London weddings are always among our favourites, and the one we've got to share with you today, is pretty blooming cool!
Hannah & Sheila's sweet and chic bash was captured by Pen and Cam of McKinley Rodgers Film & Photography.
With an intimate ceremony in Islington Town Hall and a quirky reception at The Prince Albert in Camden, we just love how their day, not only took in some of the loveliest spots in North London, but was also laden down with fun, personalised details.
From their perfectly contrasting tea-length wedding dresses by House of Mooshki, to their pretty posy bouquets and retro bow shoes, Hannah & Sheila's bridal looks were chic and vintage.
But we think it might be their DIY reception we love the most, with those individual Lego favours (I know lots of you guys will be borrowing that one!) the old school teacakes and the DIY paper goods are all so thoughtful.
From Hannah's meticulous planning to Sheila's crafting talents (not to mention their awesome first dance!) this pair, and their ‘happiful' big day, is just full of unique inspiration and clever ideas.
Wedding Day Snapshot
Our Wedding In Three Words
Tender, smiley and happiful!
Hannah: We didn’t really have a theme as such. We both knew we didn’t want a big hall/stately home affair and enjoy hanging out with our friends in a nice pub so finding a pub felt like the obvious choice.
I started browsing online and it wasn’t long before we found The Prince Albert. We went for dinner and instantly fell in love with the space and food.
There’s a lovely dining room upstairs which seats 80 people and space for a dance floor downstairs with the added benefit that it doesn’t need much decorating as the pub is lovely as it is.
Sheila: Whilst some of the components of the day were fairly traditional it was quite nice to feel that there wasn’t a strict order that we had to follow and that we could pretty much do what we liked.
Hannah: The Council Chamber at Islington Town Hall is such a stunning room that we immediately booked it as it’s only a 20 minute drive from the pub.
Of course, being in London, we had to hire an old Routemaster bus to transport our guests. Seeing everyone on the bus was great fun!
It was important that the wedding felt like ‘us’ so Sheila designed and made the invites, order of service (which had the confetti attached), name cards, table plan and drew our save the date.
She drew the same flowers on each piece so there would be some continuity.
Sheila’s brother read ‘The Apache Wedding Prayer’ after we were married.
Our registrar was really friendly and we were lucky that we’d been able to meet her a couple of weeks previously so felt very comfortable with her.
We wrote some vows ourselves but otherwise kept it fairly modern with the standard ‘legal’ words you have to say. It felt great to be legally recognised as wife and wife at the end.
Hannah: Sheila proposed while we were on holiday in New York (top of the Empire State building!) and the day after we got back I started looking at wedding dresses! I knew I wanted something tea length and with a vintage feel. On that first day I found House of Mooshki and fell in love with all the dresses!
It then transpired that they made my friend’s dress so, armed with the recommendation, we went to see Olivia at the design studio. We asked her to design both our dresses so that they’d complement each other without being too ‘matchy’.
We started off leaving the room to have secret chats but the closer it got to the day we decided to see both our dresses.
The first fitting was quite emotional with both of us, my mum and our maid of honour all crying – I think it helped get some of the tears out before the big day!
My ‘Sarah’ dress was adapted slightly to have longer sleeves and a scooped neckline. I knew I wanted to wear red shoes so we matched the waist sash to my shoes.
I had a red cashmere cardigan already which I wore for our outside photos as it was a bit nippy in February. I first saw my shoes on Pinterest and found that they were out of stock at Irregular Choice so set up an eBay alert and after a couple of months found a lady selling a pair which were unworn for £30! You can’t beat red polka dot shoes with knitted bows!
Sheila’s ‘Elle’ dress was a lovely light blue with an ivory overlay. She had the neckline lowered slightly and wore an ivory jacket she already owned from Coast. Sheila’s shoes were from Red or Dead and they also had a bow!
Our maid of honour, Sophie, wore a sapphire blue strapless tea length dress from John Lewis. We were happy for her to choose a dress which she’d get to wear again.
Hannah: Lots of favourite moments!
Sneaking in the back entrance of the Town Hall to avoid our guests! Standing outside the Council Chamber waiting to go in & hearing our music playing, the moment we were pronounced wife and wife, walking out into a sea of confetti & cheering!
Although I think one favourite moments was actually a couple of weeks after the wedding, a friend said the day ‘felt like we’d bottled up all the happiness in the world’…
Sheila: I think the fact that our wedding wasn’t heavily themed, that it was fairly informal and that we thought about our guests quite a lot when planning the day, made it ‘our’ wedding.
As much as it was about us getting married, it was a day of celebration that we wanted to share with our nearest and dearest.
Some of the best bits were probably unplanned – the audible gasp as Hannah entered the Council Chamber, our dance/walk out because we were so excited, laughter and jokes from the speeches and best of all, the happiness and love that was going around.
Hannah: We met Pip at Chosen Wedding Fair which is run by our friend Kiki. Pip’s displays were gorgeous and we were very happy to be guided by her as to what was in season in February. Luckily ranunculus are perfect then so they featured heavily.
My bouquet had elements of white and pink and Sheila’s was more white with a bit of greenery and (sorry, can’t remember the name but) tiny daffodil-like flowers.
The buttonholes had tiny ranunculus with a bit of greenery. Each table at the pub had three jam jars of baby’s-breath and additional white flowers.
The Decor & Details
Sheila: The pub really didn’t need much decorating. We borrowed some bunting a friend had made for her wedding and wrapped some fairy lights around the banisters.
We set up the guest book with an instant camera for everyone to take a photo and write us a message and had Hannah’s great aunt’s vintage suitcase for cards.
We named our tables after cities/places which have played a part in our relationship. Each table had a frame, which we’d collected over the year, with a map of that town inside.
Each person received a fortune telling fish, a Tunnocks teacake and a lego person which we’d had great fun putting together – some really looked like the guest!
Hannah: All the food at the pub was so delicious it was tough to choose! The staff there are so flexible allowing us to give our guests a choice of three dishes for our sit down meal. I don’t drink wine so we had a special ‘Bride Cocktail’ of Vodka, apple juice & elderflower which some guests drank too.
When guests first arrived at the pub we had bottles of craft beer chilling in ice buckets, glasses of prosecco and mugs of hot cider.
Later in the evening we had a buffet of bacon sandwiches, chips and cheese ‘cake’ (different rounds of cheeses)!
Our tower of cupcakes came from Primrose Bakery (that was a tasting we very much enjoyed!) we picked all our favourite flavours and had a selection of large and mini cakes.
I made the ‘Just Married’ cake bunting along with the ‘Brie Mine’ cheese cake bunting.
Hannah: I found McKinley-Rodgers through the wedding page on The Prince Albert’s website. Their names kept featuring on all these incredible blog posts with stunning photos which really seemed to capture the essence of each wedding.
All their images and videos really told a story, and above all, captured all the love. After we spent an afternoon crying at all the videos on their site we knew we wanted them at our wedding and they were the first people we properly booked after the venue!
We met up with Pen & Cam in Oxford for our pre-shoot and it was like meeting old friends. We instantly felt at ease with them and almost forgot they were carrying cameras!
So on the ‘big day’, they just felt like friends we’d invited because we were happy to see them. But they were consummate professionals, gathering people together and getting guests pumped up when required (the brilliant ‘confetti’ shot) and also mixing in with the crowd and capturing those wonderfully natural moments.
To say that we are happy with our photos and video is a massive understatement. They made our wedding look stunning and we’ve received a stupid amount of compliments from everyone who has seen them!
Hannah: We walked into the Council Chamber to The Flamingoes ‘I Only Have Eyes For You’ which has been a favourite of mine since hearing it in American Graffiti years ago.
During the register signing we had an acoustic version of Kylie singing ‘All The Lovers’ and we walked (danced!) out to Jackie Wilson ‘(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher’ which was great fun as everyone was clapping along.
We were never going to have a mushy slow first dance – it’s just not us. So instead we chose a cheesy song which has us in stitches every time we hear it – Lionel Richie ‘All Night Long’!
We are lucky that our friend AJ runs a company choreographing wedding dances so he helped us put together a simple routine which everyone could join in with!
On our RSVPs, we asked our guests to request a song which we added to the playlist for our DJ which meant we got a good mix of tunes in the evening rather than just all our favourites!
Advice for Other Couples
Hannah: I’m freakishly organised so planning the wedding was a dream project for me! My top tips would be to create a spreadsheet with different tabs for all your guest information, budgets and ‘key dates’ i.e. who needs paying / decisions by when.
I also created a word document where I started to visualise how the day would run, who would need to be where and at what time, what we would need to have with us, etc, which really helped us plan for every eventuality!
I know it’s written time and time again, but the day really does whizz by. Snatch as many moments as you can together – even if it’s just to have a ‘OMFG we’re married’ squeal!
Sheila: If you can, then don’t scrimp on the photographers/videographers. This was Hannah’s idea, but have a secret Pinterest board(s) to share with your fiancée so that you can both visualise what you’re both after.
Leave the table plan to a day or two before the wedding as there may be some last minute changes to make.
Don’t be afraid to ask your friends for help. And have a partner who is freakishly organised.
Watch Hannah & Sheila's Tear-Jerking Wedding Film
Isn't it gorgeous! I often think how it must be a challenge for same sex couples to wear complementary outfits while still rocking their own style, Hannah & Sheila's House of Mooshki dresses show how it's done!
Thanks so much to Pen & Cam at McKinley Rodgers Film & Photography, and of course, fabulous newlyweds, Hannah & Sheila for sharing their London wedding with us.