Rebecca & Tom’s gloriously glamorous Andaz Hotel wedding, with Amanda Karen Photography
One year… for so many reasons, it’s hard to believe it’s been a full twelve months since our lovely couple Rebecca & Tom celebrated their wedding – literally, the last wedding before lockdown. They married on the 29th of February, 2020 – an elegant and glitzy wedding in London. Rebecca is stunning in a Nicole Milano dress, and Tom’s Charles Tyrwhitt suit is perfect for their black tie occasion. Their cake is a beauty; the stationery exquisite and florals divine (Rebecca’s bouquet featured in our ‘20 best bouquets‘ piece a couple of weeks ago!) – All images are by our friend and talented London wedding photographer Amanda Karen.
Wedding photographer’s website
How did you choose your photographer?
I managed to narrow down all the kinds of effects, backgrounds and scenes I preferred and then I just started googling & instagramming! I got in touch with a few different ones but had a great chemistry with Amanda and Hutch and loved their work. Instagram is such an amazing tool for wedding planning, I spent hours looking through previous wedding shots and liked the airy and light feel that Amanda & Hutch delivered. Then we met and they made us feel so comfortable about everything and were so calm.
Were you pleased with your wedding photographer? Do tell… we love a brilliant review!
I was SO happy with our wedding photographer. They were so calm about everything and when you don’t know much about the industry or what you’re doing they filled us with confidence about what, where, who & how’s on everything, who we’d need to speak to a when and what needed to be co-ordinated with what! I felt like I was asking so many random questions but Amanda replied almost straight away with all the answers and that showed how knowledgeable they are about their passion. Right up to almost a year after our wedding she has helped me to order framed photos and given us advice and guided me through the whole process.
On the actual day, it was so seamless, they arrived and did what they had to do behind the scenes. I just felt their presence and that they were there, doing their job and what they know so really felt effortless.
Videographer details if applicable – and any thoughts for other couples about having a wedding video?
We used Confetti & Silk Films for our videography. I wasn’t sure at first if I was bothered about having a wedding video but I can’t tell you how glad I was that I did. I looked around for some cheaper options as was still unsure but Stuart gave me a range of options. I ended up spending more than I thought I would but it really topped everything off and I was so glad I did. It is an amazing piece of history to be able to keep for our family and I was so pleased with the outcome. Again Stuart fitted in in the background and was just so calm with the whole process. he worked amazingly with Amanda & Hutch and turns out a lot of people in the wedding industry know of each other along the way anyway! This again makes you feel so at ease that they’re doing a great job and know their stuff. I would definitely recommend having a video as you don’t realise how much you’ll miss not talking about wedding stuff after and will always have that to have a quick watch whenever you want to!
Tell us about your venue – what made this place special for you?
We knew we weren’t the golf club, country wedding type of people and wasn’t sure where to start. We’d originally planned a Vegas wedding but moved away from that idea and then we realised that we’d love a traditional London wedding. We had visited a couple of London venues and weren’t really sure what we would find within our budget but when you really look for something, it’s out there! I’d found a restaurant that had a dome ceiling over the bar and just thought that it was an amazing feature and focal point. I’d started looking around for places that had one of these and then came across the Andaz Hotel. I couldn’t believe my luck when I went to view it. The 1901 ballroom was AMAZING and the whole hotel had a great vibe. It went in keeping with our classic 1920’s and formal style that we wanted for the wedding perfectly and as it was part of the Hyatt group it meant that it still came within our budget. It’s location was perfect being right next door to Liverpool Street train station and was easily accessible for everyone. Every room in the Andaz was filled with a piece of history and a unique feel on top. It had a restaurant, a bar and a traditional English pub attached and was everything we’d wanted. We secured it straight away and set a date for 6 months time from finding it!
Did you love wearing your outfits? How was the dress / suit shopping experience?
I wasn’t sure what kind of dress I’d go for but once you try a few on I think you have an idea. I had found one with so much detail and design in it it was stunning. It was a Nicole Milano dress from a beautiful boutique wedding dress shop called ‘The White Wedding House’ in Brentwood. I just felt amazing every time I tried it on! It was the beginning of wanting a classic 1920’s formal feel for our wedding, based on my dress! We decided after that that we wanted it to be a formal black tie wedding as it just seems a bit more ‘special’ and that everyone would have to make that ‘extra’ effort to dress up for it.
To find Tom’s suit was actually harder than my dress. I’d started looking on Google (as you do!) and we liked the thought of his suit being a navy tuxedo with the black stripes on the trousers and then he would stand out from everyone else being in black tie. I sourced a few for him (trying to be within budget again!) and then sent him out on a shopping trip to go and try them all on. He felt most comfortable in the one from Charles Tyrwhitt.
Did you hire a florist? Tell us about any floral amazingness
I’d looked for florists local to the venue as that would save on high delivery charges. London florists can be quite pricey so I’d looked at smaller businesses and found Shilpa Reddy Florists on my research. We had a chat and I liked her work (again through Instagram) and we booked her in. She understood that I didn’t want to spend so much money on flowers and that the pieces I did want were classic pieces like the piece for the fireplace which then transformed into the buffet and cake table pieces. Also the tables each had a crystal candelabra (1920’s feel again) so I only wanted a ring piece around the centre table. We had a centre table under the glass dome and then all the other tables went around us instead of the usual top table. My colour theme was navy , gold and greenery. I’d found that the flowers id liked were in season (pandas) and they looked perfect in my bouquet with a few other key white roses and beautifulness! I kept it simple with gyp for the bridesmaid bouquets and hair details.
Did you hire a wedding planner?
I was my own wedding planner! I did everything myself and sourced everything myself! It was really hard work and like having another job but I absolutely loved every minute of it and gained so much knowledge at the same time! I am a really organised person and love an excel spreadsheet so I’d planned everything from the budgeting at the start right to the end. Feel free to get in touch for my services haha!
As cake lovers here at English Wedding we’d LOVE to know who made your cake, and how delicious it was?
Again I’d found someone local to London so that they would be able to deliver easily. I wasn’t particularly fussed about the style of the cake. I wanted simple on the outside and with some matching flowers. The inside I’d gone for one layer cookies and cream, one layer white chocolate & raspberry & 2 layers chocolate. Nicky at Nicky’s Buttercup Bakery didn’t disappoint. It was huge, probably too big as we had to take about 2 tiers home. On the day she liaised with the hotel co-ordinator and florist herself and it looked and tasted amazing!
Tell us about any special personal touches, or creative projects you made yourselves
I decided to make all of my kids favours and personalised bits myself. I’d bought little gifts like slippers for the mothers of the bride/groom, little jewellery pouches for the bridesmaids on the day. Things like the box labels for the ushers, bridesmaids etc were all from ikea and I’d bought personalised glasses in them and made them all up with tissue paper and bought gold foil names online and stuck them all on myself etc. It was a lot of work but again it saved us money on someone else doing it when I could myself. Id bought a lot of the labels and foil names and initials on Ebay and made everything that I could up myself. I loved our favours which were mini Yankee Candles in fragrance ‘Wedding Day’ for women and personalised bottle openers for the men. Again, something I’d never seen before and wanted to be unique.
Did you personalise your vows or have any wedding readings? What were they?
We went with the standard vows that the London Borough of Islington authorised but I had chosen the reading ‘Love is a temporary madness’ which was beautifully read by my oldest best friend. Her reading it was actually used as the backing sound to some of our wedding video too which was lovely.
What was your first dance song? Why did you choose it?
‘You’re All I Need To Get By’ by Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell. We only chose this a month before while we were at our tasting menu for the wedding breakfast at the hotel. We had lots of amazing food to try and we sat there thinking about it and found the song and loved he lyrics and felt they were perfect. Plus it was a bit more upbeat which was more our style. Our Showband performed it perfectly.
Favourite wedding suppliers
The last but not least credit goes to our amazing Show band ‘XS Showband’…….they were worth every single penny! I was in love with them from following them on Instagram for months and looking through all of the archive I could find online and on You Tube as possible. It was like I was at a concert and didn’t want them to end. I hope I get to see them again one day.