The Teeny Wedding Reveal!

Sarah & Matthew's Hackney WeddingI woke up on the morning of our wedding a bundle of nerves and excitement.

We were getting married just before midday, so there was lots to do. Matthew and my mom decorated our flat while Natasha from Pretty Me Vintage set my hair in pin curls and applied my makeup.

And then it was time to slip on my dress – oh, my dress! It was actually the first one I found, as I started browsing the interwebs the day after we got engaged. I looked at others but didn’t find anything else in my price range that I liked as much. It’s actually not a wedding dress. It cost £75 from Chi Chi London, so I got to feel really smug about finding such a bargain while feeling like a complete princess.

My giant bow veil is a custom piece from Crown & Glory and I wore gold glitter shoes from Golden Ponies.

Sarah & Matthew's Hackney WeddingSarah & Matthew's Hackney WeddingSarah & Matthew's Hackney WeddingSarah & Matthew's Hackney WeddingWe got married in the art deco building of Wandsworth Town Hall. Sitting across from the registrar while our guests tittered away in the next room must have been the most nervous Matthew or I had ever felt. But then “Life’s a Happy Song” from The Muppet movie came on and everyone started to trickle in and I got swept away in all of it.

I was choking back sobs during Matthew’s vows and my hands shook like anything while I read my vows but our ceremony was absolutely one of my favourite parts of the whole day. It was tender, and honest, and real – full of laughter and happy tears.

Sarah & Matthew's Hackney WeddingSarah & Matthew's Hackney WeddingThere were a lot of DIY elements in our wedding. Obviously this added extra work but not only did it save us money (our whole wedding cost around £2,000), it allowed us to create a day that felt 100% like us. We added lots of personalized touches, like pictures of us each growing up underneath our engagement photos.

I arranged most of our flowers myself from blooms that my mom and I bought at Mark’s & Spencer. I spread everything out on the kitchen floor and made bouquets in mason jars and mini milk bottles. It only took about an hour and we saved a lot of money going the DIY route. There were colourful blooms in every corner of our flat and garden!

Sarah & Matthew's Hackney WeddingBut for the most important arrangements, the buttonholes and my bouquet, I entrusted the job to Lara from Wild Renata Flowers. I’d met Lara at a market in east London and instantly connected with her friendly personality and eclectic floristry style. My main guidelines for the bouquet were colourful with peonies and lots of body. She brought my vision to life and created a stunning arrangement that I didn’t want to let go of all day.

Sarah & Matthew's Hackney WeddingHaving a garden party reception was not without its share of risks: what if it rained?! We were blessed with sunshine but just in case, we rented a marquee that we prettified with streamers, homemade bunting, and string lights from Blaze On. Even though it was sunny outside, the marquee blocked out most of the sunshine and these bauble lights created a warm glow that really added to the atmosphere. I highly recommend checking out their whole line, their handmade flower lights and paper lanterns are perfect for brightening up any space.

Most of the other decorations were from Ebay and Amazon. Tassels, tissue pom poms, and streamers created a festive look.

We didn’t have a theme per se, but just tried to keep things fun and colourful. Matthew loves board games and so I had the idea to have some simple games set out for people to play. We decided on Hungry, Hungry, Hippos; Connect Four; and Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots. At first I was worried they wouldn’t get played with but guests quickly made a beeline to play against one another. Luckily no permanent family feuds were formed but I will say that the Connect Four matches got particularly aggressive.

Sarah & Matthew's Hackney WeddingSarah & Matthew's Hackney WeddingSarah & Matthew's Hackney WeddingMatthew and I are both vegetarian, so it was important to us to have a meat-free day. We enlisted the help of Cashew Catering to come up with a menu that our non-veggie guests would also enjoy. Because our reception took place from mid-afternoon to early evening, we served a buffet of canapés that people could nibble on throughout the party. The food was everything we’d hoped for and we heard a few people were finally convinced that you don’t need meat to make a delicious meal.

Lily Vanilli made our cake (you can read my interview with her here). It was lemon sponge with white chocolate buttercream and decorated with red currants and flowers from her edible garden. It was as delicious as it sounds and just as beautiful as I’d hoped. Lily was amazing about working with our small budget but still creating exactly what we were looking for.

We had lots of other sweets out as well, which I think contributed to our fun, playful atmosphere. There were vegetarian gummies, homemade chocolate chip cookies, and Yvonne & Guite sent me some their delicious caneles for our guests to enjoy. These little French delights are like sweet, pillowy pastry clouds. I’m totally hooked!

Sarah & Matthew's Hackney WeddingSarah & Matthew's Hackney WeddingWe excused ourselves around 7:30pm and made our way to High Road House hotel for a one night minimoon.

It was as we were lounging in a rose-scented bath, clinking our champagne glasses (after the photographers had left), that I  finally relaxed for what felt like the first time in months.

A claw foot bathtub beside our king-sized bed, fluffy bath robes, breakfast in bed, and time just the two of us taking it all in were exactly what we needed after such a busy and exciting day.

Sarah & Matthew's Hackney Wedding Sarah & Matthew's Hackney Wedding Sarah & Matthew's Hackney WeddingThe wedding was so full of love and went by in a happy blur.

Planning a wedding, even a small ones, can be stressful and all-consuming. In the weeks leading up I had a few meltdowns and freak outs. But ultimately I stayed focused on what was really important to me: the beginning of our marriage.

Not everything went perfectly. I got motion sick on the way home from the ceremony and vomited in a carrier bag while laughing about what a “fairy tale bride” I made.

But this isn’t a fairy tale. It’s the start of our very real life together. Full of messiness and mistakes and laughter and fun.

And mixed in with all of the food and music and conversation, there were so many tiny, unexpected moments that I know I’ll remember the most. Like a young girl stopping with her mom while we were getting our picture taken to tell me I looked beautiful and then taking our photo with an iPhone.

We were so lucky to have Warren and Carmen from Luminis Photography capturing our special day, and Sarah from Insta Wedding who made the video below. It’s so incredible to have all of these special moments documented so that we can look back on them for the rest of our lives.

(Use this link if the embedded version is giving you grief).

Love always,

The Teeny Wedding Chronicles: Our Engagement Photos.

London Engagement Photo ShootThere’s less than three weeks until the wedding and serendipity seems to be playing a big part in our wedding planning.

Little discoveries and chance findings are falling in to place to create a really special day.

With a budget of only £2000, we’re having to use lots of creativity to pull things together and just go without some pieces all together. But seeing as we’re forgoing many traditions and just doing what feels right for us, that really hasn’t been a problem.

I was worried about photos though. I wasn’t sure how we could possibly afford them and it felt so important to have images that captured such a momentous day. I’d resigned myself to making do with whatever family and friends managed to snap in between merrymaking but then I stumbled on an ad on Gumtree of all places, which led me to Luminis Photography.

Carmen and Warren are a husband and wife duo who are just starting out in wedding photography. While their business is new, they have plenty of experience behind the camera and they’re building their brand around capturing untraditional, alternative weddings – how perfect for us!

They enthusiastically responded to our email saying that they were free to shoot our big day. We’d been corresponding via email for the past several months but finally got to meet up two Saturdays ago to chat wedding logistics and for a fun engagement shoot on the streets of London.

We wandered from Soho through central London and finally to the British Museum, stopping wherever we saw a beautiful backdrop. After getting my first peek at the photos yesterday, I’m even more excited that we have Carmen and Warren as our wedding photographers. They’ve created bold, beautiful images that our distinctly us. I hope you won’t mind a more image-heavy post than usual, as I couldn’t wait to share some of them with you.

London Engagement Photo ShootLondon Engagement Photo ShootLondon Engagement Photo ShootLondon Engagement Photo ShootLondon Engagement Photo ShootLondon Engagement Photo ShootLondon Engagement Photo ShootLondon Engagement Photo ShootLondon Engagement Photo ShootLondon Engagement Photo ShootLondon Engagement Photo ShootLondon Engagement Photo ShootLondon Engagement Photo ShootI’m wearing a VooDoo Vixen Dress c/o Corset Story, hair accessories c/o Crown & Glory, a Marc Jacobs bangle c/o Harvey Nichols, Fly London shoes, a Les Nereides Paris ring, Crown & Glory shoe clips, and my hair was styled by the lovely Kelsie at Rockalily Cuts.

When Corset Story offered to send me an item from their website to review, I had a hard time picking something out. There were so many choices! Their shop is chockablock full of beautiful dresses, skirts, and corsets inspired by rockabilly style, burlesque performers, and steampunk culture. I finally settled on this elegant, vintage-inspired number and knew it was the perfect thing to wear for our engagement photos. Fit and flair dresses are my go-to style, and I love how my tattoo peeks out through the teardrop cutouts. It has the perfect amount of stretch to be really comfortable and the fabric has a nice weight to it, so the skirt twirls beautifully. I loved styling it for a really retro look with a glittery, modern twist.

Thank you so much to Carmen and Warren for making these beautiful photos for us, and to Corset Story for giving me something beautiful to pose in.

You can see more images from our engagement shoot on the Luminis Photography blog.

Love, victory rolls, & pink peonies,



Photography by Warren Burke.

The Teeny Wedding Chronicles: What’s in a theme?

zencamTomorrow marks 4 weeks until our big day! I can hardly believe it. But the boxes of champagne flutes, decorations, and other bits and bobs piling up in our kitchen are a constant reminder that our wedding is fast approaching.

So the question on everyone’s lips is: “How’s the wedding planning going?”

I’m never sure how to answer, so I say “Good!” with a grin and a what I’m sure is a deer-in-the-headlights expression.

Since we’re keeping our day low key and intimate, I like to think that as long as we make it to the register’s office and get legally married, everything else is icing on the cake.

But at this point things are more or less planned. The catering is set. My dress is hanging in our closet. My custom headpiece is in the works. The décor is planned. The cake is ordered.

And yet since we’re DIYing so much of the day, there are still lots of little things to pull together. Creating a playlist. Making yards and yards of glitter bunting. Planning the ceremony details. Ordering the alcohol. Deposits to pay and last minute pieces to order. But I feel pretty calm about the whole thing. As I said, it’s all icing. And day by day, we’re getting there. One little piece at a time.

And since it’s getting so close to the big day, our guests are starting to plan what they’re going to wear and so they want to know: what’s the theme of our wedding?

Well, there isn’t really one.

On our invitations I wrote: “Wear whatever makes you feel good. Bright colours encouraged.”

And that sentiment has been guiding our planning as well. Doing what makes us feel good and incorporating lots of bright colours along the way.

We don’t have a set theme, we just want a day that’s very us.

Our planning process started by deciding on the structure of the day: a register’s office ceremony followed by a late afternoon/early evening reception at home.

This structure dictated the food we’re going to serve. Since we’ll be wrapping things up by 8pm, we didn’t see the need to have a formal dinner. We’ll all just be mingling in our back garden, anyway. Instead we’re having an amazing selection of veggie canapes from Cashew Catering, a beautiful cake from Lily Vanili, and a few homemade sweets.

We took to Pinterest to get ideas for decoration and other finishing touches to make the day feel really special. And then we went on a mass ordering spree from Ebay and Amazon that we attacked in an admittedly hodge podge fashion. We stuck to a vague colour theme of bright pink, burnt orange, royal blue, and gold, but didn’t get hung up on making everything to cohesive. We like the idea of an eclectic day and just picked out the things we felt drawn to.

Rather than feeling like we have to do things a certain way, we’ve let our intuition guide us. I have a vision of how I want things to look and feel on the day, but being flexible and not getting too hung up on everything has allowed our planning process to be organic and relaxed.

I think a theme is a great way to put on a beautiful event or just provide structure within the infinite choices available, but for forgoing one has helped us keep things focused on creating a day that feels very authentic.

Did you have a theme for your wedding? Would you want to?

Love, bubble wands, and champagne toasts,

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