Winter weddings often bring about the kind of light that photographers get really, really excited about. The sun is lower in the sky, the air is crisp and everything is bathed in the sort of gold that you rarely see during the summer months.
Esme and Alex’s December wedding had the best of both worlds. A sunny ceremony at Burgh House, followed by a cosy winter Londesborough wedding reception.
Alice was there to photograph it for them and here’s what they had to say about their Londesborough wedding day.
We met in a lift! I work in the same building as Alex’s sister, Gemma. They were in the lift when I got in on the 3rd floor. As Alex said in his wedding speech… ‘I turned on the Heaps charm… and asked my sister for her number!’.
After a disastrous 1st date (I turned up late and Alex forgot his phone and bank card.. and a few too many drinks!) Alex realised he had gone home with my bank card and had to meet me the next day. He turned up with a story of ‘theatre tickets’ so he only had time for a drink. He never did go to the theatre and the rest is history!
Alex proposed at our home in Dulwich on 23rd December last year. We had a ‘family’ christmas dinner, Alex, me and our dog Poppy, and we gave each other what were meant to be joke presents. Mine however was a shoe box with an amazing 1920’s art deco engagement ring I had seen in a shop months earlier and had fallen in love with. Not knowing at the time Alex had been looking for rings and had gone back the next week and brought it.
We planned the wedding over the year, an amazing (and intense) year but I wouldn’t have been able to wait any longer!
Scroll down to read more about Esme and Alex’s wedding story.
We knew we wanted to get married in London and the main focus was finding venues that we relax and laid back, where we could have a big celebration with all of our friends and family. My mum found Burgh House on line and I know Hampstead very well from when I was growing up. As soon as we walked in we knew it was the place. The events team were amazing and so friendly, and we had the option to have the ceremony in the music room and then drinks and canapes throughout the house. It was very important for us that there was no waiting around for our guests and we could go straight into the drinks reception following the ceremony. This also gave us the more ‘traditional’ element of the wedding, before heading over to The Londesborough for an amazing party with everyone! We knew straight away with The Londesborough too; Amber was so organised and welcoming and we knew we could trust her with our day! The pub gave us the laid back venue we were looking for and we knew it would be perfect for a winter wedding.
I knew straight away I wanted jewels and fur, to guild the lily as my mum would say! knew a large puffy dress would not work on me and I really wanted to feel like myself and feel comfortable. I fell in love with Jenny Packham as I’d been looking for a dress with a lot of embellishment, and the Noa definitely gave me that! I loved the accessories they had also and went for a art deco style jewelled head band which I think was meant for on top of my head, but I decided to wear it across my forehead. I also wore a signet fur wrap from Jenny Packham which worked really well for the time of year (even though it was 16 degrees and sunny!) and worked with the bridesmaids mink fur shawls.
I knew I wanted to go all out on my shoes as I’d also be able to wear them afterwards and went for Jimmy Choo’s. As high heels go they were comfortable, but I did have flats to change into for the later part of the evening.
After deciding we weren’t getting each other wedding gifts, Alex surprised me on the morning of the wedding with a BEAUTIFUL Alex Monroe gold bracelet. It meant so much to me as I could wear it on the day. Luckily I’d brought him a go-pro for the honeymoon skiing!
Alex has never really been a big suit wearer but I was shocked by how much he enjoyed having his suit made! We met a tailor at a friends party who made his suit for him, and it is gorgeous. He went for a 3 piece with a burgundy silk back to the waistcoat and tie which matched the burgundy Phase 8 bridesmaids dresses, with brown brogues. The ushers all wore blue 3 piece suits and brogues also and all looked great!
Mum (again!) found That Flower Shop on a wedding blog. We met with Hatti Fox and she was so creative and knew exactly the look I wanted. The flowers were one of the main areas I was worried about as I really didn’t want formal ‘wedding flower’. I wanted a relaxed, wild flower look with the glamour of roses. I wanted to rich colours with brights pinks and paler colours mixed in and Hatti gave me exactly that! The flowers were incredible and she was great to work with.
I wanted the tables to have a vintage look and Helene Milliot Furnishings were amazing. Helene recommended brass and rosewood cutlery and vintage wine glass and tumblers as well as gold candlesticks. We had these all over the tables mixed in with the flowers and they looked AMAZING!!
I had seen gold dipped feather garlands on line and really wanted these instead of bunting hanging over the tables in the pub, so made, what felt like, 100’s of metres of garlands. These were mixed in with fairy lights all around the pub.
The ceremony was so much more emotional and special than I could have imagined! We asked my Cockrel of Honor, Hogi, and our close friend Guppy to select their own readings and we didn’t know what they were going to be. It was a lovely surprised and made them really special. They both chose very well!
It was really special having my grandad there in the front row. He was very unwell and had made the trip down to London from Stoke-on-Trent where were are from in the morning. He could only come to the ceremony and drinks reception, so he came in the wedding car with me. It was such a special part of the day as we didn’t think he was going to come down, and sadly he passed away 10 days later. The fact that he was such a big part of the day will stay with me forever and I feel very grateful that he was there.
The ceremony felt very intimate due to the setting and very natural. It was not formal and we were ourselves which was the most important thing to me and Alex.
Alice was brilliant! We knew as soon as we met with her that we had found our photographer. Both Alex and I felt so comfortable with her and knew that she would be great to have around on the day. We had a second photographer, Jessica, who was also fantastic. It was great to have Alice with me in the morning whilst Jessica capturing what the ushers and Alex were up to and having 2 photographers means that we can see photos of our guests when we were off having our photos. We both felt so comfortable and relax, and they really listened to the style of photos that we were looking for. I wanted natural shots as well as some in Hampstead Heath and more ‘urban’ photos, and I feel we got just that!
The First Dance
Motley Crue ‘Home Sweet Home’ follow by Prince ‘I would die 4 u’. The second song is Alex’s and I’s song, however we wanted everyone on the dance floor for this so had this as the second song.
Our focus was good food, drink and music, so we had quite a few musicians…! We had carol singers at Burgh House (the only Christmas element to the day!) for when guests arrived, and then our good friend Jenny played Ben Harper’s ‘Forever’ when I walked down the aisle. Jen also played the grade piano they have in the music room when we were signing the registrar and we had Stevie Wonder (not the man himself!) ‘Signed, Sealed, Delivered’ when we walked back down the aisle. We then had a flamenco guitarist for the drinks reception before heading to The Londesborough. There we had Andre ‘Saxman Brown who is INCREDIBLE! He played all during the meal with an election violinist, Sally, and they were the talking point of the wedding. The atmosphere was incredible and they joined the dance floor with us when our friend Jack was djing later in the evening. I am so pleased we went all out with the musicians as they made the day!
The Words of Wisdom
Have the wedding you want. Alex and I wanted to make sure that the day reflected us as a couple and we were so pleased that it did! Make sure you can be with your guests. We wanted to make sure we could be with our guests and not feel like we had to be formal as it’s not us, and I felt we really had this.
Enjoy every minute as it goes so quickly and be very organised. Alex may say I was too list crazy but putting in the work running up to the wedding meant that I could really relax on the day as I knew that everything was in place and could run smoothly.
Jenny Packham // Jimmy Choo // That Flower Shop // Burgh House // The Londesborough // Helene Millot Furnishings // Lily Vanilli //Phase 8 // Yardsmen // Emma Jo // Andres Guitarist // Andre Saxman Brown // Red Routemaster