A friendly, wonderfully offbeat and very personal wedding story – Izabel and Shane

I’d love to begin today’s wedding blog with a quote from beautiful bride Izabel. She told me, “The day was beautiful and everything that we wanted it to be. It was a reflection of us to the letter.

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My years as a top UK wedding blogger have shown me over and over and over again that the very best thing a wedding can have is personality. And Izabel and Shane wove their own journey as a couple into their wedding in beautiful and touching ways: “Glass bottle coke and humous, our go to nibbles and drinks in the early days of our getting together. Coffee and ice cream, the two things we walked across London for as we started dating. East London and the Regent’s Canal, our home and the place we began. We really wanted the day to show my Filipino and Dutch heritage as well as Shane’s Irish and Welsh background. Everyone thought we chose our wedding colours, green, orange, grey because of the Irish and Dutch, but that only occurred to us later in the planning process. All aspects of the day just had meaning to us and our story and our family and guest really got the day and our story.”

very personal wedding blog UK Tony Gameiro (2)This is a glorious wedding day with details which really mean the world to Izabel and Shane. The images are lovely; the story captivating. I know you’ll love it as much as I do! With huge thanks to the bride and groom – Izabel, Shane – you stars! and a virtual happy hug for you both. Thanks also to wedding photographer Tony Gameiro for sharing the images of such a wonderful wedding blog.

Oh! And there’s a tortoise as well! Only my closest friends will know I’m very good friends with a tortoise 🙂 Not this one, but they’re all equally as lovely! Everyone – enjoy!

Claire xxx

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The bride and groom:

Izabel Luijk (née Fleming) and Shane Fleming

Wedding venue:

The ceremony took place at the Vestry, which is the Tower Hamlets Registry office’s ceremony space. It was a happy little building and we loved the fact that it was our local registry office and we’d cycled by it many a time without knowing it was there. Our reception took place in Mile End Park, in the Eco Pavillion.

We were a little worried with the late spring this year that it would all still be quite asleep and grey, but the grasses and the trees all turned lovely and green just a few days before the wedding so the park was a stunning backdrop for the day. Again, we chose the Eco Pavilion because it was just one of our local stops on our walks and cycles along the Regent’s Canal when we were just starting out. Also the fact that the rangers were so friendly,easy going, and basically let us do what we wanted was a massive plus

Wedding photographer:

Was the super cool and relaxed Tony Gameiro, who turned into more of a friend taking pictures rather than the “photographer.”

How would you describe your wedding style?

Hmmm, our wedding style. I’d have to say friendly and off beat and totally us. We just wanted everyone to have a really good time and be as relaxed as possible. No stuffiness, no reception lines, no “it’s a wedding we have to do this.” We wanted it to totally reflect us and our story and journey together.

Invitations and reception stationery

Shane and I designed the wedding invitations and stationery ourselves. I went through about 60 A4 sheets of paper trying to get our names painted just right. In the end of it all we were really pleased with how they turned out. We had them printed via Vistaprint online and then added three thin strips of Washi Tape to each individual bit. With 4 parts of the invitation set and 100 invites to make up, the cutting and taping took the longest, but people really appreciated the touch.

For the day itself, we just used chalkboards and Ikea picture frames again embellished with our Washi Tape. One of my bridesmaids, Maaike, did all the writing for place names etc, as her handwriting is one of my favourite fonts.

What did you both wear?

I was lucky enough to have my dress made for me by a friend of mine with a dressmaking business, Aneej Jack. It was so great to be able to sit down with Jacco and go through what I wanted in a dress. It had the deep in-seam pockets I always wanted and we were able to use lace that my parents had picked out for me from the Philippines and at the same time we were able to slightly mirror the traditional Filipina dress sleeves. For the ceremony I wore my mother’s old veil and a silver necklace and bracelet set that she had designed for me. My shoes were from Clarks and actually they were the first things of my wedding outfit that I bought. I just fell in love with the orange suede, the absolute perfect colour and the shape of the shoe which Jacco ended up mimicking for the neckline of my dress.

Shane wore a suit from El Ganso, a Spanish clothes shop along Carnaby Street. We went in on a whim thinking we’d spot something for Shane’s lads, but ended up buying Shane’s suit. We had originally wanted to change the color of the elbow patches on the suit to match the wedding colours (green, grey, and orange) but ended up just leaving them the light blue which was easier to find other bits for. We found his tie and shoes in Topman and ordered his thin blue braces online.

A little about the wedding ceremony:

We actually had two different ceremonies, one in the Vestry which compromised the legal aspects of the day and then outside the Eco Pavilion we had a blessing ceremony that my parents officiated.

For the Vestry, Shane spent quite a bit of time organizing the songs that would be played while the guests were waiting, when I walked in, for the signing of the register, and for when we walked out. He did a great job with it and it’s actually now one of our favourite playlists. I walked in with my pa to James Taylor’s Something in the Way She Moves and Shane and I just managed to hold it together for the ceremony.

For our readings, we had an excerpt from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin and the other reading was A Lovely Love Story by Edward Monkton which we had changed slightly to reflect us more.

After the Vestry, we moved on to the Eco Pavilion where we gathered on a little island for the blessing. My pa incorporated aspects from a traditional Filipino wedding service for it. So there was the lighting of the Unity Candle which symbolised our two lives becoming one, the presenting of the Aras, a wee cage with 13 silver pieces which represented Shane’s promise to provided for our family, the draping of the Marriage Veil over Shane’s shoulders and my head, and the binding with the Cord, in an infinity symbol representing a blessing for our love that it would go on and on and on.

The blessing ceremony was great moment in our day, it turned out better than we had thought, everyone was just stood around us and sun was shining and the bunting was fluttering and we felt very blessed and loved and it was a wonderful way to go from the formal of the Vestry to the fun of the reception.

Tell us a little about your wedding venue styling and details:

As we said earlier, Shane and I wanted a really realized day that totally reflected us and our story and journey. The Eco Pavilion was just a brilliant blank canvas for us and we were really able to put our mark on it.

We had long feasting tables set up with sharing platters of food, so there was a real family dinner aspect to it all. The tables were decorated with swatches of fabric in the wedding color of grey, green, and orange. And my mum and sisters-in-law put together flower arrangements in bursts of orange, yellow, and green. One of my friends made us over 60 metres of bunting which we strung from pillar to wall. We also had tissue paper pom poms hanging from invisible thread hanging between the bunting.

Near the tables for dinner, Shane’s dad had organized a bar area with all sorts of drinks being cooled in old wine barrels and much to the lads’ delight, he had sourced two Welsh ales which were served from the keg.

Down further into the Eco Pavilion, we had an ice cream cart serving ice cream all day as well as a coffee stand making flat whites, lattes, and the like. We had 2 wedding cakes, one a gift from a friend of ours and one a cheese cake for those less partial to sweet. The sweet cake was from Patisserie Valerie and was three tiers of different types of cake.

The cheese cake was from Caws Cenarth who do the most delicious Welsh cheeses. We also had a tea table with various teas ready to be served in mismatched tea cups and saucers, since Shane is a firm believer in tea being served in china.

We also set up a favour table with 4 different types of wedding favour on it. We really wanted to do a little something personal to thank our guests for coming and sharing in our day so we decided on doing 4 little things and they could choose which they’d like to take home. We had a homemade hot sauce which Shane perfected in the days before the wedding, our sourdough bread starter which we’d been cultivating for over a year.

And then we also had little bars of Dutch chocolate which we re-wrapped in brown paper and Washi tape as well as Filipino dried mangoes which my parents brought over for us. With the different stands and tables set up, people were free to wander about and enjoy coffees, icecreams, cheese, cake or ales and other drinks as they choose.

Wedding music and entertainment:

For the music during the reception, Shane had made a massive play list with all our favourite types of music and then for the Ceilidh later on, we had a ceilidh band named Rabscallion play and call a few sets.

Memorable wedding day moments:

Izabel: For me, the morning getting ready really stands out, I was surrounded by my family, who hadn’t all been in the same space together for over 7 years. It was just a poignant moment of one chapter coming to a close and another starting. Meeting Shane in the morning before the wedding was probably my favourite moment, turning and seeing him running up to me. And also, walking into the Vestry, on my pa’s arm, to the song Shane had chosen for me, seeing him waiting for me at the front…

Shane: Meeting Iza for the first time in the morning. Walking along the park and just seeing a silhouette of Iza standing on a hill with Canary Wharf behind her. I couldn’t help myself and I broke into awkward run up to her in my new shoes over the muddy ground. Our first dance also stands out, we had no clue what we were doing, but made a go of it anyway… we were eventually saved by Iza’s parents cutting in and the the ceilidh band starting up. People told us later they loved our first dance and we looked so cute doing it, go figure.

Wedding day advice:

Enjoy the day… It goes so fast and feels quite surreal at times. Don’t be afraid on the day to steal away from it all and enjoy a few glorious minutes just taking everything in. Let go of all the little details and worry of what people will think. It is your beginning at the end of it all, that’s the heart of the day, you and yours saying yes to each other and a lifetime more.

Recommended wedding suppliers:

Our suppliers where so fabulous, we were a bit wary with so many different aspects having to come together on the day but everything went wonderfully and that is fully down to the suppliers all working so well together and so hard for us.

Handmade Food did the food for the day and we can’t say enough good things about them. From all the contact before the wedding and being so flexible with our last minute changes to being there and setting up the day before to the phenomenal level of service on the day and the fantastic food, I’d be tempted to plan another big event just to have them cater it. The number of times our guests told us it was the best wedding food they’d ever had, to simply the best food they’d had, Handmade Food were a roaring success. They really got what Shane and I were about and were able to reflect that in the food so perfectly well.

Aneej Jack is the wee company that made my wedding dress. I think I said it already, but Jacco was just great to work with and such fun too. He made the whole proccess so easy and was really able to keep me calm and reassure me that it was my dress and it should reflect me and my personality. He was great about rolling with my mid-make design changes and was so patient with me as I do believe I hold the title for his most fidgety bride to date. I don’t know the number of times he had to repin the changes because I moved about so much.

Han made designs made our wedding rings for us in silver. Hannah is a maker friend of ours who works with greenwood making rolling pins, spoons and ladles all by hand and she recently has taken an interest in jewellery making in silver as well. Shane and I decided early on we wanted bespoke silver wedding bands and knew at once we’d be asking Hannah to make them for us. She did an amazing job and was so patient with us explaining the different shapes, finishes, and effects.

Weanie Beans set up a little coffee stand for us at the wedding. We only really had email contact with them till the day before the wedding, but felt completely confident in all our interactions with them. Everyone loved the coffee and the barista man was just so friendly and kind, even remembering who had asked for a coffee before the speeches started and bringing it over for them as soon as the speeches ended. And of course, the coffee was fantastic as well, which was super important to us, as we do love our London coffee shops.

Gino Gelato brought over their ice cream cart for us and it was definitely one of the highlights of the day for both young and old. Alex was just delightful behind the ice creams, always ready with a scoop, story, and smile. The ice cream enthusiasts in the group declared it some of the best ice cream they’d ever had, especially the pistachio. Gino Gelato came on board with our wedding just a few days before the big day, but they were so easy to work with and so accommodating it was all a breeze.

Tony Gameiro was our photographer and we couldn’t have been happier with him. We found him online and had a meeting with him in his home and knew almost straight away that we wanted him to shot the wedding. He made us feel so relaxed and at ease which was important for us as we are both quite self conscious in front of a camera. It honestly felt like we just had a friend there taking pictures for us. And the guests loved him as well.

And of course, we can’t recommend Charley Beard of London Bride enough. She was there on day itself to oversee everything – and by everything, I mean everything. In the weeks leading up to the wedding, she was liaising with all the different suppliers and fielding all the questions they had. It was really brilliant and we had complete confidence in her and our day because we knew she was there and would handle any hiccup that might come up.

Claire Gould

Claire spends her days writing - either in beautiful calligraphy or online. She lives on the edge of the English Lake District only minutes away from the beach, where she loves to escape and unwind. Claire's calligraphy can be found at Claire launched the English Wedding Blog in November 2009 - it's been a top 10 UK wedding blog ever since, with a regional focus we hope you LOVE.



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