Anna in Suzanne Neville for her Autumn Clapton Country Club Wedding

Happy weekend darlings! We finally made it, and from where we’re looking, the sunshine is out on this beautiful late Spring morning.

We’re excited to share Marketing Executive Anna and fashion business development manager Jamie’s October 2021 wedding with you today. The couple London’s Clapton Country Club as their venue and celebrated with friends and family after exchanging vow’s at Islington Town Hall. We’re pretty chuffed that the bride was such a frequent visitor to Love My Dress when planning her wedding and discovered the boutique she found her Suzanne Neville dress at, The Bride Boutique in St Albans, through these pages. Our talented recommend supplier Rebecca Anne Designs also created Anna’s veil. Images, we’re equally delighted to say, are by the ridiculously talented Joanna Bongard. Enjoy!

Getting Ready & Bridal Beauty

Myself and my bridesmaids got ready at my parents’ house in North London. It was so special getting ready at the house where I’d grown up and made the morning so relaxed and fun.

As my dress was quite understated, I decided to pair it with simple jewellery. I wore my mum’s diamond stud earrings as my ‘something borrowed’. For my ‘something old’ I wore my nanny’s wedding ring on my right hand. My nanny passed away a few years ago and so wearing her ring was incredibly special as it felt like I was able to have her with me in some way on the wedding day. Jamie surprised me with a diamond bracelet the morning of the wedding which went perfectly with my dress so I then had that as my ‘something new’!

I found both Viktoria (my hair stylist) and Keeley (my makeup artist) through Instagram, and to put it simply they were the ultimate dream team! They are both so lovely and were so much fun to share the morning with whilst also keeping everything running smoothly and on time. Viktoria absolutely perfected my vision for an elegant ponytail, the rest of the bridal party each chose to have different hair styles and Viktoria made it all look so easy.

As someone with super pale skin (and who never tans) I have never really enjoyed getting my makeup done as a lot of the makeup trends don’t really suit me. I was very tempted to do my own makeup on the day but then I found Keeley! At my makeup trial I was blown away by Keeley’s work and on the wedding day I genuinely felt the best I’ve ever felt.

I wore Chance by Chanel, it’s one of my favourite scents and on the morning of our wedding I got a surprise delivery of it from a close family friend as a pre-wedding gift. I’ll probably keep that bottle forever now.

The Dress

I found The Bride Boutique in St Albans on Love My Dress. The team there were so friendly and welcoming. They went above and beyond during my fittings to make sure I was completely happy with my dress – even squeezing in an extra last-minute fitting for me and storing and steaming my veil for me ahead of the day (even though I’d not purchased it from them!).

I had a running joke with everyone I spoke to about the day that I wanted to look ‘chic and timeless’, whilst also just feeling like me. However, unlike a lot of brides to be I wasn’t super excited to go wedding dress shopping as I was worried that I’d find it all a bit overwhelming as I can be super fussy! I went to a couple of different appointments and tried on a few nice dresses but I wasn’t 100% convinced by any of them as in the back of my mind I knew I really wanted to try on the Luna by Suzanne Neville.

Visit The Bride Boutique website

At my appointment at The Bride Boutique, I tried on the Luna last, as soon as I came out of the dressing room my maid of honour simply said ‘that’s it!’ I felt so comfortable and completely myself in it, I didn’t cry but my mum did because she said she could see how happy I was. I loved how simple it was whilst also having little bits of detail with the cut out detail around the neck and the full back of buttons. As a born and bred Londoner I also loved the fact that Suzanne Neville dresses are all made in the brand’s London studio.

I chose my dress in September 2019 so due to the pandemic I didn’t try it on again until June 2021, I was so nervous that I wouldn’t like it anymore but as soon as I put it on again I was just as happy as I was the first time I’d visited the boutique.

I am a long-time follower of Love My Dress, when we started wedding planning, I joined the Facebook group and found it an invaluable source of information (and definitely searched the group a couple of times for some advice!). It was also super helpful being a part of the group during all the madness of the pandemic and not having a clue what our wedding was potentially going to look like.

Veil

Originally, I wasn’t going to wear a veil but then I tried one on in the boutique and well… I instantly changed my mind! I found Rebecca Anne Designs on Instagram and absolutely loved the idea of personalising my veil. Rebecca was amazing to work with, she was so enthusiastic throughout the whole process – you can really tell she loves what she does! I decided to have mine and Jamie’s initials embroidered on my veil along with our wedding date.

I then added shamrocks, a nod to my Irish family, and poppies for Jamie’s Polish family (poppies are the national flower of Poland). It was really subtle but it meant the world to me to be able to add these little touches to my outfit and honour our grandparents as none of them were with us on the day.

The Delay

Our original wedding date was 10th October 2020, due to the pandemic we decided to postpone our day by a year in the hope that we’d be able to have the day we had envisioned with no restrictions and be able to celebrate with all our family and friends.

However, when it came to our wedding day on 9th October 2021 Islington Town Hall still had restrictions in place, we had booked the Council Chamber for the ceremony which can seat over 100 guests but due to the pandemic the town hall had limited the number allowed to 50.

We were obviously deeply disappointed by this, but we were determined to finally be married! We reserved a space in the pub opposite the town hall and asked our guests who we couldn’t have in the ceremony to wait for us there whilst we got married and to meet us afterwards for our confetti moment.

We were really worried that our guests wouldn’t want to do this or would be offended that they couldn’t come to the ceremony, but they were all so lovely and understanding and fully got just how stressful planning the wedding during a global pandemic had been.

Jamie went to the pub ahead of the ceremony to greet everyone and he says it was such a great way to start the day as he was able to see everyone who we were going to be sharing the day with.

When I arrived at the town hall a group of family friends were waiting outside to wish me well before I headed into the ceremony, and there were guests outside the pub waving and cheering across the road to me. It was such an incredibly special moment for me and now sticks in my mind as one of my favourite parts of the day. When we came out of the town hall after the ceremony all of our guests were there and it was wonderful to finally have everyone all together.

The Ceremony

We decided to have our ceremony at Islington Town Hall as we had a lot of our first dates in Islington and so the area holds special memories for us – even more so now.

I walked into the ceremony to ‘Kola’ by Damien Jurado. I remember the first time I heard the song I thought that’s the song I want playing as I walk down the aisle to Jamie. The lyrics really resonated with me. The registrar was provided by Islington Town Hall. Islington Town Hall offer different ceremony scripts to choose from. We opted for the ‘romantic’ script and vows.

One of my best friends, Fern, is a very talented writer who has also founded her own independent poetry publishing house. Fern kindly agreed to write a reading especially for our ceremony. The piece she wrote ‘We Attract What We Think About’ was truly beautiful and so incredibly personal to me and Jamie that it pretty much made everyone in the ceremony cry.

We had so many of our guests comment afterwards on what a lovely moment it was and how brilliant the reading was.

Discover lots of beautiful wedding readings here

Jamie’s grandma loved poetry and wrote down any poems that she particularly liked in notebooks; we chose to have one of these poems as our second reading, so it was also very special and personal to us. The poem was ‘These I Can Promise’ by Mark Twain which one of Jamie’s friends, Andrew, read out for us. Jamie’s grandma had actually written this particular poem down in a diary from the year Jamie was born and in the month of October which is when we started dating, got engaged and got married so we like to think that it was meant to be!

I wanted something simple to sit alongside my engagement ring. We both decided on plain platinum bands for our wedding rings.

The Engagement

We first met in 2013 when we worked together in the same marketing department. Over the year and a half that we worked together we became very good friends, I then moved to New York for a year to work but we remained in constant contact. I moved back home in September 2015 and by October we were dating.

It was only once we were in a relationship that I found out that on the day that we had first met Jamie had told his mum that he’d met the girl he wanted to marry.

We got engaged in October 2018 when we were in Whitstable celebrating our three year anniversary. Jamie proposed at my Godmother’s holiday cottage, surrounded by candles in the room that looks on to the sea.

I’ve been visiting the cottage since I was little and it’s somewhere that is extremely special to me, so it was absolutely perfect that he chose to propose there. Due to the pandemic, we ended up being engaged for three years before we got married.

As soon as we got engaged we knew we wanted a London wedding as it’s where we met and we just couldn’t imagine getting married anywhere else.

Flowers

As we were getting married in the Autumn we decided to lean into the autumnal colours and carried that throughout the day with lots of oranges, reds and navy.

I absolutely love flowers and so this was definitely my favourite part of wedding planning! Lizzie Thorne was such a delight to work with and went above and beyond to bring my vision to life. I knew I wanted bright, colourful flowers and so chose lots of reds and oranges with a real focus on the flowers rather than foliage.

We chose flowers that had sentimental meaning to us – we had lots of dahlias (my favourite flowers), and freesias as my mum had these in her bouquet when she married my dad in 1974! For the buttonholes we really wanted poppies, to represent both Jamie’s Polish heritage as well as his grandparents who had been in the British Legion.

Unfortunately, poppies were out of season so Lizzie suggested red anemones (which look very similar) and then she included dried poppy heads in the bud vases on the tables. When Lizzie delivered the bouquets the morning of the wedding I was beside myself, they were so unbelievably beautiful and the colours really pop and look amazing in our photos too!

Bridesmaids

I wanted to make sure my bridesmaids and maid of honour were comfortable and liked what they were wearing – there is nothing worse than having to wear something you don’t like

I chose navy as the colour and ordered lots of different dresses for them to try, giving them the option to each wear a different style dress. However, they all ended up liking the same dress from Silk Fred.

Favourite Moments

My favourite part of the day has to be when we went for our couples photos whilst our guests enjoyed the drinks reception. It was such a special moment for the two of us, taking it all in and finally being able to say we’re married.

Having a London wedding also meant we got lots of cars beeping as we walked down the street and some even pulled over to say congratulations, it was unbelievable how much love there was from everyone throughout the day.

 

Photography

We knew we didn’t want traditional, formal wedding style photography and were looking for something more modern, fun and relaxed. As soon as I saw Joanna Bongard’s work I knew she was just what we were looking for!

We honestly can’t recommend Joanna enough, from the moment she arrived at my parents’ house in the morning she was such a calming presence. In the cab on the way to the ceremony she was able to tell me exactly what to expect at the town hall and at Clapton Country Club she knew the best locations to take us to for some photos during the drinks reception.

As our day was slightly split up with guests having to wait for us at the pub whilst the ceremony took place, we asked Joanna if she could bring in a second photographer so we could capture this part of the day too. Joanna recommended Lottie Topping who was also so relaxed and brilliant.

At the evening party they both looked like they were having just as much fun as our guests and captured so many genuine, special little moments. A lot of our guests asked us whether they were friends of ours, that’s how much they fitted in with the day!

Jamie wore a suit from Drake’s. He’s not into a super sharp tailoring and so was looking for something more relaxed whilst also staying smart. Drake’s was the perfect brand as they’re renowned for this type of tailoring. It’s also great as Jamie will be able to wear the suit over and over again.

Jamie loves shoes and treated himself to a pair of Tricker’s boots for the big day. I think he was just as excited to wear them as he was to get married! He also wore a IWC watch that I surprised him with as a wedding present (which I hope he loves as much as the shoes).

The Reception

We wanted a really relaxed, chilled out day and so when we visited Clapton Country Club we knew it was the perfect reception venue for us.

It’s a super inviting and homely space whist also definitely having that ‘wow’ factor with the interior’s unique, reclaimed features – especially that giant disco ball! After our initial viewing we took my parents with us to see what they thought of it and as soon as my mum walked into the main reception room she started crying and said it was “so us” so we knew it was the one.

We decided to not hire an event planner or stylist. Clapton Country Club is such an incredible space it doesn’t need lots of excess decorations. Also due to my career I have a lot of experience in planning events and so we managed to save on that expense!

We chose to go with Clapton Country Club’s in-house catering, we were so impressed at our food tasting with how delicious everything was and found it quite hard choosing what to go with for the day!

In the end we chose an Italian themed sharing style menu, as Italy is one of our favourite places to go on holiday and tiramisu is our all-time favourite dessert so we had to include it! The meal started with Italian antipasti boards, then we had steak tagliata and of course to finish tiramisu.

It was all so yummy and so many of our guests commented that it was the best food they’d ever had at a wedding.

Stationery

Natalie from Nat’s Paper Studio created our invitations and on the day stationery. We loved her modern, simple designs which fitted our aesthetic perfectly.

Instead of a guest book we opted for a poster that everyone could sign. One of our friends is a very talented illustrator and we asked him to create a drawing of the two of us (he did this from photos of myself and Jamie at fittings for our outfits in the run up to the wedding). The illustration is brilliant, and we now have it framed in our home which is such a fun and special keepsake from the day.

As part of the speeches we had a traditional Polish vodka toast and so each of our guests received a vodka shot as a favour. To save some money we put these together ourselves – in little jars I sourced on Amazon and then placed the stickers Nat’s Paper Studio created for us with our wedding hashtag ‘Keane to be a Szulc’ on the lids.

We had everyone do their vodka shot right at the end of the meal so as to get the party started! Jamie’s brother also baked and decorated personalised cookies for us as additional favours.

Evening & Dancing

Our first dance was to ‘God Only Knows’ by The Beach Boys which Flo Collective performed for us. It’s a song that we’ve listened to since we first started dating and one that we often dance round our home to, so it was an easy choice.

Music was one of our main priorities, we love going to gigs and we knew we wanted a band for the wedding. We saw Flo Collective for the first time at Boisdale and they were AMAZING!

They were so entertaining and had everyone up dancing. Florelie was brilliant to deal with in the run-up to the wedding and quite honestly Flo Collective made the day. From the moment the music started the dancefloor was packed with every different age group – they created such a brilliant atmosphere!

Back in the day Jamie had a stint as a rapper and has one song ‘All I Need Is’ that is particularly well known amongst our families and friends. We organised a surprise performance by Jamie AKA Grizzle Emcee which everyone loved and definitely made it an evening to remember.

Words of Wedded Wisdom

I would say to make sure the day is truly a reflection of you as a couple. Lots of people have opinions on how weddings should be but at the end of the day do what YOU want to do! All the small, little, personal details may go unnoticed by some but the fact that we knew they were there made it extra special.

Love My Dress was a great source of inspiration for me and during lockdown it kept me hopeful that we would be able to have the day we had envisioned. Thank you so much for your tireless work in getting the wedding industry recognised during those hard times and for helping couples like us get the day we had looked forward to for so long!

I did a speech at the reception; I was determined to have a female voice included! I was so nervous about doing it but I’m so glad that I did.

No matter what restrictions may be in place on your wedding day it will still be the most special, incredible day! We appreciated so much being able to have everyone together and celebrate properly and we really felt that our guests enjoyed the wedding even more so as they hadn’t been able to attend parties for so long. We even managed to turn having a limit on the number of guests we could have at our ceremony into a positive – I’ll never forget the feeling of seeing loved ones waiting outside the town hall for me as they weren’t able to come in.

the-bride.co.uk

Credits & Thanks

Annabel

Annabel View all Annabel's articles

Annabel is the founder of Love My Dress. She has a passion for photography, walking, yoga, nature, and loves to support talented artists and creative businesses. In 2013, she became a published author. Annabel lives in rural North Yorkshire with her husband and business partner Philip, their two daughters Eska and Leanora and menagerie of furry hounds. Annabel supports Philip in the running of the family flower farm at at Moonwind Flowers. She is also co-founder of What About Weddings.

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