Today’s real wedding is utterly chic, incredibly intimate, and perfectly personal.

I love a wedding that turns the typical church/drinks reception/dinner/speeches/dancing itinerary on its head, and Sarah and Michael’s London nuptials do just that.

Taking place in Michael’s parents’ gorgeous back yard, this relaxed affair is filled with good food, great friends and lots of cocktails.

Our kind of party!

A bride, stunning, in a medieval princess gown, the groom, dashing, sans tie, a self-conducted ceremony, a choir filled with pals, and an unconventional garden party reception.

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Captured, entirely on film, by the fabulously talented, Katharine of Peachey Photography, this beautiful wedding shows you don’t need to follow a format to have a fairytale wedding day filled with love, laughter (and lots of food!).

Katharine says that she massively enjoyed capturing this special wedding,

Sarah is a wonderful painter and sculptor and Michael, a lighting designer – so I knew this wedding would be full of colour and quirks and energy.

And I wasn’t wrong.

The ceremony and celebrations were held at Michael’s parents new modernist home and, although the house was still very much a work in progress, it provided a wonderful canvas for a very personal wedding.

Guests were treated to sushi, cocktails, high tea and tours of the house before settling down to a wonderful BBQ.

The sun set over the newly landscaped gardens and guests were singing, dancing and frolicking amongst the dahlias until the early hours.

There was a whole lot of beautiful going on that day – not to mention Sarah herself.”

Sweet, chic, romantic and quirky, feast your eyes on this special back garden wedding…

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The Dress

Sarah’s wedding dress was “fairyqueen” in style – long, created from cream-coloured, Parisian vintage lace and with medieval-style sleeves reaching almost to the floor.

Michael refused to wear a tie, and the dress code for the wedding was “Smart Casual – Michael won’t be wearing a tie”.

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The Ceremony

We got officially married there days earlier at Camden registry office with just close family and friends. We then had our own wedding on Sunday 11th of August. We wanted a ceremony that was entirely personal to us. We ran it ourselves, with the help of our bridesmaids and two best men.

The Order of Ceremony included some readings, a poem which was written for us by a good friend and we exchange of our own vows.

We had a choir made up of friends and family, who were accompanied by a cellist and one of the pieces was specially arranged for us.

Sarah walked up the aisle to Fairytale by Einaudi and we left to Computer Week-End by Jean Michel Jarre (which Sarah had decided many years ago she wanted to do!)

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The Canapés & Cocktails

We wanted to keep the day as informal as possible and wanted to keep the food and drink flowing at all times! We had a marquee for later but all the afternoon was spent out in the garden and luckily it was a beautiful day.

We started with Prosecco and canapes, with a string quartet playing, and then a brief welcome from Michael’s Dad.

At about 5 o’clock we went on to coffee and petit fours followed by speeches from Sarah’s sister and Dad.

Then came cocktails, including the Michael & Sarah special – Lemon Vodka, Elderflower, Lime & Chilli.

We then had the last of the speeches – Michael, Sarah and a hilarious double-act from the two best men with lots of props

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The Evening Party

The barbecue started at about 7 –tuna and sea bass, and stuffed mushrooms for the vegetarians.

There was no seating plan – and it was all buffet.

Desert was wedding cupcakes and fresh fruit, and there was also a selection of Italian cheese, including Michael’s favourite cheese – layered Gorgonzola and Mascarpone.

The band then started, Juicebox, playing a mixture of old and new songs. The first dance was to Lana Del Rey’s “Young and Beautiful”.

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Favourite Moments

What made our day feel so special is that we did it exactly the way we wanted to (the caterers told us we were making various mistakes, but we went ahead anyway, and it all worked!)

We chose Katherine for photography because we wanted someone really creative and who would be able to capture our day in a really unique way – and she did!

A lot of people commented that they felt lots of love and emotion flowing through the whole day and that made it really special for them.

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Isn’t it just gorgeous?

I really love back yard weddings, but I never thought they were possible to pull-off in London. What a stunning home, and what a unique wedding day.

How fabulous is Sarah’s dress? The sleeves are just magnificent! I love their funny dress code too. And how they conducted their own ceremony, such a sweet idea for a really personal stamp on your day.

Thanks so much to Michael and Sarah for sharing their beautiful wedding day with us.

For more beautiful real weddings, hit our archives, for Modern Weddings & Chic Nuptials

Photographer: Peachey Photography / Bride’s Dress: Christine Kendall / Groom's Shirt: Neal & Palmer / Groom's Waistcoat: Moss Bros. / Cake Baker: Ollie's / Music: Jo Quail / Catering: Melanie's Catering