Fun FILLED (PARTY ALL NIGHT) winter wedding in
I can’t actually believe it’s over a year since Clare and Phil’s absolutely epic winter wedding at Hackney Town Hall and Clapton Country Club (thought it was about time I blogged it ey?!) I just found out they have moved back from Vancouver to London for a short time so that anniversary card I sent will have been lost in the ether of the Canadian postal system. Sorry you pair!
I love shooting in London, and the industrial setting of Clapton Country Club is probably one of my fave places for party fun times. With a late 4pm ceremony in November that meant it got dark quickly and the party started sooner, going on until well past 1am because Phil bribed the band to stay later (legend). Being fans of good food, music, coffee and beer it was basically my own wonderland too and I was so glad I was there till the not so bitter end (unless you count the beer).
They described their wedding using the words love, beer and disco balls, I’ll let them fill you in on the rest.
London Wedding Highlights Film
Here’s what Clare and Phil said about working with me, Kate Jackson Photography on their Clapton Country Club wedding (I love and hate this bit in equal measure *blushes*):
‘When I looked at your website I loved your photos. The documentary style, the colours and the very clever documentary shots. We are both so glad you could do shoot our wedding. Working with you was so easy, you seemed very laid back about us being very indecisive and disorganised and were extremely professional and calm the entire day. We loved how quickly you got the group shots out of the way but they came out brilliantly. We hadn't even twigged that the light could be rubbish in November with a late ceremony. We were very lucky in the end but you had everything covered.’
For more on what Clare and Phil have to say about their laid back London wedding scroll on down, but don’t forget to check out the photos along the way.
We first 'connected' (cringe) on Bumble, the dating app. We chatted about burgers, specifically a burger invention podcast episode, cycling and skiing and then discovered we had the same favourite beer (NECK OIL). We first met in person at a wine bar in Farringdon. Phil spent quite a lot of the start of the date on the phone to Poland sorting a last minute work deadline/issue. How romantic!
Phil planned a lovely trip to Copenhagen despite my protests that we really should've been saving for our year in Canada. A delicious meal with lots of wine on Friday night meant that I woke up on Saturday morning with a headache (standard) and Phil kept badgering me to go to the toilet and splash my face and take some paracetamol. I had no idea why he wouldn't just let me wallow in the hangover! When I cam back from the bathroom Phil got all soppy and told me how happy I'd made him and how he hoped he'd made me happy (affirmative) and then asked me to marry him. I just assumed he meant 'one day' and said of course but then he rolled over, rummaged by the bed and PULLED OUT A RING! I was very shocked but very happy. I had absolutely no idea (and I'm usually pretty sharp I thought). Turns out Phil had been sneaking around with his friend Dan in Hatten Gardens whilst I was sleeping after night shifts buying a diamond ring. Was so cute and Phil that he chose to wait for that moment in bed and not do it in the swanky restaurant the night before (I would've died of embarrassment).
The Wedding Day
We woke up together in The Hoxton. Phil got me breakfast and went off to get ready with The Boys. I got ready with the help of Natalie (love her), my Niece Matilda (the cutest) and my Mum and some prosecco. Mum surprised me with a gorgeous vintage car to take me to Hackney Town Hall for the wedding at 3pm. It was a gorgeous winter's day. I was very nervous! I had to wait in a little room whilst everyone arrived. I took a selfie with the photocopier to steady my nerves, it didn't work. My Dad popped in and we had an awkward chat about my dress! The ceremony was lovely with some lovely reading by Erica and Arvy and some banging tunes made possible by DJ Ali. Freddie gave us the rings like a boss. We both managed not to cry! Our Mums witness the signing of the certificate then we walked out hand in hand - what a relief! Then we did confetti (we weren't expecting that!) and waved at a drone outside the Town Hall (I explicitly said NO DRONES (lol)). Phil and I got in the car with Kate and arrived at Clapton Country Club for the reception. Which was all a bit of a blur. It was decked out amazingly by Dita - our wedding planner (and saviour) and Phil's Mum who did the flowers so perfectly I was stunned. Much prosecco and personalised beer was drunk, speeches in between courses of a Mediterranean feast. Cutting off far too much cake. Sparklers! Phil's Brother Tim was a brilliant MC. Our first dance was Pulp - 'Something Changed', we had no idea what we were doing there. Then LOADS of dancing to our amazing band 'The Wedding Crashers' who stepped in at the last minute and were ace. The reception was a big, fun, smiley blur and went by in a flash but was brilliant. So many happy faces of everyone we love the most. We both drank too much. We had some lovely little moments by ourselves whilst having our photo taken together, Kate is so amazing at being completely unobtrusive whilst getting some flipping crazy jedi/ninja shots! We had pizza and then the last drunken stragglers fell into taxis.
Best bits - Dancing, seeing everyone enjoy themselves, dancing with the nieces and nephews. Lots of hugging and laughing!
The Wedding Planning
Phil: We got engaged on April the 22nd 2017 and got married on November the 25th, we left for Vancouver via New York in mid June!! We managed, somehow, to get the big stuff- venue and legal stuff sorted before we left. Finding Dita (Dita Rosted Events) was a godsend as she found us the perfect venue and took a lot of the pain out of the planning process given we were so far away.
Clare: I didn't really enjoy much to be honest Finding the venue and meeting Terrence from Clapton Country Club was great though. I liked trying on dresses more than I thought I would, but I hadn't made any friends in Vancouver to come with me at that point. The bit I probably enjoyed the most was putting the playlist together. It's in my nature to get stressed about parties because I worry people won't enjoy it. I also loved sending out our amazing invites as my Brother James designed them and they were amazing.
What made you choose your venue(s) and location(s)?: To be honest we ran out of time to find one but regardless when we saw Clapton Country Club we knew it was perfect. The Disco Ball! The space and the rustic feel was perfect. We love East London and Hackney Town Hall was big enough and close enough to the venue.
Clare: I tried on about 10 dresses in two difference shops in Vancouver. The two-piece outfit was the one that felt right. I felt most comfortable in it and it seemed most fitting for a winter wedding and reflected my style the most. I loved how comfortable I felt all day and the train was lovely even if it did get trodden on to death!
Phil: Paul Smith is a cycling nut and makes the best suits. Plus the did the tailoring in about 3 days flat!
The flowers/venue decor
I wanted it to be as simple as possible and really didn't want a typical 'weddingy' feel. I didn't want a colour scheme or bridesmaids and thought the venue was great as it was with the huge disco ball and festoon lights. Phil's Mum offered to do the flowers and I sent her some photos from pinterest/google searches and said just get flowers that are in season. She did amazingly given the lack of instruction. I was considering not having flowers at all but Phil vetoed that idea! We had a bit of DIY, I made the table plan and place names with a trusty label-maker, I was inspired again by pinterest pics of 'rustic/industrial' weddings. I hate anything too matchy - I never wear anything that matches. Tables were names after famous cycling climbs and stuck on black cardboard stars. Dita made it all look amazing- she is that talented. We also got some big metal C&P letter from a vintage store in Margate near where my Mum lives. (Thanks Mum). Lauren, my sister in law did bespoke party bags for all the kids, which just finished it off perfectly.
We chose the slightly longer ceremony as we thought it sounded a bit more relaxed. And a few readings:
1. The Weird Wife by Dave Eggers - my favourite short story, from an amazing book of his called 'Short Short Stories'. Read by Erica, one of my oldest friends from school and twin sister to my (unofficial) MOH Maria.
2. Excerpt from Use of Weapons by Ian M Banks. Phil's choice. Made me blush! Read brilliantly by Arvy, Phil's good friend.
Freddie, Phil's Nephew handed us our rings. We walked out to 'Justified and Ancient' by the KLF!
Our first dance was to Pulp - Something Changed. The rest of the music was a combo of a couple of Spotify playlists of our favourite songs - overseen by Ali our pet 'DJ' and a live band who had to step with 2 days notice but were brilliant! The Wedding Crashers.
Any advice for couples planning their relaxed wedding?
Keep it simple! Try not to stress, it WILL come together, and no one will notice if anything goes wrong. Enjoy it!
Clare: Listen to the 'Bridechilla' podcast!
Phil: more time for dancing!
Thanks Phil and Clare, your wedding was epic and I still look back on your photos and wish we could do it all over again. Thanks for having a party till the early hours. Huge thanks to my second shooter Charlotte of Electric Blue for being my second in command and all around star. Dita and Clapton Country Club you were as always awesome.
LONDON WEDDING SUPPLIER SHOUT OUT
Venue Hackney Town Hall and Clapton Country Club
Wedding Planner Dita Rosted Events
Wedding Dress Rituals of Love - Theia Bridal
Accessories Bag - Kate Spade, Shoes - River Island
Make Up Artist Natalie James
Grooms Suit Paul Smith
Flowers Bridal Bouquet from Grace and Thorn, the rest of the flowers for venue decor DIY by the Groom’s mum!
Cake Hummingbird Bakery
Stationery (including those epic bespoke beer bottles) James Burlison
Wedding Band The Wedding Crashers
Wedding Transport Gold Chauffeur Services
Planning your Hackney Town Hall or Clapton Country Club wedding? I travel all over the UK shooting weddings in my natural, fun and relaxed style. So give me a shout I’d really love to chat to you.