Winter Wedding Glamour in The Painted Hall at The Old Royal Naval College

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Laura and Tom exchanged vows on 18 November 2023, within the breathtaking surroundings of The Painted Hall at The Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich – a truly breathtaking venue that captures the essence of London’s rich history and grandeur.

With a deep connection to the city where Laura spent her childhood, the couple filled their day with quintessentially London touches. From the iconic black cab serving as their wedding car to the vintage red and cream London buses that transported their guests, each detail was a nod to the capital’s charm. They also embraced local talent in hiring a jazz trio from the nearby Trinity Laban Conservatoire of music and Dance.

Laura chose a Rosa Clara gown, echoing the choice her mother made for her own wedding years earlier. This lovely sentiment was enhanced by Laura’s mum generously planning the entire day herself. Words by Laura follow – enjoy!

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My Mum organised and planned the day. Once we had decided on the type of wedding we wanted, ie, fairly traditional, and the likely number of guests there would be, she then spent many, many hours gathering together ideas and suggestions and would then present the various choices to me so that me and Tom could make a final decision as to what we would like. 

She made all the bookings and chased everyone up and went through all the fine details to make sure we would have the day that we dreamed of. The attention to detail was so important to make the day such a success. A big thank you to mum and also to dad for discussing it all with mum every day as well!

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The Dress

My dress was from Rosa Clara in London. She is a Spanish designer based in Barcelona. My mum`s dress also came from there. The staff at the shop were just wonderful and the entire process was very personal and attentive. Their attention to detail in sorting any alterations was brilliant.

They also made a bolero and detachable shoulder straps for my dress, which were stunning. Highly recommend them, in particular Michelle, Paulina, Bhavesh and Alessandra. I would recommend the shop to other brides and mother of the brides.

I wanted a dress that would be a showpiece given the stunning venue and in particular the wonderful staircase. So, I chose a mermaid style that suited my figure, and the dress had a beautiful and long train. My favourite item was the beautifully made bolero and the buttons down the back of the dress.

Bridal Beauty & Accessories

I wore my mother`s veil from thirty five years ago and it really complemented the dress. Rosa Clara were again fabulous as they changed the veil comb for me and had it all freshly steamed.

My shoes were from Rainbow (my something new) and I wore a beautiful hair comb in my hair which I also bought at Rosa Clara. I also wore a vintage sapphire ring, left to me from my Grandma (my something blue) and a pair of pearl earrings my Mum wore on her wedding day that were a gift from my Grandma (my something old). My ‘something new’ was my dress.

My hair and makeup artist was Julie Wong – she was excellent, as were here two assistants, Simone and Charlotte.

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As it was a 3 pm ceremony, we thought black tie and evening dresses would be perfect as it would be dark by 4:30 pm. It also suited the style of The Painted Hall, which is so dramatic. As it was a winter wedding, we chose burgundy as a colour to work with.

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The Ceremony

Our ceremony was held at St Margaret’s Church in Lee and Reverend Daniel Walker, the curate at the church, lead our service. He was very good and had the balance exactly right between seriousness and joyfulness.

We wanted a traditional church service as it was especially important to us to be married in a church and we chose my local church which I had attended as a child. My father took me down the aisle at the church and my four bridesmaids followed us down the aisle. We used the traditional Church of England vows which we felt expressed very well the commitment we were making to each other.

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We had two readings; Colossians 3, verses 12 to 17 – which is all about marriage and the need to be considerate, patient and forgiving, and our second reading was ‘Union’, by Robert Fulghum, which we discovered through Love My Dress – we felt the words were very appropriate for our wedding day.

My engagement ring is from Taylor & Hart – we chose them as we could fully customise the ring and they had a good selection of lab grown diamonds which we wanted due to ethical reasons. Our wedding rings were from Glenray Jewellers – a local jewellery shop where we live – we both wanted to support a local business.

The ceremony was absolutely perfect and exactly what we wanted.

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Our photographer was Grace Pham. We loved Grace`s relaxed style and seeing her portfolio she clearly captured the couple`s happiness very well. Grace was so good on the day, very unobtrusive, very calm and knew what we wanted from our discussions before the big day and managed to get people in the right place without any trouble at all. Her assistant Lizzie was also excellent.

The photos of the day are fantastic and have captured the happiness of the day as well as being very natural. She really put me and Tom at ease.

Our videographer was Karl of Moment Weddings. The videos he has produced are wonderful.

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How They Met

We met at work and had been together for three and a half years when we got engaged. Tom took me back to where we had out first proper date, a beautiful stately home in Stratford upon Avon and proposed during a walk. We were then engaged for 18 months before we got married.

Tom`s shoes were from Church’s and patent leather.

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The Reception

Our reception was held at Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich – it is such an historic building that it didn’t need anything other than the fantastic lighting and flowers and candles.

We chose the locations as I, Laura, grew up and lived all my life in Blackheath and so we wanted to have our wedding in the local church and then at an ionic venue nearby. We also wanted to have a traditional church service as that was very important to me.

My mum did all the planning for the day plus the Painted Hall has a resident event manager, Mitchell Sinclair, and we also had a master of ceremonies, Peter Thompson, who made sure everything ran smoothly on the day and we could just relax and enjoy ourselves. Both Mitchell and Peter were excellent.

Our flowers were by Vanessa Hues at Floral Hues. Vanessa was one of the recommended Painted Hall list of suppliers as the venue has strict requirements as to flowers, water, and candles due to the historical nature of the building.

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We met with Vanessa, and she was so helpful with suggestions for the venue and the use of colours with our base theme of burgundy to make sure the arrangements did not get lost in the venue by breaking that up with some peach and cream colours.

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She had super ideas for the stunning and the large fireplace to make excellent feature points of these two areas. The fake candles that she provided with the brass vases were just perfect.

We used Papier for our stationery – we used their online site to order and design all our stationery keeping to a simple burgundy design. The order of service booklets came from St Andrews Press, Wells.

The Painted Hall has its own internal caterers – the Company of Cooks. The food was wonderful and the service impeccable.

Our cake was by The Cheeseboard, Greenwich – we chose a cheese tower rather than a traditional wedding cake as we both love cheese, and we chose the local suppler to stick with out London theme and because they produce fantastic cheese and have a great selection.

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Evening & Dancing

We hired The Party Band via Velvet Entertainment. They were a really, really good, 7-piece band, including a saxophonist and a male and female vocal – and everyone danced all night. Phoebe at Velvet Entertainment was very helpful indeed in organising this for us.

We chose the opening soundtrack L.O.V.E by Nat King Cole from the film Parent Trap, for a first dance, which is a favourite childhood film of mine and is also an easy song to dance and sing along to. The band played it really well. 

Words of Wedded Wisdom

Being very organised beforehand as to how you want the day to go and what was most important to you – e.g. everyone being in church in good time before we arrived, not being rushed over the dinner, and making sure the best men, bridesmaids and groomsmen knew what their role was to be on the day so again you could relax and not be fussing over any of the detail then.   

The best investment was probably the master of ceremonies. He made such a difference to the whole day as he ensured everything was in place at the church, all the buses loaded with our guests, making sure everyone signed the guest book, announcing what was happening when, e.g. the move to the wedding breakfast, cutting the cheese tower, the first dance, throwing the bouquet etc. and just dealing with any questions from any of the guests so that we and the bridal party had nothing to worry about on the day and could really relax and enjoy the wonderful celebration.

The Painted Hall Old Royal Naval College

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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.