A Tinder Couple & Their Colourful, Modern + Multicultural London Pub Wedding

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One of the things that makes Love My Dress so special is the diversity and variety of the weddings that we feature. From garden party celebrations to intimate elopements, classic country house days to chic city weddings, there really is something to inspire everyone, whatever your taste and style.

Today I’m very happy to add to this list as we’re heading to north London for an informal pub wedding which saw French, Lao and English traditions combine. Please say hello to lawyer Sam and Alinie, who works in marketing in the video games industry, who wed on 1 September 2018 at The Prince Albert, Camden Town, London.  Sam and Alinie met on Tinder and got engaged in Amsterdam the year after they matched in a beautiful whirlwind romance.

“We immediately hit it off. Six months later, we were moving in together. Sam proposed on a surprise trip to Amsterdam and we got married 18 months after that.”

Photography Philippa James Photography

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The couple adore spending long, lazy Sunday afternoons at the pub with friends and wanted their wedding to reflect this, but also to honour the bride’s French birth and Lao heritage. So, the day incorporated a civil service, a traditional Lao ceremony and then a laid-back BBQ with dancing until the early hours.

“We knew we wanted a simple and informal pub wedding and a friend suggested The Prince Albert. We loved it from the first evening that we visited. I am French and my family originate from Laos (South East Asia) and it was important for us to incorporate that into our day.”

I adore the beautiful simplicity of Alinie’s pure white gown, which she found at a sample sale in Paris. Elsa Gary is a new designer for me, and one I’ll definitely be keeping my eyes peeled for as the cut of this gown, and the pretty lace cap sleeves, are just exquisite.

“I only tried a few dresses on that day and got lucky. I wanted a simple and elegant dress and that’s exactly what I found. Seeing the look on my sister’s, my best friend’s and my mum’s faces, I knew it was the one.”

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She paired the dress with black L.K.Bennett heels for a super-modern look and added a gorgeous crown of roses, created by Lisa Porter.

“I was wearing Miss Dior by Dior, my favourite. Sam surprised me two days before the wedding with a necklace from Hatton Garden, the same place my engagement ring came from.”

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Laura Anne Hair & Makeup created the bride’s flawless skin and bright pink lip – so modern and fun, I love how the colour ties in with the brightness of her floral crown.

“Laura Anne did a fantastic job with me and all my bridesmaids.”

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Alinie selected a colour palette of yellows, reds, pinks and purples for her wedding flowers, which they styled themselves in a team effort.

“We got up at 5am on the Thursday before the wedding, went to New Covent Garden Flower Market in Vauxhall and got the flowers ourselves.We didn’t want anything too over the top so went for a combination of four colours. Sam and his friends volunteered to drink as many beers as we needed to collect sufficient beer bottles which we used as flower vases. My mum spent a whole afternoon putting them together and everyone loved them!”

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The riot of flowers theme continued in the bridesmaids’ quirky, one-shouldered, floral gowns from ASOS. So cute and pretty, they wore them with their own shoes and carried single red rose stems. The lovely flower-girl was Sam’s niece, in a pure white and gold Next dress whilst Alinie’s nephew was pageboy in the cutest of suits.

“My sister chose his outfit and got it from a French shop called Du Pareil Au Même.”

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The Prince Albert’s wedding and events coordinator helped the couple create and style their day with all of its meaningful elements.

“We began the day with the legal ceremony. After this was complete (and after a few drinks and photos) we held a traditional Lao ceremony where the groom’s guests were invited to follow him down the street and request entry to the pub, which required handing money to the bridal party and doing a shot of whisky with the maid of honour. Once in, every guest ties a bracelet around the bride’s and groom’s wrists, wishing them health and happiness. After this we had a big barbecue, speeches and dancing till 1am.”

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In preparation for the ceremony and the reception, the pub was filled with flowers, balloons and bunting, a look created by the bride and groom.

“We pretty much designed everything ourselves. My brother is an artist and he drew two incredible portraits for our save the dates and invitations.”

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“I created everything else on Photoshop, including our table plan and order of ceremony. We got our guest book from Lara King Draws on Etsy. It’s an A1 canvas featuring references to our respective families and homes in France and Yorkshire, as well as my Lao heritage.”

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“We kept everything fairly simple, with flowers in beer bottles and on the table and photos of every guest on the wall, hung up with fairy lights. We mostly used bunting ordered on Etsy and silver and rose gold balloons. For favours we used little paper suitcases from NuttyCraftsCorner on Etsy as wedding favours that we also used as place cards. Each of them included retro sweets such as Love Hearts and Parma Violets.”

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The day’s styling was simple yet so pretty, with the bride’s pure white gown brought to life by pops of bright flowers. Alinie and Sam also got creative to make their personal table plan and stationery which drew on their French, Lao and Yorkshire roots. Capturing all of these lovely details was Philippa James Photography and I love her modern, bright style as well as the intimate (and fun) portrait shots.

“I found Philippa James on a wedding blog and looked at her Instagram before contacting her. She was absolutely amazing before, during and after the wedding! She was really helpful, gave us some good advice and most of all, took fantastic pictures that captured the spirit of the day. All of our guests loved her and we’ve already recommender to our friends getting married this year and next.”

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For effortless cool, Sam donned a modern suit from Beggars Run in Shoreditch and a skinny tie, along with a cute buttonhole made by Lisa Porter.

“Sam’s shoes were from ASOS and his watch from SKAGEN.”

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Come ceremony time, the groom caught an Uber to The Prince Albert whilst the bride hopped into an Addison Lee cab. She entered the pub with her lovely mum to ‘Mia & Sebastian’s Theme’ from ‘La La Land’.

“My dad passed away when I was a kid so my mum walked me down the aisle like she did for my sister a few years ago.”

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The ceremony was led by a registrar from Camden Council to a playlist of movie-themed songs. The couple exchanged vows they’d written themselves, keeping them simple and sincere.

“Sam surprised me by writing and reading his vows in French so my family and friends could properly understand them. There’s a great photo that perfectly captures my reaction. I wrote mine thinking about how much my life had changed since I’d met him, starting by saying that ‘home had become wherever he was’.”

“Our guests enjoyed some classic songs from our favourite films: ‘Star Wars’, ‘Jurassic Park’, ‘The Good, The Bad And The Ugly’ and ‘Call Me By Your Name’.”

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The groom’s wedding band was from Hatton Garden whilst her uncle hand-made her own band.

“Sam chose my engagement ring, taking a gamble that it was going to be something I would love. He was right. His wedding band is also from Hatton Garden, just a simple design. My wedding ring was designed by my uncle, who is a jewellery maker and who made my sister’s ring a few years ago. It’s also a simple design that matches my engagement ring.”

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After the civil ceremony, the bride and her bridal party donned vibrantly-coloured Lao wraps for the tradition of bracelet-tying – just look how many the bride and groom received. Then it was time for some portrait shots outside the pub and in the beautiful streets surrounding it.

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Back at the pub, the guests sat down to a sumptuous BBQ and salad buffet, perfect for the relaxed vibe of the celebrations.

“Catering was handled by the pub. We sent them some ideas earlier in the year and they organised a great food and wine tasting. We wanted a nice barbecue with some Asian flavours and fresh salad. Everyone loved it and the evening buffet was also a great success.”

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After the BBQ, Rob at The Wedding DJ arrived to get the mega wedding party underway but not before a first dance to ‘Be My Baby’ by The Ronettes.

“It’s a great tune that we loved listening to on holiday. It’s also unique because it’s on the soundtrack to ‘Dirty Dancing’ and ‘Mean Streets’. We’re not saying which one of us prefers which film.”

“Our DJ was Rob and he accommodated all our many, many, many requests. We completely designed our own playlist, which included 90s Hip Hop and classic French songs and Rob played everything whilst making some great suggestions of his own. He kept the dance-floor full for six solid hours! He also edited down our ceremony playlist to help get our timings right.”

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Sam and Alinie have so many favourite moments to share.

“Mine was the moment my mum walked me down the aisle and I saw Sam’s face; that was a moment of pure happiness and everything I’d always wanted. Sam’s favourite moment was celebrating with friends and family after his speech, when he could finally breathe.”

“He also very much liked the ceremony. We were both very moved by the surprise video organised by my friends and family featuring them dancing to cheesy 90s hits and showing messages of health and happiness to us. I cried a lot.”

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I love the look of the cake, a luscious pile of sponge cakes with fresh fruits; delicious.

“Sam’s dad made the cake. It was a gluten-free lemon and elderflower sponge with fresh fruit. We chose it because we thought it would be light and summery (also because Sam had read an article speculating about Meghan and Harry’s wedding cake). It was delicious and Sam’s dad will now be making his sister’s wedding cake next year.”

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Words of Wedded Wisdom

“Do it together, as a team. Sam and I made every decision together (apart from the dress), from the budget to the music and the font for the wedding invites. It made everything more fun, including walking around Vauxhall carrying boxes of flowers at 6am; getting extremely drunk whilst selecting the wine; re-drafting the table plan for the fifth time at the last minute… .”

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How beautiful, Sam and Alinie. Sending you so many congratulations and thanks for sharing your joy-filled day with us, and for introducing me to your beautiful wedding tradition of receiving bracelets. Thank you also, Philippa James, for these wonderfully vibrant photographs. Lovelies, if you’re looking for more pub wedding inspiration then check out these other Love My Dress weddings.

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.