I was absolutely blown away when I received the photographs of Else and Pete's wedding - and even more so when Else sent me her beautiful description of the day and told me they had done it on 'a shoestring budget'. Their stunningly cool East London DIY wedding is proof that you don't need a huge budget to create a gorgeous - and really personal - wedding. Careful planning, creative ideas and helpful friends and family are far more important than stacks of money when it comes to planning a wedding you will love!
Else and Pete chose to get married at The West Reservoir Centre in Hackney, which is a fabulous blank canvas wedding and perfect for the clean and simple styling they had in mind. I absolutely love the combination of crisp whites, abundant greenery and industrial details they have achieved. If you're planning a stylish, modern city wedding this post is packed with inspiration!
The whole wedding has been perfectly captured by Michael from My Beautiful Bride. It's an absolute masterclass in how to shoot a cool, city wedding and the couple portraits are just beautiful.
There is so much to love about this wedding, but I will hand over to Else (who looks absolutely radiant!) to tell you all about it.
Thank you Else and Pete for sharing your gorgeous day with us! xx
Pete proposed in Portugal in June 2015. The proposal itself was really lovely, on a small-secluded cliff lined beach, with a cold drink in hand, sand between our toes at sunset. Pete and I were sitting next to each other, and Pete turned to me, and said ‘I have something to ask you’. At that point, the last thing I expected for him to whip out of his pocket was a ‘temporary’ ring by one of my favourite jewellery designers, but he did, and of course I said yes! When we returned to the UK we got in contact with Tatiana at We Are Arrow, visited her cute little studio in East London, and had her make me a ring using the diamond from my Grandma's engagement ring. I had discussed this with my Grandma many times and how a bit of her love for my late Grandfather would always be with me.
Both of us are really into design, Pete works for an architecture practice, and I often sit for hours drawing. We both like clean lines, and simplicity, so had a simple and clean approach to the décor, and venue. That said, I wanted the most spangly dress I could get my hands on!
THE PLANNING PROCESS
I work in project management, so the planning landed with me, obsessively putting things into spreadsheets and monitoring every penny.
The West Reservoir Centre in North London. We live really close by and had admired the building many times, because of the art deco style, and the old pump house interiors. On a whim, I sent them an email, just to see how far out of our budget it would be... and surprisingly, it was well in budget. SO we went ahead and booked!
I went to quite a few shops with my very patient and attentive friends and bridesmaids. Then went to Losners in Stamford Hill [sadly no longer trading] as I heard they carried a style I had been ogling on Pinterest. When I arrived with my sister and bridesmaid Rosie, the most wonderful woman greeted us. I believe she has been running the place for 60 years (there is even a framed pic of her and her husband on the wall, super cute). We were welcomed into the shop with glasses of bubbles and given our little gloves so as not to make the sample dresses grubby, and told I could select 5. Within the 5 was THE dress. It had a slightly art deco feel, with a fitted body and low back, I felt like Jessica Rabbit (in my head at least, as I never wear figure hugging clothes) and my sister and bridesmaid both cried. I knew it was perfect.
Pete wore a slim black suit with a fine check from Selected, with a waistcoat and a burgundy knitted tie.
We wanted a few unconventional readings and something that reflected both of our love of a variety of music, so song lyrics seemed the perfect fit!
Reading 1 - Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen) by Baz Luhrmann Reading 2 - I Wanna Be Yours by John Cooper Clarke
Walking down the aisle music - Wonderful World by Sam Cooke Signing the register - The Simpsons theme tune - as we are Mr & Mrs Simpson now! A surprise for our guests and everyone was in hysterics! Walking out - Oh Boy by Buddy Holly First dance - Heroes by David Bowie, as we really were King and Queen for one day and wanted to give the Starman a nod.
Rosie, Roxy, Rosie, Nina, Katie - 5 of my favourite girls. All different, so I just said wear dark blue and whatever you like. If they felt gorgeous, I felt happy!
Augustus Bloom, an absolute star, totally understood my vision of floral but not too flowery and a little bit architectural. The flowers in the venue were predominantly huge bunches of eucalyptus. It doesn’t wilt, smells incredible and looks really fresh. The bouquets had blue thistles for my late Granddad, who was a proud Scotsman. They were also my something blue, with eucalyptus and craspedia (billy buttons). The buttonholes had billy buttons and a little sprig of eucalyptus, which worked fantastically as they looked as good at the end of the day as at the beginning.
Made by an incredibly talented friend Rosie Tonkin, she is a prop maker and artist, and all-round can make anything person! Once after a few glasses of wine, long before Pete and I got engaged, she said that if I married him, she would make the cake... so of course I pulled her up on that one! The whole cake was a surprise on the day, I didn’t want to see it before, the only steer I gave was that I wanted a bit of gold on it. Boy did I get that. A tiered ombre soft iced cake, with gold leaf and fresh flowers. One layer of carrot cake and one of pistachio and lemon. It was incredible. Is it possible to miss a cake? If it is I do.
Michael Clements of My Beautiful Bride, who also shot my sister's wedding!
We got a bit obsessed with the small details and very much with DIY. It all started with me drawing the wedding invites. It took the best part of two months to complete, as I use a 0.05 fine line pen, and only draw with dots...
Each guest was given a little brown paper bag at the Town Hall with giant theatre confetti in it, so everyone had something to throw as we came out. They also got little running orders of the day and copies of the readings.
Little succulents in homemade concrete pots (casting over 100 of these in a small North London flat was interesting!). These doubled up as both table décor and favours.
Old fashioned red and white bar cloth/tea towels, each individually pressed and folded were put on tables instead of napkins.
Hand written place names, with my basic calligraphy skills after a lesson with Judy Broad!
Simple clean white linen, white plates and shiny silver cutlery.
Handmade and hand-painted A-boards, made with OSB board, for the table plan and directions.
Giant silver balloons as table numbers.
The food was brought to the centre of the tables by our fantastic caterers, Black Pig With White Pearls. Jamón ibérico, bread and aioli, giant green olives, followed by whole roast legs of lamb and whole chickens with carving tools and various veg. Everyone got stuck in and said it was great!
Puglia Italy for 2 weeks of absolute bliss. Travelling from Lecce to Bari via Ostuni, Matera, Alberobello, Polignano a Mare and every restaurant en route... well nearly.
There were a few - my Mum’s family are Danish, and had a few funny traditions up their sleeves! One involved the tips of Pete’s socks being cut off, so he would look too poor to leave me... I am sure you can read about it on the internet somewhere! The other would be the speeches, the best men and my Dad really did us proud, such kind words and thoughtful stories, by the end of it there was not a dry eye in the house!
I can't forget the funniest moment - I really love dogs, and outside just after the confetti moment, a lady walked by with the cutest frenchies. I couldn’t resist giving them a tickle and the next thing I knew we were having our photo with them as I was so besotted (with my shiny new husband too, of course!).
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES
If you are doing a DIY wedding, get a few quotes and a few costs for each thing, and don’t be afraid to be honest about your budget with a supplier, there is often things that can be tweaked to work with your costs.
Make sure you have nothing to do the few days before, go for a fancy breakfast and just be excited together! We went to the Shard, drank coffee and giggled about how this was REALLY happening!
Photography and Videography are so important; the day goes so so so quickly, it is lovely to look back at them.
Make sure you have a plan for the next day, or the come down from wedding hype will hurt. We had an area in a pub booked so we all went there and reminisced and hugged and cried and ate!
Take a minute at some point during the day, for just you and your new spouse, and just look around at your big day.
At the end of the day, as long as you have well fed and watered guests, with some good music, you only need a room big enough to put them in and you have a party. No one will judge the décor, and no one will question your choices, your guests are there because you think they are the most important people in your new lives together, so whatever you choose they will think it is perfect.
Photography - My Beautiful Bride
Ceremony venue - Hackney Town Hall
Reception Venue - The West Reservoir Centre
Catering - Black Pig With White Pearls
Flowers - Augustus Bloom
Dress - Henley by Enzoani
Hotel/Getting Ready Venue - The Rose and Crown Guest House
Bespoke Jewellery - Tatiana at We Are Arrow
Cake, Handmade Hair Accessories - Rosie Tonkin
Table & Chair Hire - Yahire
Real Ale & Wine Bar - Ollie Platt Events
Hair - Kontakt
Grooms hair - Rocket Stoke Newington
Nails - Hula