Every time we get to share a wedding from London, my heart skips a couple of beats – especially when it’s a vintage-inspired wedding with so many good details for all you party and wedding planners out there. McKinley-Rodgers and The Flower Appreciation Society helped Frances and Alvin realize their dream wedding day, which was filled to the brim with good music, London charm, and some seriously beautiful 1920s inspired looks.
From the bride, Frances: We wanted a laid-back, fun and vintage feel to our wedding. I sell vintage dresses on the internet (Fond and Fancy Vintage) so it felt right to have this represented in the theme, our outfits and decorations. The Asylum Chapel is a deconsecrated Georgian chapel so it was the perfect backdrop to hold the antiques, old tea-cups, vintage napkins, lace and retro dresses I collected during our engagement.
We didn’t want people to feel it was stuffy or formal but just enjoy the party, so we didn’t set a dress code. I lust after an outdoor wedding in a forest but I’m a proper Londoner really! It was amazing to get ready at my parents’ house with my best friends and drive through the streets where I grew up to go and meet my husband who I met in the city we love. I love Alvin so much, he has supported me and provided so many laughs and adventures in the 8 years we’ve been together – I think this came across in the ceremony – people said that it was a very emotional day! We wrote our own vows which we wanted to be loving but also funny.
We had a humanist ceremony – our celebrant was Sally Feldman and she was amazing! I think I was a bit of a control freak when it came to the order of the ceremony and she was incredibly patient and helpful. Music is really important to us: Alvin is in a band and we met on the dancefloor, so we did away with usual reading and our friends read song lyrics instead: ‘Something Changed’ by Pulp and ‘Tonight, Tonight’ by the Smashing Pumpkins. I had a sneaky suspicion that Alvin was going to sing something during the day and, true to form, he sang a song instead of a speech about me – there wasn’t a dry eye in the chapel! We had a little bit of a Mexican theme at the reception venue with traditional flags, our Lady of Guadalupe candles and other red things, like parasols and umbrellas. We had been to Mexico earlier in the year and completely loved it so wanted to have our travels and loves represented. In truth, we want to move back!
The colour scheme was pale pink and not too matchey; for example, my bridesmaids all chose their own dresses. Our favours were antique napkins and handkerchiefs, we collected cake toppers, candle holders and vases for the tables. Alvin made our marquee letters – he’s so clever! He wanted to give a shout out to the people who did the laser cutting: lasercut.com! I wrapped jam jars in lace and ribbon for the tables. I bought some alphabet cards that people could write us notes on and my friend Hong made us a pin board. I spray painted feathers with gold glitter and tied them to old luggage tags for name places. We wrote the table plans on 1930s mirrors. The tables were named after birds and my mother in law drew pictures of the birds to go on the tables and the mirrors. Alvin made a whiskey roulette.
Any advice for couples planning their weddings now? Friends and family often have skills that you can draw on – drawing, painting, writing, creating! Have fun with the details but don’t sweat if something doesn’t work or arrive in time. We forgot to cut our cake and they didn’t serve the desert wine but now I just laugh about it because it was my perfect day. All of the wedding party met the night before in my parents’ garden and we invited our close friends the next day – it was lovely to shine the celebrations on a little bit longer. Remember it’s about the two of you and the people you love – so they don’t really mind if things don’t go quite to plan either! We got a special license with the Big Red so it was open until 3am and I’m so glad we did because I wasn’t ready to go home until the very end.
Bridesmaids’ Processional: “Rave On,” Buddy Holly
Bride’s Processional: “Harvest Moon,” Neil Young (we met on the night of the lunar eclipse so the moon has special significance)
Recessional: “Waterloo Sunset,” The Kinks (we love the Kinks, we met in London and this is my favourite song: it just about matches the excitement I feel about being married to Alvin)
First Dance: “Furr,” Blitzen Trapper
Wedding Location: London, England / Photographer: McKinley-Rodgers / Florist: The Flower Appreciation Society / Ceremony Venue: Asylum Chapel / Reception Venue: Big Red / Wedding Dress: 1930s gown copied by a seamstress and 1920s gown for the evening / Wedding Shoes: French Sole / Headpiece: Agnes Hart / Accessories: an antique gold bracelet from my mother in law and my grandmother’s necklace, vintage fur stole / Hair and Makeup: Amanda of Lipstick and Curls / Groom’s Suit: Tiger of Sweden / Caterer: Mike and Ollie / Wedding Cake: French Made / Wine: Swig Wine / Music: The Wedding Smashers (DJ), The Spitfires (band), my friends Clair and Amanda sang ‘Devoted to you’ during the ceremony – it was wonderful and Alvin’s band sang at the reception / Wedding Invitations: The Wedding Tea Towel / Transportation: 50s Bentley from Classic Care Hire, vintage buses