After agreeing that a traditional country wedding wasn’t for them, Debbie and Simon decided on something a little less ordinary for their big day.
From the cheese tower (yes, that’s a tower made of cheese) to Debbie’s handmade Guess Who seating plan, the city wedding truly was a fun-filled day, full of surprises.
Simon is Australian and I’m from London, so one of the first big decisions we had to make was whether to do the deed here or there. In the end, it seemed much easier to organise a wedding in London where we live, than in Australia from afar – so London it was. When Simon proposed we hadn’t really thought about the sort of wedding we wanted – but quickly realised that we didn’t want a traditional country-style wedding.
After trawling through venues online, I came across 6 St Chad’s Place. Kings Cross was easy to get to for most of our friends and family, and we were keen to make the day as easy and relaxed as possible for all of our guests. The bare brick walls, double height ceiling, wood beams and large windows gave the place a lovely feel. The light and natural textures made it an impressive venue, and meant it didn’t need dressing up to look good. A triumph for my ‘no stress’ wedding approach!
Neither of us are religious so a church wedding wasn’t a consideration for the ceremony. Camden Town Hall was around the corner from the venue, so we opted for an intimate ceremony for immediate family only.
I didn’t want a “traditional” wedding dress, as I didn’t feel like we were having a “traditional” wedding. I didn’t go to any bridal shops as I knew I’d get talked into the big fancy dress, and wanted to stick to my guns. Browsing online, I found a stunning dress from MaxMara. It was elegant, long, white and wedding-appropriate without being a “wedding” dress (and cost much less than a proper wedding dress would have). I nipped down to the shop in my lunch hour, tried it, loved it, and bought it on the spot. Easy! My wonderful blue shoes were something I’d owned for several years, and were as comfortable as five inch heels can be – I knew from the start I wanted blue shoes to add a splash of colour to my outfit, and to double as my something blue. Since these were tried and tested, it was an easy decision.
Florists charge such a premium on flowers for weddings that we didn’t want to go down that route; I thought I could be more creative than that anyway, and do something a bit different for the centrepieces. After much research I decided to make flowers for the centrepieces out of retro sweets. This was definitely a labour of love, they took about three full days to meticulously craft with cocktail sticks, royal icing and tub after tub of sweets. I’ve always loved crafting, so enjoyed making them. However, I wouldn’t recommend it if you don’t enjoy that sort of thing, or if you don’t have plenty of time set aside for it. They turned out brilliantly in the end and lots of people have been asking me where I bought them – I feel like the time spent was justified (as well as fun!).
I did however want a bouquet for myself. I had a few pops of colour in my outfit already, so chose to keep the flowers white so they didn’t clash. I found a stunning bouquet by Amanda Austin on notonthehighstreet.com. After exchanging a few messages with Amanda, I ordered it – and loved it when it arrived on the day! It was made up of peonies, freesias, hydrangeas and spray roses, and smelt divine.
We felt that after dinner (and dessert) our guests probably wouldn’t want another big chunk of cake. As most of our guests were big cheese fans, we decided to opt for a cheese tower from the wonderful Teddington Cheese Co. This went down a storm with our guests, and was supplemented with lots of Krispy Kreme doughnuts, for those with an extra-sweet tooth!
We didn’t really have a conscious theme, but our aim all the way through was to have an easy, fun and very relaxed day. It was really more like a big party than a traditional wedding – and that definitely came out in all the touches we added to the décor. I made table plans out of old Guess Who boards I bought cheaply online, and printed off photos of all the guests to stick on them – another fun craft project! The place names were made out of a pack of customised Top Trumps cards I found on the internet. There was one for each guest, personalised with their photos and silly wedding-themed categories for the scoring.
For the favours, we bought cute, silly little pin badges for each guest, and personalised matchstick biscuit packs. Instead of a guest book, we left a Jenga block on each place setting for guests to write us a short message or draw us a funny picture.
I added a few other things to make it feel a bit more wedding-y – paper lanterns hanging from the beams in the bar, a wooden crate for the cards, and giant silver balloons to mark out the entrance. Our main indulgence on the day was hiring a photo booth for the evening from GiggleBooth – it was very much in keeping with the fun, relaxed and slightly silly feel of the evening! It was a hit with everyone, and we managed to get some hysterical photos of our friends and family, in varying stages of inebriation…
The First Dance
We didn’t have a first dance. Simon and I don’t dance together normally (he is more a ‘stand at the side of the dance floor and chat’ sort of guy!) so it would have seemed unnatural to suddenly do it on the day.
How to choose?! Probably the speeches. They were all brilliant – just the right balance of touching and funny. I also loved looking around the room during the speeches and seeing our nearest and dearest smiling and having fun.
Pearls of Wisdom
Agree from the start what’s important to you about your wedding, what you’re ambivalent about, what you don’t want, and stick to it. It’s very easy to be swayed by the huge volume of wedding fairs, magazines and blogs – not to mention married friends trying to give you helpful hints – but all that’s really important is that the two of you are happy, and it feels like your day, not someone else’s. No traditions are compulsory – so long as you get married at some stage, the rest is optional!
For us it was really important to have wonderful lasting photos as memories, which was why we hired our amazing photographer (who was bubbly, relaxed, fun, and very stealthy in her photo taking!) and the photobooth. We economised on, and cut, several other ‘traditional’ elements (bridesmaids, florist, cake cutting, first dance, long wedding ceremony) which weren’t important to us. It kept the run up to the day, and the day itself, almost entirely stress-free, and meant we didn’t have to spend our life savings either!
Photographer: The fantastic Jessica Roberts
Flowers: Amanda Austen Flowers
Hair & make-up: Kit Hall
Venue: 6st Chad’s Place
The Cheese Tower: The Teddington Cheese Co.
Photobooth: Giggle Booth
Shop Debbie & Simon’s Wedding Look
A personalised wedding crate is a great alternative to having a traditional card box.
Just like Debbie, why not add these personalised matchstick wedding favours to your table – they look and taste amazing.
These fun badges are perfect for friends and family of any age, especially to wear in the photo-booth!
Why not give the groom a pair of engraved envelope cufflinks? A great memento, and the perfect present for the big day.
Finally add a touch of glamour to your big day with these Gatsby Tassel Tail Balloons.
To read about other notonthehighstreet.com weddings or for more styling inspiration, visit the weddings section of our blog.