Lifestyle Magazine

Glamour, Flamingos and Inspiration

By Claire

Wendy is stun­ning (and James is a looker too!) — and I’m sure some of you Eng­lish Wed­ding read­ers will feel inspired by their style… if you’re into look­ing gor­geous with­out being princessy, then this is the wed­ding blog for you.

So I’ve got a two parter for you this week again! First, Wendy and James’s wed­ding at Kens­ing­ton Roof Gar­dens (how many of you guessed that was where the flamin­goes came in?!) — with pho­tog­ra­phy by Green Olive. Tomor­row I’ll share some of Wendy’s wed­ding invi­ta­tion designs — and I promise, you’ll be impressed!

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From the very beginning…

James (my husband…still sounds very weird!) and I met in a local pub in north Lon­don 9 years ago on 23rd August 2002. I was about to go into my final year of uni­ver­sity down in Win­ches­ter and wasn’t really inter­ested in being in a rela­tion­ship, espe­cially not a long dis­tance one!

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It was a strange coin­ci­dence that we met that night though, as a) both of us were sup­posed to be out with com­pletely dif­fer­ent peo­ple in dif­fer­ent places, b) the friends we were with that night hap­pened to know one another, c) appar­ently, even though this was the first time we’d ever met, we dis­cov­ered we’d been at the same parties/get togeth­ers over the years and had some­how never bumped into one another until that night! As soon as I saw James walk through the door of the pub I wanted to know who he was…there was an instant attrac­tion between us. After a long night, stay­ing up very late talk­ing until around 6am, James asked for my num­ber and said he’d call the next day. I gave it to him but didn’t believe for a sec­ond that he’d call the next day…who does?! Well, he did! We spent every day together until I went back to uni­ver­sity, and I knew within one week that if he gave me the chance, I was def­i­nitely going to fall in love in a big way.

Dur­ing my final year of uni he would drive down to Win­ches­ter fre­quently and visit me. He used to sur­prise me reg­u­larly, for exam­ple, there were times when he’d phone me and say he was sorry he couldn’t come down. I’d sound so dis­ap­pointed and then the door bell would go and he’d be stand­ing there still hold­ing the phone!

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We moved in together as soon as I left uni­ver­sity, and 8 years later he pro­posed! We booked the most lav­ish hol­i­day we’d ever been on and jet­ted off to Mex­ico for two weeks in June 2010; I had no idea what he was plan­ning once we got there. There were a few tell tale signs that some­thing strange was going on before he popped the ques­tion, and although I had an inkling I didn’t really believe it was going to hap­pen. He pro­posed dur­ing a pri­vate can­dlelit din­ner on the beach at sunset…and even got down on one knee in the sand!

James has told me to let you know that I for­got to say “yes” straight away!

Instead, I flung my arms round him and was absolutely speech­less. He said it felt like an absolute eter­nity had passed dur­ing which time he was pan­ick­ing that my answer was no, so he pushed me away and said “well is that a yes or a no then?!” — of course I even­tu­ally said yes when I realised I hadn’t actu­ally given an answer yet!

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Plan­ning our wed­ding was dif­fi­cult for me at the start as I’m not the kind of per­son who has ever “dreamt” of get­ting mar­ried, and I hate all things “princess”. I’m more of a red car­pet, glam­our lover! The hard­est part was find­ing a venue that we both were happy with as I was find­ing it extremely dif­fi­cult imag­in­ing myself walk­ing down the aisle.

I became OBSESSED with hunt­ing on the inter­net for the right venue and it felt as if we were never going to find some­thing. We went to see 9 in total and it was the 9th which we chose. I had been for lunch at Baby­lon, at the Roof Gar­dens, a few years ear­lier and remem­ber think­ing, wow, what a stun­ning place to get mar­ried (strange con­sid­er­ing I’d never really con­cerned myself with wed­dings before I was engaged!). Never did I ever dream of get­ting mar­ried there, but when James sug­gested we looked around I had a feel­ing this would be the one…and it was! He was just as excited as I was.

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Every­thing fell into place once we had the venue; we’d found some­thing funky, glam­orous and trendy which set the tone for every­thing else.  I chose a dress that was ele­gant but not too “bridal”.  I hated the idea of a veil.  My shoes were bright pur­ple as I loathe the major­ity of wed­ding shoes — they’re sooooo expen­sive and I have absolutely no idea why they’re so hideous!  Hon­estly, you wear the most beau­ti­ful dress you’ve ever worn in your life and are faced with a rather ugly selec­tion of shoes to go with it!  (I worked as a fash­ion acces­sories designer for years so these things always seem to stick in my head!)

James wanted to wear some­thing funky, bright and non-wedding too.  We tai­lored the invi­ta­tions and sta­tionery to the venue which then set the tone of the color palette which helped with the flow­ers.  All in all, I did most of the research for our wed­ding but I didn’t make any deci­sions with­out James…and we didn’t include ANYONE in any of our deci­sion processes as we wanted all deci­sions to be ours and didn’t want to be tainted by any­one else’s opinions.

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The day went so smoothly it was a dream; we lit­er­ally couldn’t have asked for more.  After a lot of mis­er­able weather dur­ing the run up to the wed­ding, the sun shone down on us and we felt as if we were in the Mediter­ranean!  The Roof Gar­dens staff went above and beyond the call of duty so I would rec­om­mend them with­out a shadow of a doubt — one of James’s sis­ters was in labor in a nearby hos­pi­tal so couldn’t come to the wed­ding.  The Roof Gar­dens gave a beef fil­let with all the trim­mings to his par­ents to take to her hus­band in the hos­pi­tal so he had some dinner!

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My father and I wrote the song I walked down the aisle to, and I sang it.  James knew this was hap­pen­ing but had never heard the song before so it was hard for him not to cry when he heard it; it was such a relief to know he liked it after all those months of keep­ing it from him!

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The hard­est thing for me was keep­ing secrets about dresses and make up etc from James; he’s my best friend as well as my hus­band and we love to share things with one another that we’re excited about.

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My top three pieces of advice to Eng­lish Wed­ding readers…

1)  Enjoy every­thing!  The plan­ning should be fun.  Take peo­ple you trust when wed­ding dress shop­ping; you don’t want peo­ple who can’t give an objec­tive opin­ion, but you don’t want some­one who will bring you down at such an excit­ing time.
2)  Choose your brides­maids, ush­ers, best man etc very care­fully; don’t get car­ried away and ask every­one you know!  It’s expen­sive buy­ing out­fits and again, you want some­one you trust, who is going to be help­ful and calm you down on the occa­sions when you’re get­ting your­self into a tizz!
3)  Give your­self a rea­son­able bud­get for your wed­ding rings.  Your wed­ding day is lit­er­ally one day but these rings are on your fin­ger every day for the rest of your lives…you’ve got to love them!

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I coor­di­nated the wed­ding invi­ta­tions to tie in with the venue by using the hot pink colour­ing in the club area and the lime green colour­ing from Baby­lon restau­rant on the top floor.  The flamin­gos are found in their gar­dens and the dots sym­bol­ise the beaded cur­tains
in the Roof Gar­dens club area.

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The two best things:

1)  We had a fab­u­lous day and are now mar­ried and ready to start the next chap­ter in our lives.  We wouldn’t have changed a thing which means we did it our way!
2)  As a con­se­quence of hav­ing got mar­ried at the Roof Gar­dens, they have now asked me, Wendy Bell Designs, to be one of their “Rec­om­mended” wed­ding sta­tionery sup­pli­ers!!!  I have since cre­ated a range of designs and pack­ages which are exclu­sive for their venue!

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The wed­ding cakes were to die for — they lasted for ages and were beau­ti­fully soft, moist sponge!  It was lovely hav­ing them match my sta­tionery designs.

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The evening was fan­tas­tic as elderly guests were able to sit out­side and relax while oth­ers were indoors cut­ting it up on the dance floor…it’s like being in a night club…though I sup­pose that’s exactly what the Roof Gar­dens is!

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Rec­om­mended wed­ding suppliers

Venue:  My hus­band, James, and I got mar­ried at the Roof
Gar­dens, Kens­ing­ton High Street on Sun­day 31st July 2011.

My wed­ding dress was a Jenny Pack­ham design named Car­men in Oys­ter
colour.  My jew­ellery was also by Jenny Packham.

My shoes: Pur­ple Miu Mius

Hair:  Robert Ari (www.robertari.com)

Make Up: Char­lotte Her­man (www.forever-flawless.co.uk)

All sta­tionery, invi­ta­tions, table plan, name/menu cards and cd
favours were designed by me; my com­pany is Wendy Bell Designs.

The florist was one of the Roof Gar­dens rec­om­mended sup­pli­ers — Carly Rogers Flow­ers (www.carlyrogersflowers.co.uk).  I worked very closely with her to coor­di­nate all of our flow­ers with our invi­ta­tions.  We had three dif­fer­ent colours and types of flow­ers on the tables (each table with a dif­fer­ent flower) with dif­fer­ent coloured vases…white hydrangeas with black vases, lime green cym­bid­ium orchids with white vases, and hot pink roses with lime green vases…my bou­quet was sim­ple and made of black calla lilies.

Cake: Our mini cakes was Zoe Clark from The Cake Par­lour (www.thecakeparlour.com).  She used the invi­ta­tions that I had designed to cre­ate square fon­dant fan­cies, cup­cakes and mini round cakes — these came in three flavours and all had dif­fer­ent designs (stripes, spots, flamingos).

Brides­maid Dress: I only had one brides­maid and she was wear­ing a Karen Millen dress.

Suits: My husband’s entire out­fit (suit, shirt, tie, pochette) was bought at Duchamp Lon­don.  He wore Vivi­enne West­wood cuf­flinks and shoes from Guci­nari.  The ush­ers and best man wore suits bought at Marks & Spencer.

With thanks to the fab­u­lous Green Olive Wed­ding Pho­tog­ra­phy for shar­ing their pho­tographs of Wendy and James’s wed­ding. Find out more about them at www.greenolivewedding.co.uk. Ben and Slawek are a team of tal­ented reportage wed­ding pho­tog­ra­phers in Lon­don. Check out their wed­ding pho­tog­ra­phy blog here: www.greenolivewedding.co.uk/blog

There’s more from Wendy tomor­row. Her designs are cre­ative, sexy, bright and gor­geous… you’ll be sur­prised, I think — and if you’re look­ing for your wed­ding invi­ta­tions, you’ll be delighted to boot!

Claire xx


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