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On a crisp, wintery day in New York in 2013, on Christmas Day morning, my boyfriend got down on one knee and proposed to me. He was in the ornate living room of our One Fine Stay carriage house looking up at the balcony, behind which I was lying scruffily in bed thinking he was about to give me the Winnie-the-Pooh diary I’d asked for. When asked to get out of bed and come out to the balcony, I shuffled out, bleary-eyed and looked down to see a figure who said “will you marry me”. I squealed, exlaimed “yes! I will!” and then…. “can you just wait whilst I get my glasses” as I couldn’t see anything! Naturally I wanted to make sure it was actually Mark who had proposed and secondly, in order to remember the moment it would be nice to have some visuals.
Fast forward to September 2014 and we’re getting hitched. We both really wanted a low key wedding, with a big party for friends and extended family in the evening. I also wanted it to have an eco touch so here are some of the choices we made.
I found the Natural Wedding Company to be so useful! A wonderful directory of eco-inspired options for your wedding, featuring everything from cakes, natural confetti, vintage photgraphers, venues, dresses… you name it! Here I found our confetti and wedding cake suppliers and we were smitten with both.
We were keen not to spend too much where possible and also wanted to avoid creating any extra waste so we used Paperless Post * to send out “save the date” notes followed by the invitation itself. Paperless Post was so affordable and has a vast array of designs to choose from. It also meant that guests couldn’t lose it as it was there sitting in their inbox if they needed. It also allowed us to send out reminders to all recipients to confirm whether or not they could come.
I started out by looking for a second hand wedding dress, but time got increasing short and nothing really jumped out at me. I was also keen to have a dress I could wear again instead of it ending up stored away in a box for years after. That thought kinda makes me a bit sad. So I asked a friend who had just graduated from the London College of Fashion if she we be up for making my dress. I had seen the sort of design I wanted and she was keen to put her newly graduated talents to good use over the summer as a project! We bought silk and vintage lace and she made exactly what I was hoping for! A short wedding dress, with pockets (I never know what to do with my hands) with an amzing piece of Franch vintage lace made by a friend and supporting her talents.
The ceremony was held at the local town hall but the evening reception party was at Bumpkin – Chelsea; a restaurant that uses locally sourced and seasonal British produce that I love. It has a super cute garden area which was a perfect setting for our band – Earth Lights Boogie Band – who are AMAZING by the way. Friend of ours who have only been seen to dance in public maybe once, were throwing the shapes and throwing them large! The band were THAT good! The venue also didn’t need any decorations. There were already fairy lights decorating the garden as well as pots of plants and herbs which looked simply magical. I’m a no fuss kinda gal, so the idea of decorating a venue fills me with fear, so I was so happy to have found somewhere that was ready-to-go. Mark and I are pretty into our food so we wanted a venue that would reflect that and Bumpkin turned out to be the perfect choice. Delicious canapes, divine drinks + incredible music made for a night filled with fun for everyone!
My cake criteria was as follows: Gluten Free, Organic, Naked…. Yes naked! I’m not a fan of traditional cakes covered in overly sweet thick icing that blocks out any cake smell and looks far too formal. Instead I was on the hunt for a homemade, rustic cake made using organic ingredients and suitable for anyone who was avoiding gluten. Enter The Organic Wedding Cake Company who delivered the most incredible cake I have EVER tasted. My brother, who is a bit of cake fanatic raved about the cake for several weeks after the wedding and insisted I contact the lovely Celeste who runs the company for her recipe, which I did and she willingly obliged.
I chose natural petal confetti from Wildflower Favours who also supply a variety of eco-friendly unique wildflower seed packet & plantable paper invites, favours & table accessories if you’re interested to know! They also have plantable & recycled papers which means your invites or thank you cards can be planted and grow into a plant for your guests. I love this idea, but we had already done our invites by Paperless Post by the time I found these guys. Bit of a last-minute person. Can you tell?
The only flowers we had were in my bouquet which was created by my local green grocers Bayley and Sage in Parsons Green who have a flower stall outside the front. I wanted to support local business and the flowers always look really fresh so I placed my order for a mixture of white with green foliage (nothing too bridal) and picked it up the day before the wedding.
This might seem like an odd thing to highlight but one of my weekly battles is remembering to ask for “no straw please” when I order any sort of drink. Even when tap water, they’ll try and give me a straw in an attempt to jazz it up a bit I think. So I found some biodegrable paper straws from Protect the Planet which came in eco packaging and ordered enough for our guests. I gave them to Bumpkin who were only too happy to oblige. My younger cousin did however seem unimpressed when a paper straw arrived in her mocktail but on the whole I think most people were rather taken with them. I know I was!
We asked our friend Oscar May to be the official ceremony photographer as he is a professional photographer anyway and has a lot of experience doing wedding and he could get shots that guests might miss and then just asked our friends to take as many pics as they could. Two of ours chums are really into photography. Jonathan Jackson has an amazing eye and Laura Bradley took some incredible shots – she’s great with picking up details – and you can see most of them on her website. She is actually now available for weddings and events etc and based in York but willing to travel, so give her a shout! After the wedding we used the app Wed Pics for friends and family to upload any pics from their cameras and phones which we shared with everyone. This felt nicer than facebook and included those who weren’t on social media.
HAIR & MAKEUP
I did these myself. From years of wroking in TV and often having to do my own make up for presenting, I felt I was confident enough to put some slap on my face and tong my hair. I didn’t plan on having a hotel room lit by what felt like candle light, but it all worked out ok. I switched to non-toxic makeup about a year ago so used Miessence foundation, concealer and face powder bought from Beautifully Organic and 100% Pure * eyeshadow, eyeliner and mascara. I like these products because not only do they use organic ingredients and are free from toxic chemicals, they also don’t contain Titanium Dioxide which is in even some of the most “natural” brands and is something I have read is best to avoid. For my hair, I simply washed it and conditioned it with Intelligent Nutrients PureLuxe * shampoo and conditioner, dried it and used my hair straighteners to create a few natural looking waves. And that was it!
Keen not to receive any more “stuff”, we opted for a wedding list where friends and family could contribute towards parts of our honeymoon, using Buy Our Honeymoon. If you’re worried that the domain name sounds a bit money orientated, you can opt to change it it to an alternative offering. It is super afforadable to use and very easy. It also helped us keen track of who sent what when it came to writing notes of thanks.
THE NIGHT BEFORE THE BIG DAY!
I stayed at Blake’s Hotel the night before the wedding with my Mother and best friend/unofficial bridesmaid (I couldn’t be bothered with official bridesmaid duties etc), Lynsey where we were treated to an enormous, opulent room with the comfiest bed I think I’ve ever slept in. It even had a TV screen which raised out of the end of the bed with the push of a button. But the highlight for me was that they served organic eggs for breakfast. I feel that London is still catching on to the whole organic thing and rarely is it mentioned on a menu, so I was delighted to see them make an apprearance! I treated my Mum and Lynsey to supper at Riccardos, around the corner from the hotel and a firm favourite of mine when I want good food with a buzzy atmosphere. I also love Riccardo’s for using mostly organic produce and offering a gluten free pasta option for those who choose it. Before indulging in this final evening of unmarried luxury, I had left my husband-to-be covered in the sewage from our building’s waste disposal pipe which had burst earlier that day. Our final moments together before getting married, were spent removing a blockage that had the most unique and utterly foul smell, which had sprayed all over us. A real moment of bonding or perhaps a final test before the big day. Who knows? But it all ended, or all started even, with “I
Copyright Kate Arnell and ECO BOOST