We all love a Real Wedding blog post, as you get to grab a cuppa and browse through stunning wedding photography, gaze at an amazing Art Deco theme Wedding and bridesmaid dresses, beautiful wedding flowers and romantic wedding venues. This month’s post is extra special for me, as I was at the wedding too!
Last month my brother Jonathan, tied the knot with his beautiful bride Charlotte in the stunning Renaissance Hotel, Kings Cross. I was thrilled when they wanted to use Paperless Wedding for their special day (PHEW!), and we created an Art Deco design that fitted their theme perfectly.
Charlotte has a love of all things Grace Kelly, Art Nouveau and gold and sparkly. So Art Deco was their theme with a double shot of gin, as you will see what I mean. As both of them work in the theatre, Jonny is a Stage Manager and Charlotte is currently Wardrobe Mistress for School of Rock, their “Saturday” is actually Sunday, as that is when the industry has the day off. Surrounded by family and friends they exchanged rings, I did a short reading, my little people did some excellent aisle-walking and we dined on some delicious food! So let me hand over to both of them to share more about the day.
How was the wedding planning experience?
Jonny: For me, it was reasonably straightforward. We organised it like a putting on a show. We found what we wanted and needed, found a range of suppliers and chose the best. From there, I worked on the same principle as putting on a performance, i.e. what do you need to just get the day going, then what do you need to do to make it a good day, and then what do you want to make it perfect? From this, you can then think actually if we did the wedding now it would happen and everything and everyone would be happy, and then work forward to put the special bits on to make it perfect for you. This also helps control the budget, as when you start looking realistically at the day you could work out if it was necessary or if you want it just to make your day perfect.
Charlotte: We were holding the whole day at the Renaissance Hotel, so it made things much simpler as we didn’t have to worry about getting from one place to another. They did most of the organising and we just had to tell them what we wanted. We are both quite good at working with a budget; there were some compromises made, but on the whole, I feel we got all the important elements within the budget we set.
Where did you find your inspirations from?
Jonny: For me, this came from Charlotte, I then tried to help bring what she wanted to life. She would come up with an idea, and then I would research it on Google and then find suggestions that fitted her idea. For example, personalised origami fortune tellers and decorative 3ft helium balloons!
Charlotte: It was my birthday just after we got engaged, so Jonny bought me a year’s subscription to a wedding magazine, which was great for getting ideas. Pinterest is amazing for inspiration and for things you could make to help style the venue. I also went to a wedding fair, where it was great to see all the different options of things you can do. I had quite strong ideas of the sort of wedding I wanted so it was all about trying to find things that fitted with that theme.
What was important to you when deciding on suppliers/venue?
Jonny: For me, the venue had to be beautiful, what Charlotte wanted, within budget, and for the whole event to take place in one venue and be easily accessible. The Renaissance Hotel delivered on all fronts. From there we were very lucky with the package we were given. It included food, drink, tables, chairs, crockery, candles, tea lights, a wedding advisor and more, all included in the price (which depended on guest numbers making it easier to budget). This made life so much more straightforward. It was already a beautiful venue, so we didn’t have to spend lots to make it look special, so we could concentrate on the extras we needed, like the wedding photographer, flowers, and personal touches.
What made this particular venue so helpful is that you could personalise the package. This meant we could choose our own wedding breakfast menu (which included a fabulous food tasting session for all the wine, and a selection of food to choose from), and if you wanted to bring in your own chairs, decorations, or food and drink they were very amenable (some at extra cost and corkage).They also gave advice on suppliers that they have used before and know the venue.
The hotel suggested Total Event Hire for the chairs, table centres and balloons. They knew the venue and were very helpful to sort out Charlotte’s design. So much so I never even saw them on the day, everything just appeared like magic by elves!!
Charlotte also wanted to walk down the aisle to live music and while at a wedding fair heard a string quartet. We thought this would both sound and look amazing. We were not disappointed! After searching different websites we found The Dotted Crotchets who fitted the bill. They were incredibly helpful and would even do requests in advance and make musical arrangements up (at an extra small cost). They also let a friend sing with them as we signed the register, which made it even more special. We can’t thank them enough!
We did have a disagreement on using a videographer, but Charlotte won me over and we made room in the budget and upped our savings to get someone. So we looked through Google and wedding magazines to find an average price and the type of style we wanted. By looking at sample videos online, and some they sent us and then we made our decision (I used to be a media student and some expensive ones were not well edited and didn’t go with the music). From here we found Katie Tulip and her videos were so flowing, beautifully shot and picked up a feel for the day that we didn’t think we could find better and that made us tingle as much. The result we have already had through is fantastic, just see this still of my Charlotte’s dad seeing her for the first time!
Charlotte: We had a family friend who was a professional wedding photographer (Jonny Faint of Longfield Studios), and someone else was a florist. This would always be my preference over having to hunt through the internet trying to find someone. You already know them, how they work, the standard they work to…it’s like the best recommendation, you can have. It made me feel much calmer, particularly having a photographer I already knew. I felt at ease from the start of the day.
At some point, the budget did come into it with some of the ideas. The main one being a videographer…I was really keen and had met some at a wedding fair that I really liked, but it would have pushed us well over our budget. I did a lot of work and research trying to find a good company for a good price, it was probably the thing I spent the most time trying to find! It did take almost a year and I got a lot of recommendations and emailed a lot of people, and fortunately about a month before the wedding, we managed book someone who fulfilled all the criteria!
Where did you find your dress?
Charlotte: I didn’t really have any specific ideas for the kind of dress I wanted. I was keen to try on every kind of style, to make sure I had picked the perfect dress. Working in costume and costume making, style and fit is really important. I knew loads of my colleagues would be coming on the day and would know all about it too. We went to about 5 different shops, and tried on loads of dresses and found quite a few that were almost ‘the one’.
Ultimately the dress I chose was the second one I tried on at the first shop we went to. It took me a while to narrow down what it was I really wanted and what kind of look I wanted, and I managed to dwindle it down the more styles I tried on. Plus it was really good fun! Also once the venue was confirmed that helped to give a feel for what style of dress would suit the day. My dress was an ivory, full-skirted gown from Pronovias which we found at Teokath in Wimbledon.
How did you choose your hairstyle?
I really struggled with hairstyles…it isn’t really my thing! My hair is quite fine so having a ‘down do’ never really works, as it always falls out after an evening…let alone a day! I also didn’t want it to look too formal either. That was the specification I gave my hairdresser, who is also a friend of mine. His name is Jose and we worked together on Oliver! The Musical a few years ago, before he moved to the Royal Opera House. I loved the idea of having a vintage feel, so we had one trial with an image I had found, but it didn’t really suit me. We sent a few images backwards and forwards before the next trial and I left it up to his brilliance to create something, with a slight vintage feel, that would suit the dress and would stay all day. He got it absolutely right! He is an absolute legend.
What personal touches did you do for the day?
Jonny: The venue itself was beautiful, so we didn’t need to do much decorating. We did want to put our personalised stamp on the day and keep to the theme. We called the theme our ‘Art Deco Gin Bar” theme, so there was quite a lot of things we could ‘play’ with. Luckily the hotel got on the theme and got the serving staff to be dressed in suspenders to look like 1920s barmen, and we had candles in stunning brass lanterns down the aisle and down the corridors.
Our first personalised item to the guests were the invitations and website, done by Paperless Wedding. These were so stylised and perfectly set for our wedding. The Art Deco vibe was felt by the guests before they even arrived. It was so simple and straightforward to do, and saved us on having to pay for all the stationery & postage, as well as being good for the environment (I know I am biased though!).
Total Event Hire did some fantastic table centres that were large martini glasses with floating flowers and provided golden chairs for the guests that we loved.
We also made bits and pieces the week before the wedding, inviting the parents around, with payment of a glass of wine, to help cut and make different pieces. We made signs, table names, the table plan, bow ties, THE wedding cake (thanks, mum!) and origami fortuneteller in the deco style. For the gin side, we named all the tables as our favourite gins and used the particular bottles on the tables (instead of signs) and filled them with delicate white flowers, which was echoed around the rest of the venue with more fine bottles and flowers.
Charlotte: We didn’t want the day to become a ‘stagey’ affair, we figured a lot of guests might expect it to be based around musicals, but we wanted to show another side of us. We, therefore, decided on having a gin theme, so we based all our table names and centres around our favourite gins and even used gin bottles as vases! It was quite good fun finding different ways we could incorporate a gin theme into the day. My dad made a great giant word-search, which had different gins hidden on one side and then we did have different musicals we had worked on, on the other side.
On the day itself what were the highlights for you?
Jonny: Obviously my lasting memory will be that first moment I saw Charlotte walking down the aisle looking as beautiful as ever. For the day it was everyone being there and enjoying it. Thinking back, I mainly think of people’s smiles, and the children playing and having fun. The food was amazing and the band got everyone up on the dance floor and it just made for a really enjoyable day.
Charlotte: The whole day was a highlight! I wouldn’t have changed anything! I loved everyone getting ready in the morning, the ceremony was brilliant…probably the bit of the day you think about the least but is actually the most important. It was really wonderful seeing Jonny full of smiles and all of our friends and family there to celebrate. There was so much fun and laughter and dancing…it was exactly what I wanted! I wasn’t interested in having a smooshy day…I wanted it full of fun and for everyone to have the best day!
What is your advice for other couples?
Jonny: My advice to anyone going through the preparation stages of the wedding is to relax and enjoy it. This day will (hopefully) only happen once and you want to enjoy it. Keep hold of your budget but don’t stress if you go over on something, as you may be able to recoup it somewhere else. Make sure that it will be a day everyone will enjoy, that keeps everyone entertained, fed and watered but nothing that distracts you from having fun and remembering what a great day you had with your partner forever.
Charlotte: I’d say make sure you focus on what you want and don’t be guided by other people’s ideas! We were so lucky to have so much support and advice from our amazing families to help guide us as it can be a bit overwhelming with all the options and choices. Start with the essentials and then build from there. Try not to stress about the little things, as they really aren’t important in the grand scheme of things. The best bit of advice I was offered when I started planning was to make sure your guests are fed and watered, and they’ll be happy and I think it’s pretty true!
A massive thank you to my brother and now sister-in-law for sharing their special day with us. Both have been brilliant in giving me feedback on Paperless Wedding and it will be thanks to them and other couples, that our new release will have even better features. You make a wonderful couple and we are so happy you had a fabulous day!
Art Deco Theme
We have two Art Deco themes that you can customise for your wedding. One that is black and gold and the other cream and gold.
The other is cream and gold.