing.co.uk/). As soon as I tried it I knew it was perfect. I love the deco beading detail and the zig-zag hem, and I suspect that it may have been originally designed as a wedding dress for some daring young woman. Both Charles and I were still getting shoes the day before the California wedding but I found some beautiful gold ballroom shoes at the eleventh hour in a professional dance shop that fitted perfectly with the 1920s style – and let me dance all night.
Gosh, so many. Actually, one of my happiest moments was arriving at the church in the morning to decorate and finding so many of my friends there to help. One recently-married friend, who I wasn’t expecting to be there at all, had brought huge quantities of home-made cheese straws to have with the drinks and I was just so happy at the amount of goodwill and kindness.
I asked my bridesmaids to wear blue dresses, and they were completely free to go their own way within that. I didn’t want them to look too matchy-matchy and they all have great style and know what suits them best.
Our wedding cake was made by my friends Amy and Bram Houtenbos, two extremely talented bakers, who made a modern ‘nude’ lemon drizzle wedding cake decorated with fresh fruit and flowers. They also made dozens of Dalek fairycakes as a groom ‘s cake for Charles, who is a huge Dr Who fan, and even put a little wedding veil and top hat on the top two Daleks!
Elaine at Oriole and Thistle on Lower Clapton Road, (http://www.orioleandthistle.com/) made us a mix of half brightly coloured bouquets and half blue-and-white arrangements for the tables.
The venue was a very easy choice – I was brought up on the same street as the Round Chapel, a beautiful, circular Victorian former church, and all of my family have spent a lot of time there at various events over the years. My dad is heavily involved in the Hackney Historic Buildings Trust which now manages the chapel and I was also briefly a trustee, so it has a lot of familiarity and happy memories for me.
Caterina Lay http://www.caterinalay.com, who absolutely wonderful. She was so calm and friendly and got so many absolutely beautiful pictures which remind me of all the wonderful moments all over again.
We chose a classic east end style Vietnamese feast for our catering, inspired by the restaurants that have lined Mare Street for years. Bahn Mi Bay (http://www.banhmibay.co.uk/) laid on huge piles of summer rolls and other delicious things, finished off with Vietnamese coffee.
Guests were also given faux royal wedding mugs as a favour, which started as a joke but then seemed too brilliantly silly not to carry through into real life. They were designed by illustrator Claire Hartley (http://www.clairehartley.com/) and based on a genuine royal wedding design.
We wanted a wedding that drew on our love of Hackney, and a fun, relaxed and slightly quirky day to celebrate with our friends and family. But there was no theme in the traditional sense, and we resolutely refused to choose wedding colours or have a pinterest board.
In terms of the venue decoration, we wanted to fit in with the chapel’s slightly faded elegance while bringing some light into what can be a slightly dark space. Little lights traced around the balustrade of the balcony helped to add a little extra sparkle, and I also spent weeks on ebay tracking down colourful vintage embroidered tablecloths.
Our wedding blessing ceremony (which was led by my aunt, Maggie Graber) included a musical interlude by Charles’ good friends Shelly Knotts and Holger Ballweg, who, at his request, rickrolled the entire congregation (including me) by playing a violin and clarinet version of Never Gonna Give You Up.
Our first dance was I Feel Love, by Bronski Beat and Marc Almond, and we had live music from the electronic duo Man With Feathers (https://soundcloud.com/adamparkinson) and a poptastic set from our good friend and professional DJ Jo Bunny (http://djjobunny.co.uk). The night finished with many of our guests piling down the road back to our house along with plenty of leftover wedding wine and snacks for a party that finished at 4am.
Bear in mind that it will be nigh on impossible to finalise many things until you have a pretty exact idea of your final RSVP numbers, which is also the thing we spent most time trying to chase up. And remember to enjoy it!