After my now-husband Felix and I got engaged, we had visions of a gorgeous destination wedding in the sunny Balearics. However while juggling a newborn baby and house renovation, ambitions to jet off every other weekend for research trips to Ibiza and Majorca fell by the wedmin wayside.
Knowing that we’d have to legally tie the knot at Chelsea Old Town Hall whatever White Isle we ended up marrying on, we decided to give notice for our civil ceremony in 2022, giving us plenty of time to plan our perfect beach celebration in the future.
When a date cropped up that was in exactly one month’s time we decided to go for it, despite having done absolutely no planning whatsoever.
Happily, everything came together right before the not-so-big day, and we signed on the dotted line with two witnesses at Chelsea registry office, exchanged personal vows at Gold in Notting Hill – the restaurant Felix designed and the place we had our first date – followed by a night of romantic mini-mooning at the Four Seasons on Park Lane.
Here’s how we pulled it all together from scratch under a month….
Keep the guest list micro (and dispense with the entourage)
We had 15 people, including us and our baby boy, with no best man or bridesmaids.
Find a dress that doesn’t need alterations
Having not tried on a single gown with a week to go, I by chance walked past a sample sale on the King’s Road, and scooped up a silk bridal dress by Harmur that fit me perfectly. Otherwise, I would have rented from one of my favourite brands like Reformation, on a site like MyWardrobeHQ.
Wear pre-loved accessories, either your own or borrowed
I wore an old pair of Louboutins that I already knew were comfy, and as a surprise for Felix, I borrowed an F initial diamond charm to add to a pair of hoop earrings I already owned.
Go with a glam squad you know…
To skip the need for hair and make-up trials, I had my trusted colourist Daniel Galvin Jr touch up my highlights two weeks before, and on the day itself I left my hair in the capable hands of stylist Errol Douglas. Although, admittedly, I did throw Errol a curveball by announcing on the spur of the moment that I wanted a high pony, having been a lifelong ‘hair down with some body at the roots’ girl.
…And keep it natural
Thanks to daily use of 111Skin’s Y Theorem ampoules in the run-up, and a sculpting massage from facialist Charbec Baker on the morning of the wedding, my skin had a natural, dewy glow and my husband loved that the only make-up I wore was lip gloss and brow gel.
Don’t sweat the small details
My bridal bouquet was a single hydrangea stem, hastily snatched from a vase as I left the hotel.
We had forgotten confetti completely, so Felix dashed to Wild at Heart to buy a dozen long stemmed white roses, and gave one to each of our guests. I think the simplicity ended up being quite striking, and it was lovely arriving to the unexpected but beautiful sight of everyone holding a stunning rose.
Let friends pitch in
I was happy getting the friendly Four Seasons doorman to hail me a black cab, but a friend surprised me on the day with a white Rolls Royce.
Take candid pictures only
Forget the formality of posed portrait shots, and nominate one friend or staff member at the venue to take photographs. We were super lucky that my friend Sasha Gusov, an incredible professional photographer, snapped perfect candid shots for us.
Keep it informal
We had champagne, cake and canapés rather than a sit-down meal, so that guests could mingle and soak up the rooftop sunshine, rather than decamping to the private dining room indoors.
Have a wellness-inspired hen party
Combine beauty prep with a mini hen, rather than a boozy, blowout bash. I did a last-minute getaway at the gorgeous Bürgenstock resort in Switzerland, where you can combine fine dining with facials. Plus it saves something exciting – for us, it will be a fun joint Sten do – to look forward to ahead of the ‘big’ wedding.
Make it into a mini-moon
We broke with tradition and had dinner à deux at Casa Cruz the night before, and I got ready in a gorgeous suite at the Four Seasons on Park Lane, which also served as the ideal spot to entertain a handful of our guests for dinner and more champagne. Plus we didn’t have to travel far for mini-moon bliss the next day. After breakfast in bed, it was a short hop up five floors in the lift to panoramic views of Hyde Park from the hotel’s zen spa. The perfect place to relish in the buzz from the day before.
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