Laura and Oliver’s city chic English & Scottish wedding, with Ben Pipe Photography
Today’s wedding is one of those stunning celebrations which mixes traditional elegance with contemporary flavour. Laura’s dress is divine – both bride and groom are gorgeous and the little details of their day, especially the Scottish touches, make it something really special. The venue is the Caledonian Club, and the photographer is lovely Ben Pipe Photography.
Our florist was Lalage Barran Flowers. Lalage was introduced to me by St Columba’s Church where we were married. I knew that I wanted lots of flowers and had a good idea of colours, but I know nothing about the types of flowers themselves so Lalage was excellent at guiding me. After a few meetings, she was able to create exactly what I had hoped for. Lalage also made a mock-up of my bouquet for me a few weeks before the wedding day which really helped to reassure me that it would look as I expected on the day.
The choice of wedding suppliers, particularly for a wedding in central London, is overwhelming. Some of the biggest decisions we made were based on recommendations – our photographer was recommended by a friend who was bridesmaid at a wedding he photographed, our hair and make-up artist was recommended by a work colleague who also got married in central London and our florist was recommended by the church! Knowing that these people came recommended really helped to put our minds at ease that they would be reliable which can be such a big worry when wedding planning.
Wedding photographer’s website:
Ben was recommended to us by a friend who was bridesmaid at a wedding which Ben photographed. After having looked at lots of wedding photographers online and speaking with a few, we were quite uninspired until we saw Ben’s photos and met with him.
We love our photos and are so pleased that we chose Ben. He was so easy to work with leading up to the wedding and on the day, he and David were brilliant. Ben completely took on board what we wanted (which was mostly to get lots of great photos but not be away from the celebrations for too long having photos taken) and stuck to that 100%. Afterwards, we loved that he sent us a few photos within a matter of days and the whole lot within a few weeks. I have heard from so many people that they have had to wait months for all their wedding photos or that when they do receive them, they only receive a small number of the ones the photographer took so we were incredibly grateful to receive the photos so quickly and to receive all of the thousand or so photos taken on the day.
Ben sent us about 20 photos a few days after the wedding, when we were on our honeymoon. We could only look at them on an iphone screen but we knew straight away we loved them and it was a huge relief to know that even if we didn’t like any other photos (which wasn’t the case of course) at the very least, we loved these ones. Looking at the photos on honeymoon was so much fun and really part of re-living the day over and over.
I am Scottish and Oli is English but we met and have started our lives together in London so we wanted to bring a touch of Scotland to our central London wedding. We chose to be married in St Columba’s Church in Knightsbridge which is a Church of Scotland church and to have the reception at the Caledonian Club which is a Scottish private members’ club in Belgravia.
Can you describe your wedding in fewer than 10 words?
Traditional, Scottish, city wedding
Your wedding style or theme:
We never really chose a ‘theme’ as such but the day ended up being a real mix of English and Scottish traditions which for us, reflected our two lives coming together perfectly (I am Scottish and Oli is English).
What’s your top tip for saving money?
Take all the help you can get. Whether it be borrowing lots of tea lights from friends or having someone make your wedding cake, if you are comfortable with it, use those offers of help.
… and which elements of your wedding are you glad you spent more on?
We decided early on that the priorities for us were going to be good music, good food and plenty of drinks so those were the things which we didn’t mind spending a bit more on. I don’t think it matters what those things are but choosing a handful of ‘priorities’ and making sure they are exactly as you want is important.
Where did you buy or source your wedding stationery – or was making it a labour of love?
All our wedding stationery was printed at Putney Printers. We designed the invitations, table plan etc. with Phil at Putney Printers who was great at explaining to us what would and wouldn’t work and helping us to create something which we loved in the end. The main element of our stationery was that it incorporated a rose and thistle design which Oli’s niece created for us. This was another nod to the English and Scottish elements of the day and something very personal and special to us. We incorporated the design across all the stationery from the orders of service to table place names which really tied everything together.
Did you fall in love with your wedding dress?
I must have tried on about 50 dresses before finally choosing one. I even tried on the dress which I did eventually choose four times before finally settling on it! Once I chose it though, I never looked back. I loved everything about it, especially the lace jacket which I took off later in the evening for a completely different look.
Wedding dress designer and bridal boutique:
Sassi Holford, London
Tell us about your accessories: jewellery, shoes and anything else!
I wore my mum’s engagement ring as my something old, borrowed and blue which was very special. I also had some new diamond earrings which we bought when we bought our wedding rings which I had been dying to wear but managed to wait until the wedding day. When I took off my lace jacket in the evening, I put on a sparkly belt with my dress and a necklace which gave me a different look. My veil was also by Sassi Holford and was one of my favourite parts of my outfit. I loved the lace and particularly how it looked from the back against the plain back of my dress.
I’m not hugely into shoes and I just wanted my shoes to be comfortable so chose some from Rainbow Club which were, thankfully, very comfortable!
And what did the groom wear?
He wore a traditional morning suit with a silvery/grey tie which matched the colour of the bridesmaid dresses. In the evening, Oli surprised me by changing into a pair of tartan trousers which was so special – getting an Englishman into tartan trousers is no mean feat!
Beautiful bridesmaids: what did your best girls wear?
I ordered the bridesmaids’ dresses from David’s Bridal. I had seen lots of styles of bridesmaid dresses I liked online but couldn’t quite find the colour I wanted. When I went to David’s Bridal and saw the huge variety of styles they have and the fact that every dress comes in about 50 different colours, I knew I would find something there. After a few tries, I found sparkly belts on Etsy and managed to match the colour of the dresses perfectly.
Hair and make-up – did you DIY or hire a professional?
Kit at Slap Artists did our hair and make-up, along with her assistant. Kit was recommended to me by a friend who got married in central London. She was great fun to have around in the morning of the wedding and most importantly, we all loved our hair and make-up.
General styling – did your venue need much decoration?
Other than lots of flowers on the stairs, mantelpieces, etc. and lots of candles, we didn’t need to do a great deal to decorate our venue. The Caledonian Club is quite grand and has a lot of traditional features so it didn’t really need to be ‘dressed up’.
Crafts and makes – tell us about any homemade elements of your wedding… did you enjoy them?
We really aren’t particularly creative and both work as busy lawyers so there weren’t a great deal of DIY elements to our wedding. We did bring in personal touches with things like the rose and thistle drawing by Oli’s niece across all the stationery and our homemade wedding cake (see below).
The wedding cake: what kind of cake did you choose and why?
Not long after we were engaged, Oli’s sister offered to make our wedding cake and we took her up on the offer immediately! She is by no means a professional but the finished article certainly looked it. She spent hours painstakingly creating more than 400 small iced flowers and the larger roses for the cake and then had to transport the whole thing from Cheltenham to London and assemble it on the morning of the wedding. It was beautiful, exactly how we wanted it and it tasted amazing too.
Entertainment: any musical recommendations, surprises or treats?
One of the first (and best) decisions we made was to book Piano Factor. They provided entertainment with a sax player during the drinks reception and then the whole band in the evening and created such a great atmosphere that the dance floor was never empty. They played a huge mixture of old and new music which catered to everyone’s tastes and even took requests, which everyone loved.
For the ceremony, I walked down the aisle to Highland Cathedral played on the bagpipes. Oli usually hates the sound of bagpipes but even he loves this song played on the pipes! We heard the choir at St Columba’s at the Easter Sunday service the year before our wedding and after that, we knew that we had to have them sing on our wedding day. We chose the choir pieces and absolutely loved them, I think hearing the choir singing during the ceremony was one of the most emotional parts of
Words of wisdom: share your best piece of advice for other couples:
Be decisive! There are so many decisions involved in planning a wedding – ranging from the big important ones to the much smaller details. Ultimately, you have to pick what you think is best and stick with your decisions as a couple, procrastinating and involving too many other people makes the process overwhelming. Usually, I found that my first instinct was the best choice so, most of the time, I should have just gone with that more quickly. Also focus on the key things which are important to you. The smaller details are lovely but in the end, it is the big things like the venue, the music or the food which really make the day stand out in your and your guest’s memories.
What’s the best thing about being married?
Not having a wedding to plan! But getting to re-live all the amazing memories which we made on the day on a regular basis.
Favourite supplier web links for other brides and grooms:
Photographer – https://www.benpipe-weddingphotographer.com
Band – https://www.pianofactor.co.uk/
Red London buses – http://www.redroutebuses.co.uk/
Venue – http://www.caledonianclub.com/
Printer – http://www.putneyprinting.com/
Dress – https://sassiholford.com/boutiques/