A Black Tie Affair
James and Hannah got married in October at St. Luke’s Church, Sydney Street, Chelsea, London and had their wedding reception at the Royal Automobile Club, Pall Mall, London. The night before their wedding, they had a pre-wedding dinner in London and the bridal wedding party stayed at Blakes Hotel, Kensington. This is an account of their big day;
We were living in London at the time and had a huge love for the city. My brother also got married only 4 months before us and had an idealic and very beautiful country wedding and so we wanted something that would be different from this and where we didn’t have to rely on the weather! I always fancied a Christmas wedding as I love rich colours and think that candlelight is so romantic; but I didn’t want to wait that long as it was already a 14 month engagement and I just wanted to get married! We both love the autumn though and again, as I’m not a pastel girl, the rich array of colours that time of year, suited me down to the ground.
My wedding dress, veil, handbag and shoes were made by Basia Zarzycka, as were my three bridesmaids and flower girl’s dress’. About a year went into the making of all these gowns and they were so beautiful and utterly unique. My gown was made from white duchess satin and lace and my bridesmaids’ gowns were a deep red silk and velvet. The guests were invited to wear black tie and ‘glamorous’ attire.
Regarding venues, my father was a member of the RAC at the time and told us how stunning the building was, both inside and out, when we went to see it we just fell in love with it. With regards to the church, this was also an easy decision. At first site, my eyes literally filled with tears as their professional and amazing choir were practicing at the time and the music just filled the air and resonated throughout the church. My family are very musical and this was to be a very important part of the day. I spoke to the rector who was so charming and agreed to marry us.
The church was adorned in flowers, both at the ends of the pews, at the alter and outside the entrance. We had a 20 strong choir, a choir boy to sing the processional, Panis Angelicus and the professional opera singer; William Kendal, sang the beautiful aria, Mendelssohn’s Ave Maria, during the signing of the register. The recessional was the Alleluia Corus. It was an incredible experience, walking past the choir, belting this amazing piece out!
After, James and I had a Bentley take us to the RAC whilst our guests travelled on one of three red route master buses. We had our ushers serve champagne on the buses and the lucky crowd that had William Kendal on board, well apparently a huge sing-song started…all the way to the reception. The buses took the guests on a little tour of London to give us time to get some photos taken before everyone arrived.
At the RAC we had the drinks reception in the Great Gallery whilst the Spanish Band, Andalus, sang and played overhead in the minstrel’s gallery, whilst the guests drank pink champagne and tapas was served. (My parents were living in Spain at the time and so we were also keen for there to be some Spanish theme). We had a beautiful dual heart shaped ice-sculpture on a stand in the middle of the room and our white vortex Choccywoccydoodah chocolate brownie cake stood in the middle of the dance floor.
There was a huge array of about 500 red roses in a pedestal, to match my bouquet in the centre of the hall, surrounding which our group photo was taken from the mezzanine level above. For the wedding breakfast, everyone went upstairs to the very grand dining room. The table arrangements were red amaryllis (to match the bridesmaids’ bouquets) in over-sized martini glasses. On the top table, was a large candelabra with trailing ivy and more red roses. Candles adorned the room and a pianist, who we found at Le Caprice restaurant, placed dinner jazz.
After the speeches we went back down to the Great Gallery. The room had been transformed into a nightclub feel with cocktail tables and the dance floor was lit up. During our first dance we had a confetti cannon and for the last dance, an indoor firework display which took place around the edge of the dance floor. We had a DJ play popular songs. We were also extremely lucky to have Billy Lewis and The Drifters play throughout the night. This was a huge hit with everyone and the dance floor was full, all evening long. For those that still hadn’t had their fill of food and for the evening guests that came along, we had a large buffet and bar, from which more food and beverages were served throughout the evening.
We left the RAC at one o’clock in the morning and went to stay the night at Blakes Hotel before leaving for our honeymoon in Bora Bora and Los Angeles. It was a truly magical and perfect day; we were so very lucky.