A 1950’s Vintage Lace Gown for an Intimate and Quirky London Pub Wedding

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Well what a day! It’s blowing a gale outside and the rain is lashing down. Thankfully I’ve done my daily run (I’ve challenged myself to run every day in January) and am now curled up in front of a warm fire as I write about this absolutely charming London wedding. I hope you’re similarly cosy, so let’s begin.

Bride Eilidh, a fashion designer who has her own brand Book of Deer, wed lawyer William on 27 August 2017 in a civil ceremony at Camden Town Hall followed by an intimate and personal reception at Clerkenwell pub The Peasant. The couple was keen to honour their heritage with their styling details – Eilidh is half Scottish and half Chinese and William grew up in Hong Kong, moving to the UK when he was fourteen – making for a totally unique, quirky yet elegant look.

The bride opted for a vintage look, choosing a charming 1950s lace tea dress from Elizabeth Avey with a fitted top and statement bow. The silhouette looks so wonderful on Eilidh.

“I was determined to find a vintage wedding dress as I wear a lot of vintage day to day. My favourite eras are the 1950s and 1970s and I initially had a more floaty, hippy style dress in mind for the big day. After visiting almost every vintage dress shop in London I tried on a 1950s dress at Elizabeth Avey in Greenwich and loved the silhouette of it. I loved all the white lace and the big bow at the back and most importantly the shorter length was perfect for ceilidh dancing!”

Photography Elaine Williams Photography

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Arranging a wedding in just four months is quite a challenge, and Eilidh found our blog a source of inspiration for her day.

“I started reading Love My Dress religiously once we were engaged. I particularly enjoyed the length and detail of the posts and the variety of weddings. I also really enjoyed the ‘Let’s Talk’ section for advice and less-discussed aspects of wedding planning and really liked the ‘From The Heart’ stories. The Love My Dress Instagram Stories are also a great tool for reminding readers that new posts are up.”

These photographs with their iconic London backdrop were captured by Elaine Williams Photography. I love the reportage style, clarity and vivid colours, particularly in those of the newly-weds looking relaxed and happy.

“We loved the story that Elaine told through her photos. She documented all the elements of the day that gave us a full picture of the occasion and brings me back to the special moments whenever I look through them.”

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The bride’s romantic and whimsical Botanique bouquet was personalised with a photo charm containing a photo of her grandparents.

“We visit Exmouth market quite regularly and I’ve always loved the unique flowers Botanique have in the shop. I wanted a wild, loose bouquet based on a colour palette of creams, blues, blush, deep purple and greens that featured thistles and lavender.”

“I totally trusted Botanique to take creative license with the arrangements and loved the just-picked look of what they created. My bouquet included astrantia, lisianthus, astilbe and eucalyptus. I had a photo charm made for my bouquet with a picture of my grandparents so they could be with me on the day too.”

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The bride and groom first met as students in London, later getting together after bumping in to each other on New Year’s Eve 2010 in Hong Kong.

“Romance soon blossomed after an eventful karaoke night! We dated for six years before William proposed during a surprise holiday to Lisbon. We married four months later.”

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The elegant table settings and table plan featured stationery designed by Eilidh herself.

“For our invitations I made an illustration featuring everything that we both love. Fairies, Harry Potter, sloths and The Beatles for me and Manchester United, pasta, karaoke and Chromeo to represent William.”

“I used elements from this illustration to decorate our menus and signs around the venue. A dear friend of mine from school who now designs book covers in New York helped me with the type setting for everything.  The table plan was made from a retro travel poster of Hong Kong. I got in touch with I Am Acrylic who custom-made little ‘neon signs’ for me to write guests names on.”

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Eilidh’s vintage handbag was also an Elizabeth Avey find and the bride added an elegant string of pearls that was her grandma’s, blue sapphire stud earrings borrowed from her mum and a silver bracelet lent by her best friend. The short gown showed off her pale blue heels with their statement brooch, a Head Over Heels by Dune London design.

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For a pretty and relaxed look, Eilidh’s hair was braided away from her face by Poppy Tallulah, who also applied her natural-style make-up.

“I found her on Instagram and she was fantastic at both hair and makeup.”

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A delicate hand-wired Maggie Wu hairvine with crystals and pearls added elegance to her dark hair, and she wore her stunning engagement ring. The pinky-purple sapphire was sourced by Eilidh’s mum at Shine Alight Gems in Sri Lanka and set by Scottish jeweller Sarah Brown Jewellery.

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William looked smart in a slim-fit Paul Smith suit. He added a tie in Gunn tartan from Locharron of Scotland in a nod to the bride’s Scottish background, eye-catching red Paul Smith socks and navy Grenson shoes. His customised Nixon watch was engraved with the wedding date; such a lovely touch.

In another nod to the bride’s Scottish roots, the page-boys (her nephews) wore custom-made tartan trews from Janice’s Tartan Tots in the family Gunn’s tartan.

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The intimate civil ceremony was held at Camden Town Hall.

“We wanted an intimate ceremony with just our close family and friends and the small wood-panelled committee room they have fit the bill perfectly. We were also quite delighted to discover our registrar Tania Uddin performed the first same-sex wedding in the UK in 2014.”

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“My favourite part of the day was the ceremony. It was so much more emotional than I anticipated and to have those we love most in the room made it even more special. In all the craziness of the lead-up to the big day you sometimes lose sight of the main event which is the moment you officially tie the knot.”

“Someone advised me to be sure to be present and in the moment when you take your vows and I think this couldn’t be more true; just think about your partner and nothing else.”

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After exchanging their vows and custom-made rings from Sarah Brown Jewellery, the newly-weds and their guests hopped aboard an iconic London bus, hired from Ensign Bus Hire, to travel to The Peasant.

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“An RF319 single deck vintage bus took us on a scenic route from the town hall to The Peasant. On the journey we played some music from a portable speaker and handed out Percy Pig biscuits and crisps to tide our guests over until dinner.”

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The pub venue was the first big decision the couple made and seeing The Peasant on Love My Dress convinced them that it was the perfect venue for their London wedding.

“We’ve lived in London for most of our adult lives so we wanted to acknowledge the city we call home. Our venue was the first big decision. The Peasant is local to us and we pinpointed it as a potential wedding venue after reading great reviews online.”

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“We were attracted by its character and personality – from its eclectic selection of prints in the bar to the colourful elegance of the dining room. From the outset, we were also drawn to the idea of a gastropub wedding since we wanted to create a refined yet fun atmosphere for our guests.”

“Right from our first meeting, we were impressed by the enthusiasm and professionalism of The Peasant’s manager. Our instincts were proven correct as The Peasant went out of their way to accommodate every request during the planning process and helped deliver a perfect wedding day.”

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Waiting for the guests was a beautifully-decorated venue, with so many creative and personal touches to reflect the couple and their life together.

“The Peasant’s quirky, relaxed decor gave us license to style our day as eclectically as we liked. Scottish elements were the tartan attire touches, thistles and the ceilidh. Hong Kong elements included the neon sign-inspired table plan, the retro red tin postbox for cards and paper fans to hand out after the dancing.”

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“I found colourful paper bird garlands from Canada and we strung these together for the dining room. A friend introduced me to Karen from Pom Pom Factory who hand-made the pom pom garlands and place setting flowers to match the colours of our paper birds.”

“We also scattered paper fans from Hong Kong for guests to fan themselves as we married on one of the hottest days of the summer.”

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“I liked the idea of a practical wedding favour that guests could use at home. I had tea towels printed with the illustration from our invitations. The paper band around it read ‘To wash and to fold from this day onwards’.”

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Dinner was provided by The Peasant’s team before the newly-weds cut into the beautiful Lily Vanilli wedding cake which was topped with wooden figures painted by Eilidh to represent herself and William.

“We are regulars to Columbia Flower Market and love Lily Vanilli’s cupcakes. We chose vanilla sponge with a berry jam filling, and blackberry icing with an ombre effect. Lily Vanilli decorated it with flowers from the flower market.”

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Before an energetic ceilidh played by Frank Reid Scottish Dance Band and a set from Graeme Smith at The Wedding Jam, the couple danced their first dance to Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Everywhere’.

“We are both Fleetwood Mac fans and this song is quite simply one of the happiest tunes I can think of. My sister is a dancer and she helped us choreograph something simple and easy which made the prospect of dancing in front of a crowd a little less daunting!”

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Words of Wedded Wisdom

“We planned our wedding in four months which may seem a scary prospect but I can honestly say it was enough time for us. Because we didn’t have much time we had to make decisions quickly and move on so one piece of advice I would impart would be once you’ve booked, bought or finalised something, don’t research any more and cross it off your list. Trust your instincts, your personal taste and don’t compare yourself to others or obsess over Pinterest boards.”

“Practical advice: print out a schedule of the day with all major vendor contact numbers and stick it up where you’re getting ready – hand your phone over to your sister/bridesmaid and let them handle any hiccups on the day.”

“If a videographer isn’t in budget, ask someone to film the ceremony on your phone. It’s such an emotional part of the day and will feel a blur afterwards. I’m glad we have a simple recording to watch in years to come.”

“I probably could have been more vocal with our vendors in terms of clarifying any special requests and requirements. Don’t take for granted that vendors will remember all your special touches so it may be helpful to offer a final reminder closer to the big day.”

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Thank you so much Eilidh and William for sharing your day with us. You looked wonderful in your tea-length gown and I adore all of your creative touches to make the day so special and meaningful. Sending many thanks also to Elaine Williams Photography for your wonderful images. Remember, if you’re planning a pub wedding then there is plenty more inspiration for you here.

Ele xx

Credits & Thanks

Eleanor Crossland

Eleanor Crossland View all Eleanor's articles

Ele lives in the Lincolnshire countryside, close to the beautiful coast. A qualified Pilates teacher, she loves fitness, yoga, Pilates and has a healthy addiction to baking, writing and travel.

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