A relaxed and informal London pub wedding
Harriet & Stuart
The first ever HONEYMOONFOREVER wedding is here for you to all enjoy. Harriet & Stuart’s special day was full of fun, laughter, friends, family and lots and lots of love. This wedding proves that just because you are on a tight budget doesn’t mean you can’t have an amazingly joyful day.
We envisioned a simple, low-key and relaxed day with the focus being on friends and family having a really fun time celebrating with us.
Our ceremony was at Islington Town Hall in the Council Chamber where we had 100 guests. We wanted a registry office rather than a church but were also keen for a place with a personality and sense of history. The Council Chamber at Islington Town Hall was large enough to accommodate all our guests and has lovely architectural features including a vaulted ceiling and beautiful stained-glass windows. I walked down the aisle to the Harry Potter theme music, which did seem to suit the historical atmosphere of the room. For our readings we chose: “This for you” by Neil Gaiman, “To Love is Not to Possess” by James Kavanaugh, and a passage from “The Amber Spyglass” by Phillip Pullman.
The Wedding Party
We wanted a very low-key affair so asked our bridesmaids to choose an outfit they already had that they felt really comfortable in from a monochrome palette. Our accent colour was red. The groomsmen wore navy suits they already owned and we gave them gifts of red silk ties, pocket squares and socks to bring the look together. Everyone looked gorgeous!
We wanted a family affair and our son, two at the time, and lots of other kids came along. He wore smart navy shorts with a white polo shirt and a navy cardigan and looked super cute with his blond curls. He was very excited on the day and came to sit on our knee during the ceremony as he was a bit overwhelmed by all the people in the Council Chamber!
The Dress and The Suit
Stuart had his navy suit tailor-made and accessorised with red silk tie, pocket square and red socks. I found a cute knee length white satin Bardot neckline prom dress which I put a red underskirt underneath to give it a little more shape and a pop of colour.
Hair & Make Up
I bought all my make-up from Bobbi Brown after a wedding makeover tutorial in Selfridges where I was recommended the products needed. I had a good friend who is a makeup whizz come to the tutorial and help me to do my hair and make-up on the day.
I found The Enterprise by googling “cheap, London wedding pub”! The search turned up a great blog describing how The Enterprise in Holborn was a perfect traditional pub who’s staff were super flexible, helpful, accommodating and perfect for those with a small budget (we had a small budget) looking for a London wedding reception venue. After visiting a variety of places together with Sarah, we finally settled on The Enterprise as it had the warm, friendly, traditional and relaxed atmosphere that we were looking for in our venue and it was the most budget friendly.
Our reception was so fun. The Enterprise is a traditional London pub with a long original Victorian bar and a small and pretty garden space at the back. Agnes the manager was super helpful and accommodating. Sarah took excellent charge of organising and liaising with the venue regarding food, timings, PA system, music, decorations and more. Since the pub was pretty cosy there wasn’t really space for a band or DJ so we created a smashing playlist over the months preceding the wedding and it went down a storm until the wee hours!
Conveniently the Premier Inn, London Holborn was located right next door to The Enterprise so our guests who had travelled for the wedding were able to roll right into a reasonably priced bed straight from the party.
We used the pubs own catering, Spanish tapas, which was really nice and very reasonably priced per guest. We had 100 people there and everybody was well fed. The pub would have let us bring our own caterers if we had wanted.
We were able to bring in loads of our own Cava (bought on a supermarket special deal) for welcome drinks and toasting and paid only £5/bottle corkage, which saved us a lot compared to buying champagne at London pub prices. We also put £1000 behind the bar so guests could have their choice of drinks until the tab ran out which was not until well into the evening – everyone was very merry!
We worked together with Sarah to create a colour scheme for the decorations and the wedding overall that would complement the colours and quirky décor already in the pub. We decided on yellows and reds as they felt summery and fun for our June wedding and harmonized not only with the pubs bright yellow garden walls but added a little bit of Spanish flavour which echoed our tapas food spread. Being a traditional London pub the interior is a bit on the dark side so we wanted décor that would brighten up the space too. Sarah went to a lot of trouble to hand make much of the decorations for the pub including hundreds of paper pompoms and a beautiful ribbon backdrop for the walls – the place looked stunning!
We continued the colour theme with our flowers and were very lucky to have a friend of ours who’s a budding florist help us out. Nina produced all the flower arrangements for the pub as well as bouquets for me and the bridesmaids and boutonnières for the groomsmen. She chose from our palette of yellows and reds with fresh spring flowers and roses used prominently. She did a marvellous job. She worked closely with Sarah in determining what we needed for the space and made two beautiful large arrangements for the pub as well as jam jars with little posies on all the tables and decorated a branch to make a beautiful header for Sarah’s ribbon backdrop. She also provided the finishing touch to the cake (which I made myself), decorating it with delicate flowers. The flowers really finished everything off perfectly.
Jason Pierce-Williams stepped in at the last minute as our first photographer had to attend a family emergency. I was really worried when our photographer had to cancel a week or so before the wedding but Sarah helped us manage the crisis and arranged Jason as replacement very quickly. Sarah also helped enormously with understanding and signing the contract agreements with suppliers, as this was really not my area of expertise. I’m glad she was there to go through the T&Cs and highlight important aspects of what we were agreeing to. We also didn't have much money to spend on photography so Sarah helped us find photographers that were within our budget.
Sarah designed our invitations to fit with our request that they be elegant, simple and unfussy, with the maximum information in the minimum words! They looked lovely and since we were on a budget Sarah designed them in such a way that we could print them ourselves on some nice card bought for the purpose. Sarah also designed our wedding program, reserved seating place cards, buffet food labels and all the rest of our wedding signage to match our invites, which gave the day a lovely cohesive feel in terms of design – it was really nice to look around and see those little touches which made the day feel like it was truly ours.
(photo by HONEYMOONFOREVER)
Sarah provided help at every stage from planning, choosing venues, suppliers, design... She helped enormously with a timeline “to do list” starting months before the wedding and going all the way up to the day of the wedding. On this to do list she captured everything from registering the marriage, when to book the honeymoon, when to buy the rings right up to booking the taxi to the registry office. She did a huge amount of research in the planning stage sending many options for venues, photographers etc. She also did all the difficult and detailed communications with the venue manager and photographers. She arranged transport from the ceremony to the reception for our guests (and us) in the form of a classic London red routemaster bus – which everyone loved! She also created a wonderful Pinterest board that we would add to and discuss together. She coordinated a time-line for the day to provide everyone in the wedding with foolproof instructions of where to be and when which really helped to keep everyone on track. She designed our save the dates and invitations and also hand-made and put up all the decorations for the venue, she even created bespoke confetti for us – this took hours and hours of her time. Importantly she was always there as a sounding board for ideas and discussions and really helped to bring our undefined ideas about our day into a clear picture of our wedding and most helpfully a step by step plan of action of how to achieve the wedding we wanted with as little stress as possible!
Two days after the wedding we dropped our son off to stay with his grandparents and headed off to beautiful Italy. We spent two nights in Rome and then four nights in stunning Sorrento. It was so romantic and we had a wonderful time. Our highlights included all the wonderful Italian food and of course all the gelaterias! Yum! We adored our hotel in Sorrento; The Grand Hotel Royal - Italian faded glamour at its best – complete with bathing platform below the cliffs. Sarah helped us put together our honeymoon registry site so our wedding guests could gift towards our trip if they wished to.
(couple's own photo)
Harriet's Top Wedding Tip: Be organized, plan everything very well in advance then relax and don’t go wedding mental!
Reception: The Enterprise, Holborn
Photographer: Jason Pierce-Williams Instagram: @jasonwilliams_photography (all photos featured in blog entry by Jason Pierce Williams unless otherwise credited)
Wedding planning, design and styling: HONEYMOONFOREVER
Flowers by Nina Blyth-Owen