all photos by Ryan Jarvis Photography
Amy from Alabama & Gavin From Scotland
Celebration Date & Location:
Vintners’ Livery Hall, City of London, UK
Tell us how you got engaged:
Amy from Alabama & Gavin from Scotland lived in Dublin for a few years and were very close friends. Amy fancied Gavin. And Gavin secretly fancied Amy (but she didn’t know until much later). Amy’s & Gavin’s friends had thought for years they should get together. Gavin moved to London. And a few years later Amy moved to London, too. On the first day Amy moved over, Gavin took her out to celebrate what she thought was dinner to commemorate her getting her Irish passport (after 7 long years!) and moving to London. It was actually, their first date…. Afterward, they spent ever day together, discovered the great city of London and even hiked many Scottish monroes… still no mountaintop proposals… Fourteen months later Gavin took Amy out for the most memorable dining experiences of Amy’s life at the extraordinary Helene Darroze in the Connaught of Mayfair. On the way home when Amy expressed her utter delight, Gavin replied, “Well, that’s good, because that was your engagement dinner” Amy busted out laughing so hard, she never actually answered yes. She’s not ever sure to this day if there was a question…
What’s the overall ‘feeling’ you’re aiming for with your celebration:
Amy says: I’m not a fan of weddings, actually. We just wanted to have a fabulous dinner party for our closest friends and family and for everyone to feel involved. The day really was about all 40 of us. Our dearest ones flew in from Alabama, Boston, Scotland, Ireland, and Africa. We wanted to show them ‘our’ city of London. We chose Vintners’ because its in the heart of the city next to St. Paul’s. It’s one of the oldest structures rebuilt after the Great Fire in 1666, and it represents over 1000 years of London’s Wine Trade!
Are you adding any fun twists on tradition:
We had our civil marriage a few days before as we wanted the religious ceremony to be tailored to us and very personable. So we chose a family minister who is a much loved uncle from the States to do this for us. My grandmother was married post WWII in a tea-length black wedding dress. She was a stunner! I remember looking at her wedding photo as a little girl and being in awe. I’m not a big fan of big poofy white meringue dresses, so after trying on ONE traditional wedding dress, I went with my gut and visited a local designer. Susie Stone listened to the story of my glamorous Grandmother who was a knockout, a real Ava Garner look alike, and sketched up a 1940’s inspired black satin and silk crepe gown. I walked down the aisle, feeling true to myself, in timeless style inspired by my dear paternal Grandmother’s own wedding and wearing my maternal Grandmother’s pearl earrings.
My milliner introduced a spray of pearls on my teardrop headpiece – very 1940’s style and also complementing my grandmother’s pearls. My husband was wearing his family tartan kilt, his father’s sporran. We had a bagpiper for the Scottish connection. And the pianist during the meal played music that reflected the Alabama/New Orleans blues and jazz influence. And my two flower girls were my cousin’s daughters. I was in little Scarlet’s mother’s wedding as a bridesmaid and even her grandmother’s wedding as a flower girl in 1979!
The seating chart was a real piece of art, an A1 painting designed by one of our witnesses. It illustrated our long, single banquet table… The chairs were based on actual chairs at Vintners, the treasure chest had tags from all the cities we had lived (Ireland, Scotland, Tanazania, Disney, etc…), Tower Bridge where we live now is depicted through the window in the painting, overturned Champagne bottles and wine glasses dot the table (reminiscent of the Miles Aldridge high fashion photography exhibition), Gone with the Wind (the Southern states influence) and Scottish landscape paintings are on the walls of the painting. Even photographs of us during our engagement are ‘hung’ on the walls. The Seating Chart was a real conversation piece!
Post wedding, with our intimate group of 40, we walked across Southwark bridge to a very old pub on the Southbank. We invited loads of our friends, their kids, and colleagues to join us for drinks in the private bar we hired out. After we left on honeymoon, our parents and friends closed the pub down with much dancing and lashings of Champagne! All this is captured on film – yet to be seen – as we chose not to hire a videographer who specialized in weddings… ( I saw too many car crash wedding videos) but a BBC camera man who delivers documentary style footage. Our film will be based on the opening from Woody Allen’s “Manhattan” and feature an 8mm style conclusion.
What was the inspiration for your Glövite and Glösite design? If you made them yourself, tell us how you did it.
As I mentioned, I’m not a big fan of weddings nor cheesy self centered photographs of the ‘adoring couple’… So using the 1940’s Hollywood glamour inspiration of my own Grandmother’s wedding along with black and white photographs we found online, we built our Glosite design. Everything had a connection to the city where we live/were married: LONDON. The venue, Vinters’ Livery Hall. Everything was old world charm, historical, or had a personal connection.
Here’s how we did it:
1. Welcome Page – We found a photo from a 1940’s film depicting a man gasping at the size of the lady’s engagement ring (the ring we had redesigned was my Aunt’s solitaire wedding diamond from the 1940’s) We also used on this page a black and white drawing of London Bridge, to set the tone. London is our city and we live just down from this amazing iconic bridge.
2. The Event page was an oil painting of Vintners’ from the 18th century depicting a feast.
3. The Location page giving directions was an old lithograph map of the city of London and the Thames river
4. The Contact us page was an old black rotary style phone that Gavin uses in his bedroom
5. The Fly to Us! page was an old DC10 aircraft that Gavin’s dad used to fly
6. The Write us page is a 1940’s secretary sitting at a typewriter contemplating what to type…
7. The Photographs page was a bit tongue in cheek… We used an old black and white photo of a random family that was very old fashioned and formal. Couldn’t bear to post a typical ‘happy smiling couple’ like the other 1000’s out there….
Let’s show off your Glövites and Glösite
Any good planning tips and tricks for the couples who are just starting to plan?
Don’t look at wedding sites to see what other people do so you can copy/paste a template. Go with your gut, you know your individual style! Get inspiration, but stay true to yourself! Do exactly what YOU WANT to do. Personally, I found GLO to be the most user friendly and cost effective. Collect images/photos/quotes you like so you can build your personalized website.
What is your favorite moment or memory?
When all 40 of us were gathered as photographs were being taken in the grand Court Room at Vintners’ – dark wood paneling, centuries old oil paintings, the soft tick-tock of grandfather clocks, the smell of whisky, the taste of Champagne fresh on my lips, the thrill of Mr. White’s hand around my waist, the sight of our friends from around the globe gathered for the first time at the same time in one room … and the muffled chuckles of my Scottish kilt-wearing new brother in-law as he’s about to fall over on the plush red carpet and have a fit of laughter. As if it were the most normal phrase in the world, he’d overheard my American-girl-next door cousin tell her 3 year old daughter (my flower girl), “Scarlet, darling, smile with your teeth for the camera!”
What’s the biggest “say what?” moment or funny story that’s happened since you started planning?
I had 3 weeks to plan the wedding.. then went to visit my family in states for 6 weeks, then my mom came back to London with me to finish the final 3 weeks pre wedding. The best part – I never picked up a Bridal mag once, to know what I ‘should be doing.’ Just goes to show, know yourself, go with your gut, spend money on the good stuff, and leave out the fluff!
Who are the magical partners who helped bring this celebration to life?
Susie Stone, nominated best Wedding Designer 2014
Natasha Moore House, the sweetest most passionate milliner
Ryan Jarvis – our photographer/videographer, willing to step outside the box and use his creative juices to make our wedding exactly to our taste, film noir and beyond!
Vitner’s Hall – 1000 years of wine trade history in London, amazing staff, beautiful food and outstanding wine!
The Anchor pub cranked up the music to make the After, After party the best celebration ever!