Helen and I had such a nice time during the process of making her dress and I love how she styled it on their wedding day. I absolutely love their wedding venue as well as it's not that common that you can have the reception in the same space where you said "yes" when it comes to church weddings.
Helen and James are such a sweet couple! Congratulations lovelies!
- Miina -
HOW DID YOU TWO MEET AND GET ENGAGED?
James and I met at university where we were both studying Illustration. We bonded over a shared, very silly sense of humour! We moved to London together after finishing university and had lots of adventures living in different shared houses with friends. Because we got together quite young, we didn’t want to rush into getting married. When we finally decided we might like to have a wedding, we’d already been together for 13 years, so we wanted our big day to be about celebrating how far we’d come, and thanking all our friends and family for their support.
THE DRESS AND THE LOOK
I absolutely love dressing up, experimenting with fashion, and looking for secondhand and charity shop bargains. My normal wardrobe has a lot of colour, and ridiculous dressing up clothes and costumes. Because of this, I was really excited about the idea of a wedding dress being like a costume for the big day, and looking forward to exploiting all the opportunities for accessories, which I love. I was also trying to take into account James’s taste - he’s a creative person too, but I knew he would like something elegant and simple, as that’s more in keeping with his personality. So I really relished the process of going everywhere and trying on everything - my problem was I liked every dress I tried! I had an idea I was looking for a lot of lace, sparkles, and romantic tulle, but the more dresses I tried, the more I went towards plain silk in a more streamlined silhouette.
After coming to Indiebride and trying on two dresses that I really liked but couldn’t choose between, Miina suggested she make me something that combined the features of the two dresses. The final result was a Hollywood glamour a-line gown made of ivory sand washed silk, with fluted trumpet sleeves with a lace trim, and a crossover deep v-neck. It was really simple, flattering, and so comfortable to wear. The material of the dress was just gorgeous and absolutely shone.
After having had so many appointments in other places, with a mix of different
experiences (some not so nice) it was really nice to come to Miina. I felt really relaxed at the first appointment, and at all the subsequent fittings. Miina was super patient with my indecision, and when I found a vintage beaded jacket to wear over her creation, she fixed the top button on it for free.
Because I wear quite a lot of makeup everyday anyway, I was looking for a makeup artist who could do something that would feel different and special without having to go really really over the top. Sarah from Jacsar Beauty was so lovely and really understood what I was going for. She gave me great advice on wedding beauty prep too, helping me to decide whether to get eyelash extensions (I decided not to in the end as Sarah had some fab false lashes for me).
I toyed with the idea of dying my hair a more natural shade than the super bright orange red I usually have, but in the end I decided without it I wouldn’t feel like me. Sarah gave it lots of volume and soft curls, and we left it down.
I had a flowery tiara that I absolutely loved that I bought from Dulce Abbissimo on Etsy, made from white leather and gold wire. I love big earrings, so I got some large white blossom shaped studs to match from Lovisa. My mum gave me her blue gem necklace for something borrowed and something blue, which I wore as a bracelet. Because I love sunglasses, I got myself a pair of jewelled white horn rimmed 50’s sunglasses from ASOS, even though it was March. It turned out it was sunny and bright on the way to the church, and because I walked there I did need them! I bought some burgundy velvet platform sandals that added a striking shot of colour and which were very comfortable - even so I changed into a pair of velvet trainers in the same colour for dancing later on. My vintage beaded jacket came from Beyond Retro - I wore it as a cape to keep off the chill on the way to the venue.
THE GROOM’S OUTFIT
James wore a navy three-piece tweed ‘Edward’ suit, grey cotton shirt & brown woollen tie, all from Walker Slater in Covent Garden. He also had a paisley pocket square from T.M. Lewin and the ‘Dylan’ tan hand-painted brogues from Grenson.
We found the absolutely gorgeous St Stephen’s after looking at loads and loads of venues. We loved the Victorian neo-gothic exterior, and the beautiful tiled floor and gilded nave, all lit with real candles. Best of all, the hiring fee goes towards the charity that maintains the building. We had about 100 guests.
We are both artists and designers so we really enjoyed planning the theme and the visual style of the wedding! We knew we wanted it to feel joyful, warm and playful, and that it might be a gloomy cloudy day at the end of a long winter. We settled on what we called “stormy seas and starry skies” - a kind of combination of a marine and a celestial theme. James came up with the added twist of a seventies album cover aesthetic. Hard to explain, but we think it all worked together! We went for lots of jewel colours, like deep indigo blues for the starry skies, and sea green for the stormy seas. James was in charge of stationary design, so he created the save the dates, invites, menus, programmes, and table plan. Blaise, our florist, did the most beautiful deep reds purples and pinks for the flowers, with luscious greenery.
FOOD AND CAKE
We wanted there to be lots and lots of food and drink. Our major requirement was for it to feel like a feast! The amazing Alex from Pickled Fork designed us a gorgeous menu of sharing platters, with salmon for the main course. He also advised us to have a gin bar, where people could pick and mix their gins to match them to garnishes and tonics to create their own masterpieces, which was a huge hit! Instead of a traditional cake, I got two enormous cake creations from Cutter and Squidge. They were really great value for money, came in amazing unusual and interesting flavours, and they looked really beautiful too!
During the ceremony we got all our guests to sing with us - James is a musician and singer so he could lead the congregation! Our friend Angus played keyboard to accompany the songs and did a little jazzy interlude while we signed the register. Later we had Otis Weddings as our soul funk and disco DJ, who was brilliant. We sent him an enormous playlist of our favourites and he played them all!
As we were staying in the same venue for the ceremony and reception, I thought people might want some comfy seating space. I created soft sensory zones as little chill out areas for kids or anyone who wanted to flop on a beanbag - one was sea themed and one was sky themed. They had hangings and throws, cuddly clouds, and little matching props like some golden pufferfish ornaments I found at TK Maxx. We created wedding bingo cards and got everyone to tick off the wedding cliches and stereotypes as they happened.
I had a special photo seat with a backdrop made by a carpenter friend, and I painted and decorated it myself. We had the amazing Alina who captured glorious photos of us, including beautiful romantic shots.
WAS THERE ANYTHING THAT WENT WRONG AND HOW DID YOU DEAL WITH IT?
I didn’t read the venues very clear instructions properly (oops) and hadn’t realised we would have to take all our decorations home with us that night instead of picking up the next day. It wasn’t really a problem though. We were staying in an Airbnb just up the road, so at the end of the night we just rounded up the tipsy remnants of our guests and asked everyone to help us carry all the props, cakes, leftover wine etc up the road. We must have made quite a site! We also drank all the champagne before we got to the toasts which made me laugh!
APART FROM SAYING YES TO YOUR HUSBAND, WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE / MOST SPECIAL MOMENT IN YOUR WEDDING?
I absolutely loved every minute and it’s hard to pick a favourite. I loved coming down the aisle and seeing the faces of all my friends and family. I loved the confetti throw. I loved the speeches and the food and the gin bar …. And we carried on all night, even heading to Soho to sing karaoke until the early hours.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO BRIDES PLANNING THEIR WEDDING?
It's easy to get stressed out because it’s a massive project. I would say ask people to help, there’s no prize for doing it all yourself. Keep an eye on what you actually want, as you might find some traditions and wedding conventions are just not important for you - there’s no law that says you have to have them! I didn’t sleep at all the night before because I was too excited! Fortunately the excitement carried me through and it didn’t matter, but I would totally advise if you think you might not sleep, take a sleeping pill!
- Helen -