strings and turntables
It was really important to us that the music during the ceremony was beautiful and created an exciting atmosphere. We found the Crystal Palace String Quartet online and, after speaking to Chris there, knew they would be perfect.
As everyone arrived at the ceremony they played a mix of classical, including Mozart: Divertimento in D, and a few contemporary songs, like All you need is love by the Beetles. I walked down the aisle with my Dad to Kissing you by Des’ree. I cannot tell you how beautiful this is on strings; when we were waiting for our cue to walk down the aisle and the quartet began playing it, my sisters and I almost lost it! Thankfully, we managed to keep it together (and our makeup intact).
Our first dance was a subject of much debate throughout the entire planning stage. Ant is very into his R&B and Love you for life, Jodeci has been a favourite for years; he put it on a mix tape he made for me right at the beginning of our relationship. However, I was worried it was a tad too cheesy. In the end, after realising that trying to choose a random song, no matter how beautiful, and make it ‘our song’ before the wedding was slightly silly, I relented and Love you for life it was. It was definitely very cheesy, but that really didn’t matter, we both knew all the words and despite my reservations it was a lovely moment.
We both had quite a specific idea of what we wanted in the evening to make sure the dance floor was full all night and knew our friend Luke was the man for the job. He often DJs informally at our friend’s parties and always has everyone on their feet and throwing some shapes! We weren’t disappointed, I won’t list all the gems but there may have been more than a little bit of old school Garage that went down very well, even with the aunties and uncles!
I was in a quandary over favours for a very long time. You would think that working in the Weddings department for notonthehighstreet.com would make this decision easy. I encounter oodles of wedding pretty every day, which was both brilliant and excruciating – the choice was overwhelming! In the end, we decided to go homemade to keep it as personal as possible. We got engaged in Cornwall, when I took Ant to show him where I spent every summer growing up. To give a little nod to this my sister, Amy (with some help from Ant) made fudge to pop inside the pockets of the origami hearts that were the place names. It was the sweetest thing watching them both standing over a huge pot on the oven at my parent’s house making it, they even made little stickers with A&A Fudge written on to go on the wrappers!
styling the venues
Our ceremony venue, One Whitehall Place, was beautiful on its own but we put our own stamp on it with big lilac-green hydrangea heads and ivy at the ends of the rows and an enormous pedestal arrangement at the front. We also had little tea lights all over the room, which really made it feel special.
The Union, the beautiful Georgian townhouse where we held our reception, has a very unique style of it’s own which we complemented with some of our own decorations. Our favourites were the beautiful directional signs from Delightful Living , which we used to guide everyone to key areas around the venue, some pretty votives from Garden Trading, London bus lights from Carry Me Home and lovely wooden frames from Moa, which we had received from our wedding list, that we used for the table names.
happily ever after
It was so special to have as many of our favourite people as was possible in one place for the day. I’m not sure we’ll ever achieve that again and seeing everyone enjoy all the little bits that we had spent so many months planning was lovely. Having little aspects that our friends and family did themselves, like the cake, the music and the favours, gave everything a very personal feel. On the day we felt very lucky to have such great people in our lives.
The ceremony was my favourite part of the day, we had a civil ceremony and, in lieu of a hymn, we all sang Stand by me, by Ben E. King. Standing at the front, looking back at all our guests singing their hearts out was an incredible moment. Our friend Katie, read her own version of Baz Luhrmann’s Sunscreen, which was so personal and also, in parts, very funny, it really created such a happy atmosphere.
Standing across from Ant saying our vows, in front of our friends and family was like nothing else. I’m usually so shy about anything that puts me in front of a group of people (I have a morbid phobia of audience participation), but I felt so happy that my nerves vanished, it was honestly the best moment of my life. When we got in our black cab to the reception after the ceremony, while everyone else boarded an old London Routemaster, we just looked at each other a little in disbelief at how amazing it all was.
A lot of brides say this, but truly the best advice is to lap it all up on the day. Take as many moments as you can to take it all in, remember the smiles on people’s faces and the laughing, it does all go so, so fast.
Also, don’t let any post-wedding blues get to you – remember that the best is to come! Now that it’s all over, I love being married so much and it’s great being able to spend time together that isn’t dominated by either, decisions over what colour the ribbon should be, or guilt if we’re not doing something wedding-related. In his speech, Ant borrowed a quote from Dr Seuss: “You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.” When I think back to our wedding day, it feels dream-like, but the reality of marriage and living each day with my husband (love saying that) is the best bit!
A massive thank you to both Louise and Ant for sharing every last beautiful detail with us. We’ve enjoyed every second!