Regular readers of our real wedding features will know how much we admire all of our creative brides and grooms, every wedding has it’s own unique and personal essence. This wedding has a double whammy of The Conservatory at The Barbican, London as a venue and a 50’s style Candy Anthony dress in the most gorgeous shade of hot pink and I’m totally smitten. Bride Catherine supports children through hospital procedures and Groom Rob is a finance manager met at university and tied the knot at the location of their first date, almost 11 years ago, on the 22nd August 2015. Joanna Brown took these splendid images.
“We wanted the day to reflect us, a proper London wedding location and lots of bright colours. We were also keen to use as many local vendors as possible.”
Photography by Joanna Brown Photography
Catherine’s amazing dress is from London designer Candy Anthony. Based in the Oxo tower, an area of significance for the couple as they spent many dates in and around the South Bank.
“I always knew that I wouldn’t wear a traditional white wedding dress but if anyone had ever told me I’d get married in a bright pink wedding dress I’d never have believed them but the dress was just so beautiful and I felt so good in it. I decided on a taupe birdcage veil from Etsy which I loved as it was so simple.”
“Joanna Smedley did my hair and makeup. I went for a trial and we spent over three hours chatting, drinking tea and trying things out. We got on really well and it was so nice to have her there to help me get ready on the day.”
“I decided not to have bridesmaids. All my friends are important to me and I didn’t feel it was necessary. My best friend did spend the morning of the wedding with me though which was just perfect.”
Groom Rob got his smart navy suit from Paul Smith in Covent Garden, where he was treated to champagne while he tried on different suits. He found his shoes in Ted Baker and his custom made bow tie and pocket square were made by Dina Malkova. She also made bowties for their nephews and head bands for the girls.
“Rob proposed on 1st April 2014 in Central Park Zoo, New York. We had been living together for six years and had to refer ourselves as ‘co-habitees’ on various documents so Rob proposed with the romantic words “So I don’t want to be your co-habitee anymore…”
Catherine’s dad, Tom, brought her and her siblings up on his own and she couldn’t imagine walking down the aisle with any one else. They chose ‘All I Want Is You’ by Barry Louis Polisar, a really happy song fitting to the gorgeous venue.
Catherine and Rob wrote their own vows and chose two readings which resonated with them for their ceremony, ‘The Love Knot’ by Frances Nagle and ‘The Art of Marriage’ (Author unknown),
Happiness in marriage is not something that just happens.
A good marriage must be created…
…It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives.
It is standing together facing the world.
It is forming a circle of love that gathers in the whole family.
It is doing things for each other, not in the attitude
of duty or sacrifice, but in the spirit of joy…
…It is a common search for the good and the beautiful.
It is establishing a relationship in which the independence is equal,
dependence is mutual and the obligation is reciprocal.
It is not only marrying the right partner, it is being the right partner.
It is discovering what marriage can be, at its best.
“Our first dance was to ‘Better Together’ by Jack Johnson. It’s a bit cheesy but a song that meant a lot to us when we first got together.”
“The Barbican Conservatory is so beautiful with plants and trees so we didn’t have to buy any extra decorations. We just asked for seat sashes in a variety of colours.”
Catherine’s step-mum kindly offered to grow the flowers for the wedding and they, along with her sister, arranged the flowers the day before the wedding. Catherine picked flowers and foliage to make her bouquet on the morning of the wedding.
“It was absolutely a labour of love but the relaxed English wild flowers were exactly how we imagined. We also added some ginger rosemary which gave off such a relaxing scent throughout the day.”
“Our biggest, and most enjoyable, undertaking was the book favours. We both love to read so gave everyone a classic book, which we picked up in charity shops over a year. We had so much fun reading the synopsis of the books, matching them to our guests and writing messages explaining why we chose that book for them. The children got special volumes such as Peter Pan and The Secret Garden. Everyone really appreciated the books and loved how personal it was to them.”
The couple had a fabulous idea to help guests to really mingle and have fun.
“When deciding on table plans we realised how amazing all of our friends and family are and there were so many individuals that we thought would get on so every table had a ‘facts about our guests’ page to encourage everyone to seek out those with common interests.”
“We had a classic naked Victoria Sponge cake with fresh fruit and flowers from Lauren at French Made Cakes. We had lots of comments from our guests on how fresh and delicious it was.”
Catherine and Rob wanted to keep the wedding as paper free as possible so instead of traditional wedding programmes the couple had a large stamp with the order of service and readings made by The English Stamp Company to stamp directly onto their goody bags. Inside each bag was a bottle of water, a paper fan, dried petal confetti and a badge in memory of Catherine’s mum.
“I thought long and hard about how I wanted to remember my mum during the wedding and came up with the idea of a pin-free badge of ‘The Owl and The Pussycat’, the first poem I learnt, and really reminds me of her. It made me so happy to see every single guest wearing their badge and then going off into the world.”
The couple were so lucky to have the wonderful Joanna Brown to photograph their wedding. She has really captured the spirit of the day as well as the stunning surroundings.
“I really liked Joanna’s urban/contemporary photographs and her mix of analogue and digital photography. She was a really important part of the day for us, making us both feel so at ease and giving us time in the day to celebrate the fact that this was the beginning of our marriage. We also had Laura MacKay as a second shooter, to help capture as much of the day as possible.”
Catherine wore her mum’s bracelet and a custom Tatty Devine necklace.
“My mum died when I was 14 and my silver bracelet that I wear every day belonged to her. I also had a surprise custom-made necklace from Tatty Devine with the word ‘Woohoo!’ which I put on once we were married.”
“We were really stuck for entertainment but at the Eclectic Wedding Extravaganza we met Rob from StickItOn and really loved the idea that our guests could be involved in the entertainment. Everyone was asked to submit three songs, along with their DJ name, and when the time came, they were asked to hit the decks and play their songs, with Rob guiding them in how to mix in the different songs. We had such a diverse and memorable playlist from N.W.A’s ‘Express Yourself’, Paul Simon’s ‘You Can Call Me Al’ and Kings of Leon’s ‘Sex on Fire’. Our guests all loved the being part of it and we also have the whole playlist on CD. They also gave us the option for a video diary and we absolutely love watching the messages.”
“It was so important to us that our family and friends had a great day so a lot of our focus was on personal touches to make sure everyone knew how much we wanted them to be there. We spent many happy evenings around the kitchen table crafting and listening to music. Those evenings are a really important part of the wedding memories for us both.”
Words of Wedded Wisdom
“I know it’s a cliché but the whole day was amazing. Planning a wedding can be stressful but whatever you do, enjoy the process and not just the final product. All the wedding preparation should be just as much fun and important as the wedding day itself.”
How about that for a gorgeous London wedding? They don’t get much better than that. Thank you so much to Catherine and Rob, and Joanna Brown for the stunning images. If you are inspired by Catherine’s fab pink dress, do take a gander at our archives for some more brides in colourful dresses.
Love Caoimhe xx
Photographer – Joanna Brown Photography
Venue – The Conservatory at The Barbican, London
Wedding Dress – Candy Anthony
Headpiece – Etsy
Shoes – Oasis + Vivienne Westwood for Melissa
Accessories – Tatty Devine
Bride’s Scent/perfume – Coco Mademoiselle
Groom – Paul Smith Suit + Ted Baker Shoes + Dina Malkova Accessories
Florist – Catherine’s step-mum + Dansk Florists
Cake – French Made Cakes
Entertainment – StickItOn
Rings – ECOne
Catering – Searcy’s
Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist – Joanna Smedley