Lifestyle Magazine

A Friendly, Wonderfully Offbeat and Very Personal Wedding Story — Izabel and Shane

By Claire

My years as a top UK wed­ding blog­ger have shown me over and over and over again that the very best thing a wed­ding can have is per­son­al­ity. And Izabel and Shane wove their own jour­ney as a cou­ple into their wed­ding in beau­ti­ful and touch­ing ways: “Glass bot­tle coke and humous, our go to nib­bles and drinks in the early days of our get­ting together. Cof­fee and ice cream, the two things we walked across Lon­don for as we started dat­ing. East Lon­don and the Regent’s Canal, our home and the place we began. We really wanted the day to show my Fil­ipino and Dutch her­itage as well as Shane’s Irish and Welsh back­ground. Every­one thought we chose our wed­ding colours, green, orange, gray because of the Irish and Dutch, but that only occurred to us later in the plan­ning process. All aspects of the day just had mean­ing to us and our story and our fam­ily and guest really got the day and our story.”

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This is a glo­ri­ous wed­ding day with details which really mean the world to Izabel and Shane. The images are lovely; the story cap­ti­vat­ing. I know you’ll love it as much as I do! With huge thanks to the bride and groom — Izabel, Shane — you stars! and a vir­tual happy hug for you both. Thanks also to wed­ding pho­tog­ra­pher Tony Gameiro for shar­ing the images of such a won­der­ful wed­ding blog.

Oh! And there’s a tor­toise as well! Only my clos­est friends will know I’m very good friends with a tor­toise

Not this one, but they’re all equally as lovely! Every­one — enjoy!

Claire xxx

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The bride and groom:

Izabel Luijk (née Flem­ing) and Shane Fleming

Wed­ding venue:

The cer­e­mony took place at the Vestry, which is the Tower Ham­lets Reg­istry office’s cer­e­mony space. It was a happy lit­tle build­ing and we loved the fact that it was our local reg­istry office and we’d cycled by it many a time with­out know­ing it was there. Our recep­tion took place in Mile End Park, in the Eco Pavillion.

We were a lit­tle wor­ried with the late spring this year that it would all still be quite asleep and grey, but the grasses and the trees all turned lovely and green just a few days before the wed­ding so the park was a stun­ning back­drop for the day. Again, we chose the Eco Pavil­ion because it was just one of our local stops on our walks and cycles along the Regent’s Canal when we were just start­ing out. Also the fact that the rangers were so friendly,easy going, and basi­cally let us do what we wanted was a mas­sive plus

Wed­ding photographer:

Was the super cool and relaxed Tony Gameiro, who turned into more of a friend tak­ing pic­tures rather than the “photographer.”

How would you describe your wed­ding style?

Hmmm, our wed­ding style. I’d have to say friendly and off beat and totally us. We just wanted every­one to have a really good time and be as relaxed as pos­si­ble. No stuffi­ness, no recep­tion lines, no “it’s a wed­ding we have to do this.” We wanted it to totally reflect us and our story and jour­ney together.

Invi­ta­tions and recep­tion stationery

Shane and I designed the wed­ding invi­ta­tions and sta­tionery our­selves. I went through about 60 A4 sheets of paper try­ing to get our names painted just right. In the end of it all we were really pleased with how they turned out. We had them printed via Vistaprint online and then added three thin strips of Washi Tape to each indi­vid­ual bit. With 4 parts of the invi­ta­tion set and 100 invites to make up, the cut­ting and tap­ing took the longest, but peo­ple really appre­ci­ated the touch.

For the day itself, we just used chalk­boards and Ikea pic­ture frames again embell­ished with our Washi Tape. One of my brides­maids, Maaike, did all the writ­ing for place names etc, as her hand­writ­ing is one of my favorite fonts.

What did you both wear?

I was lucky enough to have my dress made for me by a friend of mine with a dress­mak­ing busi­ness, Aneej Jack. It was so great to be able to sit down with Jacco and go through what I wanted in a dress. It had the deep in-seam pock­ets I always wanted and we were able to use lace that my par­ents had picked out for me from the Philip­pines and at the same time we were able to slightly mir­ror the tra­di­tional Fil­ip­ina dress sleeves. For the cer­e­mony I wore my mother’s old veil and a sil­ver neck­lace and bracelet set that she had designed for me. My shoes were from Clarks and actu­ally they were the first things of my wed­ding out­fit that I bought. I just fell in love with the orange suede, the absolute per­fect color and the shape of the shoe which Jacco ended up mim­ic­k­ing for the neck­line of my dress.

Shane wore a suit from El Ganso, a Span­ish clothes shop along Carn­aby Street. We went in on a whim think­ing we’d spot some­thing for Shane’s lads, but ended up buy­ing Shane’s suit. We had orig­i­nally wanted to change the color of the elbow patches on the suit to match the wed­ding colours (green, grey, and orange) but ended up just leav­ing them the light blue which was eas­ier to find other bits for. We found his tie and shoes in Top­man and ordered his thin blue braces online.

A lit­tle about the wed­ding ceremony:

We actu­ally had two dif­fer­ent cer­e­monies, one in the Vestry which com­pro­mised the legal aspects of the day and then out­side the Eco Pavil­ion we had a bless­ing cer­e­mony that my par­ents officiated.

For the Vestry, Shane spent quite a bit of time orga­niz­ing the songs that would be played while the guests were wait­ing, when I walked in, for the sign­ing of the reg­is­ter, and for when we walked out. He did a great job with it and it’s actu­ally now one of our favorite playlists. I walked in with my pa to James Taylor’s Some­thing in the Way She Moves and Shane and I just man­aged to hold it together for the ceremony.

For our read­ings, we had an excerpt from Cap­tain Corelli’s Man­dolin and the other read­ing was A Lovely Love Story by Edward Monk­ton which we had changed slightly to reflect us more.

After the Vestry, we moved on to the Eco Pavil­ion where we gath­ered on a lit­tle island for the bless­ing. My pa incor­po­rated aspects from a tra­di­tional Fil­ipino wed­ding ser­vice for it. So there was the light­ing of the Unity Can­dle which sym­bol­ised our two lives becom­ing one, the pre­sent­ing of the Aras, a wee cage with 13 sil­ver pieces which rep­re­sented Shane’s promise to pro­vided for our fam­ily, the drap­ing of the Mar­riage Veil over Shane’s shoul­ders and my head, and the bind­ing with the Cord, in an infin­ity sym­bol rep­re­sent­ing a bless­ing for our love that it would go on and on and on.

The bless­ing cer­e­mony was great moment in our day, it turned out bet­ter than we had thought, every­one was just stood around us and sun was shin­ing and the bunting was flut­ter­ing and we felt very blessed and loved and it was a won­der­ful way to go from the for­mal of the Vestry to the fun of the reception.

Tell us a lit­tle about your wed­ding venue styling and details:

As we said ear­lier, Shane and I wanted a really real­ized day that totally reflected us and our story and jour­ney. The Eco Pavil­ion was just a bril­liant blank can­vas for us and we were really able to put our mark on it.

We had long feast­ing tables set up with shar­ing plat­ters of food, so there was a real fam­ily din­ner aspect to it all. The tables were dec­o­rated with swatches of fab­ric in the wed­ding color of grey, green, and orange. And my mom and sisters-in-law put together flower arrange­ments in bursts of orange, yel­low, and green. One of my friends made us over 60 metres of bunting which we strung from pil­lar to wall. We also had tis­sue paper pom poms hang­ing from invis­i­ble thread hang­ing between the bunting.

Near the tables for din­ner, Shane’s dad had orga­nized a bar area with all sorts of drinks being cooled in old wine bar­rels and much to the lads’ delight, he had sourced two Welsh ales which were served from the keg.

Down fur­ther into the Eco Pavil­ion, we had an ice cream cart serv­ing ice cream all day as well as a cof­fee stand mak­ing flat whites, lattes, and the like. We had 2 wed­ding cakes, one a gift from a friend of ours and one a cheese cake for those less par­tial to sweet. The sweet cake was from Patis­serie Valerie and was three tiers of dif­fer­ent types of cake.

The cheese cake was from Caws Cenarth who do the most deli­cious Welsh cheeses. We also had a tea table with var­i­ous teas ready to be served in mis­matched tea cups and saucers, since Shane is a firm believer in tea being served in china.

We also set up a favour table with 4 dif­fer­ent types of wed­ding favour on it. We really wanted to do a lit­tle some­thing per­sonal to thank our guests for com­ing and shar­ing in our day so we decided on doing 4 lit­tle things and they could choose which they’d like to take home. We had a home­made hot sauce which Shane per­fected in the days before the wed­ding, our sour­dough bread starter which we’d been cul­ti­vat­ing for over a year.

And then we also had lit­tle bars of Dutch choco­late which we re-wrapped in brown paper and Washi tape as well as Fil­ipino dried man­goes which my par­ents brought over for us. With the dif­fer­ent stands and tables set up, peo­ple were free to wan­der about and enjoy cof­fees, ice­creams, cheese, cake or ales and other drinks as they choose.

Wed­ding music and entertainment:

For the music dur­ing the recep­tion, Shane had made a mas­sive play list with all our favorite types of music and then for the Ceilidh later on, we had a ceilidh band named Rab­scal­lion play and call a few sets.

Mem­o­rable wed­ding day moments:

Izabel: For me, the morn­ing get­ting ready really stands out, I was sur­rounded by my fam­ily, who hadn’t all been in the same space together for over 7 years. It was just a poignant moment of one chap­ter com­ing to a close and another start­ing. Meet­ing Shane in the morn­ing before the wed­ding was prob­a­bly my favorite moment, turn­ing and see­ing him run­ning up to me. And also, walk­ing into the Vestry, on my pa’s arm, to the song Shane had cho­sen for me, see­ing him wait­ing for me at the front…

Shane: Meet­ing Iza for the first time in the morn­ing. Walk­ing along the park and just see­ing a sil­hou­ette of Iza stand­ing on a hill with Canary Wharf behind her. I couldn’t help myself and I broke into awk­ward run up to her in my new shoes over the muddy ground. Our first dance also stands out, we had no clue what we were doing, but made a go of it any­way… we were even­tu­ally saved by Iza’s par­ents cut­ting in and the the ceilidh band start­ing up. Peo­ple told us later they loved our first dance and we looked so cute doing it, go figure.

Wed­ding day advice:

Enjoy the day… It goes so fast and feels quite sur­real at times. Don’t be afraid on the day to steal away from it all and enjoy a few glo­ri­ous min­utes just tak­ing every­thing in. Let go of all the lit­tle details and worry of what peo­ple will think. It is your begin­ning at the end of it all, that’s the heart of the day, you and yours say­ing yes to each other and a life­time more.

Rec­om­mended wed­ding suppliers:

Our sup­pli­ers where so fab­u­lous, we were a bit wary with so many dif­fer­ent aspects hav­ing to come together on the day but every­thing went won­der­fully and that is fully down to the sup­pli­ers all work­ing so well together and so hard for us.

Hand­made Food did the food for the day and we can’t say enough good things about them. From all the con­tact before the wed­ding and being so flex­i­ble with our last minute changes to being there and set­ting up the day before to the phe­nom­e­nal level of ser­vice on the day and the fan­tas­tic food, I’d be tempted to plan another big event just to have them cater it. The num­ber of times our guests told us it was the best wed­ding food they’d ever had, to sim­ply the best food they’d had, Hand­made Food were a roar­ing suc­cess. They really got what Shane and I were about and were able to reflect that in the food so per­fectly well.

Aneej Jack is the wee com­pany that made my wed­ding dress. I think I said it already, but Jacco was just great to work with and such fun too. He made the whole proc­cess so easy and was really able to keep me calm and reas­sure me that it was my dress and it should reflect me and my per­son­al­ity. He was great about rolling with my mid-make design changes and was so patient with me as I do believe I hold the title for his most fid­gety bride to date. I don’t know the num­ber of times he had to repin the changes because I moved about so much.

Han made designs made our wed­ding rings for us in sil­ver. Han­nah is a maker friend of ours who works with green­wood mak­ing rolling pins, spoons and ladles all by hand and she recently has taken an inter­est in jew­ellery mak­ing in sil­ver as well. Shane and I decided early on we wanted bespoke sil­ver wed­ding bands and knew at once we’d be ask­ing Han­nah to make them for us. She did an amaz­ing job and was so patient with us explain­ing the dif­fer­ent shapes, fin­ishes, and effects.

Weanie Beans set up a lit­tle cof­fee stand for us at the wed­ding. We only really had email con­tact with them till the day before the wed­ding, but felt com­pletely con­fi­dent in all our inter­ac­tions with them. Every­one loved the cof­fee and the barista man was just so friendly and kind, even remem­ber­ing who had asked for a cof­fee before the speeches started and bring­ing it over for them as soon as the speeches ended. And of course, the cof­fee was fan­tas­tic as well, which was super impor­tant to us, as we do love our Lon­don cof­fee shops.

Gino Gelato brought over their ice cream cart for us and it was def­i­nitely one of the high­lights of the day for both young and old. Alex was just delight­ful behind the ice creams, always ready with a scoop, story, and smile. The ice cream enthu­si­asts in the group declared it some of the best ice cream they’d ever had, espe­cially the pis­ta­chio. Gino Gelato came on board with our wed­ding just a few days before the big day, but they were so easy to work with and so accom­mo­dat­ing it was all a breeze.

Tony Gameiro was our pho­tog­ra­pher and we couldn’t have been hap­pier with him. We found him online and had a meet­ing with him in his home and knew almost straight away that we wanted him to shot the wed­ding. He made us feel so relaxed and at ease which was impor­tant for us as we are both quite self con­scious in front of a cam­era. It hon­estly felt like we just had a friend there tak­ing pic­tures for us. And the guests loved him as well.

And of course, we can’t rec­om­mend Charley Beard of Lon­don Bride enough. She was there on day itself to over­see every­thing — and by every­thing, I mean every­thing. In the weeks lead­ing up to the wed­ding, she was liais­ing with all the dif­fer­ent sup­pli­ers and field­ing all the ques­tions they had. It was really bril­liant and we had com­plete con­fi­dence in her and our day because we knew she was there and would han­dle any hic­cup that might come up.

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