We met at a party and barely said a word to each other. Being a party quite some time ago, all the attendees added each other on Facebook. Five years past without a word and then suddenly a DM or five were exchanged. Some drinks and dim sum date later and we were hooked.
That first date was on the South Bank. Five years later Stace proposed in the same spot – followed by vodka slushies by the river and then cocktails at 45 Jermyn St…the ultimate high low. He had teased me with ring hints for months. It’s a cushion cut cluster covered in diamonds which I instantly envisaged with a yellow gold wedding ring.
Our entire story is in Hackney so there was no question – we would get married in the Art Deco surroundings of Hackney Town Hall. Stace got ready at Mama Shelter whilst I got ready at Claridge’s – my bridesmaids and I hailed black cabs to the ceremony.
For the reception, we took over our favourite restaurant Bistrotheque. The warehouse aesthetic, its excellent food, the staff that welcome us back with such warmth every time we go for brunch – it was a no brainer. Stace and I returned to Claridge’s for our wedding night (armed with takeout boxes of leftover party food).
Emma Beaumont made me a classic wrap dress in white that made me feel special but relaxed. I chose her after a couple of appointments which had made me feel pretty average. She was so lovely and warm.
Stace had his suit made by some lovely men in Leadenhall Market who bought him beers throughout the fittings.
Buying my wedding ring from Jessica McCormack was a highlight. I’d tried on traditional bands but none of them felt right. Jessica McCormack’s gold bamboo ring felt perfect against my engagement ring. They were one of the major highlights of our wedding planning – I hadn’t felt that ‘bride-y’ up to then. The JM team made me feel a million dollars.
They generously lent me some showstoppers for the day – a pearl studded pinky ring which I found very hard to give back, and a single (and whopping) diamond earring for a little rock and roll styling. I also wore a chunky signet with my new initials which Stace bought me from Daphine. Stace takes a suit seriously, so for him he poured over the details – a silk knitted tie, a pocket square, a tie pin, and a cracking watch and sock.
Stace had two best men. I had two best women. His gang, including his best girl friend Mel, wore navy suits, skinny ties and trainers.
My gang of girls wore exactly what they wanted – we had a spectrum of leopard print, scarlet, burgundy, florals and even a polka dot pyjama co-ord. It was so important to me that my best friends felt confident and like themselves and I rather loved the idea of a print clash to keep things modern. We did our own hair, Bobbi Brown was on hand with the best team to do our makeup, and the day before the hackney wedding I made the girls bouquets at McQueens Flowers in Mayfair. I kept them overnight at Claridge’s, in the bath.
We were getting married 7 minutes from the reception. We asked our guests to embrace the city, and hail cabs or order Ubers. I hear one of the bridesmaids got the number 55 bus.
Bistrotheque is a cool, white canvas. White tablecloths were embellished with ceramic bowls and vintage glass cake stands overflowing with autumnal fruit. We sat under a hanging centrepiece of dried hydrangeas and navy ribbon, courtesy of floral geniuses Worm London. Rebecca Udall dinner candles flickered. Menus were by the very best in the business – Papier. As a nod to Stace’s family’s love of the sea, bowls of salt and pepper had mussel shell scoops, and each place card I did in gold calligraphy – a lot of lockdown practice. Our favourite Diptyque Amber candles were dotted throughout – I took Stace to Space NK a few weeks before the wedding to get on board, another lovely moment which we remember as a standout treat.
Invitations were designed as A3 gig posters (Stace is a DJ) and screen printed individually by Stace. I managed envelopes with gold calligraphy, gold wax seals and botanical flower stamps painstakingly sourced. The same botanical flower and plant prints which I collected for 2 years made up a ‘flower wall’ on the staircase of Bistrotheque to welcome guests.
Food & Drink
Beers and Bellinis were served on arrival. Cured trout, confit duck and a very chocolate-y pudding made up our supper. When we went downstairs to dance in the pink velvet and disco-balled den, we served spicy margs, soft shell crab burgers with curry sauce, crispy pig belly with soy mayo, and Stace’s sister lovingly made our wedding cake – tiers of Victoria sponge, lemon drizzle and red velvet.
Throughout cocktail hour we had a string quartet playing Skepta, Eminem, Dr Dre…and Britney. Strictly no ballads.
When the groom is a DJ, the party has high expectations. I changed into ASOS sequins, Stace wore Nike’s and a white tee – his signature look when he plays. Our first dance was Black Box’s Ride on Time followed by an epic set by Stace. Our favours were silver platters of piles and piles of Malboro Lights…a detail we were obsessed with which went down a storm.
Beauty Regime & Wellness
We both like a good haircut – mine was prepped at George Northwood, Stace’s at Josh Wood. I had a couple of facials (partly for skincare, partly for calming down the nerves) at the heavenly spa at The Berkeley. My tip to any brides who are fake/spray tan novices is two nights on the trot of good, old-fashioned Garnier gradual tan. It REALLY made a DIY visible difference. Augustinus Bader skincare the night before and on the morning felt like I was in expert hands, and Byredo’s Gypsy Water was my scent. Nail queen Harriet Westmoreland kindly looked after my dark mani and pedi.
Favourite Wedding Gifts
In the midst of COVID, we had to move our wedding twice and third-time lucky, the day went to plan but our original honeymoon was not meant to be. Morocco closed within a week of the wedding. We booked Cyprus in 24 hours for a bit of winter sun knowing that our guests had so generously contributed. We always said, we’d rather our friends bought us a round of honeymoon cocktails than a picture frame.
- Make the day 100%, unequivocally about the both of you. We didn’t want tradition. We wanted friends, a great supper, relaxed romance in the corner of London we love. We pointed out to our guests that hats might look odd in Hackney.
- The one I tell any bride or groom who will listen. Get someone to pack safety pins. My dress came apart as I arrived at the ceremony. One bridesmaid happened to have a tiny sewing kit safety pin which held me together…just.
- If you are a bride who wants to do a speech, do a speech. Upon doing some research, I actually saw the sentence online ‘no one wants to hear from the bride for more than 2 minutes.’ I felt enraged and inspired all at the same time. My speech was 12 minutes long, and I’m very proud to say I got a standing ovation.
Wedding Planner: @charlottealexanderstace
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