London-born Michael and New Zealander Gemma chose a classic wedding in Mayfair, with a chic English theme, to capture the romance of their first meeting
Photos: Eye Imagine
When Gemma and Michael first began planning their wedding day they were spoilt for choice – should they choose the groom’s majestic but cloudy birthplace London or the bride’s home turf of sunny Auckland? In the end, despite the bets they were placing on the vagaries of the English weather, it was Michael’s manor that won the day – it seemed the right choice because it was where they first met and had lived together.
Once the location had been fixed, the rest of the planning for their wedding day soon fell into place and this turned into a very chic English-themed affair to celebrate their romance. They chose Dukes London in St James – a classic Mayfair hotel that they both knew and loved for its traditional style and exceptional Martinis.
Their ceremony and champagne and canapés reception in Dukes hotel was attended by friends and family and, with many guests flying in from the other side of the world, this proved to be a convenient, luxurious and very British choice. They couldn’t, of course, plan for the vagaries of the London weather, but even this came good, with the barometer set to fair and the mercury rising as the day approached. For Gemma, this was another reason to celebrate: “What a day! It was over 30 degrees on our wedding day – and all that week – which our Kiwi guests loved!”
Gemma chose a beautiful and ultra simple cream lace dress by Valentino and Michael wore a cream rose in the buttonhole of his suit, while his tie matched the overall English summer garden colour theme of pinks and purples. The delectable group of bridesmaids and flower girls wore dresses handmade by Little Bevan in a dusky shade of lilac-purple, with sashes in soft pink.
“The stress is all part of the day…treat it like the fizz in the champagne”
The flowers by New Covent Garden Flower Market florist Elizabeth Marsh maintained the romantic theme, blending soft pink and purple-hued roses. “Sarah from Little Bevan made such beautiful dresses for our flower girls and bridesmaids, while Liz Marsh really did go the extra mile as our florist”, says Gemma.
To mark the day properly, the couple slipped away from their guests to go on a journey round London with photographer Neil Horne of Eye Imagine and capture some of their favourite landmarks on film. For Gemma and Michael, this journey as newly minted bride and groom became a high point: “We will never forget the amazing photoshoot Neil Horne arranged all around London – it included champagne stops and a barefoot walk in the sand along the Thames foreshore!”
Captured through a lense, both bride and groom look supremely happy and relaxed throughout. While every wedding has its planning issues, co-ordinating the arrival of guests from around the world adds a higher level of logistical challenge. But Gemma remains sanguine about the stresses involved and her advice to other couples is to relax and go with the flow. She says: “The stress is all part of the day, especially the build up. Treat it like the fizz in the champagne – it makes everything more tingly”.
Gemma’s wedding sourcebook
Venue: Dukes London; dukeshotel.com
Photography: Eye Imagine; eyeimagine.co.uk
Wedding gown: Valentino; valentino.com
Bridesmaids’ dresses: Little Bevan; littlebevan.co.uk
Flowers: Elizabeth Marsh Floral Design; emfd.co.uk
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