Rika & Alex’s unique, beautiful Kew Gardens wedding, with Damien Vickers Photography

Published by Claire Gould on

It was almost impossible to choose a feature photo for today’s blog – there are SO many gorgeous moments in Rika & Alex’s day! Not to mention all the colourful and eclectic elements and styles – and the stunning couple themselves. I have absolutely adored poring over the richness of this wedding, and I hope you love it as much as I do! The photographer is amazing: Cambridge wedding photographer Damien Vickers. The venue is breathtaking and different and a paradise all of its own: can you imagine getting wed at Kew Gardens?  Congratulations to lovely Rika & Alex – your wedding is out of this world!

Wedding photographer’s website

Damien Vickers https://www.damienvickersphotography.co.uk

Wedding photographer review

Damien was amazing from beginning to end as our wedding photographer. He dealt with the complexities of our fusion wedding, going between floors and rooms prior to the ceremony to capture all the details and lovely candid photos. He then followed us around Kew Gardens and shot beautiful couple photos for us that we will cherish for years to come.

Right down to ceremony and dancefloor photos, we couldn’t fault him, including shooting many family and friend group photos in record time but ensuring they were amazing quality.

Additionally, he catered to my many demands for photo retouching and editing due to a hair malfunction I had on the day, for which I am eternally grateful. I would recommend him to any couple wishing for a dedicated, discreet and talented photographer for their big day.

Your best wedding moment or memory

Saying my vows to my husband and hearing his, I felt we were the only ones in the room and the reason behind all the efforts to make this day happen was encapsulated in this moment.

Tell us anything you did differently – we love hearing about NEW traditions (or none at all!)

We did both Bengali traditions (such as covering the bride and groom’s head with a red scarf and having the groom look in a mirror to see his bride’s face and announcing what he sees to the guests, as well as placing flower garlands on each other) and Japanese traditions (such as the sake ceremony which is a complicated back and forth of pouring and drinking sips of sake between the bride and groom). And we had many British traditions, such as writing our own vows, having a first dance, a cake cutting, and speeches from our best man and bridesmaids.

Videographer name + review

Robert Price (Redbeard Film Co). Rob was an amazing videographer, making the long journey from his base to London, and having a lovely rapport with our photographer and with all the wedding party. He really captured what we wanted, setting it to beautiful music, and eternalising those moments. He blended in the background as much as possible, and got the footage we had asked for through the day and night with no fuss and no extra time required. I would highly recommend this warm, professional videographer for your wedding.

Venue name + review

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Kew Gardens are an iconic venue that requires no introduction. It was such a privilege and truly a once in a lifetime moment to get married to my best friend here in front of all our loved ones. The Gardens are stunning, all the different parts of it, and the organisation of the team there from stewards at the gates to our Event Coordinator was flawless. They are true professionals and almost magicians when making it all come together on the night. We had our ceremony in the Nash Conservatory, our drink reception in the Princess of Wales Conservatory and our dinner and dance in the Orangery.

Tell us a little about your outfits – both of you!

Alex and I chose to wear traditional outfits to represent our Asian heritage for the first part of the event, the ceremony and Reception. We then changed for the dinner and dance in the evening into a white dress and three piece suit.

My first outfit was a traditional red Banarasi saree with gold embroidery, worn in the traditional Bengali draping style.

Alex’s first outfit was a traditional Japanese male wedding outfit called the Hakama, with his family crest custom embroidered on the chest and sleeves.

My saree was from Priya Exclusives on Green Street in Upton Park, and his Hakama was ordered from Japan and custom made.

We were very proud to uphold our heritage, and then change into our British outfits which is also part of our culture and lives. My dress was from JJ House and his suit from Ted Baker.

Florist name + review

Claudia from Montpelier Flowers took on a big project for her small company and did an amazing job. She brought to life the vision I had, of a minimalist and green circular arch for our ceremony, and small minimalist vases to line the aisle.

I then wanted to minimise wastage of flowers, and asked for all these to be reused in the Orangery for the dinner, which she did beautifully and seamlessly for the head table and the centrepieces of all our guest tables. She dealt very well with the extra insurance required and complexities of transporting flowers in the Gardens, which has very strict rules for this as a Unesco World Heritage site.

Cake maker name + review

Lola’s Cupcakes. As always, Lola’s doesn’t disappoint and they made a wonderful two tier veil cake with lemon sponge and buttercream, plus a Victoria Sponge (my husband’s favourite) and Tiramisu cake (my favourite).

Care is very important to me, and I’ve used Lola’s countless times in the past for all occasions, so it made sense to go to them again for this most important occasion. They also worked very hard to deliver all these cakes safely to Kew to the appropriate area within the Gardens.

Stationery maker’s name + review

Laguna Catering kindly provided all the menus. We handwrote place settings on plantable seeded paper, from The Mankey Monkey on Etsy. We ordered our beautiful Welcome sign from Ottie Design on Etsy, and they custom painted some of the timeline drawings, such as of a couple in traditional Japanese dress for the Sake Ceremony. Our personalised table names representing restaurants we have eaten at/had a date in/loved in the past as a couple were custom made by Wedding Lux Shop on Etsy. Our Thank You cards following the wedding were customised and ordered from Papier.

Any crafty projects or homemade styling touches?

I made our cake topper in the shape of a penguin couple from coloured air dry clay, as penguins mate for life in the wild and they’re such cute animals in any case!

I also ordered origami cranes from Original by Reiko and Lavender Home London (both on Etsy) as name card holders. We created our own wedding favours, using recycled saree pouches from Etsy Handicrafts (based in India), traditional sweets and mouth fresheners (both Bengali, Japanese and British ones) and handmade candles of different scents with wooden wicks from KIKO Candles on Etsy. Our seating chart was also hand written with magic marker pens on a large mirror by my husband and his sister and mother.

Wedding readings?

No readings – but I wrote a poem as my vows and my husband wrote his own vows also.

First dance song? Playlist recommendations?

Stand By Me – Ben E King.

We had several different playlists, for the ceremony and bridal entrance, as background music for the Reception, and then again for the Japanese Sake Ceremony and some suggestions for the dance floor to our DJ.

Wedding planner name + review

I planned our wedding with my husband and mum’s help mostly, so it was truly ours and all details were of our choosing!

Hair + makeup name + review

Makeup by Sukhi. Sukhi was lovely to work with and did an amazing job of my make-up, making me look both traditional and glam but not overdone for the big day. She brought out my best features, and the make-up lasted all day through various climates within the Gardens. The hair looked fantastic at first but unfortunately did not withstand the humidity of the Conservatories, and stronger hairspray would have been welcome! Overall though I would still recommend Sukhi and lovely demeanor, and her efforts to meet a bride’s demands.

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 www.byMoonandTide.com. 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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