Katie and Steven were married at the House of Commons in Westminster in the Member’s Dining Room which is only available if you can get sponsorship from an MP (#OMG!) One of the bridesmaids happens to work for an MP and was able to make it all possible, for which the couple were so so grateful. The reception that followed was held at the Chainstore Lighthouse which ended up being the perfect canvas to paint their wedding onto.
Katie says “…we looked at lots of venues in London before we saw the Chainstore. All were either too expensive, too stuffy or were too strict. We were looking for somewhere that would give us freedom to create the day our way. We wanted it to be a fun, relaxed celebration so when we saw The Chainstore we knew almost instantly that we wanted to host our reception here. It’s a complete blank canvas (we even had to hire in a kitchen and toilets!) with amazing views over the River Thames. When Sarah the venue manager mentioned we could transfer people here by boat, we were sold!
We booked a boat to transport our guests from Westminster to the Chainstore which was absolutely brilliant and a huge highlight for guests, especially those from outside London. The sun was shining and drinks were flowing as we sailed along the Thames after the ceremony.”
Sounds like a dream come true for a DIY bride and groom! The two didn’t set out with a specific theme in mind, but a “London” style definitely emerged as they planned all the details with navy blue, white and yellow pops of colour. Katie says “Steven and I wanted to make reference to our science backgrounds (we met at Imperial College; Steven studying Physics, me Biochemistry) by putting our flowers into conical flasks and test tubes. Tracey, our florist from Barns Flowers, was so encouraging and the finished results looked wonderful; fresh and a bit different. Katie made all of the stationery with help from friends and then formed a family production line where they put everything together. “It was a big project but I loved every minute of it and was so proud of the results.” Katie says.
Katie wore the Cyd dress by Augusta Jones, shoes by Rachel Simpson and a pair of diamond earrings which were a surprise present from Steven on the morning of the wedding. She topped the ensemble off with a handmade headpiece by Dolecka. Steven wore a dapper suit from Marks and Spencer. The couple’s bridesmaids wore navy to match.
Advice from the Bride:
Trust your instincts. Plan the day you want and that truly reflects you as a couple. Early on in the planning process Steven and I decided we wanted a London wedding. It’s not where either of us are originally from (I’m from Essex, he’s from Liverpool!) but it felt right to us. We wanted to celebrate London and give our friends and family a taste of the city we love.
Do your research with suppliers. Where possible go with recommendations and try to meet them before booking. We spent a lot of time picking our suppliers but I’m so glad we did. We had complete trust in them and their expertise. They had everything under control which meant in the run up and especially on the day, we didn’t have to worry about them.
If you’ve got a creative streak, make as much as you can! I love craft so made all our own invites, menus, order of service, table plan, table names, favours etc…(with help from lovely friends and family!) but it was so worth it. Not only did it save us a fortune but it made the day really personal. I’d read some blog posts before the wedding saying nobody notices the detail but I completely disagree; so many people have commented on the little details since and said how personal it made the day.
Also, definitely spend money on a great photographer! We love our photos and will treasure them forever; they capture the mood of the day perfectly! We found Nicki through internet searches and immediately loved her photos; she has an incredible eye and really capturesthe mood of the day. Her relaxed, reportage style was exactly what we were looking for and we have the most wonderful photos to look back on. They really tell the story of the day. If you can, get a video too. My nan passed away a few months before the wedding and that really focused our mind on making room in our budget for a videographer. It means so much for us to have film of all our family and friends. You’ll never have all of those people in the same place again.
And lastly, don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends and family – they will be chuffed to be involved! Ours helped us out so much in the run up to the wedding and on the day itself. We couldn’t have done it without them!
Any regrets? The only regret we both felt in the days after the wedding was that we didn’t spend enough time with everyone. People travelled from far and wide for our wedding and we felt guilty that we didn’t get to spend quality time with them all. I think everyone feels this to some extent and having spoken to a lot of our guests since everyone seems to understand but it still niggles sometimes!
Best decision made
There are so many decisions we are proud of it’s hard to pick one! The decision to host the wedding in London has to be up there, and within that our choice of venues. Getting married in the House of Commons was absolutely incredible (made possible by our beautiful bridesmaid who works there!) and made for a truly memorable day for our guests. We didn’t tell anyone other than close family about the ceremony venue until the invites went out; cue some very surprised texts/emails/phone calls from excited guests!