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A relaxed London wedding, with a hint-of-ski theme

A relaxed London wedding, with a hint-of-ski theme

Written by Katie Byrne

Deborah and Jonathan celebrated their wedding at The Happenstance, overlooking St Paul's Cathedral in London


Deborah and Jonathan exchanged their wedding vows at Islington Town Hall, before heading to The Happenstance for their reception, on November 5 2016.

Photos by: Hummingbird Photography

We wanted a relaxed atmosphere and to recreate the feel of après ski! Our first holiday together was a week skiing in La Tania. We’ve since gone back skiing every year! We love nothing more than enjoying the après after a days on the slopes.

I (Deborah) grew up in London and we’ve been living together in Islington since 2014. Although we looked at venues in the Home Counties, we decided we wanted to celebrate where we currently live. As our ceremony and reception were in two separate venues, we decided to transport our guests on two vintage London buses.

The ceremony took place at Islington Town Hall. We loved that it was a short walk from our home.

The reception took place at The Happenstance (at its previous location on Ludgate Hill) and we knew it was the right place for us on our first visit. The mix and match furniture and open kitchen in the restaurant area and the vibe in the bar instantly allowed us to know we wouldn’t have to do much to create the rustic atmosphere we wanted.

Our ski trips inspired the theme of the day. Colours were kept simple with blue suits, green ties and green pocket squares for the groom and groomsmen. The bridesmaids’ dresses were green and the flower girls were dressed in blue.

My dress was by Essence of Australia and I found it at Angelica Bridal in Islington. It was only the second bridal shop I’d been to and it was the final dress I tried on in the shop. I had pictured a timeless elegant dress and this was exactly what I was looking for. 

I knew I didn’t need to wear a veil, as it would have taken away from the stunning back of the dress. My hairdresser, Gigi from The Chapel Islington, created an amazing up do to match the elegance of the dress, complete with a decorative hair comb from Etsy and a blue butterfly slide (a Christmas present from when I was a teenager) tucked in one of the pin curls.

Our flowers were white roses with white freesias. My dad passed away the year before our wedding and I knew that when he and my mum married, he had chosen her wedding bouquet. The flowers in my mum’s bouquet were red roses with white freesias, so I thought this would be a lovely way to remember my dad on our wedding day.

Unfortunately, not all the flowers arrived (we were missing the bridal bouquet and the two bridesmaid bouquets!). Amazingly we didn’t feel any stress, we were in London and there are so many florists around! Marks & Spencer were amazing and organized the missing flowers with two florists in London – Bloomsbury Flowers provided a display of white roses with freesias; and Dawson Flowers were amazing - they created two bridesmaid bouquets of roses and changed the presentation bouquet of roses and freesias into a bridal bouquet for me.

Jonathan wore a blue three-piece Ted Baker suit from Moss Bros, with a green tie and pocket square from Swagger and Swoon and brown brogues. The buttonhole was a white rose and white freesia, to tie in with the bridal bouquet.

To keep in with the ski and après touches, we had had bespoke piste markers made by Snow Shepherd which we used as our table names and centerpieces. In the drinks area, we had a vintage pair of wooden skis, which we took the fixings off, and asked people to sign as our guest book. We also had framed photos from both our parents on their wedding days (both of whom have been married for over fifty years).

We both love Victoria Sponge cake, so we knew we wanted a naked wedding cake rather than a traditional cake. Will and Rhiannon at The Happenstance put us in contact with Clare at Little Bear Cakery. When we met Clare and tried the samples, we knew straight away we’d found the right cake maker.

We had three tiers and chose classic Victoria sponge for the bottom tier, red velvet for the middle tier, and topped with a lavender and wild blueberry tier. The cake was decorated with berries and our cake stand was a rather heavy wooden slice from Essex Woodlands, which had our names on in a heart on the bark.

Jonathan and one of his groomsman, JC, designed a table plan in keeping with the ski theme, which we had printed onto a foam board. It’s a great keepsake from the day!

Our wedding favours continued the après ski theme. We gave a bottle of Thunder Toffee Vodka to each of our guests (the children received colouring pencils and books!). On top of each bottle was a hand knitted mini bobble hat. My mum, our friend Alice, and I had knitted over 120 mini bobble hats for our wedding. Not only did this tie in the après ski theme but also Innocent’s Big Knit!

On the back of the placename parcel tag, we added the details of Innocent’s Big Knit and asked people to donate their hat and help raise money for Age UK. We also included who knitted each hat!

After we arrived at the reception venue, Jonathan and I went off for our wedding photos. It was great having some alone time together. We went to the Millennium Bridge and at one point sat down on the stairs next to the bridge. Being a Saturday in London, it was quite busy, and people kept calling out congratulations to us.

Also, one of our favourite après ski bands, The Dominos, performed at our wedding. After our first dance, to Wings by Birdy, we asked the band to play Walk The Moon’s Shut Up and Dance. It was a great song to follow and the dancefloor was full straightaway.

Our wedding day wasn’t just our wedding day, it was also Jonathan’s 40th birthday! As a surprise for Jonathan’s birthday, I organised another Lavender and Wild Blueberry cake, topped with a skier by Called and Chosen from Etsy. Our wedding cake was eaten in the evening so we were able to take home the birthday cake and indulge.

One of my favourite details of the day: my dad was previously a London Taxi driver and I travelled to the ceremony with my brother in a friend’s taxi. As we had a bit of extra time we made a detour to Gibson Square, which is the destination in the London Taxi Knowledge first run – Manor House Station to Gibson Square. It was a lovely little surprise. We even had time to get out of the taxi for photos.

Steal their style!

Venue: The Happenstance (Drake & Morgan) Florist: Marks & Spencer; Bloomsbury Flowers; Dawson Flowers Bride's dress: Essence of Australia from Angelica Bridal Bridesmaids: Maids to Measure Groomswear: Ted Baker at Moss Bros hire Cake: Little Bear Cakery

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