Today’s real wedding is a super cool celebration at luxury 5-star hotel Andaz. Nicola and Antony used coloured glass bottles and simple, modern flowers to create an eclectic wedding look in their chic city venue.
Nicola opted for a bespoke wedding dress, based on her own design and created by Miss Bush Bridal Wear in Ripley. It’s stunning – and Nicola’s glowing review of her wedding dressmaking experience is great to read.
Nicola and Antony’s flowers were white tulips. Antony made a fantastic table plan with vintage frames which I love! Other detail ideas include little chocolate moustache lollipops and post cards as a wedding guest book alternative. Ready to dive into this one? The gorgeous images are by wedding photographer Mark Bothwell. Enjoy!
Nicola & Antony’s eclectic wedding in London
Who proposed, and how?
Antony proposed to me. It was the 3rd of December. He went to a huge amount of very romantic effort: he foxed me, by pretending we were going to a cocktail party for a networking event for his work.
I was at work for the first time in a week as the snow was so bad, none of the trains were running properly. He called me to say due to the snow his boss had arranged a hotel room for us that night. I was none the wiser. He then called again later to say we had been upgraded to a suite! Great, I thought!
I arrived in Bond street, to be met by Antony. I was starving hungry so went to Pret, very sensible I thought especially as thought it would be a liquid dinner. I got sushi, Ant’s not a sushi lover but ate some, he doesn’t normally do sushi (as he had different plans to what he had told me)…. I thought it was weird!
We had a few drinks at the hotel in the club room, went to our fantastic room and got ready (I was taking my time.) Antony told me the work event was in the Grand Ballroom. Eventually I was ready and we made our way downstairs. Antony went one way and I went the other, I went towards the ballroom! I’m quite stubborn so was adamant that it was my way, he said trust me… it’s this way. We then walked into the Maze restaurant…. my heart started racing.
I questioned why we ended up having a fancy meal on our own and he said it was a surprise for Christmas. The proposal didn’t happen at the restaurant?! Perhaps it was a Christmas present?
When we got back to the room he went down on one knee! I was given a gorgeous princess cut diamond ring, a whole new make-up bag full of MAC make up ( he had sneakily looked at all my make-up and replicated it… plus new eye shadow cols), perfume, a new dress, tights, and shoes! I had no overnight bag and he had thought of everything.
Wedding venue: Andaz Liverpool Street, London.
Andaz Liverpool Street was the perfect venue for us. Everything is under one very beautiful and cool roof. We were attracted to the venue for the location, décor (mix of Victorian and modern features.) The staff were great and it’s a slick set up. We are both very busy and Andaz could help with all details.
Wedding photographer: Mark Bothwell.
Mark Bothwell – A recommendation. We had a great initial chat and he ‘got it’! The proof is in the pudding.
Antony wore a navy 3 piece Hugo Boss suit, white shirt and tie and a white Tulip button hole.
Nicola’s bespoke wedding dress by Miss Bush Bridal
I was slightly more complicated… I tried on about 60 dresses and I couldn’t find any that I liked enough. I knew I didn’t want a strapless meringue. I had quite a clear idea of what I wanted. I’m a handbag and accessories designer (and studied as a fashion designer), I have a very clear vision of what outfits and accessories I want to wear.
I met Emma from Miss Bush and we had a shared taste when it came to dresses. I tried on some gorgeous dresses in her boutique but nothing was as I had imagined. We got chatting about customising a dress, to look more like I wanted. Emma was very helpful and gave some great suggestions (she knows her dresses) however I asked that if she could customise, did that mean she could make me a dress?
The answer was Yes! Emma was very keen and so was I. I designed my ideal dress and showed Emma the design. After the formalities, Emma and her amazing dress maker Janet got to work on the toile. Naturally as you have your toile fittings the design evolves. I wanted a structured/crisp looking dress with a detachable train, an angular shaped open back, and little capped sleeves, a dress that was simplistic and sleek. I sourced the fabric, and went for a beautiful white silk taffeta which had a lovely stiff mouldable quality.
Janet, Emma and Gen at Miss Bush were excellent, they made me a beautiful dress that was exactly as I had wanted, it was fantastically well made and their attention to detail was second to none. They were an absolute pleasure to work with. I would thoroughly recommend The Miss Bush boutique. I would also recommend going down the bespoke dress route, it’s very enjoyable and not stressful if you know exactly what you want and you have found great makers.
The Bridesmaids’ dresses were off white cocktail dress from Ted Baker, they wore cobalt blue shoes and carried white sweet peas.
We wanted a relaxed and personal feel to the day so the ushers wore their own grey lounge suits with skinny navy ties, I wasn’t that worried about them being too matchy matchy. The Dads wore navy suits with cobalt ties.
The wedding ceremony
We were married in the Bishopsgate room in the Hotel. We had candles and white rose petals down the aisle, and perspex pedestals with sleek glass tubes and white blossom. The flowers and decor were simplistic but very effective. The room is decorated in soft blues and greys and I love those colours set with whites.
Our registrars made it very personal for us and made us feel at ease. We were both surprised how emotional we felt. We totally underestimated it!
When saying the vows I lost track of what the registrar was saying and got confused with what I was meant to say… Everyone had a little chuckle at me! Afterwards everybody was saying ‘I can’t believe you forgot your name!’
The wedding reception:
Our reception was in the 1901 room, a gorgeous stained glass atrium with white marble pillars. There’s a bar in the centre of the room: having a bar/dancing/tables all in one room was a must, so that everyone was together in one place. Boys tend to have the habit of standing near the bar!
My Mum and I collected about 100 vintage coloured glass vases from charity shops, car boots etc. (a challenge and we became obsessed!) I wanted the colour to be in the vases and not the flowers.
I wanted the centre pieces on the tables all to be different. We used vintage looking vases to mirror the stained glass ceiling, with simple tulips. My florist was Gill Pike Florist, she has great ideas and we worked really well together. The flowers I wanted were not traditionally ‘put together’ flowers. I wanted them to look ‘easy’and modern. Tulips are my favourite and we were really lucky to get them. June is very late for tulips but due to the awful weather earlier in the year they were still around.
Antony made a fantastic table plan. We collected small vintage frames and one large ornate frame. They were all painted grey and placed inside the large frame. It looked brilliant. The wooden table numbers were expertly painted white too, which added to the eclectic wedding look.
I ordered bow and moustache chocolate lollipops from Creighton’s, a bespoke and very cool chocolatier.
For a bit of what everyone fancies for evening food, but never admits, we served crispy Crème donuts, mini burgers, fish and chips along with our amazing cake.
We bought a mix of quirky postcards for our guests to sign instead of the normal guestbook.
We both chose fun photos of us when we were young to go in frames around the card box.
For our favours we didn’t have any spare cash. We found these fun Knock Knock pads: ‘why I really like you’. We complied a why I really like you tick box page for each of our guests and hand printed their names on mini envelopes to double up as the place settings.
What were your highlights?
Antony firstly said seeing me walk in the room! ahhh!
We both made speeches, (Ant’s best man’s speech was a mix of funny, cringe, funny…I’m saying no more!), mingling after the meal and dancing!
I would also say spending the evening before and the morning of the wedding with my parents and bridesmaids. It was fun and very relaxed at the same time.
Music and entertainment:
We had a singer/pianist to play during the ceremony and drinks reception.
My Dad came across Jody Ellen Robinson busking for charity, so we contacted her. She was fantastic. She just played the piano before I arrived. I walked in to Jody singing/playing Eva Cassidy – Song Bird. The other songs she sang were Elton John – Your song, Take That – Rule the world. We walked out to Frankie Valli – Can’t take my eyes off you (which is a cheesy song that we have taken as our own for years!) We also had this as our first dance.
We had a live band for the evening reception who are fantastic. They are called Back in the Day. They do a mix of retro and modern songs and get everyone on the dance floor. This was one of my main aims of the day. I wanted everyone to have fun! They also have a DJ to play tracks whilst the band had their breaks.
Wedding day advice:
Take in as much as possible – it goes so quickly.
Recommended wedding suppliers:
- Miss Bush- Ripley www.missbushbridalwear.co.uk
- Mark Bothwell Photography www.markbothwell.com
- Back in the Day Band. www.bitd.co.uk
- Gill Pike Florist. www.gillpikeflorist.co.uk
- Creightons www.wearecreightons.com
- Jody Ellen Robinson Musician