Tell us all the great details about your engagement. We met as freshers in our first week at Cambridge University. As luck would have it, our rooms were in the same halls at Pembroke College, which is where we quickly became part of a lovely group of friends, and then not long after became a couple.
We spent some time travelling in South-east Asia after graduating and then moved in together when we started work in London. We got engaged the day before my birthday, on 30th December 2015, and when it became clear that it would be tricky to find a venue in London for the autumn of 2016 as we’d envisaged, we decided to hold off until the spring of 2017 to tie the knot.
What was most important to you when planning your wedding? From the outset, we agreed that we wanted a modern, unfussy wedding that ditched the traditions we weren’t keen on or didn’t see the point of, and thought about what would make the day fun for our guests. Most important was that we didn’t end up with a wedding day that was a performance with the two of us playing the lead roles – we wanted to feel as natural and comfortable as possible, and we wanted our guests to feel the same way.
How did you select your wedding attire? I initially thought I would suit a lacy dress, but after trying on various styles I decided to go for something different as the fabrics felt too fussy. I quickly narrowed it down to a long-sleeved, backless dress and knew I wanted it to be simple, clean and minimalist, though still with a hint of romance.
Most important was that I would feel entirely comfortable wearing it; worrying about tripping over a train or having to get help to go to the loo were not going to be options! After a couple of months of searching, I came across Charlotte Simpson’s collection and, as I liked elements of various different styles, I asked if we could create something new and ended up with a bespoke gown.
For Frank we decided to go with a light grey suit – for spring, and also because navy felt a bit too formal. Frank picked a sharp, modern suit from Reiss and had it tailored so it fitted like a glove. He felt great wearing it and had a lot of compliments on the day!
What was the vibe you wanted for your wedding day? Modern, intimate, relaxed, cosy yet special. A beautiful day filled with food, fizz, love and laughter.
Tell us about your floral arrangements and any inspiration. Our flowers were seasonal and fairly wild and unstructured – a mixture of peonies, roses, ranunculus, and various other small wildflowers in shades of pink, white and purple, with a lot of green foliage. The team at Grace & Thorn seemed the best fit for us in terms of their house style, and they created a lovely bouquet for me as well as filling the pub with gorgeous arrangements.
Rave about your wedding photographer! How do you feel about your photographs? Our choice of photographer was one of the first decisions we made as we knew that so much of the day would be remembered in later years through the pictures. We were keen to find a creative reportage-style photographer to capture real moments and dispense with the stiff traditional line-up shots: I don’t think we would have had the patience! We were really drawn to how unusual, and yet at the same time beautiful and classic, Miss Gen’s portfolio was; we felt confident that she would do a great job.
We are thrilled with the photos; they tell the story of the day and there are so many little moments there that we would otherwise have forgotten. It’s a pleasure to see how happy all our friends and family look – the emotions in each photo come through so strongly. Miss Gen was lovely, calm, professional and hard-working on the day: as a softly spoken guide she made us feel at ease and aside from our couple’s portraits, we were honestly unaware of her being there!
Any favorite shots? There are so many to pick from, but our favourites are probably some of our portraits from the ‘first look’ before the ceremony: walking around the streets of Hampstead and up onto the Heath, stealing kisses and excited to get married. We are so pleased we chose to do these shots first thing, as it gave us a chance to relax and connect with each other in anticipation of the ceremony and without having to miss out on any of the celebrations afterwards.
What was the inspiration for your ceremony? Any favorite parts? We took the parts that we felt resonated most with us from the various civil ceremony options, and my closest schoolfriend read ‘Union’ by Robert Fulghum: a short and non-saccharine piece of prose that reflected our feelings about the true meaning of our wedding, and felt very personal to us. There were a few tears in the room!
I think we both enjoyed the ceremony most of all. We hadn’t expected to feel quite the rush of joy and excitement we did, to be marrying each other in that room with our closest friends and family all around us. It was truly special.
How was the reception? What was your first dance like, if any? We didn’t have a first dance (for us this fell into the ‘performative wedding elements that aren’t really us’ category), but we shared a little last dance to ‘All I Want Is You’ by Barry Polisar to round the night off.
Any advice for couples planning a wedding? We tried to make the whole process as simple and stress-free as possible, always keeping at the forefront of our minds that a) it’s JUST ONE DAY and b) as long as we got married, the wedding would be a success.
Inevitably, though, there were points when we felt frazzled; due to things like suppliers being slow to respond, a couple of hiccups, and moments of self-doubt and worries over what our guests would think of the day. I’d advise accepting early on that some things will go wrong, and trying to stay calm when they do! Basic things like making lists/spreadsheets to track your planning progress/expenditure will help you to feel in control.
Above all, plan the day that will make the two of you happy, and that’s a true reflection of you as a couple. When you get to the day itself, just enjoy it: it’s a wonderful, unique experience and it goes by so fast…
Photographer: Miss Gen Photography | Ceremony Venue and Caterer: Burgh House | Reception Venue and Caterer: Prince Albert | Florist: Grace & Thorn | Dress: Charlotte Simpson | Wedding Ring: Raphael London | Earrings: AB Davis | Bride’s Shoes: Rainbow Club | Hairpiece: Laure de Sagazan | Groom’s Suit: Reiss | Groom’s Tie: Paul Costelloe | Groom’s Shoes: Paul Smith | Hair: Victoria Ralph | Cake: Little Bear Cakery | Stationery: Paperless Post | Musician: Mark Reeves | DJ: The Wedding Smashers | Transportation: Routemaster Hire Ltd.