After discovering their dream venue wasn’t licensed for weddings, this cosmopolitan couple, Charlotte and James embarked on a mission to get their perfect winter wedding…
How they met
Charlotte and James’ relationship got off to a somewhat unusual start. “We first met in a bar, when James came up to me and asked me to judge a ‘Who’s got the biggest arms?’ contest between him and his friends. “I chose his friend as the winner, but he didn’t hold it against me and the rest is history.”
James pulled out all the stops for his romantic Venetian proposal. “He had booked us into an exclusive restaurant for my birthday, and just before we ordered dessert, he told me he had a present for me and pulled a ring box out of his pocket,” Charlotte smiles. “We were both so emotional – James couldn’t even get his words out. As we came out of the restaurant into St Mark’s Square, I was so overwhelmed that I shouted out, ‘We’re engaged!’ I couldn’t hide my excitement.”
The bride’s outfit
Charlotte found choosing the perfect dress overwhelming. “I must have tried on 40 different designs before I eventually picked out a David Fielden satin dress and paid a deposit,” she explains. “But I couldn’t get a lace Lusan Mandongus gown out of my head, and wondered if I’d made the wrong decision. In the end, I went to try it on with my mum, and I knew instantly that I had to have it.”
Charlotte had her gown customised to include a more dramatic fishtail and a jewelled sash from Luella’s Boutique. A two-tiered veil with crystal droplets from Joyce Jackson and a glamorous shrug from Amanda Wakeley completed her look. “It was just right for our city chic winter theme, and I felt like a movie star for the day,” Charlotte says.
The groom’s outfit
James needed only half an hour to pick out his slim-fitting royal blue suit from his favourite tailor, Richard James. He opted for a bespoke pale blue waistcoat from Favourbrooks, worn with an ivory tie and a crisp white shirt from Thomas Pink. “I loved his look and couldn’t wait to get married,” Charlotte smiles.
Charlotte chose elegant satin dresses in silver grey from Ghost for her three girls, complemented by strappy silver sandals and bouquets of vintage roses.
Londoners Charlotte and James were dreaming of a chic city centre wedding, and found the ideal venue in Mayfair’s Savile Club. But there was a hitch – the venue wasn’t licensed for weddings. “We had our hearts set on it, so we came up with a plan to work with the Club and Westminster Registry Office to get a wedding licence,,” explains Charlotte. “We had 10 months to do it in, and it came through just in time! It was stressful, but when I made my entrance down the dramatic staircase into the candlelit ballroom, I knew it had been worth it.
Charlotte’s vision of a romantic winter wedding became a reality at the hands of Dominique from A Riot of Colour. “She incorporated all of my ideas, with roses, candles and even a sprig of mistletoe above the main entrance,” Charlotte says.
After the ceremony, the guests dined in the Grand Ballroom, as seen in Downton Abbey, with an exquisite menu created by Michelin-starred chef Michael James. “We love to party so we chose a fantastic Motown band called Hula Groove for the evening entertainment, and set up a photobooth in the bar with props – everyone loves a selfie!” laughs Charlotte.
The decor for Charlotte and James’ elegant winter wedding included glass candelabra, vases filled with roses and hydrangea, and tea lights in vintage holders. “The fireplace was a focal point, decorated with vases of flowers, single stem roses, candles and petals,” adds Charlotte. “It was absolutely stunning.”
The couple chose a simple but striking three-tier wedding cake from Waitrose, decorated with fresh flowers to co-ordinate with the bridal bouquet and a cute ‘We do’ cake topper.
The newlyweds spent a whole month exploring Costa Rica, Mexico and Belize.