Sometimes I feel like time is whizzing by so fast that I just want to be able to press the stop button and take stock of everything. There rarely feels like time to reminisce, but I’m going to take a little time to reminisce about this day four years ago, It was my wedding day after all…
Four years ago today I woke up with an ever so slightly fuzzy head, my father had taken out my side of the wedding party and their partners plus some friends that were flying in from various location for dinner and (probably too many) cocktails and champagne. We took on East London in the only way my family know how and it was the best send off I could have asked for.
The best thing was that after taking on Bermondsey Street, I went back to my sisters where I was staying the night before my wedding, we snuggled into her bed and my brother in law read us a bed time story, it was actually the fairy tale of Rapunzel…we were drunker than I thought.
Fuzzy head lasted for only a moment or two because then I realised it was my big day, not only that, I realised that it was snowing and not just the usual crappy London snow, I mean it was really snowing…but we are British so we don’t care about a bit of snow, we will push on through, delays and tantrums have no place here!!
I love organising parties, in all shapes and sizes, even just a chilled dinner party for 4, right up to dinner for 500 as I would do as part of my job. The most important thing to me when organising anything, and I mean literally anything is that it feels authentic that when people are with us they feel relaxed. I can’t stand pretentiousness, so with our wedding we wanted to do something that would reflect us entirely.
Before I write anymore and because I am a huge photograph lunatic and will be using so many photos in this blog, I want to thank our incredible photographers who captured our day in the most beautiful way and we are forever indebted to them. So if you ever need wedding photographers Karina and Tom at Richmond Pictures are your people!
There is nothing quite like putting your wedding dress on for the first time since you tried it on initially, this time with hair and make up all done, I genuinely felt like a princess (cringe, I know) I remember beaming from ear to ear. I found my wedding dress in the first shop I went to, Mirror Mirror in Islington, where my sister got her dress. I chose about 10 dresses to try on and had in my head that I would be leaving with a lacey bohemian style dress with a long train, but came out with a Pronovias number which was XXXXXXXXXX it’s true what they say, you know when you know.
I was pretty clear on the look I wanted for myself for our wedding, I know my own style and I wanted to be classic, bohemian with a little rock n roll edge (it makes me cringe writing that, but I couldn’t think of a better way). So to compliment my dress I had a beautiful flower crown made by our florist Emma Floral Designs.
I didn’t add to much else as the flower crown was the statement piece, instead I wrapped a long string of purls that my grandmother gave me round my wrist. A spritz of my favourite scent (Chanel Allure) a lick of red lippy and some fake lashes and I was set.
Brute and his groomsmen got changed at the brilliant Zetter Townhouse in Clerkenwell which is were we also stayed on our wedding night. I love the hotel, it has such a great old school feel without being at all dated. You sort of feel like you’re in a cool movie from the 40’s.
The guys all wore Ascot style morning suits with a champagne colour tie with a yellow calla lilly button hole. I’m all for a morning suit at a wedding!
As i mentioned earlier, we were #blessed (literally hate that term) with snow that day, anyone that has lived or even been to London knows that bad weather = hideous traffic, I have no idea how a city that should be used to adverse weather conditions still cannot cope in them. Anyways, our wedding car was ‘Molly’ the VW camper van from the amazing VW Love bus company and our super wonderful and lovely driver Paul was stuck somewhere, and time was ticking…however we had champagne and the knowledge that one way or another we were going to get there.
The one thing that Brute and I didn’t decide on at lightening speed was probably location, Brutes family are in Australia and my dad is in South Africa, we toyed with doing a location wedding such as the South of France but in the end it probably should have been the simplest decision to make. We met in London, live in London and the majority of our friends are in London, plus obviously it had to be somewhere that Tony could also come, so London it was! We were lucky enough to have been able to get married at The Honourable Society of Lincoln Inn Chapel as my father was ‘called to the bar’ there and so is a member. The chapel is incredible and was consecrated in 1623 – Factoid or what!!
Now we all know that it wasn’t going to be a wedding without my first born in attendance so Tony of course walked up the aisle with me and was there for the whole ceremony and the reception. In fact he kinda stole the show.
We didn’t have a videographer and in some respects I regret that, but I also love these really real little video clips, many of which Brute’s sister took throughout the day and evening which we are so grateful for. Also it really cracks me up watching me march around with Brute holding my dress up so high its just lucky it had several layers.
With every event there is always a slight hiccup, ours was that one of the London Buses we had hired to take people from the church up to the reception in Dalston, broke down…not ideal, particularly when it’s freezing and none of you know where you’re going. We had left the reception venue as a surprise.
All I can say is it was very lucky that we had provided everyone with mini bottles of champagne for the journey, a little bit of something to warm the cockles. Chris and I meanwhile were in the VW (which had no heating) freezing our asses off and waiting till all the guests had arrived so we could get to the reception venue. Our saint like driver had packed us our own champagne so there was only one thing for it, start the reception early…oh and do a little photo shoot.
The reception venue was probably the hardest thing to find, I didn’t want a traditional London venue, I wanted something with a bit of edge to contrast with the very traditional regal style church ceremony. I stumbled across The Depository whilst reading Stylist Magazine It is one of the venues owned by Castle Gibson and I knew it was the right place straight away so I called them immediately, I had to do a little bit of begging as they are almost constantly booked out with photo shoots and music videos, infact the location is where the original Dragons Den was filmed. It is totally unassuming when you pull up to it, we had hired the ‘House Next Door’ as well as the Depository So guests would arrive into the house which is this beautifully run down House with open fire etc and then go through the courtyard and into the depository warehouse – Do click on the links as they show some fantastic images of the venue which I can’t do justice in describing.
The final thing we needed to choose was the caterers, my darling friend and super star chef Carina recommended we use The Recipe , a lot of people get quotes and do tastings with various caterers before they settle, but we were totally blown away by the food, service and attention to detail they provided we didn’t bother. You’ll see a pattern here, when I know, I know! We had a delicious and pretty drunken tasting with them, where they designed us a his and hers cocktails of Whiskey Sours and Gin and Elderflower Fizz
On top of the cocktails, we had Champagne and Wine flown in from South Africa from my favourite vineyard Buitenverwachting which is just up the road from my fathers house and Brutes friend Duncan Sambrook provided kegs of beer from his own Brewery aptly named Sambrooks Brewery plus all the old faithful spirits incase anyone should need an emergency shot of vodka.
The dinner area was beautifully put together by Emma Floral and the Recipe incorporating all of our ideas. Our colour was yellow for spring (even though it was snowing) with Sunflowers being the main flower. I wanted dashes of yellow everywhere to make for a happy and inviting room and little lights and candles to bring a sense of romance. I am a HUGE music fan and am particularly obsessed with music from the 60’s and 70’s so Brute and I decided that our Table names would be legends of the Music scene, with the top table, my all time hero Bob Dylan.
One other little thing that we did was to put a little yellow pin badge on everyones place which had their name, then Soph + Chris and the wedding date…I actually can’t remember why we did it, it seems a little speed dating esque?!? Ours had Bride, Groom, Father of the bride etc Oh I just remembered why we did it, haha it was instead of having an actual name place on the table and then the guests could wear them for the rest of the evening (still a bit speed dating style).
Speeches are always a big part of every wedding and I think the hardest thing to get right, you don’t want too many, you don’t want them to be too long and you don’t want them to be rude, or at least not too rude (keep the swearing at bay people). I, as I’m sure every bride does, loved our speeches we had Brutes mum kick of the proceedings and then my father followed by the groomsmen and finishing with Brute.
Here’s a clip of my dad nailing his speech at a solid 7 minutes, with no swearing, lots of laugher and the right amount of sentiment…how biased am I!! HAH!
(I would put all of our gorgeous speeches up, but that would involve me doing a lot of cutting, my dads (on top of be awesome) was ready to go in one file).
But here is a picture of Brute that his groomsmen blew up as part of their speech (alongside several other pretty brutal ones).
After dinner its traditional to have the bride and grooms first dance, so we moved downstairs, but actually Brute had put together a beautiful slideshow of images particularly of my mum and dad which was extremely special as mum passed away when I was younger. So my dad and I did the first dance to ‘Donovan – Catch the Wind’ a song that always reminds me of them.
Brute and I then danced to Bob Dylan – Boots of Spanish Leather
We had one last little trick up our sleeves, I say up ‘our’ sleeves but we actually copied it from my sister and brother-in-law’s wedding (though they had it as a late night bite and had an actual wedding cake also). Instead of having a lovely cake, we thought, hmmmm our crowd likes to eat and drink and I don’t know about anyone else, but when Brute and I are drunk we like to get up in some serious savoury foods, so with that the Pork pie wedding cake was decided!
To get everyone partying we booked in DJ and friend (and actually insanely good Tailor in Notting Hill if anyone of you men out there need a suit) Russell Cliffe took to the decs to spin old 45 records until midnight at which time we were booted out.
We also had a Polaroid camera which we encouraged people to take lots of pictures with, it was the best way of capturing people in the moment. We have tonnes of them, I’m going to use them for a secret interior project.
In the knowledge that we were going to be booted out at midnight due to it being in a residential area and as a pretty seasoned party girl, I wasn’t about to end the wedding then. I had, naturally, preempted this and had booked The White Rabbit Cocktail Club for those that still had it in them, and I’m please to say most of the party joined, I don’t have that many shareable photos from then as we were all blotto, I vaguely remember leaving at about 1.30am and tripping over outside the bar and landing flat on my face and then being piled into a black cab. I don’t think I need to include any photos from the end of the night, it wouldn’t shed anyone in a good light. All I can say is thank god we had organised a brunch and cocktails on the Sunday to get our head right before we head off on our Cuban Honeymoon (blog on that to come).
I know I did an early rant about how amazing our photographers were but Karina and Tom also thought it would be worth contacting the magazine Wedding Flowers and Accessories as they were interested in doing a real life wedding piece, and lo & behold having sent in pictures and an interview, they only went and bloody chose us!
Looking through all these pictures and videos (of which there are so many more) really brings back a whole wave of emotions, how lucky we are to have the family we have who love and support us unconditionally. How lucky we are to have the friends we have, that like to laugh and sing and dance as much as we do and who offer a shoulder to cry on whenever we need. Finally how lucky we are to have found each other, as the inimitable Bob Dylan said when talking about his great love Suze Rotolo and whom he also wrote ‘Boots of Spanish Leather’ (our first dance song) about:
‘The air was suddenly filled with banana leaves. We started talking and my head started to spin. Cupid’s arrow had whistled past my ears before, but this time it hit me in the heart and the weight of it dragged me overboard…’
Chronicles Volume 1 – Bob Dylan