Rosie in Alan Hannah for her Classy Wedding at Horniman Museum & Gardens Conservatory in East London

57 Conservatory Wedding Horniman Museum and Gardens

Rosie and Peter, who are both Chartered Surveyors in the retail property sector, celebrated their union on the 8th of April at The Conservatory at Horniman Museum and Gardens, in Forest Hill, South East London.

Wanting to keep things local and genuine, the couple decided on a venue that was close to home. Their wedding was inspired by classic romantic comedies, particularly Father of the Bride and a few gems from Richard Curtis, with a desire to infuse their day with a blend of colour and children’s laughter. Rosie expressed that they wanted their day to be “pretty and classic day, without the 80s/90s frills!”

The day’s memorable moments were beautifully captured by photographer Cat Arwel. We hope you enjoy these charming photos as much as we do.

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Bridal Beauty & Accessories

Makeup artist Louise Heywood does a lot of commercial work so has a great understanding of make up that looks good both in real life and on camera. When I went for my trial she asked me to come in how I normally do my make up which was a great idea because she got a real idea of how I normally looked so the make up she did was a much better version of that but still looked and felt like me!

Louise was a wonderful calming influence on the morning of the wedding and my mum, sister and I all loved our make-up. She also really saved the day when I left my bouquet at home! Because of her friendship with Cat and knowing the local area she made direct contact, jumped in the car with the bouquet and it was waiting for me when I got there!

I had terrible trouble finding someone within budget that could fit into our timing locally to do bridal hair. Fortunately I found Village Way Hair and Beauty in East Dulwich who did a great job, were great value and made us both feel very special that morning.

I had read that one of Brides’ biggest regrets is often not wearing a veil so I did but it was borrowed from a friend. I actually had a lot of offers from people offering me to lend me theirs so worth asking around before you splash out as it feels like a lot of people have them sitting in their wardrobes!

I wore a pair of drop pearl earrings, also from Lace and Favour which were a back up for some others that didn’t arrive! I also wore a hair comb by Lace and Favour which was a pretty little spray of ceramic flowers.

My shoes were from Rainbow Club at John Lewis. Peter is a foot taller than me so I wanted to be as tall as possible but also comfortable – the RC shoes are super comfortable and I wore them almost all night!

My perfume was Fleur D’oranger by Bon Parfumeur, which was a gift from my sister, Grace.

I had a gorgeous pearly clutch bag from Oliver Bonas – perfect for lipstick and my house keys!

The Dress

My dress was the Madeleine by Alan Hannah at Morgan Davies Bridal, and I then wore a separate top.

The memo that you should be looking at dresses years in advance did not reach me so I, very relaxedly started looking at dresses end of January for an early April date! (I had actually hoped to get a secondhand dress or rent one which typically does need a shorter timeframe so there was some method in the madness.)

I ended up at Morgan Davies’ Islington Showroom’s sample sale where I queued and made friends with other brides for over 3 hours! After such a long time queuing I was delighted to get into the warm and this lent itself to a quick decision.

The ladies at Morgan Davies were so nice – even in the chaos of a sample sale. They organised for a sample of my dress to be sent and also found a Mikado sash so that I could add a bow to the back of my dress!

I would definitely recommend looking at sample sale options – either a sale day like the one I attended or asking stores what they have in stock. Most dresses need to be altered anyway and it is a good way to save money, time and keeping the choice small means that decisions are easier.

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I knew I wanted a classic bridal look with a big skirt and sleeves that I felt would flatter me best. I hadn’t considered the idea of a dress with a separate but it worked really well. I had hoped for a big bow and was so happy that they found a big sash that replaced the ribbon that the dress came with.

The Alan Hannah dress felt like a master of engineering with the most incredible boning around the bodice, I have never worn a dress like this so it felt like a real once in a lifetime opportunity! Also – my dress had pockets! This was great as I carried my phone (to capture some snapshots myself) and my sunglasses.

Bridesmaids & Flowergirls

I opted to just have one adult bridesmaid – my sister Grace and given we weren’t doing a fixed palette so had free rein to pick anything she wanted. I think she would have preferred to have had less of a choice as I know she spent months ordering, trying and sending back dresses in lots of different colours.

Ultimately, she went for a pale blue satin dress from Ghost which she looked beautiful in – plus she could be my something blue! She was definitely the Pippa Middleton of the day as she looked stunning.

My flower girl dresses wore white Monsoon dresses that I unpicked the white sashes from and added pale blue sashes from Ebay. This was a conscious decision to channel the ‘Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes’ from The Sound of Music.

Lucas wore a pale blue bow tie and a suit from Next.

The Groom

Peter bought a suit from TM Lewin online at the beginning of the first lockdown which had never been worn so the more we thought about it, the dafter it felt to spend money on a new suit when there was a perfectly good one hanging in the wardrobe.

He did treat himself to a new shirt and a waistcoat from Hawes and Curtis and paired it with a Champagne coloured tie.

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45 Conservatory Wedding Horniman Museum and Gardens

The Ceremony

My dad walked me down the aisle to a piano version of ‘Til there was you’ by the Beatles.

One thing I drew the line on was to have the veil cover my face – it all felt a bit Handmaid’s Tale and I wanted to see everyone properly and not be ‘presented’ to Peter at the end of the aisle.

It was a civil service officiated by two lovely registrars from Lewisham Council. We opted for the most succinct version of the standard vows with as few words to trip us up! We saved our personal sentiments for each other for the speeches after dinner.

Peter’s sister read ‘A Vow’ by Wendy Cope which was a poem I discovered back in 2010 and have always had in my mind that I would love to have read at my wedding. It so wonderfully captures that people and relationships are never perfect but that love and the willingness to keep trying and loving each other is what will make a long and happy marriage.

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My wedding ring is a plain gold band to match my engagement ring width. It was made from the gold of my Grandma’s wedding ring which I had melted down to make a band for me and one for my sister in the future. This was definitely not the cheapest way of doing it but I absolutely love knowing that I have kept the ring in my family and close to me, but in a way that my sister and I can share it./image

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I had the rings made at Daniel Christopher in Hatton Garden.

We had ‘This is the one’ by The Stone Roses playing as we walked out of the ceremony surrounded by so many loving faces smiling and clapping, having just got married, we were handed a glass of champagne. The sun was shining through the glass roof as we stepped out and that song is just so euphoric it felt like a real moment that I will never forget.

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Photography was another critical element for me and I went through a lot of websites and Instagram accounts! I wanted the emphasis to be on natural shots rather than group shots and poses, and to feel like the images were works of art rather than just a catalogue of the day.

I found Cat Arwel through our local Crystal Palace Facebook group as she lives round the corner. During Lockdown she had done a series of doorstep portraits which I loved – they were classic but had both a warmth and a moodiness to them which was unlike anything I had seen before. I knew that the venue would be very white with colourful flowers so I wanted a look that balanced that out. It was also brilliant for us (and her!) that she was just round the corner and knew the venue well so we could maximise the shooting time during the day.

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When I made contact with Cat she suggested a local drink with the two of us which was a great idea as I do think it is important to have a relationship with your photographer as you end up spending a lot of time with them and they can get an intuitive idea of what you want from your photographs. We also went with her photobooth package which produced a lot of hilarious photographs so it was nice to have that all in one.

I would definitely recommend Cat to anyone else – she was funny and friendly on the day and it might sound like a sales-piece cliché but genuinely she felt like one of our friends at the wedding. A shout out to her second shooter too, Alex, who was great and meant we had all bases covered throughout the day. And the photos are so dreamy and even better than I could have hoped for.

How They Met

Peter joined my company in September 2015. We had met briefly a year earlier but nothing came of it! After about 3-4 months of me tagging along with him to the pub and staring at him over the top of my computer screen, we got together.

We got engaged in October 2020 whilst on holiday in Cyprus. It was our first night and we were playing cards (Peter was losing) and he just came out with it!

It was eighteen months before we got married.


Pesh Flowers were on our venue’s approved list and they came up time and time again when I was searching for images of weddings at our venue as exactly the look I wanted. Pesh were another local supplier, just down the road from our venue. Elaine Pesh also has a cutting garden, and turns left over flowers into confetti so this felt like a really nice sustainable touch.

As I wasn’t following a particular colour scheme, I wanted spring flowers and lots of them I gave Elaine free rein and honestly, when I walked into the conservatory I was more wowed by the flowers than all the people looking at me, or seeing Peter at the end!

The bouquets were so beautiful and really ‘danced’ in a loose and natural way but for me the star of the show was the flower arch behind the registrar table, It had branches of cherry blossom weaved into it and little terracotta pots of daffodils at the bottom. She also created ‘mini meadows’ to run along the aisle which became table centres.

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Marrying Locally

We loved the idea of doing something local to where would be our home. We always felt quite strongly about getting married in London as somewhere real and authentic to us (I am from London and we met and have always lived here together). We wanted our guests coming from further afield to have a big choice of accommodation, and just generally to make it easier for most people to join us for the day. And selfishly loved the idea of being able to get ready at home and then go to sleep in our own bed!

We loved that our venue sits in a public park and is normally a café so that one day we could come back and even bring our kids – unlike a manor house in the middle of nowhere that we lose connection to after the day. The conservatory is such a pretty venue that we also felt it wouldn’t take too much to make it really stunning – unlike a function room or blank canvas. In addition to the conservatory there are also beautiful gardens, a bandstand, a view, lots of children’s activities like climbing frames, butterfly house etc. so this meant we didn’t need to put on any children’s entertainment.

It wasn’t until we saw and chose this venue that any other ideas for what we wanted the wedding to be like emerged – I really think it is the most important choice and element to a wedding.

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78 Conservatory Wedding Horniman Museum and Gardens

The Reception

Decor & Detail

Suzanne James Catering are the retained caterer for the venue but I knew through Flo (our cake maker) that they were very highly regarded caterers and they did not disappoint! We had a wonderfully seasonal menu that received SO many compliments. For our evening food we had a cheese grazing table which also was a great success.

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One of our suppliers referred to a Suzanne James event as a military operation and they weren’t wrong. Amanda Alleyne who is their in-house wedding co-ordinator organised every element of the wedding to fantastic detail which made such a difference. I will always be so grateful to her for all her hard work and meticulous planning, and then the fantastic team on the day for executing it all seamlessly and being so friendly.

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My sister’s best friend (and professional chef and cakemaker) who has been a close family friend for years, Florence Cornish generously made us a cake as a wedding gift. It was a three-tier cake decorated with buttercream icing and a swirl of real flowers. The tiers were carrot cake, lemon poppyseed and chocolate.

Honestly – I am not a big cake person but Peter is so the flavour selection was down to him, with guidance from Flo, as we just wanted flavours that the most amount of people would like. It went down an absolute storm with a selection served as part of our dessert. The cake topper said ‘Rosie and Peter’ and was from TheLetterLoftUK on Etsy.

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I am a bit of a stationery geek so I did the stationery myself using inDesign and illustrations of the venue by my sister Grace.

Invitations etc. were printed at Prontaprint in Marylebone and the signs, menus, orders of the day etc were printed at Printing Progress in Bromley.

I collected wedding photos of both of our parents’ weddings and those of our four sets of grandparents which were placed in gold frames on the card table. Peter’s father is no longer with us (and nor are any of our grandparents) so it felt like a subtle nod to those no longer living and our day as the latest in a lineage of strong, happy marriages.

Evening & Entertainment

We had ‘Only You’ by Yazoo as our first dance. Peter and I love The Office and this is the song playing when Dawn and Tim finally get together at the end of the series. Given we love the programme and met in an office – it felt like the perfect choice, plus it wasn’t too difficult to dance to!  

Matt Brown and his band, Bare Groove were superb and teed up the ceremony music, did a set during the drinks and then brought great vibes on the dancefloor until midnight.

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Words of Wedded Wisdom

Do not be distracted by tradition or how you think weddings ‘should look’ – one bridesmaid or five, matching outfits and colour palettes or individual looks – just go with what works for you rather than emulate anyone else’s day. We did not have a typical ‘top table’ and instead sat our parents with their friends and families and we chose the people we wanted to sit with. So often I think the top tables look like they are having the least amount of fun so do make fun a priority over tradition.

To brides: Make a speech! I couldn’t have imagined having only men make speeches on my day. It doesn’t have to be long, or funny but it felt like an empowering thing to do and I really enjoyed my moment with the microphone!

I think a lot of stress around weddings come from this idea of it being ‘the best day of your life’ so remember that it is an important occasion but it is also a party. If you want a truly memorable wedding for your guests, don’t worry too much about the napkins matching the ties or anything like that but think about making sure that the most amount of people have the drinks they like, sit with people they’ll get on with and play songs they want to dance to!

“Love My Dress is an incredible resource for anyone planning a wedding and really celebrates the uniqueness of each wedding across a breadth of styles and sizes.”

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Annabel View all Annabel's articles

Founder of Love My Dress. Passionate Podcaster and Editor. Annabel lives in rural North Yorkshire with her husband and business partner Philip, their two daughters and menagerie of furry hounds. She loves photography, meditation, walking, being outdoors and star gazing. She is fierce when it comes to championing talent within the wedding industry and when she's not working on Love My Dress, she supports her husband Philip in the running of the family's sustainable flower farm and floral design business, Moonwind Flowers. In 2013, she became a published author.