Delicate embroidery, mismatched vintage china, simple greenery and a cosy intimate feel. Have I caught your attention yet? Good, because today’s wedding between Simon and Flavia has been a dream to write today. Please, get comfortable and drink in these beautiful photographs from Love My Dress favourites McKinley Rodgers.
On 26 June 2017 graphic designer and calligrapher Flavia married Simon, also a graphic designer, in a beautiful day inspired by nature and greenery at The Highgate Literary & Scientific Institution in Highgate, North London. Flavia, who is originally from Spain, designed the stationery suite herself which set the tone for the entire day which had a simple scheme of natural woods, green foliage and lots of hand lettering. How wonderful to hear that our very own wedding supplier directory, Little Book, came in so useful for inspiration and finding great suppliers.
“We had a clear idea of what we wanted; both being designers we had our own sketches and moodboards. We only visited the Little Book wedding directory and it was perfect for our supplier needs. Our photographers and videographers,McKinley Rodgers, (the best choice of the whole wedding!) were recommended suppliers from the directory.”
Film by Storycatchers Films
“Six years ago, I received a grant to come from Spain to the UK to gain work experience and I joined the same company where Simon was working at the time. He tried to impress me with his knowledge of Photoshop, not knowing I knew as much as he did. I actually proposed to Simon (the story of how that went is in our video).”
Photography McKinley Rodgers
Did you recognise Flavia’s gown as a Needle & Thread design? Its delicate embroidered flowers and leaves are the perfect match to the greenery theme, and I love how the gown is ethereally pretty yet so sexy with that open back.
“The traditional wedding dress shop experience didn’t have any appeal to me so I did all my research online. I fell in love with Needle & Thread’s style instantly. The soft feel and relaxed fit but full of colour and beautiful embellishments. As the black ribbon wrapped box arrived and I tried it on, I realised that I didn’t have to try any more dresses to know that it was the one.”
The bride’s ballet-esque shoes in palest pink were from Uterqüe, the sister brand to Zara and Mango – perfect for an ex-ballet student. The greenery theme was carried over into her simple choice of accessories, for such an effortlessly elegant look that I utterly aspire to. She wore her everyday PickaTwig earrings, and wore her shiny dark locks in long ringlets, with a spray of foliage from Your London Florist.
“My cousins are a make-up artist and hairdresser student, so it was an obvious choice to give them the chance to showcase their skills and saved us a few pennies.”
Green is my absolute favourite colour, so my heart skipped a beat when I saw what the bridesmaids wore – their own choice of green gown for a relaxed, informal vibe.
“All bridesmaids chose their own green numbers and they worked so beautifully together that we couldn’t have done it better. They all wore their favourite shoes.”
What do you think of the groom’s and groomsmens’ modern, sartorial look? I’m a huge fan of this laidback style with its green twist. Simon wore an emerald green Harris tweed suit paired with a grey Harris tweet waistcoat, both from ASOS. His finishing touches were brown John Lewis Oxford shoes and a brown belt.
“Simon had a vintage pocket watch that was a gift from his dad (also the best man) on the day. He proudly wore a gold tie clip that my mum kindly gave to him before the wedding and belonged to my dad, who passed away when I was little. His colourful Vesper skinny tie was a purchase from Dickie Bow and it couldn’t have complemented the outfit more.”
I’m so taken with the elegant simplicity of the hand-lettering and can’t wait to check out more of Flavia’s designs on her blog Flavia Cabrera.
Flavia and her girls created all of the foliage decorations themselves; so talented, and so organised!
“We woke up very early the day before the wedding and went to New Covent Garden Market and purchased £100-worth of eucalyptus, olive tree branches, ferns, and palm leaves. We got all the girls around that afternoon and put together two bouquets for me and my mum and loads of vases to decorate the venue. Plus, the buttonholes for the groomsmen.”
“We live in Highgate and one of our ‘musts’ for the wedding was to walk to the venue. We wanted a cosy atmosphere and a low-key vibe to fit our closest family and friends.”
After getting ready at home with her bridesmaids and her mum, they escorted her to the venue on foot for the marriage ceremony.
“My mum walked me down the aisle and she couldn’t help but tear up. We chose ‘La La Land’‘s Epilogue track for being one of the best pieces of filmmaking in recent years. I walked down the aisle with the first seconds of the song, a soft piano melody. Simon and I left the room with the next few seconds of the track, when it changes to a cheeky happy melody where we did a little silly wiggle.”
The civil ceremony was truly a personal affair, as the bride tells us:
“Our friend Maria celebrated the ceremony – we went to the registrar’s office the following day to make it official – and she told our story seamlessly in English and Spanish. The ceremony was funny, sweet, and truly personal for both of us and we are forever grateful for making the day extra special.”
“It was the works of photographer Horst. P. Horst which inspired this collection’s bridal campaign. His treatment of light and composition created some of the most iconic photographs of the 20th century”
“We wrote our vows individually and kept them secret from each other. Simon got a little emotional reciting his which set all the guests off. Even though we never told each other what we had written they were surprisingly very similar. We both refused to make obvious promises, instead we took the moment to share how much we love each other.”
“We had Simon’s mum read out an extract from ‘Jane Eyre’. She was so nervous before, but she did an amazing job and was so proud of herself after. Then my uncle read out ‘There Will Always Be Poetry’ (‘Siempre Habrá Poesía’) by Bécquer, my favourite Spanish poet.”
“Simon’s dad was the best man on our magical day. He also wore a Harris tweed suit and felt incredibly dapper in it. We wanted all the groomsmen to wear what they felt suited them best. Then something as simple as Dickie Bow bow ties gifted by the groom to tie them all together and braces so when they took off their jackets they all matched.”
Simon and Flavia made simple gold wedding bands themselves at The Workbench, which I love for their raw, organic feel.
“As I proposed to Simon, I was never going to receive a surprise engagement ring so my mum gave me the most beautiful emerald ring, the same one that my dad gave her when he found out that they were expecting me. As a vintage ring, it was quite difficult to fit around it, so Simon and I decided to go to The Workbench to carve our own bands. I made a dainty number to hug the emerald and Simon created a hammered-looking beauty of a ring that was cast in solid gold by the incredible Katie and Kirstie.”
The low-key vibe has been perfectly captured by McKinley Rodgers, who are also the team behind the wedding film.
“McKinley Rodgers were our photographers and videographers on the day. They were by far the best decision of the wedding. We constantly receive comments about our images and video for their natural beauty and timeless feel. Not only did they captured the magical and cosy feel of the day but they were also incredibly kind and funny with us and all our guests. Pen and Cam have now become friends for life!”
After the couple were declared husband and wife, they managed to escape for a few minutes together and photos in local woodland. You would never know that these were taken in London, would you?
“The highlights definitely were seeing each other at the venue for the first time, taking a private moment with photos in the woods, the speeches, dancing until we weren’t allowed to dance anymore.”
The room was transformed for the sociable afternoon tea which was served up on massive trestle tables, beautifully dressed with so much care and attention to detail.
“Being both designers, we were really looking forward to creating the wedding stationery. I hand-painted green watercolours on Japanese paper that we later on printed digitally with our text and calligraphy. Wooden signage was specially hand-lettered by me to welcome the guests at the venue’s door with quotes from Jane Austen about love and family.”
“Our table plan was twin Champagne bottles – nine at the entrance and one on each of the nine tables – with white calligraphy holding candles and foliage.”
“The foliage, signage and stationery suited the venue perfectly. We hired farm tables, mismatched chairs, old mirrors and vintage candlesticks from Classic Crockery.”
As well as being perfect for an English afternoon tea, this charming crockery was gifted to the wedding guests as favours. Such a lovely idea, I adore how they included the story of each piece’s provenance.
“Following the theme of an afternoon tea we wanted to give the vintage cups and saucers that the guests used on the day. We sourced them all from local charity shops and markets, donations from friends, and even some from abroad in places like Copenhagen. Every favour had a story with where and when we got it.”
“We used a large amount of the foliage to decorate the bare wooden tables with small branches and used small offcuts to accompany the hand-lettered place cards. The eucalyptus gave the room a beautiful smell and it created a very natural and modern look.”
“We had a beautifully English setting for our photocall with red leather armchairs and vintage tables from the venue, and loads of period props for the guests to take mini polaroids to include in the guestbook.”
“A local cook made the most delicious afternoon tea which it was a delightful surprise for the Spanish guests. My family brought lots of Spanish meats, cheeses and bread for a late snack when the party was in full swing. English guests loved it!”
“We decided not to have a cake as part of the afternoon tea was two small individual tin cakes for each guest. Our delicious cakes – the best we’ve ever tried – were sugar, gluten and dairy-free from The Healthy Cake Co.”
The evening entertainment included a quirky photobooth and, of course, lots of dancing. Their choice of first dance paid homage to the English and Spanish union – and is super-fun to boot.
“We borrowed an old Marshall guitar amp, plugged in a phone with Spotify and we were good to go. We spent months carefully crafting a playlist with a mix of English and Spanish songs. It turned out that once the dancing started the English family wanted to watch the Spanish do their thing. So, it quickly became an evening of Spain’s greatest hits.”
“We wanted something that would be instantly recognisable to both our English and Spanish families and something irresistible to dance to. So naturally we had ‘La Bamba’ by Los Lobos.”
Words of Wedded Wisdom
“Having a bilingual wedding was the most wonderful experience. Both families were important to us and we aimed to make them feel that way with a bespoke ceremony, stationery and playlist.”
“If anyone is planning a bilingual wedding our piece of advice is cater for the three types of guest that will be attending, those who speak English, those who speak the second language and, most-importantly, those who speak both. Our ceremony was a beautiful mix of both languages and we made sure not to repeat information – or jokes! – for those who understood both languages.”
“Research, internet is your best friend. However, don’t get caught with other people’s opinions. This is yours and your partner’s day. Do wear and eat whatever your heart tells you to. Don’t follow protocol; we are not part of the Royal family and everyone attending your wedding will be there because they love you – they don’t need formalities or fancy stuff.”
“Organise your budget by what is important to you. Photography and video was much more essential to us than expensive catering or a live band. Be yourselves and make sure that the day reflects that, and everything will be perfect for you.”
Thank you so much Flavia and Simon for sharing your bilingual day with us. I’m in love with your delicate gown, Flavia – it suits you so beautifully, and I can’t wait to check out your blog and get some tips for perfect calligraphy. Thank you also to McKinley Rodgers for your work; we’re delighted to share more weddings that you’ve captured here.
- Photographers - McKinley Rodgers
- Film - Storycatchers Films
- Venue - The Highgate Literary & Scientific Institution, Highgate, London
- Wedding Dress - Needle & Thread via Net-a-Porter
- Headpiece - Your London Florist
- Shoes - Uterqüe
- Accessories - PickaTwig earrings
- Perfume - Dolce and Gabanna
- Groom - ASOS suit + John Lewis shoes + belt + Dickie Bow tie
- Bridesmaids - Their own gowns + shoes
- Florist - New Covent Garden Market
- Cake - The Healthy Cake Co
- Rings - The Workbench
- Stationery - The bride @ The Paper Edit
- Hair Stylist - The bride's cousin
- Make-up - The bride's cousin
- Props - Classic Crockery